Overstock talks blockchain. AI in medical imaging. Foul-mouthed corporates. secret

Hi there,

In July 2010, the first CB Insights newsletter went out to 489 subscribers.

In February 2013, we hit 10,000 subscribers. 

It took us 2.5 years to get 9,500 additional subscribers.

Last week, we added 6,000+ new newsletter subscribers in 7 days, hitting a total of ~422,000.

We get a lot of questions about the newsletter and how it's grown, so below are some thoughts.

But first, some isht.

But I didn't say "fudge"

Earnings calls are candid, and sometimes CEOs let an expletive or two slip out. Using our transcript search engine, we can see Titan International, Wynn Resorts, and Simon Property Group are the top 3 isht-talkers.
Check out our full analysis to see which C-suiters swear like sailors and how corporate cussing has ebbed and flowed over the years.

Blah blah blockchain

Everyone from Nasdaq to FedEx is talking about blockchain, but Overstock leads in mentions.

The company was one of the first retailers to accept cryptocurrency. It has a blockchain-focused venture arm, and its "blockchain-based shares trading platform" tZERO is in the process of raising a ~$250M ICO.

Check out our analysis to see what other companies had to say about the technology and which ones were talking blockchain before it was cool.

The secret is...

The secret of the newsletter is there is no secret.


Our team works really f'n hard. So maybe that's the secret.

But there are lots of small things that we believe that have helped.

Here are a few of them:

1. Consistency. We send the newsletter out 6x per week without fail. Our team is tremendously good at shipping the newsletter. There are no "computer issues," no "we got tied up in the meetings," etc. This isht goes out no matter what. Consistency is key.

2. The subject lines. If people don't open the newsletter, that hurts our bottom line (our main biz is our software platform, btw, since not everyone knows that). The subject lines regularly aggravate a small group of people, and we are ok with that. The key is getting the newsletter opened. We walked through the math here.

3. Love or hate. We want you to love us — or even hate us — but we don't want you to be indifferent. We realize that we're an acquired taste, and we're not interested in appealing to everyone. Trying to appeal to everyone would make us like 99% of the boring AF newsletters out there. No thanks.

4. Data-driven. We bring facts to areas (tech, trends, venture) where people generally BS.

5. No pandering. We try to call it like we see it.

6. We try to write and talk like human beings. No leveraging synergies to transform transformations.

If there is a hack of any kind we've discovered, there is one. 

More on it below.

Get the picture?

Harvard Medical School researchers have developed a new technique based on AI and machine learning to help radiologists get higher-quality images without gathering additional data.

In our recent AI Trends Report, we discuss how medical imaging and diagnostics are fueling much of the growth in the healthcare AI space. Check it out here.

Big bucks

This week, Oscar Health closed a $165M round led by Founders Fund and 8VC, putting the company’s valuation at $3.2B, up from $2.7B. That suggests investors are bullish on Oscar’s multi-city expansion.

Mario Schlosser, CEO & co-founder of Oscar, will join us on stage at Future of Fintech (June 19 - 21 in NYC). We look forward to digging into his views on the competitive landscape.

Prices are going up on April 1st, save $500 off your ticket with code insuremyticket.

The newsletter hack

The one "hack" I'd suggest if you're B2B is to find the things people say in your industry but never say out loud.

Every industry has these tribal secrets.

And that has worked for us.  

We are not always saying novel things. We just say out loud the things that others think.

So when a VC or startup talks about "changing the world," or when corporations talk about "open floor plans" and "visiting Silicon Valley to disrupt themselves before a startup does," most folks roll their eyes (as they should).

We just make fun of that inane BS in our newsletter.

The Industry Standard

CB Insights data is the most trusted by those in the industry and the media. A few recent hits.

Fast Company. Cale Guthrie Weissman (@caleweissman) reports that Amazon’s market cap saw a huge dip after Donald Trump’s tweets about the company and cites CB Insights data.
Silicon Valley Business Journal. Thomas J. Knox and Dan Kahan (@dankahan) highlight three business and legal factors that entrepreneurs should keep in mind when trying to raise capital and cite CB Insights research.
Retail Dive. Dan Alaimo discusses Amazon and Walmart’s recent drone patents and refers to CB Insights research.

I love you.


P.S. On April 3, we'll be discussing banks in fintech. Register for the briefing here.

The Blurb

A curated mix of articles worth sharing.

How to write good. Harvard cognitive scientist and linguist Steven Pinker gives 6 tips for improving writing.
Hacked. The city of Atlanta is still working to recover from last week’s ransomware attack, one of the most sustained and consequential cyberattacks ever launched against a major American city.
New York Times
Welcome to the club. Researchers are thinking of classifying the interstitium — the fluid-filled spaces within and between tissues all over the body — as an organ.
Who’s in charge here? After the self-driving car accident that killed a pedestrian in Arizona, many are asking who is legally responsible in this kind of situation.
Fast Company
AI bias. More and more evidence shows that facial recognition software can pick up or reinforce social biases. Coders are working to fix that.
Let’s go for a drive. Alibaba’s cat-themed car vending machine in China gives free three-day test drives to people with high credit scores.
The Verge
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