Ben Horowitz gave a fantastic talk at Stanford for Sam Altman’s class (linked here and embedded below, please watch after reading this, it’s worth it). It was essentially focused on decisions you make as CEO and their effect not on one person or yourself, but the entire company. Ben went through examples like raises, firing, demotions, and more. There was a key takeaway for me as a former founder and CEO that rings true: every single decision you make as CEO will set a precedent in an organization. You may think a decision to give a raise, to change priorities, or to sign a specific sales deal will have no impact. In reality, each decision sets a precedent for employees and the culture of the company. Culture starts at the top and if you say x is okay, then everyone else will think it’s okay. Example – If you start…Continue Reading
A few posts on Product Hunt have made me notice that the we’re starting to see Mobile influence the creation of Mac apps in a big way. Mobile UI and UX has changed the expectations of users over the past five years. We’ve come to expect the following: fast, clean, well designed, use of images, and on-demand from software. The bar for the average user has gone up tremendously. What’s most interesting to me is the fact that the world is starting to appreciate the fact that less is more. They want applications to do less and they want to be focused in on their tasks. Macs are starting to grow again, which is an interesting trend. Part of it is halo effect and part of it is the Mac just provides a better user experience for a laptop. Laptops aren’t going to go away, but their use case is…Continue Reading
I’m a big believer that founders shouldn’t just start companies to start companies. They should start companies because they want to solve a very specific problem. The “this will make us billions” type of entrepreneurs rarely work out. Entrepreneurship constantly kicks the shit out of you everyday for at least a four to five year period. If you’re not solving a problem you deeply care about, then you’re likely to quit through the death of a thousand cuts. You won’t have the ability to hire, the product will get messy, and the list goes on. If it’s not a problem you want solved, then it just won’t work. When thinking about this concept, I thought that there are really two different type of problems founders solve. The first type of problem is what I call a “Domain Expertise Problem”. It’s a problem that you’ve experienced and identified due to some…Continue Reading
There’s been an influx of on-demand mobile services – the Ubers, Lyfts, Postmates, Shyps, etc. of the world. They’re great and I think we should continue to invest in these companies, especially at a vertical level with industries like cars (Beepi) and food (Sprig). There’s one issue that’s been cropping up in my head for the past couple of months and that’s: what’s the end-game for many of these services? I don’t say this in a “it’s 1999 bubble and burn rates are high” manner. I say this in a genuine and optimistic, we haven’t seen anything like this before and many of these services will have to have an exit, but the buyers for these companies are different than just the usual Google, Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft . Here are the different buckets and where I think on-demand mobile services might shake out in terms of liquidity. Don’t think of…Continue Reading
There aren’t many of them, but I’m a big believer in B2B2C companies. Some favorite examples might be OpenTable and Benefits. The flipside to the B2B2C model deals with having to build products for two distinct user bases with different yet related needs. It’s incredibly difficult and a tricky balancing act. We did this at Onswipe and it wasn’t easy, resulting in many lessons learned. Building a product that’s B2B for the publishers is a different set of needs than building a product that’s B2C for delivering the best experience for the end user. I still think there’s tremendous value to be had in the B2B2C space, but there’s a better way to think about it. Josh Breinlinger put out a post a bit ago that opened my eyes to the SaaS+Marketplace opportunity and how a B2B2C success could spring from here . I think the next great marketplace will…Continue Reading