Montage Sequence #2 – bubbles, loonshots and the OA

Some great stuff in this issue.

This I think about a lot especially in the context of SEAsia:

4/ Finally, I was struck by how all the companies mentioned in the “bubble” pieces – often in reaction to the sticker shock of what seemed like a large valuation back then – went on to bigger and bigger valuations as time went on, often many times over. Which leads me to wonder:
a) why did so many commentators miss the growth that was going to happen to these companies?
b) is the same mistake being made now in the narrative around valuations?

Now I want this book :: Loonshots.

I am still struggling to like OA. 😉

Montage Sequence #2 – bubbles, loonshots and the OA

Grab Touting Masa’s Backing Amps Up Southeast Asia Taxi Wars – Bloomberg

Grab Touting Masa’s Backing Amps Up Southeast Asia Taxi Wars – Bloomberg

I really like Tim for bucking the trend of most reporters and questioning all of this. I met Tim once in Singapore and we shared a meal and chatted. Really enjoyed it and I love that he is accessible and talks via Twitter.

He is willing to kind of say what most won’t:

What Grab failed to do, however, is show how having large tanks of kerosene to burn begets a sustainable business. That makes this bluster look a lot like Asia’s bike-rental wars, and we all know that didn’t turn out well. We shouldn’t be surprised that it’s Masa once again feeding the frenzy given his reputation as a big-stack bully.

No one knows where all of this will land. If the race is about raising piles of cash then I guess Grab is winning.

Obviously I like talking about this subject ::

However I am not sure that means they ultimately win – my issue is that both Grab and Go-Jek seem to think ridesharing forms the basis of a super-app. I am not sure I agree:


Scaling A Company While Controlling Costs – AVC

Scaling A Company While Controlling Costs – AVC

Interesting that Fred is suggesting companies reduce engineering costs by outsourcing to China.

I think this works for Zoom cause the CEO came from China and knows how to do it. My guess is most companies find the appeal attractive but will not have much success. You would need a solid executive lead in the company who can manage China and fold the results into the overall framework. I think few will be able to pull this off unless they have a Chinese exec on their team.

However I don’t think China is the only option but what is increasingly happening is the competition for these bodies is growing both from local companies and from regional startups. You see this very clearly in Indonesia with even the large players like GoJek having to do engineering abroad to compete.

As the entire startup ecosystem grows around Asia the local companies will probably be able to hire and manage better but I think the culture of working for an overseas company could also be attractive.

As tech goes global this pull for talent is only gonna increase and I am not sure the USA startup ecosystem will have the leg up for much longer. Since the rise of Asia is unstoppable at this point:

The inside story of Spankchain: Ethereum’s unlikely star – Decrypt

I’ll leave you with this:

There’s another point: porn, historically, has driven all manner of technological adoption—it could do the same for Ethereum.

We visit the “Spankhouse” to document Ethereum’s unlikely star, Spankchain and its terrifying, sexy rise—and its plans for global domination.
— Read on

Abigail Disney Has More Money Than She’ll Ever Spend

Quite a telling read. You don’t normally have someone this wealthy being so candid.

I love this one:

But it’s the easiest thing in the world to make money if you start with money. And then people give themselves credit for being that smart when they’re not.

Abigail Disney, heiress to the Disney fortune, has more money than she’ll ever spend. Here, she talks about being raised in a wealthy family.
— Read on

Pay it forward

Of course we get tons of cold emails and contrary to popular belief – we go through them all, ask questions if relevant and reply as needed. We obviously cannot follow up each and every one of them but that’s life. However we make sure each and every valid email gets a reply. I think it is important.

The other set of emails is people looking to meetup or get help or advice. Again – I always reply but I have to pick and choose who I can help since if I helped everyone, I am pretty sure I would have no time to actually work. I explained once to someone who asked me why I could not mentor them -because I think I owe my team and my portfolio companies my full attention. Weird that one has to explain that.

One of the new things I am trying to do is structure how I can help a warm lead. Warm leads obviously get the most attention since it means they were introduced to me by someone who knows me. Usually means that the person or company might be of interest but even with that filter some of the intros are not a fit. That’s okay. I appreciate the intro.

What I am trying to do now is see if there is someone in my network that might find the intro even more relevant than I do. Then apart from my reply I will offer to introduce them to someone that might be a better fit. 

If everyone tried this we might be able to help more people.