All posts filed under: Essays

Next Step: Kindred Ventures

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Essays

So, updates. In the 8 years since I became a seed investor, I have come to learn that the principles of sales, recruiting, fundraising, choosing hypotheses, and processes of measuring them, are fundamental skills that can be learned, practiced, and guided. What is harder to pick up quickly is the sense of mission, urgency, and clarity of vision. The founder must come with that to the start of the race, which looks like a sprint, […]

Vocare, Voce, Vox, Voice!

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Essays

My name is Kanyi Maqubela, and one of my first spoken languages was Xhosa, the native tongue of the Eastern Cape region of South Africa. Xhosa is, along with Zulu and a handful of others, a rare language, in that it is both a *click* language, and a *tonal* language. The complexity of voice acrobatics required to fluently speak my language trip me up to this day. My mother reminds me that “ulele” can mean […]

Classical Risk vs. Quantum Risk

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Essays

I used to think startups worked like classical mechanics. In classical mechanics, objects are of macroscopic (normal) scale, and the vectors of these bodies – energy, mass, volume, momentum – exist on curves with each other. Some of these curves are linear, some logarithmic, quadratic, etc. In my working with startups over the last dozen or so years, I have operated under the assumption that team formation, product development, and early traction held characteristics of […]

Let The Beat Build

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Essays

When I struck out on my own 18 months ago, I was contemplating a few hypotheses at the same time, but the first was this question: how many of the best founders aren’t in the game or on the bench, but in fact are not founders yet? Put another way: how efficient is the startup formation process? While mission-driven, domain expert (rather, domain insightful) technical expertise is a rare commodity, what if it is not […]

Is Chinese Censorship Really About Censorship?

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Essays

Take a look at Capital And Main for the podcast version of this, and the original appearance of these ideas, among far more interesting ones. And to it… For most Westerners, information technology in China is headlined by the fact that it is censored. If you travel to China, you will find that you can’t load a Google map, check your Instagram likes, send your tweets, or even read articles from the New York Times. […]

Self-Driving Game Theory

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Essays

Take a look at Capital And Main for the podcast version of this, and the original appearance of these ideas, among far more interesting ones. And to it… Whether it takes 15 years or 50, it is almost certain that self-driving cars will be on the road within my lifetime. Waymo, the Alphabet company, is at 3 million test miles driven. Uber, BMW, Cruise (in partnership with General Motors), Mercedes, Volvo, Nissan, Ford, and others […]

The Rise Of Startups… Or not

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Essays

They call it a Cambrian moment. These days, every city worth its salt comes with a startup ecosystem: co-working spaces and accelerators mark emerging hubs across the United States and around the world. Since The Social Network, high school students have grown up with the legend of the college dorm room startup as a central narrative. From healthcare to insurance to apparel to food, it seems as though there is a startup for every piece of […]