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Board Observers Weekly - March 11th, 2014

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Board Observers Weekly - March 11th, 2014. The New York Times will never die. For the past fifteen years, the news industry has been struggling. Newspapers are dying, unable to jump on the digital train. Some are getting taken over by tech moguls for pennies. New media outlets emerge, grab tons of traffic from incumbents, which sometimes consider pure players with some disdain.

In the middle of it stands the New York Times Company, one of the major global brands in the news industry. The recent years of the company have raised interest among media analysts as the company made major moves to stay on top. The 2013 annual report is the opportunity for Board Observers to have a look at what really happened in terms of economics and product offering. Stable economics and good signs In spite of a great increase in overall media consumption in the US, both in volume per user and number of users addressed, the revenues of the New York Times Company don’t look stellar. Focus on products, markets and product/market fit Looking forward. New Grads: Midstage Startups Are Your Best First Job in Tech. If you’re graduating this spring and starting a career in tech, I’ve got one piece of advice: go work at a midstage startup (I’ll define that as B/C rounds of financing – eg Twilio, Stripe, Airbnb, Warby). Here’s why: 1. Your Work Will Matter: Past the point of product market fit, but before large company ossification.

At a brand new startup you spend all your time trying to get the world to care about your product and fighting a lack of infrastructure. At a more mature technology company you’re protecting and extending your business model. 2. 3. 4. 5. Now you might think it’s strange that a VC who runs a seed stage fund is telling new grads to join larger startups. Like this: Like Loading... The Venture Capital Power Law - Analyzing the Largest 100 U.S. VC-Backed Tech Exits. Of the 100 largest VC-backed tech exits since 2009, Sequoia Capital invested in a remarkable 22 of them. Benchmark Capital invested in the highest percentage at the early stage. Venture capital returns are often said to follow a power law.

Simplistically, the best investment returns more money than the rest of the investments combined. We analyzed the largest 100 U.S. -based tech M&A or IPO exits since 2009 to see whether the power law actually holds and who the most frequent investors in those companies are. The data below. Top 100 VC-Backed U.S. The chart below highlights the distribution of top U.S. Top 100 VC-Backed U.S. Sequoia Capital’s exit of WhatsApp was just 1 of 7 exits out of the 100 that counted just a single institutional investor. Top 100 VC-Backed U.S. Of course, simply “getting in” on a big exit does not guarantee strong investment returns as the nature of VC is such that those investors who jumped in earliest are most richly rewarded. Methodology/Notes. The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers: Ben Horowitz: 9780062273208: Books.

The myth of the overnight success. Tech Angry Birds was Rovio’s 52nd game. They spent eight years and almost went bankrupt before finally creating their massive hit. Pinterest is one of the fastest growing websites in history, but struggled for a long time. Pinterest’s CEO recently said that they had “catastrophically small numbers” in their first year after launch, and that if he had listened to popular startup advice he probably would have quit. You tend to hear about startups when they are successful but not when they are struggling. Startups are hard, but they can also go from difficult to great incredibly quickly. The Pmarca Guide to Startups, part 4: The only thing that matters | pmarca-archive. This post is all about the only thing that matters for a new startup. But first, some theory: If you look at a broad cross-section of startups — say, 30 or 40 or more; enough to screen out the pure flukes and look for patterns — two obvious facts will jump out at you.

First obvious fact: there is an incredibly wide divergence of success — some of those startups are insanely successful, some highly successful, many somewhat successful, and quite a few of course outright fail. Second obvious fact: there is an incredibly wide divergence of caliber and quality for the three core elements of each startup – team, product, and market. At any given startup, the team will range from outstanding to remarkably flawed; the product will range from a masterpiece of engineering to barely functional; and the market will range from booming to comatose. And so you start to wonder — what correlates the most to success – team,product, or market? Or, more bluntly, what causes success?

So: Why? OK, so what? A Recipe for Growth: Adding Layers to the Cake | Jeff Jordan. Businesses don’t grow themselves. One of the most important jobs of a CEO is to aggressively define and pursue a growth agenda for his or her business. Why is this important? Growth typically improves a company’s competitive position and provides increased scale and leverage, and investors clearly value growth. The pursuit of growth continues to be important regardless of the lifecycle of the company. Obviously it’s critical early in a company’s life… or it won’t be a company for long. But it continues to be important as a company develops. The first real operating job I had was managing eBay’s U.S. business in mid-2000, which included the website. It was clear we needed to quickly define a growth agenda that had the scale to fight gravity’s impact.

Marketing had some leverage, but it was limited. eBay was already one of the biggest marketers on the Internet and efforts to optimize spend were already underway. Source: eBay SEC filings.