Author Archives: michael_seedplus

About michael_seedplus

I am a partner at SeedPlus, focusing on the seed stage investing at seedplus.com.

Daring Fireball: My 2018 Apple Report Card

I think Gruber is too kind.

I give the retail experience an F.

Fun to browse but a pain to check out and getting service sucks and in places like Singapore – where they have a flagship store, they are too busy and always route you to the local repair place. Which frankly is a better service anyway so I go straight there.

In essence – I have no real reason to ever go to the Apple flagship store. Which is kind of silly.

Daring Fireball: My 2018 Apple Report Card:

I’ve disliked the experience of buying stuff at the Apple Store ever since they did away with queues for checking out. I just want to get in line, wait my turn, pay, and leave. Instead, the way to check out at an Apple Store is to wander around until you get the attention of an employee who has one of the handheld checkout iPod Touches. This can be maddening. My wife refuses to shop at an Apple Store for this reason. I know you can use the Apple Store app to check yourself out, but I don’t like it. Part of the reason Apple’s stores are too crowded is that people are wandering around trying to pay for things.

And getting technical support at Apple Stores is terrible now. In the old days you could just walk in with a broken or otherwise problematic device and get an appointment at the Genius Bar within the hour. Now, the Genius Bar is booked for days in advance — sometimes close to a week. In some ways that’s inevitable — Apple is way more popular now than it was pre-iPhone. But inevitable or not, the result is that getting support at an Apple Store now stinks. And frankly, the technical acumen of the Genius Bar staffers is now hit-or-miss.

“Today at Apple” is nice, but the primary purposes of an Apple Store should be shopping and service — and I think both of those experiences should be a lot better.

The Seed Slump – AVC

This is a good post pointing to a few of the other threads and posts talking about the Seed Slump.

The Seed Slump – AVC

I think this tweet is good as well:

These are the takeaways:

  • seed to A graduation % obviously will go down
  • seed funds which stay small & generate smallcap exits can make

We didn’t see this coming | Bill Gates

Read the whole thing. So enlightening and they really do some amazing work.

I love the closing bit.

We didn’t see this coming | Bill Gates:

One last surprise (maybe)
We get asked a lot these days whether we’re still optimistic about the future. We say: Absolutely. One reason is that we believe in the power of innovation. But an even bigger reason is that we’ve seen firsthand that for every challenge we’ve written about in this letter, there are people devoting their ideas, their resources, and even their lives to solving them.

When we’re feeling overwhelmed by negative headlines, we remind ourselves that none of us has the right to sit back and expect that the world is going to keep getting better. We have a responsibility to do everything we can to push it in that direction.

In that way, we’ve found that optimism can be a powerful call to action. And it has a multiplier effect: The more optimists there are working for a better future, the more reasons there are to be optimistic.

State of the Cloud 2019 · Bessemer Venture Partners

State of the Cloud 2019 · Bessemer Venture Partners:

Operate with G.R.I.T.

Operational rigor is what separates early stage companies from the most influential cloud leaders. But take comfort in the fact that it’s possible: Twilio’s Jeff Lawson and Shopify’s Tobias Lütke are just two examples of the many first-time founders who were running cloud businesses during and post-recession.

At Bessemer, we recommend cloud founders operate on G.R.I.T.— a critical set of metrics that resilient, enduring cloud companies use as yardsticks of success.

This is pretty good read but it may not be apparent what G.R.I.T. is :

G = Growth

R = Retention

I = Money in the Bank

T = Targeted Spend

The Free And Open Internet – AVC

I think about this a lot too – I read the article on the post cause I still had some free views.

I am guessing Fred couldn’t cause he already used his free views, so it is not like he is just reading that one opinion article. 😉

That being said I feel this conundrum more with email newsletters and what I am guessing soon is the podcasts attached to them.

Not sure the ATM analogy works since that is about withdrawing money unless Fred means that you pay somewhere and everyone can pull from it?

This is where crypto is super interesting but all the media plays attached to coins have not worked out.

Something does need to change though since I am NOT gonna be able to subscribe to everything and the big boys will also win the paywall game if we can’t figure out a better model.

The Free And Open Internet – AVC

Bootstrap or not.

Lots of chatter about this recently. 

Maybe it all kicked off with this article :: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/11/technology/start-ups-rejecting-venture-capital.html

I co-taught a class the other day at Insead and the subject was around boot strapping versus raising money. It really is an easy answer to be honest. If you can bootstrap then my advice, as a VC, is you should. Why take money if you don’t need to?

However people need to properly call out stuff – meaning bootstrapping typically means funding the company from operations or revenue. If you borrow money, have an angel investor or pumped in a bunch of your own money – you still took or made an investment. You now have investors and frankly this bit that VC money is bad but other money is good is silly. All money comes with terms and all of it expects to be paid back.

The only caveat to this is your own money could potentially be treated differently since you are the founder and you own the company. You could potentially never pay yourself back and settle yourself with an exit or profits.

I see so many silly deals in startup land where the founder stayed away from professional investors, say a VC, but took silly angel money and signed bad terms. I am quite sure those companies are worse off than another startup who took a round from a VC. Keep in mind angels can be evil, your rich uncle can be evil – obviously so can a VC. The point is know the terms of your money and its impact on you and your company.

The core difference in bootstrapping and not is really about growth. This does not mean that VC money encourages or forces growth – the VC can’t really force anything. It is your company but if you take VC money than you are expected to grow more or faster than if you didn’t. That is not some sinister plot by VC’s BTW – it is simply the notion that the capital is easier to get and more expensive therefore you need to use it accordingly. If you don’t like that grand bargain, then don’t take the money.

It is not like VC’s sit around and are desperate to throw money at someone in hopes of forcing them to do something they didn’t plan on doing. This is silly. Everyone knows what the deal is and believe me, we never write a check to any founder that isn’t on that same page.

That would be a waste of capital.

If you can build a solid business without VC money then do it. However don’t raise money from less than professional sources or with crappy terms and pretend this is better. Truly bootstrapping is generally from revenue. Most folks have a hard time doing that. If you can then great, you own more of the company and the outcome is generally better. That is the other myth to dispel – if you raise lots of money and don’t have a huge exit then you will take home less than someone who didn’t raise any money with a smaller exit. It’s just math.

If you have a method for using capital to grow much bigger and faster than if you didn’t take capital, plus you are comfortable with the terms and your investors then take the money. The decision rests with the founders, and VC’s only work with founders who already have arrived at making this decision for themselves.