In many sports, like diving, gymnastics, skating, etc, the way to win is to perfectly execute a high degree of difficulty move.
In startups, I advise founders to avoid that way of thinking and try to execute a simple dive and hit the water perfectly.
I have sat through numerous pitches where I am listening to the founder explain their technology and go to market plan and I think “this is going to be a reverse triple somersault with two twists in pike and there is no way they are going to land it.”
There is plenty of risk in doing a startup. People quit their good paying jobs and take equity in lieu of cash, investors risk capital, customers are asked to try something new that might not work. Amplifying all of that risk with a high degree of difficulty product roadmap or go to market plan is
About 3:15 into this video Chris Burniske asks an interesting question about how the CryptoKitties team thought about designing the kitties and the next ~four minutes are a revealing discussion about how blockchains may change the way digital art is created and sold in the future.
Last night the Gotham Gal and I attended the annual benefit for the Scratch Foundation which provides financial support to the Scratch programming language and learning environment.
Mitch Resnick, founder of Scratch and leader of the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab (I love that name so much I had to find a way to get it into this post), shared some numbers with the attendees last night:
In the last year, over 200 million people have used Scratch to make something, share something, or learn something.
I realize that not everyone who uses Scratch is a child, but the vast majority of them are.
There are roughly 2bn children on planet earth, so that means roughly 10% of our children used Scratch last year.
Think about that.
At our table, there were four high school students who I had invited to join us at the event. Two
Yesterday the foundation announced a new name: FINOS.
FINOS is about supporting open source software efforts across the financial services industry.
Financial services has often lagged other industries in adopting open source software related development practices, but that situation is changing quickly. Quantitative trading firms like Jane Street have built entire businesses based on open source. And perhaps there is no better example of the degree to which open source is impacting financial services (and other industries of course) than bitcoin, ethereum, and other crypto projects.
In the industries where open source has succeeded, independent entities such as foundations and trade organizations have played a critical role in fostering success. They have facilitated cooperation among players (often hard to
One of the least discussed aspects of investing in startups is the value of the time commitment one makes to a company they invest in.
The money part is pretty simple; you invest capital into a business and get an equity participation in the upside. Both sides of that deal can analyze that transaction and understand it fairly well. Of course neither side knows what the ultimate payoff will be, but one can handicap it.
The time piece of the transaction is way more complicated.
1/ The founder doesn’t know if they will actually get the investor to deliver on the promises made to add value and spend a lot of time on the investment. A founder can reference an investor and get a better sense of this but there is nothing written into an investment agreement that binds either party to make a specific time commitment to an
A friend asked me at breakfast this week “what gets you excited in crypto these days?”
I answered “Dapps.”
If the second half of 2016 and all of 2017 was about raising capital to fund development efforts (and speculating on all of that), then it sure feels like 2018 is the year we start getting decentralized applications (Dapps) we can use.
Our portfolio company Blockstack offers a decentralized platform that developers can build Dapps on.
I have Blockstack’s web client running in Safari on my home desktop and here is a screenshot of some of the Dapps I can run in that environment:
A cool thing about Blockstack is that identity is built into the platform so I am already a user and have a profile in every one of these Dapps because I have a Blockstack identity/profile.
Another ecosystem that is really taking off right now are Ethereum
I was going through my email this morning and opening pitch decks, skimming them, and responding to indicate if they are a fit with our thesis and of interest to me and my colleagues at USV.
Everyone who works in VC or does angel investing does this daily. I probably open and skim 10-20 pitch decks a day and sometimes a lot more.
So on the way to yoga, after making a dent in my inbox, I was thinking if there was an alternative to pitch decks that would be as efficient at communicating the idea (pitch decks really are great at this) that would serve the entrepreneur as well.
I came up with three ideas in my seven minute walk to the gym:
1/ Record a short video (less than three minutes) in which you communicate who you are (or who the team is), what the idea is, and