The + Email Hack

I found myself using this hack a few times this week and I thought I would share it. I think many/most of you probably know it, but it is so damn useful that it’s worth sharing it anyway.

If your email is [email protected] and you want to create a new email address that will get email at [email protected], you just put a + and add something. Let’s say you want an email address for a netflix account, you enter [email protected] To netflix, this seems like a different email address but the mail still goes to [email protected]

This is particularly useful for creating multiple accounts with the same service. Many services don’t let you use the same email address for multiple accounts. So you just add the + and something you will remember and you get around that issue.

This is one of those little things that is super useful and once you know about it, you will find yourself using it quite a bit.

Update: The comments to this post on Twitter tell me that this hack is a gmail feature and is not necessarily available on other email services.

#email hacks

Controlling Your Destiny

I am returning to a theme that I feel quite strongly about.

I blog on WordPress using a host that I have selected and can move from at any time. WordPress is open source software and I can download it and run it on my own machines if I want to. I don’t. But being able to do that is key.

Medium and Substack and Clubhouse and Twitter, etc, etc are fantastic. They make it drop dead simple for anyone to share their thoughts with the world.

But they are controlled by someone else. You can get kicked off. And when you get kicked off, you lose all of your followers, all of your content. Gone.

I’m not down for that.

Nor should you be.

#life lessons#Weblogs

Funding Friday: Hex & Co

I am really into the NYC coming back stronger than ever theme and want to support efforts to make that happen.

Today, I backed a project on Kickstarter to support NYC’s largest “board game cafe” called Hex & Co to move into a larger space a few blocks away.

Doing something like this in the midst of lockdowns and social distancing is a bold and optimistic move and I support it wholeheartedly. If you agree, you can support it here.

#crowdfunding#NYC

Trading Cards, NFTs, and Crypto

I have written about our portfolio company Dapper‘s NBA Top Shot game here at AVC a few times now. Think of NBA Top Shot as digital trading cards. It is more than that, but that’s a simple way to think about it.

I tweeted this out today:

I don’t like to sell crypto, but I do like to trade crypto for crypto. I got all of our Ethereum by swapping Bitcoin for it a few years ago, for example.

NFTs (non fungible tokens) are a different kind of crypto asset. They are digital assets like art, trading cards, etc that are issued on a blockchain and as a result are rare, unique, and easily traded.

NFTs, like Bitcoin and Ethereum, can increase and decrease in value over time.

Rookie cards have been traded for as long as there have been physical trading cards. They are a way to speculate on an athlete and their career. This Steph Curry rookie card is listed for $150,000 on eBay right now.

So my purchase of the Tyrese Haliburton moment is a bet that Tyrese is going to have a long and successful NBA career. Hopefully, he will be an all-star someday. That would make my moment increase in value. Will it increase in value more than the 3.33 BCH that I parted with to buy it? Well, that remains to be seen.

#crypto#Sports

Introducing The New CEO

When a CEO has been removed for failed leadership, it is best to have a new CEO waiting in the wings to take over. I have been in the middle of this transition many times and have often been the person announcing the change to the company and introducing the new CEO. I have seen this done well and I have seen this done poorly.

That first all-hands meeting is a critical moment for the new CEO. He/she needs to connect with the team, tell them who they are, what they care about, and, most importantly, where they are going to lead the Company.

Most of the time the team is shaken up, things are not going well, they are nervous. There may have been layoffs. There may be more layoffs. Calm, confident, assured leadership is what is needed. But it is also critical to show empathy for the team and humanity in the leader. A warm smile and a sense of humor can help a lot.

When explaining where they will take the Company, less is more. Companies cannot do that many things at the same time. Failed leadership often results in doing too many things. So a shortlist of things that the Company will do and a longer list of things that it will not do anymore is a great start for a new leader. If there will be more layoffs, it is best to say that right upfront. You must start off by being honest with the team. Anything else will doom you to failure.

Getting off on the right foot is so important. If you do it well, the team will rally around you. If you do it poorly, you are done before you even started.

The United States is getting a new leader today. I plan to watch his introduction to the country. I wish him well. Good luck President Biden.

#life lessons

Most Read Blog Posts

On the USV website, we show the most read blog posts by author.

Here are mine:

I want to do this for AVC too. I will ask my partner Nick who managed the construction of USV.com how he did that and will see if I can get that working on AVC.

When you’ve written 8,800 posts, there are sure to be some duds and some great ones. It would be nice to showcase the great ones.

#Weblogs

Six Months Later

In early June, I wrote this post explaining that I and we need to do more to reduce the inequality issues for Black people in tech, venture capital, and startups.

I think MLK day is a good time to talk about what has happened since that post.

We have identified a number of areas where we must do better:

  • Increase the number of Black founders we back
  • Increase the number of Black team members at USV
  • Increase the number of Black VCs we work with and support
  • Increase the number of Black board members in our portfolio
  • Increase the number of Black leaders in our portfolio
  • Increase the number of Black employees in our portfolio
  • Increase the number of Black engineers in our portfolio
  • Increase the number of Black investors in our funds
  • Increase the number of Black college graduates going into tech, venture capital, and startups
  • Create pathways for Black students to study STEM and find their way into careers in tech, venture capital, and startups

We have ongoing projects, workstreams, investments, and efforts in each and every one of these areas and we have made tangible progress in almost all of them.

I believe that the inequity issues are so severe and deeply rooted that it will take a concerted effort over a number of years to truly erase them.

But we are making progress and if we keep at it, across many dimensions, we can get where we need to go. Roughly 15% of Americans are Black. Until we can look around the room and see at least one Black person for every six in the meeting, we haven’t done enough. Today is a good day to remind ourselves of that and recommit to the work that needs to happen.

#employment#entrepreneurship#management#VC & Technology

Smart Contracts On Bitcoin

While Bitcoin is the gold standard in crypto, Ethereum has been the innovator, bringing new ideas, particularly smart contracts, to the table. Smart contracts allow developers to easily build things on a blockchain and we have seen a proliferation of new things built on the Ethereum blockchain as a result.

But what if you could do all of that on Bitcoin?

Enter Stacks 2.0 which launches on its mainnet today. USV has been an investor and supporter of the Stacks team since they first got started about five years ago and are large holders of the Stacks token.

Stacks makes Bitcoin programmable, enabling decentralized apps and smart contracts that inherit all of Bitcoin’s powers.

Stacks 2.0 also includes the Clarity smart contract programming language which is a significant improvement on the Solidity language that is used for Ethereum smart contracts.

So if you are a crypto developer who likes to try new things, check out Stacks 2.0 on the mainnet. It goes live today.

#crypto

The Work-Life Balance Revolution

Yesterday, I had a gap in the middle of the day. So the Gotham Gal and I took an hour-long walk with our dog Ollie. It cleared my head and when I got back to work, I was full of energy and clarity.

I’ve been working exclusively from home since the end of November 2019 when we left NYC to go to LA. It has been a stretch of incredible productivity for me.

I am not arguing against going back to the office. As I’ve said in many posts recently, I can’t wait to go back to the office. But I am sure that many of us have had the same experience that I have had working from home during the pandemic. It has its advantages.

And in that realization exists the possibility that we are on the cusp on a revolution in how many of us can find work life balance going forward.

My friend Tom wrote this post last week suggesting that a husband and wife can now work a total of 50 hours a week between them and have two full-time jobs and raise a family. This part sums up the idea pretty well:

Why do I think 25 hours/ week is the equivalent of a 50-hour week (counting commuting)?

Given a nine-to five schedule with an hour for lunch, the 40 hour work week was only 35 to begin with.

As an ex-CEO, I think that at least ten hours of each workweek go to socialization, surfing the internet, checking with the spouse or checking up on the children, chatting on smartphones etc. (Mary thinks only five).

Meetings and travel to meetings waste a huge amount of time and money. One reason that Zooming appears not to have reduced productivity is that many of the meetings weren’t productive to begin with.

Office space and often parking are expenses to the employer but they are not income to the worker. If office space and all its attendant costs can be drastically reduced, employers can afford to pay more dollars in salary for the same productivity.

Commuting expense including perhaps even the second car, daycare, clothing and dry-cleaning bills, and paid before and after school activities whose purpose is to supervise school age kids are all expenses which go away when parents can work from home. Even if the WFH employee has less gross taxable income, he or she will have more cash at the end of each month.

https://blog.tomevslin.com/2021/01/newnormal-the-50-hour-family-work-week.html

Even if Tom is off by a bit with his math, he makes a terrific point. Companies can ask for less of a family’s time, pay them more, and get the same amount of work done using the techniques we have perfected during the pandemic.

I realize that not all jobs lend themselves to this approach. But maybe more than you think. Take doctors. We used to have to go see doctors in their offices. Now with digital health services like those offered by our portfolio companies Brave and Nurx, the doctors are seeing the patients from their homes (or wherever they are).

Teaching is another occupation that presents a lot of opportunity to rethink time and location. Many teachers have been learning how to help their students master new things from their kitchen counters over the last year.

I want to say it again. I am not suggesting that we won’t be going to offices anymore. I am not saying doctors won’t have offices anymore. I am not saying teachers won’t be in classrooms anymore.

What I am saying is that we can and should be asking how much of our work time needs to be in person, face to face, and how much can be virtual. And I am certain that we will be asking that. In our year-end reviews at USV, we heard again and again from our team that they wanted to ask those questions. They should. Commuting and business travel are not the necessities they were last century.

And, naturally, this coming work-life balance revolution presents tremendous opportunities for new products, services, and companies. We have been seeing many of them crop up over the last year and have invested in a few of them.

From bad comes good. This pandemic and all of the things that have come with it has been awful. But I believe it will unleash all sorts of new behaviors and businesses that will be for the better. If you squint, you can see them coming.

#climate crisis#economics#employment#enterprise#entrepreneurship#Family#hacking education#health care#management#VC & Technology