One of the challenges of being young is you don’t know what excellence looks like — you just don’t have the reps to know. So you should make it a priority to shortcut those reps in any way you can— read the books, find the people, look at the work…


We want to tell you about three trends that are changing America today.

The first is that our country is getting older. You’ll hear things like “10,000 people turn 65 a day” but that doesn’t adequately convey the actuarial drumbeat. …


In geographical space, you can open a hot dog stand with a relatively undifferentiated product, at least compared to other hot dog stands, and have a geographic monopoly.

But on the internet, that hot dog stand isn’t going to stand a chance. On one end, you have Amazon selling very…


2017 ended up being a year of tremendous growth, after what I now realize was a year of terrifying stagnation.

In 2017, I started a new company, moved to a new apartment, fell in love, started seeing a coach regularly (highly recommended), experienced loss, began developing a practice of presence…


There was a time when hardware was the business, and software was the thing that came free. The idea that you could charge money for bits instead of atoms, and build a big business was crazy. Then came Microsoft, Visicorp, Lotus. And the hardware became mostly commoditized.

As a business…


The trend within the venture community over the last decade or so has been the notion of “founder friendly” — supporting your founders through thick and thin.

It arose out of a FOMF (Fear Of Missing Facebook): when Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg passed over Sequoia because of Sequoia’s relationship with Zuck…


I have a suspicion that there’s a new enterprise weather company to be built. To be completely honest, I don’t know very much about weather. I started reading and asking questions a few months ago. But last time I tried this, I met some great friends and great companies, including…


There are some answers that aren’t worth knowing. At least not right now. It might take too much effort to find. The question might be wrong. The world might change. It might be unknowable.

The traditional analytical approach is to “do the work” to understand what you don’t know, piece…


Silicon Valley’s original sin was an act of betrayal. Eight employees left Shockley Semiconductor to found their own company, and William Shockley named them the Traitorous Eight.

The newly formed company, Fairchild Semiconductor, was as successful as we can only hope our own ventures are. But it had its…


One of the most remarkable parts of Snap’s S-1 (see my larger analysis here) was the explicit decision to not pursue the ‘lite’ strategy taken by Snap’s social network peers like Facebook and Twitter:

Our focus on innovative camera experiences means that many of our products are data intensive and…

Sam Gerstenzang

Building @askumbrella. Previously building products, teams, and companies at @sidewalklabs & @imgur, investing at @a16z http://samgerstenzang.com

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