This week’s links: 1/20/19

Some startups seek financing alternatives from VC – NYTimes

  • The “foie gras effect” – startups can be forced to raise excessive levels of venture capital and get crushed under the pressure of faster and higher returns
  • One investor commented: “I sell jet fuel, and some people don’t want to build a jet.”
  • “Earnest Capital joins a growing list of firms, including Lighter Capital, Purpose Ventures, TinySeed, Village Capital, Sheeo, XXcelerate Fund and Indie.vc, that offer founders […] revenue- or profit-based loans.”

Revisiting Stratechery’s piece on Apple’s China Problem

  • “In China, it’s Apple’s brand that is, by far, the biggest allure of the iPhone. Apps are free (piracy is mainstream), larger screens are preferred, and specs and customization move the needle with the mainstream far more than they do in the US. But no one else is Apple.”
  • “Unlike the rest of the world, in China the most important layer of the smartphone stack is not the phone’s operating system. Rather, it is WeChat.”
  • WeChat is for communication and wasting time, but it is also for reading news, for hailing taxis, for paying for lunch (try and pay with cash for lunch, and you’ll look like a luddite), for accessing government resources, for business. WeChat’s wide-ranging functionality is the phone for many Chinese customers, and yet it operates the same on either iOS or Android platforms. Therefore, Apple’s biggest selling point – not status and luxury, but rather the iOS ecosystem – cannot command the same 80%+ retention rate of iPhone users it does in the rest of the world, commanding 50% in China instead.

A16Z General Partner on the Ubiquity of WeChat in China

  • WeChat, more than an app, is more of a portal/platform/mobile operating system
  • “WeChat users in China can access services to hail a taxi, order food delivery, buy movie tickets, play casual games, check in for a flight, send money to friends, access fitness tracker data, book a doctor appointment, get banking statements, pay the water bill, find geo-targeted coupons, recognize music, search for a book at the local library, meet strangers around you, follow celebrity news, read magazine articles, and even donate to charity.”
  • WeChat operates as an “apps-within-an-app” model, containing millions of apps
  • WeChat Payments, an increasingly popular service, links your bank/credit card info to the app – vastly reducing the friction for user spend on the app/platform
    • “In China, meanwhile, usage of the WeChat Payments platform is growing so quickly that WeChat is experimenting with processing payments offline via QR codes at brick-and-mortar stores, live events, vending machines, restaurants, and hotels”

How Kaiser Permanente Approaches Healthcare Delivery Differently – Quora

  • From an economics perspective, aligned incentives = better outcomes
  • Traditionally, doctors are independent contractors who must contend with various actors whose incentives are not necessarily aligned with theirs or those of the patient. For example, the doctor would typically need to get approval from insurance plans for certain types of care; however, Kaiser has a health plan which allows the doctors to (reportedly) make independent decisions. Doctors are mostly salaried instead of a fee-for-service model, which minimizes any inclination to offer more or less care based off of insurance pressure or “big pharma” marketing dollars.

The Current Problems and Future of Health – Khosla Ventures Talk (YouTube)

Great Overview of Masa’s Vision and Softbank’s Investment Map – FastCompany

On the different grades of meats (particularly steaks) – Skillshare

  • There are various grades of meat (utility, select, choice, prime) that vary in quality and marbling (fat content)
  • Most steaks don’t technically come from cows, rather they come from steer (castrated male cattle)

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