Archive for the ‘lockstep’ tag
In episode II of Chris Dixon’s Founder Stories interview with Warby Parker’s co-founders, David Gilboa and Neil Blumenthal, the trio discuss topics spanning Warby Parker’s social responsibility efforts to the state of e-commerce.
Off the bat, Gilboa tells Dixon that Warby Parker strives to be an environmentally friendly organization focused on giving back to the community. In addition to being “100% carbon neutral” Gilboa highlights Warby Parker’s “Buy a Pair, Give a Pair” initiative where Warby Parker donates a set of glasses for every set it sells.
Speaking to setting up shop in Manhattan, Gilboa (who previously lived in San Francisco) says, “I was sort of brainwashed into thinking that if you wanted to launch a startup, particularly anything Internet based you had to do it in the Bay area.” His views have since changed and Gilboa is now in lockstep with co-founder Blumenthal who says, “New York was the right place to be because we are a fashion brand, and New York is the fashion capital of the world.”
As other New York e-commerce brands like Birchbox and Fab gain popularity, Galboa is bullish on Warby Parker’s future. He tells Dixon, “When we started looking at the eyewear industry, less than 1 percent of eyeglasses were sold online, but we are huge believers in the fact that eyeglasses are going to follow all these other consumer product categories and more and more of that spend is going to go online.”
Before the interview wraps, Gilboa take a moment to offer advice to budding entrepreneurs. Make sure to watch the entire interview to hear everything the pair has to say.
Past episodes of Founder Stories featuring leaders from Reddit, KickStarter, Tumblr, TripAdvisor, ZocDoc, Charity: Water and may other startups are here.
Shares of Apple (AAPL) closed above $500 today for the first time, ending the day at $502.60. Apple, the world’s most valuable company, now boasts a market capitalization of almost $470 billion. That is up 9 points from yesterday’s close, and up more than 80 from where the stock was the day Apple announced its impressive quarter on January 24th. Everybody was blown away by the numbers.
The $500 mark is a psychological milestone. But many Apple bulls have been predicting it. What you need to look at really is the market cap. And while $470 billion is astounding, it is not unprecedented (during the 1990s boom, companies like Microsoft, Cisco, and GE reached that height). Also, it is important to remember that Apple holds nearly $100 billion in cash. Without that cash, it’s market value presumably would be less.
In fact, Apple’s share price moves in lockstep with its ever-increasing cash position. Horace Dediu at Asymco has plotted out the correlation between the stock price and Apple’s cash. According to Dediu’s calculations, Apple’s stock hit $500 right on schedule.
Ownership of tablets and e-book readers saw a big spike over the holidays — in fact, it nearly doubled in the United States, according to a new study from the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project.
The study was based on telephone surveys conducted in mid-December and January, which found that ownership of both device types nearly doubled in just a month. Now a total of 29 percent of US adults own a tablet or an e-reader, or possibly both.
The jump follows a period during the fall of 2011 where the numbers seemed relatively stagnant. Over at The Atlantic, Megan Garber uses that fact to ask if these sales are just a fad. Her comparison to Tickle Me Elmo feels like a bit of a stretch, and I don’t think there’s anything unusual about gadgets seeing sales growth over the holidays, but she’s probably right to be wary of premature pronouncements on the inevitability and ubiquity of tablet ownership.
The study also examines the differences between each device. As a percentage of total population, tablet and e-reader ownership seem to be be marching in lockstep, but the demographics aren’t the same . While both tablet and e-reader ownership skews heavily toward those with more education and higher incomes, the difference isn’t quite as dramatic for e-readers, Pew says.
Until the transcontinental railroad, there were no time zones. Each village kept its own time, based on its own steeple and its own high noon. And why not? There was no good reason to go through the pain of coordinating the clocks.
Factory work forced us all to know exactly what time it was. The shift couldn’t start until the foreman and the workers were ready to go. Synchronicity paid big dividends, so we embraced it.
This notion of lockstep started to inform all elements of our culture. Not just what time rush hour was (what a bizarre concept) but how old you should be to go to college and to get a job and to get married and to have kids and to retire.
The web is asynchronous. Time frames have accelerated (started/funded/built/sold!) at the same time they have slowed down. It’s up to you to decide how long your time horizon is–perhaps you’re willing to invest five years into building a solid reputation on a web platform. The decision to work at a different rate than others can be a significant competitive advantage.
Celebrate New Year’s when you want to, and as often as you choose. They’re your resolutions, not ours.
Editor’s Note: Part 5 in an irregular series of stories from my 12 years in Silicon Valley. Part 4 talked about how I once nearly quit over ugly URLs. This week, debating speed and quality versus budgets.
With more than a decade embedded in the Valley, I’ve led and participated in more than my fair share of product launches and website redesigns. Over time, as is common, one finds vendors they work extremely well with, who can consistently deliver high quality work quickly, as if the two of you are in lockstep. Back in 2001, as I switched jobs, I immediately signed up my favorite web designer as a vendor at my new company.
Our initial task – to launch a new website in 30 days at a price less than a third of the existing firm’s proposal, was met ahead of schedule, and for the next several years, I had his firm on speed dial for projects big and small. Unfortunately, this relationship was put in jeopardy thanks to one of the frequent management changes at the company, and one day I unexpectedly found myself challenged by my new boss over the costs of a project I had assumed was executed exactly to scope.
In 2003, as the company had grown, our website had gotten increasingly complex, and one of the to-do items assigned me was to rearchitect our partners page. Once a simple array of logos and one-paragraph descriptions, it had grown unwieldy and ugly. I proposed we engage our web design firm to make a proposal and recode the page in its entirety. As was customary, they provided a quote well within our budget, I made a purchase order, and the two of us got to work. Within two days, we had agreed on a design, and two days after that, the final code was delivered and pushed to production. I was pleased, and moved on to the next task.
The following week, as I sat down for my regular one on one with my boss, and reviewed the project, I was challenged on how quickly it had been completed. Coming from a Big Five consulting background, they had come to expect that dollar allotments were closely tied to how long it took to complete a project, and the longer the project took to complete, the more we should have spent. As she admonished me, saying that I should spend the company’s money as if it were my own, I responded that I had, in selecting the best quality work, combined with a fast delivery schedule.
As I responded, I asked if we should charge more for computers and servers that did jobs less quickly, or that cars that drove faster than others should actually be worth less. I was incredulous that a quality job done quickly would actually be devalued over a more meandering, less direct approach. Obviously, my response was not the manager’s favorite, and I had to work very carefully with the same vendors and others going forward – needing to directly tie the number of hours on a project to the purchase order amount and a practically arbitrary assigned dollar per hour value. It drove me nuts.
The debate to me clearly marked the divide between a fast-moving and flexible startup culture versus a stodgy corporate view, where process was practically as important as the destination. The debate surprised me and disappointed me, but also taught to know the aspects of a project important to other decision makers that could impact me or our business positively or negatively. As for the vendor? I continued work with him for another six years, well after that manager had since left. They didn’t work out.