Break things to move fast

Move fast, break things – Zuckerberg

an old, beautiful story where breaking things, or breaking the tasks into the smallest pieces helped move fast, or faster

“Boyer’s plan for the synthesis of insulin was almost comically simple. He did not have the gene for human insulin at hand—no one did—but he would build it from scratch using DNA chemistry, nucleotide by nucleotide, triplet upon triplet—ATG, CCC, TCC, and so forth, all the way from the first triplet code to the last. He would make one gene for the A chain, and another gene for the B chain. He would insert both the genes in bacteria and trick them into synthesising the human proteins. He would purify the two protein chains and then stitch them chemically to obtain the U-shaped molecule.”

Excerpt From: Siddhartha Mukherjee. “The Gene”.

(…) Gilbert “had for many days past, trudging through an airlock, dipping his shoes in formaldehyde on his way into the chamber in which he was obliged to conduct his experiments. Out at Genentech, we were simply synthesizing DNA and throwing it into bacteria, none of which even required compliance with the NIH guidelines.” In the world of post-Asilomar genetics, “being natural” had turned out to be a liability.”

Excerpt From: Siddhartha Mukherjee. “The Gene”.

and BTW sometimes it is an advantage a surname starting with A or B

“He had dug up a dog-eared handbook from the Asilomar meeting, made a list of important players working on gene-cloning techniques, and had started working down the list alphabetically. Berg came before Boyer—but Berg, who had no patience for opportunistic entrepreneurs making cold calls to his lab, turned Swanson down. Swanson swallowed his pride and kept going down the list. B . . . Boyer was next.”

Excerpt From: Siddhartha Mukherjee. “The Gene”.

“On October 26, 1982, the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued a patent to Genentech to use recombinant DNA to produce a protein such as insulin or somatostatin in a microbial organism. As one observer wrote: “effectively, the patent claimed, as an invention, [all] genetically modified microorganisms.” The Genentech patent would soon become one of the most lucrative, and most hotly disputed, patents in the history of technology.”

Excerpt From: Siddhartha Mukherjee. “The Gene”. Apple Books.

Technology company or not ?

AVC: give software valuations only to software company becuase onlòy those can sustain >75% gross margins. Software is eating the world but still software companies have higher margins than non SW. The Great Public Market Reckoning

Stratechery follows Christensen in saying that a technology company is one that can offer something intrinsically more valuable thanks to disruption – What is a tech company?

Bill Gurley replies to AVC with his 2011 mammoth post on startups valuation titled All Revenue is Not Created Equal: The Keys to the 10X Revenue Club

Mauboissin Competitive Advantage Period or CAP that explains valuation in firms with lasting competitive advantage Competitive Advantage Period “CAP,” The Neglected Value Driver

in the news, IPO’s of pure tech (SaaS etc) outperform transactional platforms and hardware first https://twitter.com/DKThomp/status/1183898414695755776

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Investors want B’s, baby!

“Altman saw Chesky’s pitch deck and told him it was perfect, except that he needed to change the market-size slide from a modest $30 million to $30 billion. “Investors want B’s, baby,” Altman told Chesky. Of course, Altman wasn’t telling Chesky to lie; rather, he argued that if the Airbnb team truly believed in their own assumptions, $30 million was a gross underestimate, and they should use a number that was true to their convictions. As it turns out, Airbnb’s market was indeed closer to $30 billion.”

Excerpt From: Reid Hoffman. “Blitzscaling”. Apple Books.

throughout 2001 and 2002 the most difficult thing to pitch about my online video startup was the market size. I had this idea of internet becoming the newsgathering platform and later a place where all creators would publish their videos, I was 100% on open publishing but my company, in the first bust, was pitched as a pro channel for news and I struggled to size the potential market via jobbing the numbers of news agencies and tv networks. Which came in the 30 millions rather than 30 billions (or rather in phantasy number deducted from cloudy market data, while I could have better guessed billions from the “attention industry” even not getting the revenue model right, I was betting on licensing fees and micropayments while the model was eventually but by youtube on advertising and only later on reward for creators

I am sure, had I  been able to spell better my vision into potential market guesses, I could have communicated it better to investors. I like very much this insight by Reid Hoffmann in his book.

VC power curve

6% of the deals make 60% of the profits

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VC’s performance is driven by how big are their hits, not how many their flops

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from Ben Evans “In Praise of Failure”

found on Chen of a16z  “Why startups are hard — the math of venture capital returns tells the story”

Found at Fred Wilson’s https://avc.com/2019/09/the-hit-rate/

the rate of return of the whole VC industry correlates perfectly with the share of investment generation 10X+ returns

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