The Most Difficult Question I Ask Founders

Originally posted on Hunter Walk:

One of the things I like least about seed stage venture is the compressed amount of time to get to know a new founder during fundraising. “Solutions” include pre-emptive activities such as building long-term relationships with future founders or mentoring at incubators to meet teams pre-seed, plus getting really good at reference diligence, but we still rely upon accelerating the “would we work well together” discussion during fast-moving investments. So each seed investor comes up with their own “minimum viable relationship” threshold, usually a factor of their investment strategy/velocity, how quickly they can get comfortable with someone and their skill in asking questions which matter.

One question which matters to me is the “why” of your startups, especially as it relates to your longevity as a founder. The most difficult question for some founders is “why do you want to spend 10 years of your life working on solving this…

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The Internet Is The Best Thing Ever To Happen To Songwriters

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Originally posted on TechCrunch:

Ever since, Taylor Swift decided to give Spotify the boot, under the auspices of helping songwriters, there has been a conversation suggesting that there was somehow a golden age for songwriters when they controlled their own destiny –and the Internet killed all that. I’m here to tell you that there was never any such time and if anything, the Internet was the best thing that ever happened to musicians.

Here’s a simple truth: The Internet is the best distribution channel ever created and it’s up to musicians and record companies to figure out how to exploit it. And here’s a hint: It’s not the old way of selling records.

Let’s look back at the reality of the music business for a minute, shall we? The business is littered with stories of exploitation. In the 1950s, black blues musicians and early rockers often never saw a penny for their work…

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Would You Send Money through Snapchat?

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Originally posted on Jaclyn Freedman:

You can now send money via…  Snapchat (and Square Cash).

What does it all mean?

Google Wallet, Apple Pay, Venmo, and now Snapcash? With so many mobile wallets unveiling from established brands we trust, does Snapchat have a chance?

You decide:


Snapchat offers the only money transfer service from a truly consumer perspective. (+1)

As of August, 100 MILLION people were actively using Snapchat with their closest friends (+1)

There is potential for brands to utilize Snapchat as a way to visually display their capabilities, even allowing consumers to make instant purchases. (+1)

18+ US users can now sign up by adding a Visa or Mastercard debit card, with all account details being held by Square Cash. (+2)

Ease of use: simply type a $ sign, and the  send button turns green. Send funds to  friends and if they don’t sign up within 24  hours, the money is put directly back…

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Twitter teases a bunch of new product features, including new apps and algorithmic filters

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Originally posted on Gigaom:

During Twitter’s first ever analyst call Wednesday, the company previewed a range of products it’s developing. CEO Dick Costolo, CFO Anthony Noto, and a handful of product leads gave a rundown of what to expect in the coming months.

They didn’t give a ship date for most of the products — aside from a direct messaging update — so it’s hard to know how close these updates are to being built. Twitter may have been trying to stave off analyst anxiety or prove its product team isn’t in shambles after recent high-profile departures. If it’s the former, the effort paid off. Twitter’s stock was up 7.45 percent at stock closing, with $42.54 per share.

Either way, here’s a breakdown of the most important features.

Location-based Twitter

One of the most interesting projects revealed by Twitter is location-based Twitter curation (see below). The company has experimented with the feature in major metropolitan areas, allowing you to…

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Taylor Swift’s Spotify Paycheck Mystery

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Shashank Garg:

Taylor Swift vs Spotify is not finished yet -:)

Originally posted on TIME:

Taylor Swift has been paid less than $500,000 in the past 12 months for domestic streaming of her songs, Scott Borchetta, the CEO of Taylor Swift’s record label, the independent Nashville-based Big Machine, told TIME Wednesday.

His statement is the latest salvo in an increasingly heated disagreement between Swift and Spotify. The disagreement has sent ripples through the music industry, with the country’s most successful musician removing her work from an admired new online music model.

According to Borchetta, the actual amount his label has received in return for domestic streams of Swift’s music—$496,044—is drastically smaller than the amount Spotify has suggested the artist receives. That sum represents only a portion of the amount paid out by the streaming service. Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said Tuesday that the label for an artist of Swift’s popularity could expect to receive $6 million in the next year from the streaming service as…

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Amazon Is Expanding Its R&D In Cambridge, U.K., With A Focus On Prime Air Drones And Speech Tech

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Originally posted on TechCrunch:

Amazon is expanding its R&D operations in Cambridge, U.K., with a plan to staff out a large research lab — expanding on the foothold it acquired when it bought Cambridge-based speech tech startup Evi Technologies two years ago, TechCrunch has learned.

The lab will be located in Poseidon House on Cambridge’s Castle Hill, in larger premises than Evi’s prior location in the city.

Cambridge is feted for its world-class university which, in turn, acts as a hub for concentrating science and technology talent, naturally leading to many startups spinning out from it. Amazon is evidently hoping to grab itself a larger slice of this local talent. A source familiar with the company’s plans told TechCrunch it will focus on Prime Air, its autonomous delivery drones project, and on beefing up its speech tech R&D team.

The e-commerce giant has been staffing up for Prime Air over the summer, including seeking hires in Cambridge. It has continued advertising for Prime Air positions in the U.K. university town this fall, including a Flight Operations…

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Spotify CEO ‘Really Frustrated’ With Taylor Swift

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Shashank Garg:

Next in Taylor Swift vs Netflix series!

Originally posted on TIME:

Spotify’s CEO on Tuesday aired his frustration with Taylor Swift’s critique of the streaming music service, arguing that his company’s revenue sharing agreements ensure that musicians get paid for their work and serve as a bulwark against online piracy.

“We started Spotify because we love music and piracy was killing it,” wrote CEO Daniel Ek in a post on Spotify’s official blog. Ek said that Spotify had paid a total of $2 billion to music labels and their associated artists since Spotify launched in 2008, a sum he argued wouldn’t exist had fans downloaded the music through pirated websites.

Ek’s defense came in the wake of pop artist Taylor Swift’s widely publicized decision to pull all of her music, save one song, from the streaming service last week. Swift has previously criticized Spotify’s payments to musical artists — which average less than a penny per played song — as inadequate…

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