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This post uses the word "disrupt" incorrectly. From Wikipedia:
"The term is used in business and technology literature to describe innovations that improve a product or service in ways that the market does not expect, typically first by serving for a different set of consumers in a new, previously non-existent market, typically at a radically lower price.
"In contrast to disruptive innovation, a sustaining innovation does not create new markets or value networks but rather only evolves existing ones with better value, allowing the firms within to compete against each other's sustaining improvements."
Napster disrupted the music industry; Spotify is a sustaining it. AirBnB is disrupting the hotel industry; Hotel Tonight is sustaining it.
Words matter. Use them correctly.
6 months, 1 week ago on To disrupt an industry, it’s best to know it well
@semilshahFair. Hartz def has his shit together. That guy is not a chump and I don't really know the specifics to say one way or the other. That said, I think the general premise is right, especially when applied to earlier stage companies like Viddy, TaskRabbit, Foursquare.
That said, it's REALLY EFFING HARD to have the self-awareness to turn down money when it's getting thrown at you.
7 months, 2 weeks ago on Raising money for the sake of raising money
Great post. Viddy is another example. Being a good CEO presents itself as a Goldilocks challenge wrt fundraising. Raise not enough capital, then you run out of cash and die. Raise too much and you put the company in liquidation preference no-man's land like good ole' Foursquare & TaskRabbit.
As @naval says, raising money is easy. Returning it is the hard part!
But really, it's comes down to a question of self awareness. Behind all the hype and bullshit, what is your company really worth, how big can it really get? When the money & press & accolades keep flowing in, it's hard to keep your head. But being able to do so is what makes all the difference.
@efemurl The tenderloin is a shithole not because of the tech elite, but because San Francisco allows psych patients to roam the streets without check, meanwhile artificially subsidizing their housing through zoning.
Oh yeah, and guess who's paying the taxes on all this? Yep, "the tech golden boys" and the many, many people they employ.
9 months, 1 week ago on What’s good for Silicon Valley might not be good for America
@Francisco: the proper analogue foor is not 1953 so much as it is 1932. By 1953, mass production had already eaten the world and was providing employment for the masses. In 1932 however, a bubble in US manufacturing stocks had set off a depression. Likewise, the agriculture states were was that era's equivalent of the rust belt.
My point is: Things will change. Software just hasn't eaten enough of the world yet.
@dirkdk indeed it does
11 months, 2 weeks ago on The Minimum Viable Startup
Fortunately you can still (legally) buy booze online and get it delivered in under an hour from Swig! (http://swigme.com)
Swig! partners directly with licensed brick & mortar retailers to offer online beer & alcohol ordering and instant local delivery in a 100% legally compliant manner. Unlike Instacart, we did our homework upfront and vetted the idea with alcohol licensing attorneys.
Full Disclosure: I'm the founder of Swig!
11 months, 4 weeks ago on Instacart stops selling alcohol for compliance reasons
On the upside, you can still (legally) get beer & alcohol delivered in under an hour from Swig! (http://swigme.com).
Swig! works directly with licensed brick & mortar liquor retailers, putting them online in our marketplace and processing payments in a fully compliant manner. Unlike InstaCart, we vetted this using alcohol licensing attorneys first. Plus, when you buy booze using Swig!, you're supporting owner-operated local businesses, not a mega-chain like Safeway.
Disclaimer: I'm the founder of Swig!
@BenSima Yes. I could have either fired him or left the company. In retrospect, I wish I had taken that course.
12 months ago on Co-Founders
"I guess that is what you sign up for when you join the army? "
For sure. But if you get a assigned to a desk job in the Army you really shouldn't complain about the grunts not getting blown up enough. It betrays a lack of respect for the lifestyle and the experience.
1 year, 3 months ago on The Acqui-hire Scourge: Whatever Happened to Failure in Silicon Valley?
@Paul__Walsh My point is: if you didn't suffer then don't bitch about people we don't have it hard enough.
@Paul__Walsh With great power comes great responsibility. Sarah has the bully pulpit. When she diminishes starting a company as a risk-less endeavor, it is an insult to every founder––the majority of entrepreneurs, btw––who's leveraged themselves financially to get started and made crap wages for years even after raising money. She did not go down this route and in fact she pays herself handsomely by seed-stage startup standards, a fact she has noted publicly.
So when she diminishes the trials of others who may not be so privileged as her by assuming that "of course starting a company is so easy and goddamn it why don't they make it harder for kids these days," then yeah I take offense and feel the need to call bullshit. When she says stuff like that it makes me think she's forgotten what it's like for the little people. And she shouldn't forget. She used to wait tables. It was miserable. Starting from zero is a lot like that, but she seems to have forgotten that point.
...says the entrepreneur who raised money pre-product, never bootstrapped and never went into personal debt.
Sarah, I love your work, but you're head is clearly up your ass in this post.
Most startups don't get acqui-hired. Getting acqui-hired is not trivial. In fact, it only happens to a VERY small fraction fo startups. And for the founders themselves, most of them are not like you––most them didn't raise money out the gate and instead most of them went into significant personal debt before they raised a dime of outside capital. So before you bitch and moan about the acqui-hire scourge, take a second and remember that most entrepreneurs (even YC founders) are broke asses making shit salaries whose financial lives are leveraged to the hilt and who could use the break of not being totally hosed when their startup fails. You speak from a very privileged position Sarah, and your lack of self-awareness on this point is glaring.
So... kindly pull your head out of your ass and instead be grateful for acquihires and the soft-landing process. Acqui-hires feed the innovation machine and enable entrepreneurship to be a not-so-life-and-death thing. For a reference point, Europe offers entrepreneurs the hardest landing of them all and it serves the region's entrepreneurial ecosystem quite poorly.
Also, have some respect for real entrepreneurs who've risked something.
This approach is only possible in New York and other second-tier labor markets where doling out stock options is not an accepted, expected practice. Labor has so much less leverage outside of the valley. This is the upside for entrepreneurs outside of the Valley, the downside is the high cost and/or unavailability of capital and deep technical talent.
1 year, 3 months ago on Thrillist Employees Don’t Get Options When They Join, They Must Earn It