My views on the market, tech, and everything else


A Dozen Lessons I Learned from Bill Gates Sr.

Bill Gates Sr. is one of three mentors I have had that were actually appointed by a group to help me develop as a person. I have had other mentors that I recruited or the relationship just developed. What Bill taught me was not only important but inevitably delivered at just the time I needed the guidance most. Other than my parents, who attended college with Bill and his first […]

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How would Ann Miura-Ko have reacted if Bill Gates had walked into her office in 1975?

Ann Miura-Ko is a Partner at the venture capital firm Floodgate. She is a lecturer in entrepreneurship at Stanford. Prior to co-founding Floodgate, she worked at Charles River Ventures and McKinsey and Company. Some of Miura-Ko’s investments include Lyft, Ayasdi, Xamarin, Refinery29, Chloe and Isabel, Maker Media, Wanelo, TaskRabbit, and Modcloth. She has a BS from Yale University (EE); and a PhD from Stanford University (Math Modeling of Computer Security.) […]

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A Dozen Lessons about Business and Investing I’ve Learned from Mike Maples Jr.

  Mike Maples, Jr. is a Partner at Floodgate. Before becoming a full-time investor, Mike was involved as a founder and operating executive at back-to-back startup IPOs, including Tivoli Systems (IPO TIVS, acquired by IBM) and Motive (IPO MOTV, acquired by Alcatel-Lucent.) Some of Maples’ investments include Twitter, Twitch.tv, ngmoco, Weebly, Chegg, Bazaarvoice, Spiceworks, Okta, and Demandforce. This is the first time I have written about the son of someone else […]

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A Dozen Thoughts from Charlie Munger from the 2017 Berkshire Annual Meeting

“To make teaching endurable, it has to have enough wiseassery in it. And we do.” “We’ve done a lot of preaching [about investing] to not much effect.” “To the extent you’re working on it, you’re on the side of angels, but lots of luck.” Munger has tapped into something that makes his ideas both memorable and understandable. He is suggesting in these sentences above that part of his success as […]

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A Dozen Lessons on Building a Business from Sarah Tavel

  “Ultimately when evaluating an early stage company, I say it’s a combination of art and science. The art is understanding how products work, the science is knowing how to measure it. The earlier the company, the more it is about art, which in this case is assessing what I think of the product and the use case.”  Tavel is a great fit for Benchmark since the firm has always […]

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The Dot-Com Boom and Bust

  “Most of the entrepreneurs today weren’t around in ’99. They have no muscle memory of it whatsoever.” Bill Gurley (September 2016) Unlike the entrepreneurs Bill Gurley is talking about, I have a lot of muscle memory that resulted from the Internet bubble. There is no way you can fully convey in words the experience being in the lead car as an investor in that roller coaster. Looking at the […]

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A Dozen Lessons on Finance and Business from Ambrose Bierce

Ambrose Bierce started his career as a printer’s devil (apprentice) at an Indiana, paper after he completed about a year in high school. In 1861 he enlisted in the 9th Indiana Volunteers and fought in a number of American Civil War battles, including Shiloh and Chickamauga. He was seriously wounded in the Battle of Kennessaw Mountain in 1864 and served until January 1865.  After the war he worked as an […]

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How to Make Decisions like Ray Dalio

What is most interesting to me about Ray Dalio is his decision-making process. This blog post is limited to a discussion of that process and not Bridgewater’s philosophy generally. If you are interested in understanding Bridgewater and Dalio more broadly, Dalio has a book coming out this fall which expands on his widely circulated “Principles” document.  I have written a more general blog post about Dalio on this blog, which […]

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The Rise of the Freemium Business Model

  Freemium describes a business model in which a business gives one product away for free or at a subsidized price and then either: (1) sells another profitable product to this user base; or (2) sells access to that user base to third parties (e.g., advertisers). Three versions of the Freemium approach are: Available Forever- No premium versions are made available. Google and Facebook are examples that monetize with advertising. […]

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