Never Tell Me the Odds

In a board call last month, I finally told everyone that the commission savings that Redfin offers home sellers and home buyers dramatically lowers our profits margins and there is no evidence that it drives more revenue. We have, I told our investors, given away $100 million because of my irrational belief that Redfin was… Read More

Growing, Fast and Slow

“Greed,” Gordon Gekko once declared, “is good.” Oliver Stone’s private-equity titan was referring to the process of creative destruction, in which ravenous corporate raiders strip a businesses to its bones in three months flat. Venture capitalists have the same simple attitude toward growth: growth is good. Their fish of choice is not a piranha but… Read More

A New Phoenicia

At last Thursday’s SIC conference, Tricia Duryee asked why online real estate companies have prospered in Seattle. One panelist cited low home prices, which let young entrepreneurs buy homes they could never afford in Silicon Valley, and from there begin to wonder how real estate could be better. Another suggestion was that HouseValues’ roaring 2004 IPO… Read More

A Changing of the Guard

Quick! Name the top 10 publicly traded consumer internet businesses in the US. When you woke up Thursday morning, the list was: Google: $171 billion market capitalization (26% annual revenue growth) Amazon: $90 billion (38% growth) eBay: $43 billion (14% growth) Priceline: $26 billion (38% growth) Yahoo!: $21 billion (-24% growth) Netflix: $13 billion (45% growth)… Read More

Endurance

It’s fashionable these days to talk about a startup as a roller-coaster, with ups and downs, flips and flame-outs,  twists and turns. There’s some truth to that, and even more drama and glamor. But roller coaster rides last five minutes, not five years. And as any venture capitalist will tell you, the average holding period… Read More