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News Moves

News junkies everywhere know that it is the best of times, as news is presented in various forms through a multitude of channels, often in real time — but fear the worst of times, as the implosion of the former monolith of print news threatens the existence of journalism as a profession. Clay Shirky writes a very sage and direct post on the end of the printed newspaper, and particularly faults the coverage of this decline in, well, the printed…

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Venture Alignment

Do venture capitalists get paid very well to lose other people’s money? That is the thesis of a piece by Diane Mulchay, director of private equity at the Kaufmann Foundation. Along with misaligned fee structures and the limited downside risk, the core of her critique is particularly brutal: despite a claimed expertise to recognize and reward new ideas, the venture capital industry itself doesn’t innovate. Indeed, it feels that — similar to many industries exploited by the same startup firms…

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Labor’s Links

Quick - to aptly recognize Labor Day, everyone go update their LinkedIn profiles. You won't be alone: LinkedIn membership has tripled in the past three years and now stands at about 315 million professionals, of whom two-thirds live outside the United States. The company generates revenue of more than $1.5 billion, and its market capitalization exceeds $27 billion. Its achievement is simple and remarkable: LinkedIn has transformed the marketplace for professional labor. The Economist magazine provides a very good summary…

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Five Best Blogs: September 2014

A smattering of topics this month, including Marc Andreesen on why the IPO is dying; cogent advice on why founders should get some early liquidity; analysis and context of the S&P 500's historic close above 2,000;  our former professor Max's advice on how to notice what Harvard MBA's miss; a brief from consultancy McKinsey on monetizing mobile APIs; and for extra credit (just in case you were wondering) an explanation of why Google is buying all the robots.

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One Cool Thing: The Wirecutter

Inspired by Labor Day traffic, we decided to rise above the crowds. Instead of recommending a specific product, we are going all meta:  The Wirecutter is a cultivated list of great gadgets, with "each pick chosen mindfully and in accordance with many hours of research, interviews [...] and testing." There is ample variety by the standard subject category, but more interesting are the themes around specific activities: road trip gear (which extends from jumper cables, to coolers, to navigation apps)…

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Price Imperfect

As comfortable as an Uber ride is, it sure seems to cause a lot of distress. Recently protests against Uber rolled Europe, even as the company was flexing its muscle with an $1.2 billion capital raise at a valuation in excess of $18 billion. Uber's international expansion has been remarkable, as this graph illustrates. And not to be outdone with Taxi Cab Confessions, the company has spawned a few stories too.Sometimes overlooked in their stratospheric growth is something more ambitious than…

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World Cupenomics

We are big fans of the global game, so this is a month to relish - and a tremendous start.  As enthralling as the competition is, the cultural implications of futball are equally captivating.  Some of the best writing on the game off the field -- and which deserves a read no matter your sport  -- is in The Economist, who are offering an entire and evolving series on the ramifications of the Cup (registration required), and The New Republic, which…

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Strong Signs in Weak Signals

The ceaseless flow of information and data running through most businesses now has made it easier to spot big trends, but also threatens to wash over smaller pieces of critical information. But increasingly, it is these small snippets of data that carry important insights - key pieces of information floating along in the fast-paced stream of social data. McKinsey recently published an article on the value of these weak signals, and several principles on how to harness their power and…

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A Theory of Jerks

We've all been there, perhaps. Struggling through the day to get things done -- noble things, often, for good people. Things that are necessary, important even. Positive outcomes. All that.  And yet sometimes we keep hitting unnecessary obstacles: The line of people in the post office is a mass of unimportant fools; it’s a felt injustice that you must wait while they bumble with their requests. The flight attendant is not a potentially interesting person with her own cares and…

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Five Best Blogs: June 2014

We are catching up on the venture capital scene this month, with a good profile of Sequoia Capital (the VC "It Girl" of the past, oh few decades), a primer by Bill Janeway on the future of venture capital, a piece on the changing nature of competition, some great data on the VC Power Law for exits, and the invaluable annual presentation of Internet Trends by KPCB's Mary Meeker.

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