20 Matching Annotations
  1. Jun 2022
    1. It was as if Silicon Valley had made a secret pact to subsidize the lifestyles of urban Millennials. As I pointed out three years ago, if you woke up on a Casper mattress, worked out with a Peloton, Ubered to a WeWork, ordered on DoorDash for lunch, took a Lyft home, and ordered dinner through Postmates only to realize your partner had already started on a Blue Apron meal, your household had, in one day, interacted with eight unprofitable companies that collectively lost about $15 billion in one year.

      ...but we'll make up for it in volume.

  2. May 2022
    1. We've had three things happen simultaneously: we've moved from an open web where people start lots of small projects to one where it really feels like if you're not on a Facebook or a YouTube, you're not going to reach a billion users, and at that point, why is it worth doing this? Second, we've developed a financial model of surveillance capitalism, where the default model for all of these tools is we're going to collect as much information as we can about you and monetize your attention. Then we've developed a model for financing these, which is venture capital, where we basically say it is your job to grow as quickly as possible, to get to the point where you have a near monopoly on a space and you can charge monopoly rents. Get rid of two aspects of that equation and things are quite different.

      How We Got Here: Concentration of Reach, Surveillance Capitalism, and Venture Capital

      These three things combined drove the internet's trajectory. Without these three components, we wouldn't have seen the concentration of private social spaces and the problems that came with them.

  3. Mar 2022
    1. Surveillance technologies, especially those backed by significant amounts of venture capital, areoften underpinned by the same precarious labour and outsourcing practices that are critiqued fromwithin the academy

      Ah, vulture capitalism.

    1. Jean Clarke, a professor of entrepreneurship and organization at EmlyonBusiness School in France, has spent years watching entrepreneurs like GabrielHercule make their case at demo days, incubators, and investment forums acrossEurope. In a study published in 2019, she and her colleagues reported thatcompany founders who deployed “the skilled use of gesture” in their pitcheswere 12 percent more likely to attract funding for their new ventures.

      Researcher Jean Clarke's research (2019) indicates that entrepreneurs who employ "the skilled use of gesture" are 12 percent more likely to have their pitches funded than those who don't.

  4. Dec 2021
  5. Sep 2021
    1. No one is going to be able to imagine a text online without annotations anymore.” They also foresaw a day when the site’s algorithmic evaluation of your Genius annotations — their “Genius IQ” — would be so widely accepted that it “could impact your grades in primary school and your ability to get a job in a certain field.” (“We’re going to have annotations on other sites, so every other site in the world like the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times are going be Genius-powered and they’re going to have our annotations on them. And then the Genius platform will take over the internet; everyone’s most important statistic that they have in life is their Genius IQ.”)

      Great example of the overly optimistic rose colored glasses of the venture fund backed tech elite. How do they still get away with such blatant failures? Who hold them socially and financially accountable?

  6. Apr 2021
    1. Thus, the creative freedom of creators is limited.

      And thus draconian methods for making the distribution unnecessarily complicated, siloed, surveillance capitalized, and over-monitized beyond all comprehension are beyond the reach of one or two for profit companies who want to own the entire market like monopolistic giants are similarly limited. (But let's just stick with the creators we're pretending to champion, shall we?)

    1. I have a feeling some of the money framing in the newsletter space is overblown. Some bigger names with pre-existing platforms (and by this I mean exposure, popularity, voices, and other possible media outlets already) have some serious upside to creating paid newsletters. Many of these platforms are trying to not only capture a slice of these pies, they're trying to leverage those same big names to actively make it seem to the average person that they too could have a paid newsletter (see how easy it is...). The reality is that many of these others are going to spend a lot of time and effort to try to garner pennies on the dollar or ultimately fail. This sort of game works much better in the YouTube space where self-hosting the video and doing distribution is a much higher bar. The VC space for newsletters is going to have a dreadful crash when folks realize that there's more competition in the space than they bargained for.

  7. Mar 2021
    1. It’s the usual Silicon Valley sleight-of-hand move, very similar to Uber reps claiming drivers aren’t “core” to their business. I’m sure Substack is paying a writer right now to come up with a catchy way of saying that Substack doesn’t pay writers.
    2. So Substack has an editorial policy, but no accountability. And they have terms of service, but no enforcement.

      This is also the case for many other toxic online social media platforms. A fantastic framing.

  8. Feb 2021
  9. Jan 2021
    1. one thing I’m dead certain of is that startups shouldn’t be fixing this for us.

      I love the picture that goes with this!

  10. Jul 2020
    1. Howell, S. T., Lerner, J., Nanda, R., & Townsend, R. R. (2020). Financial Distancing: How Venture Capital Follows the Economy Down and Curtails Innovation (Working Paper No. 27150; Working Paper Series). National Bureau of Economic Research. https://doi.org/10.3386/w27150

  11. Apr 2020
    1. When Casper filed its S-1 in January, analysts, investors, and business nerds descended on the document like vultures. Not only was it a precarious moment to take a startup public, it was the first time anyone could actually access the raw numbers under the hood of a DTC. “The economics work better if Casper sent you a mattress for free, stuffed with $300,” jabbed NYU Stern marketing professor and tech doomsayer Scott Galloway. “This appears to be Casper’s business,” tweeted number-crunching Atlantic columnist Derek Thompson. “Buy mattress at $400. Sell at $1,000. Refund/return 20% of them. Keep $400, on avg. Then spend $290 of that on ads/marketing and $270 on admin (finance, HR, IT). Lose $160. Repeat.”

      Summary of Casper's business model

    2. Months after achieving unicorn status by raising $100 million in funding at a $1.4 billion valuation, The Verge detailed allegations against the Instagrammy startup that its CEO Steph Korey had created a sweatshop culture within the company.

      Sadly this seems to be the finance model of a lot of these venture-based startups. They're squeezing their employees as a means of making their numbers.

    3. Perhaps the original mistake of the DTCs wasn’t in their vision, but in their decision to take the venture capital in the first place. Now under pressure to grow even faster and at greater scale than they otherwise would have had to naturally, they are being confronted with what happens when growth slows down, the cash starts running out, and investors are expecting their returns.
    4. the past few months have exposed major cracks in the DTC business model, as several high-profile, venture-backed DTC startups have struggled and others have completely closed their doors. The investors bankrolling these companies are discovering one thing in common — that most of their money is going to expensive and ever-rising customer acquisition costs (CAC) via Google, Facebook, and Instagram. As one DTC investor has put it starkly before: “CAC is the new rent.”

      Roughly what I had anticipated in back of the envelope calculations about 4 years ago. And this not to mention the voraciousness of venture capital as a bigger issues in and of itself.

  12. Apr 2019
    1. THIS   SERIESA   PREFERRED   STOCK   PURCHASE   AGREEMENT

      Hi Craig-- here's a public note to you that any one else could see-- but we could also create a private group here and have a conversation just between ourselves and others.