Tech Market Analysis


If you’ve watched any industry in the last 20 years where technology has begun to transform how the industry works the results are always predictable driven by what Clay Christensen appropriately called “The Innovator’s Dilemma” (one of the most influential books that changed my thinking about markets).

Young startups claim they are going to change the world, large companies that dominate that sector scoff at how low quality these new entrants are, until like frogs boiling in water they come to the realization that “this shit is real.” The next step is the industry tries to fight back.

TrueCar┬áis the first ever Internet service that tells you exactly how much other people in your area paid for the car you want to buy. You enter your make, model, trim & year and out pops a price curve of purchases in your area and in most states you will then be offered a fixed price to purchase that car. More Americans buy cars through TrueCar (Upfront is a large investor through my partner Steven Dietz) than any other place by a long shot. I can’t imagine buying a car any other way.

So what could be wrong with price transparency in the auto sector? Apparently everything. As soon as TrueCar started growing at a phenomenal pace and dealers who understood it was an amazing channel to acquire customers (they only pay a fee if TrueCar sells a the car) a few dealers in every area started sucking up all of the sales. Luddite dealers started petitioning state governments to make TrueCar illegal.

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By now you likely know that Marc Andreessen weighed in on anonymous apps in a 12-part Twitter diatribe.

Anonymity. As the old joke goes, “on the Internet nobody knows you’re a dog.”

I have been weighing in slowly on the topic over the past few weeks on Twitter but have avoided writing a blog post about it until now. This was in part due to a tremendously busy 30-day period for me (in which my overall writing has been down) and in part the inevitability of knowing that weighing in just tees me up to take abuse on one anonymous app called Secret.

I have thought a lot about anonymity over the years and actually have enjoyed debating the topic with those passionate about anonymity’s benefits because of course that’s how I learn.

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Tom Perkins is one of the founding members of the venerable venture capitalist firm Kleiner Perkins. He just had his Mitt Romney moment and his name will forever be etched in the collective consciousness of the tech community for this terribly insensitive and tone deaf letter to the Wall Street Journal.

The headline of Mr. Perkins letter to the WSJ?

Progressive Kristallnacht Coming?

“I would call attention to the parallels of Nazi Germany to its war on its “one percent,” namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the “rich.””

Um.

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If you follow the tech media you would be subject to a lot of narrative biases that are completely off base – and this includes the value of email and phone calls.

TL;DR

Tech news keeps proclaiming “phone calls are dead,” which is useful except that the data suggests the exact opposite. Calls are changing but not dying.
All the data actually suggests with the growth of mobile, inbound sales calls will double from 30 billion to 60 billion in 3 years (source: Kelsey)
In fact 61% of all mobile searches where a customer contacts a business it is via a phone call (source: Google). Much more data in the full post.
It’s why the first company I ever invested in as a VC – Invoca – just announced a $20 million funding by Accel Partners. They have grown at a 200% CAGR over the past 4 years

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Without DogVacay my Thanksgiving would have been ruined. That’s a fact. And I’m not an investor. I just had to tell this story. It’s a great one about entrepreneurship, friendship and the collaborative economy that is helping families in need across the world.

The Background

Every year my family meets in San Diego for Thanksgiving. My 3 siblings & I make the trek to spend 4-5 days with the 9 grand children, my mom, my cousin and few other very close family members. It’s the one time per year that my entire family decompresses and spends high-quality time together under one roof. We rent a house through HomeAway and all stay under one big roof.

This year the night before the journey my brother got a call from the person who had committed to watch his dogs that she wasn’t able to watch them after all. Panic ensued as we couldn’t bring the dogs to San Diego and my brother’s three kids look forward to this great trip all year.

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I spoke this past week at the LeWeb conference in London, which was a superbly well run event with a very quality production team. Kudos. The 20-minute video of my presentation is here if you’re interested.

And it was convenient for me because we also held our annual London board meeting of DataSift, who helps companies processes and analyze large volumes of social plus enterprise data in realtime.

Final le web london (june 2013) from Mark Suster

The topic of the conference was “The Sharing Economy” and as I read many of the session title descriptions I realized that people would be talking more about “collaborative consumption” (think airbnb, taskrabbit, uber) than about why people are sharing more on Instragram & Snapchat.

You can of course view the presentation in SlideShare above

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