Google gadgets. Amazon's latest drones. Ghost ships.

Someone is wrong on the internet

Hi there,

Mark Suster penned a great post a while ago about not becoming a conference ho (see The Blurb).

Last year, I became one.

I presented at 40+ events. 

Overall it was good for ego, bad for health & family, and not meaningful for business. 

One of the fun ones I did was SaaStr because I got the chance to speak to a bunch of my SaaS brothers & sisters about many of our mistakes building a company.

68 mistakes to be exact.

The video just went live, so if you're interested or just having a bad day and need to laugh at true stupidity, check it out here. Below is one of our early horrific pricing pages, which at the time, seemed like a really brilliant idea.


Conversations went like this:

Customer: Which plan do you think works best for us?
CBI: Probably the Limo plan but maybe Private Jet.
Customer: Uhhhh. 
CBI: Ok. Ok. We hear you. Maybe you're more of a Town Car subscription. But you're definitely not going to be ok with just the Cab level.
Customer: Uh yeah. We'll get back to you.

Google gadgets

Today, Google announced a second generation family of consumer products, including new Pixel phones and Pixel buds. These devices are being created at the "intersection of hardware, software and advanced artificial intelligence."

We previously dug into the company's moves in consumer hardware in our 7000-word Google Strategy Teardown. Google had already been utilizing AI to differentiate its consumer cloud products, such as its Photos product which features natural language searches and automatic face and object recognition.

Investors flying high

We analyzed the investment and acquisition activity of the 10 largest aerospace corporations by revenue and their corporate venture arms. Lockheed Martin and Honeywell are the most active deal makers since 2014, with 15 investments or M&A deals each.


Amazon charges your Tesla?

With a newly granted patent, Amazon could use the drones from its Prime Air fleet to deliver energy to vehicles, both at rest and while they move. The patent envisions UAVs attaching to vehicles via a docking mechanism comprised of various connectors.

Not taking my own advice

One of the mistakes I've made and which I discuss in the SaaStr presentation is responding to trolls

Sometimes, I just can't help myself.

(Note: My favorite response to trolls is telling them we should connect on LinkedIn so we can help each other professionally. Drives them cuckoo bananas. Try it.)

But I am getting better at not responding as I now remind myself of this gem from XKCD.

Ghost ships

A number of startups and governments are piloting “unmanned marine vehicles” or crewless cargo boats, with the potential to disrupt the $334B shipping industry. Rolls-Royce’s autonomous-vessel operation is among the most advanced in the space.

The Industry Standard

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

Quartz. Michael J. Coren (@mj_coren) writes about China-based unicorns and cites CB Insights data on private companies valued at $1B+.

CNBC. David Hochman (@davidhochman) writes about e-commerce retailer Tophatter and quotes senior analyst Zoe Leavitt (@zoe_leavitt) on the topic of niche auction sites.

Techworld. A look at robotics startups in the UK with a reference to CB Insights research on robotics startups outside of the US.

I love you.


P.S. The CB Insights Demo Day is only open to clients, but we're opening up a few tickets. Join the waitlist.

Google strategy teardown: Betting the future on AI, cloud Services, and (tamed) moonshots

Artificial intelligence is the thread running throughout Google, including autonomous vehicles, enterprise cloud, and its new smartphone line. Get the teardown.
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Where aerospace corporates are making private market bets in auto tech, IIoT, and drones

We dug into the private market bets made by large aerospace companies, including the venture arms of Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Airbus, Honeywell, and more. See the data.
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Amazon looks to deploy drones to recharge electric cars and other vehicles

Amazon has patented a way for drones to provide "in-flight refuel" to vehicles — which might help resolve the charging-infrastructure challenge facing EVs. Check out the patent.
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How autonomous cargo boats could disrupt the massive shipping industry

Unmanned marine vehicles will use sensors & AI to crisscross the world’s oceans without a crew – potentially lowering costs & improving safety for the $334B shipping sector. Read about them.
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The Blurb

A curated mix of articles worth sharing.

Be careful not to be a conference ho. Mark Suster (@msuster) on the entrepreneurs that feel compelled to attend every conference.
Both Sides of the Table

Fill-in-the-blank. Micah Rosenbloom (@micahjay1) provides an investor update template for busy founders.

Permissionless startup investing. How ICO token sales are changing for the better.

8 questions. Li Jiang (@gsvpioneer) shares a list of essential and fundamental questions for founders raising venture capital.

Churn. David Pakman (@pakman) says churn is the single metric that determines the success of your subscription service.
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