The perfect storm for electric powered everything is starting to come about in the same way the internet powered everything revolution came along. Tesla has proved that we can build an electric car, but it’s 2014 and they’re still the only real player in the game. Many other car manufacturers are dipping their toes, yet only .28% of cars are electric . We need not only more electric car companies, but more electric powered replacements for fuel. It’s not just creating more Tesla’s in the consumer auto industry, which is why Tesla open sourced their patents, but we need more Tesla’s for x. Here are some potential examples, even though there are dozens more: Tesla for boats Tesla for commercial trucks Tesla for generators Tesla for freight trucks Tesla for ATVs The green revolution never really came because we had many entrepreneurs working on pie in the sky ideas with…Continue Reading
David Sacks joined Zenefits this week as COO, which is a huge win for the company. David could have done anything he wanted from starting his own company, joining as CEO, becoming a VC,etc. With the announcement, it made me realize that there’s an increasing importance of having a COO at an early stage startup. Some of the time, the title will be “President”, but COO is usually the right term. Here’s why I think it’s becoming more important and how founders should look at it. What should a COO do at a startup? This is a question a lot of people ask and there has been a lot of discussion from smart people like Bijan at Spark and Mark Suster at Upfront . In my mind a COO runs the part of the organization that scales primarily via people and processes as opposed to the part of the organization…Continue Reading
I think this is one of the most important things a startup can do – be clever. Most ideas and startups aren’t that interesting when you get down to it. They just try to take a slightly better approach to solving the same problem. It’s not that those companies end up becoming bad businesses either, but they’re missing that special something. The best startups tend to have something really clever in their early days that make people do a double take. Airbnb? Let people turn their existing homes into a “hotel room” and extra income. Zenefits? Give people free software in order to get the rights to health insurance. Instacart? Deliver groceries on-demand by using existing retail as warehouses instead of building your own warehouse. The list goes on and on, but many of the best startups end up doing something very clever to become a breakout hit. It’s the…Continue Reading
I’m a big fan of deeplinking – it takes the best of the web, the ability to seamlessly jump from site to site, and brings it to mobile apps. Many such as Facebook, Google, and URX are trying to move deeplinking forward by making it easy for developers to implement them. Here’s an example of how it works: I’m in the Google Maps app and I tap get an uber, which launches uber. Another example might be opening a link to a tweet on the mobile web and instead of it opening the mobile web version of the tweet, it opens the Twitter app. As you can see deeplinks need to happen or apps will continue to sit in silos. In short deeplinks solve a very simple problem: letting apps talk to each other and open one another just like webpages There is one fatal flaw: The user must have…Continue Reading
I ask every single founder I get to spend time with one on one, a very simple, yet important question: “What will your product and as a result, the world, look like in 5-10 years if your company is wildly successful?” It seems like an open-ended question, right? Well it’s meant to be, but you can clearly tell which founders are going to build something big by the answer or those that are building something much more short term. It also surfaces those that are obsessed with the product. It’s very related to a question Hunter Walk asks many founders. http://hunterwalk.com/2014/11/18/the-most-difficult-question-i-ask-founders/ Here are the things I look for in the answer: An overarching ambitious vision that is way bigger than what you’d see today If you saw AirBnB in 2009 without talking to the founders, you’d think of it like Couchsurfing in terms of vision – impressive yet limited. I…Continue Reading