“This story is designed to illustrate the fact that software alone is a commodity. There is nothing stopping anyone from copying the feature set, making it better, cheaper, and faster. And they will do that. This is the reality that Brad and I stared at in 2003 as we were developing our initial investment thesis for USV. We saw the cloud coming but did not want to invest in commodity software delivered in the cloud. So we asked ourselves, “what will provide defensibility” and the answer we came to was networks of users, transactions, or data inside the software. We felt that if an entrepreneur could include something other than features and functions in their software, something that was not a commodity, then their software would be more defensible. That led us to social media, to Delicious, Tumblr, and Twitter. And marketplaces like Etsy, Lending Club, and Kickstarter. And enterprise oriented networks like Workmarket, C2FO, and SiftScience.”

I leapt onto the wearables bandwagon this weekend. #data


Economic growth as measured by GDP is an increasingly bad measure of progress. First, it doesn’t speak at all about people and how we live our lives. Hypothetically all of us working and shopping frantically will make GDP great even if we were all exhausted and tired all the time (come to think of it, that is pretty close to what we are doing). Second, it has no notion of sustainability built into it or put differently it doesn’t capture negative externalities. Selling a product that pollutes the air increases GDP even if it results in more asthma. To make matter worse, selling Asthma medication to those affected then further increases GDP. And third, it doesn’t do well with non-rival information goods. For instance, as we have something like Wikipedia replacing Encarta and Encyclopedia Britannica GDP actually shrinks. So at a time when we have taken good care of basic needs around clothing, food, transportation, housing GDP is becoming increasingly the wrong measure of progress.

Maximus. Decimus. Meridius.

Finally, someone(thing) believes in me! (at Bop House - Asian Fusion Kitchen)

CEOs got the message: The point of running a company was to keep the share price high. And to keep their eyes on the target, boards started tying executive pay to the share price, by paying CEOs with stock options that were much more valuable than their paper salary. In the wake of the “shareholder value” revolution, everything except the value of a company’s stock—including its impact on the lives of its employees, its contracts with suppliers and retailers, whether it was liked or hated by its customers—came to be seen as almost irrelevant. Everything you needed to know about how a company was doing was believed to be reflected in its share price.

By the 1990s, the notion that a CEO had an obligation to maximize shareholder value had become an unquestioned mantra taught in business schools; ordinary people assumed it was simply the way of the world. “People think it was brought down from Mount Sinai by Moses, as the 11th Commandment,” said Richard Sylla, a professor who specializes in the history of financial institutions at NYU Stern School of Business, and the coauthor of a recent article in the journal Daedalus critiquing the notion of shareholder supremacy. “If you’re younger than 50 or 60, you’ve lived in a world where everyone taught you that this is what a corporation is supposed to do—maximize profit and shareholder value. But the world used to be different.”

“Yet Slack’s well-designed chat function is a trojan horse for bigger ideas. Its ambition is to become the hub at the center of all your other business software. It ties in to many of the applications you use at work: Dropbox, Google Apps, GitHub, Heroku, and Zendesk to name a few. Once they’re all connected, it can keep track of most everything you do with them. Most importantly, it’s got killer search built right in. “Right now, your data ends up a little bit in Twitter, a little bit in Zendesk, a little bit in GitHub,” Stewart says. “Slack is the one mutual platform where all those things come together. That’s the longer-term thinking.”

The payoff is that it makes collaborating way easier than whatever you’re doing now. Let’s say you drop a link to a PDF stored in your folder in your company’s Dropbox. People on your team will see this file pop up in Slack, with a summary, and can click on it to read—right there in the app. Your colleagues can review it, make notes about it, and comment on what you ought to do next without ever leaving the application. One of your team members says, “You really did it, bro! This is a massive thought bomb.” Yay! They adore you.”