Leggo Your Ego


This post is by Jeff Carter from Points and Figures

Every Saturday I look forward to Brian Lund’s communique.  The Lund Loop. Brian keeps things real.  This week he explained how tout sheets make money.

Brian usually tells a personal story and this week he had a good one.

I was contemplating things over the weekend.  With frothy markets, lots of people are interested in trading.  I am seeing “personalities” show up on platforms like TikTok, Instagram, YouTube that are trading influencers.  Call me old, but I think they are full of shit.

When I get a startup pitch for a trading app, I have always said no.  Why?  Because if the app was that good at predicting things, you’d keep it to yourself and make tons of money.  I know a few traders that make a ton of money.  You have never heard of them and you will never hear of them.  They never chat about particular trades before they put them on or while they have them on.  They’ll chat after they are out.

One of the things about all these people is they work super hard to not have an ego when it comes to trading.  I learned that early in my career.  Trading pits could be extremely macho places.  I mean, just like gladiators entering the ring type macho.

Tempers flared, language flared. It was physical.  You had to do everything you could to keep your emotion under control while at the same time executing.  We all are only human so you could fail at it.  If you let your ego get in the way of your trading, you lost money.

I think the same can be said for leadership.  You must let go of your ego.  Mindfulness techniques are in fact a way to check your ego.  They are trendy today but mindfulness. has always been a part of great leadership.  Maybe it wasn’t identified as such.   It doesn’t mean you aren’t competitive. It doesn’t mean you aren’t firm.  It doesn’t mean you are soft.

I am going through some things personally today where letting go of my ego matters.  I have had to do it a lot in the past when I traded and when I invested in startups.  As soon as I let my ego get the best of me, I go down the wrong path.

General Patton was an extroverted boisterous demonstrative leader.  He could be a real sonofabitch.  But, he practiced mindfulness.  He was able to put his ego aside when it mattered.   Remember, one of the things he did very well was to delegate responsibility to officers under his command.  He said, “Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity”.

One of Patton’s best friends, General Omar Bradley was a quiet leader.  He was also a great example of being mindful when he led.  Patton and Bradley were polar opposites when it came to using techniques to motivate their troops.  But they were the same when they looked inside themselves.

A fair criticism of Trump, or Obama, is that they couldn’t get out of the way of their own egos.

What I am seeing today in the Biden Administration’s first few days is ego-driven, not leadership driven.  Instead of working on a unifying consensus agenda, they are ramming things down people’s throats. Damn the torpedoes.

One thing that I have always thought is that America never elects a dumb President.  I can’t speak for Presidents prior to the 20th Century because I haven’t read enough history on them.  Most certainly the first six Presidents were highly intelligent.  It’s clear Lincoln and Grant were super smart.  From 1900-2000, I don’t think the country elected someone that wasn’t smart, inquisitive, and intelligent.  Even when I disagree vehemently with their policies I recognize their intellect.

Biden/Harris both are two of the dimmest people I have ever seen in politics.  They are unintelligent.  Not inquisitive. Not curious.  Great leaders exhibit those characteristics.  Placeholders.  Props.

So far what we are seeing is not textbook great leadership.  Sad.

 

The post Leggo Your Ego first appeared on Points and Figures.

Venture Capital Powers Through the Craziness…


This post is curated by Keith Teare. It was written by ontheflyingbridge. The original is [linked here]

The combined jackpot of the Mega Millions and Powerball lotteries this past week was nearly $1.75 billion, creating an unimaginable frenzy at liquor stores and bodegas all across the country. At the same time, the current Citi Research Panic-Euphoria Index, which tracks investor sentiment, is now flashing 2.01 (up from nearly 1.20 just this past December), which is deep in the “Euphoria” zone and 33% higher than the reading right before the correction/crash of 2000. Critics of trading platforms like Robinhood have observed that for many investing is now akin to gambling.

After a year when the NASDAQ powered ahead by 44% and the S&P 500 Index rose over 16%, the good times are clearly rolling. In November 2020, the level of margin debt to purchase stocks was at a record $722 billion (although interestingly, that is also a 15-year low as a percent of total market capitalization). According to a recent Federal Reserve analysis, household net worth in the U.S. increased by 3.2% in 3Q20 to $123.5 trillion, largely driven by dramatic increases in home prices. Household debt was only $16.2 trillion, suggesting a relatively unlevered populace but also a real concentration of wealth.

Maybe the public equity performance is well-deserved. FactSet recently reported that 4Q20 earnings have greatly exceeded analyst expectations with 91% of S&P 500 companies beating forecasts. Overall earnings decline has been 5.9% which is considerably better than the expected 12.7% decline estimated at the start of the quarter. Goldman Sachs economists just increased 2021 GDP growth forecast to be 6.6% with an unemployment rate at year-end of 4.5%, both marked improvements over earlier estimates and Wall Street consensus, and what we saw in 2020.

This “Everything Rally” generated an extraordinary fee windfall on Wall Street. Globally, investment banking fees tabulated by Refinitiv topped $124.5 billion (nearly the GDP of Kuwait) driven by $5 trillion of debt issuances and $300 billion of equity offerings. IPO fees alone were $13 billion. There were approximately 480 IPOs in the U.S. inclusive of 248 SPAC (special purpose acquisition company) offerings; the SPACs raised $74 billion alone, which was 5x the 2019 SPAC level of activity. According to Dealogic, just in the first few weeks of 2021, there have already been $15 billion of SPAC offerings.

Venture capitalists were also swept up in all of this excitement, undoubtedly due to the $290.1 billion of exit activity in 2020. Of this activity, there were 636 acquisitions of venture-backed companies that accounted for $61 billion (approximately $95 million on average). Clearly, the IPO activity was dramatic: there were 102 venture-backed IPOs valued at $222 billion. Notably, just under 10% of exits were greater than $500 million in value, suggesting a significant number of more muted outcomes. One other word of caution – there were nearly 200 buyouts of venture-backed companies, and according to Pitchbook, median enterprise value/EBITDA was 14.1x in 2020, of which 6.3x was in debt, a near all-time high (leverage was 6.5x in 2014).

An estimated 12,254 companies raised a staggering $156.2 billion in 2020, a high-water mark for investment activity. While the 4Q20 level of $38.8 billion was slightly lower than each of the prior two quarters, there was a marked rotation to Late stage rounds which accounted for 29% of the deals but 67% of the capital invested. The impact of “mega financings” (greater than $100 million) was dramatic; there were 321 such financings which totaled $70.9 billion or 45% of all dollars were invested in less than 3% of the companies. In total, Late stage financings were $104.2 billion, while Early stage was $41.8 billion, and Seed stage was $10.1 billion.

Of particular interest is the median pre-money valuations by stage (below), which suggests that valuations for Seed and Early stage have been relatively consistent over the last two years, while there has been upward pressure on Late stage round valuations. Importantly, the median round size by stage was $2.3 million (Seed), $7.0 million (Early), and $10.0 million (Late), implying attractive step-up in carrying values for initial investors. Average round sizes for Early and Late stage rounds were $16.0 million and $37.3 million, respectively, highlighting again the impact of “mega financings.”

Industry analysts estimate that there is approximately $152 billion of “dry powder” stashed with venture capital funds now. The circle of life for venture firms is to generate significant liquidity which gives license to raise successor funds. The extraordinary level of exits this past year powered the $73.6 billion of fundraising activity by 321 funds, which while a smaller number of firms, this level was markedly higher than the $56.4 billion raised in 2019. The median fund size was $76 million, quite a bit smaller than the average fund size of $236 million, pointing to consolidation around a fewer number of larger established venture firms. The 50 first-time funds (16% of the funds) raised only $3.9 billion (5% of the capital), which is the lowest level since 2016. Forty-four of the 321 funds (13% of the funds) were larger than $500 million (64% of the capital). A case can be made that larger funds lead to larger financing rounds.

Obviously, there are a number of other contributors to venture capital performance but fundamentally liquidity drives much of the activity. The enormous $1.9 trillion relief package (equivalent to 13% of U.S. GDP) now grinding its way through the legislative process will provide a significant boost, as will the $284 billion of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, much of which will end up in the coffers of venture-backed companies helping to bridge to better days. The money supply has grown nearly 25% since March 2020 and yet inflation remains nearly invisible. Core Consumer Price Index (CPI) in 2020 increased a mere 1.6%; economist consensus for 2021 is for CPI to increase by just 1.8%, below Federal Reserve target of 2.0%.

With interest rates so low, there are rumbling fears that investors are clamoring for returns in increasingly risky corners of the capital markets. Notably, the Renaissance IPO Index, which invests in companies just after being publicly listed, increased nearly 110% in 2020. Something called the “Pitchbook SPAC Mobility Index” which tracks the $100 billion of 26 SPACs of electronic vehicle companies, increased 78% in 2H20. And the “bad boy” of assets classes, crypto currencies, saw a parabolic rise this past quarter coupled with ridiculous volatility, but lost 18% or nearly $100 billion in value just this past week.

Place your bets…

Venture Capital Powers Through the Craziness…


This post is by ontheflyingbridge from On the Flying Bridge

The combined jackpot of the Mega Millions and Powerball lotteries this past week was nearly $1.75 billion, creating an unimaginable frenzy at liquor stores and bodegas all across the country. At the same time, the current Citi Research Panic-Euphoria Index, which tracks investor sentiment, is now flashing 2.01 (up from nearly 1.20 just this past December), which is deep in the “Euphoria” zone and 33% higher than the reading right before the correction/crash of 2000. Critics of trading platforms like Robinhood have observed that for many investing is now akin to gambling.

After a year when the NASDAQ powered ahead by 44% and the S&P 500 Index rose over 16%, the good times are clearly rolling. In November 2020, the level of margin debt to purchase stocks was at a record $722 billion (although interestingly, that is also a 15-year low as a percent of total market capitalization). According to a recent Federal Reserve analysis, household net worth in the U.S. increased by 3.2% in 3Q20 to $123.5 trillion, largely driven by dramatic increases in home prices. Household debt was only $16.2 trillion, suggesting a relatively unlevered populace but also a real concentration of wealth.

Maybe the public equity performance is well-deserved. FactSet recently reported that 4Q20 earnings have greatly exceeded analyst expectations with 91% of S&P 500 companies beating forecasts. Overall earnings decline has been 5.9% which is considerably better than the expected 12.7% decline estimated at the start of the quarter. Goldman Sachs economists just increased 2021 GDP growth forecast to be 6.6% with an unemployment rate at year-end of 4.5%, both marked improvements over earlier estimates and Wall Street consensus, and what we saw in 2020.

This “Everything Rally” generated an extraordinary fee windfall on Wall Street. Globally, investment banking fees tabulated by Refinitiv topped $124.5 billion (nearly the GDP of Kuwait) driven by $5 trillion of debt issuances and $300 billion of equity offerings. IPO fees alone were $13 billion. There were approximately 480 IPOs in the U.S. inclusive of 248 SPAC (special purpose acquisition company) offerings; the SPACs raised $74 billion alone, which was 5x the 2019 SPAC level of activity. According to Dealogic, just in the first few weeks of 2021, there have already been $15 billion of SPAC offerings.

Venture capitalists were also swept up in all of this excitement, undoubtedly due to the $290.1 billion of exit activity in 2020. Of this activity, there were 636 acquisitions of venture-backed companies that accounted for $61 billion (approximately $95 million on average). Clearly, the IPO activity was dramatic: there were 102 venture-backed IPOs valued at $222 billion. Notably, just under 10% of exits were greater than $500 million in value, suggesting a significant number of more muted outcomes. One other word of caution – there were nearly 200 buyouts of venture-backed companies, and according to Pitchbook, median enterprise value/EBITDA was 14.1x in 2020, of which 6.3x was in debt, a near all-time high (leverage was 6.5x in 2014).

An estimated 12,254 companies raised a staggering $156.2 billion in 2020, a high-water mark for investment activity. While the 4Q20 level of $38.8 billion was slightly lower than each of the prior two quarters, there was a marked rotation to Late stage rounds which accounted for 29% of the deals but 67% of the capital invested. The impact of “mega financings” (greater than $100 million) was dramatic; there were 321 such financings which totaled $70.9 billion or 45% of all dollars were invested in less than 3% of the companies. In total, Late stage financings were $104.2 billion, while Early stage was $41.8 billion, and Seed stage was $10.1 billion.

Of particular interest is the median pre-money valuations by stage (below), which suggests that valuations for Seed and Early stage have been relatively consistent over the last two years, while there has been upward pressure on Late stage round valuations. Importantly, the median round size by stage was $2.3 million (Seed), $7.0 million (Early), and $10.0 million (Late), implying attractive step-up in carrying values for initial investors. Average round sizes for Early and Late stage rounds were $16.0 million and $37.3 million, respectively, highlighting again the impact of “mega financings.”

Industry analysts estimate that there is approximately $152 billion of “dry powder” stashed with venture capital funds now. The circle of life for venture firms is to generate significant liquidity which gives license to raise successor funds. The extraordinary level of exits this past year powered the $73.6 billion of fundraising activity by 321 funds, which while a smaller number of firms, this level was markedly higher than the $56.4 billion raised in 2019. The median fund size was $76 million, quite a bit smaller than the average fund size of $236 million, pointing to consolidation around a fewer number of larger established venture firms. The 50 first-time funds (16% of the funds) raised only $3.9 billion (5% of the capital), which is the lowest level since 2016. Forty-four of the 321 funds (13% of the funds) were larger than $500 million (64% of the capital). A case can be made that larger funds lead to larger financing rounds.

Obviously, there are a number of other contributors to venture capital performance but fundamentally liquidity drives much of the activity. The enormous $1.9 trillion relief package (equivalent to 13% of U.S. GDP) now grinding its way through the legislative process will provide a significant boost, as will the $284 billion of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, much of which will end up in the coffers of venture-backed companies helping to bridge to better days. The money supply has grown nearly 25% since March 2020 and yet inflation remains nearly invisible. Core Consumer Price Index (CPI) in 2020 increased a mere 1.6%; economist consensus for 2021 is for CPI to increase by just 1.8%, below Federal Reserve target of 2.0%.

With interest rates so low, there are rumbling fears that investors are clamoring for returns in increasingly risky corners of the capital markets. Notably, the Renaissance IPO Index, which invests in companies just after being publicly listed, increased nearly 110% in 2020. Something called the “Pitchbook SPAC Mobility Index” which tracks the $100 billion of 26 SPACs of electronic vehicle companies, increased 78% in 2H20. And the “bad boy” of assets classes, crypto currencies, saw a parabolic rise this past quarter coupled with ridiculous volatility, but lost 18% or nearly $100 billion in value just this past week.

Place your bets…

I Just Got Paid For Work I Did 20 Years Ago.


This post is by hunterwalk from Hunter Walk

Startups Should Work To Make Their Employees Wealthy Not Just Their Founders And Investors

Earlier this week a modest deposit appeared in my checking account, one I honestly never expected. You see, it was for work I’d performed from 2001–2003 at a startup called Linden Lab, the company behind virtual world Second Life. And when that company was acquired in late 2020 by another private party, my stock purchased in 2004 turned into cash. The transaction size was small compared to the IPO and SPAC headlines from the past few months, but I had the benefit of being an early, single digit employee, and hence a stock value of around .04/share if I’m recalling correctly. That low price was part of what enabled me to purchase my vested options when I left, a conundrum that exiting employees often face.

Thinking about this outcome, and jumping into a Linden Lab alumni Zoom over the weekend, swirled a bunch of feelings. So much has changed since those years trying to build an online community with a small group of people in Hayes Valley. I subsequently joined a larger startup that got really big and then cofounded a venture firm with a close friend/former colleague. I tried to outrun failure only to realize I need to embrace it. And I achieved ‘Silicon Valley Middle Class’ wealth status.

But the real takeaway was that if you want to work at tech startups and can find one you’re excited about that is both (i) A+ people and (ii) treats you fairly with regards to compensation, including equity, take the job. Don’t overthink it. This is also where I acknowledge we’re talking about being privileged enough to take a job with a startup in the first place, to have even a small amount of savings to risk on the equity and the structural issues which prevent many people from realizing these outcomes. Consider that an asterisk as you read forward and commit to creating opportunities for others, not just yourself.

While I’ve said before that one should approach these situations with eyes wide open [“Sorry Startup Employee #100, Your Equity Probably Won’t Make You Rich”] I also firmly believe ownership is the key to wealth. A career in technology is a very good path to financial stability and stock equity has been a meaningful contributor to that for me and many others. It’s always why, in my venture role, I get so excited when I see an outcome large enough to benefit an entire team, not just the executives and investors. It’s also why I support making early exercise available to your seed/A employees at the very least. And extending exercise windows for longer than 60 days to employees who leave on good terms. And why we work with the founders we back to make sure there’s enough equity set aside to make great hires.

FWIW, we also back up this belief with actions ourselves. Everyone on the Homebrew team receives carry in the fund. What that means is that in addition to salary and bonuses, when Satya and I get profits back from the fund, so do they. You can’t preach ownership mentality outside your firm and do something different internally.

Notes and More

📦 Things I’m Enjoying

Here’s my annual recommendation for the easiest way to make hard-boiled/poached eggs. And I just started Watchmen on HBO — no spoilers please!

🏗 Highlighted Homebrew Portfolio Jobs

Tia is healthcare designed for women from the start, combining IRL clinics with URL telehealth. They’re a well-funded post-Series A startup that’s growing quickly to meet the needs of their clients. If you’d like to join the Tia team and build the future of care, they’re hiring.

Investing in Clubhouse


This post is curated by Keith Teare. It was written by Lauren Murrow. The original is [linked here]

When I first met Paul Davison, it took about 10 seconds to realize he was one of the most charismatic, energetic founders I’d met in a long time. He told me about a new startup he was building—a mobile-first social

The post Investing in Clubhouse appeared first on Andreessen Horowitz.

Investing in Clubhouse


This post is by Lauren Murrow from Andreessen Horowitz

When I first met Paul Davison, it took about 10 seconds to realize he was one of the most charismatic, energetic founders I’d met in a long time. He told me about a new startup he was building—a mobile-first social

The post Investing in Clubhouse appeared first on Andreessen Horowitz.

The pinging


This post is by Seth Godin from Seth's Blog

A friend left her phone near me. Over the next half hour, it pinged and chirped.

I felt myself getting anxious and a little antsy…

These were not pings for me, not on my phone. They weren’t sounds that my phone even makes.

It doesn’t matter.

The training has been going on for years. We’re caught in a Pavlovian game in which we’re the product, not the organizers.

Someone else is ringing the bell, and it’s been happening for so long we don’t even realize how deeply the hooks have been set.

B I J A N 2021-01-23 06:36:22


This post is by bijansabet from B I J A N

Your big idea


This post is by Seth Godin from Seth's Blog

It’s probably not completely original.

It’s probably not breathtaking in scope.

It’s probably not immediately popular.

But… it’s definitely worth pursuing, consistently and persistently for years and years.

If you care. If it’s generous and helpful and worth the journey.

All the big ideas that made a difference follow this pattern.

The Michael Scott Theory of Social Class


This post is by Alex Danco from alexdanco.com

I’m happy to finally share a thesis I’ve been chewing on for a little while. I call it The Michael Scott Theory of Social Class, which states: The higher you ascend the ladder of the Educated Gentry class, the more you become Michael Scott. We should start with one background assumption, which is I’m going to assume you’ve watched The Office (The American version) or at least have a passing knowledge of the main characters. If not, then this idea will probably not land as hard, but I hope you read… Read more The Michael Scott Theory of Social Class

Each one leads to more


This post is by Seth Godin from Seth's Blog

We can choose to commit to a recursive and infinite path that elegantly creates more of the same.

We can choose possibility.

We can choose connection.

We can choose optimism.

We can choose justice.

We can choose kindness.

We can choose resilience.

And we can decide to take responsibility.

Each leads to more of the same.

Amanda Gorman


This post is by bijansabet from B I J A N

“Somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed a nation that isn’t broken, but simply unfinished. We, the successors of a country and a time where a skinny Black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother can dream of becoming President, only to find herself reciting for one” — Amanda Gorman, age 22

via CNN

Trump v. Facebook


This post is curated by Keith Teare. It was written by Jeff Jarvis. The original is [linked here]

Facebook has decided to ask its new, independent Oversight Board to rule on its decision to suspend Donald Trump indefinitely. The Board will be able to make a binding determination regarding Trump, telling Facebook it was right or wrong, and Facebook and Instagram will obey. Trump will be free to submit his case to the Board within two weeks.

Though the question is specific to Trump, it will undoubtedly have larger impact as other government officials — in Germany, the EU, the UK, and most worryingly Poland — are complaining about platforms being able to take down heads of state. I am equally — no, more — worried about governments thinking they can or should compel anyone, platforms or publishers, to carry their speech.

With this move, Facebook has certainly upped the ante with its Oversight Board. The first cases selected by the Board from users and sent to it by Facebook were, well, obscure. That’s not surprising. All sides of this polygon wanted to test this new institution and see how it would work. But this — the matter of Trump v. Facebook — is the case of cases. Before the Board was fully in operation, back in June, I urged Mark Zuckerberg to call them in on the question of Trump. I’m glad they’re doing it now.

When Facebook folk told me about this move, they said the company believed it did the right thing by taking down Trump. I agree. Then why appeal to the Board? Because, they said, they recognize this is an momentous decision being made inside a private enterprise and they understand the need for more perspective and accountability. Said Facebook’s VP for policy and communication (and former deputy prime minister of the UK) Nick Clegg:

Our decision to suspend then-President Trump’s access was taken in extraordinary circumstances: a U.S. President actively fomenting a violent insurrection designed to thwart the peaceful transition of power; five people killed; legislators fleeing the seat of democracy. This has never happened before – and we hope it will never happen again. It was an unprecedented set of events which called for unprecedented action.

In making our decision, our first priority was to assist in the peaceful transfer of power. This is why, when announcing the suspension on January 7th, we said it would be indefinite and for at least two weeks. We are referring it to the Oversight Board now that the inauguration has taken place.

The risks are many. Ubiquitous Facebook sceptics across media will likely accuse them of wimping out even though they already made the tough call. Governments will use whatever is said to fuel their fears.

Let me for a moment fuel my own fears: I do not want a society in which a government can outlaw the ability of platforms to choose what they do and do not carry (precisely what Poland is planning). Compelled speech is not free speech! I do not believe that platforms are media — an argument for another day — but if we stipulate for the moment that they are similar, then can you imagine a government in a free and enlightened nation walking into the office of an editor (of The Washington Post, The Guardian, the BBC, Die Zeit, El Pais, Le Monde, Gazeta Wyborcza) ordering that the publication must carry the words of an official (or, as in Italy, a fascist)? I pray Europeans especially would understand why this precedent in history, this idea, is dangerous.

I also worry that in seeking others — the Oversight Board, legislators, or regulators— to make its decisions, Facebook is engaging in regulatory capture. Clegg concedes: “Whether you believe the decision was justified or not, many people are understandably uncomfortable with the idea that tech companies have the power to ban elected leaders. Many argue private companies like Facebook shouldn’t be making these big decisions on their own. We agree.” Facebook can afford to deal with the legal medicine balls thrown its way by governments; new, small entrants into the net cannot. I want to see Facebook defend freedom of expression on the net for all.

In this process, I hope that Facebook decides to be as open and transparent as possible. I want to hear how they made the decision to take down Trump in the first place. I want to see data about the impact Trump’s incendiary and insurrectionist words had on users. I want to hear that they understood and debated key issues. I would like to think they listened to experts and perspectives — especially those of academics who research these matters — outside the company. I want them to be held accountable to do just that. It is not sufficient for Facebook to give the Oversight Board a binary, hot potato: Trump online? Trump offline? This is a nuanced and difficult discussion. I hope the Oversight Board sees it that way and returns a decision that looks at the many questions the case raises.

Again, Facebook is obligating itself to follow the decision of the Board only in the matter of Trump; the case is limited. Fine. What I find more valuable than the decision is the discussion. What precedents are set here for other situations in other countries? Last week, a journalist called me to discuss whether the Trump decision sets a precedent for taking down Ayatollah Khamenei based on human rights violations in Iran. Certainly this is a discussion that should be had in the Philippines — ask my friend Maria Ressa — in Myanmar, in Turkey, and elsewhere. Platforms must not become the outlets of governments, especially not autocrats and tyrants.

Twitter has been transparent with media about the process that led it to take down Trump; see stories in The Washington Post and The New York Times. I have met the company’s head of policy, Vijaya Gadde, as well as Jack Dorsey and the company’s staff working in safety, and I am impressed with their good will and judgment. I have more faith the more I hear of their decision-making. The same goes for every technology company. I have argued that Facebook, Twitter, Google — and, indeed, every journalistic enterprise — should establish covenants, North Stars, Constitutions (call them what you will) with the public and be held accountable for following them through transparency (I was part of the working group that recommended a regulatory and legal framework to do just that).

The internet is, at long last, the outlet for citizens, especially those too long not heard in mass media. This is our press. When we abuse it — whether as citizens or as heads of state — the platforms have the right and the responsibility to moderate us (this is why I am a staunch believer in Section 230) but governments should not control our speech (this is why I am a First Amendment absolutist).

These are indeed big questions as we decide together what standards the net — Facebook, Twitter, Google in the specific but the internet and society on the whole — should set in relation to speech and to power. The more discussion we have about these difficult issues, the better. For we are a society relearning how to hold a conversation with ourselves after half a millenium in Gutenberg’s thrall (that is the book I’m writing). This won’t be quick.

The Board will have 90 days to decide.


Disclosure: Facebook has funded activities at my school regarding journalism and disinformation. I receive nothing personally from any platform.

The post Trump v. Facebook appeared first on BuzzMachine.

Fintech taps influencers; Walmart and Google ramp up financial services; Simple shutters, and more


This post is by Lauren Murrow from Andreessen Horowitz

This first appeared in the monthly a16z fintech newsletter. Subscribe to stay on top of the latest fintech news. 

Fintech cozies up to the creator economy

It was inevitable: After shaking up gaming, education, media, and audio, the creator economy

The post Fintech taps influencers; Walmart and Google ramp up financial services; Simple shutters, and more appeared first on Andreessen Horowitz.

The trap of busy


This post is by Seth Godin from Seth's Blog

Everyone who wants to be busy is busy.

But not everyone is productive.

Busy is simply a series of choices about how to spend the next minute.

Productive requires skill, persistence and good judgment. Productive means that you have created something of value.

Perhaps your self-created busy-ness is causing you to be less productive.

Scorecards


This post is by Jeff Carter from Points and Figures

You are what you measure.

That is a startup thing.  Investors, mentors, and advisors always remind startups of that.  If they are measuring the wrong things, they fail. Measure the right ones and make the necessary adjustments to get those measurements up to speed, they do better.

It’s also what you measure.  For some startups, measuring the growth of their revenue is a bad metric.  It sounds counterintuitive when you run a business but for social media companies, revenue isn’t a good metric for how well they are doing.  Engagement is much better.  Of course, revenue has to come eventually because if you don’t have net income you are only running a hobby, not a sustainable business.

What you measure also has to be totally objective.  It can’t have wiggle room.  It cannot be subject to a lot of “feeling” or “judgment”.  If you have a business that is supposed to put butts in seats, you better measure how many butts you put in seats. You can’t say, “That person wanted to put their butt in a seat but didn’t.”, and count it as a but in a seat. You also can’t say, “We had a great slogan, mission, and marketing program so we estimate that we had this many butts in seats because there were some hiccups counting.”   Good intentions don’t count. 

When I was a delegate at the first-ever i7 corresponding with the G7 in Torino, Italy, one of the subjects that came up in our working group was the concept of a B Corporation. In the discussion, you could see that the majority of the people liked the idea because the intentions of the B Corporation are considered “good” by most people.  However, I brought up this point which put a needle in the balloon.  How can I objectively measure any B Corporation metric?  How can I compare and contrast them with other companies so I know one is doing better than the other, and make an investment decision?  How can I know that the B Corporation is giving me the best return on investment and return on assets?  I can do this with fundamental FASB GAAP accounting rules.  I cannot with the rules around a B Corporation.

Measurement also comes with responsibility for management that filters down to employees.  It creates culture in your business. You have to have the discipline to accept the responsibility for both good and bad outcomes.  Isn’t that interesting?  No one thinks about the responsibility for a good outcome.  They always look at downsides.  When you get a good outcome, you have a responsibility to do better.  A responsibility to your employees.  A responsibility to your customers.  A responsibility to your company mission of why you do what you do.

Today marks a big transition in America.  What should the metrics be that President Biden is measured by?  I honestly don’t think that the two Americas could agree on them.

I know the ones I would use:

  • Inflation rate
  • Gross Domestic Product growth
  • Measures of broad unemployment, and measures of the different ethnic unemployments
  • Personal Income growth
  • Small business startups
  • Is the stock market higher than it was the day I took office and by what percentage?
  • Interest rates for personal and small business borrowing

Those are objective numbers.  They are cold and hard.  They are measurable. There is no wiggle room.  We have agreed upon ways to measure them.  They matter to the American people.  It affects us all equally.

Things like social justice, relationships with other countries are not measurable. Personality is not measurable.  They are squishy B Corporation metrics.  That’s why the press wants to talk about them all the time.

 

The post Scorecards first appeared on Points and Figures.

Scorecards


This post is by Jeff Carter from Points and Figures

You are what you measure.

That is a startup thing.  Investors, mentors, and advisors always remind startups of that.  If they are measuring the wrong things, they fail. Measure the right ones and make the necessary adjustments to get those measurements up to speed, they do better.

It’s also what you measure.  For some startups, measuring the growth of their revenue is a bad metric.  It sounds counterintuitive when you run a business but for social media companies, revenue isn’t a good metric for how well they are doing.  Engagement is much better.  Of course, revenue has to come eventually because if you don’t have net income you are only running a hobby, not a sustainable business.

What you measure also has to be totally objective.  It can’t have wiggle room.  It cannot be subject to a lot of “feeling” or “judgment”.  If you have a business that is supposed to put butts in seats, you better measure how many butts you put in seats. You can’t say, “That person wanted to put their butt in a seat but didn’t.”, and count it as a but in a seat. You also can’t say, “We had a great slogan, mission, and marketing program so we estimate that we had this many butts in seats because there were some hiccups counting.”   Good intentions don’t count. 

When I was a delegate at the first-ever i7 corresponding with the G7 in Torino, Italy, one of the subjects that came up in our working group was the concept of a B Corporation. In the discussion, you could see that the majority of the people liked the idea because the intentions of the B Corporation are considered “good” by most people.  However, I brought up this point which put a needle in the balloon.  How can I objectively measure any B Corporation metric?  How can I compare and contrast them with other companies so I know one is doing better than the other, and make an investment decision?  How can I know that the B Corporation is giving me the best return on investment and return on assets?  I can do this with fundamental FASB GAAP accounting rules.  I cannot with the rules around a B Corporation.

Measurement also comes with responsibility for management that filters down to employees.  It creates culture in your business. You have to have the discipline to accept the responsibility for both good and bad outcomes.  Isn’t that interesting?  No one thinks about the responsibility for a good outcome.  They always look at downsides.  When you get a good outcome, you have a responsibility to do better.  A responsibility to your employees.  A responsibility to your customers.  A responsibility to your company mission of why you do what you do.

Today marks a big transition in America.  What should the metrics be that President Biden is measured by?  I honestly don’t think that the two Americas could agree on them.

I know the ones I would use:

  • Inflation rate
  • Gross Domestic Product growth
  • Measures of broad unemployment, and measures of the different ethnic unemployments
  • Personal Income growth
  • Small business startups
  • Is the stock market higher than it was the day I took office and by what percentage?
  • Interest rates for personal and small business borrowing

Those are objective numbers.  They are cold and hard.  They are measurable. There is no wiggle room.  We have agreed upon ways to measure them.  They matter to the American people.  It affects us all equally.

Things like social justice, relationships with other countries are not measurable. Personality is not measurable.  They are squishy B Corporation metrics.  That’s why the press wants to talk about them all the time.

 

The post Scorecards first appeared on Points and Figures.

A new day for our country


This post is by bijansabet from B I J A N

In a few hours the United States of America will have a new President.

Trump leaves office disgraced with the lowest approval rating in history — the majority of this country understands who serves as President matters. Record turnout, record voters, and our democracy endures.

There are serious, daunting challenges ahead for this country to be sure. But on day 1, we have the most talented, & diverse cabinet to serve and Biden will issue seventeen executive orders to get us on the right path.

I am optimistic, I am hopeful and I am inspired.

Tolerance


This post is by Seth Godin from Seth's Blog

It means two things:

In high-quality manufacturing, producing to tolerance means that all the parts are as identical as possible. Getting the tolerances precise permits cars to be made more reliably, and for production to run more effectively.

In human beings, tolerance creates resilience. Tolerance of different abilities and preferences makes it easy to work with diversity of thought and approach and expertise, enabling better outcomes.

Tolerance doesn’t mean permitting behavior that undermines the community. In fact, it requires that we put the community first. Instead, it’s a willingness to focus on contribution instead of compliance.

We need to choose wisely. Are we working with machined parts or with people?

Ted Lasso


This post is by Jeff Carter from Points and Figures

Sometimes you need an escape.  My daughter, who turned 30 yesterday, (Happy Birthday Gen!) told me to watch Ted Lasso.  I avoided all social media and all newsprint media on the show.  We finally started watching it. It’s awesome.

Of course, we watched it with subtitles.  I don’t understand heavy British accents….and I am sure they’d have trouble with my Chicago accent.

There is so much crap on all the channels now.  I am reminded of the Bruce Springsteen song “57 Channels and Nothings On.”  Not only that, we are being force-fed a bunch of bullshit too about social this and social that.  I am so looking forward to the deprogramming Hillary Clinton and Katie Couric has for me.

So far, Ted Lasso avoids politics and just tells a good story.

The other thing that you can pull out of it is that the character of Ted Lasso exhibits extremely high emotional intelligence. Of course, it’s a short streamable television show so it’s not reality.  But, it is there and like an amuse-bouche at a gourmet dinner, it whets your appetite for more if you are curious.

Regular readers of this blog know my feelings on this topic.  To refresh, I was a denier of a lot of the EQ theory when I first heard it from my friend Raman Chadha of the Junto Institute.  I thought it was psychological babble.  We met James Liataud in his apartment for a few hours and when I walked out I realized Raman was correct.  Mr. Liautaud had taken five companies public by the time he was 55 and instilled the EQ principles in his son’s business when he invested in it.  His son started the Jimmy John’s sandwich chain.

The show is streamable on Apple+, so you have to be able to do that.  

 

 

The post Ted Lasso first appeared on Points and Figures.