🚀 Special Edition: My Favorite Content from 2021
Three books, newsletters, Twitter accounts, and TikToks I loved this year!
This year, I’m switching it up - sharing my favorite finds from 2021 across books, newsletters, Twitter, and TikTok (in descending order of seriousness). Hope you enjoy, and have a great holiday season!
I read fewer books than normal this year, but still crossed 75 - so don’t worry, these are quality recommendations!
1.) Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe. This book traces the history of the opioid epidemic, painting an unflinching portrait of the family that made a fortune from aggressively marketing these drugs. It’s incredibly detailed, thanks to thousands of documents released during lawsuits (including the family’s bid for immunity). If you don’t have time to read the full book, check out the author’s article on the same topic.
2.) Disney’s Land by Richard Snow. I’m a big Disneyland fan, and loved this detailed history of the park. It’s a story of perseverance - despite Walt Disney’s early success in film, he faced immense skepticism (and countless obstacles) in his quest to redefine the amusement park experience. This book follows Disneyland’s journey from 100 acres of farmland to one of the most visited destinations in the world.
3.) Hench by Natalie Zina Walschots. I read quite a bit of fiction, but it’s rare that a book surprises me like this one! Hench follows the story of a woman who is seriously injured during a superhero’s rescue mission. While she’s recovering, she starts aggregating and publishing data on the collateral damage of heroes’ exploits - and she’s eventually recruited by a supervillain to lead his mission for revenge.
Will we soon live in a world with more newsletters than people? It doesn’t feel too far away…here’s few new favorites I found this year.
1.) Protocol Pipeline by Biz Carson. This can’t-miss newsletter recaps weekly happenings in startup & VC land - read it if you want to know what’s up! The idea isn’t new (which you know if you’re reading this 😂), but Protocol Pipeline proves you can differentiate with quality content. Biz concisely summarizes news, features and interviews, and flags the best tweets/ posts you may have missed.
2.) Chartr. If you’re addicted to data (like me), this is your warning that Chartr’s newsletter is a massive enabler. It’s a masterful example of how to tell compelling and relevant stories through data - you’ll probably end up forwarding each edition to at least one other person. Chartr somehow manages to make almost every topic interesting, from the supply chain of coffee beans to the economics of Dollar Tree.
3.) Launched by Olivia Moore. Did you think I’d make it through without a shameless plug for Olivia’s newsletter? I’m admittedly biased but I think it’s her best work - she dives into the stories behind startups like Depop, Canva, and Coinbase, tracing critical early decisions that led to success. I love the contemporary sources she finds (e.g. Reddit or HackerNews posts, tweets) to make the stories come alive!
It felt like 2021 was a very active year on Twitter. I followed many amazing accounts this year, but wanted to highlight three up-and-coming VCs who are vastly underrated (<5k followers) and posting 🔥 content.
1.) Corinne Riley (@CorinneMRiley). Come for the SaaS content, stay for the memes? Corinne is an enterprise investor at Greylock, and her content is a refreshing reminder that VCs are also human. She’s not only hilarious, she also publishes high-quality posts with data + insights for enterprise founders & funders (her piece on community-based growth was way ahead of the curve!).
2.) Tasha Kim (@natashajuliakim). Tasha is an investor at Marcy Venture Partners, and her account features thoughtful and nuanced takes on all things consumer (both software and CPG). Lately she’s been exploring the intersection between crypto x community x culture - she’s a great resource if you’re curious about web3 and looking for an accessible and welcoming entry point. Definitely worth a follow!
3.) Sumeet Singh (@sumeet724). Interested in the wide world of fintech, but not sure where to start? Sumeet is an excellent person to follow - he’s a partner at a16z focused on the intersection between fintech and other categories like consumer social and healthcare. I particularly loved his takes on financial services for “side hustlers” and how embedded fintech can increase marketplace liquidity.
Is this my way to find value in the countless hours I spend on TikTok? Maybe. Regardless, I’m excited to highlight three accounts that are particularly great at building brands + telling stories - in very different spaces.
1.) Olivia Deng (@trilliondollartam), who recently joined Banana Capital, is the 👑 of VC TikTok. I expect TikTok to become an increasingly important channel for reaching young founders, and Olivia’s laying the groundwork to be one of the most influential investors on the app. Her content also features some hilarious deep cuts for those of us already in the industry, her feed is well worth a scroll…
2.) Emily Uribe (@emilyuuribe) might be one of the most fascinating people on TikTok. She’s a college student with a retail job who ~manifested~ her way into celebrity. During quarantine, she started filming fake interviews where she pretended to be a celeb - a skill she perfected while running fan accounts. The videos went viral, and she’s now an invited guest at red carpet events and movie premieres!
3.) Maia Knight (@maiaknight) has had a meteoric rise on TikTok, joining the app in June and growing to 6M followers today. She’s a single mom of twins named Scout and Violet (somehow she holds both of them at once?), and her videos feature their adventures. You can’t help but root for her - she’s already built an incredibly engaged community of people who feel like part of the family + even cheer for her ads!
Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear your favorite content of 2021 - comment below or tell me on Twitter @venturetwins.
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