No. 250 – Saturday Reads

When Tailwinds Vanish – This is a very interesting piece by John Luttig. He argues that the opportunities for new internet startups to hit home runs is diminishing as the internet matures. As winning in the internet economy becomes a zero-sum game, he points to incumbents as the ones more likely to win what’s left of growth opportunities. Further, venture capital isn’t being used for research and development, but for expenses like sales. Considering this, he believes there needs to be another layer on top of the internet economy that enables companies to get the financing they need without tapping into venture capital – Sand Hill Sachs, as he calls it.

The piece is quite thought provoking, but I think John is looking at the internet too narrowly to say there’s a small window for anymore big wins. Look at areas like the transfer of food from the industrial portion of the supply chain to the consumer portion. This COVID-19 situation has put a big spotlight on the lack of dynamism in how that transfer works. New York City doesn’t know how many people in public housing have COVID-19. Stock exchange IEX has coiled up 38 miles of optic fiber to prevent high-frequency traders from having a leg up on their competitors. These all highlight problems that can be solved on the internet. There’s opportunity for companies to get big wins. Maybe Silicon Valley just isn’t the place for the fresh thinking needed to see them. Maybe there needs to be some more diversity of thought.

Chinese start-ups are being starved of venture capital – with worrying omens for the west – The fallout for VC in China isn’t looking pretty right now. It’s an interesting with the tenor a lot of US VCs are trying to roll with claiming that “we’re open for business. ” Those Q2 numbers on how the US VC ecosystem fared will be interesting to take a look at!

Black Founders Remain Optimistic About Survival Despite Running Out of Money (SURVEY) – TPInsights founder Sherrell Dorsey surfaced some encouraging insights from founders in the TPInsights membership. In particular, it was great to see a good number of founders have enough cash to hold on for three more months.

Franchising in Africa during the coronavirus (COVID-19) era – Kendal Tyre shares some nice insights on franchising opportunities across Africa. He definitely got the wheels turning, particularly in thinking about my post last Sunday.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala gets International appointment – I’m glad to see Dr. Okonjo-Iweala in this role. She should be IMF managing director, but that’s water under the bridge. More vim to her as she aims to get a bunch of different stakeholders to work together in putting out the resources we need to handle this virus.

No. 241 – Wednesday Reads

Source: McKinsey & Co

For Black America, COVID-19 Is The Bullet. America Is The Gun – “This is how the coronavirus kills Black people. This is how half of the related deaths in Mississippi are Black. This is how 70 percent of the deaths in Louisiana are Black. Sixty-two percent in D.C. And so on. And so on. Not by Black negligence. Not by Black irresponsibility. But because this is how America has been designed since the very first Black footsteps touched down on this country’s soil. The virus and all of its terror is simply one of the many ways weaponized America-ness kills. And kills. And kills.”

COVID-19: Investing in black lives and livelihoods – “While this article was in development, one of the authors’ family members, a healthcare worker in Brooklyn, passed away from complications related to COVID-19.” 

Mozambique: ExxonMobil’s delayed LNG investment decision is disappointing-INP – “The development is valued at between $20 billion and $25 billion (€18.3 billion to €23 billion) and is one of the largest planned for Africa.”

How Democrats Won Big in Wisconsin – “There is a concept in psychology called “moral injury,” which refers to seeing something happen—or feeling like one failed to prevent something from happening—that is so fundamentally wrong that it tears at the fabric of your moral expectations of the world.”

The Midas List: The World’s Best Venture Capital Investors In 2020 – “To qualify, investors are ranked by their portfolio companies that have gone public or been acquired for at least $200 million over the past five years, or that have at least doubled their private valuation since initial investment to $400 million or more over the same period.”