There has been a lot of commentary recently stating that MBAs, and Harvard MBAs specifically, aren’t very good startup founders.
“Only 12 of the 39 companies had any MBAs within their co-founding teams…only three had at least one co-founder who went to HBS.” – Dan Primack of Fortune
“I would bet a large amount of money that the overwhelming majority of us would not look favorably on a company started by one of you” - Chamath Palihapitiya on Harvard MBAs
Yes! Fantastic data… and while VC fundraising isn’t necessarily a sign of business success, given the status of several of these companies growth and revenue wise, odds are there will be at least a few good outcomes in this batch. And kudos to b-schools for adapting their teaching and curriculum in recent years to promote more “non-traditional” MBA careers such as technology and entrepreneurship.
Several years ago I started teaching a class on raising seed capital at General Assembly and Skillshare. I initially created the class because friends and founders were coming to me for fundraising advice and I was answering generally the same questions over and over.
A few months ago,…
Excellent and comprehensive deck here. A great resource for anyone curious about fundraising 101 thanks to Steve.
"It is trust, more than money, that makes the world go round." — Joseph Stiglitz, In No One We Trust
The week before last, I visited Yahoo! to give the keynote talk at their User First conference, which brought together big companies (Google, Facebook, etc), startups (big ones like USV…
Great perspective here on how technology enabled networks have disrupted many industries and will continue to do so going forward. Long overdue in health, but innovative change is inevitable and coming.
“there are perhaps 900m consumer PCs on earth, and maybe 800m corporate PCs. the consumer PCs are mostly shared and the corporate PCs locked down, and neither are really mobile - at best you can take them from table to table. those 3bn smartphones will all be personal, and all mobile.”—
all of this means that the operating environment looks very different, and a lot of our assumptions need to change. a lot more is up for grabs, and the scale of success looks different. when a dozen guys in a garage with a hot service get struck by lightning, that means 50m or 100m users, not 1m, and in time it might mean 1bn.
“people are very open to the idea of anonymously sharing their health records or genetic information, with more than three-quarters of respondents over the age of 55 saying that they would be open to sharing lab tests and health monitoring data”—
new technologies can bring decision support, health monitoring and health coaches into the home. it was also interesting to see that people in emerging markets such as Brazil, China and India trusted themselves to use health monitoring technologies more than those in more technologically advanced economies such as Japan and the United States.
“This is a revolutionary shift. Once upon a time, medicine was a discipline based on the nuanced diagnosis and treatment of sick patients. Now, Big Data, networked computers and a culture obsessed with knowing its numbers have moved medicine from the bedside to the desktop (or laptop). The art of medicine is becoming the science of an insurance actuary.”—Statins by Numbers - NYTimes.com (via fred-wilson)
Truth: “The art of medicine is becoming the science of an insurance actuary”. However, it’s necessary to never forget the human element in the ultimate delivery of care - it cannot ever be just all (cold) hard numbers.
Eat real food, as close to nature as possible. It’s what we do to food that is a problem — processing, refining, reducing and altering in general. Forget about reduced fat and skim milk. The less processing the better. If you’re going to eat fat, choose good quality and go for full-fat. Eat avocados, use olive oil or coconut oil (yes coconut oil is healthy) in cooking, have nuts, wild salmon, grass-fed butter, and pastured grass-fed beef.
I think that reduced-fat foods, particularly skim milk, nonfat yogurt, etc. are a slippery slope. When you remove the fat content from one cup of milk, you lose a significant volume, which means it’s replaced with milk that has a higher concentration of sugar to fat ratio. It’s not the fat in milk that makes us fat. It’s the sugar.
In the connected world in which we live, the difference between average content and bad content is hardly noticeable. In fact, the difference between good content and bad content is not that big. Truly, the only thing that really gets rewarded is remarkable content. If you’re investing in content production, always invest in the most amazing, ballsy, exceptional content that you can get your hands on because if you build it, they won’t come. This quote sums things up for me:
We’ve tried to work longer on stories for greater impact, and publish fewer quick-takes that we know you can consume elsewhere. We’re actually publishing, on average, roughly one-third fewer posts on Salon than we were a year ago (from 848 to 572 in December; 943 to 602 in January). So: 33 percent fewer posts; 40 percent greater traffic – source
This is so true. While I do not wish to slam the host of startups that are looking to automate “content marketing”, the fact is that great, original content:
1) Takes time
2) Requires vision
3) Necessitates risk
That is not something that can be created by a bot. It is not something that an algorithm can replace or make more efficient. While cultivating a strategy and ethos of quality content may not yield the quick hits or instant recognition, in the long run it is a strategy that will yield the greatest gains.
AllThingsD has a nice piece this morning on the Fab financing (raised $150MM at $1B valuation). I think it’s nice because it reports the facts, but then also does a nice job of capturing the general tech scene sentiment around both the deal and the company. The TL;DR on AllThingsD’s piece is:…
Couldn’t agree more with Andrew here. CEOs, of small and large companies, these are your core tasks and there will always be plenty of distractions as you run a business, but leadership is about focus. This calls to mind this great business quote from John Paul Dejoria (Paul Mitchell Systems, Patron Tequila) from an Inc. article that I read the other week while on a plane for a work trip:
"I could go insane if I obsessed over every little detail…. My management philosophy is to pay attention to the vital few and ignore the trivial many."
At the height of the re-engineering craze there was one fantastic HBR article titled “Re-engineering Work: Don’t Automate, Obliterate.” In light of the changes in the labor market the choice of “obliterate” may now seem unfortunate, but the basic point of the article was spot on: don’t implement…
Nice read and perspective here on innovation and competitive advantage, for both young and big mature companies alike. The trick of course, is to SUSTAIN competitive advantage in the face of fluid and rapidly changing technology and market forces (including regulation/policy and macroeconomic condition of the financial markets, domestic and international).
In San Francisco, you can find the “Airbnb-of-everything.” Just as Airbnb capitalized on the fact that many of us have a spare bed, bedroom, or even apartment from which we’d gladly make some money, many other industries have…
Times… they (and industries and cultures) certainly are a-changing thanks to confluence of Internet + technology + social + mobile.
Personally, I’m waiting and hoping that they most radically impact healthcare (including food/nutrition), education, and energy above all.
But I’m a user first and that’s the main reason why I care what happens to it. I’m skeptical if Yahoo! does take it over. It’s super easy to be skeptical for obvious reasons, but I think it’s a good time for Tumblr to sell. I know if it does happen, I’ll continue to use it…
Good perspective here on Tumblr community and being mindful of product and customer/community culture. I do not disagree.
HOWEVER let’s be real and clear about the essential truth of the matter: no one person, not any single person (regardless of whether a seasoned VC or fellow tried and true entrepreneur) can truly understand the perspective or mindset of the founder(s) of this (or any) particular start-up company. There are ups and downs in any startup life, but there is also the personal history and dynamic that NO ONE can relate to except THE PERSON (PEOPLE) in THOSE shoes at THAT time.
I love social media (and Tumblr obviously) in that it amplifies good and bad in this world and in particular it gives a voice and platform to anyone who wants to share an opinion.
But let’s be mindful of that - they are individual people’s opinions. The founders of Tumblr or any startup at the end of the day don’t owe anything to their community, their customers, their colleagues or their investors. They owe it to themselves and what they see in the mirror each morning and to their families who have been through the journey with them, supporting them through highs and lows.
IF the founders decide (for themselves without outside pressure) that this is the right time to sell and this is the right acquirer and this is the right price…. then let’s cheer and applaud them for a successful journey to date and outcome and wish them well for the future; let’s not second judge or criticize them from afar for timing, for whichever company they sold to, or the price.
It’s not only healthy for you to eat fresh and local food, it’s healthy for your neighborhood’s economy.
And speaking of a healthy community, I’m speaking tonight at an event in Williamsburg that’s raising awareness about asbestos removal at the Domino Sugar Factory. It looks like there are some very shady removal tactics happening at the site putting the community at risk of breathing more asbestos fibers than we should be. The local issues in your immediate neighborhood where you work and play are by far the most important issues to get involved in.
From the March 26th, 2013 The New Republic article by Leon Wiesletier (link to full article below):
“’With the help of big data,’ Mayer-Schönberger and Cukier continue, ‘we will no longer regard our world as a string of happenings that we explain as natural and social phenomena, but as a universe comprised essentially of information.’ … The religion of information is another distorting totalism, another counterfeit deliverance. In some ways the technology is transforming us into brilliant fools… in which we presume to believe that eventually we will know everything and longing will come to seem obsolete and merely ignorant…”
“When robots and automation do our most basic work, making it relatively easy for us to be fed, clothed, and sheltered, then we are free to ask, “What are humans for?””—
Great Wired article on the future of robots, artificial intelligence, automation and their impact on human workforces. It’s really fun (and necessary) to think about this stuff and how it will change not just our economy but our sense of purpose as a species. We live in some interesting times. (via chriskurdziel)
“I write as an Asian, with all the pent-up emotions of my people. What I say will annoy many people who prefer the more conventional myths brought back by writers on the Orient. All I can say is that I try to tell the truth. Truth, like surgery, may hurt, but it cures.”—Han Suyin, doctor and author (Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing), 9/12/1917 - 11/2/2012.
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Awesome #healthcare by Jay & team for startup founders in NYC. Check it!