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Was Net Neutrality Truly Neutral? Here’s the Score Card

Was Net Neutrality Truly Neutral? Here’s the Score Card

The number of IPOS, pre and post Net Neutrality, from Statista

There’s currently a push on to reinstate Net Neutrality (U.S. Democrats unveil legislation to reinstate net neutrality rules). “The bill mirrors an effort last year to reverse the FCC’s December 2017 order that repealed rules approved in 2015 that barred providers from blocking or slowing internet content or offering paid “fast lanes,” says the Yahoo piece.

The stated promise of Net Neutrality was a “free and open internet” and maintaining “the last mile.” That’s their story, and they’re sticking to it.

In case you haven’t noticed, with the reversal of Net Neutrality in 2017, we haven’t witnessed “blocking or slowing down of internet traffic” by ISPs. Read More...

With the Series A Crunch, Product Market Fit Is the New Black

With the Series A Crunch, Product Market Fit Is the New Black

Marc Michel spoke at one of our recent investor breakfasts. Marc is founder and Managing Director of Runway Ventures.

In this case, runway has nothing to do with fashion. Read More...

The Fine Line Between Culture and Cult

The Fine Line Between Culture and Cult

Erin Griffin recently wrote an excellent piece in The New York Times entitled Why Are Young People Pretending to Love Work? “Never once at the start of my workweek…have I paused, looked to the heavens and whispered: #ThankGodIt’sMonday,” writes Griffin. Yet that is the culture that’s being bred, most explicitly at WeWork (now the We Company), where “Neon signs demand they “Hustle harder,” and murals spread the gospel of T.G.I.M. Even the cucumbers in WeWork’s water coolers have an agenda. “Don’t stop when you’re tired…

“It’s not difficult to view hustle culture as a swindle. After all, convincing a generation of workers to beaver away is convenient for those at the top.” Read More...

Amazon to NYC: Drop Dead!

Amazon to NYC: Drop Dead!

What happens when business and politics meet

The big announcement recently was that Amazon is pulling out of its deal to have New York City become HQ2. A huge loss to the city, in terms of job creation and the benefits that come with a tech giant coming in with its huge and high profile footprint. Of course, NY offered some $3B in incentives to the behemoth. The downside of Amazon’s withdrawal is that New York will lose the taxes that Amazon would eventually pay, and for those of us who have been following the math, Amazon Will Pay a Whopping $0 in Federal Taxes on $11.2 Billion Profits, according to Yahoo Finance. Read More...

Invaluable Lessons Startups Can Learn from Trader Joe’s, a Food Retailer Who Created a Whole New Category

Invaluable Lessons Startups Can Learn from Trader Joe’s, a Food Retailer Who Created a Whole New Category

Ah, Trader Joe’s!

Ever notice the lines at TJ’s? We’re not talking about the ones at check-out. We’re talking about the ones that often spiral around the block, just to get into the store. You’d think that there was a celebrity inside perusing the avocados. Read More...

Surveillance Capitalism: We Are Definitely the Product

Surveillance Capitalism: We Are Definitely the Product

The tech cartel has been labeled many things. “Attention Merchants” being one of them. In her new book, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power, Shoshana Zuboff has designated a new category for them: Surveillance Capitalists. “Surveillance capitalism,” she writes, “unilaterally claims human experience as free raw material for translation into behavioural data.

The Business of the Internet

“When the security expert Bruce Schneier wrote that “surveillance is the business model of the internet,” The Guardian reports, “he was really only hinting at the reality that Zuboff has now illuminated. The combination of state surveillance and its capitalist counterpart means that digital technology is separating the citizens in all societies into two groups: the watchers (invisible, unknown and unaccountable) and the watched. This has profound consequences for democracy because asymmetry of knowledge translates into asymmetries of power. But whereas most democratic societies have at least some degree of oversight of state surveillance, we currently have almost no regulatory oversight of its privatised counterpart. This is intolerable.” Read More...

Web 2.0 Is Now Correction 2.0

Web 2.0 Is Now Correction 2.0

i2clipart.com

Apple announced a downturn in expected revenue, and the market choked. Which followed on the heels of the Facebook stock plunge as a result of its myriad privacy issues.

What happened? Let’s look at the Apple playbook: for years, Apple has released a new iOS ahead of the sales of a new phone. The new iOS slows down older phones, in order to induce people to buy the new one. Which might have a few new features, but not enough to warrant the purchase of a new phone, save that the older models are now artificially slower.

Planned obsolescence. Read More...

What’s the #1 Criteria for Success in the Startup World?

What’s the #1 Criteria for Success in the Startup World?

When he spoke at our  investor breakfast a couple of months back, New York Angels chairman Brian Cohen said that Bill Gross, founder of idealab, a startup studio and arguably the prototype for tech accelerators, asked what was the one criteria that mattered most in a successful exit of a company. Was it the amount of money they raised? Or was it smart leaders that mattered. After all the research that he had done at idealabs, Gross concluded that it was timing that was the #1 criteria for success. Timing, meaning when you went to market – think Six Degrees, the first social network in the Web 1.0 days, v Facebook.

It’s all about timing. Read More...

Big Tech is riding the same rails as robber barons of the past

Big Tech is riding the same rails as robber barons of the past

The Last Spike, 1869.

The tech industry – in particular, the FAANG stocks – have hit a strange inflection point. They’re taking a beating on Wall Street. And Facebook is under attack from all sides.

There was The New York Times piece (Delay, Deny and Deflect: How Facebook’s Leaders Fought Through Crisis), which was written with the assistance of no less than 50 sources.

An international committee of foreign governments has requested that Zuckerberg appear before lawmakers to face inquiries, particularly into disinformation, election meddling and privacy issues. Zuckerberg refused. Read More...

Anyone Can Start a Company – Not Everyone Can Build a Business

Anyone Can Start a Company – Not Everyone Can Build a Business

 

It’s not easy building a business – and do notice that we say ‘building a business’, ’rather than ‘starting a company.’ Anyone can start a company. Not everyone can build a business. To help you to get to the latter, we thought we’d offer some handy do’s and don’ts. They’re obvious enough. One would hope, although we are admittedly the consummate optimist.

There are two popular misconceptions of which founders need to be disabused (ok, there are many, but we’ll break it down as we go): Read More...

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