We chose a name this week — Buried Reads. This newsletter, along with our upcoming engineering focused newsletter, will both use that brand name. We hope to be sending this email next week from the new domain, so don’t be surprised to see a different domain soon.
The Next Generation of Series A Lead Investors
In our most interesting read this week, Semil Shah of Haystack highlights a new batch of firms that have graduated from seed investments in “A New VC Crop of Series A Firms”
Jeffrey Carter of West Loop Ventures predicts what startup investors should expect as interest rates rise in “The Fed And Valuation”. It’s a timely read this week with the 4% dip in the S&P 500 and NASDAQ composite.
Glenn Solomon of GGV Capital identifies Elastic Search’s innovate facets in “Why the Elastic IPO is So Important”. I am amazed to learn they only burned $120M lifetime to get to a $200M run rate.
As the Fall weather sets in for Denver, we’ve been working on software that will identify blog posts from founders and VCs, and someday engineers. This week Kevin’s good friend Max visited, and helped him wrangle technologies like doc2vec, LDA, and t-SNE to unlock the next step of progress. Our aim is to discover 100x as many startup and engineering centered blogs so we can bring you the very best reads each week.
We have a favor to ask this week. If you use GMail and notice us showing up in your Promotions tab, drag us over to Primary. Of course if we haven’t earned this place in your inbox yet, reply to this email and let us know how we could be better.
Uber, FanDuel, and Pinterest spawned containerization and serverless
Dani Grant and Nick Grossman of Union Square Ventures solve the riddle of which comes first: great apps or the infrastructure needed to run them in “The Myth of The Infrastructure Phase.” For Bitcoin skeptics, the lessons are valuable independent of whether you think web 3.0 is really about cryptocurrencies.
From the Operators
Sandy Lerner originally of Cisco shares her founding story. You may have already heard the story of VCs overthrowing the company’s married cofounders, but we didn’t know the early details of doing Internet marketing back in 1987 that grew them to over $250k in monthly revenue. Get the whole story in the “How I Built This” podcast
Both Danielle and I have Apple Airpods, and it became a hassle to tell them apart. A few months ago, Danielle bought a case for her’s, and not only can we tell them apart, but her’s glow in the dark now (I’m getting jealous over here!). For women, this makes it easy to find them burried in your purse. If you listen to books / music while your partner is sleeping, this also makes them standout on the nightstand table. Best $9 we’ve spent.
This is Kevin here writing this week. Danielle and I are back from Hawaii and adjusting to the Fall temperatures in Colorado. While we’re both taking time off between startups, it’s been noticeable how work pulls you back in even though you know you need a break. It’s been mostly me writing the past 2 weeks, so let me know if we’re doing a good job of keeping the quality bar high and the writing on point.
Engineering Newsletter Update: last week we previewed an upcoming newsletter focused on engineering content. Several of you are interested, and I’m working on v1, but want to make sure we can keep the quality high. Right now I’m culling together a list of 100+ feeds to pull the best content from, but we may need even more since great engineers tend to write infrequently. If you have anyone you know who’s written great posts in either startups or engineering, just reply to this email and let us know.
From the Operators
Justin Jackson of Transistor.fm takes a sobering look at how long it will take to grow from $781 MRR to a living salary, and questions whether venture scale critics like Jason Fried of 37signals have misled bootstrapped founders in “Bootstrapper’s paradox”
Ammon Bartram and Harj Taggar of Triplebyte recently guided CTOs through the recruiting journey that is ahead of them. They took a comprehensive look at the recruiting ecosystem without overly selling their own service. You can learn from their hard earned lessons in “Building an Engineering Team”
Last week I recommended the Internet History Podcast, but I could tell from the click through count and my own hasty writing I didn’t do a good job describing it. When I first discovered this great work by Brian McCullough, I was glued to my earphones for days catching up on old episodes. It is an incredible trip down memory lane if you grew up in the 90s, and often gives you an “aha” moment as you see what was really going on behind the curtains. I hope you give it a listen if you haven’t already.
Anyone that works in tech and hasn’t read this book is in for a surprise. Each chapter of the book starts out at the dawn of civilization and follows a chain of an invention taking you all the way up to modern day by the end of the chapter. For example, the Jacquard loom of 1804 was an inspiration to Charles Babbage who built one of the first mechanical computers in 1822. American inventor Herman Hollerith came across Babbage’s difference engine later that century, and build a machine for tabulating the 1890 census. His company would be acquired by a conglomerate that would become IBM. The in depth story in series of inventions is more interesting than anything I can summarize here.
Hello from Hawaii and welcome to week 3 of our newsletter. We appreciate your patience (and suggestions!) while we work on finding a name for this publication.
New newsletter alert! Kevin is working on finding the best writing on software engineering. If you would be interested in receiving a separate newsletter with the most thought provoking posts for coders, let us know by replying to this email. We’re early in the process, and anxious to hear what readers value the most. Tell us what you’d like to see in a technologist focused newsletter by dropping a note to firstname.lastname@example.org
From the Operators
Henry Ward of Carta opens up the books on their internal cap table data, revealing the discrepancy between the proportion of women in tech and their relative share of equity in “Women on Cap Tables”
David Cummings of Atlanta Tech Village narrows down the key drivers for startup ecosystems in “Growing the Startup Community”. Assuming he’s right, look for Shenzen and London to get a shot in the arm from IPOs of X Financials and Farfetch respectively.
Stephanie Simon of Y Combinatorannounces that YC will be taking applications a batch ahead for their upcoming accelerator. They’re well on their way to grabbing a toehold across a huge swath of the early stage funnel, when you consider this is coming on the heels of their giant 15,000 company Startup School batch.
If you don’t already know about the Internet History Podcast, you are missing out. Brian McCullough the creator started out by researching and telling the history himself in January 2014. By March of 2014 the podcast was discovered by an early Netscape engineer who volunteered for an interview. From there, Brian has gone on to interview over a hundred insiders who built the web as we know it.
Woo hoo! It’s week #2 of our newsletter that still needs a name (read the 1st issue here). Thank you to everyone who has forwarded this newsletter on to friends and colleagues. If you have open jobs at your startup, just wrote a blog post you’d like us to consider, or have a cool “Request for Startup” idea for the new section we are going to start running please drop us a note with a short blurb no more than 30 words and a link. We can’t promise to include everything, but we’d love to hear from you!
The Best Thing We Found This Week
Peter Thiel is one of the most interesting vocal personalities in the technology ecosystem, and this interview brings together thoughts on his investing strategy, experiences serving on the board at Facebook for the entirity of its existence (14 years), and our personal favorite: a lot more detail around the founding story of Paypal. The headline of the interview is salacious with mentions of our current Cheeto in Chief, a blockbuster celebrity lawsuit, and his move to Los Angeles — but we think the other tidbits we mentioned are the real meat of the conversation.
Michael Seibel of Y Combinator details “How to Email Early Stage Investors” and maybe the era of signaling prestige by getting a warm intro is finally over, at least at the angel stage
Diego Rey of Y Combinator claims that “over the last two years, YC has made more seed investments in bio companies than any other investor in the world.” More over, “the percentage of bio companies in each batch has been increasing linearly since 2011.” in “There Are Now 141 Bio Companies Funded by YC”
Working at a Startup? It’s Time to Learn About Equity Compensation
Our dear friend and Mattermark cofounder Andy Sparks is working on a new startup, Holloway, building tech to help people find, consume, and improve tactical knowledge. Their first guide came out a few weeks ago, offering a comprehensive overview of stock option compensation.
Do you know the surprising story of how the Information Age got underway? The Information tells the story from early African tribes and their own form of Morse code, to how England’s need to dominate the seas led tinkerer Charles Babbage on a journey to build the forerunner to ENIAC as early as the 1800s, to information theory pioneer Claude Shannon. After 20 years in software industry, Kevin was surprised to finish the book wondering, “How did I come this far knowing so little about what got our industry going?!”
For those who subscribed awhile back, this is the DanielleMorrill.com newsletter, where my husband Kevin and I are exploring a new weekly (and maybe someday daily) newsletter about startups, investing, our new life in Denver after selling Mattermark, and exploring how to bootstrap a new business around this content. — Danielle
I’m excited to write this newsletter alongside Danielle. In order to find, organize, understand the best writing on startups across the web I am using machine learning to find hidden gems that could have been easily missed. Beyond startups, I have many intellectual interests including the history of invention and philosophy. I’m exploring how this technology could generate other topical newsletters. — Kevin
Retired serial startup founder, author, professor and investors Steve Blank comments on the return of a late 90s startup trend: high profile founders raising huge amounts (like, 3 commas huge) of capital with nary a product in sight in “Is the Lean Startup Dead?”
Congratulations to Angela Tran Kingyenson her promotion to General Partner at Version One Ventures. Angela joined the firm 5 years ago, and we are proud to have worked with her through that entire at portfolio founders at Mattermark. She is one of the few investors we now who can make an API request, and we can’t wait to see what she invests in next!
FlexPort is revolutionizing global trade and disrupting an industry that touches every person on earth. The company is based in San Francisco, and they’re hiring several Software Engineers to solve complex challenges.
Treasury Prime is transforming banking. The company is based in San Francisco, and they are hiring engineers to build modern banking infrastructure for 21st Century.
Enzyme is building FDA compliance and quality systems as a service. The company is based in San Francisco, and they are hiring a Director of Engineering.
Ready to geek out on power laws, fractals, and connections between the natural world and the man-made? This book took our curiosity soaring several times and is a relevant read for those navigating the growing pains of a startup going from a two person team to 200, or VC firm going from 2 partners and $25M to a second or third fund 10x that size.