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Reading List for Entrepreneurs W49 – Selected

This week starts with a burning question for technologists:

When will the Internet deliver its positive promise?

We’re also checking in on why is Zoomitis so strong; is it the content? The vehicle? Or perhaps virtual events have just gotten off on the wrong foot and are in need of a rebrand?

There’s also a bunch of positive news for investors willing to provide good returns to their LPs.

Quick Tips:

  • look into the last NBA draft
  • GenZ or
  • The live streaming market in China.

Have you ever heard of cliodynamics? For some historians, it would be possible to extract laws from the past that will determine the future.

When you see that 3 vaccines were designed in less than year, I’m doubtful that history really repeats itself… but, there will also be self-help books. Which I personally hate.

The only self help book I’ve ever enjoyed.

Welcome to this week’s zoom into my brain.


Sad by Design On Platform Nihilism by Geert Lovink

Sad by Design On Platform Nihilism by Geert Lovink

“We live in a time of engineered intimacy, toxic memes and online addiction. Can we ever break free?”


Before the pandemic, tech companies treated space as an annoying set of limitations to be overcome by apps.

Home Screens — Real Life
Quarantine is the future big tech wanted us to want. How long before we want out?

Users experience Zoom more as a stultified form of virtual reality than an augmented one, because it now feels like there’s little off-screen reality available to augment

A Primer on China’s Live Streaming Market

And this is from 2018, NOT factoring in what’s been happening during the pandemic.

A Primer on China’s Live Streaming Market
I worked at Twitch and helped build Periscope and Facebook Live. So take it from me — when it comes to live streaming, China is at another level. More than 300 million people watch 3.5 million streamers in the world’s most populous country. Here‘s a primer on the Chinese market:

When it comes to live streaming, China is at another level. More than 300 million people watch 3.5 million streamers in the world’s most populous country. Here’s A primer on the Chinese market:

  1. Streamer: Young, beautiful, and IRL
  2. Diaosi: Looking for a cure to loneliness
  3. Tuhao: Virtual diamond rings and birthday cakes
  4. Agency: A streaming star factory
  5. Platform: From hundreds of apps to a few leaders
  6. Government: Cracking down on risque content


Why constraints are a good thing in venture & business

“a shortage of resources, or a specific pain or trauma, or any set of conditions which are “less than ideal” can lay the groundwork for creative expression.”

Why data matters
Scaling a startup is basically scaling documentation of processes and workflows. It’s all about data

Taking a data-at-your-fingertips approach is low stakes. It’s more about standardization and removing friction than it is about reinventing any wheels.

Data at your fingertips
Why you should think about your data so that… you don’t have to think about your data.

Gen Z

Gen Z Trends Report

Zebra IQ 2020 Gen Z Trends Report
This report is the most comprehensive deep-dive on Gen Z highlighting cultural trends and shifts, featuring a year’s worth of proprietary research.

Skip The Gateway:


Building community in B2B

Nearly 80% of founders reported building a community of users as important to their business, with 28% describing it as their moat and critical to their success.

The Rise of Communities — Building Communities in B2B
In early September this year, 500+ shipping professionals met online at the Digital Container Summit organized by our portfolio company Container xChange, a marketplace for shipping containers. Over…

Virtual events are the future: they just need a rebrand

One-sided and passive webinars are quickly falling out of favour. The most successful up-and-coming platforms supersede traditional video tools by focusing on engagement and user interaction through features like video one-on-ones, breakout rooms, pools, roundtables, and more.

‘Virtual Events Are Here To Stay’: they just need a rebrand
As a marketer, I have been organising events for a couple of years now. When we decided to hold Northzone’s Annual General Meeting online this September, I felt quite nervous that the virtual format…


5 reasons to build an Open Source company in Europe now

  1. Proven monetization models
  2. Proven IPO and M&A market appetite
  3. Proliferation of OS use
  4. Proliferation of collaboration tools
  5. Experienced, distributed and global talent

Atomico’s take on Open Source: 5 reasons to build an OS company in Europe now
Open-source had not traditionally attracted a lot of attention from VCs because there were very few successful cases of product-first, revenue-generating Open-Source (OS) companies. This changed…

Venture Capital

Interview with an LP: Building (And Evolving) A Generational Fund Returns Platform

More than half of all underlying portfolio company investments lose money. Our data shows that even the very best funds lose money on north of 40% of deals.

What separates great funds from the crowd is less the ability to avoid losses, and much more to find a company, or companies, that return 10x cost or more.

Interview with an LP: Building (And Evolving) A Generational Fund Returns Platform
Getting the fund-of-funds perspective from VenCap International

Learning from The NBA to scout startups

At its core, any efficiency metric is an expression of performance vs. a constraint. In basketball, this could be points per possession; in software GTM teams, it’s often LTV/CAC. Performance metrics express a desired outcome (such as points or customer lifetime value) divided by the opportunity cost (possessions or dollars invested).

Using NBA Metrics to Scout Superstar Startups

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The Next Decade Could Be Even Worse

They say history is bound to repeat itself and while I’m quite skeptical regarding any absolute laws in social sciences, it’s great to discover how some scientists are studying this approach. Turchin founded a journal, Cliodynamics, dedicated to “the search for general principles explaining the functioning and dynamics of historical societies.”

The Next Decade Could Be Even Worse
A historian believes he has discovered iron laws that predict the rise and fall of societies. He has bad news.


The past and present of self-help literature.

I hate self-help books.

The Radical Origins of Self-Help Literature
How did the genre of self-help go from one focused on collective empowerment to one serving the class hierarchy as it stands?


Otto – Keeps you productive while working

“Squirrel!” Killer.

Otto — Be mindful while working✨
A Pomodoro timer and website blocker to help you stay mindful and be more productive.


If you love that gorgeous screensaver on your appleTV, here’s a neat port bringing it over to your laptop.

Bonus: You can import/use your own video files. Dan’s currently got his set to a fireplace. How very festive.

Aerial – A free and open-source Mac Screen Saver


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