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@paulcarr Ahhhh OK. Makes sense. I'm surprised one of your investors pre-launch didn't suggest raising more money, considering they have built media companies before, but it is what it is at this point. As the french say "these snails are dank" and "c'est la vie".
Anyway - You should consider raising an AngelList syndicate round... And letting your readers know about this (or having Pando/Sarah Lacy promote it through these pages) opportunity. This wouldn't violate SEC provisions, and it would let your readers who are more sophisticated (I would imagine your demo is more educated than most anyway, which probably means more likely to be accredited) take a stake in a company they believe in. It would also not be bad press to be the first media company who has already raised to go in and raise a syndicate round. It sort of aligns with your "power & truth to the people", no?
Or feel free to tell me to fuck off of course.
1 year, 6 months ago on Advice for journalism startups: Take the money. Take it all. Ask for more
This is really insightful. Thanks.
Curious, why not raise more money pre-launch? I would assume with your pedigree/notoriety/skills you would have had the opportunity to do so... I'm fairly confident Pando raised $3M or so (as did NowThisNews, and a few other sites) which is 'standard' if you have a star player (you or Sarah Lacy)... so why not the larger seed round?
I'm typically a huge Pando fan, but this article is strange. "Lest you ever be in doubt about Uber’s fuck-you attitude to any company that isn’t itself" is a pretty aggressive lede, and as a reader immediately discredits the piece as bias. Much more Op-Ed than reporting, which is cool, but this felt somewhere in the middle... which isn't the high quality writing I'm used to from Pando.
Just my two cents of course, but as a contributor of 50pv a week it's probably relevant (there are likely others who feel similarly).
1 year, 6 months ago on Uber to Lyft: We’ll beat you with our money
Unless you're trying to build the Ubuntu phone :)
1 year, 7 months ago on The embarrassment of premature VC-infatuation
Really nice job.
1 year, 7 months ago on Planning to launch a startup? Launch your kindergarten startup first
Big ups to you for keeping at it Pablo. Personally, I could never do what you're talking about... I need a purpose for my work beyond "I want to start a company." ... But that's just me.
One piece of advice I might give you is that even if you dive this deep into the lean mentality (which is fine, lots of people have awesome lives because of it) you should always be able to answer the question: "Why now?" as though the baddest VC in the world was asking you. For me personally, the answer is generally emotionally connected to a problem that I feel needs to be solved, but again, not everyone is like me. I have learned from some pretty amazing entrepreneurs who most would consider successful and they taught me this tenet and it's served me well though. #JustSaying
1 year, 7 months ago on Seven dirty, gritty, real startup lessons that cost me $2 million
One word of advice: Whatever you do, don't lose Paul... so assume when he is talking about product he is right and you are not (even if you think he is not)... Let feedback from potential investors, potential partners and users provide the ammo you need later on to say "see, perhaps we shouldn't have done that because Union Square really wanted to see a clear conversion funnel [or something else esoteric]". As the CEO your job is to pitch, not run out of money, and grow as quickly as effectively as you possibly can with as little friction as possible... and starting your first consumer-facing startup/company is an organic experience where you make judgment calls based on what people have told you or you have read at first, and what you have experienced second (after you've been in the weeds for a few years), so you need to manage your assets (Paul) to ensure that you can reach that second part of the equation. Then... argue away :)
Otherwise you may hit a point where you guys agree that your friendship is more important than the business, at which point it sounds like he could go out and build a company/product on his own in his room and you'd be left looking for another programmer to hire.
1 year, 8 months ago on How to survive co-founding a company with a friend
Considering 100% growth is relative, what are the #s?
1 year, 8 months ago on How concert app Loudie doubled its users in two weeks
@hamishmckenzieSweet. lol. Have you checked out nytimes.com on your phone? I'm not saying that the NYT doesn't say "Read your favorite sections of The New York Times on your mobile device" I'm saying you might want to hit good ole nytimes.com on your phone.
2 years, 1 month ago on Apps or responsive design? For the Huffington Post, the answer is both
Heads up: The New York Times doesn't even have a dedicated mobile site... Sort of invalidating this bit "And some, like the New York Times, are just making sure they’re everywhere: on mobile apps, in the browser, and on HTML5 sites.". Just a heads up.
This was a really thoughtful piece. Thanks for it.
2 years, 4 months ago on Jealous it missed out on election fun, Twitter’s Fail Whale makes a mid-morning cameo
For me, this is particularly interesting in the context of an echo chamber comprised of mostly entrepreneurs and/or people who have built companies from the ground up vs. those who have helped companies grow once they're established (participated in social media strategies/marketing/etc).
The reason I say this is because as someone who has been dirt poor/broke while working 120 hours/week on a company that I felt like was my baby, it was of critical importance for me to get "motivational" feedback from peers -- not necessarily "what a great idea" but more like "you can do it"... Which is exactly what I tell my friends who are trying to change the world right now by building iPhone apps. :)
Anyway, I guess that since I can relate to the physicality of their struggle, along with the mental wear and tear that accompanies it, I try and be encouraging/motivating about their ability to execute instead of their general concept (which, generally speaking, ends up being sort of 'meh'). Just to help them get through the 3AM-5AM part of the all-nighter if nothing else.
Not sure if this is interesting to you but this distinction made sense to me.
2 years, 5 months ago on The False Loyalty of the Echo Chamber
Any chance you can break out or explain how "hits" are counted, because Buzzfeed floats around 10m/month on comScore (which could be 20mm on GA)... which would make some of these numbers pretty tough to normalize against. Any idea?
2 years, 6 months ago on Here Are The 13 Most-Viewed Buzzfeed Posts Ever (And Its 13 Best-Reported Posts Too)
Totally spot-on analysis here Matt. Personally, I am drawn to "going transactional: -- this concept embraces the native benefits of the phone (geo-awareness) in a way that actually benefits the user experience (unlike ads) -- but can see the value in all four of the paths you outlined. That said, I would go even further and widen the perspective of this path (#3) by making it about vertical integration not just transactions. Transactions are an elegant solution to the mobile + monetization problem because it removes the dependency on brand advertisers and refocus on adding value to users, but as a media company that's really just the tip of the iceberg... In my (limited) experience you have what every startup founder is looking for -- readers, looking to be informed and educated about what is hot/new/fresh/etc. -- and vertical integration via native or web-based apps/services provides a deep opportunity to leverage the greatest benefit of running a media company. Assuming of course this development/path allows you to remain focused on the operating goals and position of the company, and not become distracted by more rapid -- and sometimes tangential -- development cycles.
Either way -- really nice piece!
2 years, 9 months ago on The Mobile Monetization Challenge: How Can Content Publishers Make Mobile Work?
Smart analysis. In particular, I'm drawn to the idea of Facebook taking a step out of the walled garden into the open web... Which is a tactic that has created a diverse set of revenue opportunities for Google over the years, and is what (in some ways) makes them the absolute beast they are today. Kudos to you for thinking outside of the box.
2 years, 10 months ago on How Facebook Can Solve Its Mobile Problem: Build a Browser
"Neo" according to this comment right here.
2 years, 10 months ago on Who is the Really Truly Real Mark Zuckerberg?
@Francisco Dao It's funny you say that, because I was thinking about it last night (totally PC) and was struck by the similarities of the current angel funding rush and the mortgage/default-credit swap fiasco that brought down the economy. I know it sounds like hyperbole but think of it like this: Both instances saw intelligent (dare I say, very intelligent) individuals making bets with other people's money that they knew were built on very little value (if any at all), but predicted on the fact that a small group of other investors had in fact made a shi*t ton of money making those very same bets... And even better, they were willing to dump a bunch of money into properties with at best tangential hard value, and hope that said property was sold to someone else before it crashed and burned.
Maybe I'm reaching here, but to me it just seems very strange that we have, in both situations you have good money, handled by intelligent investors, who are making bets based on values that are not derived by actual products, revenue or customers but by other speculators... something that in both situations, creates a weird cycle of value in commodities that eventually goes... :(
2 years, 10 months ago on Fred Wilson Is Wrong About The Problem With Venture Capital
Really well articulate perspective. I'm surprised by all of the negative feedback in the comments -- not sure how the article is aggressive or misleading at all -- although my guess is that many of them are MVP devotees (just a guess). Either way, I'm interested to see what you (Francisco) would say is an alternative to the current funding paradigm (angel heavy + series A crunch + huge multiples going to angels)? (aka, "Cool, I agree with you, but what SHOULD Fred & co do?)