Defining a Product Narrative
tl;dr: successful product-focused teams have a clear Product Narrative that defines who to build for, why to build for them, how to build it, and what to actually build. Moreover, a Narrative sets the direction for a team – a charter that unifies everyone together, identifying the target customers and their problems to be solved.
A Global Chess Match for VCs
For the big players at least, Venture Capital is no longer just a vehicle to support entrepreneurs and ideas, but a means to guide and influence a global market. I did a deep-dive of VCs through the lens of the transportation landscape, and how it can drive the habits and characteristics of other industries in the future.
The State of Ride-sharing:
Let’s talk about Softbank for a moment, and how powerful they’ve become - here are the major two ride-share players to-date, and how much capital they’ve accumulated:
State of Chinese Decacorns
China, with its multitude of tech decacorns, is catching up as a global economic powerhouse. It was hard to say that decades ago, let alone 2010 post the ’08 financial crisis when the world was launched into global turmoil. But as noted in the latest KPCB Internet Trends report, the Asian giant has 9 of 20 biggest internet companies in the world (by market cap) v. five years ago when they had 2.
But the more exciting news is the state of these decacorns today, and how they will affect the years to come..
Epic Game’s new hit, Fortnite, has a whopping 125M players today, blowing out other games like LoL: League of Legends (100M players) or Overwatch (40M players) out of the water. How did this all happen in less than a year?
I unpacked further what’s the deal; tl;dr: its colossal success is attributed to four areas: 1. social nature of gameplay, 2. accessibility of the ecosystem, 3. timing to product market fit, 4. relatability with pop culture & influencers.
Let's talk about immigration from a purely economic perspective. Today, 13% of the U.S. population are first or second generation migrants. It’s always been a hard topic, but data shows that immigrants matter, and are good for this country's long-term prosperity. We’ve seen it in our history, and it's been repeating itself. Let’s take a look at some of that data.
A Brief History:
Today is no different than our past. We’ve always had immigrants, coming in various forms and in different waves (by continents):
tl;dr: building great products not only requires a clear vision, but a strong strategy. Instagram has been able to achieve its mission to “… capture and share the world’s moments” in part by leveraging second mover advantage over certain competitors’ features and building an all-in-one social experience.
Let’s compare against competing social platforms and analyze Instagram's impact:
Using the Decision Matrix
tl;dr: Successful teams and companies can strike a harmonious balance between inclusiveness and clarity in decision-making. Most unnecessarily over-index one over the other, while those that fail don’t index any of these aspects at all.
[this is a follow-up to my previous blog post here]
TL;DR: e-Scooters is looking to have a brighter future in the EV (e-Vehicles) market because it is 1) smaller (but fast enough), 2) portable, 3) affordable and 4) more available.
Consumers want quick, easy, reliable transportation services that just works. The need for faster/cheaper taxi alternatives, better public transportation systems and avoiding car ownership in many U.S. cities has debatably been solved by Uber and Lyft. The problem with last mile traveling is partially solved (via walking, driving, biking, Uber-ing, busing, subway-ing et al), but also very much still in the experimental and growing phases. Let’s do a deep-dive of some of the U.S.’s hottest on-demand startups trying to dominate this space.
$ Raised v. Funding v. Headcount:
The Last Mile e-Economy
TL;DR: The global market appetite for last mile EVs (e-vehicles) is driven by 1) overall more efficient mode of transport, 2) the push for eco-friendly options, and 3) shared services over private ownership.
Over the past month, I had my first try at Bird, Limebike, Spin and Jump - the hot new e-scooter and e-bike startups that entered SF. This got me thinking about the overall transportation industry, in particular the last mile (colloquial phrase for: movement of people from a transportation hub to a final destination) market powered by the onset of the e (electric)-economy.
Teardown of the VC Midas List
TL;DR: this year is an indicator of continued strength in the tech and venture capital world.
I did a teardown of the world’s top 100 VCs named in this year’s Forbes’s Midas List (Midas: the king who turned anything he touched into gold), which was posted last week. Here’s what I found:
I'm a tech investor @ Obvious.com. I was formerly a Product Manager @ Dropbox and Uber, & studied CS at Stanford. I also write on Medium.
Ping me daniel@ obvious.com, or follow @dcliem!