Startups And Stuff Episode 9: Did You Miss Us?

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We are back! Startups and Stuff is back online with both Ryan and myself doing important word making that also involves microphones. We are glad that you are here.

This week we had two core topics: Sundar Pichai’s Founder Letter at Google, and the latest pages of the Prof. Jeff Jarvis feud.

Reviewing our show notes and the audio I noticed something that I want to highlight: The ongoing conversations in technology tend to decamp into two categories: Startups, and Giants.

Lost somewhat in the mix of our discussion of Series A Crunches and Look At Apple’s Bank Account are a lot of firms that are stuck somewhere in the middle. Perhaps they are public, or just late stage and lost, but I hope that we as a media troupe can spend a bit more time in the Middle Class.

Regardless, the Little Show That Could is back online and we think that you are terrific.

Startups And Stuff Episode 8: The One Almost Didn’t Happen

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Hello cohorts in our running cohort analysis of life, and welcome to the eighth episode of Startups and Stuff. Ryan named this episode ‘The One That Almost Didn’t Happen,’ which turned out to be ironic as I nearly forgot to post it on the site.

The audio has been live now for a full six days, during which I failed as our Chief Poster Of Podcast On The Blog to actually do my damn job. I apologize.

Anyhoo, here’s the show!

I’ll brief as I am so late to actually posting this, but if you hit play you will hear stories and jokes and market-leading analysis of Tesla, diversity in technology, and more notes about a small room than you can handle.

Love and peace from Ryan and I, and we’ll have a new episode out on Sunday.

Startups And Stuff Episode 7: Andy Grove And Local Layoffs

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Welcome back home, friends and family. Today marks the seventh episode of Startups and Stuff, something that I never thought I would be able to utter, but am very happy about all the same.

Before we talk about topics, I want to thanks Adam Singer for writing theme music for the show. We have friends that are far nicer and more talented than we are. We love them.

Most importantly this week Ryan Lawler and myself dug into the death of Andy Grove, a real titan of Silicon Valley. It’s easy to forget that Silicon Valley wasn’t always the place where so much innovation happened.

After the serious bits, we dug into the recent changes at Pebble and the company’s layoffs. It’s never wildly fun to to discuss layoffs, especially in the current downturn, but here we are.

Oh, and we may have spent a little time discussing virtual reality. How could we not?

Much love, and see you next week.

Startups And Stuff Episode Episode 6: Ryan Was Wrong

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Hello friends, and welcome back to Startups and Stuff, or what we have taken to internally calling Ryan and Alex’s recurring cocktail hour.

This is our sixth episode, something that we are proud of, as we have at once not died, or been shut down.

This week we dive into the great mystery of Startup L. Jackson, and how Ryan tried to chase down the author’s identity and got surprisingly close. He didn’t manage the scoop before leaving TechCrunch, however, sadly.

Now, the mystery over and everyone is in the know.

Never meet your heroes they say, as you will always be disappointed. That is how I feel at the moment. Ryan’s wrong, but entertaining report eventually was published on Medium. So that’s some good TechCrunch salary money well spent.

We also took a lovely detour into the Great History of Spoonrocket, and how its existence led to Postmates losing more money. We apologize to its investors.

All that and a long chat about options and Snapchat. What more could you want!

Startups And Stuff Episode 5: We Pretend To Understand Cars

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Hello, and welcome back to Startups And Stuff, a weekly chat about what’s going on in the little world of Silicon Valley. And what annoys us. Mostly the latter, mixed with a bit of the former.

This week Ryan was in Berlin, so we did a Skype session. The audio is a bit uneven, but the content is as mediocre as always, so don’t worry.

This week our discussion centered around two topics: GM’s entrance into the self-driving car space by using its wallet as a paddle to slap a startup into crying uncle, and Instacart, which appears to be suffering from a teething problem or two.

In the first case, GM minted a fresh unicorn, and then exited it by picking up Cruise for around $1 billion. In the second case, Instacart, a double-corn, is shaking up its business model, changing compensation structures, and generally speaking going through an awkward adolescence.

It always comes back to unit economics.

Next week we will be remote once more, but never fear, after that our sultry voices will be back in the same room. We really enjoy doing this, and having you listen makes it all the more fun.

Tips and tricks to @ryanlawler and @alex on Twitter, as always.

Image via Flickr user Travis under CC BY-SA 2.0. Image has been cropped.

Startups And Stuff Episode 4: Alex Is Wrong


Hello and welcome back to another episode of Startups And Stuff, a running experiment concerning how well the two of us can coordinate calendars.

This week we took a dive into Slack, Tidal, and more. It was as action packed as podcasts come. Oh, and we found the time to discuss the various merits of sparkling water.

You know that that was on your mind.

I was in charge of editing this week, which meant that I had the pleasure of going back through the show a few times. Normally I would not mind. This week, however, there was a long section in which I argue with Ryan, and lose.

We got into an extended riff concerning Slack, revenue, spend, advertising, and the history of SaaS. Sometimes I pick the wrong hill to die upon. So far in this show, it’s 1-0 Ryan.

Hit play, enjoy, and we are glad that you are taking the time out of your week to hang with us.

Image via Flickr user Vladimir under CC BY-SA 2.0. Image has been cropped.

Startups And Stuff Episode 3: Tech Companies Find Spine

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We didn’t have a guest host this week, because schedules didn’t work out. Oh well. But we did have lots of fun talking about the tech news of the week. Here are a few of the things we talked about, and you can find more information about those topics at the links below.

This episode of Startups And Stuff was brought to you by Zenefits, which has been going through a bit of a rough time. As we noted on a previous podcast, the company recently replaced its CEO after questions arose around its licensing and compliance practices. But the hits keep coming for the troubled company — since then it’s been revealed that Zenefits had missed internal revenue targets and a leaked memo appeared in which the company alerted employees they could no longer have sex in the office stairwells.

What better company could be lead sponsor for our podcast?*

The main topic once again was Apple’s fight with the FBI. This week Apple received the support of some other major tech companies, including Google, Facebook, and Microsoft, which all filed an amicus brief to stand against the FBI’s demands. For more info on the upcoming battle, check out this post from The Verge which breaks down Apple’s legal brief in the case.

The next thing we talked about was the gunman from Kalamazoo, Mich. who also just happened to be an Uber driver. We discussed Uber’s responsibility and liability when people pass its background checks, and also how Uber safety differs from cabs. A shoutout to our former colleague and good friend Sarah Buhr, who shared her own scary taxi experience on TechCrunch not too long ago.

And it wouldn’t be a show if we didn’t talk about Zenefits (see above). If you want to listen to our thoughts on screwing in stairwells and company culture, that part comes like, 20 minutes in.

In a roundabout way that got us to talking about how many “unicorns” will actually be able to go public and whatever. Basically we would have to see a historic IPO market for most of the recent valuations to make sense.

* As always, our “sponsors” are fake and Alex and I receive no compensation for the 30 minutes or so that we spend talking. That’s probably a good thing.

Image via Flickr user m01229 under CC BY 2.0. Image has been cropped.

Welcome To Startups And Stuff

Welcome to Startups And Stuff, a podcast with talking by Ryan Lawler and Alex Wilhelm.

The two of us worked together and sat next to each other for years at TechCrunch, but we both recently moved on to other positions: Alex as Editor In Chief at Mattermark and Ryan as Venture Partner at 500 Startups. This podcast is, in part, an excuse for us to get together and chat about whatever happens to be interesting in tech once a week.

While this website is new, we’ve already recorded a couple of episodes. Feel free to listen to them below: