Last stop for the 2019 tour of Project Alpha.
Excited to have this one at the AWS Indonesia Pop-Up:
Get registered before it fills up.
I believe that we have seen a narrative in the late stage private markets that as software is eating the world (real estate, music, exercise, transportation), every company should be valued as a software company at 10x revenues or more.
And that narrative is now falling apart.
If the product is software and thus can produce software gross margins (75% or greater), then it should be valued as a software company.
If the product is something else and cannot produce software gross margins then it needs to be valued like other similar businesses with similar margins, but maybe at some premium to recognize the leverage it can get through software.
But we have not been doing it that way in the late-stage private markets for the last five years.
I think we may start now that the public markets are showing us how.
In general private market pricing is tough but there are some guidelines. However what happens is that along the way valuations just get silly – founders and VC’s are both to blame.
To put it even more simply than Dan and Fred – the silliness is coming to an end.
Expect Southeast Asia to feel it next.
Good – this part:
Time to Restore Honest Capitalism
Part of what’s going on with WeWork is that monopolies and private equity have eliminated profitable opportunities for investment, which is why the Federal Reserve is increasingly powerless. Republicans like Mitt Romney are noticing that excess capital is harmful. Capitalism itself is breaking down in the face of business models that are simply organized around loss-making and endless access to the small number of (largely) men who can enable unlimited access to the capital markets.
Across the West, the basic problem of a corrupted productive process is becoming a quiet crisis. The reason is simple. The people that do the work in organizations are increasingly excluded from the decision-making about the work. That is why Boeing is losing its ability to build planes, why we can’t build infrastructure, and why New York City is on the verge of disaster. And the cherry on top is investors pouring money into enterprises that aren’t even speculative, but are purely loss-making, because they find a destructive personality like Adam Neumann compelling.
That’s why Neumann was given an unlimited charge card and a license to abuse his employees. As it turns out, the S-1 was correct; he was pivotal to WeWork, because WeWork only exists due to his ability to get money from investors.
It’s a good thing Neumann’s stepped down. And if we restore laws against predatory pricing and centralized financial control, the entire counterfeit capitalism model will go away. We can then get back to the business of making and selling things to each other without engaging in celebrated cases of fraud and abuse under the guise of ‘quirkiness.’
Love Gruber for helping to put some more nails in the coffin for this horrible era and the folks at places like MIT that supported creeps like Stallman.
Daring Fireball: Richard Stallman’s Disgrace
— Read on daringfireball.net/2019/09/richard_stallmans_disgrace
Will be interesting to see if this movement takes hold and how it could come to Asia.
Venture capitalists are banding together to push the IPO alternative as a better way for startups to go public.
— Read on fortune.com/2019/09/26/what-is-a-direct-listing-vc-ipo/
I am late to this one but cool to see Singapore on the big screen.
Sounds like Ben is shifting his stance quite a bit.
Will be interesting to see that change.
Going forward I plan to be a lot more skeptical about other tech startups that interface with the real world and the attendant drag on margins that follows; I am not saying that the category isn’t viable, and technology truly makes these companies different than the incumbents in their space, but they are not necessarily tech companies either.