Chris Dixon

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The decline of the mobile web

Chris Dixon

People are spending more time on mobile vs desktop: And more of their mobile time using apps, not the web: This is a worrisome trend for the web.

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The Babe Ruth Effect in Venture Capital

Chris Dixon

One of the hardest concepts to internalize for those new to venture capital is what is known as the “Babe Ruth effect. Venture Capital

We asked for flying cars and all we got was the entire planet communicating instantly via pocket supercomputers

Chris Dixon

Benedict Evans has a new presentation about the explosive growth of internet-connected smartphones. ”

Exponential curves feel gradual and then sudden

Chris Dixon

“How did you go bankrupt?” ” “Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.” ― Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises The core growth process in the technology business is a mutually reinforcing, multi-step, positive feedback loop between platforms and applications.

Two eras of the internet: pull and push

Chris Dixon

The evolution of the internet is an extremely complex topic. Sometimes it is helpful to find broad patterns that make it easier to understand. One One simplifying pattern comes from the two types of actions internet users take: pull and push. dominant platform. Search. Social. dominant platform company. Google. Facebook. growth era. 2000s. 2010s.

BuzzFeed

Chris Dixon

Today, Im excited to announce that Andreessen Horowitz is investing $50 million in BuzzFeed. As part of the investment, Ill be joining the companys board. Many of todays great media companies were built on top of emerging technologies. Examples include Time Inc. This led some industry observers to dismiss Buzzfeed as a toy.

Software eats software development

Chris Dixon

Software is eating the world, and doing so using smaller and smaller teams. WhatsApp was able to disrupt the global SMS industry with only a few dozen engineers. Small teams can have a big impact because software development (and deployment) has improved dramatically over the past decade. Some improvements include: Infrastructure. Services.

Full stack startups

Chris Dixon

Many of today’s most exciting startups were tried before in a different form. Suppose you develop a new technology that is valuable to some industry. The old approach was to sell or license your technology to the existing companies in that industry. The problems with the partial stack approach include: Bad product experience.

VC investment vs Gartner hype cycle

Chris Dixon

This reading would be consistent with Carlotta Perez’s theory that we are now in the multi-decade deployment phase.

The computing deployment phase

Chris Dixon

Technological revolutions happen in two main phases: the installation phase and the deployment phase. search). Where will this innovation take place?

Come for the tool, stay for the network

Chris Dixon

A popular strategy for bootstrapping networks is what I like to call “come for the tool, stay for the network.” This idea is to attract users initially with a single-player tool and then, over time, get them to participate in a network. The tool helps get to initial […].

As elegantly produced as movies and as engaging as great novels

Chris Dixon

MIT professor Woodie Flowers  argues  that higher education’s current approach to online learning is misguided: We decided to assume that the world could hardly wait to see our huge pile of PDFs, PowerPoint presentations, classroom locations, teaching assistant lists, and other assorted bits of information about our courses.

Why I’m interested in Bitcoin

Chris Dixon

Some people assume that all Bitcoin advocates are motivated by a libertarian political agenda. That is certainly not my agenda. I’m a lifelong Democrat who supported Obama in the last two elections. It is true that many early Bitcoin proponents were libertarians. If not for political reasons, why am I interested in Bitcoin? startups

Pricing to the demand curve

Chris Dixon

Many college microeconomics courses include the following exercise. The teacher takes the notecards and graphs the bids. That is lost revenue.

Some problems are so hard they need to be solved piece by piece

Chris Dixon

Startups that have tried to go up against pieces of Craigslist (the “vertical approach”) have been much more successful (e.g. StubHub, AirBnB).

The idea maze

Chris Dixon

The pop culture view of startups is that they’re all about coming up with a great product idea. After the eureka moment, the outcome is preordained. This neglects the years of toil that entrepreneurs endure, and also the fact that the vast majority of startups change over time, often dramatically. Or consider Dropbox in 2007. Etc. 3) Theories.

Why the integrated approach to mobile devices is winning

Chris Dixon

Google took a similar strategy with Android but then reversed course when they acquired Motorola. But no one really knows. paywall ]. startups

Putting technology at the core

Chris Dixon

Most businesses today believe that technology can dramatically improve the way they operate. These companies all heavily invest in new technology.

What the smartest people do on the weekend is what everyone else will do during the week in ten years

Chris Dixon

Many breakthrough technologies were hatched by hobbyists in garages and dorm rooms. Prominent examples include the PC, the web, blogs, and most open source software. The fact that flip-flop wearing hobbyists spawn large industries is commonly viewed as an amusing eccentricity of the technology industry. startups

The credentials trap

Chris Dixon

I talk a lot to people who are deciding between startups and established companies. They’re usually early in their careers and have been exclusively affiliated with well-known schools and companies. As a result, they’re accustomed to praise from family and friends. You go to college and everyone says, “Great!” But he didn’t.

Some ideas for native bitcoin apps

Chris Dixon

Fred Wilson calls applications built using Bitcoin that couldn’t have existed prior to Bitcoin “ native Bitcoin apps “ Most of the applications built so far on Bitcoin are not native by this definition. What will these native Bitcoin apps do? But we can make some guesses. Here Allocating bandwidth, storage, compute.

Top 10 websites

Chris Dixon

think this is because Amazon appeals more to the tech demographic. As they say: “EBay is for people with more time than money. ”

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Some thoughts on mobile

Chris Dixon

- People tend to lump smartphones and tablets together as “mobile”. This can be misleading. Ask people who run internet companies and they’ll tell you that user behavior on tablets is far more similar to user behavior on desktops/laptops than it is to user behavior on smartphones. That’s 1 percent of the time. The software will get more powerful.

Steve Jobs on problem solving

Chris Dixon

When you start looking at a problem and it seems really simple,  you don’t really understand the complexity of the problem.  Then you get into the problem,  and you see that it’s really complicated,  and you come up with all these convoluted solutions.  from Insanely Great (via gmc

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The next twenty years are going to make this last twenty years just pale

Chris Dixon

You would simply be declared insane. They would say there is no economic model to make this. What is the economics of this? It doesn’t make any sense, and it seems far-fetched and nearly impossible. But the next twenty years are going to make this last twenty years just pale.

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The default state of a startup is failure

Chris Dixon

If you are starting a company and wondering why nothing good seems to happen unless you force it to happen, that’s because the world wants to stay the way it is. Customers, partners, and most of all incumbents don’t want to think hard, try new things, or change in any way. My friend said: “Wow, this company is going under.”

Is it a tech bubble?

Chris Dixon

Every week a “we are in a tech bubble” article seems to come out in a major newspaper or blog. ” The high seed-stage valuations are driven by an influx of angel/seed investors (successful entrepreneurs/tech company employees, VC’s with seed funds, non-tech people who are chasing trends). startups

The experience economy

Chris Dixon

Before World War 2, the middle-class in the developed world struggled to afford basic needs. In the post-war boom, standards of living rose dramatically, and people consumed far beyond what they needed. It was the age of conspicuous consumption: a race to own bigger cars and houses, and accumulate more stuff. Four blades in your razors are enough.

BuzzFeed’s strategy

Chris Dixon

BuzzFeed’s CEO, Jonah Peretti , recently sent out an email to employees and investors summarizing the company’s strategy and progress. really liked his email so I asked Jonah if I could blog it and he gave me permission. think Jonah’s email captures this well. From: Jonah Peretti . Subject: The Top 7 Reasons BuzzFeed Is Killing It.

Facebook’s business model

Chris Dixon

Startups usually succeed because of a single major product or business innovation. Google is unusual in that they succeeded because of two major innovations: their core search product, and their keyword advertising business model. Then Overture invented keyword advertising and Google adopted the same model. The jury is still out on that model.

How bundling benefits sellers and buyers

Chris Dixon

The assumption seems to be that bundling is an artifact of another era when distribution was physical. The cable company would get $18 in revenue.

The myth of the overnight success

Chris Dixon

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. You tend to hear about startups when they are successful but not when they are struggling. startups

“There’s just a tremendous amount of craftsmanship in between a great idea and a great product”

Chris Dixon

Steve Jobs in 1995 : There’s just a tremendous amount of craftsmanship in between a great idea and a great product. And as you evolve that great idea, it changes and grows. It never comes out like it starts because you learn a lot more as you get into the subtleties of it. And you also find there are tremendous tradeoffs that you have to make.

“There’s just a tremendous amount of craftsmanship in between a great idea and a great product.”

Chris Dixon

Steve Jobs in 1995 : There’s just a tremendous amount of craftsmanship in between a great idea and a great product. And as you evolve that great idea, it changes and grows. It never comes out like it starts because you learn a lot more as you get into the subtleties of it. And you also find there are tremendous tradeoffs that you have to make.

Soylent

Chris Dixon

I was chatting with John Borthwick a few years ago and he said something that struck me. He said he was interested in companies that appear to be focused on selling X but are really online communities that happen to make money selling X. This helps explain why many investors are confused by the sustained success of these companies. source. source.

Virtual reality: a new creative medium where the default state is belief

Chris Dixon

The holy grail of virtual reality, the one that’s always been out of reach until now, is presence. In the VR community, “presence” is a term of art. It’s the idea that once VR reaches a certain quality level your brain is actually tricked?—?at at the lowest, most primal […].

Four types of mobile apps

Chris Dixon

If you are a founder trying to create a new mobile app or an investor trying decide whether an app has enduring value, it is helpful to separate the ways that people use apps into four categories. 1. Time wasters : Apps that can be used for short bursts when you are waiting in line, etc. The most popular time wasters are games. startups

“The business plans of the next 10,000 startups are easy to forecast: Take X and add AI.”

Chris Dixon

Kevin Kelly thinks artificial intelligence is finally ready deliver on its promise: The AI on the horizon looks more like Amazon Web Services—cheap, reliable, industrial-grade digital smartness running behind everything, and almost invisible except when it blinks off. It will enliven inert objects, much as electricity did more than a century ago.

Ten million users is the new one million users

Chris Dixon

Entrepreneurs and investors have been enamored with consumer internet startups for the last few years. But there are signs this is ending. Some observations: - Thousands of early-stage consumer web/mobile companies were started and funded in last 24 months. There will be a lot more consumer talent acquisitions. startups

Recruiting programmers to your startup

Chris Dixon

Here are some things I’ve learned over the years about recruiting programmers to startups. This is a big topic: many of the points I make briefly here could warrant their own blog posts, and I’m sure I’ve omitted a lot. - The most important thing to understand is what motivates programmers. There are no shortcuts here. Screening.