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I see something more profound in each 48-hour built-to-flip deal. Some, albeit not all, are breaking new ground in ways that can be leveraged by others to make a difference. I wish C.K. Prahalad were still alive. I'm sure he could write a sequel to "The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid" that would connect those dots nicely.

3 months ago on Should entrepreneurs want to make money or a difference?

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Overall this is a great piece and the depth of analysis is excellent. Though I'm a former lawyer (with a side specialty in employment issues), I appreciate not having to read court docs to get the essence of the case.


Now for my problem with your piece. You keep using the term "wage-theft." If I could do a search and replace, I'd take that out altogether to test how the article reads. My gut is the perspective would still be very clear but would actually be stronger. In this context, repeatedly using wage-theft feels a bit like the proverbial boy who cried wolf.


In other words, you have a great story that hasn't been getting enough coverage in the tech press. Judicious can be very impactful.

6 months ago on The Techtopus: How Silicon Valley’s most celebrated CEOs conspired to drive down 100,000 tech engineers’ wages

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Would have been helpful to cite which appellate court. It's the D.C. circuit, notoriously conservative on this stuff. Hopefully other circuits will rule differently and set us up for a higher level resolution.

6 months, 2 weeks ago on The free and open Internet was dealt a huge blow today

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Another great piece on the subject Yasha.

7 months, 1 week ago on What Surveillance Valley knows about you

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@pemullenCall to action. Let's see innovation on the other side of this.

7 months, 1 week ago on What Surveillance Valley knows about you

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I read this for the content. I care deeply about the issue and do feel it has great relevance to the Valley. But am commenting only to say beautifully crafted!

7 months, 2 weeks ago on Labor and the Information Economy: Which side are you on, Ed?

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Kudos for writing this but honestly, how could it be a surprise that corporate interests in tracking and data gathering can be creepy? I was struck by a piece in SJ Mercury yesterday, linked at the end. The headline was great "Tech's NSA fight is battle for profits from users' data" but the context only lightly touched on the matter of tech company motives. This isn't to say that such activities to drive sales and margins are ipso facto bad, just worthy of more discussion. There are working groups and conferences addressing this stuff on a regular basis. E.g., the San Francisco privacy engineering group. In any event, hope you keep delving into this stuff. And here's the link. http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_24694395/techs-nsa-fight-is-battle-profits-from-users?source=pkg

7 months, 2 weeks ago on Remember when we said the NSA’s and Internet companies’ data collection weren’t the same thing? Yeah, never mind

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That must have been some amazing coffee! One on the most insightful observations on a trend I've seen in a while.

7 months, 3 weeks ago on Tech heavyweights attempt to justify Snapchat’s hype and valuation

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As a native of Oregon who loves how Bend has evolved, I will definitely follow up but I'm recalling a meeting we had in your office in Menlo Park chatting about sailing. Not so much in Bend!

8 months, 1 week ago on A VC wants startups to move to Bend, Oregon so he can incubate them

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I loved the whole post. Especially this: "Part of the reason we get seduced by hustle is, in the absence of actual flow, activity feels good." That's just plain wise.

8 months, 4 weeks ago on Hustle and flow

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Hayden, I am thoroughly enjoying your series!

8 months, 4 weeks ago on Don’t call me Mr. Nice Guy (even if I am)

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"Google, Amazon, Facebook, Yahoo, Apple, and friends are building the future. These companies control and deploy the world’s most powerful Big Data tools, as well as the data itself, being able to see, and benefit from that seeing, connections and trends otherwise visible only to governments." Can we please discuss this as well? I am alarmed at the reach of the NSA. I'm relieved it is on the table now so we can talk about it. But in many ways I fear the government less than corporations that answer only to their shareholders.

9 months ago on It’s time for Silicon Valley to ask: Is it worth it?

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While it's obviously a paid piece, there is useful content in it, especially to the language of small businesses. Not dumb, just very, very close to the product and service they offer with little time to learn the buzz words of business school grads. But I'm perplexed that this is the conclusion of a series on "micro-business." I searched the site using a number of small business oriented terms and could not find any pattern of coverage at all much less the past 30 days.

9 months ago on SageOne: When micro-businesses can’t use your software, maybe you need to build new software

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Good piece and an essential reminder. Thanks.

9 months, 2 weeks ago on How Silicon Valley limits your thinking

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Sometimes an issue really does need a screed-like post to take the dialog to a new level. Alas I don't feel this particular post does that. I'm struggling to say why. I was the CEO of a venture-backed company back when Springboard Enterprises hosted the first-ever pitch fest for women-led/women-founded startups. I remember being rather disdainful of the whole thing even as I took advantage of the opportunity. I'm sure I said a lot of what you wrote when I was interviewed by various reporters that day. That whole who cares about my gender, I earned this position and raised that money because I worked my butt off. I was much closer to your age at the time. Now it seems much more complicated to me, this whole thing of where women fit in technology and venture capital.

9 months, 3 weeks ago on Twitter’s female “problem” — This is why mobs don’t appoint public company boards

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@JonathanTapson @LaVonneReimer Thanks for the interest! Alas everything is archived now. We were up and running between 98 and 04. Our model was partner with accredited grad schools to deliver great online experiences to working adults. We had a mix of pure online delivery and hybrid, for credit and not, full term and short ed sprints. The story of why we were unable to sustain operations is too complicated for a comment but given accreditation, we generated phenomenal metrics on retention and performance across the various delivery models. We also had an incredible course "conversion" platform that allowed us to get hundreds of high-quality media-rich courses (+ collaboration) out on time and on budget every time (in spite of, ahem, professor tendencies to procrastinate on course prep). My take on the timing issue for our first wave experience was the ecosystem for online education was more immature than the technology. That means we weren't the proverbial giants on whose shoulders this current wave of entrepreneurs might stand but I occasional ponder whether the new wave might make fewer mistakes and/or benefit from our learning to leapfrog some of the more extreme aspects of a new hype cycle.

10 months, 2 weeks ago on MOOCs and the Gartner Hype Cycle: A very slow tsunami

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This is a great analysis. I've commented before on the topic, having founded and run a start-up in that first e-learning wave of the late 90s (University of Adelaide was one of our partners via a UT Austin deal). We were the tech backbone for accredited programs but also had the rights to sell non-accredited versions that were precursors of the MOOC model. I have wondered if the current spate of deals might not have made better progress by studying our efforts. Like maybe they'd start on the Slope of Enlightenment?

10 months, 2 weeks ago on MOOCs and the Gartner Hype Cycle: A very slow tsunami

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Hard to tell if any comments came from other women. Loved the diagram!

10 months, 2 weeks ago on Your Venn Diagram guide to tech bro misogyny

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@Platonic SolidsThat is one of the most artfully crafted comments I've seen yet. I'd like it but I'm not into abstract, meaningless kinds of non-interaction!

10 months, 3 weeks ago on For most of human history everyone was an entrepreneur

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How interesting to read this. In preparing for a new round of funding I was contemplating the history of self-regulating communities. I was born into such a culture that launched in post-Reformation Europe. The idea for my start-up came out of working with governance models in open source communities. The point is we want to replace credit bureaus with a new system of credit and trust that works like a self-regulating community. This got me thinking about how modern technology and tools brought to us by so-called Millennials are enabling ancient concepts to have new relevance in business and related systems. I couldn't be more excited to see a new generation of enthusiasts just as I (selfishly) hope they recognize they stand on the shoulders of others who have lived the models!

10 months, 4 weeks ago on How Millennials will shape the future of work

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I cannot bring myself to dignify the comment below with an answer. Just adding my thanks for contributing to what I perceive and certainly hope is new momentum on an important subject and making sure there's a little balance to that first comment. Thanks Elinor.

11 months ago on Sexism and the single hacker: Where are the women at Def Con?

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As an entrepreneur in the fin services space, this is fantastic to see. We are past the need for it and I had both domain expertise and rolodex but feel strongly that the most ground-breaking innovations will come from founders who bring a totally fresh perspective. This program will be great for them.

11 months ago on Square co-founder Jim McKelvey’s SixThirty is a fintech accelerator with real industry access

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Thoughtful and balanced assessment of how to navigate the course from consumer play to enterprise heavyweight. Very well written piece.

11 months, 1 week ago on Aaron Levie, elephant hunter: Why the cloud’s consummate poster boy is actually an outlier

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After all the start-up genome and other projects, this is refreshingly straightforward and spot on. As for that first point, it's hard founding a start-up alone no matter how often you do it. The whole thing is inherently a lonely experience. When that's aggravated by not having a ready sounding board--is this idea brilliant or loony/is this ES compelling or garbled--to say nothing of buddy, the journey quickly becomes an unsustainable grind. You do what you gotta do but it pays to understand that particular risk.

1 year ago on What do failed startups have in common?

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Interesting approach to the subject of crowdfunding that I didn't expect when I first glanced at the headline. I've seen Christensen's comments on the subject. I suspect some of the angst comes from questions of validation and visibility. Probably on both sides of the deal. My start-up is coming at this from the small business side. The great promise of big data science is that we can greatly expand the concept of proof and still offer a measure of control and privacy for the business. Good luck on your deal too. It's an interesting way to tap into existing communities of interest.

1 year ago on How the sharing economy will kill mediocre VCs

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This brings to mind Katherine Dunn's novel "Geek Love" which I ordered thinking it would be about romance in Silicon Valley. Not so much.

1 year, 1 month ago on The battle for geek culture’s core

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As thoughtful an analysis as I've seen anywhere, especially trust as a "defining part of a superior customer experience."  For a bit of tongue-in-cheek, here's another. http://kieranhealy.org/blog/archives/2013/06/09/using-metadata-to-find-paul-revere/

1 year, 1 month ago on Product experience is what matters, my ass

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@David Mayes @LaVonneReimer Agree that the stats suck but I'd still go back to the point that not matching integration tactics to rationale for the acquisition is the problem. But maybe that's your point too. The driver of the deal or the drivers in the case of guys brokering the deals skews it so there isn't much chance. Joe makes a good point above as well.

1 year, 1 month ago on Like trying to buy a religion

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I'm assuming you don't mean to suggest that big companies should stop acquiring start-ups. I think you are saying that the acquiring company needs to be smarter about its objectives in the acquisition. E.g., we want the technology to use in our context or we can make it a lot bigger and improve our performance or market access by combining our resources with their unique approach. Either says go ahead and acquire but adopt an integration path that suits the objective. The approach that seems most foolish and hopeless, as you aptly note, is let's acquire this company to ignite a can-do spirit in our culture.

1 year, 1 month ago on Like trying to buy a religion

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@MatthewMountford@MunlyLeongWhich assumes that people who are high profile are what you need. See this interesting very recent post. http://bryce.vc/post/51564409299/confessions-of-a-recovering-b-player

1 year, 1 month ago on The amount of money a startup raises shouldn’t be the only metric of respect

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Wonderful post. It seems that the concept of beneficial byproducts has been left out of all political dialog which is, I think, your point. The catalyst must come from someplace else. Maybe retired investors who turn their energy and intellect toward legacy-making?

1 year, 2 months ago on Imagining a modern moonshot challenge

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@BenSesser @DaveMcClure I saw Dave speak to this at a TiE event. It was inspiring. I'm in the middle of testing our ability to get SMBs on board in a SaaS model trying the consumerized sales/distribution approach. It really requires thinking through the entire thread from trigger to onboarding to in-app experience. The whole thing has to look, walk and quack like a consumer-style app to dodge the horrors of enterprise-like buying decisions but magnified by the sheer size of the market. It's like imagining that the buyer has this bubble over their head and you have to detect the second it's filled with the thought of hard app to adopt. You want something more like, oh that will be fun and also save me time.

1 year, 2 months ago on Memo to this year’s YC class: It’s damn hard to build an enterprise company

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Great analysis. Where would you place Splunk and Jive Software? Or LinkedIn.

1 year, 2 months ago on Memo to this year’s YC class: It’s damn hard to build an enterprise company

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Good piece overall but you are missing a vital element which is gaining support and encouragement as you execute to grit, rules and discipline. Your somewhat simplified coverage of GED outcomes misses this point as well. I've never known a student who went for GED because they didn't want to do the hard work. Usually it was inability to stay the course and often that due to absence of a strong support network. When they do achieve the certificate, their ability to build on it is similarly constrained. In other words, you are right that empty calls to optimism miss the mark but you left out the importance of knowing you have supporters who will hang in there with you and have your back.

1 year, 2 months ago on The importance of grit, rules, and discipline

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Implications extend to commercial credit, the space with which I'm most involved currently. Check out Personal Data Ecosystem Consortium. http://pde.cc/ Kaliya "Identity Woman" Hamlin is the founder and exec director. This is a topic worthy of its own month worth of dedicated coverage. 

1 year, 2 months ago on You are your data: The scary future of the quantified self movement

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Great clip.

1 year, 2 months ago on When everything rides on a single cold call

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Dave is refreshingly blunt. I sense you are as well. Pando too which is why it's on my must read every day list. Refreshingly blunt is beyond welcomed. Most of the time I can parse the real objections behind the stated objections of investors but truly it is such damned hard work. There are plenty of other challenges to launching a new company that are more deserving of that kind of intellectual effort. I'll take blunt any day. 

But to another point already made and admitting I'm more an observer of Dave than someone who really knows him, I see a man who has his heart in the right place and shows it with his actions day in and day out. Shout out for that.

1 year, 2 months ago on Dave McClure, Risk Taker

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@TheWritersDoula @LaVonneReimer Indeed! And then we must go for an exercise walk and the virtuous cycle of background processing just keeps revolving!

1 year, 2 months ago on Do nothing nation

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@TheWritersDoula The value of domestic tasks as you state is a point very much worth underscoring. I've taken to hand-washing all dishes for that reason. And at a time when I was unable to write an exec summary because I honestly couldn't figure out what the business needed to be, I took to cleaning out the garage. It was partly permitting background processing but also the tangible reward of seeing I'd made progress on something. Hard to feel that as viscerally in the context of building software.

1 year, 2 months ago on Do nothing nation

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Excellent piece and encouraging too from the vantage point of someone building team. It's so easy to get caught up in the hype of rock-stars even though my experience was getting great teams out of "the rest of us." Thanks.

1 year, 3 months ago on Invest in people, not resources

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This has been a great series. Thanks! I too wanted to comment earlier but just assumed a glitch in displaying the comment box. Here I would just say I will watch closely to see if Lynda.com (and all the other participants in this latest e-learning wave) can truly break the $100M/year run rate. That was the ceiling I saw back when I started into this, concurrent with Lynda.com but without the staying power to survive. It kept me awake many a night. Only Apollo Group had done it and that through multiple subsidiaries and not just University of Phoenix online.

1 year, 3 months ago on Lynda.com’s “agonizing decision” to take venture capital

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Francisco, you succeeded! You got a passionate debate underway with a boatload of substance in the comment threads. Repeating from my other comments in this series, I founded and led a higher-ed focused (and venture-backed) startup in the 1st e-learning wave. The hype was strikingly similar back then. Here's how we/I looked at the need. There are people who cannot get to a campus, in our case super-busy working adults. How do we make the most of available technology to create a great online learning environment for them? That was our driver. Our competition was the glorified correspondence course. It pains me that we still see that a lot of such "cheap hacks" but I understand why. It takes a deep understanding of and investment in instructional design to do anything else.

1 year, 3 months ago on Why online education is mostly a fantasy

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I'm so relieved. I had just linked to Sarah's interview for Lynda.com in our corporate blog and thought I had violated a very important rule. Thankfully I understand very few of the cultural references above but was highly entertained.

1 year, 3 months ago on Manual Retweeting, misguided thumbkissing, and other social media sins

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This is a great story and interview. It's the combination of pragmatism and passion leading to a successful venture that probably exists for most entrepreneurs but is sometimes lost in all the drama of Silicon Valley.

1 year, 3 months ago on Who says education can’t be lucrative? The early days of Lynda.com

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@Chris van Loben Sels Well put including the potential alternative tweet.

1 year, 3 months ago on Vinod Khosla, please don’t feed the Twitter trolls

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Anyway, Reddit is my pick and that of my daughter who is trying to calmly study while less than a mile from all the action. For family of the maternal type, not tracking any of it is probably the most healthy thing to do.

1 year, 3 months ago on Vinod Khosla, please don’t feed the Twitter trolls

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"We already have the “sage on the stage” model in big lecture halls at every college and university, so let’s use MOOCs to explore a range of pedagogical models instead of just delivering the standard lecture digitally." That may need to be said over and over again. I've commented elsewhere in this series having founded and led a higher-ed focused startup in the first e-learning wave. Pedagogy (technically androgogy when you're reaching working adults as we were) was top of mind for us. We regularly disparaged the sage-on-the-stage approach as a cheap hack.  I took a quick look at your corporate website. It appears this is your focus. I hope you are massively successful!

1 year, 3 months ago on Let’s broaden the MOOC experiment

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