One of the biggest questions in the retail/consumer/shopping industrial complex is this: Will any of these new mobile payment or automated service projects really stick, or will they just drive people crazy? Last week, I think I saw the beginning of the answer. At Disney.
For this is the truth that we are now facing. For all of its democratizing power, the Internet, in its current form, has simply replaced the old boss with a new boss. And these new bosses have market power that, in time, will be vastly larger than that of the old boss.
So, as an investor, when you see a dominant market power emerge, you should start asking yourself “what will undo that market power?” And you should start investing in that.
"Heroes aren’t necessarily the people who get the medal at the end of the story. Heroes are the people who do things that are right.” - Frank Miller
Great developers are not people who can produce bubble sorts or link shorteners on demand. They are the people who when you harness them up to a project, never stop moving and inspire everyone around them to do the same. Fuck Rockstars. Hire workhorses.
We need people who want to do really hard things. We need people who live for the struggle.
Tomorrow’s cars won’t just use natural resources more efficiently than today’s do. They’ll also make automobility cheaper, accessible to a wider range of users, more convenient, and faster. Thanks to driverless technologies and the car-sharing services they’ll enable, blind people and old people will be able to transport themselves without assistance. Circling for parking will go the way of dial-up modems. And millions of suburban garages, no longer needed to store two or three lightly used late-model sedans, will be leasable through Airbnb and other sharing platforms as office space for millions of new start-ups!
Pre-Seed is the new Seed. (~$500K used for building team and initial product/prototype)
Seed is the new Series A. (~$2M used get for building product, establishing product-market fit and early revenue)
Series A is the new Series B. (~6M-$15M used to scale customer acquisition and revenue)
Series B is the new Series C.
Series C/D is the new Mezzanine
Betting on people prematurely can also be a great hiring strategy. Find the superstar who’s just a bit less experienced than your job req suggests and give them the chance to step up. Especially from larger companies where promotion criteria is too firmly specified, good folks can find themselves locked into junior roles for distressingly long periods of time. Bring them on board, elevate them but also provide the support they need… I don’t want to bet on someone who has done the job before, but someone with the headroom and capacity to do this job and beyond.
As a best kept secret that won’t stay a secret for long, the Midwest is on its way to becoming a great economic driver in the technology ecosystem as entrepreneurs understand success can be achieved without being in Silicon Valley.
The reality about VC is that while you swing for the fences, it’s very hard to hit a home run. Getting doubles and triples instead of zeros in other at bats can make a difference. When you are an entrepreneur, an outcome like this means millions in your bank account. Maybe not never-have-to-work-again type of money, but life-changing amounts.