Articles Dragos Novac

how startup valuation works

more explanations and details here.

the never list

Never sell a service or product that you cannot deliver.

Never work for someone who isn't as smart as you are.

Never work for or with people with a lesser moral code than your own.

Never cut any corners, there is no such thing as a free lunch and everything has a cost, even if you can't see it right in front of you.

Never keep a bad client just because they're willing to keep paying you.

and so on

circa 1949 New York

taken from here

food for thought

Airbnb probably has one of the most interesting business models invented this century, and Brian Chesky, one of its founders, is also awesome:

Brian's Rules
Chesky has absorbed management lessons from the pros, but he has also developed his own leadership principles

1. GO TO THE SOURCE
If you have limited amount of time to learn something, spend most of your available time identifying the best source on the topic - then go to that person: "If you pick the right source, you can fast-forward"

2. AMPLIFY YOUR MOVES
Devote your energy to actions that have the greatest impact. "It's like chess," Chesky says. A few key moves can give you the leverage to make other moves.

3. DON'T LEAD BY CONSENSUS IN A CRISIS
"Usually in a crisis you have to go left or right, and everyone wants to go middle. And middle is the storm"

4. REFILL THE RESERVOIR
The best CEOs take inspiration from their outside lives. "If you stop going to fairs, concerts and bars, and you're just working, you lose touch with all that. You have to refill the reservoir."

A good quote

The things you learn in maturity aren't simple things such as acquiring information and skills. You learn not to engage in self-destructive behavior. You leant not to burn up energy in anxiety. You discover how to manage your tensions, if you have any, which you do. You learn that self-pity and resentment are among the most toxic of drugs. You find that the world loves talent, but pays off on character.

You come to understand that most people are neither for you nor against you, they are thinking about themselves. You learn that no matter how hard you try to please, some people in this world are not going to love you, a lesson that is at first troubling and then really quite relaxing.

One of the enemies of sound, lifelong motivation is a rather childish conception we have of the kind of concrete, describable goal toward which all of our efforts drive us. We want to believe that there is a point at which we can feel that we have arrived. We want a scoring system that tells us when we've piled up enough points to count ourselves successful.

So you scramble and sweat and climb to reach what you thought was the goal. When you get to the top you stand up and look around and chances are you feel a little empty. Maybe more than a little empty.

You wonder whether you climbed the wrong mountain.

But life isn't a mountain that has a summit, Nor is it -- as some suppose -- a riddle that has an answer. Nor a game that has a final score.

Life is an endless unfolding, and if we wish it to be, an endless process of self-discovery, an endless and unpredictable dialogue between our own potentialities and the life situations in which we find ourselves.

from a 1990 speech - Personal Renewal

the cost of living in 1938

Mobile ate the world, the 2016 edition

lego

 

the whole stack here

The mobile concierge market

1. it's rather in an inception phase, there's no clear winners or established companies, although I like the way Operator executes

2. it's not a winner takes all market, as it's a fragmented one and it will be even so in the next few years at least

3. I don't believe in general solutions to a rather complex problem, as provided by the class of companies that contribute in this space today. They are pioneers rather discovering than solving problems in an early stage environment.

4. I also do not believe in generalist AI solutions, such as Google Now, Facebook M or Cortana, which are different beasts than Magic, Operator or GoButler. AI is also hot these days, just like the conversational commerce, but there's no clear sustainable business model yet.

5. the transactional model seems to be limited to a certain user profile since there's always a premium on top of the retail markup plus the delivery costs, which makes it rather an expensive value proposition attractive to a certain demographic

6. on a broader level the transactional model makes it difficult to develop competitive advantages, it's just another sales channel, a channel that can be very easily replicated, cheaper, by solid players like Amazon and such. So it's a channel with a trajectory towards a model competing on brand and marketing budget sizes.

How is Foursquare making money

Attribution Powered by Foursquare leans on a voluntary, nonincentivized panel of 1.3 million Foursquare users who have agreed to leave their location-sharing feature on at all times, meaning Foursquare knows every store they visit—even if they don't open the app or the company's sister app, Swarm. The panel also takes U.S. Census demographics into consideration.

Brand marketers can select specific demographics in certain markets to home in on a campaign's performance across Web channels like Yahoo and AOL and various mobile app ad networks. Then, a test group and a control group from the Foursquare panel are set up.

The smartphone-carrying consumers' offline activities are recorded for an amount of time the marketer necessitates—for instance, a travel company would be interested in seeing visits data 30 days or more after a campaign runs, while a fast-food brand may want to know if an ad drove people into stores within a few days of seeing it.

Marketers will be charged at a 50-cent CPM rate for the attribution program, which will also be sold on a licensing model.

more context

it's the end of the world as we know it

The prognostication game has hitherto been about the speed at which newspapers will go out of print. Now it shifts up a gear to the more pressing question of which companies will start to jettison websites and other digital infrastructure accumulated in the past two decades.

Having a legacy business configured around a website is now almost as much of a headache as the rumbling printing press, fuelled by paper and money.

It is likely we will start to see studio or agency models emerge where publishing models once were, trying to create value around relationships and services rather than packages and products.

As publishers lose control, are newspaper websites a dead parrot?

So basically the online publishing industry is in a transition state, an ever going perpetuum for a few years already and not a surprise since its bosses are paralyzed by change.

Survival in the content business will depend on building the business not around the website as an asset but around the brand as a connection center. Combined with iminent death of counting pageviews and unique visitors, which is a broken business model.

Or, simply put, if you've got a sustainable economic model for the value created in the ecosystem, you've got a viable business.