Category Archives: Facebook

Not missing the USA

I miss my family a ton. I miss old friends, camping, shake shack and long motorcycle rides along the Cali coast to nowhere. I really miss those things.

But what is going in America is scary. Trump, the FCC and the takeover of large unchecked tech giants is not a great future.

If you don’t already read Redef – you should start. Great daily curation of awesome web reads and the best part – the Rant from Jason Hirschhorn the Curator.

I love his work. I am hoping him and the Prof get together some time for a the Prof’s video series.

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 đź’• 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 ::

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.

Greed vs Value Creation

It’s a struggle sometimes for sure but lately it just feels like most of what is going on in the valley is straight up greed.

I am not a huge Arrington fan but I think he makes a point. Is this a cyclical thing? Is there too much capital around? Is the Trump era to blame?

I tend to think it is more related to the pressure cooker of expectations around always having to have that big exit and making everyone rich versus building cool shit. I know there is a fine line. And I am not saying that I don’t want to make money but there is a difference in my opinion.

Uber as of late just feels like greed. Let’s treat employees like shit, let’s skirt the law and let’s steal stuff to win it all because they are changing the world? It’s too much. You can’t demolish everything in your path and still keep telling your customers that we should trust you ferrying our wive’s and children around. Enough already. I honestly hope Google takes them to the cleaners.

Snap. Who knows on this one but the way they are doing things feels to me like just wanting to cash out versus build something for the long haul. Again, I could be all wrong and this is the technique they are using to get enough money to defend their turf and build something amazing. Only time will tell. I could be all wrong. With Facebook I bought on the dip and held. That’s worked out okay so far. Not sure I would with Snap.

WeWork. Is this really a revolution or is it a modern day real estate play with co-working throw in to be cool? No one knows yet but the Softbank deal feels like greed to me. Let’s see what they do.

I used to miss the valley but I am not sure I could survive there. I am not that greedy to be honest. Interesting times.

I am glad I live in Singapore.

Standing up to Google 

Check this rant from the Prof.

The shit sandwich here is that having legitimate news next to fake news has only made the Facebook platform more dangerous. When standing in line at Krogers, your bullshit filter is in high gear and you suspect HiIlary isn’t an alien, despite what the Enquirer and other supermarket tabloids tell you. However, the presence of the NYT and WaPo on Facebook has only legitimized fake news. Fuck.

Dear Hearst, Sulzberger, Murdoch, Newhouse, Burda families:

Remove your heads from your asses. Google and Facebook are your frenemy, minus the friend part. Turn off Google / Facebook / Twitter / Snapchat, form a consortium, and command the space you occupy. Take a page from LVMH’s playbook regarding their presence on Amazon — specifically how they’re not present on Amazon.

I tend to agree but guessing very few orgs have the guts to do anything about it.


I started playing with it when they started their open graph dev stuff just to see if I could build things on it. I never was a good dev so that went nowhere but I was always in respect of the platform – even if I don’t use it heavily.

I don’t like whatsapp but I know it is huge.

I stopped really caring about instragram ions ago but damn – that was the best acquisition ever.

I question all the VR stuff but I think AR will be huge.

Now this ::

Mark always seems to nab the best people and mostly buy the right companies. I am a happy shareholder as well.

I worry about FB core product starting to fall off but I think Mark also knows that and continues to surround himself with the best people and buy the best companies as needed.

Will be interesting to see how long the ride lasts.

FB messenger bots and payments

It was inevitable that this was going to happen – FB would connect their payment engine to the bots. I am curious what the fine print is here since now you essentially have an App Store within the android/Apple ecosystem that gives you payments from within messenger or the bot. 

I assume that the iOS payment rules cascade down in this case since Apple doesn’t allow for a virtual or subscription item to be paid for outside of the Apple payment ecosystem. Curious how all this will be policed since I imagine folks are already trying to figure out how to take advantage of it?

For physical goods Apple will allow you to connect credit cards and other payment systems in but for virtual stuff that is not allowed. Seems this is all a slippery slope given that the app within the ecosystem now becomes another full fledged ecosystem in and of itself. At some point these hyper controlled app ecosystem rules will be hard to police.

What is super interesting is how FB just increased their revenue base overnight with one swoop since now you can buy a FB news feed ad to point to your bot:

In an effort to show Facebook’s commitment to its platform for bots, Marcus announced that all types of News Feed ads can point to them and users can share bots they enjoy with their friends. And instead of forcing all bot interactions to happen through text, developers can now build web views into conversations to pull in interfaces from their websites. This way you could scroll a list of flights, consume different types of media, or even play basic games while still in the chat window.

Been talking to other folks about explaining the bot gold rush will be no different than the app gold rush when it comes to how to get noticed – you will have to pay FB to get placement or use ads to point people to your bot. This is not some new free land grab opportunity – this will be like every other new platform. Pay to play. Yes – new business models will emerge but one will have to figure out how to rise above the other bots and get customers.

Obviously this is a new frontier but I see the app stores becoming bot stores as pretty apparent.

Is Facebook messenger going to be the main, dominate cross platform bot economy?