Happy Sunday! Prepare yourself for the week ahead with a bit of wisdom from the industry’s finest venture capitalists.
“Female Founders,” by Paul Graham of Y Combinator: “I realize though that with female founders, efforts at our stage are not enough. We could in principle have fixed the problem for young founders by ourselves. If we funded enough young founders who went on to succeed, both investors and other would-be founders would learn from their example. But it would be naive to assume we could get the percentage of female startup founders to 50% so long as the percentage of female programmers is so much lower than 50%. Though this is less the case than it used to be, many startups still have a big technical component, and if you want to start that sort of startup your chances of succeeding are higher if you’re a programmer. Adora Cheung is a programmer, for example. Software eating the world is still software.”
“Entering the Information Age,” by Albert Wenger of Union Square Ventures: “That leaves us with two more critically important questions about the transition to the Information Age. First, do we need a catalytic event or can we get there without it? Past catalytic events were largely wars, revolutions and plagues. It would be good to avoid both of these. Second, what are you and I personally doing to help navigate the transition?”
“The Two Key Skill Sets Startups Must Develop To Grow,” by Tomasz Tunguz of Redpoint Ventures: “For some, the word process has a strongly negative connotation. It’s probably because we often notice the processes that don’t work: the line at the DMV, the vacation time approval or airplane boarding. While those may need some work, we shouldn’t simply throw the baby out with the bathwater and pan all processes. Code check-in regimens, hiring procedures, OKR setting routines, annual reviews – all of these work and to great benefit of the employees, teams and company. What was Zynga’s Playbook for launching games if not a list of proprietary processes?”
“Will Professionals Confide In A Secure Messaging App,” by Charlie O’Donnell of Brooklyn Bridge Ventures: “Privacy, or more specifically, ephemerality, is an interesting place to start–but I don’t see it as a way to gain mass adoption. Most people just don’t see the chance of private conversations being made public as a big risk–whether that’s a careless approach or not. We’ve had business e-mail for twenty plus years and there hasn’t been a secure e-mail system that has gained traction yet, despite people getting caught writing damning e-mails time and time again. Sure, we have e-mail retention policies, but that isn’t really solving the problem. If someone wants to bring up a job discrimination lawsuit, they usually do it well within the e-mail deletion period and so this isn’t really solving the problem.”
“Bitcoin — Getting Past Store of Value and Currency,” by Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures: “I think the next two phases [of Bitcoin] will be/need to be
4) Commerce – real people buying real stuff with Bitcoin
5) Bitcoin as infrastructure – this is what prediction number 7 is all about. When will we see entrepreneurs coming to USV to talk about the marketplace for XYZ that they build on top of the Bitcoin architecture?