Thoughts on IGTV

Video is a huge driving force on this planet.

We’ve had so many huge moments in history captured by it. The moon landing, the Challenger Disaster, OKGO’s Treadmill Music Video, and of course 9/11. Which in its own right was of huge historical significance — it was probably the most-watched event in history thanks to the web. So many servers melted that day serving live-video to hundreds of millions of people across the globe, check out the March 2018 episode of The Talk Show and you’ll get a better sense of what I mean.

So let’s dive into this news. Instagram (or should I say Facebook?) is taking a gamble on long-form video. There’s been no shortage of contenders, from Beme to Portal to the more well-known, You’veTube and of course Vimeo.

From Kevin Systrom, Co-Founder & CEO of Instagram:

IGTV is different in a few ways. First, it’s built for how you actually use your phone, so videos are full screen and vertical. Also, unlike on Instagram, videos aren’t limited to one minute. Instead, each video can be up to an hour long.

[…]

Also like TV, IGTV has channels. But, in IGTV, the creators are the channels. When you follow a creator on Instagram, their IGTV channel will show up for you to watch. Anyone can be a creator — you can upload your own IGTV videos in the app or on the web to start your own channel.

I don’t think this is a risky move at all, nor a creative one from Instagram. But, everything the team at Instagram has done in the past 5 years has been top-rate. Their engineers are smart and calculated and know how to scale a product with such finesse, it really is incredible to behold. I’m actually a little shocked they didn’t launch with 2 or 3-hour video capability.

That being said, Instagram is getting into long-form video hosting, not because they want to but because they have to. For one, if they don’t compete, Instagram loses traffic to You’veTube. They want to change that. For two, it’s pretty evident people are re-posting content on Instagram. It’s annoying, it’s not the original content, and no one like being phished for likes.

There’s a special hell for people who enjoyed re-posting content verbatim or claiming it as their own. Or worse, when people sue creators claiming defamation when in reality, it’s Fair Use.

I think IGTV presents an interesting value for the Instagram product. It’s the same reason You’veTube introduced You’veTube Music. It’s all about directing audiences to the proper product for use. Without You’veTube Music, regular You’veTube videos would be getting wildly popular plays while the original music creators would be losing out on the metrics. I suppose there are too many slime videos on Instagram, perhaps there will be a slime video channel on IGTV? Fingers-crossed there is because I’m getting sick of seeing all the weird content on the Explore tab.

Food for thought from Marques Brownlee:

It’s clear that IGTV is a solution designed to solve a problem for original content creators. It’s going to be interesting to see how this plays out.

Thoughts on Microsoft Acquiring Github

The Octocat is dead, long live the Octocat.

So, this just happened. It’s official. Microsoft will acquire GitHub for $7.5 billion in Microsoft stock. Quite the price tag.

I’ve used Github for years. I’m sure many of you have too. It’s really a remarkable place. Millions of users, all humming at their own pace, piecing code together. Hundreds of millions of unique repositories of codebases, open-source projects, communities, and amazing software.

I’m a little concerned and sidewinded by the sheer magnitude of this story. Github has largely been hailed as the neutral library of the world’s code. Communities and enemies alike have been forged in fiery maelstroms of pull requests and pithy “+1” comments on issues. But, for the most part, Github has been a great product. Apart from the occasional server downtime or DDoS attack from China, it’s been great. And personally, the community has largely been life-changing for me. If it weren’t for the community, I probably wouldn’t be where am now.

I can say with certainty, I’m a better developer because of Github.

It’s important to note that Github has been the center of decentralized projects such as Bitcoin Core, or IPFS. Which may be problematic for many organizations realizing that their codebase is hosted online by none other than Microsoft now. I’m sure the irony is not lost on them either. The Hacker News discussion is pretty temperate so far. Very few are conflicted, and even fewer hate it. But, going forward, I believe Github will have an uphill battle regarding trust.

So, what are we to make of the new proprietor? Will Microsoft make sweeping changes to how the product operates? How will repos change? Will repos become a signal for Microsoft to source talent on LinkedIn? I’m so curious to understand Satya Nadella’s motive for acquisition. Microsoft is so huge, and we’ve all seen the negative side of acquisitions before. You know, like LinkedIn.

Ugh. Damnit. That’s the stuff of nightmares right there.

From The Verge:

Microsoft is the top contributor to the site, and has more than 1,000 employees actively pushing code to repositories on GitHub. Microsoft even hosts its own original Windows File Manager source code on GitHub. The service was last valued at $2 billion back in 2015, but it’s not clear exactly how much Microsoft has paid to acquire GitHub.

So that makes sense. I had no idea Microsoft was such a huge contributor. At any rate, Microsoft has never been great at shipping their own creations. Hell, Microsoft never even developed DOS. They bought it. From that perspective, I’m less worried than say if Google or Facebook had acquired Github.

What feels like eons ago in 2014 when Nadella joined Microsoft, John Gruber wrote:

Satya Nadella needs to find Microsoft’s new “a computer on every desk and in every home running Microsoft software”. Here’s my stab at it: Microsoft services, sending data to and from every networked device in the world. The next ubiquity isn’t running on every device, it’s talking to every device.

I thought this was noteworthy to dig up from the Daring Fireball archive. Namely because of the (very) timely news that Microsoft is now more valuable than Google. Sure, market cap fluctuates — regardless, Nadella is penning Microsoft’s new message, and it’s in permanent marker. It’s true that Microsoft in recent years has taken a backseat in services, but only because they’ve gobbled up the best talent in the world. Microsoft is and will continue to, play the long-game. This was a bold and genius move.

I’m apprehensively optimistic about this. Like I said, trust is an uphill battle. Don’t disappoint us Microsoft.

Further Reading:

Slack Adds Actions, for Better or for Worse

You’ve’ll Float Too

There’s a problem with Slack. It adds noise to the workplace. It has added more keystrokes to my daily tasks. It’s just another thing I have to check-in with before proceeding with an actual task at hand.

It simultaneously befuddles processes, and untangles messes. Both are true.

However, Slack has never been a project management tool. It’s no doubt proved useful to teams, big and small (with a $5.1 billion valuation). I’m a firm believer that if your organization employs Slack and Email and no project management software… you’re in for a world of hurt.

But if you’re in the camp that employs the holy trinity (Slack, Email, and any PMS tool), Slack Actions might be your knight in shining armor.

You see, the problem is (as it currently exists) when an email thread goes off the rails, and your sidebar with your co-worker or project manager on Slack — everyone on the email chain is cut off from your singular conversation.

But what if there was a way to loop a Slack conversation back into the communication trinity? An example from The Verge:

In the work-tracking service Asana, for example, you’ll be able to turn a Slack message into a task, complete with the person responsible, due date, and corresponding project. You can also add Slack messages to existing Asana tasks to provide additional context.

Which hopefully emails a notification to the responsible parties. Elementary documentation of record keeps everyone in the loop.

Image from Slack.com

The expanded definition of a Slack Action, from Slack’s documentation:

Actions allow your users to quickly send messages from Slack directly to your app, enabling them to create tasks, comment on messages, follow-up from tickets, and more.

Actions are one way of integrating your app with Slack, similar to the integration points provided by slash commands or interactive messages.

When an action is selected in Slack, your app will be notified with some relevant info; your app could then follow up by:

I believe this helps Slack’s continuity problem. This should prove useful, turning little strings of text into actionable tasks. Any feature improvement that reduces keystrokes for creating a task, or improves productivity is a win.

But, I also believe this is a loss. A loss for those who do not use project management tools. Any feature improvement that excludes workplaces will feel left out and see no positive benefit. I’d like to see a default Slack Action, called Email the Team. Basically, instead of creating an Asana Task, or a Jira Issue, why not open the Mail.app composer and a snippet of the quoted text from our Slack conversation? That would easily be the fastest and sure-fire way to loop my singular conversation back to the main team. Hell, I’d even settle for an Action to Slack DM quoted text to a channel or teammate.

Again, it all comes back to reducing keystrokes. In productivity, that’s the ultimate endgame.

 

Lobe

Lobe, is a visual composer of sorts — for building, training, and exporting custom deep learning models. The interface is very Quartz Composer-esque. Check it out:

If you're in a hurry, watch from 6:12 for a walkthrough on how to create a project from scratch.

Lobe is a start-up from Mike Matas, Markus Beissinger and Adam Menges. Matas, an ex-Apple and ex-Facebook Silicon Valley designer veteran — previously released published this demo called The Brain (see below), which was entirely built in Quartz Composer. A fucking awesome demo.

No wonder Lobe looks like a Quartz composition. Keep in mind, this was published about one year ago:

This is really really exciting stuff. Building and training deep learning models are simple in concept, but complex in reality. Lobe, may just be the first visual tool to bridge that divide.

To quote John Gruber:

Lobe is to CoreML what Illustrator was to PostScript — a profoundly powerful tool that exposes the underlying technology to non-experts through an intuitive visual interface.

Gruber's analogy is probably the best, and he's right. When Desktop Publishing Software exploded in popularity the late 80's and late 90's, everything changed. Productivity skyrocketed, and progress in tooling, production and creative software just took of and to be honest, it never really cooled down. We're still in living in that same epoch, but having different conversations about the same problems.

Lobe truly exposes a whole new world of problem-solving to non-experts and that will lead to some really exciting tools. Hats off to everyone at Lobe. Remarkable work.

Blloc

Came across an interesting device (currently in the pre-order stage) the other day. I think this is a lovely piece of machinery (not unlike the Key Wrangler from CW&T). Details are scant but I thought it was noteworthy to design and construct a device with battery-life and productivity in mind first.

The UI concept is fascinating — just a scrollable list, or timeline as they call it. It claims “Blloc anticipates your needs through learning.” Which, is arguably where Siri (and iOS) should been heading.

I’ve recently moved most of apps to folders, hidden away in obscurity — only have a handful of visible apps on my primary homescreen to keep myself as productive as possible during the day. 

From Adham Badr the founder of Blloc, via Hacker News Discussion:

we def. screwed up communication as we’ve been focused lately on finishing hardware. its based on Android 8.1 and the apps are downloaded via play-store normally. We don’t white or black list, but rather are going through the most used apps and building easier integrations for them

I’m disappointed to see yet another piece of hardware bootstrap together an OS with Android as its secret-sauce. But I get it. Building an OS takes serious work. Now that Windows is out officially out of the game, I’m hoping to see newcomers occupy Microsoft’s mobile vacancy. But this is a start I suppose.

Grayscale and Color at toggleable, a neat concept

T-Mobile and Sprint to Merge

From the AP:

T-Mobile Chief Executive John Legere will head the merger and the company, which will be named T-Mobile. In a video announcement posted on Twitter, Legere said the new company will “create robust competition and lower prices across wireless, video and broadband” and lead the way to 5G technology.

[…]

Sprint has a lot of debt and has posted a string of annual losses. The company has cut costs and made itself more attractive to customers, BTIG Research analyst Walter Piecyk said, but it hasn’t invested enough in its network and doesn’t have enough airwave rights for quality service in rural areas. 

I’m not normally in the camp that believes a merger of this magnitude is good for the regular consumer — but this might actually be good. Better to have three functional telecoms than four uncompetitive companies vying for the top spot amongst consumers. Sometimes it’s good to shake things up a bit.

Care by Volvo Vehicle Subscription

Wow. This is really something else. For a base price of $600/month, you can essentially lease a Volvo XC40 — a crossover class. But, this is really a subscription service. You can subscribe through the app on your iPhone with Apple Pay too. It has all sorts of perks:

  • Upgrade to a new vehicle after 12 months
  • Park assist, and other Volvo car features
  • Car insurance
  • Routine maintenance
  • Roadside assistance
  • Zero money down

Not shabby, considering insurance premiums on new vehicles can often break the bank. And let’s not forget how expensive car maintenance can be. 

The xc40. From Volvo

The downsides? Roberto Baldwin (@strngwys) at Endgadget writes:

As always, though, there are caveats. To qualify for Care by Volvo, you have to fit within certain insurance and credit parameters, as determined by Liberty Mutual. So if you have good credit but you have a few points on your driving record that put you outside what an underwriter finds acceptable, you’re out of luck. There’s no $650-per-month option for a bit higher insurance or to cover your bad credit. It’s all or nothing.

Further reading:

Link: Announcing 1.1.1.1

Cloudflare has a lot to offer. They provide DDoS protection, site reliability products, SSL certificates, CDNs and a whole host of other web-related services. Today, they announced (with help from APNIC), they want to provide a privacy-first, blazing-fast DNS service.

You might be wondering, what is DNS? Well, every single click, HTTP request and Google search begins with a directory lookup. When you click on a link, your device is actually asking the directory to figure our “where is this domain or site?” Since most ISPs are snooping your web traffic, and are becoming increasingly slow to even resolve these requests to your requested destination — changing your DNS can positively improve your browsing experience.

DNS performance chart from: DNSperf

This is seriously great news for the web. Even better news for privacy. Cloudflare promises to never sell your traffic information to anyone. Also, remember when Turkey was blocking Twitter traffic? Yeah, this is a solution to state-sponsored DNS meddling. Privacy-first DNS services are very important to the health of the web, and openness. So happy to see this news, especially since Cloudflare’s recent banning customers for publishing hate speech sites. I think CloudFlare is making all the right moves.

If you want to change your DNS provider on Android, macOS, Windows (or any digital device for that matter), CloudFlare put together a microsite to help you get started. It takes 2 minutes, if that.

You can read more about this awesome announcement from Cloudflare, here on their blog.

The Mac Pro Upgrade

I think this is absolutely top-notch work from some hardcore DIYers. Jason Koebler of Motherboard writes:

The Mac Pro 4.1 and 5.1 are known in the community as the “cheese grater” Mac Pro towers. These are the last highly upgradeable and modifiable desktop computer that Apple sold before moving to the much-maligned “black trash can” design that is sold today and hasn’t changed significantly since 2013. Upgraded versions of the 4.1 and 5.1 are, in many cases, the fastest Apple computers you can buy today.

People are putting new CPUs, RAM, SSDs, and modern graphics cards in the cheese grater Macs that are, in many cases, superior to what you can buy from Apple today. The Facebook group Mac Pro Upgrade is filled with people scooping up old Mac Pros from eBay and Craigslist and modifying the hell out of them.

The sheer fact that you can spend less money buying an old Mac Pro shell from eBay — and buy off-the-shelf components and get a comparable machine is really something else.

Link: The Most Powerful Mac Is 6 Years Old and Not Sold By Apple

Gear for the Year

I have long held the belief, simpler is better. This year, is no exception. I don’t pick-up new hardware regularly, however this past year I have several new additions.

I have long held the belief, simpler is better. This year, is no exception. I don’t pick-up new hardware regularly, however this past year I have several new additions.

The Everyday Backpack

First, and foremost — Peak Design’s 20L Everyday Backpack is the greatest backpack to ever grace the Earth. I’m not kidding. It’s a must have for camera enthusiasts, commuters and urban dwellers. The velcro-enabled shelves ensure organization and protection for your gear. Wether you’re carrying camera equipment or not, it’s really handy. I can see this bag having great outdoor use as well. The rucksack inspired flip-top has a custom designed mag-clip. Durable and extremely rugged the clip can expand to give the bag an extra 10L of storage. 10 fucking liters. Insane.

I don’t have a lot of gripes with this bag. The laptop sleeve is a bit tight (you could fit an iPad as well, there’s a felt partition), but perhaps I’ve just had shitty loose bags my whole life and never had a proper laptop sleeve like this before. All-in-all, it’s a very thoughtfully designed backpack and I don’t foresee myself replacing this for a very long time, as Peak Design offers a Lifetime Warranty on all of their products. Very bold.

While it’s not for me, it’s worth noting Peak Design’s camera clips are pretty badass. I can see this having great utility on a film or photo set or even while hiking.

iPhone 7+ and AirPods

I’m still rocking the iPhone 7+ (for now). It’s a solid iPhone with a decent 12 hour battery life. I may have a go with the iPhone X next year, but I’m pretty satisfied with my iOS device. It’s served well so far, and I want to see how long I can hold onto this one. I’m not in any hurry to have a Qi charging or Face ID enabled iPhone. Great hardware achievements no doubt, but I think I’ll sit on the sidelines for now while the Apple Software team plays catch up.

That being said, I have to say…AirPods are fucking phenomenal. I can’t believe it took me this long to try out AirPods. I had previously purchased the Beatsx but oh boy were those trash. It may just be me, but it felt like it was just piping everything in mono and the treble always felt way too high, and podcasts sounded horribly muffled. The AirPods however, have a great range, and the noise cancelling is favorable — even on a subway platform. Tapping gestures are the way to go, took me a day to get used to them but oh man —there’s no going back for me. 

Sony Alpha a6500

I’ve never really owned a great camera. In the past, I’ve dabbled with GoPro’s, camera rentals and of course, my iPhone. But I’ve never really owned a worthy digital camera. After a great deal of searching, I narrowed my selection down to two contenders: The Fujifilm X-T20, and the Sony Alpha a6500. Two very capable, and very well received cameras. On one hand the X-T20 was very affordable — and on the other huge mass adoption the Sony Alpha line was taking off at the beginning of the 2017. I found the Fujifilm lenses were pretty expensive, and so I ultimately went with the Alpha.

I’ve been very happy with the stills and video. 4K capable (not stabilized) video could be better, but the stills take the cake. It’s a lightweight companion for any photographer. Mirrorless cameras are taking off, and personally I couldn’t be happier. The battery life has been the most impressive trade-off. Even while recording 4k 60fps video, the battery really lasts. The end of massive, weighty DSLR’s are neigh. A++.

Bonus: Check out some of my photos here on Unsplash.

Rangers 57'' Aluminum Tripod

Tripods are annoying. They’re big. They’re bulky. They’re heavy. Well, the Rangers 57” Tripod changes all that. It’s a great buy. 100% worth it. Even if you use your tripod only a couple times a year — this thing is worth the trouble. Weighing in at only 2.89 lbs. (1.3 kg) with the ballhead attached is crazy.

Google Home

I bought this last November, and so far I have to say it’s a cool device. I wouldn’t say it’s immensely useful. But it is a great way to interface with the Chromecast. An audio query to play Ugly Delicious on Netflix is a lot faster than whipping out my iPhone, open Netflix, search, play, and Chromecast to the TV.

The iOS companion (unassumingly called Google Home) app, it pretty terrible. I’ve sent feedback on the app probably 10 times. You can’t output audio from Chromecast => Google Home which is a damn shame. It should be a two-way street but I guess Chromecast just can’t handle the bandwidth.

Furthermore, I’m disappointed Google Home doesn’t support Apple Music. You can play Apple Music over bluetooth audio to the speaker, but come on — I want Google Home to have access to the Apple Music API for voice queries. 

2015 13" MacBook Pro with Retina Display

Still going strong. It’s tough to justify buying a new MacBook when this one just keeps going and going. It’s had some minor graphics bugs when it hasn’t been shut down in weeks, but apart from that it’s been great. 

I’d also like to point out I bought this gently used on eBay. Never underestimate the power of used computer equipment. I was apprehensive at first, especially since I’m a strong advocate of AppleCare but it’s been the best. I saved nearly $800 buying it used. I cannot recommend eBay enough.

The iPhone X Home Indicator Color

I thought this was such a great read. Nathan Gitter (@nathangitter on Twitter), a fellow Texan, designer and engineer wrote a deep-dive into the what and behind the new iPhone X home indicator color. Chock-full of charts, observations and experiments — Nathan really went the extra mile.

I especially enjoyed the hidden SpringBoard debug menu he discovered in his investigation. Which begs the question, should we start calling the home indicator the “grabber” now? I mean, I’m all for it. Check out Nathan’s findings below:

View at Medium.com

The Future of the iPhone

Can the Apple Watch replace the iPhone one day?

I came across an interesting piece from Owen Williams. It was written on just after Apple’s 2017 Keynote announcing the iPhone X and the Apple Watch Series 3 with LTE capability:

But while I was watching the event, all I could think about was that this phone might be the last smartphone to matter at all. That it marks the beginning of the end of phones as we know it, and we’re at the precipice of them just becoming tools.

 

What triggered this response wasn’t so much that the iPhone X was amazing — it’s that Apple figured out how to put cellular into a Watch.

 

Smartphones, as a category, are racing to the bottom. Each other year a trend sets the stage for what phone makers will try to cram in to help market yet another phone in various different ways.

Williams (@ow on Twitter) is a fantastic writer, developer and entrepreneur. He really got me thinking about the future of the iOS ecosystem.

Under the current paradigm, Apple’s ecosystem has three components. The Mac, iOS device(s) and (to public dismay) Entertainment Services (iTunes, Apple Music, iCloud). They mesh together well, and others have certainly taken notice. The ecosystem isn’t unique to Apple, but it laid the foundation of Apple’s stellar success as far back as the introduction of the iPod back in 2001.

Anyone who says Apple’s ecosystem isn’t working is a fool. The Services category alone brought in $7.2B dollars in revenue. The Macintosh line brings in about $5B per quarter.

That being said, iPhone revenue is insane. On average, Apple nets somewhere between $35B–$55B per quarter in the iPhone category. The real question is, is Apple willing to nose-dive their revenue pipeline and the product ecosystem by retiring their most successful product?

Probably not. It’s unclear how many Apple Watches are being sold each quarter, and furthermore we know demand is much higher for the iPhone.

What we do know is that iPad sales have cannibalized some of the Mac sales each quarter (albeit a small figure), which is a figure Apple watches closely. The iPad and Mac product relationship is undergoing a transformation. Which is probably why we will never see LTE in a Mac (a huge fucking bummer). Keeping them on separate hemispheres of innovation is critical to shifting users around.

Shifting users from iOS Power Users to Apple Watch Power Users is no easy task. So surely, there will be iPhones in the longterm foreseeable future. Make no mistake, Apple is clearly making serious moves into wearables. But I don’t think retiring iPhones will make sense. I’d love to ditch the iPhone for an Apple Watch, Mac and a pair of Air Pods. Because let’s face it — communication has changed. People make calls less now. Between texting, messaging and emails, I place maybe less than 20 calls per month.

If Apple continues to move innovations from the iPhone to the Apple Watch — one can expect the iPhone to go the way of the iPod. But I don’t that is the case. It’s more probable to say that the iPhone X may just be the last iPhone that matters.

WeWork has Bought Flatiron School

From FastCo:

“WeWork’s culture is one in which we are always ready to do more, to learn more, and we are proud to expand our offering with this new platform for learning,” said WeWork CEO Adam Neumann. “In Flatiron, we have found a partner who shares our vision of connecting people–through space, design, technology, and community–and understands that those connections are what humanizes the way we work and live. We are all students for life.”

Seems like everyone is digging a moat around their business these days. WeWork will start rolling out Flatiron School bootcamps at select offices in the future. Very interesting move. Bootcamps are pretty contentious. While most American graduates are seeing a employment decline in the post-grad life — many see these “code schools” are seen as a panacea.

Many of these schools have post-grad salary claims that are obviously inflated. Flatiron ,was among them as well — the company apparently paid a tiny out-of-court settlement. Then again, what schools don’t make unsubstantiated claims about their students and alumni?

WeWork is building a colossal network. Connecting the tenants of education and craft won’t be easy, but you have to start somewhere.

Lyft Prepares for IPO

From Reuters:

On Thursday, Reuters reported that San Francisco-based Lyft is close to hiring an IPO advisory firm as a first concrete step toward becoming publicly listed.

Lyft would establish a public valuation for ride services startups that has been elusive. Lyft was valued at $7.5 billion in its latest fundraising, while larger rival Uber is valued at $68 billion. Some question whether that is fair, given the range of scandals at Uber this year. In August, Uber’s new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi set a new tentative timeline for Uber’s IPO of between 18 and 36 months.

Interesting news. It appears that Lyft is attempting to get to the IPO stage before Uber. I’m curious what Wall Street will do when they file. I’m rooting for Lyft, and personally rooting for Logan Green — the CEO. Green is smart, methodical and runs a tight ship. The LA Times has a great write-up about him and the future of Lyft, here.

Uber is hemorrhaging cash in R&D, has continuous workplace problems, and isn’t even profitable. Ride-sharing (and hailing) is a difficult game, but both Lyft and Uber seem to be investing in AI which is a wise choice. It’s good to see Lyft is courting investors this early on in autonomous ride tech, and has even struck deals with Ford and GM. Uber is notably not into collaborations or any deals for that matter.

Green knows what he’s doing. Nothing creative happens in a vacuum. I’m thinking Lyft is a buy. Uber is definitely in the hard pass column.

How Tiny Might Make The Web A Better Place

It’s the year 2000 and The Dot-com Bubble has just arrived. I was 11 years old at the time. I don’t remember it. What I do remember is playing Chess on Yahoo! Games or chatting with friends on AIM. Those were the good ol days.

However, researching The Dot-com Bubble has been eye-opening. Two major factors catalyzed the conflagration of sell-offs, bankruptcy and failure of so many e-companies (as they were called then). Those startups (as we call them now), were plagued with:

  1. A crazy amount of over-spending. [1]
  2. The stock market crash that followed the 9/11 attacks.

9/11 was unavoidable for those businesses. But overspending, or burning cash was a very serious problem then — and remains a serious problem now. Snapchat lost almost half a billion dollars in 2016. Uber spent $2.6 billion in 2016 alone. Apple, the prodigal son spent $10 billion on R&D in 2016. The tide is pulling back for some of these VC-backed companies, and there may be a tsunami looming around the corner.

Enter, the holding company.

Holding companies reduce the risk for owners. If a financial hardship comes for one of the holdings, it’s unlikely the business will disappear as the corporate group as a whole owns a stake. This is a healthy relationship, and strengthens the bonds between business and consumers.

Tiny's Homepage

Recently I came across Tiny. Tiny invests in internet startups, but it also buys businesses into their holdings. If you’re a bootstrapped company, struggling to grow under your own weight, or can scale to level that your VC’s want — Tiny will make you an offer (within 7 days no less).

Their portfolio is very impressive.

Dribbble, Crew, Designer News, Need/Want, and Buffer are just a few of their holdings. Tiny won’t flip the business, and they won’t come in and micro-manage team culture. These internet businesses are thriving — each one isn’t an Uber-sized goliath, but they come together in harmony. Each one working as hard as the next, producing a quality cluster of nodes for the web. Each one producing jobs, solving problems and existing through lean years and fat years. Even The Walt Disney Company has an immense amount of holdings and assets, which to say the least… is smart.

If another (VC catalyzed) bubble is coming, and it most certainly will… I believe most of the businesses (if not all) within Tiny will survive. As overspending becomes more and more entrenched, it’s going to get rough out there. Minimizing the next bubble fallout means taking action.

Holding companies can make the web a healthier place. Less link rot. Less bullshitery like what happened to Vine. No more dead projects like FFFFOUND, RIP.

Maybe I’m paranoid, buy if you’re not standing underneath the umbrella of a holding company, I’d be worried about survival.

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