Category Archives: Technology

Vanity is Powerful

Twitter has been great for CB Insights, but I’ve honestly not taken to it personally as well as I probably should have. I don’t think I get it. I follow people who I think are interesting but actually tweeting is something I kind of suck at.

But there is an element to Twitter that is very powerful to me and that is vanity.

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Kids Just Want Venture Capital

I really like Chris Dixon’s ideas. In fact, his bowling pin strategy post is one of my favorites of all time (I know the idea is not his but I learned it by reading his blog so he gets credit in my book).

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The Grind

Fred Wilson had a great post a few days ago about The Grind vs. The Pivot.  About the grind, he writes:

The Grind is when you launch something, it fails to get product market fit, and you grind on it, week after week, month after month, year after year, until it does. Usually the entrepreneur who chooses The Grind is obsessed with the problem they are trying to solve and can’t let it go. This tenacity is often rewarded if everyone is patient enough.

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The Perils of Faking Startup Traction

If you need to raise financing, one of the things I’m observing more startups doing is fake startup traction or what I previously called startup traction optimization. Today, I noticed a post by Jonathan Friedman, a partner at Lionbird, that highlighted that I”m not the only one seeing this type of behavior.

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Be the Monk

Read this great parable called The Monk and Minister here that goes like this:

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Pitch & Demo Day

One of the things we are hoping to have at CB Insights is a culture where experimentation is encouraged and happening. And also where future entrepreneurs take shape.

So tmw, we are hosting our first ever Pitch & Demo Day where anyone with an idea can pitch it to everyone for feedback and to recruit teammates.

Next week, from Monday to Wednesday – anyone on a team will dedicate their time to building a prototype of their idea. No core CBI work unless customer related.

We consciously didn’t call these hack days or a hackathon as getting ideas from around the org – whether it be engineering or marketing or content or biz dev was an important goal.

So an idea on how we can do better customer segmentation may be presented alongside an idea on NLP and news classification.

I’m really excited to hear these ideas and see the product of everyone’s efforts next week. Personally, I get to spend less time on product than I used to as we scale so I’m most siked by just seeing what folks imagine up.

The effort was also led by several folks on the team so it’s been gratifying to see them take leadership over this.

I’m sure this won’t be the last time I’m writing about this. Stay tuned.

Just Do One Thing Well

Jason Del Rey who writes for Re/code and who is one of the one of the more entertaining folks I follow on Twitter recently tweeted out the following about Square.

Definitely true. Square has become very good at rolling out products. But the problem was succinctly articulated by Neeraj Baid of Venmo who responded to Jason with the following:

I think Neeraj hits the nail on the head here.

I cannot think of any tech company that has been successful with a portfolio product approach. Almost all the big unicorns and even smaller winners seem to have done one thing very well and dominated that.

“It’s not that hard”

I was perusing Hacker News today and saw an article about Airbnb’s $13B valuation.

I knew what to expect in the comments but out of morbid curiosity, I dug in and wasn’t disappointed to find the expected comment.  It was luckily further down the thread which means others found it inane as well.  Here it is:

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Quora

I love when Quora gets discussed on HN like it did yesterday.

I find Quora to be a useful service and while I’m not sure it’s the next big thing, I’ve found it entertaining and occasionally useful.

But the HN crowd hates because they

Awesome bootstrapped company – ScheduleFly

If you’ve read this blog before, you know that I take pride in CB Insights being bootstrapped.

And so I also love reading about and learning more about bootstrapped companies. 37 Signals and Mailchimp are two of my favorite examples.

Today, I came across ScheduleFly. They help restaurants with staff scheduling. They charge $30-$60/month and have 4500 customers.

Impressive.

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