Rinse And Repeat

I’d like to call out a really great blog post (and talk) my colleague Nick Grossman delivered last week. He called it Venture Capital vs Community Capital, but to me its about the endless cycle of domination and disruption that plays out in the tech sector. This bit from the post rings so true to me:

So there’s the pattern: tech companies build dominant market positions, then open technologies emerge which erode the the tech companies’ lock on power (this is sometimes an organized rebellion against this corporate power, and is sometime more of a happy accident).  These open technologies then in turn become the platform upon which the next generation of venture-backed companies is built.  And so on and so on; rinse and repeat.

So, all that is to say: this is not a new thing.  And that seeing this as part of a pattern can help us understand what to make of it, and where the next opportunities could emerge.

Nick wrote the post and did the presentation for the OuiShareFest, an international gathering of folks interested in the peer economy. Nick starts out noting that the early enthusiasm for the peer economy has moderated with the understanding that a few large platforms have emerged and have come to dominate the sector.

Nick’s presentation and post, therefore, was a reaction to those emotions and a reminder that what goes around comes around eventually. That is certainly what I have observed in the thirty plus years I’ve been working in tech. Rinse and repeat. Same as it ever was.

#entrepreneurship#marketplaces#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. Brandon Burns

    So if right now we’re experiencing a repeat of a past period, as it relates to innovation and business, what past period are we currently repeating?

    1. fredwilson

      The development of the next set of technologies that will disrupt the current dominant platforms

      1. Brandon Burns

        When is there ever *not* a new set attempting to disrupt what came before?It seems to me that this cycle is less of a neatly laid out “incumbents become dominant” stage, followed by “new guys disrupt” stage, and a repeat. But, rather, there’s always an incumbent trying to hold on to dominance, and always someone new trying to tear it down. It’s probably more of a general state of being than a cycle.

        1. James Ferguson @kWIQly

          Agree – but the are cohorts of “themes” – that seem to have generations of technology to which they belong.So for example mobile disruptors needed the platform and the mapping apis etc and then the enabled surge in until the next enabling phases bottles up potential while it is resolved to be released in another surge.Self aware devices / IoT will be a big one – but talking to some Manufacturers there is a whole load of BS going on at the moment where positioning claims are completely absent underlying realities.I believe IoT will happen in beachheads that spread rather than all of a sudden paradigm shifts – It will be another case of innovation at the edges

          1. JLM

            .The idea of beachheads pertaining to tech is a very important notion.In the ATX, we yawn about 1Gig service as we now have 5-6 suppliers.Big learning — most Internet raconteurs cannot really use the huge improvement in speed. Like owning a Ferrari–need/want the speed, can’t actually use it on the way to the grocery store.A huge transformation is going to happen in Africa where there is a huge supply of land — think feeding the world kind of land — and such unstable ownership as to make it unusable.This is a beach waiting to be stormed by a combination of knowledge and, in this particular instance, force.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          2. Girish Mehta

            Agree with you and James. I do wonder to what extent IOT is being led from the supply side, instead of demand side. That is – as a result of development of technologies for the smartphone ecosystem – Sensors, Low power intelligence, wireless communications…. ok, where do we take these next ?Eventually, IOT will proliferate. B2B side applications are much clearer, but there will be false starts on the consumer side – presently not clear B2C use-cases are well-understood, or if a hammer looking for a nail. Thanks…

          3. pointsnfigures

            need to get the land out of the hands of centralized bureaucrats, or centralized leadership and into the hands of individual private citizens for big change to happen in Africa (private property rights clearly assigned-a necessary aspect of Coase Theorem)

          4. JLM

            .The land in Africa is trading like crazy. It is a huge business.The biggest buyers are the Chinese who know how to grow stuff and can import huge amounts of agricultural knowledgeable labor. Africa can use the jobs and the food.I know of several tech portals being formed to organize this market. Big names in commercial real estate seeing the nature of the opportunity.This would actually be a good use case for the blockchain to hold the property records for foreign owners in countries in which the courthouses are susceptible to rebellion, revolution, terrorism and fire.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          5. Chimpwithcans

            Africa and its beaches have been stormed for centuries. China has traded with Africa for longer than any continent. Minerals are mined, oil is pumped, food is grown and shipped away, etc. etc. Don’t underestimate the Africans’ understanding of their own land, and complex protection of it which is often termed ‘unstable ownership’ or corruption.

          6. JLM

            .I think the big challenge with “Africa” is the notion that a continent is a country or a single economy or a single culture.We would not make that mistake in thinking of North America wherein the Canadian, US and Mexican countries, economies and cultures are obviously distinct.In addition, Africa has a fairly recent colonial past which has conveyed sponsorship on them — English, French, German, others.I am certainly no expert on the matter but I have been interested in it for a long time.When I was first out of the Army, I had numerous entreaties to go there and become a mercenary. Luckily, I was smart enough not to do that and I had already had an abundance of adventure.Still, maybe I would be running a country there if I had.I worked for an oil company which had enormous holdings in Africa and the level of corruption, military upheaval and just general wickedness was incomprehensible.America’s involvement in Africa is complicated by our history with slavery, our late invite to the party and our racial sensitivities. America needs a lot of time on the psychiatrist’s couch before we will really be ready to participate fully.GWB’s involvement and leadership in the war on AIDS in Africa is a sterling chapter in our scant history there.There is really no monolithic “Africa”; there are a great number of disparate countries all slow walking into the future with accumulation of baggage. It will be interesting and I am looking forward to watching and learning.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          7. Chimpwithcans

            Super comment – thoughtful and enlightening for a (white, privileged) African reader.Africa is a huge place. Surprising how often it is not viewed as such.I love your idea of using the blockchain as a ledger for keeping track of transactions. In my estimation, land and historical land allocation issues are up there with ingrained corruption and blind tribal allegiance as the cause of most strife in my home town.Am I to believe there is a discernible difference between Canadians and Americans then??! 😉

          8. JLM

            .Canada has much better hockey players and damn good beer and fishing.I am on record as supporting a merger amongst the US, Canada and Mexico.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        2. fredwilson

          The last cycle is feeling long in the tooth to me

          1. Brandon Burns

            Trends go through cycles. But events connected to bigger, macro-level societal changes — like living our lives on computerized screens — transition out of cycles and, eventually, become status quo.I’m sure in 1840, someone probably said to themselves, “Jeeze, all these new machines keep popping up and replacing manual labor in all these different sectors — and look how dangerous it is! the terrible factory conditions! — things can’t continue to progress like this, right?”Yes, they can. We’re still making new machines today (eg: 3D printers, solar panels, etc.), just as we’ll be making new apps 200 years from now.

      2. Twain Twain

        Apart from Bitcoin-Blockchain and mesh networks, what would you say are the next set of technologies?SV investors seem to think it’s consumer AI like Nara Logic’s:* http://www.wired.com/2015/0…I’m not personally convinced this narrow type of AI is the “next big thing” but a lot of SV money is being invested in this area ($110 million in 9 AI startups at Series A) and Google, FB, Yahoo and Amazon are all building up their AI Labs.

    2. Richard

      This may be the first post in a long time where no two people would agree what exactly this post means. The post spoke to open tech disrupting closed tech (where does Uber fit in?), what comes around goes around, cycles of innovation …. Seems hard to believe that we are only 8 years since the iphone debut.

      1. Brandon Burns

        “This may be the first post in a long time where no two people would agree. what exactly this post means.”That’s an issue that comes from looking at technology through a foggy lens.There is no technology industry. Technology is everywhere. No one owns it. There is no cycle. It merely exists.You can track how new technologies are changing on a micro level in any given industry — from news, to finance, to transportation, to whatever — but this constant effort to claim that the whole “technology industry” is going to move one way or the other seems futile. The speed with which technology is changing healthcare is lightyears behind, say, finance.Technology is a merely a word we use to represent the development of new things. It can be applied to any industry, but technology is not an industry in and of itself — at least not beyond the myth VCs and TechCrunch have perpetuated — and we should stop looking at it as one.But maybe that just my Sartre-esque / buddhist opinion. Who knows.

        1. JLM

          .Agreeing with you more than you agree with yourself.There are creators of tech and then there are users of tech.Who is to say they are in any way joined?From a business perspective, one of the best moneymaking opportunities in the real world continues to be to buy “old economy” companies and drag them kicking and screaming into the “new economy” using tech as a lubricant.I have a yardman who I communicate solely with via text messaging and I pay with PayPal. He sends me digital pics of my lakehouse and when a branch falls, there it is and he charges me extra to chainsaw it.I once asked him how his business was and he said he can handle twice as many customers as when he did it all via phone and snail mail. He also said that he now collects every penny faster via PayPal.I asked him how he got interested in this approach and he said his son set it up for him. His son went to college and studied CS.Is this tech?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          1. LE

            and he said he can handle twice as many customers as when he didAs someone who started in business prior to fax machines it is truly amazing how efficient I can be as a result of email and text messaging now that those are ubiquitous. (Cell phones are a runner up but I find that interuptive I like things that are queued and can be handled in batch generally.)Also, something as simple as this:Take an existing contract, scan it, OCR it (now it’s text) edit it, make changes and use it for a different business situation.Or doing business overseas without having to use a phone.He also said that he now collects every penny faster via PayPal.He could also easily accept credit cards and that has been the case for a very long time. Not having to extend and collect money is well worth the vig. Keeping on top of money owed, even owed by responsible parties, is time consuming drain in any business that costs way more than whatever the credit card fees are.

          2. JLM

            .Theo is not ever going to accept credit cards, he is too busy working on perfecting cold fusion–joke.Theo can crush PayPal but he isn’t going to take credit cards.The compilation of “exemplars” is one of the most important things any individual businessman can ever do.When I moved to ATX after living in Manhattan and doing real estate, I arrived with ten different versions of lease forms.NYC was using a “net” form and ATX was using a “gross” form.In less than six months, I had the market embracing “net” leases wherein the tenant pays his proportionate share of taxes, insurance, maintenance and utilities resulting in a pure financial return to the lender.More importantly, lenders could look to this pure return and not get jinky about the rates of return which meant they could be more aggressive in their loan amounts. DCR was a certainty not a SWAG.I was the FNG and the existing competitors resented me. I was also a little brash and was going to teach the market a lesson, which I did, in fact.It was the exemplars, stupid.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          3. LE

            Right now I am trying to do what I will call “net lease with benefits”. The property is a shared property where the landlord currently pays the utilities. However I want the tenants to not waste energy and, why not, I want share in the upside if they do so but not have a downside.The leases now (deal not done yet) are for $x gross rent including utilities. So what I will do is discount the rent slightly and then split up the utilities. That way the sub tenants have some skin the game and motivation to turn off the lights and not keep the HVAC pumping all of the time. This was after meeting with a few tenants and seeing how they reacted in person to the general concept and laying the groundwork.Some tenants though (as you know) will reject any form of a net lease because they want certainty. This actually makes sense. It’s the reason why someone will pay in advance for parking rather than have the uncertainty of getting a parking ticket. A long time ago I had a tenant (a “rich guy”) who wanted me to charge him extra every month to take care of any maintenance that he would be responsible for typically. He just wanted a fixed cost, maybe because that made the spreadsheet analysis easier for him.

          4. Brandon Burns

            I think some folks would say your yardman started a no-stack startup.I’d say he’s just doing his job to the best of his ability. And bravo to him and his son.

          5. JLM

            .Theo would argue with you, Brandon. He always stacks the downed branches on the firewood pile.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  2. awaldstein

    Missed his post so thanks.The piece I don’t see at first glance is how thinner platforms can be economic as the shifting from larger incumbents is generational in the timeframe for change.

    1. fredwilson

      I’m pretty sure these thinner platforms will not be as economic as those that have come before. We call that “the rise of the zero take rate marketplace”

      1. William Mougayar

        Let’s not taint them yet. Value creation and revenue methods may not be an extrapolation of the current ones.The take rate is not the only way a marketplace of the future makes its money. There will be business model innovation which will come after these new platforms start to take shape.

        1. awaldstein

          business model innovation–what’s that ;)how companies make money is not where innovation has surfaced to date from my perspective.how we manage our markets and supply chain is where the models have been changed.

          1. William Mougayar

            Arnold- back to Zip Car. You could dumb them down as pure business model innovation. They gave you the same car you could get at Hertz, but the difference is you can pick it up and drop it off anywhere you’d like (almost), and that you could rent it for 1 hour or 2 hour. That’s a business model twist, isn’t it?

          2. awaldstein

            actually you can drop it off ONLY where you pick it up.don’t get me wrong. it is brilliant and by the way Zip Car uses crowd sourced towing services.they however are not a crowd sourced model in any way.they smartly took the density of the urban center as the market and redefined rentals in more unique and smaller integers of usage time and people.brilliant model but a rental car model through and through as it always has been when you look at the balance sheet.

          3. Anne Libby

            Imagine being able to pick up near home, drop off at the airport. Or vice versa. That would be (even more) amazing…

          4. awaldstein

            way more complex. then you get into the supply balancing act that citbikes struggles with.

          5. pointsnfigures

            Imagine when this is done with driverless cars and ride sharing.

          6. James Ferguson @kWIQly

            I guess it relies on substantially symmetric demand from point to point. The waypoint may be to have increasing numbers of hubs.Which carpark chain wants to step up to the plate?

          7. Richard

            Real innovation was that you never had to visit a rental car counter and the disretization of the rental time period.

          8. LE

            Not related really to what you are saying but made me think of this.Here is an interesting twist on car dealership loaner cars. Used to be a typical car dealerships gave you high mileage dedicated loaner cars when you took your car in for service. [1] Now what I’ve observed is that they are giving you literally a brand new car, [2] one that they will sell when it hits, say 2500 miles as a “demonstrator” non titled no previous owner. (Many previous “users”).What they do (apparently) is exploit the fact that to some people there is imperfect information as to what kind of discount they can get on a new car. So the list on a new car is $x and people don’t know that if they negotiate well they can chop 10% off $x. So they give you a minor discount on a car with 7 miles and a 7% discount on a car with 2500 miles. So the “loaner”, never titled, has nominal cost to them.[1] Which they later unloaded at auction let’s say.[2] . Just got one with 500 miles, the time before had less than 1000 miles both with new car smell. And before that as well.

        2. fredwilson

          It was a compliment not a taint. Low take rates will expand the value of the marketplace

          1. William Mougayar

            Exactly. It’s an enabler of new value going forward.

      2. awaldstein

        Thanks..as i surmised.

    2. William Mougayar

      Every large incumbent will have weaknesses that the next startup will pick at.

  3. Matt Kruza

    Nice post by Nick. This is what I take from it from a macro / meta level: TLDR summary: This is how capitalism works and the reason the US economic system has generated more wealth than any other system of individuals about 10x over. Capital invests in an idea. Profits are made. Those profits are reinvested into to both defense of current profits, as well as into new ventures. Other capital, not connected to existing profitable company competes away the margin. Rinse and repeat this for 150 years and the world is forever a changed place (too short for a novel on American capitalism?? 🙂 ) I am often a massive critic of big business and crony capitalism and the finance sector. Those sectors need reformed, since they often STIFLE explicity what Nick talks so eloquently about. But that post, while maybe not intended that way, is really a great primer to give to someone that is not that inclined towards business to explain capitalism at its ideal best.

    1. Matt Kruza

      One important addendum: The only difference now is that instead of taking 20-30 years per competition cycle it is more like 3-10 years and in the future may almost move to continuous / perpetual cycle where the lines of a cycle are not really identifiable.

      1. pointsnfigures

        Yes, why wasn’t the iron plow invented in other places that used crops? The cotton gin? The reaper? Something special about the US. Raise a glass to it this weekend.

        1. Matt Kruza

          Amen. I like how our thinking jives so much 🙂 Hope you are enjoying the memorial day weekend.

  4. William Mougayar

    Great perspective, and it lets you stand back and look at the whole context of the last 30 years and chunk it up as Nick did.I think we’re still in the early stages of the sharing economy, and Robin Chase has been an amazing champion of it (she founded Zip Car 13 years ago!). As she says, you have to “work on the community”. And that can turn scarcity into abundance.New platforms and new stacks will always replace older ones, no matter what. That’s the perpetual cycle of technology. Engineers are constantly obsessed with tackling the next technical challenge, and business people are constantly obsessed with challenging incumbents. That makes it a great combination for a rich future in innovation for applying technology to make our lives better.

    1. awaldstein

      I’m a fan of Robin Chase and a heavy user of Zip Car.The most interesting thing of course is that if you have every used a Zip Car you realize immediately that it is in no way a sharing model. Not any piece of it.100% owned and operated. No crowd. No sharing. Distributed point to return point rental.Huge upside to urban life but not in the same arena as a Uber model.

      1. William Mougayar

        Hold on….You are sharing that car, instead of buying it and leaving it in the garage 95% of the time, no? True, the innovation was in giving you the convenience of drop off and pick-up location and short term rental, but it’s more grass-rootish than renting a car from Avis or Hertz.According to Robin Chase, “each Zipcar replaced 17 personal cars and caused drivers to drive 80% less.”Her new book is out in a couple of weeks, Peers Inc.http://www.amazon.ca/Peers-

        1. awaldstein

          thanks for the book referral, i will certainly buy it.you share a zip car in no way different than a traditional rental car agency buys cars and rents them to others. how many cars it replaces is in no way about sharing. cool thing–yup. Crowd managed or supply–nope.please convince me otherwisethey own all of the cars. they lease space in garages and pay the attendants. you rent and return to the same place.convenient and brilliant–no question. sharing in no way the same way an uber or instacart harnesses the crowd of labor.

          1. Anne Libby

            Avis owns Zipcar, don’t they?

          2. awaldstein

            yup to my knowledge.smartest twist on rental cars there is. game changer for new yorkers for certain.

          3. JLM

            .”Meet the new boss…..”JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          4. William Mougayar

            I think Robin Chase has taken what she learned there and applying it further. She then founded Veniam (other mesh company that USV invested in). BuzzCar (p2p from private car owners) and GoLoco (ridesharing community).

          5. awaldstein

            dunno about those and will check out.zipcar is what it is my friend.you are not the market for this one so trust me I am.

          6. William Mougayar

            no, as you said, it’s not for me.but i’m interesting in ride-sharing between peers.eg.: https://www.blancride.com/so instead of renting that zipcar, maybe your neighbor is going to NJ tomorrow and they have 3 seats for you in the back of their car, and it might cost you just paying their gas cost, like $20 instead of much more. how about that model?

          7. awaldstein

            Ride sharing as a broader platform is powerful I agree.Uber share is there already.For eons the idea of ride pooling has been around and never took off. Even to take advantage of commuter lanes.Not sure that it’s behaviorally true honestly.But ZipCar to me is not very instructive to that model as its apples and oranges.

          8. LE

            For eons the idea of ride pooling has been around and never took off. Even to take advantage of commuter lanes.Right. And part of GM’s selling model was built around people’s aspirational desire to own a bigger and a nicer car. Start with Chevy, end up with Cadillac. [1] Anyone who thinks that that was all smoke and mirrors is ignoring people’s behavior since the beginning of time to want bigger and better things and the be the envy of their peers.[1] Then of course there was the low volume Corvette in the Chevy showroom which Dad lusted over…

          9. LE

            maybe your neighbor is going to NJ tomorrow and they have 3 seats for you in the back of their car, and it might cost you just paying their gas costThere is a very specific part of the population that this is for. The idea of even having to drive other strangers, let alone ride in the back of someone elses car, is less appealing than sitting through a school play or a dental appointment. For me at least.how about that model?Wow. From my cold dead hands (as Charlton Heston would say). [1]https://youtu.be/ORYVCML8xe…[1] I am not a gun owner but I am a car owner.

          10. William Mougayar

            Same as when Airbnb started, people said “I”m not letting a stranger sleep on my couch.”That “stranger” in your car might be a decent person that becomes a friend. But I understand that this won’t be for everybody, just as Airbnb doesn’t appeal to everybody, yet they currently hold the most # of available rooms, worldwide; more than any other large hotel chain where you sleep in the same bed that thousands others have slept it.You never know …

          11. LE

            I don’t dispute what you are saying. One thing though. Perhaps we have re-defined what the word “friend” means. How can someone be your friend (in the traditional sense) if they live in a different place and you rarely have physical or even verbal contact with them? Isn’t it more appropriate to just call that person an acquaintance?And as always I find backup on the ‘net for the point that I am trying to make. Maya Angelou says the following:http://www.people.com/artic…To me at least a friend is someone who knows your back story and is up on what is happening in your life (or at least was at some point in time) that you can speak in short hand with. You know their hot buttons and they know yours. Everyone has a different definition of this of course.

          12. William Mougayar

            well…frankly, this is all speculative of course, but so is everything that is small and embryonic. perhaps the word “friend” was too strong.one thing I know is- there are too many cars on the roads, and I’m willing to bet we are nearing peak production in gas powered cars, in favor of alternative energy options, self-driving cars, UBER-like services, and peer to peer ride sharing.if you could snap your fingers (i.e. swipe your smartphone) and get a car in your driveway within minutes, why park one when it’s not being used 95% of the time.

          13. LE

            if you could snap your fingers (i.e. swipe your smartphone) and get a car in your driveway within minutes, why park one when it’s not being used 95% of the time.Well for one thing because if it’s your car you can keep your personal things in it and it can be the vehicle that you personally like vs. something that others have used.Similar in a way to why people want a vacation home that is their home, vs a rental even when it makes less economic sense to do so. Or there own boat, vs a rental. And so on.In the case of my car I use it every single day. To go to work, to pick up things and so on. The “95%” of the time that it isn’t being used doesn’t matter to me at all. For that matter I don’t (yes you can laugh at this) use a toilet (or many things that I own from computers to cameras) more than 1% of the time but I like that it is there when I need it.

          14. William Mougayar

            That’s true for some people. But the theory of sharing car rides is fascinating me, so I’m wondering if a % of the population will want more sharing and won’t care that it’s not theirs.

          15. LE

            I will agree that there would almost definitely be a percentage of the population that would not care about ownership. And that % could be quite large I will say that I am different for sure about this type of thing and I know that.But even given that, in the suburbs you need a car period. And I don’t see that changing at all.Let’s say for example that on a typical suburban street there were parked 5 cars at all times (actually this is an interesting concept, hmmm). And someone could walk out and walk less than a half block and grab a car to go and pick up groceries. That wouldn’t really help with needing a dedicated car every day to get to and from work in the suburbs for sure. (Forget public transportation). One of the reasons that zip car works in a city is that it’s practical given people’s commuting patterns and the cost of parking. In the ‘burbs that is not an issue, parking is free and you use your car each and every day.Of course when I was at Disney I didn’t rent a car I took either the monorail or the buses everywhere I went. But I wasn’t working either it was leisure time and very convenient.

      2. Richard

        “Sharing economy” is somewhat overused, I guess the first sharing economy business was the coffee shop, After all you share the cup and coffee machine.

        1. JLM

          .The first sharing economy business was prostitution. After that, it was the bar and, only then, the coffee shop.In the Dark Ages, the light of learning was extinguished everywhere except for SBUX in Europe.I could be wrong about this.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          1. LE

            The first sharing economy business was prostitution.Or was it spouse swapping?

          2. Richard

            Prostitution is in 99% of the cases a crime.

          3. JLM

            .Nevada the home of legalized gambling, legalized prostitution and criminal dinner buffets.Is this a great country or what?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      3. Matt A. Myers

        I think if it was truly a sharing model then there’d need to be a different onboarding process than I currently see happening. This just clicked into some other thoughts I have, will have to write about it somewhere to first to figure it all out..

    2. Matt A. Myers

      That’s one version, there’s still a version where everything is community owned, improved, and managed – forks of everything and then where communities can decide if certain features in different forks would benefit them.

      1. William Mougayar

        any examples?

  5. mikenolan99

    And the revolutionaries become the establishment….

    1. fredwilson

      Rinse and repeat

      1. mikenolan99

        Are there greater returns backing revolutionaries or establishments? Do markets appropriately adjust for risk?

        1. fredwilson

          I’m in the business of the former and it has worked out well for me

          1. LE

            In a sense what you do reminds me of “the big order” or “the big customer”. That’s when I reconstruct what would happen if I was lacking either of those. And it gets pretty depressing. Over time it seems that there was always one of those “tbo” or “tbc” and that things worked out. But it has always scared me looking at it rationally. The “what if’s”. The good news is that that is my rationalization for working the way that I do and trying to be disciplined enough to not put all eggs in one basket, despite how promising that basket looks like at any point in time. Plus the fear makes the work so much more enjoyable and necessary. The fear is important.

          2. pointsnfigures

            Private equity backs establishment. One key difference between the two.

  6. iggyfanlo

    I think it’s important to note that the cycle length (wavelength) is shortening; i.e. the pace of change is accelerating like the train that is heading towards you at a greater and greater speed, almost an accelerating Doppler technology shift

  7. Anne Libby

    “All of this has happened before, and it will all happen again.” – JM Barrie. (And of course, BSG…)

  8. Matt Zagaja

    I think what I find most interesting is how Apple Computer re-invented itself on top of an open platform (OS X being based on BSD, and later Safari being based on WebKit, originally included in Konqueror) and now Microsoft is doing the same thing. Google Maps is super dominant but lots of innovation happening on top of OpenStreetMap, also driven by contributions from Apple because they don’t want to pay Google.

  9. Tom Labus

    Queue The Who!

    1. Chimpwithcans

      That is a great song!

  10. Sandy

    Fred or anyone, I’m running a peer marketplace offline that has been profitable from the start. A fantastic engineer at Google liked the service, so we’re putting it online.It’s a priority for us to give equity or co-op shares to workers, so they have ownership in the company too.However, a lawyer (doesn’t specialize in startups) told me I can’t do that, because that can cause legal problems in the future. If by any chance we go public in the future, I was told equity and shares can only be split among a limited number of people (500).Is that correct? Doesn’t make sense that workers are blocked from this option.Does anyone know an expert startup lawyer to talk with, to double check that this is correct? If it’s correct, does anyone here know a loophole to get around this?The equity wouldn’t make a life-changing difference in a worker’s finances, but the point is fairness. Each worker makes a pretty respectable amount each month. The outliers who generate a lot should be commensurately rewarded for their phenomenal work ethic and exceptional contributions.I have a 5% rake, so other than lowering that, what else could I do to help the workers? Thanks for any thoughts on this.

    1. Matt Zagaja

      I don’t know what jurisdiction you are in but Joe Wallin has posted here in the past and has expertise in these kinds of things. http://joewallin.com/about-…You definitely want to find a lawyer that can be your lawyer though. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

      1. Sandy

        Matt, you’re fantastic. I’ll look into Joe Wallin, thanks. You’re definitely right that I have to get a lawyer now.

    2. Richard

      Finding a Loophole is not exactly how you should approach this. Start with an understanding of the types of business structures available.

      1. Sandy

        Rich, so helpful, thanks very much.

    3. pointsnfigures

      I know some lawyers that are good at this, as do others here. I am in Chicago. Depending on where you are, I’d recommend using a lawyer you can meet with face to face.

      1. Sandy

        Ok will do, thanks a lot.

  11. JLM

    .This sort of falls under the heading of “your generation didn’t invent sex” — neither did mine.The path from the revolution to the palace (the establishment) has been worn smooth for centuries. Revolutions are started by men with hunger pangs and empty bellies. Palaces are peopled by full bellied men who want to defend a status quo that treats them well.Today, that conflict has been elevated from the “have nots” and the “haves” to the “haves” and the “have mores.” It is a subtle change but it is an important one.The big successes — Uber — are now the have mores and there are a lot of scrappy have nots sharpening their daggers to storm the palace.Like the Who said back in 1971 — Won’t Get Fooled Again (meet the new boss, same as the old boss).The song became the antiwar anthem of the Viet Nam war but what is really funny is the troops loved it. Even the most elite units.In those days, it was played as loud as possible and they all chanted the big money line — “meet the new boss, same as the old boss”.This cycle is as old as mankind and while recent “bigs” like Uber have some moat around their businesses, they are vulnerable — always will be — to the scrappy upstart (Gett is one out there) who can do what they do but more nimbly.Starbucks may have made the coffeeshop go global but the campaign against “corporate coffee” has been a winning strategy for lots of local coffeeshops. No SBUX, no local successes. They feed off each other.The notion of the “sharing community” seems to be like patent leather shoes — not really leather, good for special purposes and brought out only when desired. it is essentially a bunch of crap on an intellectual basis — old wine in new bottles.What is really happening is society — not tech alone — is evolving and social networks are being formed that did not exist before. Sure, they’re powered by the Internet but they are really powered by ideas.Exhibit A is AVC.com — a group of people that would never have rubbed keyboards but for Fred Wilson and the Internet and some common interests. Into this community, Fred (bit of a visionary) flings a daily dose of red meat and the brains devour it.It is the conflict — the wrestling match of ideas — that makes it interesting.This is the way it always has been. Peter Drucker invented sex, I think.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    1. Stephen Voris

      Sometimes it’s good to reinvent the wheel (or sex). Not because you need new wheels, but because you need new inventors.

      1. JLM

        .Fifteen yards for mixing your metaphors.Since the Wright brothers discovered flight (sort of like sex but then I am a pilot), everyone has just been improving on the theme.It all still continues to be a battle amongst weight, lift, drag and thrust.The aerodynamic principles are still the same. In much the same way that business principles are the same since Adam tried to sell box seats at the Garden when he was performing with Eve.There is much credit to the folks who improve upon the original scheme but they are not inventors, they are improvers.Well played, otherwise.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        1. Stephen Voris

          Maybe the sex was a bit distracting – my thought is that invention is, in a sense, a skill, and in order to hone it, you can’t let the fear that someone else may have invented it first stop you from practicing.To put it another way, I think the perspective for improving what’s already there is different from the perspective for building something new – even if what’s “new” ends up looking remarkably similar to the old.The difference between editing and writing, really.

          1. JLM

            .I agree with you but let me jerk you around just a little bit. It is not a bad thing if you tell someone in advance.Writing includes the disciplines of developmental editing, copy editing, proofreading, interior book design and cover design as well as printing, marketing and fulfillment.The creative element of the story is a science/art unto itself.The story is the core but the rest of the stuff is the wrapper in which the story comes to market.Much the same is business in which the unique element of the business is the core of the Vision, Mission, Strategy, Tactics, Objectives, Values and Culture through which the product or service finds the customers and creates a community (paen to the notion of Fred’s post).In this way, nothing much has really changed since it was cutting edge to start a paint company. It has now just become a bit more orderly and well documented.Isn’t our Fred sharing the secrets of VC-dom as part of the unmasking of the Wizard of VC?Like Dorothy said, “Toto, this shit is still all the same!”JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          2. Stephen Voris

            We’re agreed – I think we’re just emphasizing slightly different things. The processes are perennial – the skills for business, and treating people right more generally, are timeless.The people, too, are perennial: there have always been first-time entrepreneurs, awkward first dates, ignorant tourists and “stupid questions”. (It’s always *someone’s* first time in Oz)May there always continue to be such.

          3. JLM

            .You make a brilliant point about the nature of the first time entrepreneur. I have spent the last three years working with startup entrepreneurs — some a result of AVC.com and others through organizations like TechStars.I was a CEO for 33+ years.I have counseled a lot of entrepreneurs but I have never found yet a problem for which the solution was not already within the entrepreneur themselves. Never.I coax it to the surface and help them land, gut and clean it. They — everyone — has it in them.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  12. BillMcNeely

    The biggest thing in the sharing economy getting ignored is PEOPLE/RELATIONSHIPSSpeaking to the ridesharing sector of this economy companies like Uber ignore the input of their drivers.We don’t get a say in how much is charged to the customer, how much of a cut of the ride goes to the company and we don’t get to share insights that could improve service.Data is important but observation from a human can’t be discounted.Also you don’t see an UberCON put on by the company.Driver’s are striking the best way they know how through lawsuits and “strikes”.They really don’t want be employees they want a fair deal.Driver unhappiness is a growing Tsunami it’s going to have unattended consequences

    1. JLM

      .This is a keen insight into the kind of people Uber is at the top. It reflects many other public pronouncements that flavor their secret sauce.I don’t use Uber for just this reason.Unfairness is never a sound business philosophy.It would take so little to overcome this perception.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    2. Bob Vance

      No one is coercing them to driver for Uber, if there time is more valuable than Uber will pay – go elsewhere.

      1. BillMcNeely

        that’s right. Lots of turnover and more drivers are moving back to cabs.

    3. pointsnfigures

      When tech creates avenues where people meet in person to create something meaningful-that’s what the internet was made for.

  13. pointsnfigures

    The true promise of blockchain is to encourage free and competitive markets as a solution to problems. Free markets allocate capital better than directed or centralized ones. The continual creative destruction we have seen has expanded markets, expanded reach, and driven down costs-that will happen faster in the future if governments let it.

  14. Otis Funkmeyer

    have u guys ever put this pattern specifically into carlota’s models? what correlates to what i wonder…

  15. rafer

    I just had this conversation with someone over lunch in Venice.

    1. fredwilson

      You and Nick should talk. You are both thinking about the same thing from slightly different directions

  16. Julien

    I like this “rinse and repeat” approach a lot more than Chris Dixon’s or Ev Wiliams “Pendulum”, because it’s about verbs and not about some “godly” event will which would (or not) happen.

  17. stefano zorzi

    What is also interesting about this is if margins overall will just keep decreasing. In the last wave we have seen decreasing margins powered by increasing market sizes (accessibility and reach) but there is a limit to that as well. I see nothing particularly wrong with it but it does challenge the basic element of “accumulation” which has been a driving force so far. Then just as I write this I saw Alber post about going “beyond capital” – naturally these things are converging.

  18. JLM

    .’The notion of “good enough” is perhaps the foundation for happiness. It is also the beginning of wisdom, mature wisdom.We spend a lot of time trying to climb to the top of the mountain when the view from three quarters of the way up is more than good enough.I drive a 1966 Impala convertible. I have had several other convertibles. It doesn’t get better than that almost half a century beauty. Plus, it is incredibly cheap to maintain.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  19. Sandy

    Good question – it’s because the money gets spread too thinly among too many workers. Still, it’s better than nothing. I know there’s a clever solution to this, just have to think of it…

  20. awaldstein

    how is zipcar a collaboration economy?there is no community anywhere unless i am missing something completely.

  21. awaldstein

    u have a membership?this is not community by any definition. I can’t speak to when i started but use it fairly regularly for the last 5 years.rental car plain and simple.

  22. JLM

    .High marks for the admission of being a sinner.A freakin’ Tesla for the Soothsayer of Lancaster? The Savant?I now know that no man is pure. You have broken my heart.I will be up at dawn to ensure the sun continues to rise in the east knowing that anything is now possible.I do like the way those Teslas ride.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  23. LE

    It doesn’t get better than that almost half a century beauty. Plus, it is incredibly cheap to maintain.Well now that depends on the particular party going on perhaps. I prefer a newer version of beauty. Look some people like to dress up as banditos and fight over dungaree jacket patches.Of course it doesn’t really matter what makes you happy or if others agree with you. I had a convertible but didn’t like it and won’t buy one again. I don’t like the sun exposure. I try to stay out of the sun as much as I can.

  24. LE

    High marks for the admission of being a sinner.What I want to know is what percentage of whatever car he buys does he deduct from his taxes.

  25. awaldstein

    I will read the book.My sense is that what has happened is that culture has changed more than community has grew.And they of course have your cc so charge you for any infraction

  26. William Mougayar

    no matter what…I meant, over time…but not all stacks are the same, nor have the same strength in longevity, no? e.g. TCP/IP has been around for a while and there are no signs of dethroning it.

  27. awaldstein

    I’m talking broader.Uber would not have been possible in NY in the 70s technology aside.Nor ZipCar. Nor AirBnB.Nothing to do with model, has to do with the changes that transparency has brought to culture itself and civility and tolerance and responsibility.Walk down your street in NY ten, 15 , 20 years ago. This is more than the effects of gentrification, this is societal evolution.