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By Paul Holland, General Partner at Foundation Capital

The earliest companies in Silicon Valley were created by dreamers. Driven by visions of an improved future, these dreamers built entirely new areas of technology, including semiconductors, computers and networking. But those ventures also laid the groundwork for companies today, which are using that technology to bring massive change to the industries that form the foundation of our modern society. …

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is the

Next-Generation Design Thinking

We were recently asked (again) if the Rapid Ingenuity Practices were inspired by Agile and Scrum methodologies.

The simple answer is “No.”

End of blog?


Since we keep getting asked, it’s probably worth taking a closer look at how they’re related.

Agile has its roots in software development, but today you can find people across organizations using it to run projects. Why has Agile taken hold? Because the big bets and risk-filled assumptions of traditional waterfall project management too often failed to deliver products and projects. Agile wins because it works.

Rapid Ingenuity has its roots in how designers are taught to solve problems — what has been coined as design thinking by IDEO and Stanford founder David M. Kelly. So, today you can find people across sectors and industries embracing design thinking to solve challenges where MBA thinking has failed to do so. Design thinking produces solutions — and results — that business problem solving orthodoxies cannot. …

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Photo credit: jurvetson / Foter / CC BY

Leslie Berlin is right on point in her latest blog post making a case for the three forces that continue to shape Silicon Valley: A culture born of a high quality of life and world-class universities, investment funds from the Valley’s efficient capital markets, and technology that continues to enable cycles of creative destruction. It’s sure nice to see someone place Silicon Valley in a historical context and her post is a welcome relief from breathless techie media pundits who seem to forget about everything that is more than a week old.

Ms. Berlin reminds us that transistor technology started the relentless tick-tock of Moore’s law. Transistors per square inch of chip will continue to double until transistor size reaches seven nanometers, which I expect to happen in….2018! Once we meet the material boundaries of silicon, we’ll need to migrate to new materials like graphene, a one-atom-thick layer of crystallized carbon. …

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The rise of incubators, accelerators and a critical mass of successful serial entrepreneurs has played a positive role in driving methodology and rigor into the process of building startups. That discipline has increased both the pace of growth and disruption, and shortened the time to learning. Steve Blank, successful serial entrepreneur, turned professor, investor and mentor, has done the hard work of codifying the mythology into a methodology, giving rise to the Lean Startup movement. Alex Osterwalder has done the same with his corollary, Business Model Canvas.

Everything Steve is writing about startups is 100% applicable to the Global 1000. Steve’s recent blog post, “Why Build, Measure, Learn — Isn’t Just Throwing Things Against the Wall To See If They Work,” is yet another relevant example of this. In it, Steve compares the “old” (but still tenacious in big companies) product waterfall approach to the MVP/Build-Measure-Learn method. MVP as an approach is as applicable to large companies as it is to ones just starting out. …

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There are tectonic changes happening that will eliminate hundreds of thousands of jobs, close factories and have a major effect on the global allocation of capital.

And you can guess from the title of this blog who I’m going to blame.

Google and those crazy autonomous vehicles.

For those of us living in the San Francisco Bay area we’re used to sharing our gridlocked roads with fleets of self-driving cars while wishing we had one too. But it raises a question “What might happen when cars don’t crash?”

I’ll start my thoughts from the perspective of the P&C Insurance industry — in which I spent over a decade. In 2011 Bob Joop Goos, chairman of the International Organization for Road Accident Prevention stated, “More than 90 percent of road accidents are caused by human error.” So, what might happen to premiums if that risk were largely removed? …

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The Clash might have been writing an anthem for want-to-be entrepreneurs inside big companies when they penned their hit song.

In his latest post in TechCrunch entitled “Consider Pitching A ‘Virtual Startup’ To Your Boss” author Steven Sokol (@ssokol) highlights one of the big differences between virtual startups and “real” startups — equity. Sokol asserts, “Traditional startups…have a huge pool of (initially) worthless stock. It’s far easier for a traditional startup to offer a mix of salary and equity to attract and retain talent.”

The truth is the Global 1000 are full of smart, enterprising, intrapreneurs with the talent, smarts, and experience needed to birth and raise new business — but who don’t want to take the high risk bet of leaving their company on the off chance they might strike it rich when and if their startup goes public. …

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No Unicorns were harmed in the making of this image.

It’s Only Just Begun

The battle of the G1000 Dinosaurs vs the billion dollar Unicorns is getting lots of attention these days. And if the pundits are to be believed, it will result in one of the largest shifts in shareholder value mankind has ever seen.

This week saw missives from both sides. From the Dinosaurs, in his annual letter to shareholders, JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon warned his investors that “Silicon Valley is coming” and that “there is much for us to learn in terms of … reduction of costs and ‘pain points’ for customers.” …


The Mach49 Blog

Mach49 was founded on the belief that global businesses can solve the world’s most pressing problems through venture building and investing.

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