Scar Tissue

When I first started investing in 2007, I heard some investors turn down opportunities because of “scar tissue.” They had previous brutal (and usually money-losing) experiences with an idea/sector/market and this prevented them from doing it again. The canonical example for us is Ron Conway and music. Ron spent the better part of a decade [...]

Google Trends and Gun Safety

My favorite analytics tool for tech is Google Trends. It was formerly known as “Google Insights for Search” and it shows how many people search for certain terms over time. We use it at SV Angel when doing diligence on an investment opportunity. I prefer this to free tools like Compete and Alexa because those [...]

Another Financing Risk

This post is designed mainly for companies raising their first seed or VC round of $500K-1 M and have multiple entities who want to fund them. In the past year, we’ve tried to help many companies with acquisitions - specifically when they are running low on cash and are unable to raise more. For a [...]

A Business Case for “Putting Customers First”

One of the few things that actually stuck with me from law school was the concept of “maximizing shareholder value.” The basic idea was that the corporation exists solely to maximize shareholder value, i.e., profit. It argued that as among the interests of shareholders, employees and customers, the shareholders’ interests ruled the roost. Whenever there [...]

Residual Information

I was floored when I read this account from Josh Koppelman. Josh talks about how Best Buy mistreated one of its portfolio companies in the most egregious way. Fortunately the company - or at least, the plaintiffs - prevailed. I’ve always thought that people and companies don’t knowingly and willfully misappropriate, i.e., steal. That a [...]

Jobs-To-Be-Done

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses. -Henry FordDisruption happens when companies use technology to help customers “achieve what they already had been trying to do.” -Clayton Christensen I recently came across a really useful (for me) way to look at startups. Like a lot of good insights, [...]

Pride Before The Fall

One of my favorite books on technology is “Pride Before The Fall” by John Heilemann. It’s about the Microsoft antitrust trial in the mid 1990’s. Heilemann got unprecedented access to the players involved like David Boies, Joel Klein and Bill Gates himself. One of his main points was that this was the first time that [...]

Reading Jeff Bezos

A tech friend gives me shit about being a Jeff Bezos fanboy. I’m unabashedly a fan. His 1997 letter to Amazon shareholders is a blueprint for building a durable franchise in technology. I recently compiled and read all of these letters from 1997-2011. Read together, it’s essentially a 15 year narrative of building long-term value [...]

Ron Conway’s Role @ SV Angel

Reprinting an answer I wrote to the following question on Quora: Is raising money from SV Angel the same as raising money from Ron Conway? No. And Yes.Ron is a Special Advisor to SV Angel. This means that he is not involved with day-to-day operations at all. He is not a General Partner. He is [...]

Starting v. Building a Company

Durability is the rarest thing in technology. -Joe Kraus Fred Wilson has a series of classes on building sustainable companies. His related blog posts highlight the differences for me between “starting” and “building” companies. It’s never been easier to start a company in Silicon Valley and New York. And on balance, my personal view is [...]