Carwoo has a smart post on how difficult it is to find qualified online marketing/sales gurus with hacking backgrounds.
The debate on the bubble rages on, but there is a small but interesting data point from Fenwick – a Silicon Valley startup law firm.
90% of all series B and beyond rounds tracked by Fenwick for INTERNET companies were up rounds – way more than the software category. Small data point, but that’s a big % above.
My ocassional co-blogger and OfficeDrop’s CEO has a good post on Small Business Trends with some tips on working with outsourced designers. Like many startups, we can not afford a full time designer, so make extensive use of outsourced designers to help us with everything from logo design to site design to button design. It is working well for us, and Prasad shares a number of good tips in his “5 tips for working with outsourced designers” article.
There are some posts going around on a recent conversation had between Fred Wilson and John Doerr where they debate how innovative Google and Facebook are.
Fred takes the point that Facebook and Google aren’t really innovating anymore, instead they are buying small companies and scaling their innovation. John disagrees, although supposedly was hard pressed to come up with concrete examples.
Scaling is innovation.
Just because we, as consumers, aren’t seeing the innovation doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. The plumbing required to support the search volume on Google and the traffic volume on Facebook is amazing. And the growth both companies have experienced over the past 5 years is unprecedented. The engineers and sys admins at these two companies are experiencing problems + creating solutions no other company in the history of the internet has had to experience (OK, Twitter is probably getting some of this too).
A better question would be are either of these companies producing business model innovations. Since Google seems to like to give a lot of stuff away for free to get ad revenue, and I’m not really sure how Facebook will make $ other than advertising, I think this may be the bigger issue these two were actually debating.
Dan Primack at Fortune has a new piece on Union Square Ventures – the fund is out on the prowl for a new fund, and has a great IRR from their first fund. He links to data from a bit limited partner (investor in VC funds) and points out that the other great returns fund in the report is The Foundry Group.
What do these two funds have in common? Well, one key piece is that they both have great bloggers as investors.
So, my question is this a coincidence? Or is there a correlation between venture capitalists who have thoughtful and proflific blogs and good returns?
On the one hand, there is some data here to suggest that these good bloggers are also great investors. I”m sure they boost their visibility with their blogs, and thus their deal flow and overall sexiness as an investor.
On the other hand, a) they also both invest in early stage internet deals, and blogging really appeals to these types of businesses. b) And if the hype on a little bubble in the early stage internet investing world is true then their funds may be enjoying returns from focusing on this space, and thus the blogs may contribute nada. c) And as some of the earliest spotters of the “capital gap” they may be benefiting from the first mover advantage of supplying just the right amount of capital needed by internet companies these days d) And it is possible that people who are good bloggers may be somehow just smarter than average investors (i.e. the two skill sets are just correlated and not causal really).
I’d guess if blogging really helped investors then we’d see more life science VCs and more growth/PE funds blogging. So my thesis would be more that the two funds I just mentioned are doing well not because of blogging, but that blogging was a symptom of all the good things that enabled them to do well recently.