Discover more from Accelerated
🚀 The artist formerly known as Square
Plus, an exclusive preview of Andrew Chen's "The Cold Start Problem"!
Axios published an interesting analysis on the frequency of SPACs vs. traditional IPOs - the number of SPACs has soared since January 2020, hitting a peak early this year. However, recent data suggests that most SPACs underperform traditional IPOs, with an average return of -10% (of those that have gone public since 2019).
In this week’s SPAC news, Grab (Southeast Asia’s largest “super app”) started trading in the largest-ever SPAC merger. The stock dropped 20% on the first day, with some investors expressing concern over a recent decline in revenue and the fact that the company isn’t profitable.
BuzzFeed is set to go public on Monday after announcing its SPAC in June. Investors in the original blank check company had the opportunity to redeem their funds before the listing - filings suggest that 94% of the capital has been withdrawn, significantly higher than the ~60% average withdrawal rate for recent SPACs.
👋 Jack leaves Twitter. It was a big week at Twitter! Jack Dorsey stepped down as CEO, ceding the title to former CTO Parag Agrawal. The company’s Chief Design Officer and Head of Engineering are also leaving as part of a broader restructuring. Twitter also announced a controversial policy update this week - users can no longer share media (e.g. photos, video) of private individuals without their consent.
On an unrelated note, I’m trying to reach a goal of 10K Twitter followers by the end of the year! If you’re on Twitter, I’d love your support - you can check out my profile here.
👟 eBay doubles down on sneakers. Sneaker Con, a sneaker authentication service / community, has been acquired by eBay (terms not disclosed). eBay has been quietly making moves in the sneaker space in a bid to win back market share from StockX and Goat. In late 2019, eBay eliminated seller fees for all sneakers sold for $100+ (most marketplaces charge ~10%) - and last year, the company partnered with Sneaker Con to offer free authentication for said sneakers.
🛑 Regulators challenge FB + Giphy. U.K. regulators have officially ordered Meta (a.k.a. Facebook) to unwind its acquisition of GIF maker and search engine Giphy. In a press release, the regulatory authority expressed concern that owning Giphy would give FB an unfair advantage over other social media platforms. The news was confusing to many, and Meta is considering an appeal.
In other Jack Dorsey news, payments company Square (where Jack is still CEO) announced a change of its corporate name to Block. This is like the Facebook —> Meta change - the B2C payment product will still be called Square, but the broader company (which also owns Cash App and Tidal) will be known as Block.
Why Block? Many think it primarily reflects the company’s increased focus on blockchain/crypto, which has long been one of Dorsey’s passions. But the official announcement referenced several different kinds of blocks!
what i’m following 👀
Forbes’ 30 Under 30 lists are out - here’s the one for VCs.
Why Sequoia is auctioning off an NFT of its YouTube investment memo.
Hyperfast delivery app JOKR is now a unicorn.
🚨 Exclusive to Accelerated readers, we have a preview of a16z GP Andrew Chen’s book The Cold Start Problem! Pre-order it before release on 12/7 here.
If you’re a founder, operator, or investor, The Cold Start Problem is a must read. Here’s an excerpt (edited for space!) about how “flinstoning” helped get the v1 of Reddit off the ground:
In the classic 1960s animated sitcom The Flintstones, we see a prehistoric family sitcom set in the city of Bedrock...Memorably, there’s a car made of stone, furs, and timber—started up by a flurry of Fred’s legs—which rolls the family to their destination. Yabba dabba doo!
“Flinstoning” is a metaphor for this car, except in software…Early product releases often go into beta lacking simple features like account deletion, content moderation tools, referral features, and many others. In lieu of these features, the product might simply offer a way to contact the developers who will handle it manually for you…eventually, the feature gets built out and users can do it themselves. In the meantime, a Flintstoned product launch lets the developers get the app out into the market and get feedback from customers.
Reddit is a perfect example of how Flintstoning can be used early, and how it evolves from manual work into automation at scale. Steve Huffman reflects on how he and Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian “Flinstoned” Reddit’s early days...by creating dummy accounts that looked and acted like real users, but with Steve and Alexis actually controlling them.
Steve said, “No one wants to live in a ghost town. No one wants to join an empty community. In the early days, it was our job each day to make sure there was good content on the front page. We’d post it ourselves, using dozens of dummy accounts. Otherwise the community might dry up.”
Over time, they actually built software to help them scale this activity, which would scrape news websites and post them with made-up usernames…In the end, it tided the Reddit network over until it was able to have enough organic content creators for Steve to lay off the dummy scripts…Today, Reddit is consistently one of the world’s largest websites, with hundreds of millions of users organized into 100,000+ active subreddit communities, sharing millions of links.
TCG Crypto - Investor (Remote)
AtoB - Biz Ops Generalist (Remote)
Eco - Growth & Ops Associate (Remote)
Aloft - Expansion Launch Manager (Seattle)
Notion - Biz Ops & Strategy* (SF, Remote)
Goldman Sachs - TMT Investment Banking Analyst (SF)
Hyphen - Chief of Staff* (SF)
Afore Capital - Investor (Bay Area)
Serena Ventures - Analyst (Bay Area)
Fifth Wall - Investment Analyst (New York)
Virgin Management - Investment Associate (NYC)
Vanterra Capital - VC Associate (NYC)
*Requires 3+ years of experience.
Primary Venture Partners - MBA Associate (Remote)
DocuSign - PM Intern (Remote)
Reddit - PM Intern (Remote)
The YES - Brand Partnerships Intern (Remote)
Affirm - Software Engineering Intern (Remote)
Future - Data Science Intern (Remote)
Weee! - BizOps Intern (Fremont)
Front - Software Engineering Intern (SF)
Roblox - PM Intern (San Mateo)
Rivian - Business & Ops Intern (LA)
Beacon - Content Marketing Intern (Austin)
MagicSpoon - Product Development Intern (NYC)
puppy of the week 🐶
Meet Jojo, a two-year-old black lab who lives in New York.
Jojo enjoys going swimming, chilling in her backyard in nice weather, and playing with her brother, Willie.
Follow her on Instagram @jojotheblacklab!