The Real History Of TechCrunch

“Victory has a hundred fathers and defeat is an orphan”

If you’ve founded a company, or created something else in your life, you know the emotional attachment that people have to those things. It is part of who you are, part of your history. It helped define the person you are now, in large ways or small. You also understand the amount of labor and emotion people put into their creations, sometimes over years.

If someone comes and takes credit for what you’ve built, it can be painful. If they take credit for what you’ve built to enrich themselves, it can be even more painful. If they are enriching themselves in a way that hurts others, it can be too much.

What Keith Teare is doing is too much.

The backstory of TechCrunch is described here on the TechCrunch site. In June of 2005 I founded TechCrunch. At the time Continue reading "The Real History Of TechCrunch"

a16z Podcast: The Business of Continual Change

Every large company — especially ones that have been around for a long time — goes through multiple cycles of change. But how do you know where to go next, and when, and how? The management literature is full of …

Quick thoughts about Blogger and Medium. Plus: The 2018 SaaS Funding Napkin!

I usually use this blog when I write new posts. Occasionally I re-publish selected posts on our Medium channel. Lately, however, I've observed myself publishing on Medium first, for the simple reason that the authoring experience is much better on Medium than on Blogger, especially when you're including a lot of pictures. 

What can we learn from this?
  1. You can lure users away from an old product by offering a much better UX. A bit better isn't enough to get over inertia and to offset switching costs. It has to be 10x better and cheaper, like Sarah Tavel said. (When I say "10x better" I don't mean it literally but figuratively because in most cases I don't know how the superiority of one user experience over another can be measured quantitatively.)
  2. If the incumbent benefits from network effects, it's much more difficult. A complete migration from Blogger Continue reading "Quick thoughts about Blogger and Medium. Plus: The 2018 SaaS Funding Napkin!"

Wine Tasting And Surveying Damage

One of the nice things about California is the diversity of climates. My brother in law has lived in the wine country since the late 1970’s. He has been a volunteer firefighter for quite some time. Late last year, he fought many of the wine country fires you might have read about. One of them raced just past his home. By just past, I mean across the street.

Wind blew so hard fire didn't have time to burn everything

A post shared by Jeff Carter (@pointsnfigures) on

We walked around and you could see the path the fire took. As we looked miles to the east, you could see the scar the fire left on the hillsides as it blew down the valley and jumped road after road. My brother in law said winds were 90 mph and when they were fighting the fire Continue reading "Wine Tasting And Surveying Damage"

A peek inside Alphabet’s investing universe

 Chances are you’ve heard of Google. You’re likely a contributor to one of the 3.5 billion search queries the website processes daily. But unless you’re a venture capitalist, an entrepreneur or a slightly obsessive tech journalist, you may not know that Google, or, more properly, Alphabet, is also invests in startups. And, like most of what Google does, Alphabet invests… Read More

Pitchers and Catchers Report

Pitchers and catchers reported this week. Spring is almost here.  I am excited for the Cubs season.  In Silicon Valley, I notice that there are only San Francisco Giants stickers and hats.  I was kind of surprised not to see A’s stuff.  You will find White Sox stuff all over Chicago.

I am in the wine country today. Love it up here.

Video Of The Week: Is Crypto the Future of Early Stage Funding?

A lot of people in the crypto sector have suggested that ICOs and tokens are the future of early stage investing and highly disruptive to my business (venture capital).

In this video (yet another from the Upfront Conference), VCs and other investors discuss why that may not be the case.



USV TEAM POSTS:

Albert Wenger — February 16, 2018
The Power of Continued Innovation: MongoDB Adds Transactions

Bethany Marz Crystal — February 16, 2018
Sure! Please just link back to this. Thanks!

Facebook’s Fake Account Problem Is Getting Bigger

The 37-page indictment by the U.S. special counsel Robert Mueller’s 37-page indictment against 13 Russian nationals makes one thing clear – the Russian Propaganda Machine (R.P.M.) was super efficient in using Facebook thanks to the use of a lot of fake accounts and smart targeting. And guess what, it is a growing problem for Facebook, as its most recent 10K filing reveals.

Continue reading "Facebook’s Fake Account Problem Is Getting Bigger"

a16z Podcast: How Tech is Changing Investing

As people begin to gain access to information that was previously left to only trained specialists, a new set of asset classes are being created — and they are changing the way we think about everything from banking to customizing …

Fun Friday: Skiing

The long Presidents Weekend has always been ski time for our us.

And the same is true this year. We’ve arrived in ski country with a bunch of friends and plan on being out on the mountains for the next three days.

Skiing (and Boarding) is an incredible combination of being outdoors in the mountains surrounded by awesome beauty and an exhilarating athletic experience. I’ve been skiing since I was a teenager and it’s always been one of my favorite things to do.



USV TEAM POSTS:

Albert Wenger — February 16, 2018
The Power of Continued Innovation: MongoDB Adds Transactions

Bethany Marz Crystal — February 16, 2018
Sure! Please just link back to this. Thanks!

Albert Wenger — February 15, 2018
Algorand

How to Increase Your Influence at Work

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lok fung/Getty Images

To be effective in organizations today, you must be able to influence people. Your title alone isn’t always enough to sway others, nor do you always have a formal position. So, what’s the best way to position yourself as an informal leader? How do you motivate colleagues to support your initiatives and adopt your ideas? How can you become a go-to person that others look to for guidance and expert advice?

What the Experts Say
Having influence in the workplace has “clear value,” says Dorie Clark, author of Entrepreneurial You. “You get more done and you advance the projects you care about and are responsible for,” which means “you’re more likely to be noticed, get promoted, and receive raises.” But gaining influence in the modern workplace is difficult, according to Nick Morgan, author of Power Cues. “It’s never been harder to influence others, because they’ve

Continue reading "How to Increase Your Influence at Work"

The Power of Continued Innovation: MongoDB Adds Transactions

Yesterday I did a fireside chat at our portfolio company Shippo and someone asked the question how a company can continue to be successful and grow over a long period of time. My answer was: continue to innovate. A company that wonderfully represents that spirit is MongoDB. Eliot Horowitz, the co-founder and CTO of MongoDB, just announced in a blog post that MongoDB 4.0 will support multi-document transactions.

You should go read the post as it is great, including the epic title “MongoDB Drops ACID” (which I will explain later), but here is the quote that really stood out to me (emphases in bold are mine):

The imminent arrival of transactions is the culmination of a multi-year engineering effort, beginning over 3 years ago with the integration of the WiredTiger storage engine. We’ve laid the groundwork in almost every part of the server – from the storage layer itself, Continue reading "The Power of Continued Innovation: MongoDB Adds Transactions"

How to Fix the Most Soul-Crushing Meetings

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emma mayfield photography/Getty Images

Meetings are notoriously one of organizational life’s most insufferable realities. U.S. companies spend more than $37 billion dollars a year on them. Employees in American companies spend more than one-third of their time in them. And 71% of senior managers view them as unproductive. In one global consumer products company that I work with, my firm’s organizational assessment revealed an unusually intense degree of frustration over how much time was consumed by meetings, leaving “only evenings to do our day jobs,” according to one interviewee. In a meticulous inventory, we calculated the hours spent in meetings by directors and above across the enterprise (a population of about 500). They collectively spent more than 57,000 hours per year in recurring meetings. That’s the equivalent of six and a half years!

Better meeting techniques, like distributing agendas, holding stand-up meetings, or enforcing a no-device policy, are all well-intentioned

Continue reading "How to Fix the Most Soul-Crushing Meetings"

3 Reasons Global Firms Should Keep Investing in India

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boris sv/Getty Images

A major debate has unfolded around India’s economic prospects. On the one hand, you have Prime Minister Modi declaring at the 2018 World Economic Forum that India’s economy, already the fifth largest in the world, will double, to $5 trillion, by 2025. On the other hand, you have the media pointing out the country’s shallow middle class, growing inequality and joblessness, and a trail of multinationals frustrated by the lack of China-like success in India.

While India remains a challenging market, there are at least three reasons global firms cannot overlook the country without consequences.

India has seen growth in infrastructure spending. The country has been increasing its spending on infrastructure such as airports, cities, hotels, ports, roads, bridges, hospitals, and power plants. During the past three years, for instance, the newly formed Andhra Pradesh State has made massive investments in building out its infrastructure. India has expanded its solar

Continue reading "3 Reasons Global Firms Should Keep Investing in India"

Thought This Talk Was Interesting

I write this from the left coast.  I am spending some time out here to get away from the Chicago winter and to meet people.  I also do it to get out of my Chicago bubble.  I spent a short amount of time in LA.  I spent some time in Silicon Valley and now I am in San Francisco.  Being here in person allows me to experience things and decide if what I see being reported is true or not.

I like the above video and I think the answer to separate the wheat from the chaff is to have principles that you believe in and to understand why you have those principles.  When I was going to church regularly, I was surprised how many ministers told me to question why I was a Christian at all.  You’d think in a church they’d not actively ask that question.  It turns Continue reading "Thought This Talk Was Interesting"

20VC: How To Think About Founder-Category Fit, Why The Biggest Opportunities Are In Category Re-Architecture & What Can Be Done To Increase The Amount of Women In VC with Nadia Boujarwah, Founder & CEO @ Dia & Co

Nadia Boujarwah is the Founder & CEO @ Dia & Co, the startup that provides premier plus size clothing and styling for women. To date they have raised over $20m in funding from some of the best in the business including the likes of Alfred Lin @ Sequoia and the team @ NextView Ventures. Prior to Dia&Co Nadia was the CFO and COO @ Frieda and Nellie and also enjoyed time in the marketing and strategy team @ Diane von Furstenberg.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Nadia made her way from HBS grad to founding one of the hottest e-commerce companies of the day backed by Sequoia, Dia&Co?

2.) Why does Nadia believe that the biggest opportunity for value creation is through category creation? What does Nadia mean when she discusses category re-architecture? How does she think of the inherent cons (CAC, consumer education, distribution Continue reading "20VC: How To Think About Founder-Category Fit, Why The Biggest Opportunities Are In Category Re-Architecture & What Can Be Done To Increase The Amount of Women In VC with Nadia Boujarwah, Founder & CEO @ Dia & Co"