This is a (roughly) weekly newsletter experiment containing links to things I’ve written and made, plus links to other interesting articles, reports and essays I’ve come across.
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Thoughts, opinions and typos are my own.
A few weeks ago I was approached by the editor of PCM, a payments industry trade magazine published by Payments & Cards Network, a recruiting service and jobs board for the payments, financial technology and e-commerce professionals.
I was asked to expand and follow up on an article I wrote on my blog last year in which I speculated on the role biometric data will play in making the experience of making payments in VR a seamless experience.
Overall, I’m very happy with how the interview turned out. I got to spend a lot of time discussing the history and current trends in VR, as well as further speculate on the subject of payments as it relates to VR.
Note: the piece was edited for professional tone, which kind of breaks up the cadence in parts. I’m hoping to publish the unedited version on my site soon.
This week on the Mattermark blog I revisited a post from the blog’s early days. In September 2014, Mattermark CEO Danielle Morrill wrote a piece identifying the 110 venture capital firms invested in four or more companies with total funding of $100 million or more. Her goal was to identify the investors that were most “complicit” with enabling high burn rates in big startups. Needless to say, things haven’t improved much.
Here’s a TL;DR version of what I found:
- The number of investors with four or more portfolio companies funded at $100 million or more tripled in 19 months: from 110 to 334.
- This is the craziest statistic I found: The number of individual tech-focused investment rounds sized at $100 million or more closed in the last nineteen months is more than the number of similar sized deals from the entire decade preceding the original article.
- The number of firms that participated in just three or more $100 million rounds is greater than the number of investors mentioned in Danielle Morrill’s original article.
- Because $100 million is not what it used to be, I made a list of the 86 investors with four or more portfolio companies funded at the quarter billion dollar level or higher.
Surveying Last Week’s Bitcoin News (My blog)
I haven’t really touched on the subject here in this newsletter, but Bitcoin is a very interesting area to me. It’s been an area of research work and financial experimentation for a long, long time now. And although I’m not currently involved in the cryptocurrency space on a day-to-day basis anymore, I still try to keep up with the news.
In this post I cover:
- The amended S-1 filed by the Winklevoss twins for their Bitcoin Investment trust
- An update to my post from December 2015 in which I found that the Bitcoin network runs 11,000 x faster than the sum peak performance of the Top 500 supercomputers. Hint: it’s running about 2x faster than before.
- A great article from the New York Times that dovetails nicely with academic research I did on the subject of the Chinese Bitcoin ecosystem.
I am a big, big fan of business history and educational videos. “Business Casual” is a new, small Youtube channel with fewer than 2,000 subscribers. So far, there are only five videos, but the content is consistently interesting. My favorites so far are the profiles of FedEx and IBM. Show this guy some attention so he keeps making them!
As the IEEE reported, Thomas Edison was the first to use the term “bug” in the context of technical malfunctions, and, yes, his did involve actual insects. (This runs contrary to the popular story about Grace Hopper finding a moth in a vacuum tube of the computer she was programming, which I always thought was the origin and first use of the term.)