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Above: One among my favourite moments in 2018, with the a16z staff and POTUS44. 

 

Expensive readers,

Wow, so 2018 was a 12 months with quite a lot of change – I began a brand new job, recommitted myself to writing (and tweeting), traveled somewhat an excessive amount of, moved again right down to Palo Alto (briefly!), and a lot more. And in considered one of my favourite moments of the 12 months, the workplace obtained swarmed by the Secret Service as a result of Barack Obama came over – that was enjoyable.

I’m additionally completely happy to redouble my efforts to writing and publish more, which I can do my new position as an investor at a16z. Beforehand, my tempo was possibly as soon as each different month – issues had been at all times too loopy at Uber, and it didn’t immediately assist my job there, so I couldn’t carve out time. Today, I think about writing as a part of my work and dedicate time to it, blocked out on my calendar. Consequently, I’ve been in a position to publish a couple of occasions a month currently – I wish to proceed tempo into 2019!

In the spirit of making an attempt one thing new, I made a decision to take all of my 2018 essays and flip it into an e book PDF you could learn at your individual leisure. It’s over 50 pages, consists of all my essays, and alongside 200 slides in decks I printed this 12 months, it’s best to have more than sufficient content material to learn by way of for some time. You probably have suggestions on this format, shoot me a tweet! And as at all times, you will get future updates by subscribing to the newsletter or comply with me at @andrewchen.

Thanks for studying! And completely happy 2019.

Greatest,
Andrew

 

Obtain a PDF with 2018 essays

📥 Get this collection PDF, plus new updates and essays in the future by subscribing to my newsletter.

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Hyperlinks and notes

The red flags and magic numbers that investors look for in your startup’s metrics – 80 slide deck included! I put collectively a deck that summarizes the approach that I take into consideration evaluating the “high quality” of growth for a brand new product. The deck unpacks quite a lot of completely different subjects: How “growth accounting” metrics are nice, however are lagging indicators. How to consider acquisition loops and engagement loops, and methods to search for pink flags like being overly dependent on a channel, or abusing notifications, to artificially increase metrics. The deck was designed for traders, however for each entrepreneur that desires to actually consider the place they’re, it’s a superb learn too.

Consumer startups are awesome, and here’s what I’m looking for at a16z (70 slide deck). For the a16z annual summit, I put collectively a presentation introducing myself and what I’m enthusiastic about in the shopper investing world. It goes over historic precedents for give/get referrals, content material advertising, and making an attempt to bootstrap two-sided marketplaces. The deck additionally explains a few of the massive applied sciences and platforms coming down the pipe, and why I’m significantly enthusiastic about esports/gaming, offline experiences, and a lot more.

How to build a growth team – lessons from Uber, Hubspot, and others (50 slides). For a current convention, I put collectively a collection of classes for corporations that need to begin growth groups. It begins easy, with the query of what growth groups are supposed to remedy, but in addition goes into organizational construction, perfect profiles/backgrounds for the staff, methods to ideate and prioritize tasks, and more.

How startups die from their addiction to paid marketing. It’s really easy to get your product jumpstarted by shopping for advertisements to drive customers, and hey, the LTVs and CAC ratios are working! However as I describe in this essay, it’s additionally simple to get addicted and experience the price curves all the approach as much as the level the place it is unnecessary, and the degradation of those channels is a given.

What’s next for marketplace startups? Reinventing the $10 trillion service economy, that’s what. Co-authored with a16z associate Li Jin, we write about the subsequent era of market startups. Whereas the earlier generations have been about getting “stuff” to folks, the subsequent massive alternative will probably be to get companies. The essay talks by way of why this has been so exhausting in the previous, the advantages of getting software program intermediate the interactions, and the varied ways in which provide can get unlocked utilizing know-how platforms as the basis.

Required reading for marketplace startups: The 20 best essays. This one’s not included in the PDF because it’s only a bunch of hyperlinks, however needed to incorporate it right here anyway. It’s a collection of hyperlinks about marketplaces – from fixing the chilly begin drawback to metrics on marketplaces to particular case research. It’s a must-read for anybody working in the house.

Why “Uber for X” startups failed: The supply side is king. One among my massive classes from Uber is that the provide aspect of the market is crucial for any startup. I clarify in this tweetstorm-turned-essay why the varied “Uber for X” startups did a poor job satisfying that aspect of the market, whilst the promise for us as shoppers sounded nice.

The Power User Curve: The best way to understand your most engaged users. At a16z, we regularly use frequency histograms – aka “Energy Person Curves” – to guage whether or not or not there’s a core neighborhood of customers who’re extremely engaged. On this essay, co-authored by Li Jin from a16z, we break down what we search for, the variations on the curves you may see, and how this curve pertains to the well-liked DAU/MAU we additionally ask for.

DAU/MAU is an important metric to measure engagement, but here’s where it fails. The DAU/MAU metric is a vital measure of utilization frequency, and was popularized by Fb from the early days. This essay breaks down when its historical past, when it’s helpful, and the place it breaks down.

Conservation of Intent: The hidden reason why A/B tests aren’t as effective as they look. Everybody’s had the irritating expertise of working an A/B take a look at, seeing an enormous elevate, closing it out, and anticipating the prime degree metrics to maneuver loads. However they don’t. This publish explains why – “person intent” may be regarded as a hard and fast quantity of vitality as they method the prime of your funnels, and it’s exhausting to maneuver it loads.

The Startup Brand Fallacy: Why brand marketing is mostly useless for consumer startups. One among the opinions that at all times stirs up the hornet’s nest on Twitter is my opinion is that startups ought to do much less model advertising, PR, and different associated actions and as an alternative simply focus on product/market match and extremely accountable efficiency metrics.

The Scooter Platform Play: Why scooter startups are important and strategic to the future of transportation. I’m an enormous fan of scooters, and right here, I unpack why I’m enthusiastic about the complete class. As a result of scooters are used more continuously, and for shorter journeys than rideshare, it creates an enormous alternative to be the “start line” for transportation.

The IRL channel: Offline to online, Online to offline. As digital buyer acquisition channels grow to be saturated and simply copyable, considered one of the distinctive alternatives is the “IRL Channel” the place folks interact your product in their on a regular basis, bodily lives. Whether or not it’s a gaggle of individuals strolling round taking part in Pokemon Go, a microwave that has Alexa embedded, or scooters, that is considered one of the alternatives to mix our offline and on-line worlds.

I’m joining Andreessen Horowitz!. Right here’s the preliminary announcement I made about becoming a member of a16z! Features a few notes on how I do know the of us at the agency, and what prompted my choice.

 

Podcasts
I didn’t embrace any of the podcast transcripts into the downloadable PDF, however needed to incorporate the essays right here for completeness.

a16z Podcast: Why paid marketing sucks, Network effects, Viral Growth, and more. An interview with my a16z associate Jeff Jordan (who led our investments into Airbnb, Instacart, Pinterest, and many others.) and we talk about a few of the nuances of rising marketplaces, methods to measure traction, and issues to be careful for.

a16z Podcast: When Organic Growth Goes Enterprise. On this podcast, a16z associate Martin Casado and I speak about the intersection of enterprise gross sales and consumerized growth techniques. He’s on the enterprise staff and I usually focus on shopper, however we have a look at quite a lot of corporations collectively.

Product Hunt Podcast: Silicon Valley network effects, OKRs for your personal life, and more. My sister Ada (ex-Linkedin, SurveyMonkey) speak about life in the tech business collectively, why we moved to the Bay Space, utilizing OKRs to set targets, and a breadth of different subjects.

The publish 2018 essay collection on growth metrics, marketplaces, viral growth in the enterprise, and more (PDF included) can also be printed on andrewchen.



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