a16z video: software eats care delivery

In this video, “a16z bio deal partner Julie Yoo describes the specific zones of opportunity that are most ripe for companies to have an impact (and why); what some of the new and innovative approaches are; and finally, the characteristics that might make for a winning formula for startups in this [healthcare tech] space.” learn more

Investing in the podcast ecosystem in 2019

This is a detailed background map of the podcasting world since its inception. It was created by the a16z consumer team. “Our investment philosophy is to not be too prescriptive, so we do the kind of ‘market map’ overview below to help us have a ‘prepared mind’ when we see new startups in the space.” I learned a lot reading it. learn more

The normal distribution is vanishing

Alex Danco wrote this post in 2015. Its conclusions have stood up over the years. He makes the point that many markets are moving from a normal distribution of preferences (a fat middle and two tails) to a bifurcated distribution where one variable determines a consumer’s preference. I predict many startups will live or die by how well they adapt to this world. learn more

Blitzscaling

Authors: Reid Hoffman, Chris Yeh

Not every startup need burn ridiculous amounts of cash to get as big as possible as quickly as possible. But some should, and Reid Hoffman explains exactly how to identify them.

Reid is the founder of LinkedIn, a venture capital investor at Sequoia, and a former early employee at PayPal. He knows a thing or two about the topic of scaling.

The book argues that for startups that operate in winner-take-all or winner-take-most markets, the need to grow quickly to capture market share far outweighs the need to operate a business efficiently. The trade off is to optimize for speed to market and growth at the expense of financial and operational efficiency, because absent winning the market there’s no hope for the business.

This is not a book of hypothetical musings. It’s actionable advice based on real examples of companies that “blitzscaled” to win sustainable competitive advantages – most often based on network effects that create customer lock-in and competitor barriers to entry.

Read this book to understand the mentality of venture capital fueled businesses, the stakes they play for, and maybe most importantly the conditions required for this path to make sense. Most businesses should not take this path!

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