I am one of those people who celebrates the future. I absolutely love the possibilities of technology and technological change. At the same time, I can’t let go of the past. I use fountain pens to take notes in a paper notebook that is wrapped in a leather cover. But generally, I am biased toward the possibilities of new technologies — and not just information technology.
This week, I came across the Nike Fit, which seems like such a smart use of a much-hyped technology: augmented reality. Nike Fit allows you to point your phone at your feet and get the most accurate measurement. The size data that is collected enables you to find the right match for your foot from Nike’s mind-boggling array of shoe choices.
Uber and Lyft are finally publicly traded companies, which means that they will live and die by their performance as businesses in public. They are both carrying very frothy valuations, which are indicative of the optimism investors have for in their future. Conversely, there is very little room for error for these companies. They will have to figure out how to go very quickly from being money-losing businesses to peers who can coexist without driving each other in the ground. In other words, they will have to show sustainable growth. And at the same time, they have to show rather rapidly that they have a path to sustainable profits.
Talent is evenly distributed around the globe, but opportunity is not.
Nearly 15 years ago, I would often talk to young Matt about many topics including WordPress, the changing dynamics of media and how work will change. He taught me a lot about open source software. I talked about broadband, connectivity, and connectedness. In 2004, I wrote a piece called, Escape from Silicon Valley. In that story, I looked at how broadband was inspiring founders to go “broadband” instead of going west.
I had launched a blog called WebWorkerDaily, and like many of our initial efforts (NewTeeVee and Earth2Tech), it came a little too soon to the market. I believed that the Internet’s killer app would be work and if you look around today, many find work on the Internet. Others find the demand for their skills. And hundreds of millions use the Internet to get the job done.
Matt would eventually help kickstart a movement — WordPress and then start a company, Automattic, and in the process become the biggest escapee from Silicon Valley.
Now here we are in 2019, and Automattic has grown to 900 employees working from 68 countries. I’ve learned so much about distributed work. I know it’s the right path.
Today, he launched a blog and podcast to share the lessons he has learned from being part of a fully distributed company, one which looks beyond the confines of dogma and conventional Silicon Valley thinking to find an edge and a way forward. He is talking to other executives and founders who are using distributed work as a core business philosophy so that others can learn from each other.
How can we work better and smarter in the decades to come—and what’s the moral imperative driving our desire to change? How can we build a more inclusive world, in which everyone has an opportunity to shine?
One of the highlights of my day is having lunch with my True Ventures colleagues. We sit around the table, enjoy food, and talk about a lot of topics. I don’t talk as much as I listen. That’s where I first heard about Taylor Swift’s new single, the new Royal Baby, and pretty much everything else happening in the world outside venture capital and technology.
Lately, everyone seems to be focused on dissecting the latest episodes of Game Of Thrones. I haven’t watched a single episode. I don’t like stuff that is too gory, and I’m not that into fantasy. I am also one of the few in Silicon Valley who doesn’t care very much about Star Wars or Indiana Jones and the like. Though, I do like futuristic science fiction — especially when it has a less dystopian view than our current media outlets! In our latest lunch hours at the office, I feel a little out of the loop. I have even less to contribute than usual.