Friends of mine are starting something new, and asked for prompts to further define their plans. All new efforts, whether a movement or a venture-backed startup, take on similar shapes. Yet most startup advice is a flashlight in a dark wood: you see something useful and lack the map to connect the trails.
After looking for some model online, I wrote this list of four questions to help those get started:
Do you want a better way to get your vote, and those of your neighbors, counted? To act with your community to excite others about voting and inspire them? You’ve seen the dangers of voting in a normal polling place (because of the pandemic, or voter suppression). You’ve read that mail ballots may not even arrive in time to get counted.
#walkthevote is a non-partisan movement to support community leaders and voters organizing local “voting parades” to drop off absentee ballots. …
Many startup founders are worried, at this moment, about being a “crisis capitalizer,” a “war profiteer,” an “ambulance chaser.” As an investor in startups, I’ve been thinking about how to offer them a more nuanced perspective by asking: How can businesses tell the difference between adapting to this environment in a healthy way versus taking advantage of others?
The short answer is: It’s okay, even noble, for businesses to thrive right now. Even if your company isn’t on the front lines of health care manufacturing ventilators or delivering essential items like groceries, your company is helping to keep people employed…
I’ve been thinking about how we consume information about COVID-19 — a highest-priority, who-knows-who-to-trust, changing-by-the-moment tectonic shift.
In addition to being a human tragedy, economic calamity, and a forced social experiment… this moment will shape the future of media.
The puzzle is familiar:
There are facts out there, though they’re rare and take a moment to validate, mostly from government agencies and respected scientists — or first-hand accounts of individual experiences.
There are possible-facts, the things we hear somewhere and try to corroborate before they become facts.
And then there are opinions, and those matter more than ever: What should…
Jay Kriegel, when I first met him in 2003, had already had at least four careers. Flitting around at 78 RPMs, he seemed to a 27-year-old me both impossibly old (what decade did he do that thing in again?) and immortal.
I’d heard the legend, that in his 20’s Jay was so trusted by then-Mayor Lindsay that people said Jay lived in the Mayor’s ear. I was ready to absorb the magic.
Our first day working together —…
It’s funny in the venture capital business that, every few years, you get to announce “we’re still in business!” So: we’re still in business!
We will now start to invest out of our third fund — thank you, Bloomberg.
We started day one — in 2013 — with a $75 million fund. Our second fund was the same, another $75 million fund. Our third fund is… wait for it… $75 million. Same same same. Same.
Truth is, a lot of what our third fund does will feel… familiar.
I’m flattered to be asked, though time is short — so these days I’m only able to connect directly with people who already matter to me, or matter deeply to someone who matters to me (plus I’m more open to talking with folks from underrepresented backgrounds or when, to be honest, I’m just intrigued!).
This post originally started as a private post I’d share with people who reached out to me for advice. Some of the questions might be useful to others, even if you’re in a different stage in your career than the questions below contemplate.
Over the years, in my work as a VC and before that as a founder, I’ve had hundreds of conversations with founders about focus— and I’ve just begun to see that conversation is strictly kabuki theater.
It goes like this: The founder believes in focus. Deeply! (They even know that in the early days Zuck had it stenciled above the urinals at Facebook…) They feel focused every day, they say no to 99% of the things they might do.
Still, this founder’s product targets both designers and engineers! Or it sells both to the enterprise and to the end-user! …
Many suffer from lack of work, while others suffer from work — its inability to provide, its effect on their personal lives, their health. We can do something about it!
This is what we’ve learned in six years at Bloomberg Beta:
From our first day, we’ve focused on the future of work— investing in founders who use technology to make work more humane and more productive.
If we learn from communities outside the technology industry, we might not have to choose.
Before investing in startups, I spent time in many a place… as an exec at a big corporation, a…
Head of Bloomberg Beta, investing in the best startups creating the future of work. Alignment: Neutral good