Category Archives: Technology

Content Should Be Free is Nonsense. (Yup, I Disagree with Fred Wilson)

I read an absolutely insanely good investigative piece into the foreign money flowing into Time Warner Center condos by the NY Times. I cannot get my head around how much effort must have been required into researching this piece. And then the writing and editing that followed it.  And then the design and photographs on the page.

It is what the NY Times and a handful of publications do well – probably those that could do this can be counted on one hand.

And this is difficult stuff.  And they deserve to be paid for it.

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Company Soul

I read two things today about entrepreneurial failure.  One was a great long form piece by Alyson Shontell of Business Insider about Fab.com and one was by Tyson Ho about an unnamed diner in Manhattan which was shuttering.

They were both well-written and painted very different pictures of failure. The story of a Fab was one of bad economics, hubris, premature expansion and of investor/founder/employees selling a big vision and chasing the unicorn dream.

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Garbage in, Garbage Out – Yes Indeed

Renee DiRasta had a good post talking about conflicting data about seed activity. I don’t think some of her assertions about the data sources being similar for data providers are that accurate which I talked about on Twitter (see below). I also commented on her post that the whole seed deals are falling narrative is laughable.  Here’s the comment I left on her post.

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Anand here from CB Insights. Great thoughtful post. Thank you.

Five reasons that came to immediately came to mind on why the whole seed is declining narrative doesn’t pass the most basic of smell tests. If I spend an hour thinking about this more, there are probably others.

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Solving Opacity in the Private Markets

Private markets are often described as opaque. They are.  The participants don’t necessarily want it this way, but because there is no central clearinghouse for information or data or insights, information ends up siloed – often in the heads of individuals in the market. With 4000+ clients ranging from investors to acquirers to bankers to lawyers to recruiters to biz dev people using CB Insights, we now have a community of folks who are incredibly knowledgeable about private companies, emerging trends and more.

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The God Metric

Evan Williams of Twitter is not someone I’d read much about before. But he’s been writing a lot more recently, and he’s well worth a read. His recent essay entitled “A Mile Wide, An Inch Deep” is well worth a read.

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Hatin’ on MBAs

A recent article in Fortune talked about Wharton, Harvard and other elite b-school ramping up their entrepreneurship programs. I have nothing against MBAs and am a Wharton guy myself (undergrad so I can still talk shit), but this IMO is one of those signs of things getting overheated in startup land.

Startups are becoming another career path or vocation as I talked about yesterday – raise funding, take a decent salary, get a call option on some upside and ultimately all for pretty low risk. These environments bring out the opportunistic. The real estate bubble saw a similar phenomena where everyone jumped in cuz it was easy money.  From the article on Fortune:

“Entrepreneurship is entering the mainstream in the economy and therefore it’s starting to enter the mainstream in the business schools,” Zoller says. “You’re starting to see people increasingly seeking out high-growth venturing as a pathway for their professional success.”

There is no pathway in entrepreneurship as far as I can tell. Or a very jagged zig zaggy one.

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Indie.vc – this is exciting

So 2015 is off to a good start. I’ve rambled about revenue-based financing and other alternative models to fund tech companies a couple of times on this blog. And today, I saw something called Indie.vc by Bryce Roberts and the OATV team which is an interesting first step.  An alternate model to fund tech companies:

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Best Places to Work – Just Ignore the Data

Tony Schwartz offers an interesting perspective on the Best Places to Work rankings in this article in the NY Times.  He writes:

But these lists don’t really measure something even more important: the quality of their employees’ lives. Over the last decade, I’ve spent countless hours interacting with employees at all levels in many of the companies that appear on the Glassdoor best-companies list, as well as on the Fortune annual 100 Best Companies to Work For list.

Basically, his argument revolves around ignoring data others have collected and on using his selected anecdotes.  It is all a bit new-agey.  There are always going to a spectrum of opinions at a company the size of Google or any top employer so finding these anecdotes is probably easy.  Making everyone happy is an impossibility.  If it was possible, we’d have some sort of bizarre work utopia/cult.

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Do You Have to Be Excited by Your Startup?

I read the great annual report by SaaS entrepreneur Patrick McKenzie (known on hacker news as patio11) and he talked about challenges he’s had with not being excited by the problem his startup is solving (note: his startup is called Appointment Reminder and reminds clients of service providers, think doctors, nail salons, etc of their appointments via automated calls as people not showing up is opportunity and revenue lost for those service providers).

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Theft or public interest?

Aaron Sorkin penned an op-ed in the NY Times talking about the hack of Sony and the subsequent publishing of info that the hackers stole. In it, he writes:

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