bijan

Four things

bijan:

I get asked with regular frequently what I look for as an early stage investor.

For me it’s four things.

  1. Are the founders extraordinary
  2. Do I love the product
  3. Is the vision compelling
  4. If I wasn’t a VC, would I want to work for the founders at the startup

That’s basically it.

These four things have served me well. The times I’ve made mistakes in this business is when I’ve wandered from it.

lilly

lilly:

I’m super intrigued by stellar.org, on a number of different levels.

Interesting to create a new way to transfer money, interesting that they’re starting as a non-profit foundation.

But also very, very interesting how they’re compensating employees:

"As of July 31, 2014, approximately 2.5% of the stellars have been granted to employees and consultants of the Foundation under a 4-year vesting schedule, meaning 0.625% of the initial 100 billion stellar endowment of the nonprofit will be earned by employees and consultants working at the Foundation each year until the total 2.5% is earned in 2018."

So they’re establishing a new store of value & currency (stellars), and in the initial establishing grant, setting aside some for early compensation of people involved in creating it and making it more valuable — in other words, they’re creating a self-funding mechanism that is wholly aligned with the value of the currency.

Super, super interesting idea, and I’m not sure I’ve seen anything quite like it before. (One question I do have is whether you really want the stewards of the foundation incented to make the currency as strong as possible, rather than to take a more balanced approach, but at this early stage, it’s probably not that relevant a question.)

Also very interesting how they funded it: 

The Foundation received a loan of $3,000,000 from Stripe which was subsequently repaid with 2% of the stellars. The Foundation is allowed to use up to 5% of the initial stellars to fund operations (including the loan repayment).

It takes a lot of enlightened self-interest & foresight for the folks at Stripe to do this — again, not sure I’ve ever seen anything quite like it from a new company (or even an established one).

So…it’s fascinating. 

Being involved in Mozilla, then pculture.org, and now Code For America, I’m super, super interested in how to make non-profits (more properly tax-exempt, but in this case the high order bit is the mission orientation rather than the tax status) durable & self-sustaining. This is going to be a very interesting organization to watch. 

Also, huge praise for the straightforward & open way they launched & are talking about what they’re doing. Kudos.

Those were both great @laughingsquid anniversary parties. 2002 at The Odeon and 2005 at Varnish. (the latter was a SF party if the decade). And I met @scottbeale for the first time at the 2002 party. I had been a laughingsquid.net hosting customer and always wanted to meet him. Been pretty good friends almost ever since #tbt

Those were both great @laughingsquid anniversary parties. 2002 at The Odeon and 2005 at Varnish. (the latter was a SF party if the decade). And I met @scottbeale for the first time at the 2002 party. I had been a laughingsquid.net hosting customer and always wanted to meet him. Been pretty good friends almost ever since #tbt

msg

“We are living in a culture entirely hypnotized by the illusion of time, in which the so-called present moment is felt as nothing but an infinitesimal hairline between an all-powerfully causative past and an absorbingly important future. We have no present. Our consciousness is almost completely preoccupied with memory and expectation. We do not realize that there never was, is, nor will be any other experience than present experience. We are therefore out of touch with reality. We confuse the world as talked about, described, and measured with the world which actually is. We are sick with a fascination for the useful tools of names and numbers, of symbols, signs, conceptions and ideas.”
-Alan Watts


“We are living in a culture entirely hypnotized by the illusion of time, in which the so-called present moment is felt as nothing but an infinitesimal hairline between an all-powerfully causative past and an absorbingly important future. We have no present. Our consciousness is almost completely preoccupied with memory and expectation. We do not realize that there never was, is, nor will be any other experience than present experience. We are therefore out of touch with reality. We confuse the world as talked about, described, and measured with the world which actually is. We are sick with a fascination for the useful tools of names and numbers, of symbols, signs, conceptions and ideas.”

-Alan Watts