Kiko's Musings

Founder of Qulture.Rocks
Trying hard to be a: Writer, entrepreneur, angel investor, curious mind.

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2015 Updated Reading List

Valley Boy: The Education of Tom Perkins
Tom Perkins **
pretty good book about the start of venture capital. It becomes clear by mid-book that Tom is - very - proud of his accomplishments across all spectres of his life, so one may get a bit annoyed with his writing. Suggested for those who are looking for the nth piece of trivia on silicon valley, but not for those starting to learn about it. Much better to watch the documentary on the pioneers of the valley, that tells Tom’s story, and Arthur Rock’s, and Gene Kleiner’s, and Pitch Johnson’s, etc.

Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator
Ryan Holiday ****
very interesting look at the state of media 2.0, i.e., Business Insiders, TechCrunches, Gizmodos, Politicos, and the sort. Basically, these new institutions respect no established journalism practices (like checking sources, getting multiple views on a subject,...

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Why Facebook is a huge short

“Hey Julia, what are you up to? Facebook?” I said to my 20-year-old nephew.
“No way,” she said. “I’m on Instagram.”
“Why no way? Anything against Facebook?”
“Nah. I’m checking my Instagram, and responding to some Snapchats.”
“No Facebook?”
“Facebook’s done. I use it to find people, but I rarely log in anymore. Nobody does.”
I’m getting old…
“Why’s that?”
“I don’t know… Too many people - I’ve got 750 friends or so… - too many of those Farmville games… too many random posts.”

Facebook is, IMHO, a huge short opportunity. Here’s why [1]:

Weak business model: people forget social networks are a fickle business. Myspace and Orkut were huge. Brazilians and Indians spent comparable amounts of time on them as people spend today on Facebook worldwide. Both vanished, in a matter of years. Just disappeared. Why? Customer taste, herd mentality, whatever [2]. People like new things, and they’ve...

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Uber and Disruptive Innovation

(This post was originally posted in Portuguese, at 21212 Academy.)

I recently stumbled upon a link to a Harvard Business Review (@harvardbiz) article that discussed Uber’s recent $ 1.2 bn on $ 40 bn fundraising. Apart from being highly skeptical about such a valuation level (but I’ll leave that to a future post,) I was impressed by the misuse of the disruptive innovation term by such a famous magazine. In the article, the author says

“Uber represents a true disruptive innovation. A model of delivering a service where the market entrant is making a previously inaccessible service cheaper and more accessible.”

Curiously, the term disruptive innovation was coined by Clayton Christensen, himself a Harvard Business School professor.

The fact is that the HBR author is not alone: VCs, entrepreneurs, and the ever-growing startup media all use the term incorrectly in their buzz word...

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What American Airlines could learn from Zappos?

At 7 PM sharp, Bob Sr., my friend’s Bob’s father, dropped me off at the Miami International Airport. A three-hour margin seemed a good safety measure in an era of crowds and TSA-hazards. We parked the car under the American Airlines neon sign, but that’s rarely a guarantee of quickly finding the check-in counter, so I had to walk inside the terminal and turn left, passing some random Caribbean airline, towards the AA quarters, dodging a couple of baggage plastic wrappers on my way.


When I arrived at AA’s check-in area, I was surprised to find that a handful of self-service terminals were my only option at getting myself a boarding pass, meaning no assisted check-in counters were available to economy flyers. These screens were laid out in groups of eight, four facing each side, and perpendicular to the counter line. There must have been 4 or 5 islands of terminals, and all of them were...

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My Review of Zero to One

Today I was reading Zero to One reviews on Amazon, and came across this review, by a guy name Elkin Wells. Couldn’t have put it better:

I had high hopes, but this book was just ok. I don’t understand the overwhelming number of 5 star reviews, other than people being swayed by the fact Thiel has crushed it on a few of his investments and is a well known name. I was really hoping for some brilliant insights here.

Instead, the book is basically a series of rambling, disjointed essays that spell out Thiel’s philosophies on the world, none of which are particularly earth shattering. One chapter he’s talking about the characteristics of a good startup founder, the next it’s visions for the future of humanity. Nothing is really backed up with any data-driven evidence, though he does bring in real-world examples to support many of his theories, which is nice. The rambling/meandering nature of...

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Don’t Fuck Up the Culture

Great post by Air BnB cofounder Brian Chesky on company culture.


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Nubank is live!!!!




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Carl Icahn getting his hands dirty on PayPal

This is really cool: Carl Icahn, a very famous activist investor, (buys shares of companies on the market and starts pressing for management changes publicly and privately,) is starting to get vocal about the future of PayPal as a spin-off from Ebay.

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The best stuff I’ve found on the web about starting an online marketplace

Marketplaces are - IMHO - the most fascinating startup business models. Ebay, the App Store, Uber, Air BnB. All marketplaces.

They are usually the most scalable, operationally leveraged, and turn whole industries upside-down. If nailed, of course, which brings us to the challenge: they are also the most difficult business models to nail.

There are just too many loose ends.

In my quest to learn more about these beasts, I’ve stumbled upon three great articles/blog posts that have given me structure on how to evaluate and think about marketplaces, as well as a dated Harvard Business Review article that is shockingly current, about how to build grow them.

1. Bill Gurley’s 10-topic framework applied to Benchmark’s investment in Dog Vacay:

2. Thomas Eisenmann’s article...

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Very cool repost from Jason M. Lemkin.

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