Damn good writing productivity this week if I do say so myself. A set of five articles packaged as part of a new content experiment at TechCrunch, a book review, and two more editions of TechCrunch’s Equity podcast.
A set of five columns focused on SoftBank’s financial performance and Form Ds, which are the filings that startups typically submit to the SEC when they take venture capital. SoftBank loves debt, but yet has managed to continue to outperform on operating income growth, while
Malka Older’s science fiction novel State Tectonics is an incredible romp through the future of democracy and politics. It’s filled with great vignettes, and has a thriller plot line as well. The characters are perhaps a bit underdeveloped, but in the end, people read speculative fiction for the speculation, and State Tectonics offers it in spades.
A deep dive into New York City’s new cybersecurity ecosystem initiatives. The city wants to be one of the global hubs for the industry, since most of the major customers that use this software are based locally. These sorts of initiatives are tricky to get right, but the hope here is that the combination of an incubator, education initiatives, sales accelerators and co-working/community space can catalyze the industry against other leading cities like Boston, Washington DC, and Tel Aviv.
This was an in-depth look at the failures of four well-known VC firms in Silicon Valley. All four were widely popular with the press, and all four have all but ceased to exist just a couple of years later. What happened? The essential story here is that there really aren't all that many similarities. Much as the families of Anna Karenina are each unhappy in their own ways, each of these funds faced different issues which caused their undoing. Crazily enough, some of these funds may still turn out to have blockbuster returns.
A book review of one of the most widely-discussed books published on Silicon Valley in some time. The story of Theranos is now widely known due to the work of John Carreyrou at the Wall Street Journal, and this is the complete story with a bunch of details filled in. For such an important book on business ethics though, I found the book to be a bit pedestrian — for all of the fraud (and there are heaps of it), it’s hard to really feel that anyone
Two pieces on the challenges of 5G. The first is an analysis around Apple’s use of 5G in its popular line of iPhones. The company made no announcements this week, and that’s the challenge for Apple given the timing of its product launches, particularly around China. China will have commercial 5G service late this year to early next year or so, but the next edition of the iPhone likely won’t come out
Summer is finally over, and I’ve had lots of travel the past few weeks to Seoul, Tokyo, and SF. TechCrunch just hosted the largest Disrupt ever, with thousands of attendees streaming across Moscone last week. I got to interview some amazing people, and the videos will hopefully come in the next edition of this review.
With work on internal projects and travel, writing slowed down to a crawl in August, which is why this review hasn’t been posted in some time. That said, some great news stories from August, plus some analyses as I walked and talked around San Francisco.
Data sovereignty is one of those slow-boiling issues that are easy to miss, but incredibly important to stay on top of. I have been focusing a lot on China’s data sovereignty policies, including its relatively new cloud computing law, but this week I shine the light on India. The country is promulgating a revamped data localization law that would require Indian data to be stored in local data centers. It’s a laudable goal for locals, but extraordinarily complicated for cloud providers who have to handle the data governance rules.