Posts in Tech and VC
Skillshare and Getting Global

Skillshare’s geographic footprint has expanded dramatically during the period of our involvement. The company has grown revenues close to 10x while being highly capital efficient, and now has 8 million users in almost every country in the world. 50% of new users are outside the United States — but what I find even more interesting is that 60% of all *teachers*are outside the US. What is bringing these teachers to the Skillshare platform?

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A Secret Weapon for Startups -- Functional Programming?

I was admitted to Penn for computer science, and while I got two undergraduate degrees, computer science remained my first love all along. My favorite CS course of all was CSE 121, the second semester of freshman year, which was an introduction to functional programming via the LISP language. Why was it my favorite? It was elegant, mathematical, and introduced me to the delights of recursion. To me this was the essence of computer science.

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Saying No

The VC business, for a fund manager, is an orgy of rejection. During the course of a year, we will touch 1,000 companies at Amasia; we'll invest in three (maybe four, sometimes two). What this means is that on 997 occasions, we're saying no.

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“Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last?”

It's been an extraordinary few days in Silicon Valley — a high-profile VC firm has been “blasted off the earth” and the industry is reacting in unusually visible ways.

The reactions have varied from the half-assed apology to the pre-emptive apology to the we-took-care-of-it apology to the high-minded-appeal-to-principles apology to the apology-of-the-day apology, from prominent VC firms (Lightspeed, Lowercase, 500Startups, Greylock and Binary respectively). Sadly all immediately put one in mind of Captain Renault in *Casablanca*.

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Raising The Next Round: Five Reasons Not To Think About It Until You Have To

Over the years I've had hundreds of conversations with CEOs about "the next round". This usually takes the form of a question: "What metrics do I need to hit to raise the next round?" In itself the question is rational; what is troublesome is when the question is asked right after a round has been raised, and when business decisions are made based on a theoretical future raise.Here are five concrete reasons to spend little time thinking about the next round in the context of building your business.

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The Three Roles Of A Venture Capitalist

I've been reflecting recently on how the VC-founder relationship evolves with time. As I see it, a VC's job falls into three buckets: 1. Cheerleading; 2. Helping to solve problems ("adding value"); and 3. Holding management accountable. The mix between these changes as companies grow. At the seed stage it's mostly buckets 1 and 2; at the Series A stage it's more of bucket 2, some bucket 3, and a fair dose of bucket 1; and at the Series B stage and beyond, it mostly bucket 2 and 3 with a bit of bucket 1.

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