This is creating a big bill that will soon come due...
But it's not who you think (that does), and the dynamics we’ve entered is in many ways creating a dangerous, high stakes Ponzi scheme.
Someone has to pay for the outrageous costs of this style of growth. Will it be VCs?
Eg: VCs habitually invest in one another’s companies during later rounds, bidding up rounds to valuations that allow for generous markups on their funds' performance.
if you’re a VC with a $200 million dollar fund, you’re able to draw $4million each year in fees.
Most funds never return enough profit for managers to see a dime of carried interest.
If u can show marked up paper returns & then parlay those returns into a newer, larger fund—say $500 million—you now have a fresh $10 million a year to use as you see fit.
There’s some deep misalignment here...
Partly why American healthcare is so expensive is bcos insurers, who play a key middleman role in setting prices for medical care, have a 2-sided biz model:
High costs allow them to charge higher premiums, allowing them to pull steadily more and more money out of patients’ and payers’ pockets.
In the end, both, patients and payers are the ones who end up as bag holders footing the bill.
The same thing is happening in today’s venture world.
Just as insurers’ biz model translates to higher costs of patient care,
So if its not VCs, who ends up holding the bag?
It’s still not who you’d expect.
In some cases, high prices may even work to their advantage.
Unlike the other pass-the-buck schemes
The real bill ends up getting shuffled outta sight to 2 other groups.
The 1st as u may guess are early stage funds’ limited partners, particularly future limited partners investing into the next fund.
Marking up Fund IV to raise money for more mgmt fees out of Fund V is so effective bcos fundraising can happen much faster than the long & difficult job of building businesses & creating real enterprise value
The second group of people left holding the bag is far more tragic: the employees at startups.
Although originally helpful as a way to incentivize and reward employees for working hard for an uncertain outcome,
Overall, you can understand how this arrangement endures:
Those companies then go spend the money on more user growth, often in zero-sum competition w/ one another.
What is the antidote here? Its 2-fold.
The 2nd is to break away from the MLM scheme that the VC-LP-user growth game has become.
It’s time to wait patiently, as the air is slowly let out of this bizarre Ponzi balloon created by the venture capital industry.
You May Also Like
It was pretty simple to do—Apple Time Machine backups let me do it with one click.
That first tweet captures, in two pictures, how badly Apple has “lost the plot” (to quote @wylieprof). On the right is the Apple MagSafe adapter, from 2013. On the left, what I had “upgraded” to.
Thanks, Apple! I really was nostalgic for worrying about yanking my computer off the table.
Oh and I really appreciated not knowing if my computer was charging. What was great was the little whoop sound you used, so that the speaker before me could be informed I was charging my laptop.
Ironies of Luck https://t.co/5BPWGbAxFi— Morgan Housel (@morganhousel) March 14, 2018
"Luck is the flip side of risk. They are mirrored cousins, driven by the same thing: You are one person in a 7 billion player game, and the accidental impact of other people\u2019s actions can be more consequential than your own."
I’ve always felt that the luckiest people I know had a talent for recognizing circumstances, not of their own making, that were conducive to a favorable outcome and their ability to quickly take advantage of them.
In other words, dumb luck was just that, it required no awareness on the person’s part, whereas “smart” luck involved awareness followed by action before the circumstances changed.
So, was I “lucky” to be born when I was—nothing I had any control over—and that I came of age just as huge databases and computers were advancing to the point where I could use those tools to write “What Works on Wall Street?” Absolutely.
Was I lucky to start my stock market investments near the peak of interest rates which allowed me to spend the majority of my adult life in a falling rate environment? Yup.
When I was sexually harassed by the director of the area I was working in, I was afraid to report it because I was worried that "getting him in trouble" would result in the subtle retaliation of missed leadership opportunities.
I wanted to continue working on the team I was on, because I'd gained a lot of very deep knowledge and expertise in that area, as well as reputation and camaraderie with the other folks working in that area. I didn't want to make the situation more "difficult."
To get promoted at Google, several need to happen: 1. you need opportunities for ownership and leadership above your current level (basically, opportunities to show you're working at the next level you're trying to get promoted to). The work you're "assigned" has a big impact.
2. You need glowing reviews from peers, *at or particularly above the level you're hoping to get promoted to.* Basically, you need people a lot more senior than you to say you're doing awesome work.
Even with a stellar developer team and a stellar product, your startup may not grow or survive without a great marketing and sales teams.
2. Start growing your audience before you’ve a product or an idea.
You should start promoting yourself and building your audience before you have a finished product or even before you have a great idea that you want to build.
3. Don’t wait to start building your audience after you’ve launched a product.
Most first-time developers actually ignore marketing.
They’re oblivious to the challenge of attracting people to take a look at something they’ve created.
4. At least until they see their first project crash and burn within hours of the launch.
There are so many times that I have seen developers spend countless hours building something, releasing it with no fanfare...
5. and only then trying to figure out how to promote it by asking marketing questions on Indie Hackers, Quora or Hacker News. Don’t make that mistake.