I love listening to great startup pitches from founders. The very best of them don’t just talk about unmet needs and giant market opportunities. They also combine data, facts, and strategy with a memorable personal journey that’s shaped their worldview. It’s business storytelling at its highest form.

One of the very best entrepreneurs I’ve ever witnessed at startup pitches is Flipboard co-founder Mike McCue, who I had the privilege of working with for several years. Mike’s had noteworthy success at starting, financing, building, and exiting multiple companies, a rare entrepreneurial feat aided not just by his terrific product instincts, but…

On January 26th, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki shared her 2021 company priorities in a letter to the YouTube community. In it, she called out a number of noteworthy accomplishments and also identified a few key objectives for 2021, including one section called “Building for the YouTube of the future” where she outlined 3 areas of interest: mobile creation, commerce, and the living room.

That’s a provocative thought exercise to think about what changes could be made this year to prepare for a future version of YouTube, a service that’s used by more than 2 billion people a month who watch…

Picture this situation: you’re in a confined indoor space wearing masks with a group of strangers. Tensions are high because there’s danger in the room, maybe even deadly danger. Many of those strangers surrounding you are trustworthy and trying to protect everyone’s wellbeing. But other strangers are not and instead being intentionally reckless and destructive. It’s up to you to figure out who’s friend or foe in the interest of everyone’s safety.

Sound familiar? In the crazy, unprecedented, and unforgettable year that is 2020, this stressful situation could happen to anyone, anywhere. Maybe you’re at a grocery store, or a…

Singles Day, the annual Chinese shopping festival that happens on November 11th, kicked off this year on October 21st. It might sound strange for a one day festival to start 3 weeks early, but Singles Day has grown into a nearly month long shopping season with multiple presales events that are celebrated throughout China and even in Southeast Asia and parts of Europe.

And in regions where it’s not celebrated, Singles Day is still closely watched because of the record setting sales volumes it generates. For example in 2019, Singles Day resulted in more parcels shipped (1.66 billion) than there…

On September 23rd, Pinterest officially launched a new feature called Story Pins to make it easier for Pinterest creators to “share their talent, passions and creativity”. A day later on September 24th, LinkedIn announced Stories to provide their users “a more human way of sharing”. And with those two releases, an important milestone happened: every single one of the Top 8 most popular social platforms in the US now offer their own version of Stories. …

One year ago this month, Hollywood was counting their box office tally for the all important summer movie season that contributes nearly 40% of domestic theatrical revenue. The results for the summer of 2019 were exciting: US moviegoers spent $4.86 billion, which effectively tied the all time summer box office record of $4.87 billion set in 2013. That was thanks in large part to a little flick you may have heard of called Avengers: Endgame that eventually went on to become the most successful movie of all time. The theatrical movie business was booming.

This month, that same accounting exercise…

“This is a perfect example of what Hollywood should be like, what it needs to do”

Harry Shum Jr., actor in Crazy Rich Asians

In the fall of 2018, I wrote a blog post about going to dinner with the creators of the movie Crazy Rich Asians, to discuss what Asian Americans around the country could do to help rally support for the film. It was such an important cultural moment for our community as there had not been a Hollywood studio film featuring an all Asian American cast in 25 years.

Our inspiration for that meeting was watching how…

An interesting thing occurred starting on May 8th on Google Trends: US search interest in the term “reopening” (which has spiked rapidly since early April) finally exceeded the interest level of the term “covid-19” (which has been steadily falling over that same time). “Reopening” would go onto outpace “covid-19” throughout the rest of May, one of the many signs pointing to the shift in national attention. The US is going from asking “what is Covid-19?” to asking “what happens after Covid-19?.

It’s been just over 2 months since the Covid-19 pandemic made landfall in the US in early March and…

Zoom has led the app store charts for more consecutive days than Fortnite, TikTok, Snapchat, or Angry Birds

A photo of coronavirus-related apps on a person’s iPhone home screen.
A photo of coronavirus-related apps on a person’s iPhone home screen.
Some apps about corona are seen on an iPhone amid the coronavirus outbreak on April 12, 2020 in Veghel, Netherlands. Photo: Joris Verwijst/BSR Agency/Getty Images

On April 1, Zoom CEO Eric Yuan wrote a blog post that included a stat that would seem perfectly appropriate for an April Fool’s announcement given how unbelievable it seemed. But in this case, he was totally serious. Yuan wrote, “Last year, the maximum number of daily meeting participants, both free and paid, conducted on Zoom was approximately 10 million. In March this year, we reached more than 200 million daily meeting participants.”

Wait, 200 million daily active users? Even in these unusual times caused by the coronavirus pandemic, 200 million daily active users (DAUs) is a monster number. That’s…

There’s one cost-cutting shortcut they all have in common

In this photo illustration an Alphabet logo seen displayed on a phone against a background illustrating the stock market.
In this photo illustration an Alphabet logo seen displayed on a phone against a background illustrating the stock market.
Photo Illustration: Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images

On January 16th, the market cap of Google’s parent company Alphabet crossed over $1 trillion for the first time, and the company joined Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft as the only U.S. companies to ever achieve that once unimaginable valuation. The way these four businesses have grown — and continue to grow even at their massive size — is remarkable, and there’s a unique trait they all share that other companies can learn from.

To put in perspective just how impressive that feat is, the combined value of Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, and Alphabet at $4.97 trillion dollars is worth more than…

Eric Feng

Leading Commerce Incubations at $FB. Was co-founder at Packagd (acq.), GP at Kleiner Perkins, and writing messy code at Hulu, Flipboard, Erly (acq.), and $MSFT.

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