That Was The Week 2021, #7
Are you a creator? Do you produce a newsletter? Videos? Podcasts? Clubhouse meetings? A Blog? Tweets? Other posts online?
If you answer yes to any of the above you are a creator and, as the title to this week’s That Was The Week says, this is your time.
Tools for creators have evolved consistently. Blogger, WordPress, Tumblr, Podcast tools, Video making tools, live streaming tools, Newsletter Tools, and more, go back many years.
Recent increases in Podcasting and Newsletters are driving awareness that creator generated content is going through a renaissance. And now the major players have noticed. Since Spotify acquired Anchor.fm and SubStack launched to acclaim, the need to serve the creator has surfaced as a major theme of innovation.
Clubhouse is simply another offering into the creative content platform space.
This week Twitter announced it is working on an integrated set of tools for creators, “Super Follow”. And Substack co-founder Hamish McKenzie wrote at length about the company’s goal:
Then Packy McCormick from the always excellent Not Boring wrote Power to the Person. A well-written set of thoughts on the relationship between the creator economy and NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens):
If you’ve spent much time on the internet recently you might have noticed something: it’s gotten really fast-paced and really fun. It just keeps getting faster and funner. Bitcoin, Clubhouse, NFTs, unicorn startups galore, the Creator Economy. Each feels simultaneously like a potential fad and a nascent revolution.From the eye of the storm, it’s hard to tell exactly what it means. Will digital artists continue to mint millions from NFTs? Will Creator Economy startups continue to raise early stage rounds at dizzying valuations? Will consumer social apps need top-tier influencer founders to cut through the noise?
Clearly, something is happening here. Newsletters like this one, or Stratechery, or Ben Evan’s newsletter represent the first generation, using primitive tools, to communicate ideas. I always include a Youtube video in the newsletter. And there is an anchor.fm podcast version you can subscribe to in Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and elsewhere. But to create all of that involves the use of many tools. The integrated future seems inevitable as Steve Gillmor said in his Gillmor Gang newsletter this week:
Marc Andreessen just tweeted out a thread containing books and a podcast discussed on tonight’s convo with partner Ben Horowitz. The bundling is fast and furious. In the liner notes for this week’s Gillmor Gang, I suggest newsletters will absorb podcasts and Clubhouse will do likewise with radio.
“The bundling” is the key to delivering on the promise of giving anybody who wants it the ability to write, record audio or video, live stream either, distribute it all, and get analytics and tools for improving them. Adobe Creative Cloud does a poor job of delivering some of these parts in a fragmented way for the wrong people. Soon we will all be able to build publishing empires across all media, live or recorded, via single platforms and with audience participation if desired. We will be able to produce, publish and distribute. We will get back analytics and feedback. Some of us will grow big audiences, others won’t want to.
I for one can’t wait. I suspect Andrew Keen at now.tv agrees.
Creators Grab the Spotlight
It’s been an all-around more ambitious year for Twitter. Following activist shareholder action last year that aimed to oust CEO Jack Dorsey, the company has been making long overdue product moves, buying up companies and aiming to push the envelope on how it can tap its network and drive new …
While it faces challenges, traditional media can help seed the next generation of media enterprises and build with, instead of on, writers.
The Creator Economy, NFTs, and the Rise of the Solo Corporation
If you’ve spent much time on the internet recently you might have noticed something: it’s gotten really fast-paced and really fun. It just keeps getting faster and funner. Bitcoin, Clubhouse, NFTs, unicorn startups galore, the Creator Economy. Each feels simultaneously like a potential fad and a nascent revolution.
From the eye of the storm, it’s hard to tell exactly what it means. Will digital artists continue to mint millions from NFTs? Will Creator Economy startups continue to raise early stage rounds at dizzying valuations? Will consumer social apps need top-tier influencer founders to cut through the noise?
I have no idea, and instead of singling out any company or NFT, a thought exercise seems more appropriate, based on three ideas that keep coming to mind:
- A main Not Boring theme that Genies don’t go quietly back into bottles.
- Chris Dixon’s famous line that “the next big thing will start out looking like a toy.”
- Ben Thompson’s idea that media businesses are the first to adapt to new paradigms because of their relative simplicity, and others follow later.
Taken together, what I see happening is this:
The Creator Economy and NFTs are massive human potential unlocks. Even if certain assets are in a short-term bubble, we are on an inexorable march towards individuals mattering more than institutions.
We’re on the precipice of a creative explosion, fueled by putting power, and the ability to generate wealth, in the hands of the people. Armed with powerful technical and financial tools, individuals will be able to launch and scale increasingly complex projects and businesses. Within two decades, we will have multiple trillion-plus dollar publicly traded entities with just one full-time employee, the founder.
More — click the link:
Clubhouse is still Talk of the Town
It’s written/print culture that’s the recent historical anomaly, and still a minority of the world
The most talked about startup of early 2020 is Clubhouse, an audio-based social network where people can spontaneously jump into voice chat rooms together. You see the unlabeled rooms of all the…
The startup’s opportunity is not conference calls, it’s never-ending drive-time radioPhoto: Thomas Trutschel/Photothek/Getty Images
Remember when the back of everyone’s toilet had a pile of magazines on it?Those magazine piles vanished with the advent of the mobile internet. Today, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are never-ending sources of content you can tune into in those spare moments, to occupy that part of your brain. Clubhouse — the new darling of Silicon Valley and the extremely online set — may have hit upon a rich vein of similar desperation, and if the company navigates it correctly, could become just as essential.
Why the buzzy audio platform is taking off everywhere from Japan to Nigeria.
The core business model of platforms like Facebook and Twitter poses a threat to society and requires retooling, an economist says.
David Cicilline and Ken Buck work together to reform antitrust laws that affect major tech companies like Amazon.
Content moderation rules used to be a question of taste. Now, they can determine a service’s prospects for survival.
Seattle-based company aligns with press industry and exploits rivals’ difficulties
(Obviously the real lure, as I noted last Thursday, is continuing to avoid even the slightest bit of antitrust attention from the press or from regulators.)stratechery.com/2021/google-ma…
Facebook could do a better job explaining its value propositionPhoto illustration, sources: Mohamed Elkhamisy/EyeEm; Jose A. Bernat Bacete/Moment viaGetty
By now, most people already know Facebook and its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, are hell-bent on capturing user data and making money off of it (the subject of at least two popular documentaries about it on Netflix). And now, in a bold demonstration of force, Apple CEO Tim Cook has come charging in atop his noble white steed (also available in Space Gray™ and Rose Gold™) to protect consumers. His weapon of choice to defend all of us from Zuckerberg’s big brother empire is a pop-up message in the upcoming update to the iPhone’s operating system that asks users if they want to opt out of Facebook’s creepy cross-app data tracking.
As someone who worked at News Corp’s Wall Street Journal writing about Google and Facebook for nearly a decade, I’ve found the faceoff between all three companies over the future of news in Australia both fascinating and deeply frustrating.
On the fascinating side, it’s been the culmination of a yearslong fight over how publishers make money from their content on the internet, the kind of heady debate that’s too important to ignore. Publishers — News Corp chief among them — are rightly concerned with the fact that Facebook and Google benefit from using their content and don’t pay for it.
Plus: Google’s ad software, the future of space travel, and the Texas governor’s weird tune.
Many people are rightly asking: what on Earth was all that about?
Silicon Valley Water Cooler
Coinbase’s S-1 publicly dropped this morning with much anticipation. My colleague Alex Wilhelm has the high-level details, but there was one major wrinkle for the crypto trading darling: two of its early investors seem to be cutting down their stakes pre-IPO. Coinbase files to go public in a key listing for the cryptocurrency category The […]
Last week I was talking to a prominent investor and I asked about the current state of the investment climate. He said that startups a year ago raising money at 30–50x revenue were off limits to his firm and today they’re commonplace. Hearing this, it made me think of Fabrice Grinda’s excellent Welcome to the … Continue reading Startup Valuations in the Time of the Everything Bubble →
Last year was a very good year for Sequoia Capital, one of Silicon Valley’s oldest and most respected venture capital firms.
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The Sand Hill Road powerhouse emerged as the standout venture investor of 2020 based on returns from exits, with seven of its portfolio companies going public and another two acquired for close to $1 billion or more.
We wanted to know how Sequoia, with five decades of investing under its belt, has consistently delivered returns on its many funds. I was lucky enough to speak with partner Roelof Botha about that and more. His insight on the firm’s returns and “patient capital” approach, team culture and overall strategy were as interesting as you might expect.
However, as a data analyst, I believe a good interview is only made stronger when paired with unbiased and independent research and we are fortunate enough at Crunchbase to spend our days doing just that.
SPACs Just Will Not Go Away
Have we hit peak SPAC yet? You could have asked that question any day over the past few weeks, or months. But lately things truly seem to be hitting a new level. Four new SPAC mergers were unveiled today alone, according to SPACInsider. Adult entertainment service Stripchat said it was planning a SPAC. We reported that a Chinese private equity firm was planning a SPAC. Underlying the SPAC fervor is a sense that this gold rush won’t last, so best grab the dollars while you can.
All this will end in tears, for someone. There is a limit to the number of quality businesses that should be public. But the explosion in the number of SPACs guarantees we’ll end up with a bunch of unproven or slow-growth firms as public companies (we previously chronicled some examples here). In the latest evidence of that, The Information today wrote about some startups ready to raise Series C fundraising — well short of the usual point of maturity where a public debut would be appropriate — that are instead opting to raise money by going public in a SPAC merger.
Venture capital firms, formed to invest in startups, are increasingly becoming sponsors of SPACs, blank-check companies that bring later-stage businesses into the public markets. It’s significant strategy creep, but so far there hasn’t been much opposition from venture capital fund investors, known as limited partners.
Be smart: SPACs are similar to VC in spirit and skills, which is how firms are selling it to their own investors.
The big picture: More than a dozen VC firms have formed SPACs, with many more in the pipeline.
- Among them are Khosla Ventures, FirstMark Capital, Highland Capital Partners, Dragoneer, Tribe Capital, Lerer Hippeau, Greycroft, Foundry Group, Ribbit Capital and Lux Capital.
Lerer Hippeau Acquisition SPAC Seeks $200 Million IPO Seeking Alpha
- Lerer Hippeau Acquisition has filed to raise $200 million in an IPO.
- The SPAC is sponsored by prominent early-stage New York venture capital firm Lerer Hippeau.
- Lerer Hippeau is an active firm with good investment return results for early-stage investing but is not a top-tier venture capital firm, so I’ll pass on the IPO.
- Looking for more investing ideas like this one? Get them exclusively at IPO Edge. Get started today »
The SPAC (Special Purpose Acquisition Company) intends to merge with a company in the broad sector of ‘technology-enabled businesses.’
LHAAU is being sponsored by venture capital firm
Feb 23 (Reuters) – A blank-check firm, backed by prominent venture capitalist Vinod Khosla’s eponymous investment fund, is looking to raise $200 million through an initial public offering, a regulatory filing showed on Tuesday.
Khosla Ventures Acquisition Co IV, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), plans to raise the funds by listing on the Nasdaq Capital Market.
The SPAC is sponsored by an affiliate of Khosla Ventures, a venture capital firm founded in 2004 by Sun Microsystems co-founder Khosla.
SPACs. You can’t read the news these days without hearing about them. This time last year, SPACs were mostly a curiosity, but today, with 128 SPACs having gone public in the first 40 days of 2021, they’ve become a phenomenon-one that clearly speaks to public demand to invest in earlier-stage growth companies. But why have SPACs exploded on the scene? And how can they benefit entrepreneurs? The answers will say a lot about whether they are here to stay or whether they become a footnote to the post-pandemic stock market boom.
A quick SPAC tutorial first. A SPAC is a so-called “blind pool” of capital raised by a SPAC sponsor from investors in the public markets. A SPAC sponsor contributes money up front to operate the SPAC (typically about $6–12M in today’s markets) in exchange for a 20% stake in the initial SPAC.
The SPAC boom is spreading to China. Hony Capital, a major private equity firm which has investments in companies such as TikTok owner ByteDance and WeWork’s China unit, is preparing to list a special purpose acquisition company in the U.S. That will make it one of the first Chinese private …
Worth a Mention
As we’ve moved to a remote first environment, we realized that we no longer have a headquarters located in any one city.
By Brian Armstrong, CEO and Co-Founder
Where is Coinbase headquartered?
If you had asked us a year ago, the answer would have been San Francisco. But almost nine months into becoming a remote-first company, and now with 52% of our employees having joined us in a post-office world, that answer no longer feels right. After we can safely return to in-person work, about 95% of our employees will still have the option to work at home, in an office, or a mix — whatever works best for them. We now have employees, many who originally worked in San Francisco, all over the country and world. Since January 2020, nearly 250 employees have relocated worldwide, and more than 150 have left San Francisco, representing about 21% of our global and 29% of our San Francisco workforce during that time.
Fry's Electronics has been a mostly West Coast-based shopping destination for gadget heads of all kinds, but now the retailer is calling it quits. On Twitter, Wario64 pointed out a tweet by a former employee and AV store owner noting that employe…
The European venture capital industry is not sufficiently backing the kinds of fundamental innovations that will help the bloc keep up in the 21st century, according to members of the new EU-backed fund investing directly into startups.
Three members of the investment committee for the EIC, Europe’s so-called ‘unicorn factory’ which has earmarked around €4bn to invest directly into startups, said that they were going to be filling a market gap left by VC firms which were often more interested in funding end-user apps rather than transformative innovation.
The comments come after the EIC Fund earlier this year said it had made its first direct investment into European startups, which drew criticism from certain VCs and commentators, warning that it could crowd out private investors and weigh companies down with unnecessary bureaucracy.
Startup of the Week: Cord Cutting Services
The five biggest pay TV providers lost a combined 5.5 million subscribers in 2020, narrowly staying below the 5.8 million subscribers the companies collectively lost in 2019. Subscriber losses slowed a bit toward the end of the year, but pandemic-related cutbacks still hit the industry hard — and may have led to hundreds of thousands additional cancellations if not for industry-wide billing relief efforts.
The industry is undergoing a bit of a power shift, with pay TV subscribers switching from traditional operators like Comcast and AT&T to tech companies like Google and Hulu and their respective pay TV services. However, a closer look at pay TV trends suggests that these gains may be temporary, as so-called skinny bundles fall out of favor with consumers once operators are forced to increase their price tags to make up for ever-increasing network licensing costs.
Tweet of The Week
I’m a 19-year-old girl in Gaza, Palestine studying Computer Engineering who just was selected for a summer internship at Google and Repl.it. I never imagined this is possible. I am sharing my story hoping it will help people in any way!