Buy now, pay later’s next act

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J. Paul Getty had a simple formula for success: “Rise early, work hard, strike oil.”

His life seemed to follow precisely that pattern. …


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Hara Masahiro looked out the window, turning the same problem over again in his mind.

Why couldn’t he solve it?

He’d come so far. To fail now…well, it was a heartbreaking thought. The city passed the grey, drab window of his commuter train, pulling him back toward the office and another day of studying the odd speckle of black and white to which he’d devoted himself.

Perhaps he reflected on the question of speed as he swung through Kariya, a city along Japan’s eastern coast. …


The religions of Tesla, bitcoin, and Peter Thiel

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WHO IS THIS FOR?

  • Founders. Peter Thiel talked about the value in building a “cult” at your startup. What does that mean? And how might you take it further? The secret in creating a truly resistant organization may require building a religion.
  • Investors. Scott Galloway often talks about backing “unregulated monopolies.” Another ripe category for investment might be “unrecognized religions.” There’s a reason Tesla is so difficult to short.
  • Learners. Technology has fundamentally changed how religions are born. Communities coalesce on message boards, spread ideology on social media, and create functional gods. …

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An explanation of why The Generalist’s initial piece on compounders was removed from the website, and why it has returned in a revised form.

As many of you will remember, on October 18, 2020, The Generalist published “C.R.E.A.M.” the first part in a series on “compounders,” companies that grow double-digits over an extended period.

It was a piece I’d written with a collaborator. I’d enjoyed the research and writing, and I was proud of it. As with most of my work, the goal was to explain a concept many might have heard about, framing it in a way that contributes to the conversation, making it more memorable. …


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The upshot: VCs are looking to capture talent earlier and earlier. This has created opportunities and complications for new founders.

Olivia Moultrie receives the ball with her back to goal, just past the halfway line. In a fluid motion, she turns, brings the ball into stride, and with an effortless shimmy evades a defender’s pressure. It’s a confident, elegant move, almost knowing in the use of space and physicality.

With the ball at her feet, Olivia looks like a veteran. In the clip referred to, s he’s only thirteen.

She’s already a professional, though. After training with European giants Paris Saint-Germain, Lyon, and Bayern Munich, Olivia signed terms with the Portland Thorns. To do so, she turned down the scholarship the University of North Carolina had offered her at the tender age of 11. …


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In 2014, I tried to start a bank.

Perhaps if I tell you the other ideas I considered, you’ll get a sense of how prepared I was for this effort.

  • A “fun” weather app. I was very light on the particulars of what would make it enjoyable.
  • A review site for bars called “BottlecApp.” I am not sure which came first, the terrible pun or the terrible idea.
  • A video dating app. Instead of pictures, you could view short clips to get a sense for the person before committing to meeting. Not a dreadful idea but undercooked and underwhelming.

“Man is the only animal that blushes. Or needs to,” Mark Twain said. In recounting this list, I felt a heat rise in my cheeks, a twinge of my embarrassment that lives six years later. …


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Venture capital can seem like a drab world sometimes.

Though far from the sobriety of investment banking, consulting, or private equity, it can suffer from the same uniformities of background, appearance, and thought. There’s a reason why being considered a “contrarian” was once a prized accolade, even if that term has been bludgeoned into meaninglessness of late.

If the asset class is a blur of monochromatism, all blacks and whites and dull grays, Jenny Friedman is a stripe of color thrown across the canvas. …


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This is Part II in a series on Audience and Wealth. Part I focused on the problem the creators solve for consumers and the business models they use to build wealth. You can read it here. Today, we’ll close the series by discussing the following subjects:

  1. The roles creators, audience, and advertisers play
  2. Why creators should solve for co-creation, shared status, and shared wealth
  3. The emergence of new roles and new models

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In 2012, researchers at the University of Oregon sought to answer a philosophical question: how do the roles we play affect our behavior? …


Scammed by Thomas Edison, abandoned by JP Morgan

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Nikola Tesla was the greatest inventor of his era. He died penniless and alone, swindled by both Thomas Edison and JP Morgan.

Tesla was born in 1856 in a mountainous region of Croatia. His father was a Serbian-Orthodox priest, learned. But Nikola got his gifts from his mother. Though she’d never attended school, Duka Tesla had a knack for building appliances. She also had a remarkable memory.

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Erik Torenberg is hard to put in a box.

When you think of him, what comes to mind first? His investments with Village Global? His time as an operator at Product Hunt? The Venture Stories podcast he hosts? Or the digital university he founded, On Deck?

Often in this newsletter, I write about venture capitalists, creators, and founders: Erik is all of those things, rolled into one. He’s one of the hardest-working people in tech, and yet when I spoke with him, I was struck by how low-key he is, how relaxed.

It’s perhaps why when I think of Erik — a tech mainstay that moonlights as a freestyle rapper — two words come to mind: hustle and flow. He is someone unafraid to work hard, to take swings, to hustle, but does so in a way that makes you think he barely sweats. …

About

Mario Gabriele

Tech from idea to IPO at readthegeneralist.com. Investing in chaotic-good founders at charge.vc

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