Why Amazon Should Come To NYC

USA Today reported that NYC is working on a proposal to encourage Amazon to locate its second headquarters “HQ2” in NYC. I can’t imagine a better place for HQ2 than NYC. Here are ten reasons why Amazon should stop thinking about any other place and just pick NYC:
  1. NYC is headquarters to many global companies. It has the transportation systems, building stock, and talent base that companies need and desire for their headquarters.
  2. It has 8.5mm people, enough to satisfy Amazon’s insatiable appetite for talent.
  3. It is home to the entrepreneurs, creators, innovators, and big ideas that Amazon is looking to surround itself with.
  4. It is home to the second largest tech sector in the US.
  5. NYC is committed to teaching computer science to all of the 1.1mm students in its school system by 2025 and is already 1/3 of the way there.
  6. NYC/NYS has embarked on massive
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Worry

I remember when I was in my early 20s and just starting out in the venture capital business, I came across an old wall street saying that “a market climbs a wall of worry.” I didn’t understand it and that made me want to. I read a bit about the saying and came to understand that bull markets require an uneasy feeling. Worrying is a fundamental characteristic of most investors I know. Greed and fear are the two opposing elements of market forces. I read a board deck this weekend from a portfolio company that is absolutely crushing it and forwarded it to our team at USV with a short memo outlining all of the risks I am worried about. Not a single enthusiastic comment was in that email. Why is that? Because although we invest on “what could go right”, we manage our investments on “what might go
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Some Thoughts On Burn Rates

The startup and venture capital businesses are based on a general idea that you can and should invest heavily into your business in order to increase value creation, amplify it, and accelerate it. These investments mostly take the form of operating losses, driven by headcount, where the monthly expenses are larger, often much larger, than revenues. These losses are known in the industry vernacular as “burn rates” – how much cash you burn on a monthly basis. But how much burn is reasonable? I have been thinking a lot about this in recent years. Instinctively I feel that many of our portfolio companies, and the startup sector as a whole, operate on burn rates that are too high and are unsustainable. But it is hard to talk to a founder, a management team, or a Board about burn rates objectively. There are no hard and fast rules on burn rate
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Fun Friday: Crypto Crystal Ball

Chris Burniske posted this Twitter poll a few days ago: I voted for option one. I think the crypto markets will be under pressure for at least the remainder of the year. But I am a buyer so that may be wishful thinking on my part. Where do you think crypto is headed for the remainder of this year?

Kickstarter Japan

Yesterday was a big day for our portfolio company Kickstarter. They launched in Japan, a market that has been dying for Kickstarter to come to for years. Here’s a couple photos from the launch event in Tokyo yesterday: I backed a couple Japanese projects today, and I suspect I will be backing a lot of them in the future. MARUHI Cup & Saucer: A cup & saucer with a secret spot for a sweet surprise.
革新的な電子本「全巻一冊 北斗の拳」”Fist of the North Star” eBook
Japan represents the creativity, imagination, and innovation that Kickstarter is home to as well as any country in the world and I am so happy that they are now on Kickstarter.

Cornell Tech

I took a ferry up the East River yesterday evening to attend a dinner celebrating the official opening of Cornell Tech which happens this morning. Situated on Roosevelt Island, underneath the Queensboro Bridge, Cornell Tech is a graduate school of engineering and business that is focused on the technologies and industries of the 21st Century. While the campus is officially opening today, Cornell Tech has been operating as a graduate school for something like four or five years now, in the Google building in Chelsea. It is the result of an RFP process that Mike Bloomberg’s administration put out seeking a new school of engineering in NYC. Last night the former mayor spoke about all of that and reminded us, as he always does, why NYC is the greatest place in the world. With the opening of Cornell Tech, the city continues to feel the impact of Mike’s twelve years
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