It’s been nearly a year since I did This Week in VC on a regular basis.
But I’m back. I agreed with Jason Calacanis that I would re-launch the show if his team would promise to do the “show notes” for every episode.
I like that people can watch a long-form discussion with VCs and entrepreneurs covering the issues of our day. I tend to be a bit more open in video format because I feel like I can get my point across without losing context. Plus, when it’s text it gets forwarded too easily so if you discuss nuanced topics and have an unconventional view you run the risk of pissing too many people off.
So the issues we took on this week?
- What went wrong at Yahoo!? (Jonathan Strauss is ex Yahoo!)
- Was Marissa Meyer a good choice for the new CEO or should they have stuck with Ross Levinsohn?
- Is App.net right the rail against ad-supported social networks or ad-supported products more broadly?
- Should we blame Facebook for taking an aggressive Hobbesian stance against App.net in the meeting Dalton Caldwell had with them?
- What was the most practical advice Jonathan learned during his fund raising?
- What was in like launching a venture similar to an uber successful market leader like Bit.ly?
- What is “a commercially practical techno hippie?” and why does Jonathan call himself one?
Anyway, I think you’ll enjoy watching the episode or listening in podcast mode. The “This Week In” team did a summary (below the YouTube video so you can click to any spot in video and watch just that) and we’re going to build an email list for that if you’re too busy for sight / sound.
And here is the tl;dr version
- Yahoo! should have admitted it was a media company years ago and become the market leader in that in stead of chasing Google
- Marissa is an excellent choice but Ross was probably better suited to build a media empire
- There is room for App.net to be successful, but there is also room for ad-supported businesses. Both co-exist in many forms of businesses.
- Facebook wasn’t “evil” to have had the infamous “we can buy you or bury you” meeting. It’s a long fact of life in a Hobbesian world. As a startup you need to understand this. If you don’t, please watch the video
- Facebook, Twitter, Salesforce.com, Apple, Google … channels all. And you need to have a channel strategy as a startup. Study channel strategies. Let them be your friend. In the video we discussed supermarkets and product companies as channels as an example.
- Bitly is great. I use it. But awe.sm is different. If you’re a developer and you want “smart links” you’ll learn about how you can embed awe.sm data to run effective social media campaigns
- But it made it very difficult to fund raise when awe.sm was constantly compared to bitly. No matter how much Jonathan said, “we can both exist. We’re not direct competitors” it made it very hard to delineate in investors’ minds. Now people are starting to grok the difference. And lucky for us Foundry Group did, too.
- Jonathan believes his biggest mistake in fund raising is that he didn’t dedicate enough time to the task. He talked about Joe Fernandez from Klout who took a 6-month stretch to focus on fund raising. I talked about how I believe you should always be raising so you don’t have to dedicate full time for any period of time.
- Jonathan & I are too chubby Jewish kids (although he tries to deny this! ) who at heart believe in open systems. We believe that Twitter will remain one of the most profound systems created in the social media era with huge potential to continue with democratization and social disruption. At heart he’s a commercial practical techno hippie who grew up in LA and moved to NorCal. I’m an ex developer (years ago) who turned commercial (sold out?) who grew up in NorCal and moved to LA. And for what it’s worth – we’re both Philadelphia Eagles fans. This is finally our year. Promise