Day: February 27, 2023

Writing Shouldn’t Be Hard

This post is by Om Malik from On my Om

Brad Stone, editor of technology for Bloomberg Businessweek, in his column about AI-based writing tools that make it easy to write, ends his column with this paragraph. I should agree with him as a writer, but I don’t.

Personally, I take objection to the idea that writing should ever be “easy” or “painless.” Writing is and should be hard – a lonely walk in the dark with the facts, your ideas and your facility with language. The robots will need to get a lot more neurotic if they ever hope to become true writers.

Why? Because, as far as I am concerned, not all writing is created equal. Unlike in the past, writing isn’t something just “writers” do. Artistic or creative writing is a different beast from what we do when writing emails, marketing copy, press releases, or copy for social media. 

Even though Stone lumps many tools together, not all of them are the same. Lex, for example, is a better version of Google Docs and can be a great help when drafting out documents, though I would be loathe to use its verbatim to publish something publicly. Sudowrite* is about helping you give options around “creative intent.” Jasper is for copywriters. In other words, workflows define the tools and shape the “AI” for its purpose. Grammarly is none of the above — it is a grammar checker, and it isn’t very intelligent — just good at helping corporate documents be good, grammatically correct, and presentable. 

The bigger question (Read more...)

A breakdown of the tech innovation cycle, Tesla’s recall, the importance of customer support, Brett…

This post is by MPD from @MPD - Medium

A breakdown of the tech innovation cycle, Tesla’s recall, the importance of customer support, Brett is back with a state of crypto and blockchain update, and spy balloon madness

Here’s what’s covered on this week’s pod:

  • Tesla’s recall.
  • Predictions on when self-driving cars will be the norm.
  • The process of the tech innovation cycle for sectors and industries.
  • Startup Tip of the Week: The Importance of Customer Support
  • Brett is back with a state of crypto and blockchain update, including an update on the SEC’s stance on staking.
  • Spy balloon madness and US China relations.


Listen via your preferred platform here.


Interplay Family Office LLC (“Interplay”) is registered as an investment adviser with U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). Registration of an investment adviser does not imply any level of skill or training. Information about the qualifications and business practices of Interplay is available on the SEC’s website at Interplay only transacts business in states where it is properly registered or is excluded or exempted from registration requirements. Offering of asset management services through Interplay is pursuant to an investment advisory agreement. The views expressed in this podcast/vodcast are subject to change based on market and other conditions. The podcast/vodcast may contain certain statements that may be deemed forward looking statements. Please note that any such statements are not guarantees of any future (Read more...)

The Gigabit Generation

This post is by Om Malik from On my Om

Build it, and they will come! And no, I don’t mean the fabulous baseball movie but high-speed broadband networks. And not only will they come, but they will also know how to use the speeds. This is just the start for a generation of consumers who are growing up on gigabit connections and are reliant on the “network” for everything.

For nearly a decade-and-a-half of writing about broadband, I would write about places working on gigabit networks. Usually, it was some small municipality building its network. A town in Tennessee or an occasional European (usually East European) city would give me a glimpse of the gigabit future. Fast forward to the end of 2022, and nearly 26 percent of U.S. households are getting gigabit speeds, up almost 100 percent at the end of 2021, according to OpenVault, a company that tracks network and network behaviors. OpenVault’s latest report notes that more and more folks are opting for higher speeds — the percentage of subscribers in tiers under 200 Mbps declined by 43% in the fourth quarter of 2022. Leichtman Research Group, another research group, estimates that at the end of 2022, nearly 90% of U.S. households — about 111 million — had broadband at home.

Higher speeds mean more data consumption by households. With more of us opting for streaming video over traditional cable networks, it is not surpassing. The average per-household data consumption was 586.7 GB at the end of 2022, an increase of nearly 10% over the prior (Read more...)

Data Update 6 for 2023: A Wake up call for the Indebted?

We have an uneasy relationship with debt, both in our personal and business lives. While it is a financial decision, it is one that is freighted with moral overtones, since almost every religion inveighs against debt's sins, labeling those who lend as sinners and those who borrow as weak. That may reflect the concern that once a person or entity starts borrowing to fund its needs, it is easy to overuse debt, and risk its wellbeing in the process. All that said, businesses around the world have borrowed money though time to fund their operations, sometimes for good reasons and sometimes for bad, and over time, these businesses have also faced cycles of too much debt leading to painful cleansing. In this post, I will focus on corporate debt in 2023, keeping in mind that it was a year where the tradeoffs changed, as interest rates rose to pre-2008 levels, and putting at risk those firms that had borrowed to capacity, or even beyond, at low interest rates.

Debt's place in business

    To understand debt's role in a business, I will start with a big picture perspective, where you break a business down into assets-in-place, i.e., the value of investments it has already made and growth assets, the value of investments you expect it to make in the future. To fund the business, you can either use borrowed money (debt) or owner's funds (equity), and while both are sources of capital, they represent different claims on the business. (Read more...)

A modest defense of YIMBY

This is Joseph

Some of the best discourses on the blog are cases where Mark and I disagree. I need to give him a big win on the last iteration, on the question of whether it was worth pushing the Republicans on social security. Part of it was that I underestimated just how clever of a politician Joe Biden was and how he could turn the discourse into a political trap.

So let me see if I can do better today. YIMBY has a terrible reputation for focusing on the petty. But the situation, in housing, for Ontario is . . . amazing. Immigration is way up

The number of new houses that needs to be built to compensate for the years of bad policy is epic:

One housing unit per minute. At two hours per approval (low end estimate) then the 10 unit pathway to would require 10 cities running approval committees 24/7, with no hitches or requests for more information (the need for new housing suggests the need to build one unit every minute in the province of Ontario). How is it going

So the province is falling completely short of the goal, that is also completely inadequate to make up for the bad policy of the past. At a time when the population is rapidly increasing (e.g., see the student visa situation). 

Now, let us look at an example in Guelph

The fight is over 23 stories or the 18 which is currently (Read more...)

Grow Fast, Breakeven, or Die: How Moderate Cuts Will Kill Startups in 2023

“Extend your runway.”

That’s what every VC is telling their portfolio companies these days. The very important part they’re leaving out, however, is, “But keep growing at the same pace before the cuts.”

In other words, they’re telling companies that, in order to get next round funding, they’re somehow supposed to stay the same fast growers they were before the tech downturn, but just do that longer and get to higher aggregate revenue and performance numbers.

If you don’t realize that, just imagine you’re a VC fund with some dry powder in the second half of 2023. Some companies will have been able to achieve that feat—and those companies will be the first ones to generate real post-crash FOMO.

Everyone else—why would they bother? The one question every VC needs to be able to answer on the way to getting to a “yes” is, “Can this return a big chunk of my fund one day?”

If you grew 15% year over year, how are they ever going to imagine that happening, especially when you know there will be a handful of companies that have seemingly done the impossible with less resources?

I’m very worried about any company that has moderate growth plans for 2023 that expects to get another round of financing based on that result. To me, that has a high chance of putting off the inevitable—running out of money during a fundraising process.

It might work against all your instincts, but I can’t help but wonder if the (Read more...)

The VC’s Customer

This post is by Fred Wilson from AVC

I saw Dan Primack assert that the venture capitalist’s customer is their limited partners in this tweet about the Citizen app, the recap, and their VCs:

I DM’d Dan to let him know that is not the right way to think about the venture capital business.

Back in 2005, in the early days of this blog, I wrote this post on the topic.

The entrepreneur is the customer and the LP is the shareholder. That’s the only way to think about the venture capital business that makes sense to me.

I encourage everyone to read that post. It is one of the most important things I’ve written about the VC/founder relationship and I would not change a single word in it almost twenty years later.