Good Reading – 1.20.14

– Mobile messaging app usage grew by over 200% in 2013, beating out every other app category in both usage and growth. In my view, messaging apps are a fast, simple way of creating dark social networks. 1-1 and small group communication is the new social media broadcast.  My personal behavior mirrors this, and all of the research we’ve done in-house backs it up: large social networks are good for some types of content, but most of the communication we do isn’t designed to be shared with everyone. Because of the  fragmented networks involved, messaging app users will likely stay multi-home for a few more years. Link >>

– Charter Communications made a $61+ bn. cash offer to acquire Time Warner Cable. By itself, the transaction doesn’t mean a ton, but looking at the overall telco and wireless carrier consolidation over the past years in the U.S., coupled with the recent ruling against  the FCC’s Open Internet Rule, is it safe to think the balance of power is starting to go increasingly larger players in the space? I have no certainty on how all of this will affect innovation in the startup scene for media, but I have to assume that these trends are overall bad for consumers when it comes to content delivery innovation.  Link >>

– Andreessen Horowitz is in the process of raising t’s 4th round, another $1.5bn., the majority of which will be dedicated to early stage investments. Anyone who doesn’t already, follow Marc Andreessen on Twitter. Marc’s feed is optimistic, though-provoking and is evidence why his approach to investing has been so successful of late. This 4th fund is just anther supporting data point.  Link >>

– Dropbox raised $250mm at a $10bn. valuation. As a company I pay every month for a service that completely changed my life, my view is that Dropbox still has a ton of runway ahead of it and, in my opinion, is in the unique position of being better as an independent company than as part of a larger suite of solutions like Apple, Google or Oracle.  Link >>

– if you were under a rock , Nest was acquired by google for $3.2bn. No sense in writing about this, but in three years this is going to see like a very, very cheap acquisition. Link >>

 

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This Week – 01.13.13

– CES was this past week and everyone already wrote about it, streamed it and talked about it. I liked Tomasz Tunguz’s summary – it’s short but insightful. Read it if you’re looking for a quick recap of what happened and what to look out for in the next year. Link

– Someone hacked Snapchat and leaked 4.6mm names, usernames and phone numbers.  I was one of the users who had their info leaked, and I have to admit that it changed my attitude towards security on web services. Perhaps as breaches increase over the next few years, we are going to trust this info to fewer and fewer services, creating a defensive barrier for companies that already have much of it (Google, FB, Apple). Existing incumbents are pouring resources against increased security; strategically a great place to invest if you’re one of the early winners.

– Biz Stone (Founder at Twitter and Blogger) released his new ‘social search’ app Jelly (Link), which uses images, location and users’ existing social networks to deliver answers on visual questions. The product seems early and I haven’t gotten great answers yet, but I’m going to keep the app around to see how the community evolves.

– AT&T unveiled sponsored data this week, in a move that would subsidize data costs for users, and simultaneously took a swipe at the open Internet. (Link). Albert Wenger from Union Square Ventures also wrote a great editorial piece encouraging us all to work to keep the Internet and open place in 2014. (Link). I get the sense that selling money via free sponsored Internet sponsored is going to be a huge hit and a strong headwind against the open Internet. If the markets are allowed to evolve naturally, this is going to be the end state – great for business, but questionable how this works out for humanity at large.

– Aereo raised an additional $34mm in Series C investment, as the great unbundling of media continues. With Aereo, Netflix and a few other packages I have very little need for a full cable package anymore (HBO the obvious holdout). With that said, making the assumption, as many of my colleagues have, that cable operators are going to lay down and die in the content delivery space is a huge mistake – if anything I expect to see the better companies raise their game significantly in the coming years. My prediction: the next five years will be epic for consumers.  Link

This Week – 01.05.14

After a brief stint on Medium, I’m back to my old WordPress Blog.  I didn’t really see the value yet, but I may be back at some point.

I am also making a few plans to change the format of the content of this blog. While I intend to continue posting original content, I’m going to start posting a weekly summary on Sundays of what I read during the week that I found interesting, and I may post a few upcoming events in New York that I’m looking forward to.  If people like this, I’ll start sending it out in a Newsletter.  Mostly, I intend to cover startups, marketing and marketing tech, management and some tech related industry items.  I’ll also have a New York Tech slant as that’s where I mostly operate.  I’d love thoughts and feedback on these moving forward.

On Twitter’s Average Revenue per user – There was a useful post on Quartz that did some quick math to calculate average quarterly revenue average per monthly user, landing on $0.55 in quarterly revenue per monthly active user on Twitter.  I’ve always found this metric to be a bit confusing as it uses quarterly revenue and monthly-active-users, so this helps break the calculation down to a fairly intuitive level. As a comparison, $FB was closer to $1.20.  Link

More On Acquisition Costs vs. Lifetime Value – Saar Gur from Charles River Ventures created a nice presentation on how to think about acquisition costs versus lifetime value. A lot of startups try to tackle growth before revenue, thinking about it as a sequential equation. While that’s tactically correct, it’s strategically a little lazy.  There are always bigger, publicly traded comps that can help you think about LTV, even if you’re pre-revenue. Link

 The U.S. Student Debt Bubble– Peter Thiel submitted his Graph of the Year for 2013,  choosing to highlight the growing student debt burden in this country juxtaposed against the average starting salary for a student fresh out of school.  This is going to come to a head at some point soon and it’s likely to be an ugly resolution.  It’s also a huge opportunity for disruption and innovation. Link

Kevin Rose’s Tiny New Prototype – Kevin Rose, founder of Digg, created a new blogging platform prototype and just put it out into the world to get feedback. Tiny gives a reader a live, obfuscated view of the author while they’re writing.  While Tiny probably needs some more refinement, I think Kevin’s decision to release a prototype to his audience was a really smart way to work on a product, and contrary to the way a lot of first-time entrepreneurs think about the world (fixed pie, hide your ideas).  I’m also a big believer in the space he’s shooting at, making the web more dynamic, richer and more live.   Link