Mark Suster's Tumblr RSS

I keep a long-form blog about VC and Startups but want to give Tumblr a try.

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Nov
18th
Sun
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Does stimulus work or doesn’t it?

Some people are Keynesian. It’s a term from economics favoring the opinions of famed economist John Maynard Keynes. 

While he believed in free markets, he believed that they were sometimes inefficient and required government interventions. He believed that government spending could spur growth and such investments were particularly important when economies are in recession.

The main torch carrier for Keynesianism these days seems to be nobel prize winning columnist Paul Krugman of the NY Times who argues often in favor of government stimulus and against austerity as in this post.

Opposing economists believe that government spending “crowds out” private investment and therefore is a deterrent to long-run economic growth. The leading thinker in this school is perhaps Milton Friedman, the leading thinker behind the theory of Monetarism

This school - which literally came out of the University of Chicago (of which I am a graduate) - advocated using the supply of money to control interest rates and thus inflation. It has a profoundly positive impact on the economic stability of many nations in the world through stronger federal monetary policies.

Government stimulus leads to inflation and thus the two forces - stimulus and inflation - can be working in opposite directions. It should be noted that inflation is not neutral. It helps some (people with big debts like people who own houses) while it hurts other (namely older people with fixed incomes whose savings can be eroded by inflation).

I was reading Robert’s Samuelson’s post in the Washington Post today. He asserts something that I see in every single article about the fiscal cliff. That if we have major spending cuts & taxes go up it will lead to another recession

The $500 billion of tax increases and spending cuts scheduled for early 2013 would probably cause a new recession. The Congressional Budget Office predicts the unemployment rate, now 7.9 percent, would go to 9.1 percent by year-end 2013. 

This seems to be universal fact in every single article I’m reading these days.

What I find strange is that nobody is questioning the opposite. Many on the right assert that increasing the stimulus would be reckless.

I’ll come to a second on which side of that argument I fall on, but it is worth noting the hypocracy in the coverage and in the points-of-view that the fiscal cliff - if not solved - will have a drag on the economy but stimulus would have no positive effect and would be morally outrageous.

Don’t journalists even see the contradiction? 

So where do I fall?

On balance I think stimulus does help the economy so I’m somewhat Keynesian. On balance in an economic crisis I think it’s sensible to protect jobs because they are biggest determinant of economic stability. 

BUT …

(and there’s always a but)

In 1937 Keynes argued

“The boom, not the slump, is the right time for austerity at the Treasury.” 

He was arguing against austerity in the Great Depression. He was right when we’re in a depression. But other than that he may be mathematically right but he’s politically wrong.

I don’t believe that spending cuts ever happen unless you’re in economically difficult times so the best time to agree to some structural changes to our entitlement system and tax code is now.

How can anybody argue in 2012 that Social Security shouldn’t be means tested? How can anybody seriously argue that the retirement age shouldn’t be raised. That tax breaks for agriculture, oil and the like shouldn’t be closed.

So while I’m Keynesian in outlook I also believe that you must use economic conditions to drive change since nobody ever compromises on “pork” unless they have to.

But I find the inconsistencies in reporting and how people talk about the fiscal cliff versus the stimulus programs of 2008-2010 maddening.

What about you? Anybody like to make some apolitical commentary or offer viewpoints?

Oct
5th
Wed
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Jul
2nd
Sat
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Canoeing in Maine. I love 4th of July

Canoeing in Maine. I love 4th of July

Jun
23rd
Thu
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How I Work
I often get emails or Tweets about how I write, so for fun I thought I’d do a before & after.
I once wrote a really long post on how I use visualization & structure to work.
Above is an outline of my next post, which will run on PEHub. I don’t know yet how the final version will turn out or when I’ll write it, but this is my outline.
It’s how I work. I seldom just write. I usually have been saying things verbally first. Then I plan a post. I write it in my head first. Sometimes in the shower. I outline. I structure. 
Then I sit down in front of the computer and I’m basically just typing what’s already in my head.

How I Work

I often get emails or Tweets about how I write, so for fun I thought I’d do a before & after.

I once wrote a really long post on how I use visualization & structure to work.

Above is an outline of my next post, which will run on PEHub. I don’t know yet how the final version will turn out or when I’ll write it, but this is my outline.

It’s how I work. I seldom just write. I usually have been saying things verbally first. Then I plan a post. I write it in my head first. Sometimes in the shower. I outline. I structure. 

Then I sit down in front of the computer and I’m basically just typing what’s already in my head.

Jun
20th
Mon
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From my 8-year-old, Jacob.
For those that have really young kids or those that are not yet there - this is what makes it all worth it. You can’t buy more magical moments than this.
Oh, and the “pretends to by my mom thing …” LOL. When I come in the front door they instantly jump up to see if it’s me. I try my best mom voice & say, “it’s mommy” - I’m not very good. I thought I better clarify less you think that pretend I’m mommy involves clothes ;-)

From my 8-year-old, Jacob.

For those that have really young kids or those that are not yet there - this is what makes it all worth it. You can’t buy more magical moments than this.

Oh, and the “pretends to by my mom thing …” LOL. When I come in the front door they instantly jump up to see if it’s me. I try my best mom voice & say, “it’s mommy” - I’m not very good. I thought I better clarify less you think that pretend I’m mommy involves clothes ;-)

May
8th
Sun
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From my discussion with Joel Spolsky “on software” …
"You don’t want your customers to feel locked into using your software. It helps with sales cycles because customers know that they can switch away if they so choose. 
While customers will be willing to try your product, they think two steps ahead. They want to ensure they can easily migrate to a new system.”
Read more Spolsky by clicking image above.

From my discussion with Joel Spolsky “on software” …

"You don’t want your customers to feel locked into using your software. It helps with sales cycles because customers know that they can switch away if they so choose.

While customers will be willing to try your product, they think two steps ahead. They want to ensure they can easily migrate to a new system.”

Read more Spolsky by clicking image above.

May
4th
Wed
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As a user I love Twitter. As a member who looks to continue investing in the Twitter ecosystem I think its potential is astounding.
As an ad product, I just don’t buy or understand their current strategy. Every now and again I check out the promoted Tweets. As an advertisers you get to promote a topic into the stream and then people talk about it with hashtags.
What I don’t understand is why. In doing this you let the community say whatever they want and that becomes the ad unit that users see. And we know that community discussions often descend into the lowest form of commentary.
As an advertiser or agency I would imagine that what I would care about the most is the ability to control copy, to control the message. I’m not sure the current incarnation of Twitter’s ad unit achieves that.
I think the screen shot says it all. And frankly this is not a one-off. It’s just the first time I’ve publicly posted such an image. I’ve seen much worse.
(note: I once told a senior friend at Twitter I’d try to only write about Twitter when I had positive things to say. He encouraged me to be more balanced and be willing to say where the company needed to improve.
He said when the community speaks up Twitter learns more. It’s in that spirit that I’m writing. Somebody on Twitter’s strategy / product team - please consider how to improve this product. And please don’t shoot the messanger ;-) )
What do you think? Anyone have examples of it working more effectively or think it’s the right strategy?

As a user I love Twitter. As a member who looks to continue investing in the Twitter ecosystem I think its potential is astounding.

As an ad product, I just don’t buy or understand their current strategy. Every now and again I check out the promoted Tweets. As an advertisers you get to promote a topic into the stream and then people talk about it with hashtags.

What I don’t understand is why. In doing this you let the community say whatever they want and that becomes the ad unit that users see. And we know that community discussions often descend into the lowest form of commentary.

As an advertiser or agency I would imagine that what I would care about the most is the ability to control copy, to control the message. I’m not sure the current incarnation of Twitter’s ad unit achieves that.

I think the screen shot says it all. And frankly this is not a one-off. It’s just the first time I’ve publicly posted such an image. I’ve seen much worse.

(note: I once told a senior friend at Twitter I’d try to only write about Twitter when I had positive things to say. He encouraged me to be more balanced and be willing to say where the company needed to improve.

He said when the community speaks up Twitter learns more. It’s in that spirit that I’m writing. Somebody on Twitter’s strategy / product team - please consider how to improve this product. And please don’t shoot the messanger ;-) )

What do you think? Anyone have examples of it working more effectively or think it’s the right strategy?

Apr
20th
Wed
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"The Internet saved my life. I needed something to find my own identity." Joanne Wilson, from interview on This Week in VC, discussing being a mom & yet balancing the desire to work and be productive.
related quotes:
 
"Don’t get off the train completely when you have children. You need to keep your skills. You need to keep your database in terms of connections and the people you know. You need to keep your relationships up."
"When I stopped working it was quite a shock to our system. Even if you continue working, you’re still responsible for [your kids well being]. I didn’t think about who was going to put food in the refrigerator."
To see the full write up click the image above. And since I’m new to Tumblr - see that “follow” button in the upper right corner? Feel free to click on it or reblog this. Can’t see easy way to build followers here ;-)

"The Internet saved my life. I needed something to find my own identity." Joanne Wilson, from interview on This Week in VC, discussing being a mom & yet balancing the desire to work and be productive.

related quotes:

"Don’t get off the train completely when you have children. You need to keep your skills. You need to keep your database in terms of connections and the people you know. You need to keep your relationships up."

"When I stopped working it was quite a shock to our system. Even if you continue working, you’re still responsible for [your kids well being]. I didn’t think about who was going to put food in the refrigerator."

To see the full write up click the image above. And since I’m new to Tumblr - see that “follow” button in the upper right corner? Feel free to click on it or reblog this. Can’t see easy way to build followers here ;-)

Apr
13th
Wed
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“It’s interesting that the question is pitch deck’s being obsolete versus business plans being obsolete. So very few investors want Business Plans any more.  And I would rather have something to play with - a demo. 
It falls in the category of show don’t tell. The problem with pitch decks is pitch decks tend to have a lot of fluff in it.”

“It’s interesting that the question is pitch deck’s being obsolete versus business plans being obsolete. So very few investors want Business Plans any more.  And I would rather have something to play with - a demo.

It falls in the category of show don’t tell. The problem with pitch decks is pitch decks tend to have a lot of fluff in it.”

Apr
11th
Mon
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I often tell people that to maximize viral adoption of your blog posts that you should consider 2 Tweets. I usually do East Coast / West Coast. I try to vary copy but make it clear to people that it’s the same post so people don’t click twice.
I tell people all the time that it doubles conversion. Here’s a graphic from Chartbeat (real time analytics, which I love, but am not an investor) showing the effects. This is at one moment in time, which is what ChartBeat is great at. By the end of the day this post will likely see 4-5k viewers if a garden-variety post.
You can see the West Coast Tweet (just went out) has already outperformed the earlier Tweet that has died down from East Coast time. 
Why? Because Twitter is ephemeral. Anybody who logged in at 9:00am West Coast and follows enough people wouldn’t have seen my Tweet from 3 hours prior.
The two links in green are: 1) a Tweet that I sent late, late last night. When I do this I delete the Tweet before I go to bed. Don’t like having 3 Tweets out there. But when I’m up late and want to discuss with people in comments section sometimes I like to drive a few readers there late night. You get an interested (and undistracted) crowd and 2) organic people on the blog.
So, how do I track all of this? Using awe.sm (I’m an investor). It let’s you track each individual URL separately so as a marketer you can track: copy, channel (Twitter, FB, Tumblr, email, website, etc.), time-of-day and even person who drives the most shares.

I often tell people that to maximize viral adoption of your blog posts that you should consider 2 Tweets. I usually do East Coast / West Coast. I try to vary copy but make it clear to people that it’s the same post so people don’t click twice.

I tell people all the time that it doubles conversion. Here’s a graphic from Chartbeat (real time analytics, which I love, but am not an investor) showing the effects. This is at one moment in time, which is what ChartBeat is great at. By the end of the day this post will likely see 4-5k viewers if a garden-variety post.

You can see the West Coast Tweet (just went out) has already outperformed the earlier Tweet that has died down from East Coast time. 

Why? Because Twitter is ephemeral. Anybody who logged in at 9:00am West Coast and follows enough people wouldn’t have seen my Tweet from 3 hours prior.

The two links in green are: 1) a Tweet that I sent late, late last night. When I do this I delete the Tweet before I go to bed. Don’t like having 3 Tweets out there. But when I’m up late and want to discuss with people in comments section sometimes I like to drive a few readers there late night. You get an interested (and undistracted) crowd and 2) organic people on the blog.

So, how do I track all of this? Using awe.sm (I’m an investor). It let’s you track each individual URL separately so as a marketer you can track: copy, channel (Twitter, FB, Tumblr, email, website, etc.), time-of-day and even person who drives the most shares.