Check out this interesting Harvard Business Review article:
Bill Gurley is a partner at Benchmark and an investor and on the board of Uber, OpenTable and Zillow amongst others. He just wrote a fantastic article on the optimal pricing strategy for Internet businesses. He makes a compelling argument that companies should have low rakes to establish themselves as the high volume leader and not leave an opening for competitors.
Read the full article at:
I have always been partial to third party action adventure games like Drake Unchartered and the latest Tomb Raider is a fantastic addition to the genre.
This game tells the origin story of Lara Croft and how she went from being an unsure academic to adventurer extraordinaire. The story is believable and Lara’s character is rich and nuanced. The setting is befitting the story and is extraordinarily rich in detail and history. The game also balances beautifully exploration with action.
I just finished it on Xbox 360 on hard mode and felt the difficulty and length were just right. The multiplayer is unremarkable, but it’s not an issue. When it comes to first person shooters I don’t even bother with the campaigns and head straight for multiplayer action. However, here it’s the single player campaign that really shines.
All those of you who have been yearning to unleash your inner Indiana Jones should give this game a try!
Paul Miller, a technology writer for The Verge, decided to spend 365 days offline. No email, Google, Facebook, texting. He became entirely Internet free. As he puts it, he embarked in his journey because:
“I thought it was making me unproductive. I thought it lacked meaning. I thought it was “corrupting my soul.” … I wanted a break from modern life — the hamster wheel of an email inbox, the constant flood of WWW information which drowned out my sanity. I wanted to escape. I thought the internet might be an unnatural state for us humans, or at least for me. Maybe I was too ADD to handle it, or too impulsive to restrain my usage. … I didn’t know myself apart from a sense of ubiquitous connection and endless information. I wondered what else there was to life. “Real life,” perhaps, was waiting for me on the other side of the web browser.”
In the first few months his offline life did feel more “real”, he went on bike rides, read and wrote more and felt better. However, bad offline habits started to replace bad online habits and by the end of his 365 day journey a shallow offline life had merely replaced his shallow online self. As he puts it:
“I was wrong. … I’m supposed to tell you how it solved all my problems. I’m supposed to be enlightened. I’m supposed to be more “real,” now. More perfect. But instead it’s 8PM and I just woke up. I slept all day, woke with eight voicemails on my phone from friends and coworkers. I went to my coffee shop to consume dinner, the Knicks game, my two newspapers, and a copy of The New Yorker. And now I’m watching Toy Story while I glance occasionally at the blinking cursor in this text document, willing it to write itself, willing it to generate the epiphanies my life has failed to produce.”
In Pogo’s immortal words: “We have met the enemy and he is us.”
It is easy to blame others or circumstances for our failings and much harder to take responsibility. I applaud Paul for not romanticizing his offline life and for holding himself accountable for his actions. He criticizes himself for not being enlightened at the end of his journey, but I beg to differ. He has learned an essential life lesson. He now realizes he did Read More →
I just finished reading through all of them and found them very insightful. Some sections are useful to aspiring entrepreneurs as they cover the basics of financing, vesting, etc. Most sections are useful to all entrepreneurs as they present a very thoughtful and often counter intuitive, not to mention contrarian, approach to entrepreneurship. By forcing aspiring entrepreneurs to ponder distribution, “secrets” and much more than just product/market fit, it pushes them to refine their idea and be more thoughtful about which startup to create.
They are dense, but fascinating so read them in order and without distractions:
I just came across his engrossing story in a recent copy of Wired. In many ways entrepreneurs, myself included, are a little bit crazy. However, after reading his story, I feel much more confident in my sanity!
I had not read Wired in a long time and was truly impressed by the in depth investigative journalism. I will definitely check them out more regularly.
Read the full story at: http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/12/ff-john-mcafees-last-stand/all/
No not the kind you are thinking about. I am talking about the much more expensive and dangerous one! I am referring to the magical powder you encounter heli-skiing.
I was recently heli-skiing near Revelstoke in British Columbia. It snowed every day of the week with over a foot of extraordinarily light dry powder falling every day!
Heli-skiing gets a bad rap because it’s perceived to be dangerous and is admittedly not environmentally friendly. Yet somehow finding ourselves in the middle of nowhere creates a communion with nature that is hard to replicate. The risks – avalanches, crevasses, cornices, tree wells, helicopter crashes – can be mitigated. We train in avalanche rescue and helicopter safety. We ski with beacons, radios, shovels, probes, avalanche air bags and first aid gear. We are guided by experienced mountaineers who are expert in assessing the safety of terrain conditions and alpine rescue.
Arguably heli-skiing involves a similar risk reward calculus as entrepreneurship. The risk of an endeavor ending badly is real and serious, but it is more than compensated by the spiritual joy we feel gliding through champagne powder. It also creates an amazing sense of camaraderie with our fellow skiers.
Check out the video!
As you know, I love operating and investing in marketplaces.
It’s been interesting over the years to observe which vertical marketplaces take off sustainably and which fizzle, especially in light of the two dominant horizontal liquidity behemoths: eBay and Craigslist.
For a while it looked like vertical sites would take away eBay’s business category after category as experts in each vertical with the right community credentials built something better attuned to the needs of that marketplace. Many such sites took off in verticals like high end guitars, audiophile equipment, etc. before fizzling away. Other sites like Stubhub, Airbnb and others built lasting vertical marketplaces.
Taking a step back it looks as though the categories that are best attackable have two characteristics:
1. Users purchase the product or service reasonably regularly.
The problem with the high end guitar site is that ultimately most people only buy such a guitar every few years. 5 years down the line, the buyer may not remember where he bought his guitar. As such the site has a hard time building a brand and must re-acquire the customer all over again leading to terrible unit economics. By comparison eBay and Craigslist are not acquiring customers for that one transaction because the buyer knows they can find the product there. By contrast people buy tickets to sports events, shows, etc. and go on vacation regularly enough to allow Stubhub and Airbnb to build established brands in the category through repeated interactions with the customers.
2. The vertical marketplace must offer something that is not easy for the horizontal marketplace to offer and truly improves transactions in the category.
The specialized guitar site launches with a better category tree than eBay and a more exhaustive list of guitar models. The problem is that this is not particularly distinctive. It’s easy for eBay to copy, not to mention there are thousands of experts willing to provide the information for very little. Likewise, horizontal classified sites can reasonably easily make sure they have the right attributes in real estate and cars making it hard for vertical sites to extract much value out of the categories. However, there are many categories whose specificity require specialized adjustments to the platform that will just never hit the technology development priority list of a horizontal site. Alternatively, they may require process changes that larger organizations are unwilling to do. In the Read More →