Home for

Students of growth

  • How big is Bitcoin?

    Big. This is a fun and insightful comparison between Bitcoin as an IPO (since Bitcoin ETFs – Exchange Traded Funds – became available recently) and other tech IPOs.

    Bitcoin has limited utility value, just imagine what Ethereum as an IPO would look like. That is store of value combined with utility value.


  • China and AI dominance

    The New York Times has a piece on the China’s Rush to Dominate A.I. Comes with a Twist: It Depends on U.S. Technology. It argues that China is at least a year behind on the U.S. and its A.I. Efforts are based on U.S. open source models and chip technology.

    It misses a key point in my opinion. China is applying the long game it has applied so often. It starts out by copying (this time open source) and then iterating its way to a leading position in the future. I strongly believe that the fastest learner wins and China’s culture, work ethic and resources will contribute to this. Also in the field of Artificial Intelligence. Underestimating that is a big mistake.

  • Investor bets

    This article is a good reminder for founders from around the world pitching to investors in the Bay Area. Also worth noting is this list for the main bet the investors makes at each funding round:

    Pre-seedBet on the team
    SeedBet on the product
    Series ABet on the traction
    Series BBet on the revenue
    Series CBet on the unit economics
    Investor’s main bet per funding round

  • “Patience is more than simply learning to wait. It is having learned what is worth your time.”

    J.M. Storm

  • Future Friday – driverless taxis are live

    Progress is made in small steps over many years. Most project take longer to become reality than initially expected. Both these cliches hold true for autonomous vehicles as well.

    The buzz about autonomous driving is peaking for a while already and we reach new (small) milestones on a regular basis. ‘Is this still news?’ you might ask. In my opinion it is. We have been teased with the promise of full autonomous driving for a long time already and so far there always was a driver present for safety reasons. Accidents have happened although rates appear to be lower than human drivers. But this week Google’s sister company Waymo released its driverless taxi service, Waymo One, to the public. A select group of beta users can order a driverless taxi in the Phoenix (U.S.) area 24/7.

    A small reminder that the future is approaching fast. Even though progress is made in small steps over many years.

    Here is the release video:

    And a review by The Verge:

  • Future Friday – Blockchain bear markets

    Fred Wilson, an experienced VC, has a nice piece on the current cryptocurrency bear markets. In this piece he compares where we currently are with the price of Amazon shares. After the internet bubble Amazon shares fell from a high of $90 to a low of $6. Kind of comparable to the price of most blockchain based assets.

    While currently cryptocurrency assets have lost most of their value, and with that investor’s expectations of their future value this looks a lot like Amazon stock at their low point. I don’t provide investment advice, neither does Fred Wilson, but we all know the valuation of Amazon currently.

    Having said that, I’m still a strong believer of the underlying blockchain technology powering these digital assets. While it’s hard to predict which implementation of the blockchain technology will power our future, the technology itself is a safe bet for widespread adoption. Look at the below graphs (form Fred’s article) for some perspective on where we are today:

    Amazon share price 1998 - 2006
    Amazon share price 1998 – 2006
    Amazon share price 1998 - 2018
    Amazon share price 1998 – 2018. The earlier turbulence is hardly visible.

  • Enthusiasm

    None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.

    Henry David Thoreau

    This quote is a subtle reminder of the power of enthusiasm. The ability to motivate team members, investors, early evangelists, etc. depends to a large extent on the natural enthusiasm (not the faked type) that founders radiate. It is therefore one of the important signals I look for when working with founders and colleagues. A little spark in your eyes when you talk about your cause!

  • Future Friday: Computational photography

    Since the introduction of digital photography, advancements have mostly been hardware based. Enhancing photos was largely called editing and a separate activity from actually taking the picture with your camera. With the omnipresent camera phone the software aspect of photography has become bigger and bigger. Camera’s have become better at detecting the type of scene in front of it and adjusting the settings automatically.

    This week Google unveiled their “Night Sight” feature for their line of Pixel phones (and later probably all Android powered camera’s). The image below compares a Night Shift photo on the right to an (already impressive) iPhone XS photo on the left:

    Night Shift
    iPhone XS on the left, Google Pixel 3 with Night Shift on the right

    Combining multiple photos all with different exposure settings, alignment, merging, tone mapping and white-balance adjustment result in these amazing achievements. As a photography fan I’m enthusiastic about the possibilities this add to the camera that you carry most.

    For a more in-depth look at the challenges and technology behind Night Shift see the article on the Google AI blog.

    Enjoy your Friday!

  • Experiment

    “What good is an idea if it remains an idea? Try. Experiment. Iterate. Fail. Try again. Change the world.” – Simon Sinek

    As a strong believer and practitioner of the lean startup and validation principles I’m currently in a phase where I’m validating a number of ideas. Some are easy to validate, some take more time and most will probably invalidate (or more popular: fail). There is no great breakthrough without experimentation and an experimentation mindset is an essential part of entrepreneurship.

    I love this quote because it links the small scale experimentation that I’m currently doing to the big effect it will one day have. A world that has changed for the better.

  • Motivational Monday – Rise and Shine

    It requires discipline to achieve your dreams. To get up every morning, kick into gear and execute on your daily grind. You win your day when the alarm clock goes off and that’s especially hard on Monday. But you made it today and to keep you motivated to do it again the rest of this week go watch this one. Enjoy!