Capitulation?

One of the things I have disliked the most about the crypto sector is the idea that people should “hodl” or “hold on for dear life.”

I have written many times here at AVC that one should take profits when they are available and diversify an investment portfolio.

The idea that an investor should hold on no matter what has always seemed ridiculous to me.

Now, the crypto markets are in the eighth month of a long and painful bear market and we are starting to see some signs of capitulation, particularly in the assets that went up the most last year.

Whether this is the long-awaited capitulation of the HODL crowd or not, I can’t say.

But capitulation would be a good thing for the crypto markets, releasing assets into the market that until now have been locked up by long-term holders.

Until then it is hard to get excited

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Routers and Modems

We have fiber internet at our place in Minnesota.  It’s super fast.  We use an Eero modem for wifi.  We have had some crashes recently and we think it’s the router.  They gave us a router when they set it up.  It’s not one we bought.

This is not my forte.  

What’s the best fiber router out there for the best price?  Hard to know from searches.  

How Long Should Your SaaS Software Trial Period Be?

How long should you let a customer use your software before they sign a contract? You could offer them a 7 day free trial. Or 14 or 21 or 30 or 90.

Longer trials might be better. The customer could delve deeper into the product, become more committed and sign a larger contract. Shorter trials drive urgency, weed out the uncommitted, and result in shorter sales cycles. Both sides have compelling arguments.

Unfortunately, most SaaS startups don’t have enough samples to reach a statistically significant answer. Anecdotally, I’ve heard from many marketers shorter trials are better.

The team at MadKudu analyzed 9 companies with different customer acquisition and sales strategies. Their data showed conversion rates for most of these businesses follow an S curve. I’ve copied their chart above. Two have freemium plans (A & G); three have 14 day trials (D, E & F); four have 30 day plans Continue reading "How Long Should Your SaaS Software Trial Period Be?"

Speech and Power

There is a healthy debate going on now about the role of Twitter, Facebook, and others (Google, Apple, …) with regard to moderating speech on their platforms. Rather than writing something entirely new, I decided to go back and look at what I have written and whether my opinion has changed since then. As I did that I was happy to find that I have had a fairly consistent approach based on who has power.

Over the years I have written a lot about keeping the government out of regulating content on the internet. For instance, in a post from 2010 titled “We Need an Internet Bill of Rights (And Fast)” I wrote:

If you care about freedom and democracy you do not want to give the government a wholesale way to shut down access to sites on the Internet.  The potential downside from abuses of such as system Continue reading "Speech and Power"

The Revenue Problem

Seed stage investing is so hard.  Needle in a haystack hard.  I was thinking about what floats a person’s boat when it comes to the first round of investing.  In the Midwest, it’s all about revenue.  It might be the first question an entrepreneur gets.  

In the Bay Area, sometimes it’s not a question.

Who’s right?  Not an easy answer.  With what we invest in revenue is a proof point.  Usually an entrepreneur is solving a pain point.  People are willing to pay to solve it.  I was involved with one business and we asked the entrepreneur if they were getting price as an objection to making a sale.  The company wasn’t so the advice was to raise their price.  With other businesses it is not that simple.

I do think that when you get older, you tend to look at businesses a lot differently than when you were Continue reading "The Revenue Problem"

Designing AI to Make Decisions

Kathryn Hume, VP of integrate.ai, discusses the current boundaries between artificially intelligent machines, and humans. While the power of A.I. can conjure up some of our darkest fears, she says the reality is that there is still a whole lot that A.I. can’t do. So far, A.I. is able to accomplish some tasks that humans might need a lot of training for, such as diagnosing cancer. But she says those tasks are actually more simple than we might think – and that algorithms still can’t replace emotional intelligence just yet. Plus, A.I. might just help us discover new business opportunities we didn’t know existed.

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How Self-Care Became So Much Work

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mark ralston/Getty Images

The United States is no stranger to self-improvement, from the meditation and essential oils of the 60s to the Jane Fonda aerobics tapes of the 1980s and the fat-free-everything 1990s. “Nothing can bring you peace but yourself,” wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson in 1841, sounding a bit like a modern SoulCycle instructor. From these deep roots, the $11 billion self-improvement industry has grown.

Today, like so much around us, that industry is heavily influenced by tech. Our focus is shifting away from the actual self — our bodies, minds, and spirits — and toward data about the self. With iEverythings around us at all times, we expect our steps to be enumerated, our REM cycles to be recorded, and our breathing patterns to be measured. It’s not enough to just feel better — we need our devices to affirm that we are doing the work.

This dogged self-improvement quest

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How B2B Software Vendors Can Help Their Customers Benchmark

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Gillian Blease/Getty Images

Knowing which organizations perform the best on any particular dimension used to require subjective surveys or painstaking research. Today, the data to answer those questions exists — it’s captured by the software-as-a-service firms whose services companies use to run their businesses. Mainstream software companies are beginning to hold “data mirrors” up to their customers, allowing scoring and benchmarking of their customers’ strategies. We’ve already seen that it’s possible to use external data to evaluate firms on what business models they are employing, and what those business models mean for their valuations.  Those analyses rely on publicly available data sources, but software providers have accumulated growing amounts of private data on almost every aspect of their customers’ technology, operations, people, and strategies. It’s time that these data accumulators begin to share insights back to the creators of all this data, and several firms are beginning

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New Supply Chain Jobs Are Emerging as AI Takes Hold

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alashi/Getty Images

Companies are cutting supply chain complexity and accelerating responsiveness using the tools of artificial intelligence. Through AI, machine learning, robotics, and advanced analytics, firms are augmenting knowledge-intensive areas such as supply chain planning, customer order management, and inventory tracking.

What does that mean for the supply chain workforce?

It does not mean human workers will become obsolete. In fact, a new book by Paul Daugherty and H. James Wilson debunks the widespread misconception that AI systems will replace humans in one industry after another. While AI will be deployed to manage certain tasks, including higher-level decision making, the technology’s true power is in augmenting human capabilities — and that holds true in the supply chain.

Insight Center

  • Adopting AI
    Sponsored by SAS
    How companies are using artificial intelligence in their business operations.

In this new environment, both machines and humans are essential: By collaborating in roles such as supply chain planning

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Funding Friday: This Place Will Be Water

The neighborhood where we live in NYC will be underwater with a 2-degree Celsius increase in global temperatures.

This Kickstarter project will create stickers that all of us can place on places like ours and remind everyone that climate change is a big deal.

I backed this project today and you can too right here.

Research: Having a Black Doctor Led Black Men to Receive More-Effective Care

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hero image/Getty Images

In the U.S., racial and ethnic minorities have higher rates of chronic disease, obesity, and premature death than white people. Black patients in particular have among the worst health outcomes, experiencing higher rates of hypertension and stroke. And black men have the lowest life expectancy of any demographic group, living on average 4.5 fewer years than white men.

A number of factors contribute to these health disparities, but one problem has been a lack of diversity among physicians. African Americans make up 13% of the U.S. population, but only 4% of U.S. doctors and less than 7% of U.S. medical students. (Of active U.S. doctors in 2013, 48.9% were white, 11.7% were Asian, 4.4% were Hispanic or Latinx, and 0.4% were American Indian or Alaska Native.) Research has found that physicians of color

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More Kitty Kitty

This whole mountain lion thing creeps me out a bit though it probably shouldn’t. I guess it’s because we have a new puppy who is having a great time bounding around up there. He doesn’t stray right now but you never know.

To tell you the truth, a bear could simply just show up at any time so it pays to be wary. Yes, I do have a weapon with me and my wife just ordered pepper spray.

Yesterday my wife made this video. This is not Ted Nugent Cat Scratch Fever. Those scratches are pretty deep into the tree. If you have ever tried to scratch a tree, you would understand that cat is pretty powerful and it’s claws are sharp. It’s at a place about 100 yards from our place. The lady that owns this cabin puts out a lot of corn everyday. That corn attracts ducks.

She Continue reading "More Kitty Kitty"

What MoviePass Can Teach Us About the Future of Subscription Businesses

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Robert Woloschanowski/EyeEm/Getty Images

It has been a very rough few months for MoviePass. Since I last wrote about the company, theater operator AMC entered the subscription market, to early success, and MoviePass took out and paid back a $6 million emergency loan and flip-flopped both its pricing and its product. Lately the company has resembled a fish out of water, gasping for breath.

Will MoviePass survive? The broad answer is yes; the specific answer is more complicated. It could still manage to remain as a stand-alone business (though it’s unlikely); it might survive as part of another business (through an acquisition); it’s already surviving, in a sense, by having its basic model adopted by companies like AMC. And whether it survives as a corporate entity or not, it will surely be remembered in business lore as a case study or cautionary tale.

I’ve watched a lot of movies

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Wonderschool

While important debates about the long-term impact of new technologies on jobs play out, I’ve had a front row seat to a set of companies where new technologies have immediately created new streams of income for millions of people. These …

20VC: Why Founding Your First Company Is Like Learning Through A Thousand Paper Cuts, The 3 Core Phases to Product Adoption and Why Valuation Obsession Must Change In The Valley with Armon Dadgar, Founder & CTO @ Hashicorp

Armon Dadgar is the Founder & CTO @ Hashicorp, the open-source software company that provides consistent workflows to provision, secure, connect and run any infrastructure for any application. To date, Hashicorp has raised over $74m in VC funding from many friends of the show including Scott Raney @ Redpoint, Glenn Solomon @ GGV, Semil Shah, True Ventures and Mayfield. As for Armon, today he leads the Hashicorp research group and focused on industrial research in the security and large-scale system management space. Prior to founding Hashicorp, Armon was a software engineer @ Kiip and Amazon.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Armon made his way from intern at Amazon to founding Hashicorp and creating the game-changing suite of tools in the world of DevOps?

2.) Hashicorp has enjoyed success after success with new products, so what does Armon believe is the secret to continuous product innovation? What does Continue reading "20VC: Why Founding Your First Company Is Like Learning Through A Thousand Paper Cuts, The 3 Core Phases to Product Adoption and Why Valuation Obsession Must Change In The Valley with Armon Dadgar, Founder & CTO @ Hashicorp"

Poor Communicators

Is miscommunication a constant problem at your workplace? In this episode of HBR’s advice podcast, Dear HBR:, cohosts Alison Beard and Dan McGinn answer your questions with the help of Holly Weeks, a lecturer at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and the author of Failure to Communicate. They talk through what to do when your coworker won’t stop talking, your boss overcommunicates with everyone on a project, or a leader keeps changing what you’re supposed to do.

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Listen to more episodes and find out how to subscribe on the Dear HBR: page. Send in your questions about workplace dilemmas by emailing Dan and Alison at dearhbr@hbr.org.

From Alison and Dan’s reading list for this episode:

Book: Failure to Communicate by Holly Weeks — “It helps to think of a tough conversation as a landscape through which we and our counterpart move. If we

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Regulating and Legislating Tech and Tech Companies

More and more of the news around tech these days is about the relationship between technology companies and government. That was not the case a decade ago when regulators and elected officials took a largely hands off approach to technology, particularly the Internet, web, and mobile.

While I am not a fan of many of the moves that regulators and elected officials have made over the last few years, including the NYC City Council’s recent bills to clamp down on home-sharing and ride-sharing in NYC, I do believe that the tech sector and tech companies must engage with the public sector and they must do it earlier in their development.

It is hard to be an advocate for the tech sector and tech companies with the public sector, a role I play fairly regularly, when the companies in question have not been the best actors themselves.

The good news is

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