My idle thoughts on tech startups

Blog

First Mover Fallacy

When we meet with entrepreneurs and ask about their competitive advantage or special sauce, one of the common responses is first mover advantage.  “We’re the first company to do X in an rapidly growing market” or similar. I’ve always felt being the first mover is a comparatively weak advantage and have been thinking about this […]


Blog

Great Companies and the Teams IN FRONT of Them

It occurred to me that we usually refer to entrepreneurs associated with a startup as being “behind” the company or phenomenon.  As in Mark Zuckerberg, the Harvard drop-out behind Facebook or so-and-so, the folks behind startup X.  Upon further reflection it seems like this phraseology has things backwards… we ought to be talking about the […]


Blog

Should Apple Buy Hungary?

Yesterday was Apple’s shareholder meeting and as many of you know, there’s obviously been healthy debate about what they should do with the ~$137 billion in cash they’re sitting on.  I had read somewhere that Apple’s cash pile was equivalent to Hungary’s GDP so I tweeted out the suggestion that perhaps an activist shareholder should […]


Blog

Small Tablets Are Further Atomizing Ubiquitous Computing

I’ve been enjoying my iPad Mini for a couple months month now.  I thought seriously about getting a Nexus 7 (in fact gave one to my sister as a gift recently), but because I’m frequently on the go with intermittent WiFi I got the Mini which is still one of the few LTE-enabled 7 inch […]


Blog

The Unbundled Mobile Software Stack

I’ve been using Google’s Chrome browser on my iPad Mini for about a month now.  There are several things I prefer over Apple’s Safari, including the bookmark and search history sync with my other Chrome usage (on laptop) and some small UI touches.  But for now there’s no way to make an OS-level switch to […]


Blog

Why VC’s Don’t “Crossover” Invest

A little more inside baseball from the VC biz… why VC’s rarely make “crossover” investments, with capital from multiple funds the VC firm manages invested in a single startup (see note 1).  I was talking with an entrepreneur recently about this phenomenon.  This person is an experienced CEO and a veteran of several startups, yet […]


Blog

The VC Shakeout: Are We There Yet?

[This also appears as a guest post at PandoDaily] Over the weekend, I read Sarah Lacy’s PandoDaily article that the VC shakeout is taking too long.  It’s rather thoughtful and definitely worth reading if you haven’t had a chance to yet. There are some obvious structural reasons why a shakeout in the venture capital industry […]


Blog

Why Average VC Returns Don’t Really Matter

The VC industry (both the GP part and the LP part) pays attention to the sector’s returns, but the broader tech ecosystem only occasionally tunes in.  Typically it’s when Cambridge Associates releases their benchmark data on the VC asset class (here’s a 2010 example article from TechCrunch) or an organization like the Kauffman Foundation publishes […]


Blog

Tacking Towards Founder

I had the pleasure of giving a talk on entrepreneurship at UPenn last week, which happens to be my alma mater.  I’m always thrilled to speak with undergraduates who are interested in startups.  One of the most common questions I get is “What’s the best career path to becoming a founder someday?” The very short […]


Blog

Running a Startup Board Meeting

There’s a lot of good suggestions out there for how early stage startups can approach (or improve) board meetings.  Some of my favorites are from Brad Feld (also this one from him), Andy Payne, and Steve Blank.  All three have perspective as both entrepreneurs and as investors / advisors in the startup board room. There’s a […]


)