I take care of everything Europe at AngelList, the platform for startups. I love sneakers and live in Berlin.

The type of success that could only come from here?

Caution: excessive stereotyping in this post!

People quote Skype ad Nauseam when talking about category changing models from Europe. It’s time for the new generation to come up with businesses that actually take advantage of the unique makeup of Europe and show that we’ve got it.

I’ve been looking at the various European grant and support programs in what is called Horizon 2020, FP7, and various other names. These are EU and EC designed programs that are supposed to come up with a new mega success in Europe, or at least support regions and markets to compete on an international scale. All those programs quote the great minds, research, education, and design from Europe. And all of those programs remind us of “world beating companies such as Skype” that play to the unique abilities of Europe.

Where are the new players in that category, and why are they unique and why can they only be built here? Skype couldn’t have built in the US alone, for the simple fact that long distance phone calls were already cheap enough or free by the time it came around. Europe with its borders and the built in issues was a perfect place for Skype to emerge. MySQL and Linux were probably rooted in the strong socialist (for lack of a better, or worse, word) nature of the north, and the resulting strength of OSS there (also influenced by the strong academic and scientific education and resulting community). Betfair and it’s siblings are of course the result of strong betting/gambling cultures, especially in the UK, that are regulated out of existence in the US. H&M and Zara aren’t tech startups, but still immensely successful companies based on the design heritage in their respective cultures, much like Ikea is the result of no-nonsense design combined with wonderfully Swedish egalitarian principles of affordability (the egalitarianism is still there, not so much the affordability I might add).

What are companies that are playing to similar principles, and build their raison d’être simply on cultural, regulatory, or market realities?

Transferwise is one I’m very familiar with (Seedcamp was an early investor and I’ve spent a lot of time with Kristo and Taavet). In most markets, nobody besides marginalised minorities is even thinking about cross border financial transactions. That’s why I’m so excited about it. Oh, and Taavet was early at Skype. Go figure.

I’m sure there are more, and I’m already thinking about markets that might be unique to Europe. The nucleus for this post was Fabrice’s piece on Craigslist. They have about 90% of the classifieds market in the US (a guess), and are prohibiting a single player to take over their market. Of course, as per Fabrice’s post, the mighty will probably stumble and fall, but this is the reality today. Might this lack of a clear leader in Europe make for an opportunity to build something? Of course, Zoopla in the UK, the Scout Group in Germany, and many others have taken some of those markets, but there are many more white spots than in the US.

If you’re in Europe, and thinking of something big to build, find one of those markets where you don’t just have speed, ideas, and great execution on your side. An inherently different and hard to understand market might be the biggest moat you can build to prevent a well capitalised competitor from the US to enter your space.

If you have an idea of some of those markets, leave it in the comments, I’m excited to hear about this stuff. Or, even better, build a kick ass company and take that market for yourself and replace the same name to pop up in those policy briefings.

Sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep. Just a great bed and sleeping. And you know what would be great? Not a single email. No emails!

Tom Ford, talking with Kinvara Balfour at the Apple Store on Regent Street store in London, when asked about his “greatest luxury”.

(There’s a full podcast — video too — of his talk here.)

'Never, ever, ever – man or woman – wear anything that you are remotely uncomfortable in.'

(Source: parislemon)


Here are some of the crazy phones you can build with Google’s Project Ara
Co-investors have occasionally been a little offput. I’ve attended a couple board meetings where a bridge round was discussed and the VC’s work together as a club to set the price rather than bidding against each other. In both cases I’ve stated that I want to bid against them to give the entrepreneur a fair market price. In one case a VC ranted at me “this is an insider round!!” I responded with a smile “yes, and I think I’m an insider”. I ended up bidding the deal up to almost twice what the “insiders” had generously offered the CEO. So if you know someone frustrated with the “inside round” offer they get from their VC’s, tell them to contact me on LinkedIn or Facebook and we can “fix” a low ball offer
“Net neutrality” means the principle according to which all internet traffic is treated equally, without discrimination, restriction or interference, independently of its sender, recipient, type, content, device, service or application.
Across the board, Amazon says, these cuts amount to savings between 36 percent to 65 percent.

In Response To Google, Amazon Drops EC2 And RDS Prices

This is a huge deal. Both the price drop and the entry of Google into this space will save startups a ton of money. The ease of use and pricing of AWS have done much more for the industry than is widely acknowledged. 3 people teams with millions of users, smaller seed rounds, the emergence of Micro VCs, accelerators, etc - all were at least partly made possible by cloud hosting.

Is there someone who knows about snowboarding and weightlifting?

I’m riding a new board and binding after starting Crossfit and weightlifting (mostly Olympic lifts). Thus, my old riding style is completely useless, especially when going fast on rough terrain. Normal piste and jumps are fine with deep squatted landings. I realised my quads and forefeet are much more active than they should be according to lifting knowledge. I would think there should be a riding style that relies more on hamstrings and squat position.

Anyone out there who knows about this, binding setup, and optimal posture for riding? Ping me.

Ambitions tend to remain undisturbed by realities,

Learning From Legos →


(Source: johnborthwick)

It’s my life, näh! (by zdfneo)

The problem with management isn’t managers, the problem with management is bad managers.
Nationalism does nothing but teach you to hate people you never met, and to take pride in accomplishments you had no part in.

— Doug Stanhope (via anarchei)

(Source: nojusticenopizza, via solipsism)

I’ve come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:

1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.

2. Anything that’s invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.

3. Anything invented after you’re thirty-five is against the natural order of things.

Cakes have gotten a bad rap. People equate virtue with turning down dessert. There is always one person at the table who holds up her hand when I serve the cake. No, really, I couldn’t she says, and then gives her flat stomach a conspiratorial little pat. Everyone who is pressing a fork into that first tender layer looks at the person who declined the plate, and they all think, That person is better than I am. That person has discipline. But that isn’t a person with discipline; that is a person who has completely lost touch with joy. A slice of cake never made anybody fat. You don’t eat the whole cake. You don’t eat a cake every day of your life. You take the cake when it is offered because the cake is delicious. You have a slice of cake and what it reminds you of is someplace that’s safe, uncomplicated, without stress. A cake is a party, a birthday, a wedding. A cake is what’s served on the happiest days of your life. This is a story of how my life was saved by cake, so, of course, if sides are to be taken, I will always take the side of cake.

Jeanne Ray (via shetakesflight)

(via kerosenefumes)

(Source: the-healing-nest, via katriin)


A simple explanation why your product needs to be 10x better

When, in fact this cancels out and innovation is just as worthy as the old ways?


A simple explanation why your product needs to be 10x better

When, in fact this cancels out and innovation is just as worthy as the old ways?

(Source: soxiam)