Bio not provided
It's the right investment and the right media narrative for Bankoff.
The more that he can position Vox as a "media + technology company", the greater revenue multiple he will get when he sells it.
It's unclear how big a role the technology plays in their editorial and audience development — 64 product people sounds high to me — more likely it plays a big role in their advertising capabilities.
But, either way, I think he is making the right move by hiring and focusing his talk on technology. I'm sure his BOD agrees.
4 weeks, 1 day ago on Vox Media’s Jim Bankoff continues to acquihire everything under the sun, snatching up Editorially founders
@NosFeratu1 You are not totally off base here -- but let's also remember that the "real estate interests" were able to transform a lot of Brooklyn, Queens, and Northern Manhattan into thriving/desirable neighborhoods. I don't think that many people were excited to live in Harlem twenty years ago... today, people are moving there eagerly.
6 months, 2 weeks ago on Awareness accomplished. Now let’s actually do something about San Francisco’s housing problem
Yup, as this article points out... there is no solution to the problem (as the problem has been framed by the media and the protesters).
Some want San Francisco to be "authentic" -- i.e. inhabited by people like them or who fulfill their definition of what a "real" San Franciscan should be. A big part of the authenticity is the small neighborhood vibe. Unfortunately, there are millions and millions of people who would like to reside in those Victorian homes in those small neighborhoods, and most of the people who can afford to do so are working 60-hour jobs in highly compensated fields...
This is what one might call an "end game" situation... and when we exhaust all possible alternative outcomes... that's when people get angry and throw things.
@DirtySexyEdtech Great comment. You are correct on all of the above.
6 months, 4 weeks ago on Look Who’s Gawking: Inside Nick Denton’s phony, hypocritical class war against tech workers
@paulcarr @bgoldberg Generalizations are fine, so long as the people you are generalizing look a certain way...
@ipvideo Many of them do. It depends upon the specifics of the jobs. The average highly-skilled software engineer probably makes more than the average sanitation worker, yes. The average BART worker probably makes more than the average AdOps manager.
Special thanks to Paul for highlighting how these "poor, destitute" BART workers make a huge salary, despite their efforts to hide overtime/bonus from all public discourse about their hearty incomes. It's hilarious how hypocritical this narrative has become. The increase in rents is driven just as much by the sheer quantity of workers moving to SF as it is by their salaries. I know plenty of 'techies' at big-name companies who make $70-95k, which is a fine salary, but less than a police officer will make. The financial advantage that many 'techies' have is that they are young, aren't supporting families, and don't yet care about saving. And so they will happily (and irresponsibly) pay $3k/month for a single room apartment.
@redhat @Scott_Allison Medium has a long way to go... the founders were able to get it some attention, not sure it is changing much or gonna get that big.
7 months, 1 week ago on The top 20 most viral companies of the decade (and how they ultimately performed)
@Scott_Allison That's exactly right. Both of those companies grew fast, but in a sustained way.
@edwkim Great comment -- totally agree!
7 months, 2 weeks ago on The Facebook content game: Who will win and who will lose?
I'm not sure that the criticisms against Upworthy are valid. There is nothing wrong with writing engaging headlines. There is nothing wrong with being hyper-attentive to curation. I think people are just jealous.
Now, whether they are a fad/gimmick or whether they last... that's another question.
But I don't see any reason to give them a hard time. Cynics can blame Facebook or Mankind for Upworthy's success, but not Upworthy.
7 months, 2 weeks ago on Upworthy hits 87M monthly uniques, says “Don’t call us clickbait”
This is a very one-sided Pando House Rock.
I think that you need to point out a few things:
1) Many of the neighborhoods that are being 'gentrified' were absolute shitholes before the "Twitters" moved in. Mid-market is still pretty bad, but it's headed in the right direction. What is the percentage decrease in needles on the street??
2) You can have a city of just rich people -- look at most of Manhattan. The good news is that the increased rents in prime Manhattan have lead to the improvement of Brooklyn, Harlem, and Queens. The same thing is happening now to Oakland.
3) Rents can only go up when the local economy is creating high-paying jobs. That is happening. I do feel bad for those who are not employed in such lines of work, but the jobs ARE being created.
4) There is no solution to increased rents. None. Rent control is a dangerous myth and will only hurt the city while creating arbitrary winners/losers.
5) The Ellis Act is perfectly fair. This is America. People own their property and can do what they want with it.
7 months, 3 weeks ago on Pandohouse Rock: Income inequality in San Francisco
@@chrisamccoy Lots of good thoughts here, thanks for the thoughtful response.
10 months, 2 weeks ago on Great entrepreneurs do not know their audiences
@Alyssa Royse I'm open to speak on this topic with you after the flurry dies down a little bit here. I have advised a lot of men and women in media on how to raise venture capital... it's something I put a lot of time into and talk about very little.
11 months, 1 week ago on Take Two
@JoshuaBolin Thanks. There were a lot of mistakes. One of them is that I was speaking to the Pando audience in the blog post, and assumed that they would be the readers. That was a mistake upon which many other poor judgements were layered.
@drewreidkerr Yes, the people who have run the publishing industry over the last twenty years have managed to destroy it. That is why the biggest-name publications are selling for small fractions of their value, and the rest are going out of business quickly. There are exceptions, but not many.
11 months, 1 week ago on I’ve raised $6.5 million to build and grow my new company: Bustle.com
UPDATE: After a lot of comment thread discussions, I now have a better sense of why some people have taken exception to my fundraise announcement...
Indeed, there are a lot of successful feminist publications — xojane and thehairpin are two that have built great followings. I regret not referencing them in my announcement, and the launch of Bustle, and my excitement about it, were not meant to convey that these sites don't exist. Nor was I trying to suggest that we are the first-ever website to cover this specific array of topics. I should have discussed some of these successful sites.
Bustle is a very different company from xojane or thehairpin. I would like for Bustle to be one of the fifty largest sites on the internet within this decade, and I would like to see it generate $100 million in revenue by that point. That's not to say that it is impossible for a feminist site like thehairpin to also achieve this, but I think that we are approaching things differently. Raising a large round of venture capital is one such difference in approach. Partnering with a major media company like Time Warner is another.
I appreciate the feedback and criticism, and I really intend to take it all in. I appreciate Anna and Rachel taking the time to elaborate on their reactions to this post and their patience in helping me to better understand the specific point.
11 months, 2 weeks ago on I’ve raised $6.5 million to build and grow my new company: Bustle.com
@annaholmes @bgoldberg @ElizabethSpiers1 @rachelsklar There are many great feminist publications out there. I am agreeing with that, and acknowledging that I should have mentioned that more clearly in my post.
I do not believe that those websites are in a position to become Top 50 websites, or achieve the scale necessary to generate substantial advertising revenue on their own. In many cases, I do not believe that to be their aim.
The entire fundraise announcement was wrapped in the context of trying to build a highly mainstream, large-scale publication with a feminist voice. After looking at the competitive landscape, i do not believe that any of them achieve that. Jezebel is a great site, but it is one part of Gawker Media (which reaches mostly men), just as xojane is one part of Say Media.
I think that a lot of people are reading my post to suggest that I discount existing feminist blogs. That was not my intention, and after re-reading my post with an eye towards that context, I see why that sentiment is conveyed.
There are dozens of women who are working hard to make Bustle great, and I am proud of every one of them. They are not responsible for any contextual shortcomings in my fundraise announcement, nor do they justify such shortcomings.
A great part of starting Bustle is gaining a greater understanding of women's publishing and the feminist landscape. I bring a lot of value to the table for this company, but there is no question that there are challenges ahead for me and many things to learn. Constructive feedback like this is helpful.
Bustle is a really great site that is going to keep getting better. If people were turned off by my fundraise announcement, then I am convinced that our editors will win them back. I will try to do so as well.
@annaholmes @bgoldberg @ElizabethSpiers1 It wasn't a straw man, because this article was precisely about me raising the money, hiring talented women, and enthusiastically entering a market. Most of the criticism has been from people inferring things that I did not say.
In hindsight, I regret that I did not highlight that there ARE many great feminist publications out there. There are a ton of them. But creating a great feminist publication that generates substantial revenue is a different challenge, and one that I am excited to embrace.
The article was predicated on the idea that my team and I are trying to build a large/mainstream publication that can be a Top 50 website on the internet. A billion dollar company. And one that has a feminist voice from day one. I'm not sure that Rookie Mag or TheHairpin are currently on such trajectory. I don't know if it's their goal. That's not a criticism, it's just an observation.
This was a business publication, and I would be happy to write a guest post on a different publication that is a more appropriate forum for discussing feminism. I am happy to go into great detail about how we differ from, say, xojane. I discussed that with Jane herself last week, and am happy to do it publicly.
@Cynthia Schames @bgoldberg @tbauckhage @AmyWillardCross I think that a lot of people, yourself included, were inclined to dislike Bustle, because the founder was a man. There may now be other reasons as well, though I think my comments on this article have been thoughtful, and (unlike your comment here), respectful.
@annaholmes @bgoldberg @ElizabethSpiers1 I'm sorry if it came across that way. Most of the people who are talking about Bustle today in the Twittersphere are analyzing it from a strictly editorial perspective, and that's totally ok. But there a lot of other forces in play when we look at what constitutes a "highly successful" publication, and unfortunately, a lot of very quality publications have failed to achieve large-scale financial success.
There are many great female-focused websites out there, and some great explicitly feminist ones too. Very few have raised venture capital. Very few attract eight-figure advertising revenue. Very few have been acquired for $100,000,000's.
My goal is for this to be massive. An easier path would have been to create another tabloid. That's not what my team and I wanted to do.
Creating a publication that can reach a wide audience, advance a great message, and be profitable... well, that's a big challenge. There are very few that have done it. Gawker Media is very successful, and according to the statistics, has mostly reached a male audience. Jezebel is an exception under that umbrella, and I have never said bad things about it, privately or publicly. I have done many interviews in advance of this announcement, and in many of them, I said great things about Jezebel.
To be honest, I think that a lot of people who are raising skepticism (or flat out trashing) Bustle are as perturbed by the messenger as they are the message.
If it's a bad thing for a man to go out and raise millions of dollars, hire a ton of women, provide paid work opportunities to young/talented female writers, and enthusiastically discuss it on a business publication... then I don't know what to tell you.
I was hoping that a lot of great feminist bloggers would welcome a 'different type' of entrant into this space... clearly that isn't happening. Doesn't change the mission, nor does it change that we are creating something valuable and different. I am no stranger to positive and negative criticism, and I far prefer the latter. We will grow from it. My last website received no shortage of hate, and we grew from it... and then sold it for a lot of money, because we embraced that feedback.
I am always happy to talk about Bustle's mission, and why we are different. And also where we overlap with existing sites.
@rachelsklar @bgoldberg @annaholmes @ElizabethSpiers1 All very good feedback. The "mascara, concealer, and eye-liner" quote was tongue-in-cheek, clearly did not come across that way.
There are few people working harder to support and advance female entrepreneurs than you. But, believe me, I am putting a LOT of my time into supporting women in tech, and I hope that some of them will crawl out of the woodwork in coming weeks.
You and I both know that a fundraise announcement is a time for celebration, and it is a time to explain how you plan to approach a market. It is not a time to lament that other (very talented people) are not able to raise cash. There are a lot of great women's sites out there, and I recognized some in this post. There are many that I did not mention.
On the whole, I am disappointed that the reaction to Bustle has been one of "he fails to recognize that others, like me, are already doing this..." and not one of "welcome to the party, let's continue to change things."
I am no stranger to criticism, and I will listen to all of it, and it will make Bustle better.
There are a lot of women who have worked hard to build Bustle, and they will eventually convince the skeptics that we are doing something valuable and different. We are not totally different, but our approach is unique in many ways.
Thanks for taking the time to write such smart comments. As mentioned, I have heard nothing but amazing things about you, and I am sure that we agree on 90% of matters. :)
@tbauckhage @AmyWillardCross Smartest thing that I've read all day. Not sure that a lot of these bloggers see it that way, though.
@rachelsklar @bgoldberg @annaholmes @ElizabethSpiers1 Rachel, everyone here at Bustle has a high opinion of you, and we've written positive things about you in the past. Nobody here is trying to set back the clock.
Not sure I get why someone as highly regarded as you needs to react to this with such snark and anger on day one of our announcement...
There's no way to write a fundraise announcement that will perfectly articulate the site's mission, and clearly this feedback would have been instructive a day ago. So things go...
I'm working very hard to support female editors and entrepreneurs here in New York — there are few people here working harder for that mission — and Bustle is a project that I believe in. I'm confident that our mission is on target, and that we will succeed in fusing feminist publishing and mainstream appeal. Not super interested in knee-jerk criticism, but always happy to discuss thoughtfully.
@annaholmes @ElizabethSpiers1 *complements*
@annaholmes @bgoldberg @ElizabethSpiers1 For starters, I specifically cited Gawker in my article, and I said nice things about Jezebel in the copy I submitted for publication, which (believe it or not) were edited out for some reason. No idea why, I don't own Pando.
The lens for this post was about how I want Bustle to be different from mainstream publishers, most of whom are magazines that have been around for decades. Jezebel is an outstanding site, but I think that the voice and content mix is pretty different from what we are aiming to do at Bustle.
Furthermore, the Gawker sites are part of a media company that takes pride in being 'alternative' in its voice. That's fine. But it's not what Bustle is trying to do. We are aiming to reach people across this country who are still reading Cosmo, and are not used to seeing the Egyptian Revolution side-by-side with Fashion tips.
I'm aware that many people on Twitter are expressing concerns (and anger) at Bustle and me, but I'm just not sure I understand why. This company has four men and about forty women working at it, and it's disappointing that all these great women's publications are picking fights.
I had a long meeting with Jane Pratt last week, and I think the world of her site, but it is VERY different from what I am doing, and she agreed with that assessment.
You ask how this will be mainstream? Well, building a huge publication is not easy, and one of the main things that hold publications back is a lack of resources. Raising a lot of capital to hire talented women as editors and writers is part of that. Yes, we will also cover a lot of topics, including some things that you may write off as "crap". There will be a lot of Miley and Amanda Bynes articles. Personally, I don't like how women are made to feel ashamed for reading about celebrities in the news. Men don't get mocked for reading about Alex Rodriguez's latest gossip.
On the whole, I think you will find that Bustle is going to prove a lot of skeptics wrong, by doing one thing... producing a lot of really good content and winning over readers, especially ones who might not otherwise think of themselves in a feminist context.
I'm totally open to criticism, and a lot of people don't like me or Bleacher Report, etc. At the same time, I am confident that we are doing a good thing here, and building a site that compliments the existing ecosystem.
@ElizabethSpiers1 @bgoldberg What are you really perturbed about here, Elizabeth? That my team and I are throwing our hats in the ring? That we want to bring smart content for women into the mainstream (where it currently does not exist)?
There are a lot of great women's publications out there — but the FACT is that very few of them are garnering the 10 million+ visitors and tens of millions in revenue that many of these male-oriented sites bring in. I'm trying to change that.
I applaud all of the niche women's sites that are trying to build large audience. I wish them the best of luck. I'm not saying anything bad about them, nor am I discounting them. But I think that my team and I can build one too, and grow it to be quite large.
Appreciate you taking the time to discuss this stuff -- I have always been a fan of Gawker, as mentioned in my article.
@ElizabethSpiers1Those *are* the publications that are attracting big advertising dollars. There are a lot of great/niche sites out there that reach women. Not arguing that. Have they tried to enter the mainstream and bring great feminist content to TENS of millions of readers? Probably not. Are they making $50 million per year in revenue? Nope. Most are making less than 1/20th of that.
Any suggestion that Bustle or I are demeaning other women's sites is ridiculous, and in no way a reasonable take-away from what was in my announcement.
@LoraKolodny @bgoldberg So.. "hustle and bustle" is dated, but a 19th century fashion piece is not dated? :)
I'm not saying that a woman couldn't have started Bustle, but what I am saying is that to-date, there have been very few venture-backed women's publications that seek to operate at large scale and generate substantial advertising revenue.
Any suggestion -- and there is plenty of it on Twitter -- that there are "no good publications for women or feminists" is preposterous, and I've made no such claim. Are there many great sites for women? Of course. Do those websites generate big revenue from mainstream advertisers? Rarely. I'm trying to use my experience, contacts, etc, to create a mainstream publication for women, edited by smart/talented women, with a feminist lean to it.
If that's so bad, then people are free to hate on us, one day into our launch...
@LoraKolodny Thanks for the thoughtful comment. The "bustle" name has several meanings, and for me, the primary meaning is the first one that appears in the dictionary. The site is for busy women, who love the hustle and bustle of our crazy world. As for the clothing item, I'm not sure that it should be taken so literally... of course our writers dont long for Victorian days. Also, fwiw, a female editor came up with the name.
I think it's pretty clear that the site cares about way more than cosmetics. At the same time, we also don't want people to feel apologetic about liking cosmetics -- or feel that it renders them less likely to be taken seriously.
As for me being a CEO -- of course there are women who would be more credible feminists, and who would be a better face for the company. Are those same people able to assemble a team of world class engineers, advertising experts, audience developers, investors, etc? Everyone brings their own casserole to the picnic.
@ianb1 @MikeKazanjy My first Apple Macintosh cost $5,600 in 1989 terms -- which is closer to $10,000 in today's dollars... that was a far great luxury than spending $60,000 on a car.. especially one that will probably save you a good portion of your gas money. Gotta love the hindsight view of history...
11 months, 2 weeks ago on Now it’s not even close – Elon Musk is more important to society than Steve Jobs ever was
@ryanvailbrown "Competition" from an advertising standpoint will be Vogue, Hearst, and many of the large womens publishers with established sales teams. Very few of the new media womens publishers have achieved the scale and infrastructure necessary to compete in the revenue marketplace.
There are many great women's sites out there, but tend to be niche. Very few investors have put big money into a female-focused content venture. Are there any favorites of yours that you think I should check out? Always on the look out for great sites.
@curtwoodward Glad the "Journalism Witch Hunter" is on the case!
@ianb1 Your sentence re: Tesla has got to be the stupidest and most laughable dismissal of a point that I have read in quite some time. Is that all Tesla is doing? Nothing potentially groundbreaking to speak of??
Is your disdain for the "1%ers" so hot that you can simply hurl the word "luxury" at it -- and suddenly it loses all of its credibility?
There is a reason why Tesla went from a $3 billion to $15 billion company overnight, and why it will grow another 10x this decade. It is going to single-handedly achieve the impossible by making electric vehicles a mainstream alternative to gasoline powered ones.
And, in so doing, will help the planet and help rid us of the petrol-powered dictators of the world.
Sounds like one of the tech world's most common problems...
1%ers creating products for other 1%ers.
I'm just not sure that the average American is really interested in longform journalism...
But, then again, I'm not sure that these are commercial endeavors.
11 months, 2 weeks ago on Epic launches, Politico goes deeper: Why longform is the new necessity
America is making all the correct investments for the future: end-of-life care so that 88-year-olds can live an extra few months, obscene pension plans for our government employees, and prisoners...
11 months, 3 weeks ago on Hey Ayn Rand devotees: Startups and markets alone won’t fix our cities
I think that this focuses more on the symptoms — and how we measure those symptoms — than it does the cause.
The reason we have such inequality is because we have become more of a meritocracy, and there are fewer 'support systems' in place that can translate hard work into guaranteed income. It used to be that a person who is willing to work hard and get his hands dirty was able to make a decent wage. Now you have to be hard working AND clever/savvy just to get a job. Most people do not fulfill both of those adjectives.
The good news is that we still live in a country where the best and brightest, and hardest working, are able to separate themselves. There are lots of myths about the 'dream' being gone, but that just isn't true. I continue to see the people who most deserve to make money be the ones who make money.
The reason why Sarah Lacy is not only making a living in journalism, but also is the CEO of her own publication, is because she simply works harder than all the others. I say that with the knowledge of knowing many writers/editors/media executives. Nobody works harder than her, which is why she is where she is...
Fifty years ago, the United States was a game where anyone could make a living. Today the rules are far more complex, the expectations are higher, and the playing field is rougher.
11 months, 3 weeks ago on America can kiss its ass and consumer economy goodbye: The view from dystopia
@The Expert Not sure how you define it, but I would gladly "fail" for a second time...
11 months, 4 weeks ago on The most important managerial skill
@john22harrison I barely ever get to use it.
1 year ago on Search traffic vs. social traffic — It’s not equal
@danielschiller Sponsored content is a subset of display advertising, as far as I'm concerned. On TV, we have seen sponsored content replace commercials, thanks to DVR's. How often have you seen a baseball game where the "Starting lineup is brought to you by Chevy Trucks..." or seen all the product placement for Coca Cola in American Idol...
These deals are still priced and planned in ways similar to rectangles or pre-rolls...
Yup, I am pleased to be helping this company grow. To add to Hamish's disclosure, the Hoffman brothers took interest in my columns here on Pando and had the initiative to reach out to me. My opinion then, as it is now, is that WSCS is a site with a whole lot of upside. They have managed to get the 'big things' right — building audience, driving revenue, garnering subscribers in large numbers, etc. Improvements to design, ad layouts, tech, etc, will come with time. There are thousands of Silicon Valley darlings who would kill to have the type of numbers that WSCS can boast.
I am a stock market nut — always love the debates about which companies are on the rise, and which ones are dogs. It is one of the hardest forms of content to do properly (harder even then sports), and I think that the Hoffman bros are in a position to win. The fact that they have done it in such a bootstrapped way, and far from Silicon Valley, makes their achievement all the more impressive.
Pleased to be involved with this business, and think that it will keep getting bigger from here.
1 year ago on Not pretty, but profitable: Wall St Cheat Sheet writes its own rules for new media
@UnMarketing @bgoldberg @nathanielmott I don't think that it is — but I think that this debate is worthy of a separate article. Perhaps I will write one.
(Cue the booing and hissing)
1 year ago on Which is worse for crowdfunders, naiveté or honesty?
@nathanielmott @bgoldbergIf we can't figure out who the report was, then so be it.
I don't think that there are any ethical scruples with crowdfunding — you get exactly what you pay for: nothing.
Everyone on Kickstarter needs to assume that they are making a very small-scale donation to an entreprenuer. Whether they get their watch or bike or what not is a cherry on the cake. They will usually get *something*, but they should keep their expectations in check.
It's hard for me to be sympathetic about some random guy losing $75, when a lot of angel investors lose $75,000 on similar companies — often for reasons even more frustrating than a manufacturing snafu. The dynamics of risk and reward are not reserved for the very wealthy. It's a boat in which every single person finds themselves.
This article — which I consider to be uncontroversial to the extreme — appears to have been prompted by "one reporter" at a press conference. Do you have a link?
@kpkelleher @bgoldberg Yup, there are plenty of puff pieces in Silicon Valley. It's generally an overtly-positive environment where people cheer for you and give you a gold star even if you fail.
Beyond that, we are talking past each other, and it does not appear that either of us are in search of common ground.
1 year ago on What the hell is a “real journalist” anyway?
@kpkelleher @bgoldberg My point — and after re-reading my post, I feel I conveyed this articulately — is that there are only a few thousand people out there who can make a living as journalists, and I think that they have bigger fish to fry than Sean Parker, Dave Morin, or (in the case of Eskenazi) me and my colleagues. I think that journalists play an important role in our society, and given that they are becoming scarcer in number, it is disheartening to see them pick the wrong targets. Maybe you think that Sean Parker is the right target. I don't. Maybe you think that Bleacher Report is the right target. I don't. Maybe you are a relativist who does not believe that anything is 'right' or 'wrong' to target — I'm not.
My brush stroke was not an attack on every single journalist, but it was an attack on a pretty-hard-to-ignore trend of hating on Silicon Valley and the successful entrepreneurs/investors in particular. It's an accelerating wave, and my article was very clearly directed at it. If you can honestly tell me that SV has not been in the cross-hares recently, then we are on totally different pages.
What are my 1950's epithets? I have no idea what you mean by that.
What are you and Nathaniel and Valleywag and everyone else so mad about?
As I mentioned in my criticism of Eskenazi, I am always open to discuss anything. I am easy to reach, always take the time to respond to people, and happy to thoughtfully debate any point.
@orangerobot @bgoldberg There you go! I imagine that VMWare will survive your anti-Bryan views.
I'm really not sure why you — and countless journalists on Twitter — are so worked up about my article.
Contrary to what the angry mob has insinuated, it was not some sort of tirade, ferocious screed, or rambling manifesto.
It was a short blog post that made one very clear and reasonable point: These big-name journalists have better things to do than thumb their noses at (successful) Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. And, despite all the angry responses, the point is a perfectly fair one.
In most cases, I pointed out that my subjects were good writers who deserve praise for their other works. Though some people are angry at me for complimenting Nate Thayer, who was very recently embroiled in some quote-lifting controversy (I guess that I just can't win even when I'm nice).
The only writer who I called out — and, as with many of my articles, connected it to the first person — was Joe Eskenazi. He earned my criticism because of his intellectual dishonesty. He made no sincere effort to reach me before writing 10,000+ words (based on 'hundreds of pages of notes') about my company. I am very easy to reach. Anybody with Facebook or LinkedIn can very easily reach me. He made no serious effort to do so, because it would have inconvenienced his article. Given that he has written little of note other than his anti-Bleacher hit piece, I will assume that his lack of talents are generally manifest. I have no more desire to discuss them, anyhow.
Your article, Kevin, was hastily written and resorted to potty-humor. It was pretty low on the 'lowest common denominator' meter. I'm not sure where to begin responding, and it would be hard to do so, given that you resort to relativism for the most part.
I will leave you with this observation, though...
The reason why my writing is valuable, and the reason why so many people read and share my articles is because of one thing: perspective. Am I the world's greatest writer? No. Does my prose rival Thomas Hardy's? Absolutely not. But there are very few — in fact, probably zero — other people who have the experience of starting a large, successful startup AND who take the time to write about the experience. There are thousands of people who are career writers, and some of them have traveled the world, dodged bullets, or gained incredible access to people of note. Those are the journalists who are famous. The other tens of thousands are just writers with nothing particularly unusual about them. Maybe you are in the former category, maybe you are in the latter.
But I am somebody who does bring truly unique perspective to my writing.
My readers care what an *actual* founder of an *actual* success story has to say. And they care about my views on Silicon Valley, because I am now out there once again fundraising and building businesses. That is a rare perspective, and I am apparently one of the few who is bringing it into the open.
Most of my articles are about fairly mundane topics that you cannot possibly take exception to — fundraising, team building, traffic growth, etc. Sometimes I write about politics, and those are the ones that likely upset you. Deal with it.
Ultimately, the reason why so many of your fellow journalists hated my article is because journalists aren't used to being criticized. They are used to being the critics. They think they have the right to shit all over "rich white elitists" to their hearts' content, but when somebody speaks to the contrary, they write it off as garbage.
Anyhow, I hope that this was therapeutic for you, and that you can once again break bread with your journalists friends, having saved the day at this website you love so much... even if you hadn't written anything in 17 days until now.
@orangerobot To whom would we attribute the term? The coward who is too big of a wuss to put his name next to his comments?
World hunger is a problem worth solving — do you agree?
1 year ago on Upworthy’s social juggernaut hits 30M monthly uniques. Now for the ads
Violence against women is bad — agree or disagree?
Do you believe that people should have freedom? Yes or No?
Sounds like we have some angry journalists on our hands!
Not surprisingly, though, they are all angry about totally different things.
1 year ago on The “real journalists” need to grow up
@clairedwillett @bgoldberg Yeah, and my point is that "real journalists" should be covering "real issues," not gossiping about Sean Parker's wedding... or making up bullshit about Bleacher Report... or trying to 'expose' successful founders.
@Ken Schneider He's still a kid -- give him a second. Bill Gates took decades before starting his foundation...
@clairedwillett If you don't like this website, then don't read it.
@theodosiam I've seen this often -- a reporter makes a half-assed and insincere effort to reach his subject. The reporter takes a roundabout path that he knows is unlikely to produce its aim, and then he claims that the subject refused to participate...
How is it that so many 23-year old aspiring entrepreneurs in San Francisco have had no problem getting ahold of me for lunch or coffee, while this 'professional investigator' spent "weeks" making "entreaties" but never so much as got an email or LinkedIn message or Facebook im to me?
Because he put in no effort at all. And only a complete fool would believe that he actually tried to discuss his article with Bleacher Report before publishing it.
@decaturparkway Thanks! In a few weeks, hopefully.
1 year ago on The biggest problem with secondaries
@IthacaMatt What's your point?
1 year ago on Traffic growth should be a marathon, not a sprint
@HeddiCundle What you said makes no sense, I'm afraid. Rent control prevents homes from being built, and then entrepreneurs have nowhere to live... have you ever noticed that there are 30 people lined up outside of every open house? That is rent control in action...
1 year, 1 month ago on A San Francisco rent control parable
@WeAreMany @bgoldberg @mengwu You gonna respond to my point about how many retail workers at Macy's live in Walnut Creek and simply take the BART to work each day... and apparently don't have a big problem doing that? In fact, just a few minutes ago, I bought some fresh juice from a young woman who commutes to Pac Heights via BART and lives in Oakland. She seemed plenty nice and friendly, and says she likes her job.
You would constrict the most basic concepts of freedom and free markets to merely convenience some random Macy's worker... what a laugher.
@WeAreMany @mengwu A lot of the retail clerks who work at Macy's and Nordstrom live outside the city and commute here on BART, what the hell is wrong with that?
Oh, I forgot, in your utopian vision for the world, they are naturally entitled to prime Pac Heights real estate. And the people who built those buildings in Pac Heights are obligated to give these retail workers a free home. And those who are willing to pay for the Pac Heights home should get no priority over your arbitrarily-selected Nordstrom worker.
Got it, that makes a bunch of sense!!
@WeAreMany @mengwu Yup, this is an easy answer for those educated in economics...
Once the waiters and barristas determine that living in San Francisco is too expensive, then they will move to a cheaper neighborhood (this is how the Mission and Haight became popular spots), or they will leave the city.
Then the restaurant owners, who wish to keep their ritzy clientele, will have to either (1) give a raise to their waiters or (2) go out of business. They will always choose (1), and then raise pricing on their food, which the ritzy clientele will have no choice but to pay...
This is how a functioning city works.
Rent control simply slows this from happening, or prevents it from happening at all...
As said in the article, rent control is barbarism plain and simple. It's why virtually every single educated person opposes it, and why it is only kept in place by the ignorant.
@brianpiercy Sorry, Brian.
Nothing kills a promising tech idea like draconian nonsense laws from a local autocratic government...
@readysetawesome @WeAreMany Sounds like you know a lot about technology, and very little about economics. Here's a hint for you: the reason rent is so high is because there are a lot of people who want to live in San Francisco and very few homes for them to live in...
And the only way to solve that problem is to build more homes.
But the only people able to build more homes are the 'evil landlords' and 'evil speculators' who the SFTU loves to villify. And so, at the end of the day, I win, because my home's value has gone up a ton in three years, and my future tenant will be paying me a lot... so long as I pick one who isn't going to stay forever.
Would you give up your own retirement so that Wanda could stay in her house? Because that is what you are asking me to do... you selfishly believe that my income is less important than Wanda's. And you very paternalistically use laws to ensure that your warped moral code is instituted.
The good news is that I will never have to deal with a Wanda... only Kyles.
@danielschiller @bgoldberg Yup, and if you take your daughter's candy away from her, she will cry -- doesn't mean that it's bad to take your kids' candy away sometimes.
1 year, 1 month ago on Dear VCs: Here’s the first thing to look at in a media deal
It's incomprehensible how wrong you are, Paul.
So let me get this straight... towncar drivers, who already don't make a ton of money, are supposed to work 12-hour days in the middle of a hurricane or snowstorm, despite all the risks to their vehicles... and you have a problem with them getting 2x payment for that?
It seems to me that a blizzard or superstorm is *precisely* the moment that a towncar driver should be incentivized to get out on the road, and while Paul the Idealist would prefer that they all do it out of the goodness of their hearts, I think that 2x compensation is the more realistic method.
Whatever gets the cars on the road is irrelevant — Uber puts them on the road, if there were no Uber, they'd be calling in sick for the storm (and who can blame them)...
1 year, 1 month ago on CEO Supper Club: “If Travis stops acting like a prick, I’ll stop calling him a prick”
@danielschiller @bgoldberg BR made a lot of money each year from remnant/DSP, which we always employed in addition to our brand sales. To the best of my knowledge, it had no impact on bringing down our CPM's.
In my opinion, the notion that running remnant ads on your pages will 'undermine' your sales team is complete hogwash that cannot be substantiated by even the slightest data.
@danielschiller @bgoldberg A small publisher can't. But a small anything can't do much. So if we assume that all companies aspire to be big/successful at what they do, then the question becomes this -- can a large/successful media property drive substantial revenue from brand advertising.. without their prices being undercut by low-cost DSP alternatives?
The answer is yes.
Bleacher proved it on a big (but not billion-dollar scale). And there are plenty of future examples.
@danielschiller (1) I don't believe in the ad network model. I don't think that ad networks make for good businesses, and I don't think that the publishers get much from them. (2) Furthermore, most great sales people in New York, Chicago, and LA far prefer to work for a publisher than for an ad network. (3) Also, who wants to buy a bunch of squares and rectangles, when they can get custom integrations, high-impact placements, and other great campaigns that no ad network can mimic? (4) Because an ad network is forced to pay out 50% of its margin to publishers, they will never have the budgets to do truly great campaigns for their clients, the way a publisher can.
In case you can't tell, I am not a big fan of most adtech companies. Only the few, innovative ones.
@decaturparkway Local is such a different business from national/brand advertising, so I am no expert on it. My gut tells me that he does not understand the media business as well as some other businesses (insurance, railroads, etc.)
There are a lot of people who fancy themselves 'media types', but there is a lot more to media than people realize. Very much an 'art and science' type of business.
@shimjk You're welcome!
@danielschiller There are a lot of great public schools -- I don't think that I was suggesting that all state schools are junk... though there certainly are a lot that are.
1 year, 1 month ago on How much does your college degree matter?
My least favorite people are the ones who greatly embellish their resumes to try and look successful. Embellishing your past deeds is like wearing somebody else's Super Bowl ring... what's the point?
1 year, 1 month ago on Stop making excuses for people
@boobah Please cite some examples...
1 year, 1 month ago on Together, we can eradicate taxis…
@AlfredRose Good comment. My hope is that once we put all taxis out of business, that some of these drivers will get jobs working for Uber and Lyft, where they are held to a much higher standard, get paid more for driving on busy nights, etc. There are many good cab drivers out there, would love to see them re-hired into a better environment. I know that words like "destroy", "eradicate", etc. may seem harsh -- but entrepreneurship is about looking at the world and doing things so much better than it literally destroys the status quo that came before it.
@SotiriosRebelos Would you like to elaborate on your statement? Maybe include something like a specific counter-point?
@Hughgordon If Uber is committing an ADA violation — and it sounds like they might be — then they should be penalized for it. http://www.equipforequality.org/programs/transportationrights/info_taxis.php
@mkf111 I'm not averse to paying taxes. I'm averse to paying taxes and getting very little in return. NYC is incredible, and the fruits of one's tax money are visible each and every day. I have spend a great deal of time in both cities over the last five years, and I can tell you that NY runs 100x better than SF -- there's no comparison.
It's about what you put in, and what you get out...
1 year, 1 month ago on California aspires to mediocrity — It’s almost there
@Johnny Galt What do I feel entitled to, exactly? And which juvenile blog are you talking about? Do you even have any clue what you are talking about?
@darndreams I was born in CA and lived most my life there. Not sure what I am "returning to" out East...
@mkf111 @bgoldberg @KenG The point about Manhattan is that you actually get SERVICES for your money. Yes, taxes are lower in NY than in CA... there are cheaper places (like Texas), but California has the most taxes and some of the least services. That is my complaint. And it's a fair complaint.
@markrogo Yup, a "temporary measure" -- famous last words.
Technically the Prop 30 tax existed for 5 years prior to its enforcement, because it ended up taxing shares in my company that were issued in 2007... and whose value I built over 5 years... and since CA does not have capital gains exemption, this "temporary" tax took a bite out of all my work going back to the year 2007...
@Imyselfandme13 That is true!
@mkf111 @bgoldberg So people who pay 1/10th as many taxes as me are simply free-riding off the government?
@KenG @bgoldberg My main form of transportation is walking. That's the appeal of living in a city. SF is a small city, and I walked the two miles to/from work each day. Most of our employees lived in SF. Many employees were from out of state, some were from overseas.
What's your point? That California's costs 2-3x per capita more to operate than all other states that provide roads and schools? Because every other state has much lower taxes, and most other states have better schools and road maintenance...
@KenG @bgoldberg Neither you nor I know how this experiment will turn out, Ken, because it is completely unprecedented. Never before has one state raised its income tax to be so astronomically higher than any other state in the nation... so who knows what will happen! I'm one data point, though I certainly know of many others.
@mkf111 When I lived in California...I went to private schools. I didn't own a car. I never received emergency services. I didn't take advantage of any social programs or receive any state financial support. I rarely used public transportation.
Sure, I flew into airports and road on highways to/from said airports. Of course the police and fire department provide value that was invisible to me.
All that said, my tax payments far exceeded any value that I got out of California. The margin was probably 10-to-1 or something like that. But who knows. Hard to quantify.
@neoganda The solution is to leave. Only by starving the state of our tax money and innovation will California realize that it has to change its ways. If it changes, I will move back. If it does *not* change, then I will simply come back for retirement -- since by that point, I will be one of the many "takers" who put nothing into the system and take everything out of it. If the deck is stacked, may as well stack it in your favor.
@Reza Musavi You are always right, Reza!
1 year, 2 months ago on Stop bitching about Millennials
@Brad_Koch Thanks!!! (?)
1 year, 2 months ago on Online video is a pain in the ass
@thegrail The article says "principle".
1 year, 2 months ago on Writers should be paid
@ioowilly @bgoldberg Sorry, guys, I'm not finding that this data is anywhere near compelling enough to undermine my point. Americans live much longer now than they did two generations ago. Car safety, anti-smoking campaigns, cancer screening, statins, lower crime, working conditions, women's rights, fewer large-scale wars, better battlefield medicine, and countless other contributions have made a long life into an expectation. Not only that, but people are better equipped to work later in life, as we have transitioned to a knowledge economy from a toil economy.
Why did our great-grandparents generation work in factories and plow farms at age 14? Out of necessity. In many cases, it was because one or both parents had died before the age of 45. In many cases, it was because one or both parents had become infirm and had no social safety net like we do today.
Longer, healthier, more able-bodied lives (paired with social safety nets), have made it so that far fewer teenagers or even young-adults feel obligated to work on behalf of their families. We have moved towards the other extreme... young people rely on their parents for financial assistance, help raising kids, etc. A century ago, how many children even knew their grandparents? These days, grandma comes over twice per week to give mommy a shopping break.
The world is so incredibly, radically different from where it was thirty, sixty, or ninety years ago, that it is intellectually laughable to 'judge' one generation's behavior compared to the prior one's. We are comparing apples to oranges.
@ioowilly Got it -- so the 7-year increase in life expectancy between 1963 and 1998 was due to fewer babies dying? Because the infant mortality rate at that time decreased by about one percentage point...
So your theory explains a very small portion of life expectancy increases.
Do you have any other points to make?
@badhaskins Don't tell the other readers, but I am *almost* thirty now...
@davetroy Yeah, I don't think that his "make lots of small bets" thesis undermines the core concept of risk. That's just standard portfolio theory at work, and frankly, not sure why more people don't do it. But the individual bets he makes are very risky, and in some cases, crazy.
For me, risk goes well beyond writing checks. Going on stage and trying out totally-unique material is a sign of taking risk. When you are speaking on the same stage as 12+ other people, you have to stand out. I don't really love all his speeches, and I'm not a huge fan of profanity (I think that it is a cop out), but it is such a breathe of fresh air.
Anyhow, he will be fine. Look forward to his big conference in June.
1 year, 2 months ago on Dave McClure, Risk Taker
@theahsananis Get the idea first. You will probably need to hang on to your corporate job for at least six months as you figure out how to get your idea some traction... it sucks, but it's the ultimate test of a first-time entrepreneur. In most cases, you will have to put 45+ hours per week into both your "new company" job and your "corporate job"... you'll know when it is time to quit.
Pretty lame response, huh!?
I wrote a more thoughtful and appropriately-respectful comment on his own blog. I guess that I mind my manners more when I'm a guest at someone else's home.
1 year, 2 months ago on Sorry, ‘Snow Fall’ isn’t going to save the New York Times
I should not have written that comment. I wrote it in a huff, and stated my comment poorly. I dont hold my comments to the same standards as my articles...
Would delete it, but that would be a cowardly move! Anyhow, he is more of a media guy than I thought, evidently, but I really think of him as a tech guy. I am a little sour on SV community's views on Media, and probably lumped him in with the herd.
That said, on this point, I think he is totally wrong ;) Time will tell.
Om Malik has no idea what he is talking about. Clear example of a Silicon Valley guy, who doesn't understand media in the slightest, opening his mouth and having wrong stuff come out.
@johnfein I didn't see the speech, and I have no idea if it sucked. I think my article conveys exactly what I was hoping it would convey -- he does a lot of dumb things, and a stupid cheap-laugh joke is one of the dumb things (along with a lot of bad investments) that will come to pass over and over during Dave's career. So people should get used to it. He will end up on top in the end for all the right reasons.
@hammerzeit I'm not sure that I defended him. We're in agreement that he deserved the negative attention for his comment. I just thought that it was a timely moment to write about a guy who is probably one of the 3-4 most valuable advocates of women in tech. As for Mike Arrington... not sure what he has to do with anything... I have never met him, but it sounds like the latest feeding frenzy will end with him winning a very large slander lawsuit.
He's a guy who is making me a ton of money right now.
This just proves that you don't need to be a VC in order to "invest in amazing people" or "bet on game-changing technologies". Plenty of public companies out there doing it.
1 year, 2 months ago on Elon Musk in his own words: a Pando meta media mashup
I'm pretty sure that commercial was in Korean.
1 year, 2 months ago on Audi’s new “Star Trek” ad and 6 other sci-fi commercials
@urnamma This is one of the better comments that I have received on any article. I agree. Bleacher Report has a strong engineering team that has solved more complex problems than many would think (any website with several million DAILY visitors requires some sophistication). That said, we are not a securities trading platform. However, the truth is that a great many (perhaps overwhelming majority) of popular products are not exactly complex. Sites like Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, etc. were not hard to code until they got huge and had scaling considerations.
In most cases, the engineering is a means to an end. A worldclass engineer would be a nice-to-have, but a solid coder can get it built. And then you can bring in the top-notch engineers once the product has millions of users.
I am not trying to under-state the complexities of great software engineering. But for 95% of web products, nobody is going to really care what is beneath the hood. They will care about the other intangibles (is it useful? does it solve a problem in a new way? does it change the industry in ways that are hard to replicate easily?)... lord knows that Twitter's infrastructure in 2008 was far from ideal... but the founders understood so many non-technical concepts that could not be replicated.
Anyhow -- if someone wants to cherry pick a few quotes from this article and use them as rally-cries to get engineers up in arms, they will have no difficulty doing it. But I stand by what I've written.
1 year, 2 months ago on Do software engineers earn more than MBAs?
@LucidLunatic I applied to CMC and would have been happy to go there. Didn't like the list, but was happy to see Harvey Mudd at the top...
@SMosesMurray Great code is a means to an end. You write great code to create a product that changes people's lives. And when your product is able to positively impact a lot of people's lives on a daily basis, then it usually leads to a great business and a lot of money.
I think this article is pretty clearly written about people who are pursuing business success -- i.e. entrepreneurship, building a company, etc. It is also a direct response to the Payscale.com list that tells young people which degrees to pursue to get rich. I believe that getting a software degree is a poor path to financial gain. Per my article:
"Here’s what you actually need to know about college, degrees, coding, and all of the fun ingredients that go into the 'success' game... The people who get rich are not the engineers. The people who get rich are thethinkerswho know how to code or can pay someone else to code."
Of course, if somebody's great passion in life is to push the boundaries of software technology or solve tech problems so complex that you need a PhD to do it... then fine... go for it! Though, I would say that there are many examples of college dropouts who are doing worldclass work in the tech space... people like David Recordon etc.
@maxogles Yeah, they are not a startup at all. Not in the slightest. They would fit under that bullet point where I said that startups will never hold a candle to ABC, Fox, NBC, etc...
@MaxLanman Making life easier for video creators is a worthwhile undertaking. A lot of companies are trying to do just that, and some are succeeding. I'm sure that I will launch video production in a future company, and I will hope that it is easier then than it is now. At this moment in time, it's a huge pain in the ass. Working with third party production companies has pro's and con's, which is why a lot of sites (like BR) ultimately decide to build it in house.
@DaveMcClure Eventbrite is an excellent company, of that we are all in agreement. And it has every opportunity to become a $600 million business -- but I don't think that it is one today, and I question whether they needed another $60 million in order to become one. Or whether they need that capital to become a billion dollar company.
Defeating TicketMaster may happen in the longrun, but it will take FOREVER, and I'm not sure that the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is really that big in the end. As mentioned, TicketMaster is a subsidiary of LiveNation, which is itself a smallcap company.
My goal as a pundit is to advance a point that I feel very strongly about -- many entreprenuers push to raise as much capital as they can at the highest valuation possible. I think that this is juts as perilous as raising too little money or raising money at too low a valuation:
As a founder, I would gladly take on a *little bit* more dilution and in so doing, maintain realistic exit expectations and a realistic chance of earning a win-win outcome for myself, my team, and my investors VS. taking on less dilution on a ridiculously high valuation that closes all doors to liquidity.
Just my two cents. I'm not an angel or venture investor, I trust my capital with the professionals. :)
1 year, 2 months ago on Raising money for the sake of raising money
@Elizabethkhurichandler Thanks Elizabeth! Congrats to you -- I'm really really so happy for you guys! :)
1 year, 3 months ago on Raising money for the sake of raising money
@semilshah Applying it to Viddy would be too easy ;)
@gadishamia Like I said -- a CEO who can raise big money is a skilled CEO indeed -- but I think that it will ultimately come back to bite him in the ass :)
@semilshah This is all true. Others have pointed out that liquidity was another potential reason. I have trouble believing that T. Rowe Price added a tremendous amount of intangible value. I have trouble believing that a large eight-figure acquisition is the best path forward for Eventbrite (though I will keep an open mind). I have trouble believing that the $55 million in cash they had nine months ago is either depleted or too insignificant a war chest for them to posture a negotiation.
Ultimately, I think that the art/science of capitalization strategy is one of the most sophisticated and complex aspects of being a CEO, and it is one that a lot of CEO's approach foolishly. I don't know Kevin Hartz or the boardroom dealings of Eventbrite. But looking at the tea leaves tells me that this was an over-valued and potentially harmful fundraise...
@KenG @bgoldberg I think your questions imply many black/white absolutes. Yes, advertisers should help commission content and be a stakeholder *sometimes* in the content creation process. This will be a minority of the time, but it will happen. Sponsored content is the real deal. And, yes, editors -- even junior ones -- should focus a lot on traffic. If nobody is reading an article, then that defeats the purpose of that article.
1 year, 3 months ago on The separation of “church and state” in publishing
@KenG @bgoldberg @hamishmckenzie Yes, yes, the classic example of product reviews... as though that represented more than like 1% of all articles ever printed. How does this sound -- if you are reading a review of the new Samsung Galaxy Nexus and the article is sponsored by Samsung, you can take it with a grain of salt one way or another, rather than relying on the publisher to promise objectivity.
The much more impactful question of "Church v State"are things like (1) how hard will editors focus on traffic? (2) will editors cut coverage on low-traffic areas in favor of better performing? (3) will editors work with advertisers to create content on behalf of brands? And many more...
But it starts with editors and sales teams working hand-in-hand every day.
@hamishmckenzie Editors and Salespeople should be sitting next to eachother and blending together like peas and carrots. I feel that I conveyed that in the article.
You and your love for Vox Media...
1 year, 3 months ago on A totally unsexy, vitally important blog that should be talked about as much as BuzzFeed
@twtfelipe Not afraid to buy bitcoins. I think the currency is flawed. The best thinkers are able to conceive of problems more than a few decades out.
1 year, 3 months ago on Great, now engineers think that they are economists too
@paulsnx2 @polarscribe @Shaun We must have very different information on the Long Depression... a brief Wikipedia read says that it was, in fact, a really painful recession that hurt real wages and put a lot of businesses under. What's more... during the late 19th century, it was the farmers and the 'everyday people' who wanted to inflate the money supply. It was the bankers and New York elites who wanted to deflate the money supply. Read up on William Jennings Bryan and the whole "cross of gold" thing from your history books.
Oh, ok... looks like Publishing is saved then. All fixed.
1 year, 3 months ago on Magzter is a digital magazines giant that has come from nowhere (well, okay, Asia) to sign Hearst and Newsweek
@DouglasCrets That's because you are English. Different continent, different rules.
1 year, 3 months ago on Do men read?
@DaveMcClure @orangerobot Crap, I wanted to read this mysterious/deleted comment by Dave.
1 year, 3 months ago on An acquisition is always a failure
@AustinCassidy Cars, liquor, tech, and financial services do spend money on mens' websites. It still falls far short of the brand money that goes into women's products.
@Thedisco ... she recently gave me a 2x raise.
@BrainScraps Be the Icarus. These articles are your sea and your sun.
1 year, 3 months ago on You are not as good as you think you are
@petfashionj What a horrible, thoughtless comment.
1 year, 3 months ago on The New York Times should be ashamed, but only for pandering to idiotic Twitter outrage
I can easily picture a male scientist obit opening with a paragraph about his fly fishing hobby, some dog he rescued, or a fluff paragraph on what a great dad he was...
Writing obits is a notoriously horrible job, almost to the point of being a cliche in itself. Some writers probably feel obligated to tell the story that "you didn't know" about a dead person. After spending the day on the phone with their bereaved loved ones, they are probably even more incentivized to write about family life, et al.
I spent many days working on my Gender article a couple weeks ago. It makes me want to puke in my mouth when I see how thoughtless the dialogue can be on this important topic. One obituary (out of thousands) tries to add some flavor to the lede and thousands of people fight a poorly-chosen battle and the newspaper cowers.
While countless rich American women tweet about some ritzy newspaper, how many millions of women in India and the Middle East are being exploited? Number may be closer to a billion.
Great job, everyone.
@Capitalistic_ Ron Johnson has failed. The company will run out of money before his grand plan has any chance of turning around...
1 year, 4 months ago on You don’t want experts. You want jacks-of-all-trades
@LoraKolodny They were the two women who I referenced in my article. Mary Meeker = the top VC who had to go through Wall Street to get to Sand Hill Road. I don't think a lot of people wrote opinions or commentary on Ellen Pao (hence the weak Google results), but I'll be damned if every last person in Silicon Valley wasn't yapping about it last year.
1 year, 4 months ago on An article about gender, written by a man
@corpgovMila Good thoughts. First, I don't think you can fully segment the concept of founding and running companies. Women will not be 50/50 on 'running' companies if they aren't also willing to start them as well. Many of the large public companies I invest in still have founder CEO's... that's part of their appeal. Second, you would be stunned at how many men are perfectly willing to be miserable for ten straight years to get that top hedge fund job or a partners title at Goldman Sachs. Happiness is quite simply not a priority for a great many men in business -- a sense of being admired by others far outweighs happiness for many.
@LoraKolodny @bgoldberg We will just have to agree to disagree. I don't place great emphasis on academics and how they often misinterpret or manipulate data. For example, your data that women hold the majority of sole proprietorships is not very relevant in my opinion. It sounds great in some research papers, but what it says to me is that "women are starting businesses with limited upside trajectories, since sole proprietorships are less likely to attract large investments or turn into large companies."
I'm sure that an ivory tower academic will point to that datapoint to suggest that women are greater risk takers than are men, however, I would say it makes the opposite point.
But since academics are rarely competent businesspeople, I don't really take them that seriously in business conversations.
@kontrary @bgoldberg I quoted your blog, because it was a great example of my point -- though certainly not conclusive evidence. The top two bullet points relate to jobs providing happiness/meaning. Are women unique in wanting those things? Of course not. But my point is that if you surveyed 1000 women and surveyed 1000 men to ask them what their "top three" priorities would be in finding a job, you would find some differences:
I think that men would put more emphasis on the salary impact, perceived prestige of the employer, ownership stake (if its a startup), etc, while women would put more emphasis on some other important factors, like career transparency, quality of life, colleagues, etc.
As far as a 'balanced life' is concerned, I find that women are more likely to have meaningful activities outside the office that they place great value upon. Are there some guys who do yoga in the morning before work? Sure. Are there some guys who are in book clubs? I suppose. Are there some guys who like to try new recipes? Sure. Are there some guys who get weekly massages? Yeah. Are there some guys who have a favorite aerobics class? Yeah. But net-net, I find that women have much more active lives outside of work.
I mean, do you really deny this stuff? I can't imagine that you truly truly feel otherwise...
@kontraryKontrary helps younavigate your career, money and lifeso you can:
@kontrary I appreciate the response. There is no doubt that Sheryl is a high-profile person, and I am glad that she is using her wealth and publicity to start a conversation (rather than buying a yacht or giving money to politicians, etc.).
This thing of "girls getting called bossy" is far more anecdotal than the carefully considered observations that I describe in my article. I was called bossy as a child, as were many boys.
Do you truly disagree that women are -- on average -- more likely to prioritize happiness and a balanced life? I don't think that many men or women would disagree with that suggestion.
@Joe Mellin @LoraKolodny It looks like the comment was deleted, but, yes, Joe, you are correct. Of course I'm not suggesting that "no woman has ever worked late into the night," that is a highly far-fetched (and fairly absurd) read of what I am saying.
Lora's dismissal of my article is what it is. There is no real way to respond to her.
@LoraKolodny @bgoldberg My experience is 'limited'? That's news to me. I've interviewed an incredibly (statistically) significant number of men and women and worked with a great many as well. You are free to read whatever you want, but some ivory-tower academic who has never worked in the real world or interviewed/hired anybody (let alone hundreds of people) is probably going to not know what he/she is talking about.
@LoraKolodny Well, how would you have written an article about gender & business?
@BenKoo Not for a little while :)
1 year, 4 months ago on There’s discomfort, and then there’s starting a company
@scodtt1 That's a good question. What I consider to be a "Series A" for a content company is probably smaller than a lot of other business's take on a Series A... whatever round I raise will include a good amount of my own money. More often than not, though, investors want to take as much of the round as they can, and so self-funding entrepreneurs end up pulling back. But mileage may vary.
@trheingold Sorry, Ted, but you will need to substantiate your name-calling a bit more if you want me to have any sort of reaction.
1 year, 4 months ago on Gawker admits defeat, tries to replicate Bleacher Report and Huffington Post
@ryanh61 I'm aware. The text was written to reflect my age at the time in which the paragraphs took place.
1 year, 4 months ago on Things worth learning
Congrats to Greg!
1 year, 4 months ago on GRP Partners deepens its bench, snags HauteLook CMO Greg Bettinelli as a venture partner
@JoeOther It's SXSW week — hard for the word 'meaningful' to be used on a tech news site...
@sonnys I'm hoping there are more people who can start big media companies — right now its a small handful of people. Hopefully that changes.
A lot of sites raise very little capital and grow their business without the dilution of VC money. But often they miss out on opportunities along the way in order to maintain the profitability. BR grew revenue substantially in a very short period of time. Would not have been possible without capital.
Thrillist did a great job monetizing very early (much earlier than BR did), and that is why they may never have to raise more than $15mil or so...
BR is mostly original content on our site, though the mobile app is fiarly even split between original and third party aggregated content.
1 year, 4 months ago on How much is a piece of content worth?
@MatthewMountford @natethayer Also, I'm not trying to be pompous about starting a big media company, the point is that everyone has things they are good at, and even though I am no investigative journalist, that is not why I write here. I write here because I am a (media) entrepreneur, who also happens to write.
But people like Thayer just assume that only 'journalists' should be writing for public consumption. He has to fly to the middle of nowhere and (almost) get blown up in order to have an interesting tale to tell. Some of us are just everyday people with an interesting expertise we like to share... who are able to put it into text.
@sonnys Curation/Aggregation is great, but you need original content to get top advertiser dollars. Bleacher Report does have the model correct — it didn't in the beginning, but it does now.
Also, even though Bleacher Report raised $40 mil, it required far less than that to hit scale... and we sold very shortly after raising that $20 mil Series D, so you can guess that it was hardly deployed.
I think a good content startup should be able to do it on no more than $15mil in total capital raised. That may still seem high, but it's way less than a lot of other types of startups.
@MatthewMountford @natethayer People do not like paying for content. In the web era, we are quickly discovering that people were *actually* paying for the experience of having a newspaper appear on their door before the Internet existed. Or they were paying for the convenience of reading The Economist on an airplane. Or a salon is paying for the experiential benefits of having People Magazine at hand for women to read while getting their nails painted.
People were also paying a premium for content the last two hundred years, because — well — operating a big printing press and managing distribution was expensive to do and had barriers. The actual content writing? Not so much.
Furthermore, very little journalism is actually the sort of 'news breaking' or 'risk your neck to get the story' journalism that Thayer romanticizes. Most of it can and should be written by people who make far less money than Nate Thayer would ever be willing to accept. Some of it should not require compensation at all.
Journalists need to prove that they are *worth* the $500/article or $90,000/year that they expect to make.
They probably can't and they probably aren't.
And Paul Carr — for all the great things he is and has done — has yet to prove that his model is going to work as a business. He admits it himself.
@natethayer I cited your $125k quote from your blog, and I will try to locate where I saw your rate as $500/article, though that figure may have been from one of the innumerable third party articles about your fight w/ The Atlantic. I have corrected the text with a note.
Of course, getting paid $20,000 for an article re-enforces my point by about 4000%, since it is inconceivable that anyone would ever pay that while simultaneously running a business.
Furthermore, I love how you have no interest in actually discussing the point of this article.
And, no I am not a journalist, never claimed to be one, and I have no interest in being one.
There are hundreds of thousands of journalists out there, but there are only about six people in America who can build a multi-hundred-million dollar media company in five years. I'm one of them. And I'm also a great writer...
... but a "journalist"? Hell no.
@brennansmacro @bgoldberg @AustenjAllred Understood -- there are innumerable ways that one can leverage their personal brand into a commercial opportunity. I felt that for the context of this article, it was best to focus on the more clear/direct ways in which a piece of content can contribute to revenue.
@AustenjAllred Good comment -- I've added that it is monthly unique visitors. That's an industry-standard measure, but this article is for people who aren't in the industry... so a wise point to clarify :)Yup, if $500 is the cost to the freelancer, I can only begin to imagine the cost when that writer needs to be flown/lodged somewhere for several days to get the story. People Magazine can pay to fly someone to Sundance to interview Brad Pitt... I'm not so sure if it's worth it though.
This article was 100x better than my one about buses in Chinatown...
1 year, 4 months ago on Everyone Knows Print Is Dead. Which Is Why NSFWCORP Is Launching A Print Edition
@PepeSilvia @bgoldberg LOL -- you're the man, I encourage you to read/comment on my articles in the future!!
1 year, 4 months ago on I’m starting another content company, and I plan to make a fortune
@PepeSilvia College Humor never raised any capital. My cousin was the founder. I'm certain of this. The rest of your post is being ignored.
@JonathanMPaul @bgoldberg It's very valuable once you have a sales team in place -- I would not invest much in it until the site has great traction and a sales organization to help the video pay for itself... it's MUCH harder to make great video than great written editorial.
@sonnys @bgoldberg 1) Aggregation is great, and we need more of it. Bleacher did a great job and had a lot of app users bc it focused on aggregation. 2) Magazines are resilient for many reasons, and I will write an article on that very topic soon! The short story is that they are vulnerable, but still don't realize it yet. The very best ones will endure, but there are very few that are good enough to last forever...
@sonnys I love Refinery29, and got to know the founders last week when I was in NY -- amazing site. Yes, they do a great job of blending advertising with ecommerce, so does Thrillist. I think it's a very viable model... works better in women's categories than it does in men's, which is one more reason why Thrillist gets plaudits.
But direct brand advertising is just getting bigger and bigger, and tablet sales will take away from traditional print budgets. It's a beautiful future.
The magazines are gonna slowly shrivel, and I will take their place.
@KenG The average cpm across the entire internet is a nonsense metric and not consequential. It's about creating high-impact custom ad plcaements on very popular websites... the cpms for those ads remain very high, and the market is growing.
Companies like Ford and Gillette didn't have a lot of websites in which they could make large-scale buys (six and seven figure orders) plus get custom ad placements... Bleacher Report and ESPN were two of the only games in town... sounds crazy, but it's true.
@BrainScraps ... and before that, they were going into investment banking.
@direwolff The worst thing that can happen is that it fails... but I am feeling pretty good about my chances :)
@dvampan That's a fair point. I was going to take that out, but then I watched an episode of Mad Money with Jim Cramer last night, and got so so mad when he kept saying "people like you and me" to his viewers, when we all know that he has a huge fortune. Would rather just be straight with people. Im not doing this to get wealthy. i'm doing it to get very very wealthy.
The point was that he couldn't save the newspaper despite his prowess as a writer. It really just further corroborates the point.
The fact that my "critics" are afraid to respond to this speaks volumes.
1 year, 4 months ago on How I respond to the haters
@MikeinSF I thought he was still contributing to SRPD, but guess he is exclusive with CSN. Oh well. This is obviously of minimal relevance.
ADDENDUM -- for those who question why I use the term "hater" -- here's why...
A "hater" is somebody who (1) hates your success first and foremost and (2) can't give any clear/rational reason for his feelings.
I think that Will Leitch's article fulfilled both of those criteria.
@ScottCarasik No problem! Keep it up.
@WayneFrazer all that said... props for playing MTG... still love that game after all these years.
What is your 'legitimate issue' with lists? That people prefer to read them vs. most other forms of content? What is your 'legitimate issue' with covering news items and adding commentary vs. using rehashed AP articles? Do you wish that all websites used the same non-original content? I think I would put you in the same category as Mr. Leitch -- i.e. "I dislike BR for... well... I don't know why."
@chrisamccoy @Warrick Taylor @bgoldberg Come on, Chris -- have you ever heard an interview with a coach or player... they are completely useless...
JOURNALIST: Tell me, Coach, a lot of news sources are reporting that your job is under pressure right now. What has ownership communicated to you?COACH: You know, I'm not going to respond to rumors. Our job is to put the best team on that field every day and continue to win games. That's what we're focused on right now.JOURNALIST: But, Coach, you guys have lost seven straight games, what isn't clicking? Are there any players who are playing below their capability?COACH: Nobody on the team is satisfied with our recent performance. We go out there every game with one goal. I'm not going to single out any player. These guys know that individual efforts mean nothing if you aren't putting up wins. JOURNALIST: One more question, Coach, a lot of writers claim that you engage in satanic orgy rituals with dead virgin goats in hopes that it might provide you with supernatural powers. Can you confirm this speculation? COACH: Well, again, I'm not going to speak to rumors. That's your job in the press. My job is to put the best guys on that field and make sure that we're putting points on the board. Obviously, we're struggling right now, but I'm not going to point the finger at any particular cause.
JOURNALIST: Thanks, Coach, best of luck out there...
@KenG LOL -- I'm in NY right now, so I'll punt on discussing CA.
@sbmiller5 Well, I can't speak for Bleacher anymore, but they continue to invest a lot more in content. Turner will only make that happen faster. Trying to cover 250+ teams in detail is a goal so audacious that I still can't believe we attempted it -- BR has years to improve itself... these are still early days. Most of the competition are decades-old... let's see how BR stacks up in 2020 :)
@fengtality Yes, and we intend to serve koala meat, no matter what those damn Aussies have to say about it...
1 year, 5 months ago on Screw you, California — I ate foie gras last night. At a restaurant
@polizeros I have a lot of respect for the state of Utah -- I haven't been, but should check it out. If it keeps doing what it's doing, perhaps it will get it's piece of the SIlicon Valley pie when CA collapses under its own weight.
@Barce Changing the system from within the system is going to be really really hard in California :(
@DashiellMenard (1) I've written maybe three articles that were critical of CA/SF (2) I don't care about endearing myself to the massess, what I want is for the masses to stop passing laws through these barbaric "state propositions" that have more or less bankrupted California (3) This may not be the place for me... or the hundreds of jobs I have created (and plan to create somewhere).
@Alvaro T First off, I ate the food in like 3 minutes, because it was so tasty. Second, I guarantee you that this fine, high-end restaurant procures meat from much higher quality (local) farms -- with higher standards of animal treatmant -- than just about anything you'll get at McDonalds or from a Safeway aisle.
By your logic, should we ban McDonalds too?
@etchedinwax Well, I agree that one has to be 'lucky' to be born smart -- and to be born in a first world country, etc.
The luck that I referenced in (4) was simply the luck that pertains to one's business efforts. After all, one could have poor luck in their business career, but still be blessed with a great family, health, etc...
1 year, 5 months ago on Are you intelligent?
@JenniferSiegler The main reason was Sarah, since she is somebody I've known for a while and really like. She was a supporter of Bleacher Report in the very early days. More than that, though, I put a lot of time into my writing, and I think that Pando has a better signal/noise ratio in their content. TC publishes a lot of junk, in addition to some good pieces.
1 year, 5 months ago on Don’t make it about you…
@Kristy_T First off, the native Gmail app has only been around for a couple months, and it's already the one I use. Google has been making some big investments recently in product/UI for iPhone, and I expect that to continue.Second, the point of the article was that I will gladly use Mailbox for a few months in the mean time, but their business is highly indefensible, because — well — a lot of Product people don't think about *business*. People can laugh at MBA's all they want, but Competitive Strategy 101 pokes a lot of huge holes in their 'business'... starting with identifying barriers to entry.
They basically don't have a strategy. A business' strategy needs to be one that is extremely difficult to replicate without a competitor having to make MASSIVE changes to his/her own business. It would take very few changes on Google's end to completely replicate Mailbox.
1 year, 5 months ago on Wham, bam, thank you Mailbox…
That's it? They must have run the thing into the ground to get such a pathetic price.
For f--k's sake, I could make that thing a cash machine in six months... what a joke.
1 year, 5 months ago on Sources: Ziff Davis is close to buying IGN
Eugene is a sharp guy — a big win for TechStars and NY.
1 year, 5 months ago on Techstars NY hires Eugene Chung as Managing Director
@polizeros Looks like "polizeros" is guilty of the old comment-before-you-read it bug.
1 year, 5 months ago on It’s time to throw in the towel on Apple
@Todd Dunning LOL -- sometimes I can't help myself. They are the only ones making sense in a city that is making less and less sense each day.
1 year, 6 months ago on Thank God for San Francisco’s gay community
1 year, 6 months ago on Please 2013, be the year of “shut up and work”
@egebhardt Awesome -- I recently heard about Lynda, and it's a great success story.
@freded @bgoldberg @davetroy Having the chutzpah to jump into the comments and engage with readers is one of the best things a writer can do. It drives up the quality of the dialogue, and in so doing, drives more readers to the article. At least that is what I observed when I grew my own website from zero to 40 million monthly readers...
1 year, 6 months ago on A world safe for 39-year-olds
@davetroy @bgoldberg Wadwha is a researcher. I'm an entrepreneur who writes opinion pieces. And, you know what, Dave? One of the things I've learned when I *built my company* is that data is so easily manipulated that unless you have the dataset in front of you and can parse through it yourself, it's basically useless. Sometimes, it is even worse than useless, it can lead you in a totally wrong direction. I've seen very smart executives look at high-level data and make wrong conclusions that can only be realized through much closer examination.
Another lesson I've learned is that empiricism can go a long way. If you spend five years immersed in a world, you can learn a lot, and you can read the writing on the wall.
Now, as for "data" -- why don't you go ahead and provide some counter-data for me...
Respond to this comment with a list of distinguished men/women who were basically unheard of at age 39, and then became major movers and shakers... would love to see that list. There are people on it, no doubt, but compiling it will be a lot trickier than you think.
@davetroy One would have to dig much deeper into Vivek Wadwha's dataset to have any conclusions that even begin to contradict my article. Here are just a few of the questions that I would have...
1) He begins by saying that he looked "at 652 CEO's and Heads of Product"... many startups, my own included, hire experienced CEO's late in the game to help us IPO or get acquired. Our CEO at Bleacher Report was already a highly-respected executive when we hired him, and he had been a notable executive before the age of 39 himself. 2) The era covered is companies founded between 1995 - 2005, but that is an eternity of a range. Why? Because in the 1990's, being a Silicon Valley entrepreneur was much different. You had to raise a ton of capital, often to finance factories or large engineering teams, and doing that is harder for a 22-year old than is today's sub-$1mm fundraise. So what is the *trend* looking like? I'll bet that the average age is getting younger and younger.
3) He predicates his argument by looking at companies with "real revenue," and I for one like his intent. That said, the VC and M&A community seem to care very little about revenue. Ask FourSquare, Tumblr, SnapChat, and the rest of the poster children. If profit was part of his pre-requisite, then you can kiss half the consumer internet IPO's goodbye too.
4) What portion of the 39+ entrepreneurs are famous third/fourth timers who can raise capital with the wave of their hand? How many of them are Bill Nguyen's or Nirav Tolia's, or other people who EIR their way into the best opportunities? These people deserve a lot of credit for their success, and VC's are right to trust them with money... but they hardly fit in the spirit of my article.
5) How many of them are Marc Benioffs? Sure, he started Salesforce in his mid-30's, but before that he was one of the most powerful and respected executives in Silicon Valley. He was a Vice President at Oracle when he was 24-years old. He was on the "track" that I talk about early in my article.
Anyhow, a bunch of people are pointing to this article, but I don't see nearly enough data to feel that it contradicts much... I still feel that Silicon Valley suffers from the same "young person envy" as Hollywood.
Yes, Francisco, I completely agree... that you are older than you look.
But I disagree that people are *staying* in Silicon Valley because of a Hollywood movie, the luster of a gold rush, etc. That might bring people out here, but getting them to stick around is another matter. I see a lot of resumes for people who did 'something else' for two, five, ten, twenty years... and now suddenly they are working in startups or at tech companies... and they don't seem to be going back to Real Estate or banking.
And while the bust of 1999/2000 send many people packing, I just don't see any giants spikes or collapses of that scale. Things got a little frothy in 2011, but valuations have not pulled back that far -- and great companies from Rovio to Square to Dropbox are delivering on their promise. Are we in a correction? Yes. Will we have a lean year or two? Probably. But this is exactly the time to go start a company.
1 year, 6 months ago on Tech hasn’t won anything…except maybe the booby prize
@meziesoms LOL -- the ONE person who didn't hate this article :) Thanks!!
1 year, 6 months ago on Loyalty cannot be faked
@RaAres I don't think there is anything wrong with people keeping their LinkedIn Profile up to date. I'm constantly seeing people who work at my company updating their profiles with new skills or work descriptions, and in most cases, i am not at all worried that they are trying to abandon ship.
@iHapa Well, if you have switched jobs five times and gotten big raises every time, that has worked out great for you...
@mePando3 Three companies in three years is fine. The rule is five companies in six years :)
I recognize that a lot can happen, but someone would have to have insanely unlucky twists of fate to have five businesses fail on them in six years...
I don't expect anyone to 'agree' with me on (3), it just happens SOOO often...
@LouDogg No bank played a part in any of our fundraises. A major bank was in charge of facilitating the payment to our stockholders when we were acquired, and they did a horrible horrible job.
Finance is important -- but Morgan Stanley's recent comp changes show that they don't really need to pay these guys that much.
1 year, 6 months ago on Finance lost. Tech won. Here’s why…
@sandman_va In fairness, I did consulting for two years after college, and it is a VERY DIFFERENT job from being in Banking. Not only are the hours very reasonable (60 hours/week vs. 100 hours/week), but the work is much more interesting to people who are creative, want to build something, solve problems, etc. Plus you get to travel a lot and have a lot of independence (vs. banking where you feel like a slave).
I've just met too many people in the last 2-3 years who quit banking and conceded that they hated doing it -- whereas I think that ten years ago, people pretended they liked it and put up with it.
In short, there is an "Emperor's New Clothes" phenomenon... once a critical mass of people acknowledge how bad something is, you can't really re-create the aura of cool.
@EarlyMajority ... because Bankers don't have very high opinions of themselves (or the important important work that they do).
@IrishJohnathanRamul @bgoldberg @WillLarche If I'm gonna run for Mayor in twelve years, I will need the gay vote as part of my coalition :)
1 year, 6 months ago on Young people are screwed… Here’s how to survive
Sorry everyone, but there is no way that this app can out-do Bleacher Report's Team Stream app, which is one of the largest out there, and has a five-star rating on iTunes...
Obviously, I am super biased in saying that. But I'd love to hear the founders' explanation for how this goes above and beyond what we did at BR..?
1 year, 6 months ago on SportStream partners with Seattle Seahawks to create dedicated realtime social stream
@WillLarche I love you too!
@nathanielmott Yup, as I point out in another comment -- our parents' generation created many of the problems that have tanked the job market and put America into a bad situation. They really have no right to complain about their kids.
@jfeldstein I agree that Millenials have a bit of entitlement, or at least don't want to grow up as quickly. That said, their parents' generation really did screw them over pretty badly... just goes to show the Baby Boomers... there's no such thing as a free lunch. You can screw your kids' generation out of trillions, but you'll pay for it one way or the other.
@cedichou @bgoldberg Who are you? Some sort of city employee?
1 year, 6 months ago on Dear Huffington Post: It’s time to grow up
@cedichou Muni is a catastrophe -- it's problems are so many-fold that it basically needs to be imploded and re-built. And it's interesting that not one of the 30+ comments defended Muni as anything other than trash.
As for Huffington Post, the facts are the FACTS. The typical reader is an elderly white male. And -- yes -- it is a FACT that women, minorities, and young people are more likely to identify as liberal.
Sounds like you are still living in the 1990's, my friend. When even a fact-based analysis was rejected as "stereotyping" if it so much as discussed race/ethnicity. Those of us in the business world do use demographic analysis when discussing advertising/marketing and user trends.
@EricBrown1 I wonder if Arianna knows this :)
@Dennis Crow Other than Global Warming and Evolution, care to tell me more about these 'scientific truths' that HuffPo so vigorously defends?
Other than maybe micropayments, I don't see any of these trends mattering very much.
Marco Arment's "The Magazine" is a nice art project, but won't have any impact. Nor will the NYT's "Snow Fall," which I think that more people wanted to like than actually liked, and was a huge financial loss (even if they had monetized it, which they didn't).
The longform trend is nice too, but it is a small scale effort for the most part. Don't see most people in America wanting to sit down and read a story for 20 minutes. The trend is clearly and irreversibly in favor of simpler 'bite size' content, which 2%ers like Paul Carr hate, and 98%ers love.
1 year, 6 months ago on Seven publishing trends that will define 2013
@ajsharp @bgoldberg @eriksank I'm wondering if you read the article...
1 year, 6 months ago on Your 2013 resolution: Come to terms with being “only” an engineer
@eriksank @bgoldberg @ajsharp I've hired many excellent programmers, even though I am not one. What's more, a CEO usually hires a CTO or VP Engineering to make the calls on a programmer's technical skill. There are a lot more people in a company than the 'programmers' -- of the 150 employees of my company, engineers were about 16 total heads.
The engineers do attend the meeting, because i would never hire one of those "I'm too good for this bullshit" type of engineers in the first place...
@ajsharp Also, "problem solving" is too broad a skill to include. Hiring well is a skill. Building outstanding models is a skill. Standing up and talking to a room full of 40 people such that they want to work harder... that is a skill."Problem Solving" sounds like something a 4th grade teacher would tell your mommy you are good at to make the parent-teacher conference move faster.
@ajsharp My point is that a lot of engineers who are currently starting companies -- usually because they see their friend engineers raising $500k fairly easily -- should not be starting companies. Many of these guys would get richer and be more satisfied as early employees of red-hot startups with great business plans.
And I totally disagree about many engineers "wanting to build highly successful businesses and fantastic products," as many are raising cash to build useless products that aren't very innovative. SOME are creating such companies. But a lot are creating absolute trash when they could be building amazing things elsewhere as part of a team.
Finally, I"m not sure where you get the "vindictive" part. I really liked the engineers at Bleacher Report, and I plan to work with many of them again one day. Some of them made a pretty penny as a result of working at our company (rather than futzing around with $250k of SV Angel's money).
@eriksank Segey and Larry hired a professional CEO named Eric Schmidt, and it was a very successful partnership. Mark Zuckerberg hired a CEO who was nice enough to accept a 'COO' title. I think that Larry Ellison is a better CEO than Bill Gates was, though the latter probably gets credit for the single best business decision of the last 40 years...
@emmetgibney Very thoughtful comment!
@MoonlightLuke I failed?
@bennycreative Facebook received $500,000 because its servers were about to explode from 100,000's of users who were in love with their terrific product. Today, people are raising $500,000 based on their ex-Google resume and some hazy idea for a music app. Big difference.
@SkinCEO No prob. The world does need its fair share of massochists :)
@JDChizzle I think that you may need to look for a new job. There are a lot of outstanding startups and small businesses in SF and NY that are dying for engineering talent, and they seem to really enjoy their jobs/lives. Your mileage may vary.
@mail2jj Because it's the worst public transportation in America.
1 year, 6 months ago on Muni is 100 years old. Too bad it won’t die like a human that age
@antnisP @andrewfister LOL -- grow up.
@kingkaufman While I recognize that Muni does serve a portion of the population that is not physically able, it certainly is not the best option for such people. In fact, I would argue that Muni is a very bad option for disabled people, based on my experience. During the three years when I took Muni on a daily basis (before I quit cold turkey), we would occasionally have a disabled person get on the bus. It took about five full minutes for the driver to get the person on the bus and situated. There were usually 50+ people on the bus at that point, meaning that it took a combined 4+ hours of everyone's collective time to get that person on the bus. Now, we were all good samaritans and weren't going to complain, but I have to imagine that we can serve both the able and disabled passengers better.My proposal would be a private car system that offers elderly (72+) and disabled people a private chauffeuring system around the city. Imagine an Uber but just for people who are elderly or physically disabled. We could give them each a free iPhone4 with an app that is used for dispatching (as well as a phone hotline they can call). My guess is that such a service would cost $29 million/year to operate. Because the Muni budget is $829 million, the remaining $800 million would be given back to the people. It is my belief that any person who is physically able and under 72 is capable of riding a bike or walking 3 miles.
My greater point in this long response is that we can't build Muni around the needs of a very small proportion of the population... people over 72 or disabled are probably under 5% of the city's population, so let's create a solution for them. Since Muni isn't really doing a good job of serving the remaining 95% of us...
I mean, you have to admit it's hilariously pathetic that you end up taking BART -- which makes like six total stops in the city and isn't even a city service -- instead of taking Muni...
@njyx If you give people a great public transportation option -- like in NYC -- then people will naturally stop using cars. The key is to give them a better option, not take away their best option (which for most in SF, sadly, is to drive a car).
@leahtn 1) Bikes cost about $100 if you buy a pre-owned one 2) If we got rid of Muni, everyone would get their $1,000/year back, which could be invested into a bike 3) We can keep a small part ($20 mil/yr) to create a private car service for disabled people, that would not be very expensive and then the rest of us could re-allocate the remaining $800 million.
@ash26 Are you an AAPL shareholder?
1 year, 7 months ago on Let’s admit it… Steve Jobs was lucky
@statspotting The title of the article wasn't, "Steve Jobs Was Lucky, and Luck Was the Only Key to His Success..."
@wildavy I was such a bad banker... the worst!
@echotoall I am annoying, but not for that reason.
@BSchuler @KyleVail That wasn't the premise. The premise was that luck played a big part in his success, and that one factor -- one amongst many -- is now turning against Apple. Just as it did in the 1990's.
@Dominikk If they can solve the nightmare of TV/Video licensing, then we will all be the beneficiaries as consumers, and my AAPL shares will go up. But that is one area where divine intervention is all but needed... personally, I'd love to see them just buy Disney or CBS outright with all their cash :) Too bad for the SEC...
@Takeshi Young I was alive at the time, don't need to read any history books :)
I'm a huge fan of Apple, but I'm also a shareholder, and I am using the past to inform my view on the future...
@SeanWeinstock @bgoldberg Yes, I think that's a great place to take the conversation (I was trying to keep the article focused on a limited scope). I think that software is a better bet right now, and I think that Apple is at its best when it DOESNT MAKE SOFTWARE, other than core operating systems. All the Apple fanboys, myself included, need to be objective in where Apple is strong... software ain't it.
@PXLated I am lucky. All good entrepreneurs depend heavily on luck. I'm not convinced you read the article, though. Or at least your comment doesn't really suggest so...
@damiansen No, but I expected them to invent some stuff worth buying.
Hope that came out of management fees.
1 year, 7 months ago on It’s here: Your annual First Round portfolio company envy video
@BaluChandrasekaran @bgoldberg Bleacher Report is in the same advertising group as Huffington Post, Sugar, Business Insider, Vox, and a small handful of new media content companies.
HuffPo and Bleacher have already had nice nine-figure exits, and Sugar will probably IPO sooner than later. If Business Insider plays their cards right, they will also provide a great exit for their investors.
These are not Facebook-sized exits, true, but they are far less 'boom and bust' than social networks or viral apps.
Fred Wilson is very impressive because of his early investments in companies like Tumblr, Foursquare, and Twitter... but those companies all have one thing in common. They are "grow now and figure out advertising later" types. And they are not as well suited to advertising as are true content providers. I think it will work for Twitter. I am less optimistic about Tumblr or Foursquare. But with secondary markets, Fred will do just fine.
1 year, 7 months ago on What Fred Wilson and the VCs don’t get about advertising
@MitchGrasso @BaluChandrasekaran @bgoldberg Well, it didn't take us $40 million, we had a lot left in the bank when we sold :)
We were making substantial revenue at 5+ million uniques, and we were in a male-only category that did not have optimized CPM's, nor was it eligible for CPA advertising.
Female-oriented sites can make very meaningful revenue with 1-2 million uniques, I understand that Refinery29 makes a fortune with such traffic.
We can argue what a "lot" of money is all day long.
@Vibhu Mobile is dragging its feet, but it will be figured out in 2-3 years, and the TABLET market is already off to a strong start. We had several top-tier advertisers for our tablet app and tablet web inventory, even when the iPad was much newer. It's a great proxy for magazines, and an easy sell to agencies that want to get away from buying print magazine inventory.
As for phones... yeah, it's behind the eight ball. But companies that are raising seed/Series A rounds at this moment wont have to worry about scale advertising until 2014-2015, and I think that most of them will be in a much better spot then. Bigger screens are helping to address the problem.
Finally, I believe that Fred's article was specifically not about mobile...
@MitchGrasso @bgoldberg "Scale" is a loaded term -- getting a million people to *come* to your website (and read an article) is easier than getting a thousand people to purchase your app on iTunes is easier than convincing ten enterprises to switch to your SaaS software at the expense of their homegrown solution...
@BaluChandrasekaran Yes, he is bullish on the advertising model of his portfolio companies. :)
As for "banners", that is not the core source of ad revenue for large, successful consumer websites. At Bleacher Report, we have an entire team that creates unique/custom products and sell them at premium prices. This is no different from TV, where the rise of DVR's have forced programs to come up with unique/integrated ad products to replace the fifteen-second commercials...
I am dubious about how much longer the quality advertisers will want to buy rectangles on junky longtail sites... but the VC's can watch as their precious 'ad tech' portfolio companies deal with that issue...
@MitchGrasso His article ends with the words "permanent and systemic decline" -- I would hardly call the piece a ringing endorsement of the advertising business. I think that I was fair in saying that he makes many good points, but his overall thesis mirrors the 'party line' that most VC's seem to embrace.
With regard to the second fallacy, the point is that VC's so often act as though the 'immense scale' needed is a unique challenge to advertising models... that other business models have less of an uphill battle. That part is just nonsense. There are other parts of the advertising/content model that are far more appealing than the struggles of starting a game company, or an ecommerce company, etc.
@2William Yes it has. The first known advertisement that still exists today is in Ephesus, Turkey — it's an ad for a brothel, no surprise! http://www.ephesus.us/ephesus/marbleroad.htm
@Ballard I think that 1 out of 10ers are the best bets, because their idea is the central variable, and everything else rotates around that. Honestly, I don't know how the Elon Musks and Jack Dorseys of the world do it... so maybe I can explore that in another article.
1 year, 7 months ago on The “Ten Lives” game
@sportmac @bgoldberg @ArunkalyanNagarajan He says that I am "wrong" -- not sure how I argue that.
1 year, 7 months ago on Losers exist. Don’t hire them
@ArunkalyanNagarajan No, my article on Proposition 30 had even more comments. And I was right about that one too!
@kavla @thinkdevcode @bgoldberg @joemcmackin Thanks Kavla -- that is absolutely right.
@TDLAmagi @bgoldberg Ah, true... the original title was "Losers Exist. Destroy Them!" but Sarah made me change it...
@andremp Link bait headline? It has four words, none of which are the name of a famous person...
@sportmac @bgoldberg He is in no way obligated to discuss his interests or hobbies in the interview. And I am in no way obligated to hire him and spend the next two years sitting next to him for ten hours a day.
@sportmac No, it wasn't about interviewing poorly. I don't care if he was nervous. I don't care if he says "um" a few too many times. I care that he spent four fucking years studying something and can't speak for one minute about it...
@William Franceschine @bgoldberg You are correct that -- prior to being self-employed -- I did put a positive spin on it...
@benchadfield He was a loser. He majored in English, and he couldn't even name one book or poem or play that he loved. In fact, I'd say that even non-English majors should be able to talk about something they read or watched or listened to that was interesting...
Why would you want someone like that polluting your company by being a non-entity?
I interview people all the time who appear to have no passion or intellectual interests at all. A person like that will not thrive at their job. Why would they be interested/engaged in something boring -- like invoicing, data-entry, making presentations, sales operations, etc. -- when they can't even get passionate about a great movie or a beautiful novel.
@William Franceschine Anyone looking at my resume could have determined that my investment banking experience was a failure. It was too short, and I never touched Finance again.
@joemcmackin I don't think this is about them having a career path — hell, I went to a liberal arts college and had no idea what I wanted to do.
But all college graduates should be able to share some memorable academic experiences — a great book, a favorite class, a teacher who taught them something fascinating... etc.
There are countless people who view college as a task that needs to be checked like a box, and retain nothing, and savor nothing in the experience. And those people are intellectually vanilla, and not people I would ever really respect or want to spend time with.
... AND, for what it's worth, I am not even that favorable on college. I think it's too expensive, not the best use of time, and has lost a lot of its purpose. But you can study anything you want... that's the whole point. It doesn't matter what interests you, there is a major with your name on it... and people graduate having garnered nothing... I can't handle that.
@rszrama rszrama No, the post is not hot air, and you are missing the point of it entirely. At no point do I blame him for failing to help the fallen man. In fact, I make it clear that such a point is irrelevant. The crude act of photographing the situation — as though it were some sort of poignant evidence of atrocity or a war crime — is what I have a problem with. Then selling it for profit. Then acting as though nothing is unconscionable about that.
I'm sure he was helpless to save the man. But his 'instinct' in this case shows what a piece of shit he is.
1 year, 7 months ago on New York Post “controversy” is why dino-journalists piss me off
@SmarterThanAuthor I don't know... I'm pretty smart!
@ZSekar That is EXACTLY my point. There is objectivity when it comes to morals. Putting a grizzly photograph of a man about to die on the cover of a newspaper — when it is not news, and is really just sadistic gawking at others' misfortune — is wrong. And I intentionally try my best not to defend that, because there is no defense.
So, yes, you are right. I am saying that my creed is superior to THEIR creed.
... because a basic moral compass of 'right vs. wrong' should not need to be defended.
These journalists are trying to over-complicate a very simple situation. And I take exception to that.
@DanielKim @MitchGrasso That's right, Daniel!
1 year, 7 months ago on This is what you wanted, right? A perfect meritocracy?
I'm really digging the paint color that Sarah has in her office -- is it Benjamin Moore Classics Collection? If so, can I have the ID #?
1 year, 7 months ago on WITN: A big debate on why The Daily failed and how lean a media company can get
@KirkCaraway Cool, I'll check it out!
@KenG Thanks Ken -- no arguments here. This isn't a Politics site anyway. I am certainly not the world's best entrepreneur, nor am I the best writer. But I'd like to be a great combination of both...
1 year, 7 months ago on So does this mean no more tech rock stars?
@courtines This is very thoughtful -- I have often used the musician analogy to blogging. For centuries, men and women have played in their local pubs or at weddings, even though they are by no means 'professional musicians.' And those same people get just as much enjoyment playing in their living rooms or their garages with friends, in front of nobody.
That was much harder with writing. Poor Emily Dickinson spent her whole life writing for her own sanity, and died thinking that it would never be read. It just sucks to feel like you aren't sharing. But I see the point.
Finally, I think that one other key is that in the music world -- there HAVE been cases of a guy playing in his local pub or open-mic, only to get some attention and -- ultimately -- fame. This has been much harder with writing. Talent discovery has just never been there. You are either all in or all out. You are either Maureen Dowd, somebody struggling to become Maureen Dowd, or you are nobody.
1 year, 7 months ago on Why I stopped blogging and hopefully won’t ever again
@DanielKim Haha, feel free to lobby her on that one :) I'm not sure that i am Kevin Systrom, yet, but maybe if I publish a few hundred more article or start/sell another company I will earn a spot in her hotseat. Appreciate the kind words!
1 year, 8 months ago on The Anti-Social Era: Lessons Learned from Vimeo Founder Jake Lodwick
@ryancox Thanks Ryan -- I appreciate it very much!
@JenniferSiegler Thanks! It's been a long time since i wrote, so I'm glad to be back at it.
@chronicdre The article is being written specifically for non-technical people.
If you have some insanely valuable technical ability — as it appears you do — then maybe Google will pay you millions of dollars.
But your typical Michigan MBA does not have such skills, and so they need to figure out how to maximize hard work, general capability, and a smattering of business knowledge.
1 year, 8 months ago on Go west, young MBA: Important rules for building wealth in San Francisco
@Scoobysnax @bgoldberg Mexico :(
@ChristianSterner Thanks for the congrats!
I don't think that these 'tips' are meant to endorse whoredom. There are a lot of people out there who aren't born to be entrepreneurs, but they grow up in New York, get an MBA, decide to give California a shot, and there's a lot of value that they can add to Silicon Valley... even if they don't know it yet.
I find that people who get MBA's are somewhat risk averse, and a lot of them won't take on the challenge of starting from scratch... but you can also make a lot of money starting on the 2nd floor... with a lot less headache too.
@MitchGrasso We are talking about joining a startup after its Series A has been raised — companies that get through that threshold have a much higher chance of success than startups as a whole. I agree that most will not succeed, but a smart person should be able to get one or two out of ten to hit... and that $1 million they pocket is not chump change.
And how much risk are you AVOIDING by working at Google with some sub-Manager title? Ok, so you make $110,000 per year instead of $95,000 per year. Big f--- deal. You are also forgoing any dream of potential wealth. And if you stay at Google for five or six years, you may get promoted to Director... wow.
If somebody is so risk averse that they will give up any hope/dream of making millions so that they can earn an extra $15,000/year in salary at Google, then they deserve a vanilla life.
But, hey, I'm not saying that you shouldn't be an entrepreneur either :)
@JenniferSiegler Google and FB will happen once in a while -- but you might need 100 jobs before having something like that pop up, and you won't live that long. But there are a lot more $100million+ exits than people realize, and even quite a few over $500million. Think of the Buddy Media, Yammer, Instagram sized deals... even a mid-manager can walk away with a million bucks in such deals. Get that money when you are 32 yaers old and invest wisely!
@richarddjordan This was meant literally. And I think that your advice is the wrong advice. Going to events? I don't think that I went to a single schmooze/booze networking event during the years 2007 - 2010, when I was building my company, and I certainly didn't want to talk to some MBA who was standing there like a tool with a nametag.
But when someone contact me about my business (over FB, LInkedIn, somehow getting my email), etc, and told me why they liked BR and how they could be helpful to me -- even if they didn't have any true expertise or skills -- that was very much appreciated.
This is great advice, and people should follow it.
It may not work in all cases, but it will work in many. I'm pretty confident in that.
@courtines Yes, it is gross, but it is also reality. Living in San Francisco with a $300k income simply will not make you rich. You may be COMFORTABLE while you are working, and you will retire with a NEST EGG, but these are keywords that we do not associate with WEALTH...
@KristaCaldwell @YJDdave Dynamic pricing is a godsend, and it is completely necessary. Why should a taxi driver *only* make his regular meter rates on New Years Eve, when his customers are willing to pay 3-4x as much, and he is taking on such a great degree of hassle by even being on the road on New Years Eve.
One time, I found a girl on NYE and was gonna take her home, but it took us SOOO LONG to get a taxi, that she ended up going home... I would have paid $300 for a taxi at that moment... and if Uber had existed back then, I would have been able to get one (for about $100).
Who are you, Krista Cladwell, to tell me that I should not be able to purchase a service -- at a market rate -- during times when that service is scarce. I almost missed getting to the Giants World Series game, because all cabs were taken, and thankfully Uber got me there on time -- paying the 1.5x rate was totally worth it. Had we only had taxis to depend upon, I would have missed the game.
Ugh -- people who defend these regulators make me so frustrated... why can't you just let free enterprises connect with willing customers? What is wrong with that??? Please explain yourself, you sound like you are a 1950's Soviet politiburo mid-manager right now...
Am I suppose to really believe that these "regulators" have my "best interests in mind"?? This is nonsense!
1 year, 8 months ago on What taxi industry outsiders don’t get about VC-funded taxi apps
1) Please further elucidate on this. Are you saying that existing cab companies pay fees that Uber does not have to pay, so Uber has an unfair edge?
2) I feel perfectly safe riding in Ubers -- it is BY FAR the safest that I have ever felt in a taxi cab. Last month, I took a taxi to the airport and the cabbie was in a hurry and drove 100mph the whole way. I was very concerned, and he ignored me when I expressed this concern. I had nobody to complain to, when I called to tell the dispatcher, he said he would not my concern. Uber would have been far more responsive and given me resolution. Further, the two times I have left things in a regular cab, I never got them back. The two times me (and my gf) left items in an Uber, they were returned promptly.
From what are you protecting us??? Give me examples....
The government loves to pretend it is protecting people.
@anulman Your first point is one that requires deep industry knowledge to counter definitively, however I will point out that my girlfriend left her purse in an Uber this weekend, and I simply called the driver and he returned it. The accountability that Uber creates for drivers/passengers made this possible. A year ago, I left my phone in an Uber, and once again, it was returned promptly. I have never recovered anything I left in a taxi, I'm not sure how that would even be possible.
I can't speak to car accidents, or how that would be handled in legislation, but I would not let that drive all other facets of the industry.
Your second point is just wrong altogether. Does San Francisco need more cabs? Sure, but that's hardly the only problem. It's about the efficiency of the cabs -- Uber ensures that a taxi nine blocks from me can instantly be connected to me. It cuts out middle men, and uses technology and GPS to immediately connect vacant driver with customer. Traditional dispatching is so clumsy and inefficent, that I almost laugh at how primative we were three years ago.
In short, even if there had been 50% more cabs in 2008, I am not convinced it would have been any easier for me -- who lives on a quiet block in Russian Hill -- to get a taxi to pick me up and take me to the Mission. With Uber, that happens instantly.
Uber is a game-changing product -- people will try to find flaws in it (and it does have a few), but people love it because it has made their lives so much better.
@JoeOther Yes, they are doing god's work -- Uber has done more to enhance the quality of my life than just about any company over the last year.
I lived in San Francisco from 2005 - 2009, when Uber did not exist, and getting a taxi was nearly impossible. I had several evenings ruined because I simply could not get a cab at 8pm on a Friday, and thus missed a dinner/party/show, etc.
The knowledge that a car is (almost) always available, and the accountability of that car, are game-changers. I don't own a car myself, which is how I afford Uber, and if more San Franciscans were like me, this town would run much better (to the profit of the citizen, and to the profit of Uber).
These "taxi regulators" used to be necessary, but they are no longer of value to society. They are trying to protect their jobs, as so many obsolete men and women have through the ages. Did we use government to protect the job of horseshoe welders and buggie repairmen??
Once upon a time, there were safety concerns with taxi. Two strangers were riding together in a car -- that is a potentially dangerous situation. But thanks to Uber, the passenger and driver are documented with every ride, stored in a database, and -- in both cases -- screened to ensure proper behavior. If you try to rob an Uber driver, you will be caught in five minutes... and they don't carry cash, so that is another safety advantage.
It amazes me how often people will make society worse in order to protect their jobs.
Uber has made San Francisco a far better city -- I use Uber almost daily, because it enhances my ilfe. If anything happens to Uber, I will make my voice loud and clear, as will many of my friends.
@KenG While it's true that people born as early as 1890's were alive to vote on this, the greatest fault lies with those who have had thirty years to reform this horrible legislation and done nothing.
Yes, you can lump in those born ten years before the Boomers in with the Boomers -- not sure what you call people born in the mid-1930's or early-1940's, but they ain't the Greatest Generation...
Were there people born in 1910 who supported Prop 13? Of course. But they probably didn't live long enough to see the kind of damage that it wrought -- my parents generation (they were born in the early 1950's) have benefited the most from Prop 13, and have had every chance to fix it.
While the points you are making are fine, I think that you are harping on semantics here. Was someone born in 1940 a Boomer? Strictly speaking, no. But I don't see how this greatly undermines the points made.
1 year, 8 months ago on Proposition 30: Yet another way California screws entrepreneurs over
@InsideOut I'm not a Democrat, I'm a political independent who voted against Prop 30, and voted for several Republican candidates at the state level...
The MAJOR difference between Prop 30 and the federal tax increases forthcoming are this:
(1) The federal tax creases will be BUNDLED with trillions of dollars in cuts, hopefully to entitlement programs that are out of control. In contrast, our governor raised taxes massively, with no promise of how he will fix our spending problems. This is a huge difference.
(2) The Obama tax increases will likely be a rollback of the Bush-era tax cuts -- these California taxes are new, unprecedented taxes that are shattering all previous records. At least our federal taxes are at a sixty-year low for the time being.
(3) Obama taxes are not RETROACTIVE, which I still can't believe is constitutional.
So while I agree with you about taxes in general, please don't compare our nation to the state of California -- our nation has its issues, especially recently, but our state is downright insane.
@ajkohn Baby Boomers have had thirty years to fix Prop 13 -- but it's easier to kick back and enjoy the fruits of their recklesness, than to actually fix it. I'm sure they plan on having their children fix that problem too...
@KenG I use Uber about 20x month at a cost of about $20. That is $400/month, though the cost is going down thanks to UberX.
A parking spot would cost me $300/month -- alternatively, I rent out the parking space I own at my condo for about that -- so I would immediately lose that income if I were to own a car...
@KenG @oldtimerhacker If any law could be achieved with a simple majority of the populace, then our nation would look very different. There's a reason why our founding fathers did not want direct democracy. It's the same reason why Plato and Aristotle opposed it.
Read the damn Federalist Papers. Just because 53% of Californians feel entitled to my money doesn't mean they deserve it.
As far as I'm concerned, every percentage point by which California exceeds the other 49 states is nothing short of theft -- glad that it was done with the pistol of state government as the weapon.
If the other 49 states can operate with 0-9% state income tax, then so too can California. What I'm getting for my money is not better schools -- that was a marketing ploy -- I am getting (a) tax subsidies for older Californians who benefited from Prop 13 (b) lavish pensions for teachers and prison guards (c) slightly lower tuition for students.
Not worth it. Done debating you, KenG -- glad that some of us feel good about this tax increase. We can all rest assured that your next company will be started here.
@oldtimerhacker This is not only the smartest comment in this chain — smarter than any of my own — it may be the single smartest comment that I have ever read in any comment thread in all my ilfe.
This perfectly captures how I feel right now.
I wish that more people were like you -- and able to put such rational thoughts into such thoughtful prose.
*note that they didn't actually buy the thing until a few years after 1979, but that's a detail :)
@KenG You don't have to leave the state. My parents home in Los Altos cost $50k in 1979, and by 1992 it was worth close to a million dollars. That was a great 12-year window, it's true, but Prop 13 certainly contributed to the price going up (since every act of market manipulation leads to unintended consequences).
Now, a completely comparable house in Sunnyvale or Redwood City would have been worth a LOT less. Perhaps 30-40% less. The schools were equally good, and the towns are nice, but Sunnyvale/ RedwoodCity /Burlingame are far cheaper than Los Altos / Atherton / Woodside, etc.
People act like you have to move to Timbuktu when you sell your home in Menlo Park or Palo Alto. I know many people who have sold a home in Palo Alto for $2million and then moved to a very nice house four miles away for half the price. And if people have to downsize their home when their kids go to college, that's not the end of the world...
For the most part, people stay in their homes -- regardless of how financially foolish it is -- for one reason: they just don't feel like moving.
@KenG @jeremyrmccarthy The point is that when somebody has an asset that jumps in value from $50,000 to $1,000,000 in twelve years, they should probably realize those gains... especially when that $1,000,000 represents most -- if not all -- of their net worth.
Again, we could debate for hours the role of a home as an investment vs. a domicile... but at some point the issue gets forced. And, in the case of Prop 13, they made their voice heard... and bankrupted our state in the process.
@KenG Do you know how much cheaper it is to rely on Uber and walking vs. owning a car? Let's start with the price of the car, $300/mo in parking, gas, insurance, monthly tickets for doing nothing wrong, constant break-ins when you park on the street for an hour... owning a car in SF is a nightmare. Uber is getting cheaper with its new UberX and UberTaxi offerings...
@sandhillexit @jeremyrmccarthy Just go with Uber and never wait for cabs again... though the city tried awfully hard to kill Uber, they were not able to succeed. To your other points, how can we keep spending constant, when pensioners are ENTITLED to huge increases in their pensions every year after retiring in their 50's?
@Unclepapi Oh, and in exchange for double-taxes, our neighborhood schools suck, our infrastructure is a joke, and we are permanently strapped for cash... while our prison guards drive Mercedes.
@renderpaz I hope you make $200 million!
@jeremyrmccarthy I'm sorry, but I do not sympathize with people who suffer from "having their house go up in value too fast". There are plenty of people on this planet who I feel bad for, but people who get a 1000% ROI on their financial investments are not one of them.
In reality, when somebody has an asset that represents 90% or more of their net worth, they should probably sell it, bank profits, and diversify. Then they won't have to pay such high property taxes. I realize that there is an attachment to a home, and that selling it tugs at the heart strings, but grownups need to act like grownups. If a store clerk who makes $30,000 owns a house thats worth $1 million, then he should probably sell the damn thing and move somewhere cheaper. End of story. I certainly would not BANKRUPT AN ENTIRE STATE so that Joe Q. Homeowner can keep his beloved house rather than cash in the profits.
Your second point is one that I DO AGREE with. This whole "education" thing was a sham, and I cannot believe how many people — including responders to this article — actually believed that marketing hype.
@suniljacob Sorry, Sunil, but your perspective is totally out of whack, and you missed the point of the article.
Prop 30 is an abomination not because it leads to an unprecedented level of taxation. It is an abomination because it is an example of one generation literally stealing from the next generation -- this happens sometimes, but never on this scale and with such shamelessness.
Second, I recognize that California and my VC investors were major contributors to my success, but both of them benefited hugely from their involvement in my business. My VC's made a substantial return on their investment, and they deserved it. The state got a lot of jobs, and they were concentrated on young people who were struggling to find work.
I'm not saying that a successful business outcome is not contingent upon -- and to the benefit -- of many parties... I just think it's a shame that the only one being squeezed is the person who made it all happen on day one.. the founder.
... and the good news is that you can be a founder in any one of our fifty states... and with each passing year, it's easier and easier for that state to not be California.
@POSanDiego We do have great public universities -- our elementary, junior high, and high schools are a joke.
I'm in favor of reform, but Prop 30 wasn't a "reform" it was done specifically so that we don't have to reform Prop 13, our corrupt public unions, or any of the countless problems that actually do plague our state.
But keep taxing the people who make this state what it is -- hasn't cost you anything yet!
@Unclepapi The "slim" number of entrepreneurs are measured in the thousands, and they are the ones who matter, since they create the companies that are driving the Bay Area. This tax personally cost me a whole lot more than $15,000 — and that is after I already paid my federal and state taxes for the year... that whole 'retroactive' thing.
I don't mind paying my fair share on taxes, but every other state seems to be able to survive on 0 - 6% state taxes, not sure why we have to double that amount.
@KenG Call me whatever you like, KenG, but I am the furthest thing from an "asshole". And I'd like to think that the 150 jobs that I created were of great value to California -- they were certainly of value to the employees (most of whom were young and faced difficult hiring environments).
And your point about "education my future employees" is ridiculous. Our schools have been horrible for decades, for reasons that go far beyond budget woes. The unions who wrote Prop 30 are the first ones I'd cite.
Either way, most of our employees wen to colleges outside California, and most of them developed their practical skills on the job.
I'm with you on the drug wars.
Im not asking for special treatment -- I'm specifically asking NOT to get treated differently... i.e. paying 20% more taxes than my friends in Washington, Texas, Nevada, and Florida... and asking not to pay double the state taxes of people who make plenty good livings.
Glad that you feel entitled to my money, though, Ken :)
@dottore Proposition 13 can be reformed without being destroyed entirely. Almost every piece of it is open to revision -- but by refusing to address it for 35 years, we have now dug such a deep hole that it's hard to know where to start...
I guess this is the one silver lining of the housing bust -- everyone who bought a home in the last ten years is not really seeing much benefit from Prop 13... just another example of Generation Y being screwed over by The Baby Boomers....
@sandhillexit @rstephens That's true -- way too many of us are indifferent to state laws, etc. For the last six years, when I was building my company, I too could not have cared less about politics. But I have more time now, and, yes, I am gonna speak up :)
@aaronklein LOL -- I know. If only I had gotten my 800,000 best friends together, we could have stopped it in its tracks!
@renderpaz @JDSoCal It's so horrible, that I can't believe it is actually happening... and these parents feel completely entitled to not pay these taxes... makes me so mad, I am gonna call my parents right now and yell at them for paying $6,000/year on their huge Los Altos home they paid $50k for in 1983. :)
@rszrama LOL -- I don't think that many voters really had a clue what they were voting for from a legislative standpoint... one reason why the founding fathers did NOT want direct democracy...
That said, this law was put together by Jerry Brown and the Teachers Unions, and they know exactly what is going on.
@sandhillexit @rstephens Come on... are you really saying that you have a problem with FEDERAL taxes, which are at a sixty-year low, and much lower than almost any other first world nation... all while maintaining a large military and generous entitlements?
I think it's the state government that has the problem...
@zecket This isn't about Bleacher Report or my personal finances... I'm doing fine, but will have to think hard about whether I need to be in CA to start my next company :)
@rstephens @sandhillexit ... well, if you are happy here, I can't argue with that. I love the Bay Area -- I was born and raised here, and have lived in SF for seven years.
But our beautiful weather, proximity to beaches, mountains, and vinyards, our innovation, lifestyle pace, Stanford University, etc -- none of these things require state revenues in order to exist.
We live in a beautiful state that is populated by amazing people -- and yet our government and unions are so corrupt and inept that it is levying an unnecessary tax on all of us... and we just put up with it...
@benwerd How many of our top entrepreneurs went to California public schools at any point in the last twenty years? They have become a disgrace, and throwing more money at teacher pensions is not going to fix it.
You can't possibly believe the marketing behind this Proposition, can you?
We'll see if your attitude is the same when you have your big pay day :)
@jwaldrop @DashiellMenard It has done a lot for me -- but let's not kid ourselves here. if California thinks that it is the only state with talented engineers and hard-working people, then ti is in for a surprise. 90% of our company's employees were NOT engineers, most of them were hired after graduation and their primary skill was their work ethic and desire to learn. There are a lot of smart people in Texas, Washington, and the midWest who are equally willing to work hard.
NY is also an attractive place to start a company. State income tax is half of California at the top levels. While there is a city tax, at least you are getting something for that. NY is a modern marvel in terms of how well it operates... SF is one of the most disorganized and ineptly managed cities in the country... our Board of Supervisors is a disgrace.
@renderpaz State taxes will very likely lose their deductibility next year, as it is the federal loophole that is most likely to close -- and I don't have a problem with that in concept. But it will essentially increase the impact of state income taxes by an additional 35%... so that needs to be kept in mind. But, then again, the whole problem is that state and federal taxation boards are not in communication at all, so we have the right vs. left hand acting independently.
As for your $2million example, I hope that you are not starting a company in hopes of 'only' making $2 million. That may sound like a harsh statement, but when you consider how much income you will forgoe, and how much risk you will take, over the next 5-10 years, then your ultimate payout hopes need to be higher. It's the people who are taking home $5million+ who are really screwed by Prop 30, which includes a lot more people than you would think.
And not every rich person is buying ferraris.. a lot of us would like to use a good portion of our success to invest in future ventures... I don't even own a car!
@sandhillexit ... and San Francisco is a model of public transportation? Have you driven downtown at any point in the last six months? Have you taken a bus recently -- when you get to Chinatown, it's faster to get out and walk. Don't even get me started on how much the Chinatown lobby controls this city's infrastructure.
I'm sure that Dell's location in Austin is what made it fall behind. Just ask the employees of Hewlett Packard...
@DashiellMenard I created 150 jobs, most of them in California... and I did it in the middle of our country's worst recession in decades. You may think that I am "horribly overpaid" — even though I paid myself little salary prior to our acquisition — but I would argue that I've done a hell of a lot more for California than California has done for me.
@shandonfowler It is despicable legislation -- our country is no stranger to one generation bankrupting their children for short-term gain... but this takes it to a whole new level...
@sbonifides A little bit of hyperbole never hurt anyone. I hope you don't read Business Insider or just about any of the mainstream media sites if you dislike alarming language :)
What part did you find to be misinformed?
@samgrossberg Yes, so people who are making millions of dollars this year by selling Facebook shares -- or selling their company -- are being hit hard. California does not distinguish between "income" and "capital gains".
ComScore is terrific, and we are very lucky to have them to determine how many visitors each website garners. They are very good at what they do, and we don't need anyone else to try to do the same thing. Everyone who works there is excellent. Did you know that comScore invented both the hamburger and the radio? Nobody has it better than us.
1 year, 11 months ago on ComScore’s Lawsuit Against Three Startups Is Pretty Deplorable
@AustenjAllred Fred is an outstanding investor, and we were very fortunate to have him on our team. That said, he would probably be the first to recognize that our sales executives — all of whom predated his investment — were the catalyst for our huge revenue growth.
1 year, 11 months ago on BleacherReport and HuffPo: How the Only Two Nine-Figure Blog Exits Used Crowds Wisely
@retired blogger dude For the last five years, I have generally avoided responding to commentary like this, but what the heck :)
Sarah is correct in her analysis, and the value that she sees is Bleacher Report is the same value that virtually every single major brand advertiser sees. It's also the value that Time Warner — possibly the world's most respected media company — saw. If you fail to see the incredible value of Bleacher Report, then you probably haven't been on the website in a few years, or you are an embittered, burnout blogger.
Virtually every myth that the blog community throws out is simply not true. Some claim that anybody can write for BR, or that writers go unpaid. These are both not true. We pay hundreds of writers and editors. The company has over a hundred paid employees. I don't think there are very many teenagers appearing on the site, though we will never reject a talented writer based on any factor of that sort. As for 'babe' content, we have very little of it, most was phased out years ago when our sales team entered the market. What little we do have is in no way out of line with other sports publishes who do swimsuit or body issues. In short, your attacks are completely false, and -- at best -- are rooted in highly outdated criticisms from a time when Bleacher Report was new and had far less money than the competitors we have subsequently beaten.
What you failed to mention, amongst other things, is our incredibly popular email newsletter -- with millions of active subscribers -- and our top ranked iPhone and iPad apps, which have consistently held a 5-star rating on the iTunes app store.
Deadspin/Gawker are entirely different from BR, so I won't even comment on the comparison. As for Vox Media, they and their bloggers spent years attacking BR -- often on ungrounded premises -- and where has it got them? According to Quantcast, their traffic is collapsing. They've had to retreat into new categories. They've been through how many Sales executives who have moved on to greener pastures? I've heard great things about Jim Bankoff, though never spoken with him. That said, the team at Bleacher Report entered the market with a far more sophisticated vision and executed beautifully on that vision. SBNation was always uninteresting to us, and time proved us the victor.
I'm proud of what my co-founders and I achieved at Bleacher Report, and our big pay day is nice. But what I'm really excited about is teaming up with an incredible company like Turner who can now promote the site and inject significantly more audience and resources into it. You can have whatever opinion of Bleacher Report you want, but facts are facts. We are the new challenger to ESPN's crown, and I like our odds.
Oh, and another outstanding article by Sarah Lacy, who puts an incredible amount of thought into everything she writes.
Bryan / Co-Founder, Bleacher Report
@dkosaraju @bgoldberg I hope you don't find it "incredible", because in re-reading my post, I don't even see where things got "personal". I didn't give you the answer you might have wanted, but that hardly crosses a personal line. I don't know who you are. I don't know your name, age, gender, nationality, etc, so this is far from personal.
I don't agree with all of the examples you have cited. When you describe HP, are you talking about Meg Whitman or Carly Fiorina? The former is taking on a mighty challenge, to be sure, but she also got one heck of a fortunate opportunity in her previous tenure, at eBay. As for Ms. Fiorina, she did a very poor job running HP, and her failures were her own. She was not forced into a difficult job. Others might have succeeded where she came up short. Her similarly uninspired political career leads one to believe that maybe she just wasn't that talented.
I'm a Pepsi shareholder and am generally pleased with that investment. Indra Nooyi has been a central executive at that company for many years, long before her CEO tenure, and I expect that she will be there for a while.
I can't speak to Alcatel/Lucent or WHSmith, though I would not put those companies in the same stratosphere as the aforementioned two.
I don't know how many men declined the Yahoo job — I know of one who supposedly did, and I know of one man who wanted very badly to keep the CEO role, and who was certainly qualified to do so. He was passed over for the woman who was appointed yesterday.
In short, I am very confident in my opinion. Insofar as I am neither a Yahoo shareholder, nor a user of their products, I am not going to put a great deal of time into assessing the company. But I am a man of common sense, and it was fairly easy for me to see the flaws in this hire. I have grown tired of all the hype and misguided expectations that are becoming an epidemic here in Silicon Valley, and felt compelled to speak out on this particular news story, since it has captivated so many people. But a day has passed, and already I am done caring very much about it.
For what it's worth, I went to a small college in Vermont where a lot of theory was discussed, and a lot of professors — many of whom were very highly regarded — had a lot of strong opinions about the real world that they knew so little about. I didn't like it then, and I don't like it now. Even now, with that world firmly in my rear-view mirror, I occasionally encounter an ivory-tower type. You may be one, or perhaps you were simply quoting one. Either way, I get frustrated when people like that tell someone like me — who has actually experienced the realities of starting and running a business — what it "takes" to make it. Part of it is laughable, but part of it is downright annoying.
So, that's that.
2 years ago on Why on Earth Did Marissa Mayer Say Yes to Yahoo?
@KenG Well, I still believe that Yahoo should give the $7 billion from Alibaba back to shareholders, allowing them to operate more like a $10-billion company -- and, truthfully, some of their assets aren't going to be there forever (I doubt my children will even know about Yahoo search). So they need to pump their search proceeds into building out media capabilities.
... and, yes, it is all about Content. Content is king. That is why HBO is amazing and Netflix is stumbling.
The time was now for Yahoo to transform itself into a top-tier media company with best-in-class content. The barriers to broadcast are coming down, and their brand is great amongst a lot of consumers.
How is Yahoo supposed to make money with "web product innovation", when Google itself — who basically sidelined Mayer years ago — can't make much money on its non-search products? Even if she makes Y! Mail and a handful of other products competitive, then what?
This just doesn't add up to me.
Marissa Mayer succeeded at Google because she is a talented and hard-working person, who was in the right place at the right time, and completely made the most out of a golden opportunity. She now has the personal wealth necessary to do big new things with her life, and use those same skills to change the world. Trying to put on the CEO hat and make lemonade out of a dying lemon tree is hardly what I thought she would do as an encore. But I guess that when the Board of Directors came knocking, she was happy to answer the door.
Count me amongst the head scratchers.
@gcj LOL -- well, the good news is that I comment more on business/technology than I do feminist theory...
@gcj Ha -- I didn't realize that it was socially unacceptable to respond intelligently to a feminist without saying something along the lines of "you are so right" or "I accept your point without hesitation".
I thought her point was bad... well... awful, to be honest.
@KenG Appreciate the thoughtful response, here is what I would say.
1) With regard to VC's, I'd put this in the classic "they do and they don't" category. Yes, there have been huge rounds for Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Yelp etc, but those companies have all tried to 'reinvent' advertising and try to find alternative paths to monetize. Yelp is a particularly clear example — they do mostly local ads, not really a media company at all.Very few *true* media companies get funded... Sugar, HuffPo, BR, Pando, Vox and maybe a couple others.
2) Yes, they need to improve their Products, but there is a lot more to a media company than the code. Yahoo Finance is an incredibly powerful destination, if they just prettied it up a little bit and got some more great content in there (hint: they should buy Seeking Alpha). Their content investments in Yahoo Sports have been big successes to date... In short, I don't know that they need an army of 1,000 engineers to revive their enterprise. Throwing a bunch of engineers at a problem does not necessarily lead to innovation.
3) Sales guys do throw their brand name at problems, and they often gloss over the critical minutia in their organizations, but there is much more sophistication to what they do than a lot of others realize. They need to stay on message and build multi-year relationships in a world where things change constantly. I've spent years successfully bridging the two worlds (Engineering / Sales), and both sides of the house are genius in their own way... they just need to communicate properly.
@dkosaraju Give me a break. Did Barack Obama face a "glass cliff" when he took over a country that was facing economic meltdown? Did Steve Jobs face a "glass cliff" when he came back to run a near-death Apple? I could provide hundreds of examples of men who wagered their reputations to take on a high-risk endeavor.
The reason she was never considered for the Google CEO job was because the founder of the company had to wait a decade to get that gig, and he probably wasn't giving it up any time soon.
Judging by your familiarity with academic/feminist theory, I will assume that you may be a self-proclaimed "feminist scholar".
If so, this is very sad. Every time a feminist "cries wolf" and tries to frame a non-gender-issue as a 'gender issue', then it necessarily undermines the credibility of the entire field...
... and, in my opinion, that is exactly what you just did.
Call me boring and lame, but I think that Ross Levinsohn was the obvious choice for this role, and Yahoo has once again snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Yahoo is in a great position to salvage itself by making a more complete transition to being a media company. Most people in Silicon Valley completely misunderstand Media, and are completely out of their element when it comes to brand advertising-based businesses. That's why VC's don't like to fund most ad-based models. It's not a risk/reward issue, it's a comfort issue.
Yahoo is as Silicon Valley as it gets, and they stuck to their comfort zone by hiring the 'queen of the techies'. I'm sure they will trumpet it as a bold move, but is it a bold move? I don't think so. Bold would have been to stick with Levinsohn and (1) provide some stability after a hugely embarrassing hiring gaffe (2) signal that Yahoo sees more growth and potential as a Media company (3) separate themselves from Google, rather than trying to play second fiddle.
My prediction had always been that Yahoo would return significant cash to shareholders, and retain enough to rebuild itself with a focus on Sports, Finance, etc. With a lower capitalization, they would be under less pressure to make a 'big bang', and could continue life as a respectable mid-size media company. So much for that.
There's a lot to like about Marissa Meyer, and if it was time for her to move on from Google to embrace new challenges, I would have liked to see her do something with more upside. Something as 'outside-the-box' as her personality. She's already a billionaire, why not get involved in something a little more meaningful than trying to resuscitate Yahoo?
The already-abysmal Board of Directors made a quick, short-sighted decision that they knew would be insulated from criticism. Now they get to pat themselves on the back for being 'adventuress' and pulling off a 'coup'.
Maybe I'm just cynical, but there are a lot of smart engineers out there who think that they can understand Advertising, but there's more to it than they will ever know. And unlike Google, the folks in Sunnyvale will not be able to re-write the rulebook...
Bleacher Report's iPhone app didn't get any mention, but it probably should have.
Not only is it in the Top 10 sports free apps -- highest amongst independently owned companies -- but it has a perfect five star rating.
It is the only app in sports to have that kind of critical acclaim, and one of the very few large-scale apps in the iTunes store that is able to hold onto such an elite rating.
It's simple, gives users what they want, and builds upon the beloved Newsletter experience.
... and now I will stop with the shameless promotion...
Appreciate the third party insights about the work we are doing. I couldn't be more proud of our team, and the last week has helped confirm that our investments are paying off. We're a company that listens -- to our contributors, sponsors, our millions of subscribers, and even our skeptics. All of these groups have helped to shape our direction, and I like where it's going.
I'll be sorely disappointed if this blog isn't here next month.
2 years, 10 months ago on Koo Runnings Volume Four
@BenKoo @Edo Rich ran the digital sales team at CBSSports, and it was one of the best in the business — perhaps the single best. His experience and track record are second to nobody in the industry. We are incredibly excited to have him on board.
3 years, 1 month ago on Thinking About The Value Of Platform
@Edo Nope. BR already had a large and highly successful salesforce before hiring Rich. There is no way that a new company could land a person of his experience/stature if they were starting their salesforce from scratch. Companies like BR have to establish their efficacy in the marketplace before a person of that seniority will get involved.
I acknowledge that you might be the world's great Chinese Jew.
But in this article, you make the heavy-handed claim of being the World's Greatest Jew.
I'm sure that Albert Einstein would have protested this claim of yours, and even if it is restricted to living Jews, then I'll wager that Mark Zuckerberg has us both beat, even in the niche category of "Greatest Under 30 Entrepreneur Jews". And, of course, Adam Sandler trumps us all.
As for your analysis, there are some interesting thoughts here, though it is all colored by the fact that you have no idea what is going on beneath the hood at any of these companies. A keen-eyed user may be able to deduce the level of sophistication of the CMS to some extent.