The Power of Boards, Income Inequality, Matt Lauer, California’s Future, Uber


The Best of NewCo Shift — Week of Dec. 5

These stories are definitely worth your time.

It’s been another great week of remarkable stories on NewCo Shift. This time we highlight thoughtful commentary on what it means to be financially stable, the “Matt Lauers” of the world, California politics, Etsy’s public market travails, and much more.

NewCo Shift also sources and edits extraordinary stories into Medium’s membership area, which is on a “metered paywall” similar to the New York Times. Anyone can read them, until they hit their limit. We’re including them in our roundup so you know about this great work.

Let us know what you’re interested in us covering or pitch your own stories at Thanks for reading and those Medium claps. It means a lot to us.

Why We Need More Etsys

If you hear the word startup in the Bay Area, you’ll likely assume that company could make billions in an IPO, or crash and burn well before they get anywhere close to a public exit. Anything in the middle is rare. In this column, EIC John Battelle considers Etsy’s modest IPO and its subsequent management turmoil, and see something unique. The arts and crafts company may not have set the world on fire, but it’s a real business charting its own course in the public markets. We can only hope many more follow.

Your “Financial Shock” Wealth

Inequality continues to be an issue in this country, and the new tax plan will not ease the concerns of those who study its consequences. But which side of the aisle are each of us on? Yonatan Zunger argues that it depends what kind of financial shock we can take before we become financially ruined. Would your pocketbook withstand a sudden $5,000 bill? For some that bill is mere pocket change, but for others it may cost a whole lot more. Possibly everything they own. Possibly even their lives.

We All Know “Matt Lauer”

Kara Goldin, Founder and CEO of Hint water, writes about the Matt Lauers still out there hidden by their power, wealth and public personas that makes them feel untouchable. “We all know ‘Matt Lauer.’ And we excuse his ‘boys being boys’ antics,” she writes. “We might not see the sexual harassment happen, but there is little doubt in most our minds that it did.”

2017: Leading through upheavals at Uber

This year was not kind to Uber (primarily due to faults of its own) and UX Research Manager at Uber, Saswati Saha Mitra, takes us inside the company from a worker’s and manager’s perspective. How did it feel to be in the inside for someone who put their faith in Uber in this very publicly messy year?

Do We *Really* Think An Intelligence Explosion Is Unlikely?

How likely is for the singularity to occur? Francois Chollet argues in his recent essay that an intelligence explosion is very unlikely. In response AI expert and economist, Azeem Azhar, pens his counterarguments in this piece for NewCo Shift.

Unicorns Distract Us from a Graveyard

Jumping to our Medium member stories, we have another eye-opening piece about the inner workings of venture, in which Luke Kanies dives into the reliance on unicorns to provide cover for the huge failure rate of startups. If you run a venture-backed firm, you likely must achieve a billion-dollar valuation before you can consider going public, and if you’re smaller than that, your only choice is to sell the company (or go bankrupt). If that sounds really stressful, well, it is, and it’s one of the reasons we would like to see more Etsys.

The New California Democrat and America’s New Way Forward

In another Medium membership story (we recommend this subscription), Peter Leyden continues his in-depth look at how California is inventing the political future that will come to all America in the next 15 years. His next piece in the series discusses a clear alternative to Trump Republicans, and how leaders in California are thriving, and ready to go national.

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