I know I’ve been remiss in not posting as often as I planned, but I felt compelled to post something today. This summer, I’m working for in venture capital for DBL Investors, an amazing VC that is achieving top tier financial returns while also providing positive double-bottom line impact. I’m enjoying the work immensely, finding it to be incredibly rewarding and challenging on a daily basis, and more inspiring than you’d imagine.
Now, you may not know much about the VC world, but it has been in the news recently, particularly given the gender-discrimination lawsuit at KPCB. While I cannot profess to know anything about the practices of KPCB, a firm with a strong and legendary name in the space, I can speak to my experience at DBL. First, our firm has 2 Managing Partners, both women who run the show. The overall gender breakdown has 5 women and 3 men among the full-time staff. And, not once have I ever seen the slightest example of sexism within the work place.
So, mom, sister, and any other women in my life, rest assured that I haven’t signed up for some evil industry. Rather, I’m working to help fuel economic growth, while simultaneously enabling social, environmental, and economic improvement in the regions where our businesses operate.
551 days. $1 billion. $400 million to Kevin, $100 million to Mike, $200 million to investors, and a cool $100 million to be split among the other 11 employees. Not a bad day for Instagram and its employees!
However, what struck me today was the timing of the announcement. Facebook is in the so-called “quiet period” before its IPO. Yet, by acquiring Instagram, Facebook is clearly making a material acquisition that required an announcement and will necessitate a refiling of its S-1 with the folks at the SEC. While there is no reason to think that Facebook has violated SEC rules, it did bring about a whole mess of paperwork and hype. So, why now?
Most of the news media is reporting that Facebook had something to fear from Instagram’s growing popularity, particularly on mobile platforms. Yet, that seems silly. Even though Instagram has 30 million users and likely would have hit 100 million eventually, I don’t think Facebook is clamoring to reach these people most, if not all, of whom use Facebook. Was it competition? If so, why Instagram and not Path? Is Instagram really a threat to Facebook?
I don’t see it. So, for now, congratulations to Kevin, Mike, and the rest of the Instagram team. In under two years, you’ve built a $1 billion company, while generating zero revenue. And, in less than two weeks, you went from raising $60 million in VC funding at a $500 million valuation to selling at $1 billion. Not bad!
Finally, one last interesting biological/historical note. Lost in most of the reporting has been personal information on the Instagram founders. Kevin Systrom was Stanford ‘06, a member of Sigma Nu, and in addition to previously working at Google had also worked at Odeo. Sound familiar? Can’t place it? Odeo was the podcast start-up that also employed the talented Twitter trio - Evan Williams, Biz Stone, and Jack Dorsey. Clearly something was in the water!
So, if anyone else knows an Odeo alum trying to start the next Billion Dollar company, let me know and be sure to invest so that you too may become Insta-rich!
I’ve spent a good deal of time today thinking about Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram - mostly due to the fact that I went to school with the founders. However, this posting blends my political and tech interests in a way that I’d have never been able to articulate on my own… Congrats Mike and Kevin!
Source: Joey deVilla/Global Nerdy
Original image by Diana Walker for Time.
I want to go to there.
The entrance to the Quad.
Submitted by: Angelica Parente, PhD ‘16
The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money. — Alexis de Tocqueville
I miss tuck cc @marysunnymccoy @mike_lazar @colleenfa
So do I. So do I.
As part of a mandatory school program, I’m currently travelling with a group of classmates from Yale School of Management to Chile. However, before the official trip begins, several of my friends and I are visiting Argentina and possibly Uruguay. Rough life - I know.
In these early days of travelling, I’ve been struck by the lifestyle differences present here in Mendoza and the US. Mendoza is the capitol city of Mendoza in western Argentina, sits at the foot of the Andes, and produces most of the world’s finest Malbec, as well as many other fine Argentine wines. And, while the vineyards outside Mendoza bear a strong physical resemblance to Napa or Sonoma, with a bit of Latin American influence, the city itself is bustling, with beautiful city parks and some of the traffic patterns one might associate with Delhi or Bombay. It actually feels a bit like a desert town such as Kiryat Gat, Israel.
Yet, the people of Mendoza live a very different life. Locals sit for meals much later, with dinner rarely beginning before 10pm and running long into the night. Last evening, we stopped by a local nightlife spot, and the place only began really filling in at 2am. On a Tuesday!
Walking the streets of Mendoza, we encountered people enjoying their day, taking in the sun while relaxing in the glorious city parks with colorful fountains and pools and generally appreciating the beautiful architecture that surprises around any corner. The Park Hyatt, which rests at one side of the Plaza Independence, is a particularly stunning building. And, while skeptics might assume that the plethora of people on park benches and out late at night, might indicate rampant unemployment, Argentina is enjoying a lower rate of unemployment than the US these days.
In fact, the people here have surprised in many ways. They are international, motivated, and seem excited about the future. We’ve met locals who have lived abroad in the US, within Latin America, and who have big dreams. We’ve met other tourists from as far as Australia and Germany, who have come to explore this beautiful city at the base of the Andes. I have to admit, I wasn’t sure what to expect in Mendoza, and it was certainly the place I was least enthused to visit on our itinerary. Yet, I’ve been beyond pleasantly surprised and am enthusiastically looking forward to what lies ahead!
I’d urge everyone to stop what they are doing and read this article (preferably while listening to some Joshua Bell). While reading it, ask yourself whether you spend enough time appreciating the beauty around you on a daily basis? Does anyone?
It seems to me that in a highly digital world, we are more prone than ever to tune out nature and beauty, to miss opportunities that lie in front of us. Context is clearly important and this serves as a good lesson for anyone thinking about a career in marketing or branding.
Where and when are the right times to reach a customer? How does one pierce the digital shield that we all live within? What resonates? Why?
No matter what you think, try unplugging for a little bit each day. Try not listening to your iPod during your commute. Take the long way home and try to notice something new. Stop and listen to a street performer. You just might find beauty in the most unexpected of places.