Which startups/industries will survive? The information startups won’t survive.
Interested in founding a startup? Your success may depend on the industry you choose. I’ve seen a lot of conflicting statistics about the likelihood of success, so I put together these graphs on the survival rates of establishments as a function of time since founding.
The first graph shows the average survival rate across all industries. Specifically, it depicts the percentage of establishments (these count multiple branches/franchises) that is still open from one to five years after initiation. The data used include ten consecutive years of startups, including all U.S. companies that first opened their doors between 1998 and 2007. The graph indicates that, after five years, about 54% of startups are still operating.
The second graph plots the data by industry, normalized to the average across all industries. For this, I took the differences (subtraction, not division) in percentages between the curve for each industry and the average shown in the first graph. This highlights which industries have, in the past decade, outperformed and remained more likely to stay in business, and which have underperformed, with more establishments closing.
Data source: http://www.bls.gov/bdm/bdmage.htm
Startup is Growth.
A company that grows at 1% a week will grow 1.7x a year, whereas a company that grows at 5% a week will grow 12.6x. A company making $1000 a month (a typical number early in YC) and growing at 1% a week will 4 years later be making $7900 a month, which is less than a good programmer makes in salary in Silicon Valley. A startup that grows at 5% a week will in 4 years be making $25 million a month.
What Technology Wants - Kevin Kelly
This provocative book introduces a brand-new view of technology. It suggests that technology as a whole is not a jumble of wires and metal but a living, evolving organism that has its own unconscious needs and tendencies. Kevin Kelly looks out through the eyes of this global technological system to discover “what it wants.” He uses vivid examples from the past to trace technology’s long course and then follows a dozen trajectories of technology into the near future to project where technology is headed. This new theory of technology offers three practical lessons: By listening to what technology wants we can better prepare ourselves and our children for the inevitable technologies to come. By adopting the principles of pro-action and engagement, we can steer technologies into their best roles. And by aligning ourselves with the long-term imperatives of this near-living system, we can capture its full gifts. Written in intelligent and accessible language, this is a fascinating, innovative, and optimistic look at how humanity and technology join to produce increasing opportunities in the world and how technology can give our lives greater meaning.
The sharing economy has come on so quickly and powerfully that regulators and economists are still grappling to understand its impact. But one consequence is already clear: Many of these companies have us engaging in behaviors that would have seemed unthinkably foolhardy as recently as five years ago. We are hopping into strangers’ cars (Lyft, Sidecar, Uber), welcoming them into our spare rooms (Airbnb), dropping our dogs off at their houses (DogVacay, Rover), and eating food in their dining rooms (Feastly). We are letting them rent our cars (RelayRides, Getaround), our boats (Boatbound), our houses (HomeAway), and our power tools (Zilok). We are entrusting complete strangers with our most valuable possessions, our personal experiences—and our very lives. In the process, we are entering a new era of Internet-enabled intimacy.
This is not just an economic breakthrough. It is a cultural one, enabled by a sophisticated series of mechanisms, algorithms, and finely calibrated systems of rewards and punishments. It’s a radical next step for the person-to-person marketplace pioneered by eBay: a set of digital tools that enable and encourage us to trust our fellow human beings.
OMG - This is what i want - http://cookmellow.com
Put your main ingredients inside Mellow, from a few hours up to a few days ahead of your meal. The cooling system will keep your food fresh until it’s time to start cooking.
Use your phone to select what you’re cooking, when you want it ready, and how you’d like it cooked. You can change your mind any time during the process.
When it’s time to eat, take your food out of Mellow, finish it however you’d like, and enjoy your meal. Mellow will ask for feedback and learn how you like your food over time.
#NOWPlaying: What A Friend We Have in Jesus - Aretha Franklin via @marksbirch
Wearables versus there-ables.
What if we’ve got it all wrong?
What if we’re not actually supposed to wear all sorts of technology on our bodies and on our clothes? What if we didn’t have to / weren’t meant to carry our technology with us as we moved around town?
What if the technology was actually already in the room when we got there? Maybe that’s the kind of Internet-of-things that will be more sustainable and will win long-term.
We already have early indications that this is a product category that is succeeding and sees more engagement long-term than the types we carry around. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve personally experienced or heard anecdotes about the typical wearable drop-off: you stop using a device or service after four to six weeks of breaking-in. On the other hand, the most successful types of hardware I’ve seen recently are Nest Thermostat and Withings Wi-Fi Scale, both of which you plug in and use, perhaps not multiple times a day, but every once in a while for many days and years to come.
It’s true that both tap into something that we were doing for years as opposed to having us learn about and track something new. (The Nest tracks temperature; the Withings, weight). But there are other smart devices that are around the corner that fit my proposal too: a bed that tracks you and vibrates to wake you up gently; a smart toilet or shower that tracks your body’s physiology, diet and illnesses; a smart kitchen that…well, you get the picture.
That’s not to say that wearables have no place in our future – perhaps the way they should evolve is to become really cheap, incredibly dumb single-feature sensors that actually need another layer like our phone or like a pairing with a there-able device.
Wearables know it’s us because we exclusively wear them and sync them with our phones. That’s the authentication: our phones and the identity handoff that resides in that exchange.
There-ables infer identity based on how you interact with them. There-ables know it’s us because, well, they are smarter: Nest knows our heat signature. Withings knows our body composition.
There-ables have fewer power restrictions; they’re often just plugged right into the power grid and, therefore, don’t need to have batteries charged everyday.
Meanwhile, by being battery powered, wearables can be smaller, cheaper and more abundant all over your body. Perhaps wearables can become like the zippers in our clothing: cheap enough and standardized enough to be in basically every piece of clothing we have on. Or perhaps wearables will take the form of the “smart pill” we keep hearing about: you take it and the results are later calculated by your futuristic toilet and zoomed to the cloud for review.
Here’s a final thought in this argument: that we may not want to carry more than one device with us when we move around. Currently, that is our phone. Yes, it’s a whole bunch of other things too (wallet, keys, …) but, more than likely, these things will all just continue to collapse into one thing: our phone.
And then maybe, besides our phones, the best technology is one that’s already present where we are going.