Samsung’s predicament

In the past year, Samsung went from being a moderately successful electronics manufacturer to the leading non-iOS mobile device maker. Together, Apple and Samsung earn 98% of the profits in the smartphone market. MG Siegler echoed a common sentiment when he wrote that Samsung is now the “fifth horseman” of tech, alongside Apple, […]

The product lens

There has been a lot of discussion lately about the markets for startup financing. Many of the discussions use words like “valuations” “bubble” “crunch” etc. Words like that generally mean the writer is discussing the world through the lens of finance. This is a useful lens, but I’d like […]

a16z

VCs are experts at analyzing industries and identifying new opportunities, which is why it’s odd that the VC industry itself has so stubbornly resisted change. Two years ago I wrote a post where I argued that innovative new VC firms are finally starting to change this: Top tier […]

Agency problems

“Agency problems” are what economists call situations where a person’s interests diverge from his or her firm’s interests. Large companies are in a constant state of agency crisis. A primary role of senior management is to counter agency problems through organizational structures and incentive systems. For example, most […]

Regulatory hacks

A common way to think of business regulations is by analogy to sports: the rules are specified up front, and the players follow the rules. But real regulations don’t work that way. Regulations follow business as much as business follows regulations. Sometimes the businesses that change regulations are […]

The rise of enterprise marketing

Building an enterprise software company used to be largely about sales, because enterprise software was sourced and purchased by high-level business people. Those business people needed to be charmed and convinced, an activity that was distasteful to many technologists. Internet-based delivery (“SaaS”, “cloud”) dramatically lowered installation costs, letting […]

Facebook’s embedded option

The best way to think of Facebook’s stock is as the sum of two businesses: the existing display ad businesses, and a probability-weighted option on a new line of business. This is how Wall Street views it. For example, here is a section of a recent Goldman Sachs […]