Noteworthy articles I read (mostly Hacker News) with a hand-written summary or hand-picked quotation
August 3, 2014
"Evernote has never been sexy, almost ran out of money, and doesn’t benefit from the network effects that drive many of today’s successful companies. Yet Evernote’s 75 million users and $1+ billion valuation prove they’ve figured out their own unique growth engine. So what is it? And how did they get those first 100,000 users?"
"Fred Wilson is interviewed by Aaron Harris at Startup School NY 2014"
"In this analysis, I examined firms whose portfolio companies have raised new Series B funding in the past 2 years. I also looked at the full range of Series B candidates within the portfolio (companies who have raised a Series A within the past 2 years), to understand what percentage of Series A bets have progressed to the next round."
"LinkedIn's co-founder/chairman, Reid Hoffman, has written a new book with Ben Casnocha and Chris Yeh: The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age."
"Cheap, mobile, social, global, always-on, one-click-purchase = Unprecedented revenue growth + companies staying private longer = More opportunities than ever in history for venture capital firms = Lots of new, non-traditional entrants moving to capture this value = Amazing opportunities + Risks + Uncertainties for the coming decade for entrepreneurs, VCs and LPs."
"Well, if you’re pre-product/market fit, over-optimizing for 'hitting your numbers' can be a false positive if it creates an 'up and to the right' graph that actually builds upon the wrong learnings, or masks leaky bucket of customer attrition."
"Let’s face it, the app gold rush is well over. It is now much harder to make it into the market and it requires more planning, financial investment and time. On top of that, competition is fierce, your app may get sherlocked (1) by Apple and become a part of the next OS release or may lose traction because a VC funded company is offering a free alternative and has near to unlimited funds for market it while they figure out how to monetize it."
"The World Cup drove engagement, not usage. The engagement came from people checking out special feeds set up by Twitter. This gives Costolo confidence that Twitter can build more experiences" around big events and big topics in the future.""
"Everyone knows you need data to make decisions. If you’re developing software of any sort, quick access to metrics can enable you to answer important questions like this: Is your app working? If not, which piece of your infrastructure specifically broke? Which areas need performance optimization? Do you need to scale? What was the impact of your recent code deployment? Do your users care? At development time, we can get all of the data we need, we use it for debugging, performance optimization etc. but what good is data if it’s not real-world? Things that should be true in 2013: Pushing your app to production shouldn’t mean a loss of insight. We should be able to measure everything, at all layers of the stack. We should get infrastructure and application monitoring by default. We should be able to visualise that data quickly and easily, so we can use it to solve problems and make informed decisions."
"If I hadn’t been blogging and active on Twitter, I think it would have taken way longer for Product Hunt to become what it is right now. So my advice is to start early. If you want people to listen to you eventually, you have to build trust over time.'"
The Lean Analytics Cycle: Metrics > Hypothesis > Experiment > Act - Occam's Razor by Avinash KaushikAvinash Kaushik · www.kaushik.net · over 1 year ago
"To win in business you need to follow this process: Metrics > Hypothesis > Experiment > Act. Online, offline or nonline."
"I’ve been thinking a lot about what these investments have in common, and what about them was different from other investments. The most striking observation is that, in my experience, the “hot seed rounds” that everyone is fighting to get in are anti-correlated with very successful investments."
"1. Do the hardest tasks first. 2. Offer to help the most productive co-workers. 3. Finish what you start. 4. Stop working on something when you reach a dead end. 5. Resist the urge to call for help early. 6. Ignore office chatter. 7. Watch the squirrel moments."
"John Allspaw (Flickr/Yahoo!) and Paul Hammond (Flickr). 10+ Deploys Per Day: Dev and Ops Cooperation at Flickr"
"'Capturing pro-rata' is sooooo important in early stage venture. You make 20 investments in a fund. One is going to return the entire fund. Two more are going to return it again. A few more are going to have strong outcomes and return it again. The rest are noise when it comes to fund returns (but you better not treat them like noise)."
"Some people wield the LTV model as if they were Yoda with a light saber; “Look at this amazing weapon I know how to use!” Unfortunately, it is not that amazing, it’s not that unique to understand, and it is not a weapon, it’s a tool. Companies need a sustainable competitive advantage that is independent of their variable marketing campaigns. You can’t win a fight with a measuring tape."
"This is a 5-step model for creating a metrics framework for your business & customers, and how to apply it to your product & marketing efforts. The "pirate" part comes from the 5 steps: Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Referral, & Revenue (AARRR!)'"
"It's often assumed that business is all about money, but to me that's like saying that rockets are all about rocket fuel. On some level it's true. You won't even make it off the launch pad without fuel. But that myopic view misses out on the larger purpose and mission of the machine. Certainly some businesses really are about nothing more than making money, but among the truly significant founders I've known, there's always a larger purpose. It's not just a nihilistic pursuit of rocket fuel."
"With an average of 30 innovations to the website deployed each day, we are looking at innovation on steroids. Each of the changes is small, but a small change can be significant, sometimes adding millions of dollars in sales. Doing all this change in tiny increments at warp speed within the framework of a central strategy enables extremely rapid innovation and learning, as well as much greater facility in spotting and fixing any problems that may emerge."
"Today is a big day for Asana – the biggest since we launched a little over 2 years ago. We are excited to share with you a completely redesigned and rebuilt, fully-native Asana app for iPhone and iPad that is faster, more powerful, and much easier to use. It’s a major step forward in helping your team work together effortlessly, without the hassle of email, from wherever you are."
"Logs, Graphs, Trends, and Correlations. Making Decisions. How many visitors are using this thing? Can we deploy that to100% of our visitors? Did we make it faster? Did I just break something?"
"Flickr is somewhat unique in that it uses a code repository with no branches; everything is checked into head, and head is pushed to production several times a day. This works well for bug fixes that we want to go out immediately, but presents a problem when we’re working on a new feature that takes several months to complete. How do we solve that problem? With flags and flippers!"
"Automated tracking of code deploys is essential for teams who practice Continuous Deployment. Monitoring every aspect of your server and network architecture helps detect when something has gone awry. Correlating the times of each and every code deploy helps to quickly identify human-triggered problems and greatly cut down on your time to resolve them."
"In Nick's original article I was quoted as saying that “Hiring is still waterfall in an agile world”. What I meant by that is that a traditional" hiring process is slavish in adherence to accepted dogma. A job description is produced, it's disseminated through advertising channels, resultant applications are pushed through a pre-defined process and those lucky enough to have impressed will be hired. In this process, there is no feedback, no learning and no space for creativity...worst of all there is no scope to delight the candidates.""