The internet doesn’t understand the advertising business. Then again, neither do most advertisers. A Preview of a Medium Premium series from NewCo Shift.
One of the first Medium Premium series created in conjunction with noted authors and journalists, Which Half Is Wasted, by agency vet Rick Webb, explores the role of advertising in our society and economy, with a particular focus on digital advertising, which Webb argues presumes the migration of television brand dollars to the internet (a presumption that he declares false). In this exclusive series (membership is required, but Medium does have a “metered paywall’), Webb asks if we really understand the advertising business, and explores the effects the business has on what gets built online.
The first article in the series, which you can read here, states that society has thrown out the social contract that made advertising moral, as more and more advertising money is spent on online platforms like Facebook & Google, rather than supporting news gathering and content creation. It wasn’t long ago when advertising’s upside was that it allowed media creation to flourish.
We need a new financing model to build new, better companies
Two decades into a software career, I’m still moved by its potential to improve people’s lives through connection, automation, and access to information, yet I’m less convinced than ever that our financial systems are built to get the most out of it.
This is the first post in a series I’ll be writing on the structural problems in venture capital. These problems aren’t a condemnation of the industry, they’re an attempt to outline where the industry fails the market. This failure helps to explain people’s experiences, but I think also helps to outline the opportunity and need for other ways of funding companies. These ways will also have flaws — they’ll likely not be great at building unicorns — but they’ll be finding people and markets ignored by the current environment.
Like the general financial industry, the world of venture capital has become adept at using money to create more money, but it does not consider of the wisdom of its actions. It chooses easy answers, thus leaving harder but better questions unexplored, and accepts high collateral damage to the employees, customers, and industry that at best is painful and at worst is pure exploitation.
Is there a bubble in artificial intelligence? Are we in a virtual reality bubble? Are Uber and Airbnb overvalued? Or, are we even in another tech bubble?
Given the unprecedented valuations of the so-called “unicorns” — Uber is still valued at more than $60 billion, Airbnb at $25 billion, and Palantir at $20 billion — talk about bubbles has intensified in Silicon Valley. Bubbles are often considered to be negative: they are described as destructive, economically inefficient, and as generating financial waste. Indeed, almost $6 trillion evaporated after the dotcom collapse in the early 2000s, and the globalized financial system crashed when the financial bubble burst in 2008.
Last week The Information posted a story detailing multiple incidents in which a venture capitalist named Justin Caldbeck of Binary Capital made sexual advances upon female entrepreneurs his firm was investing in (or considering investing in) — six incidents documented in total, three in which the accusers went on the record with their names.
It’s hardly a shock to learn that such things happen in the clubby, male-dominated VC industry, which has had its share of gender-related scandals over the years. But it’s a clear sign that the business of funding the future is in serious need of self-examination and reform.
NewCo Shift Forum Dialogs, in Partnership with Work Market
Joanne Wilson Started With Founders, But Now She’s Funding Movements Too
Joanne Wilson, better known to her fans as “Gotham Gal” for her enduring blog of the same name, has been a fixture of New York investing for nearly a decade. She’s an independent voice unafraid of controversial points of view, and coupled with her husband and Union Square Ventures founder Fred Wilson, comprises one of the most powerful couples in venture finance.
Dissent is feverish in the Trump era, and we’ve all grown accustomed to posts by “rogue” social media accounts set up anonymously by disgruntled government insiders. Now Twitter is suing the federal government to resist attempts to force it to reveal the identifying personal information of the owner of one such handle — @ALT_USCIS, a self-described “immigration resistance” account (The New York Times). The ACLU is defending the anonymous Tweeter, while Twitter’s lawsuit — first reported in The Intercept — proceeds in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Social media platforms and internet services like Twitter, Facebook, and Google sometimes receive requests from law enforcement authorities for similar information in cases involving terrorist attacks, national security, and other criminal matters. This case looks a lot more dubious on the face of it — more like a petulant administration’s effort to silence a critic than a legitimate conflict between a crime investigation and privacy rights.
The Founder of Dollar Shave Club on Why He Sold His NewCo to a BigCo — and What’s Next
One of my favorite people in the startup world is Michael Dubin. He’s earnest, he’s smart, and he’s wickedly funny, as anyone who’s seen his famous Dollar Shave Club commercials can attest. So when Dubin sold Dollar Shave for a cool billion to Unilever, one of the largest consumer packaged goods companies on the planet, I was a bit worried. Would Dollar Shave lose its sense of humor to a soulless corporate overlord? So far, the answer is no, as this short interview with Dubin, held at the NewCo Shift Forum, readily proves. Below is the full interview and a transcript, edited for clarity.
Last week, during NewCo’s first ever MasterClass workshops, leaders and specialists from the Bay Area’s most innovative companies provided training in leadership and management. These were small, interactive sessions with founders, CEOs and specialists, sharing real case studies and actionable advice. We thought we would share the presentations with you, our NewCo Shift readers, so you can take the learnings and run. Now, go ahead and Get Shift Done!