Sherpa Ventures recently published a “must read" covering the emerging on-demand economy, popularized by companies such as Airbnb, Uber and GrubHub. It reminds me of just how fast the Internet and pervasive data connectivity has changed our lives as we’re living in a world where fixed assets are a liability (hotels) but our experiences are fluid, because of our phones (short term and vacation rentals). We’re seeing ecosystems contract, expand and at times, get destroyed (taxi and limousine holdings). Massive opportunities emerge (on-demand car hailing products), become unbundled, with new creative classes created (drivers and property hosts). Most exciting, as a society, we’re better off and we’re becoming more efficient because of the glass screens in our pocket.
The Internet is a dream for someone with a growth mindset. Between Khan Academy, MOOCs, and others, there is unprecedented access to endless content to help you grow your mind. However, society isn’t going to fully take advantage of this without growth mindsets being more prevalent. So what if we actively tried to change that? What if we began using whatever means are at our disposal to start performing growth mindset interventions on everyone we cared about? This is much bigger than Khan Academy or algebra — it applies to how you communicate with your children, how you manage your team at work, how you learn a new language or instrument. If society as a whole begins to embrace the struggle of learning, there is no end to what that could mean for global human potential.
According to Bloomberg Reserve (their dining reviews and editorial newsletter), Yorkville is an “up and coming” hipster neighborhood in NYC.
And, today people book in lots of different places. Nobody will contest that more than 50% of hotels are booked outside of corporate policy. And I know this for a fact because for 25,000 corporate customers, I manage their expense reports.
The value capture in the private markets has also led some hedge funds and other major non-private-market investors to become late-stage VCs. Many of these investors lack the skills, focus, experience and temperament to make great, patient, long-term, private-market investors. Trying to shoe-horn a hedge-fund mentality into venture capital markets cannot portend a happy outcome. Marc Andreessen captured some of this sentiment in his recent “10 Ways to Damage Your High-Growth Tech Startup” Tweetstorm.
Don’t invest in “pedigreed” founders, with startups in hot sectors, that have lots of “social proof”, located in the Bay Area. Everyone wants to invest in those companies. So, as we saw in Angel Gate, valuations in these deals go way up. Instead, invest in a wide range of founders, in a wide range of sectors, before their startups have much social proof, across the entire US. Undoubtedly, these startups have a lower chance of succeeding.
The first part of our modest insight was to face the fact that, at the seed stage, most of the value is option value not enterprise value. Any approach based on trying to work backwards from some hypothetical future enterprise value will be either incredibly expensive or little more than a guess.
We can now begin to see that the new style of management is not a fad. The knowledge-based part of the economy demands flat hierarchies, mission orientation, above all a sense of direction. Not five-year plans. We can also fathom the mystery of what I’ve alluded to as re-everything. Much of this “re- everything” predilection—in the bulk- processing world—is a fancy label for streamlining, computerizing, downsizing. However, in the increasing-returns world, especially in high tech, re-everything has become necessary because every time the quest changes the company needs to change. It needs to reinvent its purpose, its goals, its way of doing things. In short, it needs to adapt. And adaptation never stops. In fact, in the increasing-returns environment I’ve just sketched, standard optimization makes little sense. You cannot optimize in the casino of increasing-returns games. You can be smart. You can be cunning. You can position. You can observe. But when the games themselves are not even fully defined, you cannot optimize. What you can do is adapt. Adaptation, in the proactive sense, means watching for the next wave that is coming, figuring out what shape it will take, and positioning the company to take advantage of it. Adaptation is what drives increasing-returns businesses, not optimization.
When you materially improve an offering, and create new features, functions, experiences, price points, and even enable new use cases, you can materially expand the market in the process.