Even Billionaires send cold emails…

Durwin Ho
2 min readSep 29, 2021


Dr Fauci, a leading expert in Covid19 and Mark Zuckerberg, billionaire founder of FaceBook.

In case you missed it, Mark Zuckerberg sent a cold email to Dr Anthony Fauci last year to ask for help and I want to point out a few things for any founders or corporate champions to take note.

  1. In case you were wondering if cold emails work. I hope Zuckerberg helped prove that it does. Yea it is a bit weird that Zuckerberg don’t know Dr Fauci already given they are all high status luminaries, but nevertheless, he still bothers to send a nicely worded email that had so much win in it.
  2. Of course who you are and status matters. I am pretty sure if you aren’t Zuckerberg, it would definitely take you more than a day and 1 cold email to get to someone at Dr Fauci level. But do trade high-powered status, that we don’t have, for warm-blooded persistence, that we do have. The results should be similar if we persist, be polite and have patience.
  3. Notice he gave Dr Fauci an out by saying: “I understand you’re incredibly busy, so don’t feel the need to reply to this unless these seem interesting”. Learn this well. Its artful and comes across as respectful. I use this all the time and it signals humility and understanding. It comes across as polite and paints a nicer imagery of yourself to the other party. Not everyone is obligated to say yes to your requests, and being gentle and diplomatic helps.
  4. Notice how he starts the email: “Tony”. That is short for “Anthony”. You only do that when you are familiar and trying to “bro” someone. Not quite sure you can utilize that on your next cold email to a potential customer or investor, but try this. Re-read the greeting and first line of the email after writing it. If it sounds too colloquial and “bro”, it might come across as brash and unthoughtful. So take it down a few notches. Playing it a little safe is always better than playing it a little risky.
Check out the email Zuckerberg sent Dr Fauci.

Hope you take away something form this quick breakdown.

Really makes me wonder, does Zuckerberg ever have any difficulty getting a yes from anyone in recent times?

I cannot think of any scenario in which anyone would reject a cold-email or request from Zucks the man himself.

Then again, that’s just me.

Do you think cold emails work in today’s context?

If you agree, connect with me and let’s chat.

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Durwin Ho

CEO of StartupX | Web3.0, Crypto, DeFi, NFT Enthusiast |HyperX Sustainability Hackcelerator | Startup Weekend Singapore.