Monthly Archives: September 2017

Bessemer

I am enjoying this new Q & A part of Term Sheet.

http://fortune.com/2017/09/27/bessemer-byron-deeter-elon-musk/

Some interesting sections…

Crypto:

What are your thoughts on the future of cryptocurrency and the blockchain as it relates to venture capital?

I struggle with two diametrically opposed positions on this. On the one hand, I absolutely love the innovation that the blockchain is bringing and see a lot of need for financial industry innovation and removing friction from that ecosystem. On the other hand, I believe that Bitcoin and Ethereum are wildly overvalued relative to any notion of what is value. I do fear and suspect that a lot of the short-term price escalation is driven by speculation and/or improper uses for things like money laundering.

Cloud:

What’s going on in the cloud space right now that you think Term Sheet readers should know about?

The massive replatforming of software continues, and cloud is that next evolution. We are doubling down in every way on the space now and absolutely believe that the trend is ripping through the software ecosystem.

It’s created a number of related trends where cloud is the enabler for enterprise mobile, and this notion that mobile workers can get access to great software products is now taking hold. We went from clunky heavy software, to a browser interface with cloud, to your phone with mobile. The next iteration will actually have the interface disappear, and you will interact with software much more naturally. The pace of innovation is accelerating, and each of these cycles is compressing.

Anti-Portfolio:

You often point to a section on your website entirely dedicated to your biggest misses called, The Anti-Portfolio. Why does Bessemer showcase winning investments the firm decided to pass on?

We’ve had people call and notify us that our website’s been hacked: “Oh my God, someone put up an anti-portfolio on your page. You guys should know so you can take it down.” It’s hilarious, and I tell them, “Guys, just step back. You can’t take yourselves this seriously. Can you not enjoy a little bit of humor?”

We need to be able to make fun of ourselves. As good as we can be in this business, we still wake up every day and read articles of great companies that we missed or didn’t quite understand, and they materialized. We hope every entrepreneur we meet with ends up on one of two pages on our website — either the portfolio or the anti-portfolio. And we’re sincerely happy for their success either way. It’s not a zero-sum game. The spirit of the anti-portfolio is to acknowledge that even the best investors screw up all the time.

This is something we tracking internally over at SeedPlus.

World Domination 

This past week was busy with switch, slush, venturecon, VC-PE summit and then walkabout. I hit or spoke or cheered them all on. I love 💕 being in Singapore and it was awesome to witness everyone from around the world coming out to support the city/state that continues to punch well above the weight class that everyone thinks it might be in.

I won’t lie – I am Singapore fanboy. 

When I read stories like this about America, startup slump, I am thankful to be in Asia and specifically at the center of SEA. Pro startup with a government mindful of the challenges ahead but super supportive of tech and the role it will play in future societies.

I worry about America but remain hopeful.

Overall I continue to be concerned about the role of the huge tech companies in our lives and their impact on startups and capitalism.

I can’t wait to read The Four.

And on this subject his weekly newsletter is very timely :: https://www.l2inc.com/daily-insights/no-mercy-no-malice/the-worm-has-turned

The biggest opportunity for the Four

The Four could pull off one of the greatest moments in business, addressing a huge social issue while disrupting an enormous, wildly profitable sector that hasn’t innovated in decades. One or more of the Four should launch a tuition-free university that blends offline and online learning, and charges firms to recruit. Student debt and corporate profits are at an all-time high, meaning we need to flip the model — charge firms, not students, for education.

Apple is also well suited to do this as its brand has roots in education. I estimate the economic value of credentialing is, if taken as a market, likely the largest industry in business with 80%+ gross margins. There would be several ways to create $100B+ in shareholder value and catalyze desperately needed competition. We (universities) have stuck out our chins and deserve fists of stone. Feeding like insecure vampires on the scarcity of our product (dopamine surges through our brains at faculty meetings as we revel in how impossible it is for kids to get into our programs), and praying on the hopes and dreams of families. Education used to be the upward lubricant and a social good. It’s now just one of those things.

Other than each other, there is only one thing between the Four and $1T in market value: the perception of poor citizenship. The small-ball strategies of tax avoidance, obfuscation, and the idolatry of youth and the dollar, may turn big tech into smaller tech.

Thoughts to ponder for sure.

I hope one of the companies steps up and challenges the perception of the role they could play and make America proud.

DRM is a pain but needed

Coming from the OTT world I can lament the use of DRM like everyone else but I can also tell you that without out – people will steal every bit of video they can. What else can one do about it then to try and protect it. Without DRM built into browsers the video companies with either push a plugin at you or use some other non-stamdard methods which just makes life harder on everyone.

I am with Gruber on this one – EFF is being kind of silly :: https://daringfireball.net/linked/2017/09/18/eff-w3c-drm

The Splice Newsroom

Signed up for this newsletter today.

I used to work with Alan at Yahoo! and from time to time we have some coffee and discuss tech, people and news. Mostly though we will talk about news and where we consume it these days – or listen to it since we both like podcats. 

I used to subscribe to the FT weekend but found I wasn’t always reading it and figured I should read more books. Most of my news then is from online sources and podcasts but lately I have been actually listening to less news and getting the majority of my updates from Inside.com – I like the email format with links. I also read Pro Rata and Term Sheet everyday.

From time to time I will use the Washington Post and New York Times app but not enough that I am compelled to pay for them.

What Alan and I talk about most though is there isn’t anything super amazing coming out of Asia that I look to as my news source. Hopefully with projects like this we will see some change and find truly quality newsrooms that provide content the way most of us consume it.

Alan recently got some $ from FB and is beginning to build things out, you can read all about here :: https://www.thesplicenewsroom.com/about-us/.

Subscribe to the newsletter and support this much needed look at media across Asia.