Column

 

  • Our Dangerous Obsession With The MVP

    Our Dangerous Obsession With The MVP

    Building stuff does not make you a startup. “But don’t we need to build stuff and iterate quickly?” I get asked a lot. Well, sure. Once upon a time, when companies used the “old-school” waterfall model to develop products, pushing entrepreneurs to think in terms of building a minimum viable product as quickly as possible made sense. It substantially accelerated… Read More

  • A Guide To Post Seed Financing Options

    A Guide To Post Seed Financing Options

    Seed capital availability exploded at the same time the traditional Series A ecosystem began consolidating to fewer and fewer funds. By some counts there are now over 135 active seed capital funds and now less fewer than 90 truly active traditional Series A firms. This has caused what everyone now refers to as “The Series A Crunch.” Read More

  • This Industry Is Completely Ridiculous. Let’s Hope It Stays That Way.

    This Industry Is Completely Ridiculous. Let’s Hope It Stays That Way.

    OK. Let’s take a step back from all the recent tech news, look at it with fresh eyes–and try not to burst into slightly hysterical laughter. In Japan, some half-billion dollars’ worth of cryptocurrency vanished from a site founded to trade Magic: The Gathering cards. In New Zealand, the world’s greatest Call of Duty player has launched a political party to revenge… Read More

  • What’s Not Being Said About Bitcoin

    What’s Not Being Said About Bitcoin

    Mt.Gox is gone. The one-time biggest Bitcoin exchange closed its doors this week and filed for bankruptcy this morning. Questions about the future of Bitcoin have once again been up-leveled to the headlines of nearly every major media outlet. Read More

  • The Rise And Future Of The New York Startup Ecosystem

    The Rise And Future Of The New York Startup Ecosystem

    Like many who have been active in the New York startup ecosystem over the past decade, I am optimistic about its future. The last 10 years have seen an increasing number of startup successes in New York. Read More

  • Fixing The “Flappstore”

    Fixing The “Flappstore”

    Flappy bird has been a wake-up call to our industry. Not because of its success but because of what it has revealed. This little game has unexpectedly reset to zero what works for users. And more. As the developer of Flappy Bird, at the summit of its success, decided to kill his app before tens of millions of excited users, a tsunami has shaken the industry and the App Store, and has triggered… Read More

  • Technology Unlocks “Economies Of Unscale” For Small Businesses

    Technology Unlocks “Economies Of Unscale” For Small Businesses

    Twenty years ago, small business owners lacked the tools to expand outside of their niche markets. Today, the Internet opens a flourishing global market of consumers ready and willing to engage with businesses of any size. As Patrick Collison, co-founder of Stripe, once told me, the company’s largest customers may not even exist today. Anyone can turn a living room idea into the next… Read More

  • Mobile Is From Mars, Facebook Is From Venus, And WhatsApp Is Ephemeral

    Mobile Is From Mars, Facebook Is From Venus, And WhatsApp Is Ephemeral

    You can only admire Mark Zuckerburg. If the game is Whack-A-mole he is prepared to whack them, small, medium or large – no matter the cost. Whacking moles is the only way to earn points and points translate into life. Think about it. Would you give up 20 percent of your worth and 35 percent of your cash if you got to live on in the face of an otherwise certain demise. Of course you would! Read More

  • How To Cope with Your Insane Jealousy Of The WhatsApp Deal

    How To Cope with Your Insane Jealousy Of The WhatsApp Deal

    Wednesday was my birthday. It should have been a great day. Then I heard the news. WhatsApp had been purchased by Facebook for $19 billion. When I read about the deal I blurted out the words, “Holy Crap!” so loudly that a stranger nearby gave me a disapproving look. Read More

  • When Founders And Investors Split Over An Acquisition Offer

    When Founders And Investors Split Over An Acquisition Offer

    For one founder who recently sold his startup, it was the culmination of a long journey. At the same time, the founder, who spoke to me on the condition of anonymity, had problems during the acquisition process, feeling bullied by a venture investor. The investor argued against a sale of the startup, and then after agreeing to the sale, proceeded to call the buyer and yell about terms of the deal. Read More

  • Obamacare Spurring A New Generation Of Startups

    Obamacare Spurring A New Generation Of Startups

    Spurred by the Affordable Care Act, the American healthcare system in 2014 has entered a period of titanic change. The process will be messy and disruptive – it already is. While challenging for consumers of healthcare services, the shifting landscape provides tremendous opportunity for entrepreneurs, setting up the potential for an accelerated shift in healthcare delivery in the U.S. Read More

  • Hedge Fund Rising

    Hedge Fund Rising

    Scrolling through reports of recent venture financings, the names of the firms involved has changed quite a bit over the past few quarters. Of note, hedge funds have entered the later-stage, pre-IPO investment arena in a meaningful way. Firms like Coatue Capital (Snapchat, Box), Valiant Capital (Pinterest, Evernote) and Tiger Global (One Kings Lane, Nextdoor) are not new to venture investing… Read More

  • The Next Revolutions: Drones Vs. Phones

    The Next Revolutions: Drones Vs. Phones

    It’s been a hell of a week worldwide. Caracas, Venezuela: “What had been a slow-motion unravelling that had stretched out over many years went kinetic all of a sudden.” Kiev, Ukraine: “Dozens dead as protesters regain territory from police.” Bangkok, Thailand: “Four people have been killed and more than 60 injured after a gun battle erupted between police… Read More

  • Meet Hyv, A Startup That Can’t Wait For Phone Unlocking To Be Made Legal

    Meet Hyv, A Startup That Can’t Wait For Phone Unlocking To Be Made Legal

    On Tuesday, the House of Representatives will vote on legislation on phone unlocking (H.R. 1123). In January 2013, a decision by the Librarian of Congress made it a crime to unlock your phone, with either civil or criminal penalties. Since that time, the resale market has been significantly impacted and websites have shut down offering unlocking services. In the following month over… Read More

  • Mobile Contacts Are Now The Real Social Network

    Mobile Contacts Are Now The Real Social Network

    Facebook’s surprising acquisition of WhatsApp signals that it has realized that users’ true social network is the contact list on their smartphones. Mobile contacts are usually limited to people a user knows well and actually communicates with, a veritable treasure trove when compared to the copious list of Facebook friends that many users have accumulated over the years. Read More

  • Bitcoin Is The New PayPal

    Bitcoin Is The New PayPal

    On February 7, Mt.Gox informed users that they were temporarily halting withdrawals of the popular electronic currency from their service due to a technical problem called transaction malleability. This technical flaw allowed fraudsters to manipulate the unique ID of a Bitcoin transaction. They could make it appear as if the withdrawal never happened even though they would still receive the funds. Read More

  • How To Run Live User Testing, Part 1: Setup

    How To Run Live User Testing, Part 1: Setup

    At Cluster, we’re big fans of iteration and experimentation. Since we launched publicly in February 2013, we have rapidly iterated the product on both iOS and Android. In the first eight weeks of being live in the Apple App Store, we launched 10 updates. On Android, there was a week that we pushed out five releases in five days while we did some heavy A/B testing. Read More

  • Shutting Down Blurtt

    Shutting Down Blurtt

    Blurtt, which launched in its current form back in 2012, was a mobile app that allowed you to create their own digital expressions by allowing you to choose an image, add text and share either anonymously or to your network. Now in 2014, my beloved startup Blurtt is dead and all the assets are for sale. Read More

  • Kickstarter Coins

    Kickstarter Coins

    One of the problems of crowdfunding is if you don’t need or want the reward offered in exchange for your donation, there isn’t much incentive to support a project. This is a problem we can change, and by doing so reinvent cryptocurrency as we know it. I’ll also describe “The Startup” I believe many people will eventually create to provide the services… Read More

  • Daemon And Influx Author Daniel Suarez On Why Innovation Has Stalled

    Daemon And Influx Author Daniel Suarez On Why Innovation Has Stalled

    Daniel Suarez self-published his first novel, Daemon, in 2006. The book and its sequel Freedom chronicled the rise of a botnet that uses self-driving cars to kill humans, crashes the stock market, and creates a new society in its own image. His next novel, Kill Decision, published by Dutton in 2012, was about aerial drones that could decide when to use lethal force independently of any human. Read More