Hackernoon logoThe Best Content From The Startup Ecosystem in 2016 (backed by data) by@KintuLabs

The Best Content From The Startup Ecosystem in 2016 (backed by data)

The Best of the Best List is a list of the best ways to spend your money in the digital world. This week's list is a look at some of the most important things you need to read to make sure you're reading the best of the list. The list includes tips on how to make the best use of your own money to get your money back on the list of best things you want to read. The best way to spend the money is to spend it on the top of your money, not just money, but money.
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Chris Osborne

Founder

Hey, I’m Chris. I update a daily newsletter curating the best tech, startup, business and design news/resources every day.

Like last year, I wanted to go back into each edition to find out what the most popular guide of the day was (by link clicks from readers) and list them here as one big resource.

There’s some gems below, so I reccomend using a read-later app like Pocket to save the guides you’re interested in. In doing so, you’ll have heaps of content to read over the holiday season.

3 quick notes before we move onto the list:

  1. If you are not yet a subscriber to FoundersGrid, you can subscribe here.
  2. If you’re interested in reaching 50,000 folks in the tech industry, consider sponsoring an edition of the newsletter in return for buying me lunch (I’m running an end of year sale with $50 off until Friday).
  3. Besides updating the newsletter every day, I research fast-growing tech companies at GrowthList. If you’ve started to on-board clients at your startup, my in-depth reports will save you a boatload of time researching the companies you should be doing business with (you can also access $50 off any of my in-depth reports until Friday).
First up, a big thank you to all the startup founders and journalists who have written and shared amazing content this year — you make our industry the best place to work in ❤

January 2016

How We Got off the Addiction to Venture Capital and Created Our Own Way to Profits
Learn how and why Skift abandoned their follow-on round of investment after deciding bootstrapping was a better way forward. Make sure you read how they did it towards the end of the post.

Don’t Edit Your Imagination
Brian Chesky, co-founder of Airbnb, on not limiting your imagination to create ideas that can then be edited to provide the logic to make your ideas real. Great post.

Lessons learned from Airbnb’s Email Specialist
A great interview with Airbnb’s email specialist Lucas Chevillard covering what they are currently testing, email KPI’s and more.

The 30 Best Pieces of Advice for Entrepreneurs
First Round have published a list of the 30 most “impactful, change-making pieces of advice” drawn from everything they published last year. A must read.

The Ultimate Customer Acquisition Checklist
From content marketing to Analytics to Facebook/Twitter marketing, this is a really well put together check-list for those working on sales and marketing right now.

The 11 digital tools I use every week as Head of Product
Co-founder Pascal Briod shares a great list of products he relies on to head up product at TawiPay.

9 Facebook Ad Campaign Examples Critiqued for Conversion
A must read guide from Unbounce for those involved with running Facebook ad campaigns.

How We Pay Remote Employees Around the World (and Where the Money Goes)
Great insights from Buffer on international salaries, effective tax rates and how they pay remote employees around the world.

Why an Ex-Google Coder Makes Twice as Much Freelancing
Forget the fancy offices and the free lunches — more than ever before skilled folks are understanding the true value of more freedom and less bureaucracy.

We Analyzed 1 Million Google Search Results. Here’s What We Learned About SEO
Interesting SEO insights from BackLinkio after analyzing 1 million Google search results to answer the question: Which factors correlate with first page search engine rankings?

Why You Suck at Productivity (and the 5 Minute Fix)
I find most productivity posts wishy washy but this one is good: “The reason you’re not as productive as you should be is because you haven’t learnt the art of prioritizing.”

A Minimum Viable Product Is Not a Product, It’s a Process
Excellent advice on building MVP’s the right way from Yevgeniy Brikman: “An MVP is a process that you repeat over and over again: Identify your riskiest assumption, find the smallest possible experiment to test that assumption, and use the results of the experiment to course correct.”

21 Must-Read Sales Blogs (and their best 3 blog posts)
A good list of 21 sales blogs and posts you should have on your radar.

Inside Facebook’s Decision to Blow Up the Like Button
A great long form feature on Chris Cox, Facebook’s chief product officer on the upcoming revamping of the like button (billed at Reactions).

February 2016

The Biggest Mistake I Ever Made
A great post on managing teams, getting rid of assholes, making tough decisions and not “putting up with someone because your afraid to lose their ability”.

Every tool I use to run a 7+ figure business
Noah Kagan of AppSumo fame lists every product he uses to run his business (and life). It’s a great list.

Becoming a Real Startup — On Growing & Turning an Idea into Something Tangible, Fast.
John Saddington shares the steps he has taken to research, launch and market his startup Tomo over the first 20 days. It’s a recommend read for new startup founders.

14 Useful Design Projects on Github
A look at 14 interesting design projects as Github becomes an increasingly popular repository for designers to open-source their projects.

Growing From 0–12k Organic Visitors by Mapping Content to the Sales Funnel
Detailed look at how Benji Hyam used the google suggested search hack to massively grow search traffic over the past 6 months at ThinkApps.

Why most A/B tests give you bullshit results
A good read from Mixpanel’s Content Marketing Manager, Justin Megahan, on how to improve your AB testing.

If You’re Going to Do Something, Go All In
Why you should do things well, whether you’re being creative or going travelling, from ChopDawg founder Joshua Davidson.

Five things I will do different for my next startup
From scaling slower to burning less, five useful startup tips with insightful commentary from Appcellerator co-founder, Jeff Haynie.

Startup Founders’ Favorite Interview Questions to Judge Early Team Fit
NextView Ventures asked a group of founders to share their favorite interview questions when they build new startup teams. Some great questions here that are worth saving for later reference.

Product management tools for startups
A very useful look at product management tools from Songkick’s Dan Quine, including why Pirate Metrics is the best framework for startup metrics, the power of the 80:20 rule and looking for the aha moments in your product.

The Most Innovative Companies of 2016
A list of 2016’s most innovative companies as judged by FastCompany’s writers, editors and machine intelligence. Interesting to see Taco Bell in the top 10…

Which Type of Exercise Is Best for the Brain?
Enlightening article from the New York Times about a Finnish study comparing the effects different forms of exercise, such as weight training and long distance running, had on rats brain tissue. Hint: it might be time to start pounding the pavements.

Resources for Digital Nomads & Location Independent Entrepreneurs
A killer list of resources and advice for anyone interested in being a location independent entrepreneur, from books to read for building a business to sorting out work and travel visas.

14 Must Have Sales Tools For Small To Medium Sized Startups
Involved with sales? Here’s a selection of 14 tools that can help you manage and close more sales leads.

The Most Powerful Lesson I’ve Ever Learned In Business
Great post from Flipboard co-founder and CEO Mike McCue on how to lead from first principles when everything is at stake and why they’re a bigger, more powerful force than anyone in the company, including the founders and CEO.

The Tools Early-Stage Startups Actually Need to Understand Their Customers 
Interview with Segment co-founder and CEO, Peter Reinhardt, on the build-versus-buy debate, recommendations on which tools to consider across eight distinct categories, the pitfalls to avoid when choosing tools and when to declare tools successful.

I dared two expert hackers to destroy my life. Here’s what happened. 
A fascinating article and documentary about what happened when Kevin Roose asked two elite hackers to do their worse, from tracking down his social security number to getting access to his mobile phone account and finding his passwords.

Startup Revenue Milestones
A look at key revenue milestones that K9 share with their portfolio, from $1K a month at the start of product-market fit, to $250–500K when scaling, along with advice to founders on how to reach them.

How This Company Makes $70 Million Selling Random Stuff on Amazon
Interesting look at the incredible success of Amazon Marketplace company Pharmapacks, thanks in no part to their development of proprietary algorithms, and a look at the general rise of companies selling through third-party marketplaces.

March 2016

Slack, I’m Breaking Up with You
Samuel Hulick covers the challenges and the downsides of using using Slack perfectly: “You’re splitting my attention into a thousand tiny pieces”.

What Pricing Implies About Product Market Fit for Startups
Tom Tunguz on pricing power, how pricing evolves as the market changes, why startups should create monopolies and two questions to consider when experimenting with pricing.

Microinteractions: The Secret of Great App Design
A great look at microinteractions (contained product moments that do one small task), why they work and are one of the best techniques for giving delightful feedback in app design.

How a language app got 110 million users without spending a dollar on marketing
A great read about how language learning app Duolingo got 110 million users by using a task-based, gamified platform that helps users get up to speed on learning new languages.

Finding Product Market Fit
Peter Reinhardt, co-founder and CEO of Segment.io, shares some of the wisest words on finding product/market fit I’ve ever read. A must read.

How Too Much Networking Almost Killed My Startup
A salient reminder from Allen Gannett, CEO of TrackMaven, of the negative aspects of networking: drinking watery beer and eating supermarket cheese with other people who aren’t getting anything done, either.

My Year in San Francisco’s $2 Million Secret Society Startup
A fascinating read about Lydia Laurenson’s indoctrination into a very San Francisco secret society, complete with swipe card invitations and miniature libraries and populated by artists, that was actually run by a startup.

Facebook Advertising Basics
Great post on how to approach Facebook advertising, with a look at tactics that work at scale, how they work or don’t work for earlier stage startups, and useful advice on how to leverage Facebook auto-optimization to what your bidding strategy should be.

How a hacker’s typo helped stop a billion dollar bank heist
Fascinating story about a hack involving the Bangladesh central bank and the New York Feds in which suspicions were only raised when the name of a Sri Lankan non-profit organisation was misspelled in a transfer request. While transactions totalling $850-$870 million were stopped, they still managed to get away with $81 million…

These 39 Sites Have Amazing Stock Photos You Can Use For Free
A very useful list of 39 sites with killer stock photos ready for to you use for nada.

Lessons learned from Teespring’s Email Specialist
Useful interview with Alli Shea of Teespring covering everything from her favorite email sends to what they’re currently testing in emails and what their design process looks like.

Build Your User Base with These Human Behavior Hacks
A fascinating look at behavioral economics and the bad habits, human foibles, misjudgments and knee-jerk reactions that pretty much determine everything we think and do, from confirmation bias to hyperbolic discounting.

How I Built 180 Websites in 180 days and became a YC Fellowship Founder
A fascinating read on how Jen Dewalt quit her job to learn how to code by building 180 websites in 180 days, who is now going on to build a much larger company with both code and growth hacking skills she has learned.

How Google’s AI Auto-Magically Answers Your Emails
Fascinating article about Google turning its AI to the browser-based version of Inbox, which can now answer your emails for you. Choose from three responses suggested by Google’s AI or you also can use the suggested responses as starting points, editing or adding text as you like…

Infographic: The 2016 Marketing Technology Landscape
Fascinating look at Marketing Technology companies in 2016. With an infographic of nearly 4000 companies that’s a huge leap from the 150 featured in 2011, along with a very useful breakdown of the market.

All 60 startups that launched at Y Combinator Winter 2016 Demo Day 1
An interesting look at YC’s 60 startups this year, notable for including hardware, engineering, alternative energy and enterprise offerings, from smart oven, Tovala, to PetCube, a dropcam for Fido.

How Instagram’s First Investor Struck Gold As A One-Man Deal Machine
A fascinating profile of Instagram’s first investor, Steve Anderson, who runs one of Silicon Valley’s most successful and smallest investment firms and likes to do things differently.

5 Things I Wish Somebody Told Me Before I Founded My SaaS
A very useful post from Freckle founder Amy Hoy, on the five things she wish she’d known when starting in SaaS, from the fact that there is always another inflection point coming to focussing on your best customers 100% of the time.

One of Silicon Valley’s Most Esteemed VCs Says Start-ups Are “Mostly Crap”
A fascinating interview with Chamath Palihapitiya, a Sri Lankan immigrant who escaped a civil war in his homeland before eventually landing a job at Facebook then starting one of the most formidable VC firms in the Valley.

How to Decrease the Odds That Your Startup Fails
Great post from Mark Suster on the key questions you should be asking yourself before launching a startup, from knowing your potential market size and its structure to the strengths and weaknesses of the incumbents.

March 2016

Unintuitive Things I’ve Learned about Management
A great read for all managers from Julie Zhuo, product design director at Facebook: “Having all the answers is not the goal. Motivating the team to find the answers is the goal.”

Want to Create Things That Matter?
Great article about how ignoring “shallow work” makes one appear lazy or distanced, but is actually the trait that enables great creatives to do work that matters.

How Reporters Pulled Off the Panama Papers
Fascinating Wired piece about how an anonymous whistleblower was able to spirit out and surreptitiously send journalists a gargantuan collection of files, which were then analyzed by more than 400 reporters in secret over more than a year before a coordinated effort to go public.

Millennials are being dot.conned by cult-like tech companies
“HubSpot’s leaders were not heroes,” says Lyons, “but rather sales and marketing charlatans who spun a good story about magical transformational technology and got rich by selling shares in a company that has still never turned a profit.”

Being tired isn’t a badge of honor
A great reminder from Jason Fried at Basecamp: “Sustained exhaustion is not a rite of passage. It’s a mark of stupidity.”

Notes on Branding
Excellent piece on branding from Daehee Park, founder of Tuft & Needle — the mattress company that’s on track to do $225m/yr.

Designing a Browser that isn’t a Browser
Excited about the launch of Tofin, a series of experiments and explorations on what a browser could look like when its fundamental paradigms are invented in 2016 instead of 1996.

This 25-Year-Old Is Turning a Profit Selling Pencils
One year in, Caroline Weaver’s tiny empire of Blackwings and Ticonderogas seems to be going strong. Who’s buying?

Building a mobile game that hit the #1 spot in the App Store & $700k
An excellent overview of launching a successful game on iOS from Amir Rajan, builder of ‘A Dark Room’, along with full financials and some great advice for aspiring indie app developers.

What does Unsplash cost to run?
A great breakdown of the services and costs associated with running one of the largest photography sites in the world.

We spent $5k to find that most Facebook Ads convert the same…with a few exceptions
One of the best in-depth reports covering advertising on Facebook I’ve yet to come across. A must read for all those advertising on the Facebook platform.

The Way We Build : Airbnb Design
A great read from Alex Schleifer, VP of Design at Airbnb: “By focusing on the methods of working across disciplines, building better tools, and creating a unified system, we can use our time to apply creativity to solve bigger challenges.”

8 Product Designers share what’s most challenging about what they do
Great insights from Geoff Teehan — design director at Facebook, Alexander Mayes — product designer at Instagram, and more on what they find most challenging in their day to day roles.

The first rule of pricing is: you do not talk about pricing
A must-read piece read on pricing strategies from Tom Whitwell. “It is not your customer’s job to set pricing. An optimal price is one that is accepted but not without some initial resistance.”

The Surprising Secret to Being a Good Boss
Kim Scott, an acclaimed coach for companies like Twitter and who has previous experience with Google and Apple, shares her experiences of leading teams into ideas you can use to help the people who work for you love their jobs and do great work.

Inside OpenAI, Elon Musk’s Wild Plan to Set Artificial Intelligence Free
An interesting look at OpenAI, the artificial intelligence company launched by Elon Musk, founder of electric car maker Tesla, and Sam Altman, president of tech incubator Y Combinator.

How Uber conquered London
A brilliant, insightful and extensive piece from Sam Knight at the Guardian on how Uber conquered London.

May 2016

Entrepreneur Craig Wright identifies himself as Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto
Wright has provided technical proof to back up his claim using coins known to be owned by Bitcoin’s creator. His admission ends years of speculation about who came up with the original ideas underlying the digital cash system.

Finding Side Project Ideas
Ali Mese at Crew lays down some excellent advice for founders wanting to create side projects now that 62% of Crew’s revenue is generated from their own side projects.

Engineering Intelligence Through Data Visualization At Uber
An interesting look at Uber’s data visualization team, who keep tabs on billions of GPS locations every day and millions of mobile events every minute.

Inside A Secret Chinese Bitcoin Mine
In China, savvy entrepreneurs are making millions a year by mining bitcoin. BBC’s Danny Vincent visited one of the world’s biggest facilities of its kind to film the activity and people within.

Web Design Trends 2016: The Definitive Guide
UXPin’s visual guide to web design trends in 2016 is beautifully put together (no surprise there!), and is a must read for all founders and designers alike.

Estonia’s e-Residency Program Is the Future of Immigration
Vice reporting on Estonia’s e-Residency Program: “Unlike most countries, Estonia offers a zero percent tax on undistributed profits — meaning, if the profits are reinvested into the company, you don’t owe any corporate taxes, which can be a huge deal for start-ups.”

6 Innovative Projects That Are Making Cities Better — That Other Cities Should Steal
The Knight Cities Challenge just gave out $5 million to winning ideas from civic innovators to help 26 particular American cities, from Detroit to Macon, Georgia. Here are six of the 37 winning projects that other cities might want to steal.

Marc Andreessen’s Best Advice: Build Your Passion Before Your Startup
“There are products that become startups, and then there are startups that try to build a product. Products that become startups tend to do much better overall where you have a founder that has built something, often in an academic setting or on nights and weekends, that is now working, and needs to be turned into a company to continue.”

Silicon Valley’s new vanity metric is profitability
“Ask a tech entrepreneur these days about the company’s financial performance, and there’s a good chance they’ll talk about their “path to profitability” before growth. The problem, though, is that entrepreneurs often pick a definition of profitability that suits them.”

Funded vs Bootstrapped: Comparing the Metrics of 37 SaaS Companies
Great stats and comparisons of Micro SaaS, Bootstrapped SaaS and Funded SaaS startups from Clement Vouillon at Point Nine Capital.

This Company’s CEO is a Computer Program, and It Just Made $131 Million
DAO (a company that needs no office, no employees, and no president) is ruled by a computer program. And they just raised $131 million…and counting.

The 10 Biggest Announcements from Google I/O 2016
The Verge offers a great breakdown of the major highlights from Google’s I/O 2016 keynote including Android N, Google Daydream, Android Wear 2.0, Google Home (a competitor to Amazon’s Echo) and the new Allo and Duo (messaging) apps.

How Need/Want Built a $2.5 Million Business
A great Shopify podcast episode with Marshall Haas covering how Need/Want built a $2.5m physical products business by leveraging the power of positioning.

Jeff Bezos explains why the Fire Phone disaster was actually a good thing
Jeff Bezos on experiments and failure: “If you think [the Fire Phone] was a big failure, we’re working on much bigger failures right now. And I am not kidding. Some of them are going to make the Fire Phone look like a tiny little blip”. Also worth reading is VC Fred Wilson’s take.

Bill Gates’ recommends 5 books to read this summer
“The five books are simply ones that I loved, made me think in new ways, and kept me up reading long past when I should have gone to sleep. As a result, this is an eclectic list — from an 800-page science fiction novel by a local legend to a 200-page nonfiction book on how Japan can get its economic mojo back.”

Questions (and Answers) from Design Interviews at Facebook
Product designer at Facebook Jasmine Friedl shares interesting insights into five commonly asked questions in Product Design interviews at Facebook.

Reflections on bootstrapping
A good read from Matthew Granade of Domino: “Aside from the increased ownership, another big advantage to bootstrapping is that it keeps you lean and hungry, with a profound appreciation of how hard each dollar is to get and how carefully each dollar should be spent.”

June 2016

Elon Musk Confessions: All the Stupid Things Tesla Has Done
A great recap of Tesla’ held its’ annual shareholder’s meeting: “We’ve always had the right motivations. We say the things that we believe even when sometimes those things are delusional.”

Elon Musk thinks we need brain-computers to avoid becoming ‘house cats’ to artificial intelligence
Musk believes that as AI continues to advance, humans will be left behind, and that even in the most banal situation, we’ll be treated like pets by artificial intelligence.

Advice for building great products, from the VP of product at Facebook
A must-read from Julie Zhuo, VP of product at Facebook: “A product succeeds because it solves a problem for people. This sounds very basic, but it is the single most important thing to understand about building good products.”

A Founder’s Guide to Growth Hacking
From leveraging the Bullseye Framework to a list of 19 customer acquisition channels worth exploring, startup accelerator Dreamit shares this great guide to growth hacking and digital marketing aimed at seed stage startups.

How 16 Companies are Dominating the World’s Google Search Results
Excellent reporting from ViperChill on how just 16 core companies are dominating the most popular industries online and “how that situation is going to get a whole lot worse.”

“Um” and “like” and being heard
I really like this speech advice from Seth Godin: “You actually don’t have to keep making sounds in order to keep your turn as the speaker. The fastest speaker is not the speaker who is heard best or even most.”

Jessica Livingston’s Pretty Complete List on How Not to Fail
An excellent list here from Jessica Livingston of Y Combinator: “If you start by making something people actually want, focus on making users happy, make sure you have a good growth rate and don’t over hire, you’ll be in a very happy position.”

The Impact To Startups Of The LinkedIn Acquisition
Some solid analysis, as ever, from Tom Tunguz on what the LinkedIn deal will mean for other startups, from removing LinkedIn from the buyer segment to its effect on future M&A multiples.

The Three Frameworks You Need to Kick-start Sales
A really useful overview of the frameworks you need to get sales as a startup, from building a value-based founder story to getting a value-based customer story and how to integrate them both in your sales strategies.

Here’s What Happened To All 53 of Marissa Mayer’s Yahoo Acquisitions
A great analysis of Yahoo’s current situation along with a look at the plight of Marissa Mayers’ acquisitions over the last four years.

Ev Williams: The Forrest Gump of the Internet
A great profile on Ev Williams, why the influential tech guru who introduced blogs to the world isn’t a household name, his background and why he’s betting against the open web.

Think Less, Think Better
A great piece from Neuroscientist and Harvard Professor Moshe Bar for the New York Times on the importance of having a clear mind for productive thinking and creativity. Time for some Vipassana meditation!

7 Business Models for Bots
A great read about how bots, the hottest topic since mobile apps, might actually make money, from Bots as a Service (BaaS) to pure retail sales bots.

Why Some Global Tech Startups Are Offshoring to Delaware
Fascinating article about how Stripe, the $5 billion payments startup, has helped 440 businesses from 91 countries incorporate in the U.S. through their new program called Atlas.

How To Brainstorm Like A Googler
Fascinating look at Google’s elegantly simple linear process for brainstorming new ideas and turning them into actual products: Know the user, Think 10x, then Prototype.

I Analyzed the Copy on 87 SaaS Startup Landing Pages — Here’s What I Found
A great read about the copy in 87 SaaS startup landing pages. 20% of them used social proof, the average word count of a headline was 6 and every single headline can be boiled down to 9 formulas.

Customer Support for Solo Founders
A few rules that have helped Tyler Tringas build a SaaS app on his own with happy customers and a churn rate that hovers around 1%, from not using tools for customer support to being honest but not over-sharing.

From losing money to a 51% profit margin in 5 months
A great read about how Nathan Barry, whose startup was already on a solid growth trajectory, cut his costs by renegotiating contracts, reducing expenses and becoming way more efficient at serving customers.

How China Took Center Stage in Bitcoin’s Civil War
A great article about how China has become a market for Bitcoin unlike anything in the West, fueling huge investments in server farms as well as enormous speculative trading on Chinese Bitcoin exchanges.

Jule 2016

The Credit Card Obsessives Who Game the System — and Share Their Secrets Online
A great read about the huge online community of credit card obsessives that grew out of early internet forums. Many bloggers have turned their hobby into a full-time job, making loads of cash off teaching readers how to earn the most benefits.

The 30 Tools We Use to Run Ugmonk
Interesting insights into the 30 tools Ugmonk use to run their online design store business, from services such as Shipstation to apps like Typeform and hardware such as the gold old Apple Magic Mouse.

How to Email Early Stage Investors
Y Combinator partner Michael Seibel on communicating with investors (this is actually solid advice for emailing anyone): “Your job is to succinctly communicate your situation and how I can help.”

30 Days of Genius — Mark Cuban
Love this relaxed video interview with Mark Cuban and Chase Jarvis discussing entrepreneurship, work/life balance, investing and more: “don’t follow your passion, follow your effort”.

How A/B Testing at LinkedIn, Wealthfront and eBay Made Me a Better Manager
A great long-read on how Instacart VP of product Elliot Shmukler champions A/B testing not only as a sound product development practice, but also as an effective management tool.

Adventure.com: what we got right & why we failed
Founder Travis Snelling’s own personal take on why Adventure.com — a peer-to-peer marketplace for tours and activities — failed, along with some of the ups, downs and lessons learned along the way.

He Cofounded Kayak, Sold It For $2 Billion, And Is Back With Lola, Which Uses Human Travel Agents
Paul M. English cofounded Kayak in 2004 and served as the travel search engine’s chief technology officer. Last year he founded Lola, which does the opposite of what Kayak offered travelers: Lola connects users with travel agents who book flights and lodgings and create itineraries.

All About OKRs: How to Set Them, Achieve Them, and Track Them in Trello
A great read about exactly how OKRs, a rigorous method of goal-setting and progress-tracking that Buffer found to have a great impact on their focus, excitement, and results, work, how they chose them to how they track them.

‘Airbnb’s Sheryl Sandberg’ is the Valley’s Quiet Superpower
Belinda Johnson has ascended to become chief business affairs and legal officer — the de facto number two at Airbnb. A lawyer with more than two decades of experience building internet companies, she joined Airbnb in 2011 as Chesky’s first executive hire.

4 Horrible Content Marketing Mistakes That Have Cost Us Millions
Four big mistakes that have cost Groove dearly, from not using your blog to grow your business to letting people forget about you and making it too hard for people to sign up.

Chris Anderson, head of TED, shares the 5 TED talks that taught him the most
TED’s Chris Anderson gives his own take on TED talks he’s found the most instructive, from Clay Shirky’s Institutions vs collaboration, on the role of the web way back in 2005, to Bryan Stevenson’s view of the broken American justice system in We need to talk about an injustice.

How to start a marketplace business
A very useful playbook from VC Forward Partners, who have invested in and helped over 10 marketplaces businesses, about how marketplaces can get off the ground quickly with a look at the characteristics of a good marketplace.

How to Pitch Your Company
Michael Seibel, Y Combinator Partner, on pitching your company to investors. From talking about the size of your market to who’s on your team, these are great points not only for pitching but also to consider when starting a company.

How we generated $712,076.64 in revenue with two people in a little over two years
A fascinating post detailing Know Your Company’s most unusual business model, that charges a one time fee of $100 per employee for life. CEO Claire Lew goes behind the scenes and shares the numbers.

To Build Great Products, Build This Strong, Scalable System First
Alex Le and Kavin Stewart, co-VPs of Product at Reddit, focus on the radical shift from product market-fit into growth — a change that steamrolls far too many promising startups. With the tactics they recommend, companies at every phase can learn how to create effective, replicable and (perhaps most importantly) durable product development systems.

WeWork Evicted A Startup After It Published A Negative Blog Post About The Co-Working Space
Interesting read about a WeWork member publishing an analysis that suggested customers of the trendy rental office-space company are increasingly canceling their memberships, resulting in a cease and desist notice from the coworking startup and the company being given 30 minutes to vacate the workspace…

Time Management at Khan Academy
A great blog post that joins together stories of how four Khan Academy engineers manage their time, and some lessons they’ve learned in their adventures so far…

YC’s Summer Reading List
A look at the books that Y Combinator recommends you add to your reading list, from sci fi novels to a tome about the political genius of Abe Lincoln and a read about what can be learnt from how employees work at Google.

August 2016

18 Movies Every Entrepreneur Should Watch
Sometimes the best way to capture reality is through fiction. Wherever you are in your business venture, you can glean some insight from these 18 provocative and wildly entertaining films, from Catch Me If You Can to Office Space.

The Price is Right: Essential Tips for Nailing Your Pricing Strategy
A great interview in which Price Intelligently Co-founder and CEO deconstructs and walks through the elements of a pricing strategy for startups. The foundational work behind pricing is to create, test and refine buyer personas so that they’re mirrored on your pricing page. To do so requires a three-stage process: define your customers, collect data from them and apply your findings.

The Two Things Killing Your Ability to Focus
An insightful article about why distractions from connected devices and an excessive reliance on meetings as the default form of interaction with other people is having a huge negative impact on our ability to focus, with some great tips for overcoming these challenges.

Got $100, Invest in Apple or Facebook?
An interesting analysis of whether it would be better to invest in Apple or Facebook and Google or Amazon right now with a useful updated valuation model. Tip: Buy Facebook and Amazon.

8 Invaluable Lessons on Building a SaaS Product
Some great takeaways from successful serial founders who gave talks at MicroConf Europe, from Peter Coppinger’s account of bootstrapping an SaaS company as a side business to Mike Taber on the fact that solopreneurs on average spend 5 months to develop a product.

Interview Naval Ravikant, angel investor and founder of AngelList
A great talk with Naval Ravikant covering AngelList, syndicates and startup funding in part1, and power dynamics, haters in venture, the American political system, the disruption of the wealthy elite and, of course, South Park, in part 2.

Sam Altman sits down with Mark Zuckerberg to talk about how to build the future
A great casual chat between a YC’s Sam Altman and the founder of the world’s biggest social network about everything from the early days of Facebook and the challenges it faced, to Zuck’s views on what’s going to happen to Facebook and tech in the next 20 years.

I Bought a Company That Makes Me $30,000 a Month. Here’s How.
An inspiring and/or jealousy inducing story about how Justin Mares spotted social proof purchasing tool Notify, bought it and then optimised it to increase users and turned it into Fomo. I’m definitely fearful of missing out on that kind of cash.

Marketing in four steps
The first step is to invent a thing worth making, the second step is to design and build it in a way that people will actually benefit from and care about, the third step is to tell the story to the right people in the right way and the last step is to show up regularly.

All 44 startups that launched at Y Combinator S16 Demo Day 1
Farm drones, autonomous security guards and next-generation tampons were among the products presented at today’s Y Combinator startup accelerator Summer 2016 Demo Day 1 with 30 percent of this batch’s startups coming from outside the US.

Understanding VCs
From Fred Wilson: VCs aren’t heroes. They just provide the capital allocation function and are rewarded when they do it well. The entrepreneurs are the ones who take the biggest risks and create the products, services, and companies that we increasingly rely on as tech seeps into everything.

Keynote Talk with Yancey Strickler (Kickstarter CEO and Co-Founder)
Yancey Strickler delivers his much anticipated Keynote to a packed Studio 1, rounding off the TOA16 conference at Funkhaus with an inspiring talk about his company, being generous, and going against the grain to reach your goals.

New Digital Currency Spikes as Drug Dealers Get More Secrecy
Forget bitcoin. There’s a new digital currency that is surging as online drug-dealers begin adopting it to conduct business with more anonymity.

September 2016

Raising Money Online — Advice For Startups
YC summarizes the evolution of using websites like AngelList, FundersClub and Wefunder to raise funds and provides perspective on their pros and cons.

This 100-Year-Old To-Do List Hack Still Works Like A Charm
The “Ivy Lee Method” is stupidly simple, and that’s partly why it’s so effective..

Why are you doing?
The most important thing in life is to know why you are doing what you’re doing. But whatever you decide, you need to optimize for that, and be willing to let go of the others.

This Capsule Hotel Shows Us What the Future of Reality Looks Like
A design review of a low-tech, physical space that exists today and isn’t powered by artificial intelligence, big data or machine learning: A Capsule Hotel, in particular a Capsule Hotel called nine hours,or more efficiently, 9h.

A collection of real fundraising decks from real startups
A great collection of real pitch decks from startups that have collectively raised over $400 million. Well worth a look through.

How to Test Drive Your Business Idea Before Quitting Your Job
How to validate your business idea before you quit your job and the clock is ticking in 5 easy to follow steps, from sales to definition.

How to Write Articles and Essays Quickly and Expertly
A very useful guide on how to prepare and write articles and essays, from the four types of discursive writing (argument, explanation, definition and description) to how to organize your writing and even the types of words to use.

The Science of Memory: Top 10 Proven Techniques to Remember More and Learn Faster
Improving your memory only takes trying out new memorization techniques or making key adjustments in your lifestyle. Here are 10 of the best tips and tricks to help boost your memory.

Don’t Start Big, Start a Little Snowball
When your startup is a single cell organism, customers and investors are not confused about what you do. Word of mouth and viral loop growth becomes significantly easier to achieve.

Elon Musk on How to Build the Future
A great interview between Elon Musk and Sam Altman of Y Combinator for the How to Build the Future series, covering everything from the importance of PHDs to the odds of a Mars colony.

Want To Be More Productive And Creative? Collaborate Less
Collaboration has defined the world of work for decades. This former IDEO designer says these days, it’s showing its limits.

The SEO Tips That Helped Tally 20 Million Visits A Month
Yummly Chief Growth Officer Ethan Smith outlines the inflection points and key tenets for high-performance SEO.

Fortune’s 2016 40 Under 40
Fortune’s annual ranking of the most influential young people in business. Read on to meet these disruptors, innovators, rebels and artists — and prepare to be inspired.

Growing Park.io to $125k per month as a single employee company
A great interview with Mike Carson who explains how automating tasks has helped him grow revenue to over $125,000 a month as the only employee at his company.

The life of legendary fashion billionaire Ralph Lauren
An interesting read on how Ralph Lauren built one of the world’s largest fashion companies and a $6 billion fortune.

The Three Infrastructure Mistakes Your Company Must Not Make
Avi Freedman has worked in networking for 30+ years and seen over 100 startups scale their infrastructure. Here are the most vital pieces of advice he has to share.

Can you build a successful business out of side projects?
A great interview with Need/Want’s head of design, David Myers, on how they’re building multiple successful businesses at once.

Disrupting the Freight Industry with Data Culture
An interesting interview with Charles Lee at Kontainers, the startup that’s disrupting the freight industry, about their ideas and experiences in bringing paradigm-shifting forces into the freight industry.

October 2016

The AI Revolution: Why Deep Learning Is Suddenly Changing Your Life
A look at the history of deep learning and how it’s now being used in more tech products than ever…

Matt Mullenweg: Characteristics and Practices of Successful Entrepreneurs
Matt Mullenweg, the CEO of Automattic, which is a multi-billion dollar fully distributed startup that is most famous for it’s product Wordpress, sits down on the Tim Ferris podcast. A highly recommend listen.

8 Actionable Ways to Get Your Startup’s First 100 Customers
For most startups, attracting the first 100 customers can be a challenge. Here are 8 actionable steps from Chargify you can start using today to reach this milestone.

What it’s like buying a $128k side project
A great read on the processes of buying a software business, from finding the right business to buy to offer and negotiation to signing the asset purchase agreement.

Bootstrapping Side Projects into Profitable Startups
A great read from Pieter Levels: “…I’ve been in a few scenes in my life (graphic design, music and now startups), and I think I’ve never seen so much bulls*it as in startups. All talk, little action.”

What $50 buys you at Huaqiangbei, the world’s most fascinating electronics market.
Follow Jesse Vincent from Keyboard.io who goes shopping for $50 worth of gifts at the Huaqiangbei electronics market area of Shenzhen.

Growing a Startup Without Funding: How 5 Entrepreneurs Made Bootstrapping Work
This list of 5 startups who have bootstrapped their companies against big odds is a short yet delightful read.

The internet is still actually controlled by 14 people who hold 7 secret keys
This sounds like something out of a Dan Brown book, but it isn’t: The entire internet depends on seven highly secured keys.

How we took our startup from idea to paying customers in 4 weeks
A great read on how Jake Peters created HelpDocs by solving their own pain points, moved to market quickly and used paid acquisition to onboard their first set of customers.

Instapainting: $1000/week in revenue from day one
Another great IndieHackers interview with the founder of Instapainting.com, a website that lets you turn a photo into a painting hand-made by an artist in real life.

A clever algorithm generated millions of random ideas is turning the tables on patent trolls
This guy is trolling the (clearly broken) US patent system in the most beautiful way.

Things I will tell my kids if they become entrepreneurs
A great slide deck worth checking out.

November 2016

4 Leadership Lessons for Founders After Running a Startup for 5 Years
Wise words from Josh Payne, the founder of StackCommerce, on empathy, communication, mentors and why cash is always king.

Founders At Intercom Built One Of Silicon Valley’s Fastest-Growing Businesses
A great write-up on how Intercom are adding 600 paid customers and $1 million in new revenue every 10 days. Wow!

99U Conference 2016 on Behance
I wanted to include one really visual thing in this guest edition. What Mark Brooks did for 99U Conference in NY is just amazing. Definitely one of my most favorite projects I’ve been on Behance.

Why are people willing to pay $4 for a bag of chips but not $1 for an app?
It’s all about anchoring. An insightful short read for anyone interested in our how psychology and pricing works.

Web Summit shows bigger isn’t always better
Thousands of attendees were left outside in the cold after the event organizers sold 53,056 tickets knowing the venue could only hold 15,000. Glad I didn’t go :)

Proof You Can Sell Sunglasses Using Social Media
A great read on how a Spanish sunglasses company sold 3.5 million pairs of shades in three years by leveraging guerrilla marketing and social media.

You don’t need a master plan — you just need to start
A great read from Bryce Roberts: “Not every billion dollar business starts with a billion dollar idea.”

At Sundar Pichai’s Google, AI is everything — and everywhere
A year into his tenure as CEO of Google, the low-key leader talks about what the company is, where it’s going, and how it gets things done.

The non-technical guide to machine learning & artificial intelligence
A great list of resources including articles, startups, people and events around machine learning and artificial intelligence. Defo one for the bookmarks.

Here’s what a $10 million pitch deck looks like
It took a lot of hard work and some solid software to get Front App to where they are now. And having this awesome pitch deck didn’t hurt.

This 18-year-old just raised $3.5 million to help developers easily add capabilities to their apps
RapidAPI, which helps developers find and integrate API’s raises $3.5M in seed funding led by Andreessen Horowitz. This is defo a space that’s going to get very interesting over the next few years.

The most useful Chrome extensions ever made
A nice list of 17 chrome extensions worth checking out.

Venture capitalist Marc Andreessen explains how AI will change the world
Andreessen argues that recent breakthroughs mean artificial intelligence has the potential to spawn a new generation of big, important technology companies. At the same time, he acknowledges that certain industries have proven stubbornly resistant to technological change — and he argues that more work is needed to bring the power of software to every corner of the economy.

What’s the Second Job of a Startup CEO?
A great read on how CEO roles change from getting the product right to getting the company right.

December 2016

Inside (The) Information
An excellent in-depth look at how Jessica Lessin has grown The Information into a fast growing digital media company supported by subscriptions: “Almost three years in, The Information is cash-flow positive, with 10 of the 11 most highly valued tech companies as subscribers. Lessin won’t disclose subscriber numbers beyond saying that they more than doubled over the past year, but observers estimate the site has around 10,000 members, including Valley megastars like Zuckerberg and Snap CEO Evan Spiegel.”

17 Apps for Managing Email Overload, Anxiety, and Distraction
A hand-picked list of apps and tools that will help you kill email overload, reduce your inbox anxiety, and manage email distractions.

Worrying is self-fulfilling; what to do instead
A great short read from Jason Cohen: ““Worry” breaks things which aren’t broken. It doesn’t lead constructively to solutions, it just creates problems.”

The 100 greatest innovations of 2016
Popular Science picks the 100 greatest new innovations in science and technology — some are the breakthroughs that will shape the future while some may even make great holiday gifts.

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