It has been nearly a month since I wrote about not leaving San Francisco (Bay Area.) Since then, Hewlett Packard has decided to leave for Texas. So has Oracle. And Elon Musk. Clearly, Texas is an anagram for taxes. But others are staying. Airbnb co-founder Brian Chesky and Twilio founder Jeff Lawson have explicitly stated that they have no plans to leave the state, despite the questionable policies and convoluted politics. Lawson, who is a good friend, in a tweet thread this morning, noted, “What I take issue with is our leaders—people of means— abandoning our community when it needs us most.” Many of us have benefitted from the San Francisco Bay Area, or Airbnb’s Chesky said: “I don’t think I would have succeeded in the same way if not for the people I met here.” I would urge you to read Jeff’s full Twitter thread. His thoughts and arguments are worth your time.

From the archives: My conversation with Jeff Lawson, Twilio CEO/Founder.

Are top US startups really startups?

Pitchbook, a data research company has come up with a list of top 14 most valuable startups in the United States. There are no real surprises — they are all ranked by valuation and they all are valued at north of $4 billion. They are all household names – barring Outcome Health and Samumed.

And they have been around forever. They have thousands of employees and many have billions in revenue. What they are not is liquid on public markets. They have not IPO’d. In a different Silicon Valley, they will all be public companies and they won’t be deemed startups. Revenue, growth, relative size, market share – pick a metric (except for lack of profits in many cases) and you know they aren’t really startups.

So can we stop calling them startups — and instead maybe call them VC-backed private companies — otherwise the label startup loses its meaning. Continue reading “Are top US startups really startups?”