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Month: May 2017

The Arianna Effect

The Arianna Effect

We all know the Three Big Lies, although the third is changeable, depending on the audience/circumstances:

  1. The check is in the mail
  2. Of course I’ll still respect you in the morning
  3. I’ll make it up to you in the IPO

Of course, not many companies are going public these days, and tech founders have pivoted on the third point. What company doesn’t do a pivot or two after all, and the new talking point is a bit fluid, as always: We’ll make it up to you on the backend, or We can’t commit right now, but of course we’ll make it up to you.

In case you missed it, New York City enacted a new freelancer law -the “Freelance Isn’t Free Act” (FIFA) – that is now in effect, and it applies to businesses outside of New York that hire New York workers, too. According to Entrepreneur, “If a business hires a freelancer for $800 or more worth of work over six months (for either one project or a cumulative series of projects), a written agreement must be put in place. The term “freelancer” covers an independent contractor or any other worker not in a traditional employee-employer relationship” – which we assume applies to consultants as well. You can find more information here. Read More...

The Innovation Choke Point

The Innovation Choke Point

America has become so anti-innovation – it’s economic suicide, said the Guardian, last week, citing Juicero, the $400 juicer with pre-sold packet of diced fruits and vegetables that the machine transforms into juice. “But it turns out you don’t actually need the machine to make the juice,” the Guardian noted. “On 19 April, Bloomberg News reported that you can squeeze the packets by hand and get the same result. It’s even faster.”

Oops, and thanks for paying (sic).

“$120 million to build an over-engineered juicer says a lot about the state of Silicon Valley today. There’s now so much money sloshing around San Francisco’s technology world that even seemingly outlandish ideas can attract lavish funding,” said Vox, but then again, Juicero is not just any juicer, even if you can get the same results by squeezing the bag by hand: it’s a connected device, and there’s the magic word – ‘connected.’  Juicero will let you know if you’re low on raw ingredients and won’t process the ingredients if they were past the sell by date. What to speak of the fact that if there was a recall on any of the products that happened to have been delivered to you, it wouldn’t work in that case, either. Read More...

How to Defy the Laws of Time and Physics – And (Sometimes) Common Sense

How to Defy the Laws of Time and Physics – And (Sometimes) Common Sense

We were recently asked to give a brief history of the early days of tech in New York. Given the speed of tech, it’s not all that easy to condense even a relatively short cycle into a brief presentation, especially considering internet time: a lot happened quickly, and all at once.

It did, however, strike us that many of the ideas that have made for successful – and not so successful – Silicon Valley companies today were first developed in New York in those early days. We had social networks – Six Degrees, theglobe.com, iVillage – two of which were acquired, while the third (theglobe.com) not only went public, but posted the largest first day gain of any IPO in history up to that date – then crashed spectacularly when the dot com bubble burst.  What also struck us was the on-demand economy. We did have that back then, too, so nothing new and again, what man cannot remember he is doomed to repeat.

In the days of Web 1.0, there was a company called kozmo.com, an on-demand delivery service that promised free one-hour delivery of “videos, games, dvds, music, magazines, books, food, et al, and they would even deliver a pack of chewing gum at 2 am, if there was a call for it – literally. They raised money and lots of it: $250 million, according to Wikipedia, and they burned through lots of it as well: According to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, in 1999 the company had revenue of $3.5 million, with a resulting net loss of $26.3 million. They, too, spectacularly dot bombed. Read More...

Elvis Has Left the Building

Elvis Has Left the Building

In case you missed it, Investor Chris Sacca (announced that he) is retiring from venture capital. The Lowercase Capital founder, whose investments include Twitter and Uber, et al, blogged about his decision (Hanging up my spurs) and what he sees himself doing next, but forest through the trees, he did very famously tweet not too long ago his irritation about the fact that he has no control over decisions made at Uber, and we’d add one-time feather in his cap, Twitter, to that as well.

“That Sacca — who reportedly owned at least 4 percent of the company at once point (and may still) — has “zero say” in how Uber is run has been “frustrating,” he tweeted in February,” according to the Techcrunch article. “In recent years, Sacca has also distanced himself from Twitter, posting to his active Twitter account in March that, “I haven’t owned TWTR for almost a couple of years. When they failed to get Ev involved again, I lost hope. Love the service, hate the stock.”

In his announcement, Sacca said “startup investing is one of my things, but it is not my everything,” and that if he cannot dedicate all his time towards it, he cannot be part of it anymore. Read More...

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