Lead Edge Capital

The Taxi Driver's Plight and Internet-Enabled Disruption

On the way to work this morning, I listened to The Daily, The New York Times podcast hosted by Michael Barbara. This is a typical day for me, and I generally find the podcast really balanced (I'm an Independent voter, for the record). As I mentioned at the beginning of this year, I take in a wide range of content to be on a continuous learning journey (you can read that post here).

Today's episode of The Daily really struck me. It was about another New York taxi driver committing suicide, apparently because of the dramatic decline in their medallion appreciation. This is due to the invention of Uber, Lyft, and other ride-sharing apps and specifically due to New York City's response to them. You should listen to it and then ask yourself these questions:

Two great posts on entrepreneurship and risk

Spurred on by my recent Lucky7 post on how capital efficient Bazaarvoice was on its path to IPO, two friends sent me great posts this week on entrepreneurship and risk. And I guess it seems appropriate that I'm writing this post from Edinburgh, Scotland here at TED Global. Edinburgh is, after all, one of the birthplaces of capitalism. Adam Smith, author of The Wealth of Nations, and other prominent figures were born here. And speaking of capitalism, the former Prime Minister of Greece and the poster child for the European economic crisis, George Papandreou's, TED Global talk is already live. I found his talk sobering and, for all the controversy surrounding him, it felt rawly authentic to me.

The death - and rebirth - of retail

The death - and rebirth - of retail

On January 29, Marc Andreessen predicted the death of retail in favor of disruptive, pure-play etailers, such as Fab.com. A choice quote from the PandoDaily article:

“Retail chains are a fundamentally implausible economic structure if there’s a viable alternative,” he says. “You combine the fixed cost of real estate with inventory, and it puts every retailer in a highly leveraged position. Few can survive a decline of 20 to 30 percent in revenues. It just doesn’t make any sense for all this stuff to sit on shelves. There is fundamentally a better model.”

I've been studying retail ever since I can remember. My parents were retail entrepreneurs from the time I was born, as I wrote about in this Lucky7 post. I've been programming since I was seven-years old, as I wrote about in why I named this blog Lucky7 - in tribute to my mother. I leveraged these two experiences to start my own etailer in 1998 - programmed on an eCommerce platform that I created. And I've founded two large companies to help retailers - Bazaarvoice and Coremetrics. I've also served on the Board of Shop.org for three consecutive terms. So to say I've been thinking about this for awhile is an understatement.