All posts filed under: Essays

Mysteries vs Secrets

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Essays

In a conversation with one of our very early stage portfolio CEO’s this week, we were talking about how to think about to prioritize solving problems. They are a young company, and so have to figure out *everything*. As we were talking through a few specific parts of the roadmap, I said: let’s distinguish between “I don’t know yet” and “Nobody knows yet” problems. I later tweeted it out, and my friend Dayo Olopade is […]

Insuring 30 million Lives

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Essays

Read Me: This is written from the perspective of an enthusiast and lay-person. This is all evidence collected from primary sources. Please consult a healthcare administrator, licensed health insurance agent, your primary care provider, or your local community clinic for resources specific to your situation. I am simply a technology venture capitalist, investor in health technology, board director of a clinical practice and telemedicine platform, and concerned citizen. 6.6 million people applied for unemployment insurance […]

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 […]

About Proprietary Networks

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Essays

They are the among the only lasting advantages in business – particularly in the fast-moving technology environment. And the question about how to grow one is one of the most common pain points for someone early in their career, particularly if they did not get lucky and choose the right company to work for, where the network was built-in for them. So here’s a word: most people wrongly focus on the “network” side of the equation […]