A few weeks ago, I got an email from a reader. She asked if he could subscribe to this blog without the funding friday posts. He thought they were “spammy.” I replied to him “think about them as the ads” and politely told him that wasn’t possible.
I love funding things. And I love sharing the things I fund with all of you.
I saw this project this morning and backed it instantly. A musical art project. Awesome.
While society debates how to deal with climate change, there are some scientists who are now saying that that time has passed and we now need to start planning society’s adaptation to the climate tragedy we have created on planet earth.
I am not yet ready to throw in the towel on our ability to react to the mounting evidence of a rapidly warming planet and dramatically slow it down with actions like the Paris Accords, recent laws in New York City and New York State, and everyone’s personal actions in what we do and how we do it.
And there is no benefit in getting depressed or defeatist about the
I was sitting in my backyard this weekend looking up at the roof on my house, which I can’t see because of a parapet, and wondering how all of the solar panels we put up there a few years ago are doing. I was also wondering how the roof itself is doing.
Then it hit me that USV has a portfolio company that can help. I went to my Dronebase account and ordered a drone mission that will do an aerial inspection of my roof and also a thermal inspection of our solar panels.
Yes, one drone pilot with an off the shelf drone can do all of that for me in less than an hour.
I scheduled the flight for next week and should have a full report with aerial imagery and video and thermal scans of the solar panels within a few days after that.
I have been vocal here that I do not like the term Unicorn to describe highly valued venture-backed startups. Unicorns are mythical creatures that don’t really exist and highly valued venture-backed startups do exist. They might be rare, but they are not fictional.
A better word would be Whales. And it turns out that the Whaling industry in the United States in the 18th and 19th centuries looked remarkably similar to today’s venture capital business.
Some of my friends and colleagues have been texting and tweeting about a book called VC: An American History by Tom Nicholas. So I got it on my Kindle and the first chapter is all about the Whaling industry and its similarities to the VC business.
Here are some photos I took of the first chapter on my phone.
This is a chart that plots the distribution of returns by whaling voyage vs venture capital
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The idea behind Otis is that cultural assets like fine art, rare books and comic books, jewelry and watches, sneakers and skateboards, etc are appreciated by everyone but are only collectible/affordable by wealthy people.
Otis intends to change that by securitizing these cultural assets and selling them off in shares for as little as $25 per share. These fractionalized cultural assets will be shown publicly while they are owned collectively.
You can see how this all works by downloading the Otis mobile apps here.
I did that yesterday and I have already set myself up to try to buy a share of Kehinde Wiley’s Saint Jerome Hearing The Trumpet Of Last Judgement on August 13th.
I’ve also opted to be notified when these assets “drop” so I can purchase a share of them too.
I am reading a friend’s book which is still in proofs and so I’m not going to talk about it yet.
But there is one part of the book that really rang true for me and that is when he talks about certain kinds of problematic employees, particularly one he calls The Heretic.
This kind of employee, and we have all seen this up close, is negative about the Company and disses the management, coworkers, the board, the strategy, the workplace, and everything else under the sun. But for some reason the heretic prefers to stay and be miserable than to move on and find another place to work that is more to their liking.
My friend states in his book that you have to part ways with heretics in your company, regardless of how talented they are, how connected they are, and even if they are protected in some
I’ve shared my views on this before here at AVC. I believe business model innovation is more disruptive than technical innovation.
A good example of this was moving from web apps to mobile apps, which was largely a technical innovation. While the move to mobile certainly created some new companies, it largely strengthened the market position of the big Internet companies because there was little to no business model innovation.
Compare that to the move from desktop computing to the web. We saw massive disruption as we went from a licensed software business model to an advertising supported business model, which has evolved into an advertising/subscription freemium business model.
I am excited about the move to crypto based business models supporting decentralized apps for this very reason. I think it opens up the possibility that some very large new companies will be created that innovate largely on entirely new business
A few years ago, we invited Angela Duckworth to speak to our portfolio company CEOs at our annual get together. It was a terrific talk that absolutely impacted the way these CEOs thought about hiring and managing their teams. Angela’s theory of “Grit” as a predictor of success in education, careers, and life is powerful. If you have not read her book on the topic, you should. You can get it here.
It has been 243 years since our founding fathers signed the Declaration Of Independence and the great American experiment began.
These words form the moral backbone of our country and represent our core values:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness
We have not always lived up to these values. Slavery and the treatment of the Native American Indians are glaring examples. And there certainly have been other moments where America has not lived up to these values.
However, it has been my experience, over fifty-seven years living in the US, that we try to live to these values and that the notions of freedom and equality are deeply rooted in the culture of America.
If there is a technology that has overpromised and underdelivered more than AR/VR over the last five years, I am not sure what it is.
Facebook paid $2bn (or possibly more) for Oculus in the spring of 2014 and maybe a couple million Oculus headsets have been sold since then. And Facebook is reportedly continuing to spend billions more on Oculus.
So when is all of this investment going to pay off? Maybe sooner than people think.
Oculus Quest is a wireless (untethered) VR headset that shipped this spring and sells for $399 to $499 depending on how much memory you want.
In the past few weeks, a number of friends of mine have suggested I get a Quest (which I will do but have not yet done) and that I will be impressed by it.
I have long thought that an untethered headset that can deliver real VR experiences
Being a Knicks fan teaches you a lot about disappointment. At one point this spring, we thought we were going to get a couple top free agents and the first pick in the draft. We ended up with a lot less.
Fortunately, I have learned a lot about disappointment in three decades of backing early-stage startups. Our business is one where a third of things we do don’t work out at all and another third deliver a lot less than we had hoped when we pulled the trigger. Only a third of our investments deliver on what we expected when we made them.
Fortunately about ten percent of the investments we make so vastly outperform our expectations, that they make up for everything else we do.
So we live with a lot of disappointment. And one of the questions I struggle with is how much of that disappointment do we