I like to think of the investing discipline as composed of three key modes of operation. Buying – Figuring out what you should buy and what you should not buy. There are many strategies that work here but my favorite is buying things that others are not buying. And my preferred reason for “others not buying” is that they don’t know about it yet. Managing – This is the work an investor does to manage the investment. It includes decisions around whether to buy more of an investment that is working, which is incredibly important and can massively impact returns. But I believe that the most powerful thing an investor can do to impact their investment is to work with the management of the investment to make sure that the team is making the right strategic and operational decisions. Selling – This is all about when to exit an investment
Continue reading "Selling"
When my life gets crazy, which it is right now, it helps me to internalize what is most important and triage around that. And I’m not just talking about what tasks to do and what not to do. I’m also talking about prioritizing friends and family, exercise, eating right, communicating, and all the things that at one time or another in my life I have let slide in favor of work. The triage is visible to people, of course, and saying no can be challenging. I saw some friends last night and they invited me to a thing they are doing in a couple weeks. They said “would you like to come?” I said “No”. My friend said, “do you mean you can’t?” And I said “I just mean I won’t.” He got a chuckle out of it but when I’m in triage mode, I can be
Continue reading "Priorities and Triage"
We write on our phones all day long. Texts, emails, searches, etc. But long form writing is a different thing. I’m not sure how much long form writing happens on phones. I’ve been mostly writing my daily posts on my phone in the last month and I quite like it. I am writing this post on my phone on a train to NYC this morning. It has a more casual feel. The words flow naturally from my head to my thumbs to the screen. I feel connected to the writing in a way that doesn’t quite happen on a big screen. I like that I can write on my phone anywhere. On a park bench. On a train. Sitting on the beach. Being able to write anywhere makes it less of a chore and more of a treat. Like having a moleskin with you all the time. I don’t write
Continue reading "Writing On My Phone"
There are two major failure modes in startups. The first common failure mode is the thing you make doesn’t get adopted. That’s called not finding product market fit in startup lingo. The second common failure mode is “getting too far out over your skis” and it happens to companies that do find product market fit but mess things up by building an inappropriate cost structure (and capital base) and it all comes crashing down on them when they either can’t continue to raise money at ever increasing valuations and/or when they can’t grow into their cost structure quickly enough. The first failure mode comes with the territory. The world of startups is all about experimentation. Most experiments fail. If this happens to you, it sucks, but that is what you signed up for. The second failure mode is entirely avoidable and way more common than you might think. The capital
Continue reading "The Finance To Value Framework"
As I slowly heard toward moving the WordPress instance that hosts AVC to another provider, I was asked how large the audience was. So I went and looked for the first time in a long while and sent that info to a potential new provider. And I figured you all might be interested too. So here are some screenshots from Google Analytics: This is the total usage over the last twelve months. This is active users (28 day, 7 day, one day) over the past year. And here is a bit more about where you all come from and what kind of device you use to read AVC.
just_work = true
USV TEAM POSTS:Nick Grossman — April 30, 2018
just_work = true
A hallmark of startup companies, the tech sector more broadly, and certainly our portfolio companies, is that they include equity in their compensation packages for their employees, often all employees. If you work for a tech company, chances are good that you will get options as part of your compensation package. I have written extensively on this topic over the years and even published a framework for issuing equity to employees on this blog. That framework is now out of date as the market has moved (up in case you were wondering) and I need to update it. It’s a project and we are working on it at USV but I can’t promise it any time soon. A few years ago I met with a very successful entrepreneur who built his company outside of the tech sector. When I asked him about equity compensation he said to me “You people
Continue reading "Some Thoughts On Equity Compensation"
Our friends at TrueBit are trying to raise $250k to support Covenant House Toronto. They have built a virtual Christmas tree and are accepting donations in Ethereum here. The Gotham Gal and I have donated 5.5 ETH, which may take a few days to show up on the leaderboard. I am hoping those of you out there who are holding a lot of ETH might part with a little bit of it to help a great cause. You can do that here.
All over the city this week, students in NYC’s public schools have been celebrating CS Education Week by doing events and hackathons to showcase their coding skills. Through NYC’s CS4All program, over 1000 teachers have been trained to teach CS classes in their schools. That is over 500 schools to date. Over the course of the ten-year CS4All program, over 5,000 teachers will get this training so that all 1700 school buildings in NYC will have at least one CS teacher and many will have two, or three, or even four. Most of these 500 schools, and many others around NYC, participated in CS Education this week. I was out in the schools along with my colleagues at the Department of Education, CSNYC, and the companies that support us, including Google, Accenture, and Alexandria Real Estate. I met this eighth grader up in the Bronx at In-Tech Academy, a
Continue reading "CS Education Week In NYC"
We arrived in Shanghai late Monday night after a long four-airport three-flight day and all I wanted to do was crash. The Gotham Gal wanted to check her email so she logged onto the hotel WiFi and attempted to do that. As I was falling asleep I heard her call down to the front desk and complain that the Internet wasn’t working. I told her we could deal with it in the morning. So when we got up, we grabbed our laptops and went downstairs to have breakfast and fix things. I set up VPN software on both laptops and the Gotham Gal’s iPhone. For some reason that I don’t entirely understand, my Pixel with a TMobile SIM card seemed to be able to bypass the great firewall and access Google and Twitter without need for a VPN. But even with firewall software on our devices, accessing western Internet services
Continue reading "The Great Firewall"
I recently visited Tuscany and spent a week with friends, unplugged; spending as much time eating, hiking and photographing the beautiful landscape. It has been a fun week, but I have struggled with photography. Continue reading "Flummoxed by Summilux SL"
The Advanced Human Technologies Group of companies has been integrated into the newly launched marketing, innovation and ventures group Rh7thm. For background please read the post on my personal blog, Phase transition: I am launching a new group of companies. Please visit the Rh7thm website to find out about the new group. Get in touch with Rh7thm if you are interested in any of the services or activities that were previously part of Advanced Human Technologies.
Being an investor and board member means that you are close to the companies you invest in but not “in them.”. This near and dear relationship creates some interesting challenges for both the management and the investors. One of them is understanding the difference between information/reporting and a real understanding of what is going on in the business. I often find myself saying “but why?” at board meetings:
- “Revenues are soft this quarter” – but why?
- “MAUs are up 150% over last quarter” – but why?
- “We are going to miss our ship dates” – but why?
- “We expect to decrease our hosting costs by 50% next quarter” – but why?
- “We can’t seem to get any interest in the next round” – but why?
- “We are getting a lot of inbound interest from investors” – but why?
- “We have a lot of turnover in our engineering organization” Continue reading "But Why?"
The Gotham Gal and I have been married for thirty years this June and we are spending the next month in Europe celebrating that and all that has come from it. Blog posts will be arriving central european summer time (CEST) until the end of June. And they will be about all sorts of things that may or may not have anything to do with technology and startups. Now off to breakfast
Regulating source code
USV TEAM POSTS:Nick Grossman — May 29, 2017
Regulating source code
My two favorite holidays are Thanksgiving when we are thankful for family and food and Valentine’s Day when we celebrate love and the people we love. Love is a powerful thing, maybe the most powerful thing. And I am blessed to have a lot of it in my life. So I hope everyone in AVC land takes time today to be with your loved ones and celebrate the love in your life. Happy Valentine’s Day
I’m skiing this week. It’s snowed two feet in the last two days. So we will continue to dip into the archives until I come up for air, later this week. I saw this tweet exchange yesterday about my employee equity post. So I’ve reposted it here below.
Continue reading "From The Archive: Employee Equity – How Much"
For the past few weeks I have been going from Board Meeting to Board Meeting reviewing, discussing, debating, and, ideally, approving the 2017 plans for the companies that I work with. Here are some thoughts and observations about the year end planning process: 1) Companies should start the annual planning process early. I think September is a good time. It should start with a wide open data gathering process which involves as much of the organization as is possible. 2) The planning process must be grounded in the strategy which should be set in advance of the planning process. If a strategy adjustment is required, that needs to happen before the plan can come together. 3) The senior team needs to do the plan as a group. That can involve offsites, a set of regular (weekly?) meetings, or something else. But planning is a team effort and a
Continue reading "Planning For Next Year"
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In research, it is the main mean square change of prices from the arithmetic mean.They analyzed the prospects into a covariant fashion.
Small alterations should be explained, but may not have to be slow.Apart from a self Continue reading "Just how to Compose a Graphic Analysis Report"
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