One of the key lessons you learn in startup life quickly is: you measure what matters and then make decisions from that. OKRs, and KPIs are born from this philosophy.
However, we are all equally well versed in the dark side of this, where one wrong KPI can lead to a worse outcome for all. The classic example of this is incentivising a sales team to sell as much as possible, but not qualifying customers and therefore you end up having runaway costs to acquire customers and churn can sky rocket after. Few companies do that these days, but it’s just to make the point: Wrong metrics can kill.
In an investment fund, there are several metrics you track, the obvious ones are based on ‘return on capital invested’ and similar cash-based metrics. These make sense, but have some ‘lag’ to them as usually companies, for early stage funds in particular, take time to mature. As such, some LPs choose to focus on deal-attribution to gauge how good the fund will be. In effect: Which partner led what deal.
So, basically, the implication is, if you had a team where everyone was a Lionel Messi…. voila, you’d have an amazing team! What likely isn’t appreciated in that logic, is that a team of investment partners where everyone is an Lionel Messi doesn’t quite equate to more successes because partners play many roles in supporting each other, not just shooting for points, so to speak.
I believe the above logic of partner attribution creates several problems that plague our industry and funds. These include:
Inhibits team collaboration — As with most team sports, investment partnerships require good team work to enable wins. People need to ‘pass the ball’ to the best player to help score, whether that’s with helping a founder with an issue or a connection, or dealing with a legal technicality that one partner knows best, collaboration wins in the long run.
Creates deployment budget pressure and quarrels between partners — If you know that a winning bet is what gets you credit, how do you make sure people aren’t over indexing on as many bets as possible? How do you get your partners to think of the fund’s budget as a whole not as a portion that they will make successful?
Inhibits pairing the ideal partner with the founder depending on the founder’s needs — Similar to the first point, people start playing in silos.
Inhibits the ‘evolution’ of the relationship with the founder — Different partners in a fund can be better for the founder at different stages in the founder’s journey. Say one partner was super experienced with growth stage issues because of their previous job.. if you had a partner attribution model, you’d be prevented from this kind of transition.
Creates cults of personality in partners– Success can bring with it a dark side for some, and by not having a way to spread success across your team, you run the risk of creating bottlenecks in your fund’s brand attributable to one person.
So how do you make sure that if you adopt the above you don’t have a team of lacklustre partners then? Well that’s when the partnership needs to be solid enough to be open and frank with each other when a partner isn’t living up to expectations and helping them improve.
Seedcamp has evolved over the years, but one thing we did early on was embark on the path of not attributing deals to individual partners because we work as a team with our founders. It gets tricky to navigate at times, largely in conversations with investors, media and award structures where they are looking for that one person to attribute to or comment on a deal, but that’s not how we operate at seedcamp. It takes a village to support a founder and we are steadfast in our belief that bringing the right people in from across our partnership, team and network not only removes ego of the individual but ensures we work collaboratively to help our founders achieve excellence.
It might not be autumn where you live, but the iconography of the large orange pumpkin travels around the world.
People carve faces into them, stick a candle inside and use them to ward off the darkness.
Perhaps we could consider writing on one instead. Inscribing all the things we’re grateful for, all the people who show up in our lives. We could highlight our heroes, our friends, the selfless people who show up for the community instead of simply looking for a shortcut… We could even remind ourselves of the systems, situations and dynamics that we take for granted.
Seeing that pumpkin every day is a great way to remind myself of how extraordinarily lucky I am. Even when it seems as though the news is an unending litany of selfishness and tragedy, it’s possible to find someone who made a difference.
Thank you for caring, for showing up and especially, for leading.
With positive earnings in each of the last four quarters, Tesla is now eligible to join the S&P 500. They will be the 8th largest company on the benchmark index, with a market cap of $544 billion
Tesla’s inclusion in the S&P 500 will commence in December of this year—an additional blow to Tesla bears as the index brings with it an additional layer of prestige
The New Kid On The Block
Tesla will be joining the S&P 500 in December, gaining eligibility for inclusion after posting positive earnings over four consecutive quarters.
In Q3’20, the company made $331 million in profits, and delivered 139,300 vehicles. The stock has been on a tear in recent years, and joining the index only furthers the automaker’s momentum – dealing another blow to the increasingly hopeless short sellers along the way.
Johnson & Johnson
Anything But Standard
Standard & Poor’s have quite the criteria before a company can be considered for inclusion in their flagship index. To be part of the S&P 500, a minimum market cap of $8.2 billion is required.
Of course, market cap is not where Tesla’s weakness is. Valued at $544 billion, right off the bat they will be one of the top S&P 500 companies. Rather, net income has been the struggle for Tesla. After government subsidies, they posted $556 million in trailing twelve month (TTM) profits, placing them 357th in the index.
By market cap, Tesla runs with some of the all-time greats and will be the largest inclusion to join the index ever. When ranked by net income though, a much different ranking emerges:
Annual Net Income
Tractor Supply Company
Huntington Ingalls Industries
By this metric, the automaker can be found adjacent to lesser-known Mettler-Toledo and Tractor Supply Company.
The EV Revolution
As the electric car movement continues full steam ahead, Tesla as the market leader will play a pivotal role in society’s transition towards it. The average cost of the Model 3 is decreasing, thus increasing its affordability. This marks a positive signal as widespread adoption often above all requires feasibility for the masses.
As governments worldwide continue to bolster their arsenal in combating climate change, it catalyzes the demand for both electric vehicles and Tesla shares. With short seller activity beginning to subside, Tesla’s official kickoff in the S&P 500 next month could be the next chapter for Elon Musk & Co.
The highest-ranking city is San Jose, with a median real estate value of $1.1 M
This makes sense, considering the San Jose’s median household income—in 2019, it was over $120,000
That’s almost double the country-wide median of $68,703
The Top 10 Most Valuable Real Estate Cities in America
What’s the typical price of a home in America? The answer isn’t as straightforward as it may seem. Real estate value in the U.S. varies greatly from city to city, and the majority of value is concentrated in just a handful of key urban centers.
Here’s a look at the top 10 most valuable real estate cities, by median value:
Median Value (USD)
New York City
San Jose comes in first at $1.1 million, while its city neighbor, San Francisco, places second at $959,000 per home.
It’s not a huge surprise that cities in the Bay Area take the two top spots on the list—the tech-mecca is well known for its red-hot real estate, largely driven by limited housing supply and the area’s high cost of living.
Shifting to the Suburbs
With remote work becoming the new norm, city dwellers are flocking to the suburbs for more space and better bang for their buck.
Because of this, suburban areas have seen a significant increase in value—in September 2020, the average sale price in Martha’s Vineyard rose by 47% compared to last year. In contrast, home sales in places like Brooklyn and San Francisco have plummeted.
Is this suburban shift a short-lived trend, or will this list look a lot different in a few years?
Where does this data come from?
Source:LendingTree. Note: Figures come from LendingTree’s database, which is a collection of real estate data from more than 155 million U.S. properties. Data is from January 2020.
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While COVID-19 has triggered a tsunami of challenges for retailers the world over, they can take solace in knowing that retail events throughout the year can contribute to an uptick in sales.
But consumer spending for events like Back to School, Halloween, or Easter pales in comparison to what people spend between Thanksgiving and New Years—otherwise known as “the holidays”.
The graphic above explores holiday spending across the world, as well as some of the major events that contribute to it, based on MoEngage and AppFollow’s Holiday Marketing Guide.
Retail Events by Region
While Christmas is celebrated in some form across most parts of the world, U.S. consumers spend more than any other nation, with retailers raking in an estimated $1 trillion in sales in 2019.
As another major retail holiday, Black Friday originated in the U.S. but has since become a global phenomenon. In 2019, sales for the one day event reached a staggering $7.4 billion in the U.S. alone, but it was surpassed by Cyber Monday, which garnered a total of $9.4 billion in sales.
Over in India, holiday season spending in 2019 reached a total of $46 billion due to a number of events such as Amazon’s Great Indian Festival. Orders were placed during the event from over 99% of India’s postal codes, and on the busiest day, more than 600 flights delivered Amazon orders to customers.
In other parts of Asia, Alibaba’s Singles’ Day is quickly becoming a highly anticipated event attracting attention from consumers in other parts of the world. But while it recorded $38 billion in revenue in 2019, it was meager in comparison to Chinese New Year sales during the same year, which topped $149 billion—although it does not take place during the holiday months covered in this graphic.
2020 Trends Impacting Retailers
Despite many retailers banking on the success of these holiday events, they are up against some critical challenges due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the report, consumers have become more cautious about their spending, due to economic uncertainty of their finances. In fact, personal savings rates in the U.S. reached a historic 33% in May of this year.
More Value-Conscious Buyers
It’s no surprise that consumers’ concerns about the economy and their job prospects are affecting how they spend their hard-earned cash. They are spending less on items that may be considered a luxury, and investing more on things that can add value to their lives day-to-day, like media and entertainment.
Reluctance to Shop In-Store
Tightening lockdown restrictions and social distancing have raised some questions around how much of a role brick and mortar stores will play this year for consumers. Interestingly, a study shows that 36% of shoppers now prefer shopping online, up from 28% before the pandemic.
Supply Chain Issues
COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on retail supply chains, resulting in a number of issues arising such as labor shortages and transport restrictions. This has put many retailers under tremendous pressure to reimagine how they can best serve their customers.
The rise of e-commerce has been a long time coming, but the market’s progressive size and impact has caught many by surprise.
Tied initially to the advent of the internet and the Dot-com boom, online shopping saw companies like Amazon and eBay become well-known billion-dollar names. Digital commerce was a big market, but only for a few players.
Fast forward to today, and more companies than ever are launching their own marketplaces or embracing online retail. The shift was happening before COVID-19, but the pandemic has sped things up dramatically.
Today’s infographic highlights the increasing relevance of e-commerce in the modern economy and how investors can enter the market.
The Digital Marketplace Footprint
How big is modern e-commerce? While multiple sectors are experiencing their own online revolutions, retail is leading the way.
Total global retail e-commerce sales already numbered $3 trillion in 2018, and are expected to more than double to $6.5 trillion in 2023.
The increasing ease and security of online payments have encouraged many businesses to embrace B2C sales, especially in light of a pandemic that forced many brick and mortar stores to close. But less documented is the boom of digital marketplaces, which accounted for 57% of global online retail sales in 2019.
The biggest marketplaces are well-known leaders like Amazon and China’s Taobao and Tmall, but more and more companies are capturing a slice of the online distribution market.
Largest U.S. Marketplaces
Gross Merchandise Value
Walmart and Best Buy have both launched marketplaces for third-party product sales, with Walmart recently seeing a 79% increase of e-commerce sales alone.
The E-commerce Transformation
The growth of e-commerce in retail by itself is staggering, but its growing availability in other sectors is the bigger story.
Groceries and restaurants are a key marker, with home-delivery of takeout, groceries, and ready-to-prepare meal-kits all ordered digitally. Companies like Doordash, Just Eat, and Uber Eats have experienced massive growth, with Doordash positioning for a 2020 IPO, while grocery retailers including Walmart and Safeway are embracing delivery sales.
Online services are likewise rising in popularity, including everything from streaming services to virtual meetings, healthcare and assistance. Just as with the retail sector, e-commerce is making its way into sectors previously thought to be “un-digitizable.”
That type of transformation is usually slow, but the result of COVID-19 restrictions forcing thousands of businesses to go digital sped up the schedule. U.S. e-commerce penetration experienced 10 years of growth in the first quarter of 2020 alone.
U.S. E-commerce Penetration
A Widening Landscape for Future Growth
It might be hard to believe, but even with the headway made by e-commerce over the past year, the industry is slated for massive future growth.
One big reason is the rising demand for digital goods and services. As the global pandemic has reimagined virtual business, many companies have also come face-to-face with the decreased costs of operating remotely, while retailers are seeing higher margins by cutting out the distributor (or the lease).
At the same time, another massive shift is the increase in technological capabilities. Alongside the rollout of 5G, blockchain, and improved AI, companies are looking for tech to streamline their processes and keep customers online where possible.
That includes the use of drones for delivery by Amazon, augmented and virtual reality for product testing by Ikea and Wayfair, and improved payment platforms by Shopify.
While 100% online shopping is still a ways away from becoming a reality, the wave of e-commerce is set to continue rising.
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The cool, crisp fall weather, the smell of roasting turkey, the prospect of soft, silky pumpkin pie, and a chance to be with family are the usual harbingers of Thanksgiving in America. In pre-pandemic times, these things indicated that it was time to kick back and get into the holiday spirit. Of course, this is 2020, and nothing is like it was before.
Yesterday, when signing off from our weekly partners’ meeting, I thanked everyone for being a constant presence in my life over the past ten months, even if it was just as a rectangle on a screen — or better yet, especially so. After all, that was the closest we could responsibly get to each other as society felt its way through this pandemic-sized disaster. To the extent that we have been able to make any progress, a lot of it was thanks to Zoom. Yes, we may use FaceTime with our family. But mostly, we’ve been using Zoom.
So, on my list of things to be thankful for this year, I’m putting Zoom right at the top. Forget the company and its double-speak and weak security. Forget the obvious problems. Forget the stock. For many, Zoom has been the piece of the proverbial driftwood we needed to hold on to in this year’s choppy seas.
Its prominence in our present also tells us a bit about what’s to come.
Zoom is not just a service. It is a kick-starter for our mostly visual future, where reality, screens, and software seamlessly blend together. It has helped enable the idea of vanishing borders, an idea floated by my friend Pip Coburn. The borders we created around physical spaces — schools, conference halls, office buildings, doctors’ offices — are all now ephemeral lines in the sand.
For as long as I can remember, companies have been trying to build and sell elaborate and expensive video conferencing systems with massive screens, near-perfect audio, super high-definition video, and complex networking software layer to make it all work. These were luxury items, geared toward chief executives and their offices.
The arrival of the pandemic forced us all to seek out the simplest product with the least amount of friction. That turned out to be Zoom. And almost overnight, everyone — from late-night television hosts to the presidential candidates — was Zooming.
The prevalence of Zoom has shown us that working from a home office can be better than sitting in traffic for two hours. Even if, at this point, we find ourselves despising Zoom and complaining of persistent Zoom fatigue, we will not be going back to our pre-Zoom ways after the pandemic subsides. Whether Zoom remains the standard or gets overtaken by some upstart, Bill Gates predicts “that over 50% of business travel and over 30% of days in the office will go away.”
So, while we absolutely should be thankful for the way in which Zoom has helped us maintain some semblance of connection and productivity throughout 2020, we must also take a hard look at the many pressing needs this experience has uncovered. These issues will have to be dealt with — and soon.
Already a necessity, broadband access is going to become ever more crucial for participating in society. OpenVault, a company that provides broadband software and tracks Internet usage pointed out that an “average US home in September used 384 gigabytes of data, up slightly from 380 gigabytes in June, but up 40% from September 2019.” The growth — whether it is driven by people working from home, shopping online, getting on-demand delivery, or cord-cutting — indicated that the future got here in a hurry.
Earlier this month, Leichtman Research reported that “the largest cable and wireline phone providers in the U.S. — representing about 96% of the market — acquired about 1,530,000 net additional broadband Internet subscribers in 3Q 2020.” In the trailing twelve months, these companies added 4.56 million subscribers, which represents “the most broadband net adds in a year since 3Q 2008-2Q 2009.”
Shifts this significant have permanent ramifications. We should cast aside any belief that we will return to our previous understanding of normalcy. Many people have tasted the future, and despite its challenges, they seem to like what they have seen.
This is why we need to rethink universal connectivity. We need to view the future from the lens of video and visual interactions, and that is why it is important that every American, regardless of their place on the economic ladder, is connected via broadband.
Research by Michigan State University’s Quello Center shows that, if students have slower connections or no connections, they start to fall behind in homework, as well as the development of necessary digital skills. This has a long-term effect on their ability to attend college and earn a living in the future.
And we have gaping holes. It might surprise you, that 9% of students in rural areas, 6% in small towns, 4% in suburbs, and 5% in cities have no Internet access at all. I don’t know about you, but the image of kids sitting in the parking lots of popular fast-food restaurants logging into their classes because they don’t have an Internet connection at home is not acceptable to me.
Zoom is now part of the cultural zeitgeist. It has trained us to think in terms of work on video, which has fundamentally altered our work habits and expectations.
Whether it is sales calls or conferences or post-Thanksgiving get-togethers, Zoom has changed the meaning of events. We celebrate birthdays on Zoom. I do crosswords on Zoom. And like a rapidly growing number of people, I use it for calls with my doctors.
Zoom’s impact on how we work is frequently discussed, but to me, there are two other particular areas where Zoom is going to have a sustained and consistent impact: Medicine and education.
Telehealth has been discussed since the turn of the century, and nothing has come of it for the longest time. Thomas DelBanco, the John F. Keane & Family Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School in an interview pointed out that, prior to the pandemic, less than 8% of care was remote. Today that number stands at 95%. “There are times when doctors, nurses, or therapists really need to see you — no question about it,” DelBanco said. “But there are also times when they really don’t.”
“Behavior change is the biggest barrier to progress in any industry, and it has been particularly challenging in healthcare,” said Annie Lamont, co-founder and managing partner of Oak HC/FT, a venture-capital firm spun out Oak Investment Partners said in a conversation with McKinsey. “There is no doubt that the patient-provider experience during the past several months has accelerated virtual models of care by five to ten years.” For instance, she expects home care “to be dramatically impacted.”
In time, better tools will emerge to enable telehealth. We are going to overcome the patchwork solutions that have been put in place, and who knows, we might see a specialized version of a Zoom-like service in the future become as popular as Zoom itself.
In the education arena, Zoom has exposed kids to the idea of screen-based learning. A whole generation of kids has now been forced to go to school on “video.” Attending classes online will be as normal for them as touching the screen and talking to Alexa. At the same time, more people have been acclimated to the idea of on-demand media, both visual and auditory.
We have seen this sort of thing happen before. Take Google, for example. In a perfect confluence of events, Google’s simple and elegant search engine launched just as the demand for broadband started to grow. That made it easy to search and find things on the Internet. It helped that Google’s results were faster, better, and cleaner than those of, say, Yahoo or Excite.
And over the course of a decade or so, Google changed our behavior (and cashed-in big while doing so). No more trying to save bookmarks or remembering things. Google started augmenting our memory, and now it is the most perfect crutch. Google is a habit.
Nir Eyal, the author of the seminal book Hooked, describes habit as “an impulse to act on a behavior with little or no conscious thought.” Eyal also warns that “products that require a high degree of behavior change are doomed to fail.” Viewed from a different perspective, behaviors that change with minimal friction tend to become sticky and become habits. That is a good lens to view the current pandemic. The shift in our behaviors and how we interact with retail outlets, restaurants, and transportation have evolved as a result of this persistent use of the network.
Search as an internet behavior led to the rise of what we Silicon Valley insiders used to call “the vertical search engines.” Most of them failed, mostly because they tried to mimic Google and its interface. Others became giants in their own right. For instance, searching for homes is why Zillow is so massive. Searching for airline tickets created another opportunity. Searching for cars and deals, another opportunity. None of these engines looked like Google, but they benefited from the Google-created habit of searching on the Internet.
As I attempt to peer into the future, I am not saying Zoom is going to be the next Google. For one thing, its interface is limited. It’s still mostly good for business calls. But it has established this generalized behavior of using video calls for everything. I wonder what the new vertical uses of Zoom will be. Will there be a modular, interactive, and customized learning process that merges the idea of Zoom-interface with Netflix-like on-demand capabilities? What about different platforms for allowing us to constantly upgrade our abilities?
Today, to keep up with the rapidly changing world of technology, I turn to lectures on YouTube, online courses offered by colleges and universities. I can’t help but think of the future where, in order to become or remain employed, one needs to keep constantly upgrading skills. As Issac Asimov said, ”Education is not something you can finish.”
Does this mean our education system has to evolve? Do colleges start evolving into a different kind of teaching environment? This need to upgrade skills is an opportunity. Those that help facilitate easy learning platforms, for example, will have a big role to play. I will be keenly following the fortunes of new companies such as Udemy co-founder Gagan Biyani’s new company and SuperPeer. Many more are waiting in the wings.
Of course, like all rapid changes, we don’t know the full extent of the problems ahead or how to address them all. For instance, we are working longer hours despite not commuting. We are dealing with mental health challenges that come with working from home and less human interaction. We don’t know exactly where to put the line between the private and the public. But these changes will eventually be tackled.
What is more challenging is the divide between those who can live in the future and those who are already being left behind. The current change works for those who have jobs that can accommodate it and those who have network connectivity. But it is not working for those who are disconnected, and it threatens to leave them permanently stuck in the past. We can’t afford to do that. Connectivity is part of building a better future. It is part of our resilience. I think about this divide all the time.
But that doesn’t mean that I can’t be thankful for Zoom — especially today!
Ok here is a confusing one for you, we got the G Suite for Non Profits after paying $$$s to run Google for months not realizing they had this terrific program. So we got most of the way there, but we didn’t realize how complex it would be to do the billing.
A General review of the proper steps
Well, they don’t tell you think when you start a non-profit, but there are some great things you should take advantage of:
Trundle over to TechSoup and get authenticate as a non-profit. You will need your IRS letter and they will validate you.
You can then go to Microsoft for Non Profits and you can get an Office 365 license set for free and also discounts on other products.
With Google, it’s a little more complicated particularly if you already have a Gsuite (now Google Workspace) account.
But basically, you get authenticated by TechSoup, then you apply to Google and wait a few days, they will then enable the Non-Profit thing for you with an email that says you can activate. This is tuned for completely new customers. If you already have an account, you get thrown into an admin page that signs you into the admin counsekl
At that point, you go to your Google Workspace account and downgrade yourself to Workspace Basic
Then contact Google Support and they manually relicense you to the Non-profit version.
You can then reupgrade to Business and Enterprise editions are reduced rates of $4/month/user rather than $12/month/user to basically get unlimited GDrive.
Do not activate G Suite for Non Profits *before* you downgrade.
This requires some major untangling because if you do not downgrade first then you end up in a strange state where the Non-profit application thinks you have moved, but the G Suite (now Google workspace) side keeps charging you. Definitely puzzled tech support for a while. But if you get here make sure to follow the instructions carefully:
Login and go to SEttings/Billing/Subscriptions and choose Add a Subscription (I know it is weird that Add actually changes, but YMMV)
If you didn’t do the deactivate first, then you have to go to the Google Workspace and click on contact and chat and have them untangle your mess. But they say it should take 48 hours for the name to change from G Suite Basic to G Suite for Non Profits, I’m betting that nothing happens