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Updated by Shyam Subramanyan on Aug 19, 2019
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George Igor George Igor
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Nick Kellet Nick Kellet
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Startup Reading List

Articles for startups and entrepreneurs

I have an old IRA that I don’t pay much attention to. I thought about cashing it out but the tax load to do that was too much for me to stomach. So then I thought about investing it in crypto.

As the US government thinks about regulating big tech and constraining crypto-currencies, I think a reminder about the value of open markets and freedom to innovate is important.

For the past three or four years, I have been trying to reduce my air travel for a host of reasons (wellness, reducing carbon footprint, increasing productivity, etc) and I would say that this effort has largely been successful.

The news hit yesterday that WordPress has purchased Tumblr from Verizon (which owns it by virtue of its acquisition of Yahoo! and AOL).

Open Finance First, Open Data Second – AVC

My partner Nick put together a deck outlining USV’s approach to crypto investing earlier this year and we have been using it with founders and investors since then.

Awesome Features That I Did Not Know About: Version Management In Google Sheets – AVC

One of the joys of using technology for me is discovering awesome features that I did not know about. This happens to me every so often and always brings a smile to my face. So I thought I’d blog about this when it happens to me.

Startup companies go through a number of phases as they mature from an idea, to a small team, to a growing team, to a small company, to a big company.

I have been fortunate to work for the last 25 years in the Flatiron District of NYC, which is a mixed-use neighborhood (office, retail, residential) that has excellent mass transit options (three major subway lines converge at Union Square), great biking and walking streets, and a feeling of vitality that is infectious.

Last month our portfolio company Kickstarter invited project creators to “break conventions, but not our rules” and create campaigns that were different from the traditional Kickstarter campaign.

Seth Godin says it so well in this blog post celebrating his 11th anniversary of writing every day on his personal blog.

I have mentioned the legal case between USV portfolio company Kik and the SEC several times here on AVC, most recently here.

When someone tweets at me, emails me, texts me, tags me, etc, and I don’t reply, they assume I either did not see it or am ignoring it. That might be true but generally, it is not the case.

One of the unique things about early stage investing is the ability (and in my view, the need) to continue to invest in the companies for multiple rounds of investment.

I sit on a lot of boards and have been doing so for thirty years now. I have been on rubber stamp boards and I have been on meddling boards. And I agree that both are problematic.

Brian Armstrong, CEO of our portfolio company Coinbase, gave this talk to the Company at a recent all-hands. In it, he describes the founding story for Coinbase, and then goes on to describe the Company’s Mission, Vision, and Strategy.

Bellwether is about the future and what might happen. It is half journalism and half sci-fi storytelling. And it is delivered via 30min podcast episodes.

I wrote a blog post about this topic in November 2010 that has become one of the most searched on and referenced AVC posts of all time. The numbers in that blog post are long out of date and so I now have a popup on it warning people not to use those numbers. However, the methodology in that blog post remains sound and is used by many startup companies.

NBA Top Shot – AVC

I’ve written on this blog about extensible blockchain games, the ability to own the virtual goods you earn or buy in your games, and the idea that these virtual goods can move from game to game. I think this is a big deal and possibly the thing that brings blockchains and crypto tokens to the mainstream user.

You take a lot of losses as a founder, particularly in the early days. Investors pass on your funding pitches, people pass on your job offers, customers pass on your sales efforts, competitors take your customers and your employees, you get sued, you miss critical ship dates, morale tanks, and on and on and on.

Haven – AVC

Finally, people anywhere in the world can connect directly to each other using their mobile devices and trade privately with no credit cards, no banks, and no tech companies tracking their activities, or charging listing and transaction fees. 

Both had an easier path that would likely get them to a closing quickly but might cost them some economics and a harder/longer path that would allow them to maximize economics.

This is a talk my partner Albert gave at an AI conference in Berlin last month. Although he gave it to an AI conference, it is really about where we are in our society and what we need to do about it. It is about 20mins long.

This Kickstarter project is for a circuit board that makes it easy for developers to create IOT devices that work on Blockchains. It currently supports Ethereum, Whisper, and IPFS. I backed it this morning and am sharing it with all of you in case you want to as well.