How startups will transform local economies, where 75% of investor dollars go and how to think about your career.

Happy Friday.

We’re on our way to Ft Wayne, IN for the week — if you’re nearby, please come hang with us. As for 2017, we’ve started to book stops in Sioux Falls, Lubbock, Oklahoma City and a few others — let us know if you’d like to bring us to your town. If you’re an investor, executive or community leader that would like to visit other cities with us, please apply to join — it’ll be fun, I promise.

It’s a cool week here in DC and, to be honest, it’s nice to be home for once. That being said, we’re starting to lock in stops for the 2017 tech tour so let me know if you’re interested in letting us pull the Airstream to your city and hang out for a bit.

  1. “You’re busy, so I’ll keep this quick.” [Link] [Tweet]

There is an inverse correlation between the length of your requests and the likelihood that you’ll get what you want. Keep everything short.

2. “Apple is the world’s largest owner of CNC milling machines and swiss style lathes.” [Link] [Tweet]

Apple operates acres and acres of CNC machines to meet the demand of 1M phones per day.

Between data centers that serve the information we see every day and the facilities that actually make the things that we carry around in our pockets every day, it’s fascinating to realize how little we ever think about them.

3. “75% of the investment $$ went into graduates of four programs: @ycombinator, @techstars, @500Startups & @angelpad.” [Link] [Tweet]

If you’re applying to an accelerator and can get into one of the four above, do it — no matter what. If you don’t make the cut, accept the best offer you can get and work your ass off.

4. You guys, how good is SNL going to be this weekend? [Tweet]

Ezra Klein nails it.

5. “My thesis is that five $10 million companies could transform our economy.” [Link] [Tweet]


Talent and ambition are equally distributed. Functional expertise and venture capital are not. This is why we’re doing the tech tour: it’s about bringing functional expertise and venture capital to cities that don’t normally receive it.

6. “Investors are NOT funding a startup for it to survive, but rather for it to thrive.” [Link] [Tweet]

A trick question I like to ask companies that I’ve invested in: “so, how much runway do you have now?”

At the earliest stage of the company, the only correct answer is related to the number of iterations you’re able to try before running out of cash.

7. “The problem … is we think technology can only be new.” [Link] [Tweet]

Let’s not confuse innovation with technology:

Old planes are familiar, reliable, and trusted, but they require constant attention to keep in working order. The work of maintenance is essential, but invisible, the costs recorded as “depreciation” or “overhead.” Politicians and CEOs scramble to claim credit for their investments in R&D, but technicians, mechanics, and janitors keep the world running. By confusing the history of innovation with the history of technology, Edgerton argues, we not only miss this labor, but also we misunderstand the work of scientists and engineers.

8. “VCs have a portfolio, entrepreneurs get one shot (at a time)” [Link] [Tweet]

Read this article over your next cup of coffee, it’s a fascinating study. As they say, amount of capital raised is a vanity metric.

9. “The people in SF think you’re not as good, because if you were, you would already live in SF.” [Link] [Tweet]

This attitude, primarily within the SF tech community, was the primary reason I moved back to DC. It felt too disconnected from the rest of the world.

10. “I’m worried too many millennials look at our work — as just work.” [Link] [Tweet]

Cal Newport, I believe, once said that being successful was about being good at something, that you like doing and that a lot of other people want.

I think the real problem here is that too many millennials have accepted jobs because of the money rather than the career potential. You can always buy the BMW later, but you can’t get your earliest professional years back.


You can get the full stream of the things I read, it’s all on Twitter — follow me: @paulsingh.