Airbnb strategy teardown. 121 costly startup failures. Amazon gift patent.
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Hi there,

What if you could buy a stake in a person for a share of future earnings?

Think of it as an Initial Person Offering or a human IPO.

We talked about the potential for human IPOs at the Future of Fintech conference earlier this year (get the prez here).

It got folks talking with many saying it's too crazy to happen.

The human IPO, however, seems old school in comparison to Japan's rent-a-person industry (see The Blurb for the article).

Here's how it works.

Note: this is not just "renting a person" to pretend he/she is your sig other at a wedding. 

This is next level isht.  

Like this example below of a mom renting a dad for her daughter. 

The daughter has no idea and it's been going on for 8 years.

Translation: she thinks the actor is her real dad and loves him as if he was her real dad.

The article posits that this type of 
 à la carte human interaction may become the new norm.

What do you think?  Which comes first human IPOs or renting people for human interactions?

Airbnb teardown

We examined Airbnb’s strategy and future prospects by analyzing the company's funding, investments, acquisitions, partnerships, and patents.

Since it originally received seed funding as a Y Combinator alum in January 2009, Airbnb has raised from a cohort of traditional venture firms, including Sequoia Capital, FirstMark Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Andreessen Horowitz, and others.

We'll be diving into this and more tomorrow during our discussion on Airbnb's strategy and innovation tomorrow. Sign up here.

Pokies = slots

Another really interesting article in The Blurb discusses how slot machines are designed to be addictive.

Worth a read especially as a lot of these ideas are finding their way into software we use daily.

My favorite app

I moved out of NYC a couple of years ago and had to start driving to places.

The app that has saved me countless times is Waze.

It warns me about the police.
I follow its suggested routes blindly.

I really, really love Waze.

And so I'm really excited that Noam Bardin, the founder and CEO of Waze, which sold to Google for $1.15B is joining us at the A-Ha! Conference next month.

We're looking forward to digging into a wide variety of topics with Noam including:

  • Whether Israel's startups are overrated - see below
  • The future of mobile - Waze has always been mobile-only. Noam has a keen sense of where mobile is headed.
  • Competing with Uber - What Google/Waze's plans are to expand its ride-sharing service 
  • The end of traffic jams - How tech is enabling this
  • What he's excited about in tech - He's an active angel investor and recently invested in industrial drone company Airobotics
On the Israeli startup scene, Noam thinks it's overconfident. 

As the excerpt from Globes below highlights, he's not shy to say what's on his mind, which means our conversation at A-Ha! will certainly be interesting.

Use discount code carsb4roads and save $500 today.  

121 costly deaths

We updated our list of costliest startup failures, starting with those that failed that raised over $100M. We also highlighted discussion around the reasons for failure based on press reports, founder post-mortems, and company statements.

Gifting rules

A new patent granted to Amazon would allow you to define "gift rules" for a more customized, personal gift card alternative. Gift givers can select type of product and price range, among other specifics. The gift-giver could even control the options all the way down to author and book type (electronic download, paperback, and so on).

The Industry Standard 

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

Business Insider. A look at Goldman Sachs' recruiting initiatives with a reference to data found in the CB Insights Goldman Strategy Teardown.

Silicon Republic. John Kennedy (@mrjohnfkennedy) writes about Web3 Ventures' potential ICO offering in 2018 and cites CB Insights ICO data.

HR Dive. A report on Facebook's hiring activity with a reference to CB Insights research on the subject.

Happy Monday.

I love you.


P.S. Join us tomorrow for a discussion on Airbnb's acquisition, investment, and innovation strategy. Sign up for the briefing.

The Blurb

A curated mix of articles worth sharing.

Hooked. How slot machines are designed to be addictive.
The Guardian

Waze words. Waze founder Noam Bardin (@noam) says no one in Silicon Valley thinks much of Israel.

A changing definition. Noah Jessop (@njess) says what used to be a distinct financing milestone — the seed stage — has morphed into a gradient. 

Media. Om Malik (@om) writes about amplification and the changing role of media.

Fake friends and family. In Japan, you can pay an actor to impersonate your relative, spouse, coworker, or any kind of acquaintance.
The Atlantic
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