Some Quick Thoughts on The Other Side of the Table

It’s been about three months since I left CRV to become an entrepreneur. There is lots to talk about, but I want to write up a quick hit list of some thoughts since switching back to the entrepreneurship side of the table:

  1. The market is far more saturated than it used to be. Really, I have some really long-tail ideas that I have been working on, and it never ceases to amaze me just the sheer number of founders working on projects. I feel like you could be building a startup around outer space meat processing and you would still be able to create a stereotypical 2x2 competitive landscape.
  2. That said, it’s always hard to judge execution. I think ideas are worth more
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The Problem With Subscription Software/Media Is High Prices

I am a big believer in subscription models — both for software and for media. As such, I often bring up the topic with friends to get their take, since more publications are moving from ads to subscription, and more apps are doing so as well (for instance, through in-app purchases in the App Store for iPhone).

The consistent view I have gotten is that people absolutely hate subscriptions. That hate is particularly vituperative when it comes to content, but software is given no mercy either. And listening to some of my friends and their stories, it seems people will go to the ends of the universe to avoid paying some of these fees.

That said, nearly every person I talk to does pay for something,

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Startups, Income Inequality, and the Basic Economy

One of the challenges I feel founders face, yet don’t discuss often enough, is how income inequality is changing product development.

One doesn’t have to read through Thomas Piketty’s behemoth Capital in the Twenty-First Century to understand that our society has become far less equal — just take a good, long look around startup hubs like San Francisco and New York. What used to be a continuum of incomes is now turning into a handful of groupings, and products are increasingly targeting a single bucket rather than the broader consumer market.

The best analogy I have to this is the current configuration of domestic airlines. Today, there are roughly four classes of service on Delta and other legacy carriers: Basic Economy, (Standard) Economy,

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The Asshole Test of Human Resources Products

I hate binary classifications as much as the next person, but here's one I thought about this morning while talking with a local human resources startup about how HR products should be built today:

Are you empowering the assholes in an organization, or are you empowering the workers in an organization?

What amazes me is how many startups in the HR space sell into the "asshole market" (usually under the guise of "performance management").

We have all heard about and seen awful management. These are the managers that have no trust in their direct reports, need everything verified, and change goal posts whenever events change. They are, in short, just crummy people to work with. Employees often respond to this environment

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