James Currier

James Currier


941 Quotes

"Every 14 years there’s a tech revolution. Internet browsers in 1994. Smartphones in 2007-8. Then toward the end of 2022, we entered the Generative Tech revolution."
James Currier
3 Waves of Successful Generative Tech Startups 
"1st Wave: Wrappers Around AI models"
James Currier
3 Waves of Successful Generative Tech Startups 
"In the first wave of generative tech, you get the fast movers. They are selling the benefits of AI and addressing the more consensus customer pain points. They are repackaging the AI into user interfaces."
James Currier
3 Waves of Successful Generative Tech Startups 
"Companies in this wave can win with speed, sales, knowing their customers, and service."
James Currier
3 Waves of Successful Generative Tech Startups 
"2nd Wave: Generative AI Inside"
James Currier
3 Waves of Successful Generative Tech Startups 
"In the second wave are the companies that aren’t pitching AI, but rather using it inside their businesses to make them faster, cheaper, and higher quality than competitors."
James Currier
3 Waves of Successful Generative Tech Startups 
"In this wave, the customers don’t care that you’re using AI. You’re not selling the AI to them. You’re simply selling something better than other offerings."
James Currier
3 Waves of Successful Generative Tech Startups 
"3rd Wave: Visionary & Non-Obvious"
James Currier
3 Waves of Successful Generative Tech Startups 
"The third wave will be the visionary stuff. The stuff that we can’t imagine yet. When you first saw the smartphone, you didn’t think: “That’s really gonna change the taxi industry.” It took a few years before we got some of the more revolutionary stuff"
James Currier
3 Waves of Successful Generative Tech Startups 
"3rd wave companies will be built by visionaries, people who aren’t afraid to reinvent something as native to AI. They will find new transactions that weren’t possible before."
James Currier
3 Waves of Successful Generative Tech Startups 
"Typically, the wide-open times to create new startups only last a few years."
James Currier
3 Waves of Successful Generative Tech Startups 
"5. Applications layer 4. OS or API layer 3. Hyperlocal AI models 2. Specific AI models 1. General AI models"
James Currier
Generative Tech Market Map and 5-Layer Tech Stack
"General AI models are the core technology breakthrough. It’s something like GPT-3 for text, DALL-E-2 for images, Whisper for voice, or Stable Diffusion. These models deal with broad categories of outputs: text, images, videos, speech, games."
James Currier
Generative Tech Market Map and 5-Layer Tech Stack
"Specific AI models capture even more nuance for specific jobs such as writing tweets, ad copy, song lyrics, or generating e-commerce photos, 3D interior design images, etc. These models are trained on more narrow, more specialized data"
James Currier
Generative Tech Market Map and 5-Layer Tech Stack
"Hyperlocal AI models are specialists. A hyperlocal AI model can write a scientific article in the style preferred by Nature. It creates interior design models suited to a specific person’s aesthetic. It can write code in the particular style of an individual company."
James Currier
Generative Tech Market Map and 5-Layer Tech Stack
"data does not always provide a powerful defensibility. Even if a competitor cannot get your exact dataset, they likely can find a similar dataset. Even if their model is not quite as good as yours, customers can’t always tell, and competitors can claim to have what you have in their sales materials."
James Currier
Generative Tech Market Map and 5-Layer Tech Stack
"most data network effects asymptote over time. An AI model that is 5% or even 20% percent better than the competition is a pretty slim defensibility."
James Currier
Generative Tech Market Map and 5-Layer Tech Stack
"People’s brains won’t be able to tell the difference between human writing and AI writing within 24 months. Most people will enjoy music and lyrics written by AI in 36 months."
James Currier
Generative Tech Market Map and 5-Layer Tech Stack
"the best place to explore data network effects in your AI models is probably at level 3, the hyperlocal layer, which benefits from proprietary and trusted data."
James Currier
Generative Tech Market Map and 5-Layer Tech Stack
"API layer or Generative OS helps that application access all the AI models the application needs. This layer also allows for the AI models to be switched out at will. Which of course tends to commodify them."
James Currier
Generative Tech Market Map and 5-Layer Tech Stack
"There will be 10,000’s of these applications built for various needs in the next 2 years. Incumbent software providers will add generative features. New companies will create competitors to the old, emphasizing generative as a wedge."
James Currier
Generative Tech Market Map and 5-Layer Tech Stack
"You need to get product in market, see what works, what doesn’t. See what makes people uncomfortable – and get them through that cycle. Watch your competitors closely and borrow the best ideas. Don’t make it perfect. Don’t spend too much time hunting down specific data in hopes of building the perfect model"
James Currier
Generative Tech Market Map and 5-Layer Tech Stack
"Launch the feature first, let the model learn over time."
James Currier
Generative Tech Market Map and 5-Layer Tech Stack
"1. Product Speed"
James Currier
Generative Tech Market Map and 5-Layer Tech Stack
"2. Fundraising Speed"
James Currier
Generative Tech Market Map and 5-Layer Tech Stack
"3. Sales Speed"
James Currier
Generative Tech Market Map and 5-Layer Tech Stack
"Aggressive sales will help embed your product in your customers and give you the right to expand into other categories. Aggressive sales will help you build network effects to help your defensibility. Sales will help you with advantages 2 and 1 above."
James Currier
Generative Tech Market Map and 5-Layer Tech Stack
"4. Network Effects"
James Currier
Generative Tech Market Map and 5-Layer Tech Stack
"6. Find an investor who will sprint with you"
James Currier
Generative Tech Market Map and 5-Layer Tech Stack
"Generative Tech replaces curation with creation. Generative Tech is not a more sophisticated database call. It can be trained by that database, but its core function is to generate something new on the edge of the network."
James Currier
Generative Tech Begins
"Generative tech skillfully creates novel output. The content, images, or experiences served to you will not have existed until you asked for it, or triggered it through some other action or simply by your presence."
James Currier
Generative Tech Begins
"If you have access to unique data, if you’re the first to see an application area, you can get a leg up by having the best model for a time in a specific area."
James Currier
Generative Tech Begins
"Remember, data network effects are typically asymptotic. If you can make them real-time or hyper local, they are more durable."
James Currier
Generative Tech Begins
"Uniqueness and scalability have historically been incompatible concepts. Truly unique things can’t exist en masse without losing their bespoke qualities. Generative Tech changes this. The generative engine is capable of providing a new output for every new user or every problem, at scale."
James Currier
Generative Tech Begins
"What that means for Founders is 1) you have to move very, very fast. Boldness will matter. 2) You have to pick your idea very carefully. What you decide to build, who your target customer is, and what your distribution channels will matter a lot. There are patterns for what ideas work. You can go after a horizontal or a vertical, a particular data type or geography."
James Currier
Generative Tech Begins
"If you’re building a Generative Tech business for enterprises, to grow fast, be prepared to be a plug-in to existing systems. Don’t try to replace workflows or replace existing software systems. To be defensible, embed in customers’ existing workflows and software."
James Currier
Generative Tech Begins
"If you’re building B2C, it’s more open-ended. Consumers love novelty, and are willing to adopt new behaviors faster. Just make sure to move fast and get a network effect."
James Currier
Generative Tech Begins
"you can only capture the value in the long term if you design for durability from day one."
James Currier
The Durability Formula – How It Will Determine Your Startup’s Future Value
"Durability = Network Effects + Economies of Scale + Brand + Embedding + IP"
James Currier
The Durability Formula – How It Will Determine Your Startup’s Future Value
"A network effect is when one user makes the service more valuable for every other user. Once your company gets ahead, users won’t find as much value in your competitors’ smaller networks."
James Currier
The Durability Formula – How It Will Determine Your Startup’s Future Value
"1. Is your product a “single-player game” or a “multi-player game?” Make it a multi-player game if you can. We say “Make it a network,” or “Make it a marketplace.”"
James Currier
The Durability Formula – How It Will Determine Your Startup’s Future Value
"2. Does the value of your product or service increase, decrease, or mostly stay the same as new users join the network?"
James Currier
The Durability Formula – How It Will Determine Your Startup’s Future Value
"5. Do you have two different types of users (e.g. supply-side and demand-side users) who come to the network for different reasons and produce complementary value for the other side?"
James Currier
The Durability Formula – How It Will Determine Your Startup’s Future Value
"Homo sapiens are tribal and emotional. They identify themselves with brands."
James Currier
The Durability Formula – How It Will Determine Your Startup’s Future Value
"15. Do you have a well-established brand identity, which would trigger psychological switching costs for users leaving your product or service for a lesser-known brand?"
James Currier
The Durability Formula – How It Will Determine Your Startup’s Future Value
"Embedding works when you integrate your product or software into a customer’s operations so the customer can’t rip you out and replace you with a competitor."
James Currier
The Durability Formula – How It Will Determine Your Startup’s Future Value
"22. Are there low or no costs to simultaneously using your product, along with other competing products at the same time? Would you consider your product a “database of record?”"
James Currier
The Durability Formula – How It Will Determine Your Startup’s Future Value
"be very clear – in order to capture all of the compounding value in your business, you need to start at the beginning to position for long-term durability."
James Currier
The Durability Formula – How It Will Determine Your Startup’s Future Value
"Founders who win big spend more time at the beginning, earlier than you might think, on creating products and business mechanisms that follow these five durability factors and thus drive increasing returns at scale."
James Currier
The Durability Formula – How It Will Determine Your Startup’s Future Value
"Growth is not a one-time gimmick. To get 1000% growth, there is no silver bullet."
James Currier
The Psychology of Startup Growth
"Language first Empathy for users Always be moving Data love Sustain pain of failure"
James Currier
The Psychology of Startup Growth
"1. Language first"
James Currier
The Psychology of Startup Growth
"One of the more common mistakes we see is that companies build features first and then “put language on it.”"
James Currier
The Psychology of Startup Growth
"Your language defines you. It tells users how you are relevant to their life."
James Currier
The Psychology of Startup Growth
"2. Empathy for users"
James Currier
The Psychology of Startup Growth
"The great Founder spends more time thinking about how the user thinks and feels. About their psychology."
James Currier
The Psychology of Startup Growth
"In your world, your product is everything. 12 hours per day, 6 days a week. In theirs, your product is just a tiny sliver (at best — if you’re great)."
James Currier
The Psychology of Startup Growth
"the question you have to ask every day is “What is your product to them so that it deserves a place in their complex lives?”"
James Currier
The Psychology of Startup Growth
"Understand your user psychology — know what you are to them — and your way to 1000% growth will become much clearer."
James Currier
The Psychology of Startup Growth
"3. Always be moving"
James Currier
The Psychology of Startup Growth
"As Andy Grove said, “Only the paranoid survive.” You, too, inhabit a world dominated by giants. You, too, have no advantages, except one: speed."
James Currier
The Psychology of Startup Growth
"Move constantly. Make more moves than anyone else. To grow, you have to run quicker experiments. Iterate faster. Never stop."
James Currier
The Psychology of Startup Growth
"4. Data Love"
James Currier
The Psychology of Startup Growth
"If you want to grow, you have to be committed to measuring everything. You must test, measure, and iterate. That’s the engine that powers growth."
James Currier
The Psychology of Startup Growth
"5. Sustain pain of failure"
James Currier
The Psychology of Startup Growth
"You’ve got to be able to mentally move on from the losses. And so do each of the members of your team. It’s the system, it’s the growth psychology that can’t fail."
James Currier
The Psychology of Startup Growth
"“Success is going from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”"
James Currier
The Psychology of Startup Growth
"The CEO must teach this mentality to the team, particularly the willingness to sustain repeated small failures."
James Currier
The Psychology of Startup Growth
"CEO must give their team clear authority to change product and allocate human resources in pursuit of breakthrough growth."
James Currier
The Psychology of Startup Growth
"over-reliance on low-risk A/B testing and optimization will not get you to 1000% growth."
James Currier
The Psychology of Startup Growth
"Growth is ultimately a company-wide effort, but the quality of that effort comes from the psychology of the CEO."
James Currier
The Psychology of Startup Growth
"Growth comes from adopting the right psychology. The right mindset."
James Currier
The Psychology of Startup Growth
"We create a store and exchange of value with whatever technology is available to us."
James Currier
Bitcoin Killed The King & Now Network Effects Will Determine Its Future
"Money is simply a belief held by a lot of people. A collective trance. Money is simply the distillation of a shared confidence in the future."
James Currier
Bitcoin Killed The King & Now Network Effects Will Determine Its Future
"For the hierarchical pack animal we are, hierarchy with an alpha King on top is a stable and understandable structure. That’s why when the King issues a currency and tells people to use it, people believe in it. And the currency works as long as there is that belief."
James Currier
Bitcoin Killed The King & Now Network Effects Will Determine Its Future
"The belief stems from: a) centralization of decision making and authority, 2) the longevity and predictability of the hierarchy, 3) guns and the ability to enforce behavior through violence which these hierarchies typically have, and 4) the tax base of the people within the hierarchy"
James Currier
Bitcoin Killed The King & Now Network Effects Will Determine Its Future
"Bitcoin killed the king, and is replacing it with a network."
James Currier
Bitcoin Killed The King & Now Network Effects Will Determine Its Future
"We believe in decentralized cryptocurrencies because of 1) Decentralization, there is not one person or council who can ruin the currency, 2) Software-encoded rules that are hard to change, increasing predictability, 3) Ubiquity means it will be accepted in many places, and 4) resiliency because it’s self-healing and can avoid efforts to damage it."
James Currier
Bitcoin Killed The King & Now Network Effects Will Determine Its Future
"In short, to create belief network effects, hierarchical networks use power, while decentralized networks use ubiquity."
James Currier
Bitcoin Killed The King & Now Network Effects Will Determine Its Future
"Hierarchies fight with power and rigidity. They bring guns at the end of the day. Decentralized networks fight with flexibility and ubiquity. They sneak around."
James Currier
Bitcoin Killed The King & Now Network Effects Will Determine Its Future
"Unlike fiat currencies, it isn’t constrained by geography or time. Unlike fiat currencies, it’s programmable and can be improved quickly in response to market needs. Most importantly, software-money more easily amplifies the “belief” network effect that gave older forms of currency power, since today the world is more connected and shared, beliefs spread faster in higher densities."
James Currier
Bitcoin Killed The King & Now Network Effects Will Determine Its Future
"Bitcoin’s future will be based on the future of its network effects."
James Currier
Bitcoin Killed The King & Now Network Effects Will Determine Its Future
"There are only four defensibilities native to the digital age that Bitcoin might use: network effects, brand, scale, and embedding. Network effects are, of course, the greatest of these."
James Currier
Bitcoin Killed The King & Now Network Effects Will Determine Its Future
"It’s too late for governments to stop Bitcoin. The network math protects it. Even if the US and Chinese governments were to ban Bitcoin, owners of fiat currencies 3-159 probably won’t ban it because it’s in their best interest to stay up to date with the evolution of money, and they have much more to gain than to lose"
James Currier
Bitcoin Killed The King & Now Network Effects Will Determine Its Future
"It might take 15 years to play out, but the network gravity will prevail."
James Currier
Bitcoin Killed The King & Now Network Effects Will Determine Its Future
"Beliefs become more valuable to believers the more people believe. Bitcoin is valuable because we believe it’s valuable."
James Currier
Bitcoin Killed The King & Now Network Effects Will Determine Its Future
"Homo Sapiens is a pack animal. We want to be in the “in group” and be accepted by others, or our primitive brains tell us we risk our lives. Sharing common beliefs is a critical part of creating that in group."
James Currier
Bitcoin Killed The King & Now Network Effects Will Determine Its Future
"A Protocol Network Effect arises when a computational standard is declared and all nodes can plug into the network using that protocol."
James Currier
Bitcoin Killed The King & Now Network Effects Will Determine Its Future
"As the number of nodes that connect to the protocol increases, the network effect gets stronger."
James Currier
Bitcoin Killed The King & Now Network Effects Will Determine Its Future
"Competing protocols such as Tezos, Solana, Cardano, and now Ethereum use proof of stake, which is less secure, but superior to Bitcoin in speed, cost and environmental impact. If Bitcoin cannot move off proof of work, it may prove fatal… or it could be the thing that makes it secure in its position in the ecosystem."
James Currier
Bitcoin Killed The King & Now Network Effects Will Determine Its Future
"In Bitcoin’s case this creates two forms of marketplace nfx: 1) a speculation or “store of value” marketplace, and 2) a payments marketplace."
James Currier
Bitcoin Killed The King & Now Network Effects Will Determine Its Future
"The value to everyone in the store-of-value marketplace increases with more buyers/sellers, because every additional user increases the liquidity, or the ability for users to convert bitcoin to cash without affecting its price."
James Currier
Bitcoin Killed The King & Now Network Effects Will Determine Its Future
"In late 2020, Bitcoin had 400 monthly active developers and Ethereum had 2,300. Developers are a valuable, scarce resource. The more of them you have developing on your platform, the stronger your network effect."
James Currier
Bitcoin Killed The King & Now Network Effects Will Determine Its Future
"Like digital network effects, these social nfx can help create more value in your product for users the more people use it. People add value to each other by influencing them to think or feel differently"
James Currier
Bitcoin Killed The King & Now Network Effects Will Determine Its Future
"Our tribal networks add value to our lives by giving us an emotional sense of belonging and identity, and by helping us form useful connections."
James Currier
Bitcoin Killed The King & Now Network Effects Will Determine Its Future
"Because Bitcoin has the biggest worldwide brand in crypto and has the biggest market cap, the bandwagon effect is strongest compared to lesser crypto brands."
James Currier
Bitcoin Killed The King & Now Network Effects Will Determine Its Future
"A well-established brand creates psychological switching costs. Most people tend to be risk averse and avoid the unknown so they are less likely to switch to an unknown or lesser-known brand. Psychologically they will default toward what’s familiar."
James Currier
Bitcoin Killed The King & Now Network Effects Will Determine Its Future
"As the network grows, it gets more expensive and slower for miners to validate the transaction history, because (1) there are increasingly more transactions, and (2) there are more miners competing to validate the transactions."
James Currier
Bitcoin Killed The King & Now Network Effects Will Determine Its Future
"Bitcoin’s value would likely increase if the DAO could come together and make changes to alleviate this effect."
James Currier
Bitcoin Killed The King & Now Network Effects Will Determine Its Future
"Belief was the original force in the Bitcon network. Bitcoin created, and is now embedded into, the crypto ecosystem and the world’s consciousness."
James Currier
Bitcoin Killed The King & Now Network Effects Will Determine Its Future
"Embedding is accomplished by integrating your product directly into customer operations or other ecosystem players so they can’t rip you out and replace you with a competitor without incurring significant cost in time and energy. Embedding directly heightens switching costs."
James Currier
Bitcoin Killed The King & Now Network Effects Will Determine Its Future
"Obsession Founder Story Personality Experience"
James Currier
The 4 Signs of Founder-Market Fit
"“don’t start a company unless you can’t not do it… unless you can’t sleep at night and your brain is exploding with the idea.”"
James Currier
The 4 Signs of Founder-Market Fit
"Founder-Market Fit means you would choose to work on the idea in your free time. It means you can work effortlessly on your product and customer issues. It’s the kind of thing where you don’t notice the time passing."
James Currier
The 4 Signs of Founder-Market Fit
"One sign of this healthy obsession is knowledge."
James Currier
The 4 Signs of Founder-Market Fit
"Founders should talk to 10-30 practitioners and experts who have done something related to what they are targeting. Founders should create an extensive competitive map, researching and studying everything online about competing companies including failed companies in your market. This helps build a deeper idea maze quickly and more fully."
James Currier
The 4 Signs of Founder-Market Fit
"Lack of obsession for — and knowledge of — the market is almost always a bad sign."
James Currier
The 4 Signs of Founder-Market Fit
"Customers care a lot more about who the company Founder is than most Founders realize. The Founder has to fit with the market, i.e. the customer, and vice versa."
James Currier
The 4 Signs of Founder-Market Fit
"Apple users identified with his story as a creative genius and ascribed similar aspirations to themselves."
James Currier
The 4 Signs of Founder-Market Fit
"Markets tend to attract people with similar personalities. Are you the kind of personality that can fit in and make connections with your peers in your market?"
James Currier
The 4 Signs of Founder-Market Fit
"Having peers that you can connect with, that can bring positive energy, practical advice, and constructive feedback, is essential."
James Currier
The 4 Signs of Founder-Market Fit
"Creative genius does not last long in isolation. Most innovation happens as a result of people forming networks with a high density of ambitious, competent people in a similar field or market."
James Currier
The 4 Signs of Founder-Market Fit
"experience is often overrated when it comes to Founder-Market Fit."
James Currier
The 4 Signs of Founder-Market Fit
"First, too much experience is not always a good thing."
James Currier
The 4 Signs of Founder-Market Fit
"if you stay in a sector too long, you get the curse of too much knowledge, and you stop being able to see fresh or new ways of doing things. The angle for innovation becomes harder."
James Currier
The 4 Signs of Founder-Market Fit
"Second, the type of business you’re building matters."
James Currier
The 4 Signs of Founder-Market Fit
"Experience is more important in the B2B space, where the complexity of the industry raises the threshold of how much domain knowledge a Founder needs before they’re going to get it right."
James Currier
The 4 Signs of Founder-Market Fit
"With Founders, we look for speed, grit, intelligence, and yes, Founder-Market Fit"
James Currier
The 4 Signs of Founder-Market Fit
"What I’ve learned is that the foundation of viral growth is rooted in motivational psychology and language."
James Currier
Why People Share: The Psychology Behind ""Going Viral""
"thinking through how to make your product viral often helps you plan to give it network effects of various kinds."
James Currier
Why People Share: The Psychology Behind ""Going Viral""
"First, is our pack animal psychology. As a pack animal, we’re constantly thinking about our status, how we’re perceived, where we fit in, etc. Those constant mental loops serve as the foundation of our motivations to share."
James Currier
Why People Share: The Psychology Behind ""Going Viral""
"Second, reduce the friction to sharing. Design your product so that it minimizes the effort and thinking required to share."
James Currier
Why People Share: The Psychology Behind ""Going Viral""
"when any of us consider sharing something online or offline, we unconsciously make a trade-off between benefit and costs"
James Currier
Why People Share: The Psychology Behind ""Going Viral""
"How might sharing this benefit me (the sharer) or you (the audience/recipient) either via utility or via status/reputation? How much time and effort (friction) will I have to spend to share this?"
James Currier
Why People Share: The Psychology Behind ""Going Viral""
"This is the big one. It can also be termed “belonging,” “prestige,” “respect,” “scarcity” or “in-the-know.” People often try to show this by associating themselves with other high-status people or central nodes in the network."
James Currier
Why People Share: The Psychology Behind ""Going Viral""
"They also try to show this by joining products that are exclusive, like Facebook was at the beginning"
James Currier
Why People Share: The Psychology Behind ""Going Viral""
"People also try to show their status within products. On social media, people share the accomplishments of their friends"
James Currier
Why People Share: The Psychology Behind ""Going Viral""
"Status is by nature scarce because it indicates the hierarchy of us in the pack."
James Currier
Why People Share: The Psychology Behind ""Going Viral""
"Access to something scarce or exclusive motivates people to share because they can get high status from the people they share it with."
James Currier
Why People Share: The Psychology Behind ""Going Viral""
"2. Identity Projection"
James Currier
Why People Share: The Psychology Behind ""Going Viral""
"We want to be able to show who we are and be vindicated in our identity."
James Currier
Why People Share: The Psychology Behind ""Going Viral""
"It gives us an opportunity to have a point of view — a statement that people can agree with or disagree with. We mostly seek validation in that point of view."
James Currier
Why People Share: The Psychology Behind ""Going Viral""
"Fear is embedded in the most primal part of our psychology. If we sense danger, our brain has evolved to pay attention."
James Currier
Why People Share: The Psychology Behind ""Going Viral""
"Nextdoor’s early growth came from people wanting to know what was going on in their neighborhood and what kind of threats to their safety they might face. The app Citizen grew for a similar reason, and it was also why Trulia’s crime map helped them grow."
James Currier
Why People Share: The Psychology Behind ""Going Viral""
"People who are trying to organize their world because of their personality are highly motivated to share tools that help them to optimize and organize."
James Currier
Why People Share: The Psychology Behind ""Going Viral""
"People share them not only because it makes others perceive them as more organized and efficient, but also because it helps them bring other people into the same protocol of organization"
James Currier
Why People Share: The Psychology Behind ""Going Viral""
"The sweet spot is in the middle — we are attracted by things that are new enough to not be stale, but not too new to be strange."
James Currier
Why People Share: The Psychology Behind ""Going Viral""
"we are always looking for the next new thing. We are motivated to share new products and new information because it makes us look like we’re ahead of the (Wundt) curve."
James Currier
Why People Share: The Psychology Behind ""Going Viral""
"A lot of what we share online has to do with the fact that we want to get a boost, believe we are good, believe we are smart or believe we are worthy. We want to feel positive about ourselves and our place in the world."
James Currier
Why People Share: The Psychology Behind ""Going Viral""
"People shared their results because they wanted to be validated and boost their self-esteem."
James Currier
Why People Share: The Psychology Behind ""Going Viral""
"People share things that allow others to vicariously live through them"
James Currier
Why People Share: The Psychology Behind ""Going Viral""
"make your product broken unless people share"
James Currier
Why People Share: The Psychology Behind ""Going Viral""
"We are compelled to share things that we find useful because we want to be perceived as helpful and nurturing to our tribes."
James Currier
Why People Share: The Psychology Behind ""Going Viral""
"As we’ve said, nfx are the 1 way to create defensibility in the digital world. Companies with the strongest types of nfx built into their core business model tend to win, and win big."
James Currier
The Network Effects Manual: 13 Different Network Effects (and counting)
"Our three-year study, which we released recently, shows that nfx are responsible for 70% of the value created by tech companies since the Internet became a thing in 1994."
James Currier
The Network Effects Manual: 13 Different Network Effects (and counting)
"Network effects are one of the four remaining defensibilities in the digital age, including brand, embedding, and scale. Of the four, network effects are by far the strongest."
James Currier
The Network Effects Manual: 13 Different Network Effects (and counting)
"Network effects are not viral effects. Network effects are about creating defensibility, and viral effects are about getting new users for free. They have totally different objectives and playbooks."
James Currier
The Network Effects Manual: 13 Different Network Effects (and counting)
"The strongest, simplest network effects are direct: increased usage of a product leads to a direct increase in the value of that product to its users."
James Currier
The Network Effects Manual: 13 Different Network Effects (and counting)
"a better product wouldn’t come close to making up the lost value of the network. A new entrant would have to achieve a comparable network effect to realistically produce a comparable amount of value for its users."
James Currier
The Network Effects Manual: 13 Different Network Effects (and counting)
"Reed believed that the true value of a network increases exponentially (2^N) in proportion to the number of users, much faster even than what Metcalfe’s Law described. We now call this Reed’s Law."
James Currier
The Network Effects Manual: 13 Different Network Effects (and counting)
"In fact, most Physical Networks are utilities: winner-take-all markets that develop into monopolies and end up being nationalized."
James Currier
The Network Effects Manual: 13 Different Network Effects (and counting)
"Once a protocol has been adopted it is extremely difficult to replace. Note how the fax protocol is still in use, or the TCP/IP protocol (even though other, better protocols now exist for those purposes)."
James Currier
The Network Effects Manual: 13 Different Network Effects (and counting)
"If people you know from the real world are all using the same product to house their identity and reputation, there’s a large value add (to you) if you join the network yourself."
James Currier
The Network Effects Manual: 13 Different Network Effects (and counting)
"Personal Utility Networks are typically used for things that need to get done. There is a substantial amount of practical utility to the user. Second, Personal Utility Networks are typically more for private communication, rather than public communication. Personal Networks are less vital."
James Currier
The Network Effects Manual: 13 Different Network Effects (and counting)
"It’s more complicated when we look at how same-side users interact. Most of the time, users on the same side subtract value directly from each other."
James Currier
The Network Effects Manual: 13 Different Network Effects (and counting)
"By aggregating competing sellers in one location, sellers were able to get much more business than others that were spread out, making it practical for competitors to co-locate."
James Currier
The Network Effects Manual: 13 Different Network Effects (and counting)
"To break them apart you must have a better value proposition for both parties simultaneously, or else nobody moves. Customers are there for the vendors, and vendors are there for the customers. One won’t leave without the other."
James Currier
The Network Effects Manual: 13 Different Network Effects (and counting)
"there’s one big weakness in marketplace defensibility, which arises from the phenomenon of “multi-tenanting”."
James Currier
The Network Effects Manual: 13 Different Network Effects (and counting)
"The goal of the marketplace is thus to design the product/service to add so much value or “lock-in”, particularly on the supply side, that members won’t be tempted to multi-tenant."
James Currier
The Network Effects Manual: 13 Different Network Effects (and counting)
"One vulnerable point for platforms is that, just like with marketplaces, both sides of platforms can also multi-tenant. App developers can create versions of their app for both iOS and Android."
James Currier
The Network Effects Manual: 13 Different Network Effects (and counting)
"The “Value Curve” diagram below illustrates the supply and demand curves for three subcategories of marketplace nfx."
James Currier
The Network Effects Manual: 13 Different Network Effects (and counting)
"Asymptotic Marketplaces are more vulnerable to competition than other marketplaces for this reason. If Uber has 1000 drivers in a certain area, a competitor might be able to provide comparable service with half as many."
James Currier
The Network Effects Manual: 13 Different Network Effects (and counting)
"When a product’s value increases with more data, and when additional usage of that product yields data, then you have a Data Network Effect."
James Currier
The Network Effects Manual: 13 Different Network Effects (and counting)
"the relationship between product usage and the amount of useful new data gathered can be asymmetrical."
James Currier
The Network Effects Manual: 13 Different Network Effects (and counting)
"Technological advantages have a short half-life and aren’t very defensible anymore. If you’re the first to come out with a technology, the rate of innovation ensures that it won’t be long until the competition either copies your technology or develops it themselves. But with Tech Performance nfx, your product gets a runaway advantage for being the first out of the gate."
James Currier
The Network Effects Manual: 13 Different Network Effects (and counting)
"“social” network effects. They work through psychology and the interactions between people."
James Currier
The Network Effects Manual: 13 Different Network Effects (and counting)
"Social nfx are usually the hardest to deploy for long-term defensibility. However, if you can successfully get various forms of psychology on your side against a competitor, they can represent a significant advantage."
James Currier
The Network Effects Manual: 13 Different Network Effects (and counting)
"That’s why, throughout history, language has displayed a “winner-take-most” tendency. People in the same political, social and economic units tend to coalesce around one language."
James Currier
The Network Effects Manual: 13 Different Network Effects (and counting)
"Startups can use the network effects of language to take advantage of that winner-take-most effect in at least two ways: first, in creating business category language; and second, in naming a company or product."
James Currier
The Network Effects Manual: 13 Different Network Effects (and counting)
"beliefs become more valuable to believers the more people believe."
James Currier
The Network Effects Manual: 13 Different Network Effects (and counting)
"Belief nfx are like sand. In small quantities, sand dissipates in a breeze. But if you layer enough sand down on top of itself, it becomes hard as stone."
James Currier
The Network Effects Manual: 13 Different Network Effects (and counting)
"Bandwagoning happens when social pressure to join a network causes people to feel they don’t want to be left out."
James Currier
The Network Effects Manual: 13 Different Network Effects (and counting)
"One company that has made Bandwagon nfx a core expertise is Apple. Every year, with a carefully scripted performance, they re-manufacture buzz and FOMO with their new product demos and launches. This has been extremely effective."
James Currier
The Network Effects Manual: 13 Different Network Effects (and counting)
"If too many people join a movement, sometimes the early adopters will abandon it because the group has become too mainstream. That’s why you typically see the Bandwagon nfx at the beginning of products."
James Currier
The Network Effects Manual: 13 Different Network Effects (and counting)
"There isn’t the level of skepticism we normally see with new technologies."
James Currier
3 Waves of Successful Generative Tech Startups 
"That means everyone gets it and there is a flood of competition from other startups, incumbents, and all the huge platforms like Google and Microsoft."
James Currier
3 Waves of Successful Generative Tech Startups 
"In the first wave of generative tech, you get the fast movers. They are selling the benefits of AI and addressing the more consensus customer pain points."
James Currier
3 Waves of Successful Generative Tech Startups 
"They don’t focus on “having a better AI,” but rather they focus on having a better sales and onboarding process."
James Currier
3 Waves of Successful Generative Tech Startups 
"They’ll use it to gain a competitive edge for totally normal businesses like renovating apartment buildings, doing security checks with software vendors, or exchanging legal contracts."
James Currier
3 Waves of Successful Generative Tech Startups 
"You’re not selling the AI to them. You’re simply selling something better than other offerings."
James Currier
3 Waves of Successful Generative Tech Startups 
"The third wave will be the visionary stuff. The stuff that we can’t imagine yet."
James Currier
3 Waves of Successful Generative Tech Startups 
"3rd wave companies will be built by visionaries, people who aren’t afraid to reinvent something as native to AI."
James Currier
3 Waves of Successful Generative Tech Startups 
"Typically, the wide-open times to create new startups only last a few years. This transition is a big deal, and we are privileged to be here. Not just to see it – but to build it."
James Currier
3 Waves of Successful Generative Tech Startups 
"This is the most valuable type of defensibility you can build with data, and it’s much rarer than most realize."
James Currier
What Makes Data Valuable: The Truth About Data Network Effects
"One of the best examples of a real data network effect in the consumer world is Waze. It has 6 elements which are instructive, and that you should look for in your own products:"
James Currier
What Makes Data Valuable: The Truth About Data Network Effects
"Data capture from customer usage is automatic"
James Currier
What Makes Data Valuable: The Truth About Data Network Effects
"Product value increases automatically as more data is added."
James Currier
What Makes Data Valuable: The Truth About Data Network Effects
"The minimum threshold for the amount of data needed before the product starts providing value is high. This provides a scale defensibility against competitors entering the market."
James Currier
What Makes Data Valuable: The Truth About Data Network Effects
"The value of incremental data set doesn’t asymptote quickly, usually because of the real-time nature of the service. This makes it hard for competitors to provide the same value without a similar size user base — the sign of a good network effect."
James Currier
What Makes Data Valuable: The Truth About Data Network Effects
"The value created by the data is perceived by the customer as valuable so they use it to make decisions between Waze and other products."
James Currier
What Makes Data Valuable: The Truth About Data Network Effects
"Note that both of these companies collect and sell data that is constantly changing and old data is not very valuable. They are on a “data treadmill”, and so is Waze. But that treadmill gives them defensibility from competitors."
James Currier
What Makes Data Valuable: The Truth About Data Network Effects
"Reduce cycle time and thereby put distance between you and potential competitors."
James Currier
What Makes Data Valuable: The Truth About Data Network Effects
"Reduce marginal cost of data by avoiding the expenses and operational complexity of collecting the data manually."
James Currier
What Makes Data Valuable: The Truth About Data Network Effects
"Best not to constrain that flywheel with manual effort in your operations."
James Currier
What Makes Data Valuable: The Truth About Data Network Effects
"It’s not enough to capture data if that data doesn’t then result in improved value for existing users, thereby completing the positive feedback loop that drives a data network effect."
James Currier
What Makes Data Valuable: The Truth About Data Network Effects
"The difference is that these product improvements are usually a manual and periodic process instead of being automatic and continuous. Product improvements are therefore an indirect and sporadic result of increased usage, and they get harder to find over time."
James Currier
What Makes Data Valuable: The Truth About Data Network Effects
"If you need a lot of data that is hard to get, that creates a barrier to others competing with you in the future."
James Currier
What Makes Data Valuable: The Truth About Data Network Effects
"But note that most Founders overestimate how unique and valuable their dataset is."
James Currier
What Makes Data Valuable: The Truth About Data Network Effects
"A typical example we see of Founders need more help understanding asymptotic data value is in the medical area. Many companies get data on 2,500 cases of a disease type and can use it to create a better algorithm for diagnosis."
James Currier
What Makes Data Valuable: The Truth About Data Network Effects
"Regardless of the rare examples, Founders overestimate the point of diminishing returns for data in their own market category."
James Currier
What Makes Data Valuable: The Truth About Data Network Effects
"perhaps thousands or even hundreds of data points are often enough to get 90% of the product experience value."
James Currier
What Makes Data Valuable: The Truth About Data Network Effects
"The most reliable exceptions to this are in market categories where real-time data is valuable, like with Waze. Real-time data network effects require a constant feed of data, which means that bigger networks of users have a big advantage over smaller networks."
James Currier
What Makes Data Valuable: The Truth About Data Network Effects
"But it turns out that the value of their discovery engine is not central to their value."
James Currier
What Makes Data Valuable: The Truth About Data Network Effects
"What’s central to their value is simply expanding their content library to encompass the movies and TV shows that most people want to watch."
James Currier
What Makes Data Valuable: The Truth About Data Network Effects
"Netflix’s core product value, it turns out, is content licensing and content production."
James Currier
What Makes Data Valuable: The Truth About Data Network Effects
"Thus, the customer may not be able to perceive the difference — or value the difference — between you and the competitor."
James Currier
What Makes Data Valuable: The Truth About Data Network Effects
"2 Data Scale Can Give Your Startup Some Defensibility"
James Currier
What Makes Data Valuable: The Truth About Data Network Effects
"Yelp is actually a good example here. They have a scale advantage of covering the most restaurants and local businesses."
James Currier
What Makes Data Valuable: The Truth About Data Network Effects
"In practice, most of the valuable insights you will glean from a scaled-up dataset in a particular domain will come early on."
James Currier
What Makes Data Valuable: The Truth About Data Network Effects
"The greater part of your value is that the more data you hold for them embedded in their operations, the harder it would be to remove you."
James Currier
What Makes Data Valuable: The Truth About Data Network Effects
"What we discovered is that a large company might be spending $3 billion on annual advertising, but only $30 million for research data. In the end, our data wasn’t monetizable."
James Currier
What Makes Data Valuable: The Truth About Data Network Effects
"Collecting data is easy now, but turning that exhaust into value is not trivial. Further, a world of abundant data, it’s getting harder to differentiate on the basis of data quantity alone."
James Currier
What Makes Data Valuable: The Truth About Data Network Effects
"Speed. Going faster is a significant advantage in the short and medium term. It’s the No. 1 competitive advantage every startup can give itself."
James Currier
Defensibility Adds the Most Value for Founders
"Capital. Like we’ve seen with Uber, Square or NextDoor, the ability for a team to raise more capital lets a company hire faster, buy market share and move to set up real defensibilities."
James Currier
Defensibility Adds the Most Value for Founders
"Further, raising a lot of capital helps scare other investors from investing in your competition."
James Currier
Defensibility Adds the Most Value for Founders
"Unique Team. Either technical talent or having unique insight into a customer/market."
James Currier
Defensibility Adds the Most Value for Founders
"Content. Companies like Zillow, Yelp and Facebook were places for users to get unique content at launch or shortly after launch."
James Currier
Defensibility Adds the Most Value for Founders
"Buzz. When companies like Slack or Meerkat capture the elusive imagination of influencers in tech and media, it makes it easier to fundraise, hire talent, get press and get noticed by customers."
James Currier
Defensibility Adds the Most Value for Founders
"Relationships. People do matter."
James Currier
Defensibility Adds the Most Value for Founders
"Silicon Valley. Companies located here have a competitive advantage because of access to capital, press, talent and creative insights from the dense network of people working on similar problems."
James Currier
Defensibility Adds the Most Value for Founders
"Economies of scale (example: Amazon). When you get bigger, a host of advantages accrue to you."
James Currier
Defensibility Adds the Most Value for Founders
"Brand (examples: Booking.com, Google). With brand, a certain company can stand top of mind when we think of something we need, like booking.com when I need a hotel room."
James Currier
Defensibility Adds the Most Value for Founders
"Embedding (examples: Workday, Oracle, SAP). Embedding works when you integrate your software into a customer’s operations so the customer can’t rip you out and replace you with a competitor."
James Currier
Defensibility Adds the Most Value for Founders
"Network effects (examples: LinkedIn, Alibaba, Craigslist). A network effect is when another user makes the service more valuable for every other user."
James Currier
Defensibility Adds the Most Value for Founders
"The AI engines enabling generative tech have three layers. You can use all three depending on what features your market demands, and depending on the level of nuance and specialization required."
James Currier
Generative Tech Market Map and 5-Layer Tech Stack
"General AI models are the core technology breakthrough"
James Currier
Generative Tech Market Map and 5-Layer Tech Stack
"These models deal with broad categories of outputs: text, images, videos, speech, games. They are going to be open-source, easy to use, and good at all of the above."
James Currier
Generative Tech Market Map and 5-Layer Tech Stack
"Specific AI models capture even more nuance for specific jobs such as writing tweets, ad copy, song lyrics, or generating e-commerce photos, 3D interior design images, etc."
James Currier
Generative Tech Market Map and 5-Layer Tech Stack
"Hyperlocal AI models are specialists. A hyperlocal AI model can write a scientific article in the style preferred by Nature."
James Currier
Generative Tech Market Map and 5-Layer Tech Stack
"This model is trained on hyperlocal, typically proprietary data."
James Currier
Generative Tech Market Map and 5-Layer Tech Stack
"Even if a competitor cannot get your exact dataset, they likely can find a similar dataset."
James Currier
Generative Tech Market Map and 5-Layer Tech Stack
"There’s a further challenge: human ability to appreciate what’s generated, has a limit. And the AI is getting to that limit fast."
James Currier
Generative Tech Market Map and 5-Layer Tech Stack
"So the best place to explore data network effects in your AI models is probably at level 3, the hyperlocal layer, which benefits from proprietary and trusted data."
James Currier
Generative Tech Market Map and 5-Layer Tech Stack
"This is the layer that sits between the workflow applications and the AI models below."
James Currier
Generative Tech Market Map and 5-Layer Tech Stack
"This API layer or Generative OS helps that application access all the AI models the application needs."
James Currier
Generative Tech Market Map and 5-Layer Tech Stack
"This layer also allows for the AI models to be switched out at will. Which of course tends to commodify them."
James Currier
Generative Tech Market Map and 5-Layer Tech Stack
"This layer eases interoperability of the applications and workflows."
James Currier
Generative Tech Market Map and 5-Layer Tech Stack
"For the end user, it removes hassle from the AI models below and the application vendors above. This layer should have powerful network effects and embedding characteristics."
James Currier
Generative Tech Market Map and 5-Layer Tech Stack
"These applications are interfaces where humans and machines collaborate. These are the workflow tools that make the AI models accessible in a way that enables business customers or consumer entertainment."
James Currier
Generative Tech Market Map and 5-Layer Tech Stack
"In this layer it’s easy to envision network effects or embedding defensibilities."
James Currier
Generative Tech Market Map and 5-Layer Tech Stack
"You need to get product in market, see what works, what doesn’t. See what makes people uncomfortable – and get them through that cycle."
James Currier
Generative Tech Market Map and 5-Layer Tech Stack
"Don’t spend too much time hunting down specific data in hopes of building the perfect model if it comes at the expense of other layers in the stack (your application, API or OS layer)."
James Currier
Generative Tech Market Map and 5-Layer Tech Stack
"Network effects will help you win, particularly at the application and OS/API levels."
James Currier
Generative Tech Market Map and 5-Layer Tech Stack
"If the AI models, layers 1-3, trend to commodities, then it might make sense to look at how the applications and APIs you build on them help you keep your customers by embedding them in their workflows or their daily lives."
James Currier
Generative Tech Market Map and 5-Layer Tech Stack
"Successful entrepreneurs rarely tell the story of the first few months where they battled to find a good idea."
James Currier
The Hidden Patterns of Great Startup Ideas
"This might be true at later stages, but at the initial stage of a startup, the core idea makes a huge difference. Small changes in your initial idea/direction will make a big difference to where you end up."
James Currier
The Hidden Patterns of Great Startup Ideas
"In fact, we believe the biggest waste in our startup/VC ecosystem is great people working on mediocre ideas."
James Currier
The Hidden Patterns of Great Startup Ideas
"So you might as well work on a bigger idea."
James Currier
The Hidden Patterns of Great Startup Ideas
"Framework 1: Innovate Just Enough"
James Currier
The Hidden Patterns of Great Startup Ideas
"One way to strike that balance is to apply a framework that we learned from the gaming industry: when making a new game, change only one element from what came before."
James Currier
The Hidden Patterns of Great Startup Ideas
"Be aware of what parts of your idea you’re testing that are new, and what parts of your idea you can count on working."
James Currier
The Hidden Patterns of Great Startup Ideas
"The biggest ideas often strike a balance between what has been proven to work and something totally new. Iteration can be a form of innovation."
James Currier
The Hidden Patterns of Great Startup Ideas
"Framework 2: Leverage Technological Shifts"
James Currier
The Hidden Patterns of Great Startup Ideas
"Can you identify what technology has changed in the last 3-36 months that will let you create a new product?"
James Currier
The Hidden Patterns of Great Startup Ideas
"Look for a new product experience in proven areas that is only possible recently due to a recent technological shift."
James Currier
The Hidden Patterns of Great Startup Ideas
"Framework 3: Take More Risks"
James Currier
The Hidden Patterns of Great Startup Ideas
"Marks realized that many of the biggest ideas both identified some new truth while at the same time being non-consensus ideas, meaning most people didn’t think they looked like good ideas at the beginning."
James Currier
The Hidden Patterns of Great Startup Ideas
"Framework 4: Solving a Problem vs. Creating Opportunity"
James Currier
The Hidden Patterns of Great Startup Ideas
"But also think about what new opportunities they might be creating."
James Currier
The Hidden Patterns of Great Startup Ideas
"Framework 5: Market Risk vs. Execution Risk"
James Currier
The Hidden Patterns of Great Startup Ideas
"Market risk is when you don’t know if anyone will want what you are building."
James Currier
The Hidden Patterns of Great Startup Ideas
"Execution risk is when you don’t know if you can execute at a world-class level on the idea."
James Currier
The Hidden Patterns of Great Startup Ideas
"Second-time founders and their investors often have more confidence in the Founders’ ability to execute, so they are willing to face down incumbents and competition in a proven market, betting on their ability to execute better than existing players."
James Currier
The Hidden Patterns of Great Startup Ideas
"First-time founders often need to avoid incumbents and direct competition in order to get going, and thus target unusual, non-consensus ideas."
James Currier
The Hidden Patterns of Great Startup Ideas
"They’re likely to take on more market risk initially as a result. But companies with initial market risk will eventually face execution risk as well at a later stage."
James Currier
The Hidden Patterns of Great Startup Ideas
"It turns deep learning engines into collaborators to generate new content and ideas nearly like a human would."
James Currier
Generative Tech Begins
"AI models are the enabling base layers of the stack. The top layers will be thousands of applications."
James Currier
Generative Tech Begins
"1. A new Internet topology. Until today, the Internet has been characterized by making database queries to get 1) a stored piece of 2) old content 3) from the center, out to you on the edge of the network."
James Currier
Generative Tech Begins
"Generative Tech changes the topology of the Internet because now 1) unique pieces of content are 2) generated at the edge of the network 3) in real time by your action."
James Currier
Generative Tech Begins
"If Web1 was “read only,” and Web2 is “read-write,” and then Generative Tech is “read-write-generate” then that makes Web 3 “read-write-generate-own.”"
James Currier
Generative Tech Begins
"2. Human activities will now change quickly."
James Currier
Generative Tech Begins
"For instance, writers, students, marketers, coders, architects, graphic designers, musicians, videographers, sales development reps, customer service reps, and screenplay writers, who are paid go from zero to something useful will now be using these tools to generate their first ideas."
James Currier
Generative Tech Begins
"But these new generative tools help you with the first half of the process, taking you from nearly zero to a lot of initial ideas."
James Currier
Generative Tech Begins
"As the 2021 Stanford University AI index noted, AI, for some constrained applications, has moved to a “sufficiently high standard that humans have a hard time telling the difference between synthetic and non-synthetic putouts.”"
James Currier
Generative Tech Begins
"We are headed toward “generative everything.”"
James Currier
Generative Tech Begins
"Latitude in games."
James Currier
Generative Tech Begins
"Entirely new gaming experiences will be possible with Generative Tech."
James Currier
Generative Tech Begins
"Darrow, in legal. A legal claim mining service that uses an AI model to generate new leads by detecting harmful events."
James Currier
Generative Tech Begins
"The.com in automatic website development. The.com is a generative platform for coding and launching 100’s and 1000’s of websites from simple database calls and lightweight prompts."
James Currier
Generative Tech Begins
"Tailorbird in PropTech. Tailorbird uses deep learning to build new floor plans for homeowners looking to perform renovations."
James Currier
Generative Tech Begins
"Start a new company to do new things and create new markets (like Darrow, Jasper and Latitude did)"
James Currier
Generative Tech Begins
"Start new companies that redo old businesses with this technology at the core, not just as a feature. For instance The.com and Tailorbird, or CRM’s, customer service software, etc."
James Currier
Generative Tech Begins
"Add Generative Tech features to your existing product to differentiate it."
James Currier
Generative Tech Begins
"The bottom layer is an AI model. That is capable of generating novel output based on inputs that are unique to the user, like OpenAI’s DALL-E, or GPT-3."
James Currier
Generative Tech Begins
"To make generalized versions of these can take $100m’s. To make more narrow versions can be less than $10m and the price is dropping very fast."
James Currier
Generative Tech Begins
"The top layer is an application. This is where you can build network effects and embedding effects to produce durable businesses."
James Currier
Generative Tech Begins
"1. Zero to One → Zero to Ten"
James Currier
Generative Tech Begins
"Generative Tech begins with solving a zero to one problem. The most successful companies will eventually provide zero to ten solutions, or, put differently, products that serve the complete needs of the user, and are uniquely animated by AI models."
James Currier
Generative Tech Begins
"2. Replace Curation with Creation"
James Currier
Generative Tech Begins
"Generative Tech is personalization in a way we have never experienced it before."
James Currier
Generative Tech Begins
"This is a very limited approach to personalization because it is based on calling existing data."
James Currier
Generative Tech Begins
"If you are Founders who build AI and ML models, go through the same list above and see if you can create the AI model for that specific area. If you have access to unique data, if you’re the first to see an application area, you can get a leg up by having the best model for a time in a specific area."
James Currier
Generative Tech Begins
"That advantage may not last and more general models might eat into your data advantage, or competitors selling an inferior – but still useful – model more cheaply, as has happened to the general models already in the last two years."
James Currier
Generative Tech Begins
"Another way to land on a great Generative Tech idea is to think about how that business might work operationally."
James Currier
Generative Tech Begins
"Where are there hyper local data sets for your AI model that you can own and maintain your data network effects despite competition coming in later?"
James Currier
Generative Tech Begins
"Where can you plug in to existing workflows, or a browser, or an app?"
James Currier
Generative Tech Begins
"1. Initial Ideas Collaborator This helps solve the zero-to-one problem."
James Currier
Generative Tech Begins
"2. Coaching/Tailored Feedback"
James Currier
Generative Tech Begins
"3. Uniqueness At Scale"
James Currier
Generative Tech Begins
"Truly unique things can’t exist en masse without losing their bespoke qualities. Generative Tech changes this. The generative engine is capable of providing a new output for every new user or every problem, at scale."
James Currier
Generative Tech Begins
"Insilico Medicine employs three AI-powered products that work together. One identifies new targets for drugs, while another generates new candidate molecules from scratch. Finally, the last engine predicts the outcome of clinical trials based on previous work. This is an elegant example of an analytical AI approach (identifying targets, and analyzing trial outcomes) combined with Generative Tech (generating novel molecular structures)."
James Currier
Generative Tech Begins
"What that means for Founders is 1) you have to move very, very fast. Boldness will matter."
James Currier
Generative Tech Begins
"2) You have to pick your idea very carefully. What you decide to build, who your target customer is, and what your distribution channels will matter a lot."
James Currier
Generative Tech Begins
"You can go after a horizontal or a vertical, a particular data type or geography. There are many choices in the Generative Tech sector today."
James Currier
Generative Tech Begins
"As an example, there were 50+ social networks with the same 5 features when Facebook launched."
James Currier
Generative Tech Begins
"If you’re building a Generative Tech business for enterprises, to grow fast, be prepared to be a plug-in to existing systems. Don’t try to replace workflows or replace existing software systems."
James Currier
Generative Tech Begins
"To be defensible, embed in customers’ existing workflows and software."
James Currier
Generative Tech Begins
"They won’t take it all, of course, but their plugin approach is correct on both counts: easy to implement and embedding in workflows."
James Currier
Generative Tech Begins
"What Tabnine did for defensibility is to build hyper-local data network effects for each company it serves around their exact code base, which locks those customers into Tabnine."
James Currier
Generative Tech Begins
"Combining the embedding of the workflow with a protectable data moat is a good combination for durability."
James Currier
Generative Tech Begins
"Better to be thoughtful and good and also early on the field – to be the one figuring it out – rather than left behind, wringing your hands with a furrowed brow on the sidelines."
James Currier
Generative Tech Begins
"The biggest business risk at this stage of the market cycle (early) is that Founders don’t move fast enough into the seams opening in the market, and these technologies will simply become features and augmentations of the larger companies’ businesses."
James Currier
Generative Tech Begins
"It’s Oct 2022. This window will close in months. Find your area, find your seam – either technical, distribution, customer focus, geography focus, etc and hit it hard."
James Currier
Generative Tech Begins
"You need to cultivate the rare skill of assessing the speed and direction of the water surrounding you at all times."
James Currier
Find The Fast Moving Water
"“Find the fast moving water” is a concept that we communicate to our NFX Guild Founders from day 1."
James Currier
Find The Fast Moving Water
"Founders: It’s your job to learn how to read the river, and then have the courage to steer your company into the fast moving water."
James Currier
Find The Fast Moving Water
"You probably have something that is progressing with customers and revenue and you’re moving up the Ladder of Proof. Check."
James Currier
Find The Fast Moving Water
"When you get in the fast moving water, you know it. Everything lights up at once."
James Currier
Find The Fast Moving Water
"It sounds simple now, but it was non-obvious then, that the real current rippling through the industry was related to photo sharing, not photo storage."
James Currier
Find The Fast Moving Water
"He pointed to video games + FB platform as the fast moving water of that time. Stan and I continued growing the original business at a good rate, but we couldn’t get Saar’s words “find the fast moving water” out of our heads."
James Currier
Find The Fast Moving Water
"The concept of fast moving water at first sounds like product-market fit. It’s not. It’s beyond that."
James Currier
Find The Fast Moving Water
"Fast moving water is the mental model that helps you decide who those people should be in the first place, and what you’re even building in the first place."
James Currier
Find The Fast Moving Water
"You want to read the river for leading indicators, not lagging ones."
James Currier
Find The Fast Moving Water
"That’s important to you because you will stumble into false positives – you will find sectors that give you short-run success of product-market fit, but long-term irrelevance."
James Currier
Find The Fast Moving Water
"You can have product-market fit, but find yourself left behind by competitors who have aligned themselves with larger currents and then also found product-market fit."
James Currier
Find The Fast Moving Water
"By contrast, you can lack product-market fit initially, but if you’re in the fast moving water, your chances of hitting the big outcome go way up."
James Currier
Find The Fast Moving Water
"1. Look for technology shifts that enable something new to happen."
James Currier
Find The Fast Moving Water
"Mobile phones, blockchain, GPT-3, Plaid, machine vision, etc, create dislocations in what can be done, how much things cost, and how fast things can happen."
James Currier
Find The Fast Moving Water
"Each of these technologies creates a current, and then spawns other currents."
James Currier
Find The Fast Moving Water
"The availability of AI platforms is creating a current around “Generative Tech” that will push software to generate novelty on the edge, rather than just the database calls we’ve seen for the last 25 years."
James Currier
Find The Fast Moving Water
"Much within Web3/crypto has been very fast moving water for 2 years now, and while the valuations have decreased for the moment, the flow of energy for talent and capital in this direction is still very strong compared to other tech segments."
James Currier
Find The Fast Moving Water
"2. Look for a low-quality example that’s doing suspiciously well"
James Currier
Find The Fast Moving Water
"Many iconic companies were born from a second-mover advantage in fast moving water."
James Currier
Find The Fast Moving Water
"Uber surpassed Lyft despite copying them."
James Currier
Find The Fast Moving Water
"Part of that comes down to better teams, building network effects first, better products, slightly better timing, a lucky article that drove initial traffic from the right network nodes, etc. But, critically, the fast moving water was there."
James Currier
Find The Fast Moving Water
"When this happens, you’ll notice your target user physically leaning forward and their pupils will open up. Oxytocin and dopamine surges and can help the physical reaction."
James Currier
Find The Fast Moving Water
"I can still remember the exact feeling and place we were on Mission Street in San Francisco. 5 minutes later, I ran up to our office to tell the team what I had just seen."
James Currier
Find The Fast Moving Water
"It was just a matter of time before someone got the specifics and the execution right."
James Currier
Find The Fast Moving Water
"1. When you’re thinking about what to start."
James Currier
Find The Fast Moving Water
"When you think about what company to start, add an analysis of the fast moving water to your way of thinking."
James Currier
Find The Fast Moving Water
"2. And every moment thereafter. Many of the biggest companies were created by Founders who first built their teams, and then moved to the right position in the river."
James Currier
Find The Fast Moving Water
"But this is where 1) the best teams shine, and 2) if you build a network effect, you can win even without the best team or product. These red oceans aren’t the signs of death and destruction many make them out to be."
James Currier
Find The Fast Moving Water
"Red oceans are signs that a lot of people actually want what you’re working on. By definition, a red ocean reduces the threat of market risk: you already know the market exists."
James Currier
Find The Fast Moving Water
"Network gravity is very real. It shows up in the form of resistance from well-meaning people who don’t want to shift from where you started, even if you’re paddling hard in the slow waters. They think it’s loyalty, or mission, or the right thing to do to stick it out. But they’re wrong."
James Currier
Find The Fast Moving Water
"There are a lot of human emotions about commitment, belief, and excitement that get upended when you try to navigate your team from doing something fine, to shooting for something great."
James Currier
Find The Fast Moving Water
"Have courage. Don’t settle for “OK.” Don’t spend $5K or $10K of burn every day on mediocrity. And don’t let your employee and partner and investor networks keep you stuck."
James Currier
Find The Fast Moving Water
"See the fast moving water and move there. One of the best things you can do for your teammates and investors is to push them – or let them push you – into the fast moving water. Do it now. Don’t wait."
James Currier
Find The Fast Moving Water
"1. Obsession"
James Currier
The 4 Signs of Founder-Market Fit
"I often tell Founders “don’t start a company unless you can’t not do it… unless you can’t sleep at night and your brain is exploding with the idea.”"
James Currier
The 4 Signs of Founder-Market Fit
"Founder-Market Fit means you would choose to work on the idea in your free time."
James Currier
The 4 Signs of Founder-Market Fit
"World-class, iconic companies are almost always founded by Founders with that level of obsession because it equips them to endure for the long haul that it takes to build a company without burning out or losing faith."
James Currier
The 4 Signs of Founder-Market Fit
"I’m often surprised and disappointed by otherwise competent Founders who haven’t taken the time to go deep in their market and know everything about former attempts to build similar businesses, their current competitors, and future potential competitors."
James Currier
The 4 Signs of Founder-Market Fit
"A lack of such attention to detail typically conveys to me that a Founder doesn’t love their market enough to have real Founder-Market Fit."
James Currier
The 4 Signs of Founder-Market Fit
"Further, in these cases of brand new markets, Founder-Market Fit may reveal itself in the rich process of mapping out the decision trees and probabilities that Founders anticipate the market might manifest."
James Currier
The 4 Signs of Founder-Market Fit
"2. Founder Story"
James Currier
The 4 Signs of Founder-Market Fit
"Customers have to identify with the Founder’s story and believe that there’s a compelling “why” inside the Founder — that there’s a human behind the company."
James Currier
The 4 Signs of Founder-Market Fit
"A compelling narrative signals to both customers and investors that the Founder has a mission and is in it for the long haul and for the right reasons."
James Currier
The 4 Signs of Founder-Market Fit
"3. Personality"
James Currier
The 4 Signs of Founder-Market Fit
"Most innovation happens as a result of people forming networks with a high density of ambitious, competent people in a similar field or market."
James Currier
The 4 Signs of Founder-Market Fit
"Mark was the perfect person to build Facebook because his personality lead him to be desperate to automate human interaction. He was obsessed with it and had unique intuition into the problem due to his personal daily experience."
James Currier
The 4 Signs of Founder-Market Fit
"4. Experience"
James Currier
The 4 Signs of Founder-Market Fit
"Ignorance is an opportunity for one out of fifty. Knowledge is an opportunity for one out of five. Too much knowledge is a blocker to innovation."
James Currier
The 4 Signs of Founder-Market Fit
"We know from our own experience that the typical way to invest in B2B/enterprise is to find people who did it before and are doing it again in the same space. Experience is more important in the B2B space, where the complexity of the industry raises the threshold of how much domain knowledge a Founder needs before they’re going to get it right."
James Currier
The 4 Signs of Founder-Market Fit
"This disruption/experience curve isn’t definitive, it’s just a guide towards how to think about it. As with any general framework, there are exceptions."
James Currier
The 4 Signs of Founder-Market Fit
"You have a higher chance of getting a critical insight"
James Currier
The 4 Signs of Founder-Market Fit
"It keeps you 100% focused on the problem with an obsessive, almost maniacal commitment because it resonates so deeply."
James Currier
The 4 Signs of Founder-Market Fit
"You’ll resonate with other people in the sector you’re in, and the more people you have on your side, both in the company and in related companies, the greater your chance of success"
James Currier
The 4 Signs of Founder-Market Fit
"You will actually be able to pull off nuances in the product experience and product language that make your product best-in-class."
James Currier
The 4 Signs of Founder-Market Fit
"Working with network effects in our 100+ companies makes it impossible not to notice how the same mechanisms and math that create near-destiny for companies also create near-destiny for us as individuals."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"Observing our own lives, and watching as 100s of founders move through their own journeys, we would go even further in the belief that it’s network forces that influence the majority of how our lives turn out."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"Given the power of network forces on your life, they should be the primary consideration when making decisions at these crossroads."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"Math underlies elements of the social sphere in ways we don’t always see."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"Did you know the frequency of the words you use are determined by an underlying mathematical pattern?"
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"What’s stranger is that same mathematical pattern seems to determine the sizes of cities within a country, income distributions of people within an economy, income distribution among companies, how much traffic goes to different websites on the Internet, how often last names are used in a society, the number of phone calls people receive, the number of people who die in wars."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"This mathematical pattern is a power law known as Zipf’s Law."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"It was first noticed as a principle of language. About 100 years ago, physicists and linguists discovered that the second most commonly used word in English is used one half as much as the most used word. The third most used word is used one third as much as the most used word, so forth down through all the words in a given language."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"The underlying mechanism for Zipf’s law is not yet agreed on but the main hypothesis is that it’s an outgrowth of the Principle of Least Effort. In short, systems that survive and operate at steady state optimize for efficiency. When they do, things tend to look like Zipf distributions."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"Related to your life, an even stranger implication of Zipf’s Law is that unconscious network forces will act on anyone or any company that gets to be an outlier in one or more of these distributions."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"Another example is the ¾ scaling law that shows up everywhere in the world as pointed out by Geoffrey West in his 2017 book Scale. The cells and energy systems of living things scale up in predictable patterns."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"The empirically measured numbers for cities are 17/20 scaling, still pretty remarkable energy gains for the city based on its network effect, and still consistent across nearly all cities."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"These are called preferential attachment processes which happen when something (such as money, status, fame, punishment) is distributed based on how much is already possessed. Most social processes are preferential attachment."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"If you want to have one conversation at a dinner table, 6 people is about the right number."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"That number is similar for all of us because it’s based on how many possible two-way conversations (links) can exist between people (nodes) in a group."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"N * (N-1) / 2"
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"In theory, the people who inhabit each “layer” of your life’s network map could be anyone. All humanity is, after all, connected."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"A context for frequent, repeated interaction with a new group of people"
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"A high degree of overlap between relationships in the new group."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"A transition period where people are open to changing or evolving their identity."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"A high density of people in geographic and network proximity."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"Go through something hard and perhaps fear-inducing together."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"When you start to see that dialogue between you and your network, the push-pull, you see it everywhere. The chaos of the world diminishes a bit and becomes more understandable and predictable."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"The conclusion is that the compounding, nonlinear math of networks means that they should be the primary consideration in our big life decisions."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"There are three levels of networks you’re a part of."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"You are a node in each of the networks to which you belong. The other nodes – people – give you your ideas, your words and phrases, your assumptions, your desires, your fears and your beliefs."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"And the math associated with each option — the rewards and frictions and probabilities — are determined by your unique network. And your network is the result of the network decisions you made during the few crossroads moments in your life."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"Crossroad 1 – What Family You’re Born Into"
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"For better or worse, your family is the fundamental layer of your network topology."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"Our family network impacts what networks we are exposed to and which ones we are constrained from. Family nodes have preferences, and push links to other networks on us in the form of introductions to schools, places to live, jobs, and spouses."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"Your family is a low-friction, high-impact network. Because of that underlying math, when making life decisions most people will choose the options that most align with their core family network."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"Crossroad 2 – High School Network"
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"High school networks are especially important because they are influential when we are forming our identities and worldviews as young adults."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"Like family, where you go to high school isn’t usually a choice. But if you do have this option still ahead of you, or if you have children and can choose for them, don’t underestimate its importance."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"The importance high-schoolers place on “popularity” — their status in the social hierarchy of their peers — shows that we intuitively understand the importance of networks even at an early age."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"How does status work? Why does status give you options? Because status lights up the network. It’s a pure shot of preferential attachment we mentioned earlier."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"Nodes of all types want to associate with high-status nodes because it will improve their own status."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"But from the vantage point of a teenager, social obsession is quite rational. Teens intuitively understand that their high school destiny depends on their network of friends."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"How big is the high school? The bigger the high school, the bigger the alumni network, which may influence your ability to choose future networks like college, spouse, and jobs."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"How strong is the affinity of school graduates? Higher affinity indicates stronger network links between nodes in the network, that the network is more valuable to the graduates."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"Crossroad 3 – College Network"
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"You should choose your college based on its network of students and the geographic network they inhabit more than course of study or sports teams."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"Geographic density creates frequent interactions between the nodes, giving network bonds a chance to form and strengthen."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"A) Your reputation matters. People are more likely to have heard about you via a third party, and treat you differently according to your reputation."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"B) If you meet another student, the chances of them knowing someone you know is much higher than someone you meet outside of the closed network. There is a high degree of network overlap between you and other students, and as network theory predicts, shared connections between two people vastly heighten the chances of them forming a strong bond."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"C) The likelihood of repeat interaction between students is very high."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"When you choose a college, you are also choosing a geography. People tend to end up working and living in the same geographical proximity as their college, keeping them close to their college friends."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"College teaches you the idea that you will know these people the rest of your life, so like family, there is a powerful shadow of the future that makes the bonds stronger and more numerous."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"Mutual affinity isn’t the only thing that matters in choosing friends. It’s not even the biggest factor. Network force swamps other factors."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"Likelihood of forming a relationship = Mutual affinity * frequency of interaction * duration of interaction * geographical proximity * network proximity * number of shared connections * etc…"
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"This is a rough illustration of the mathematical power of networks in shaping behavior. As we see, networks impose real constraints on how you make decisions, not only in who you are likely to end up befriending, but the career opportunities, dating choices, beliefs, and information that you’ll end up sticking with."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"Where do most of the alumni of this college end up living? When you choose a college you are also choosing a regional network."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"I tried for four years, and each of the people I was recruiting did the math on their own life dashboards, saw the numbers put there by their networks, felt the network gravity, and each made the rational decision to stay on the East Coast."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"What kind of career or industry do alumni of this college typically work in?"
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"He made the correct choice based on the options presented on his life dashboard by his networks."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"Do you relate to the other students naturally?"
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"How big is the college? The bigger the college, the bigger the alumni network. The bigger the alumni network, the more weak ties you have, which are great for career, marriage, and a host of other life attributes."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"How strong is the affinity between graduates? Like with high school, how much do alumni brag they went to that college?"
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"College is possibly best seen as a place for network formation, and creating the network topology you want. The network you join will lead you to a geography, a type of work, certain ideas about life, and a group of dating/marriage options that will all have a big influence on your life."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"All that network force will be pushing on you to then take the mathematically obvious path from there, one which will feel like the “right decision”."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"Crossroad 4 – First Job"
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"The professional relationships you form during your first job are the seed of your professional network which influences the arc of your career — from how you think about work, to how you’re known, to the geography where you have advantaged job access for a long time."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"In your first job, go work with people whose career path you want to emulate. Optimize for network."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"The early professional relationships you form will have a bigger influence on your skillset, your lifetime earning potential, and the mastery of your craft than the particulars of your job description, the income, the company perks, or the brand name on your resume."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"Second, innovation is contagious. If your first job is at a place that’s a breeding ground of innovation, the chances are a lot higher that you’ll come across some really good ideas — especially if you want to start a company one day."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"The PayPal Mafia was no coincidence. Network clusters are capable of producing multiple future billionaires."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"Focus on these questions instead:"
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"Is this job in the right city? The city I want to live in long term?"
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"Will I like and respect my co-workers? Will they like and respect me?"
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"Is there a strong culture and camaraderie?"
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"Are employees proud of their company and their brand? Do they enthusiastically recruit?"
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"Lastly, because top performers tend to congregate in rising companies, if it’s a startup, ask if it has strong potential defensibility against competitors, especially network effects, and whether it has the 9 habits of world-class startups."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"Crossroad 5 – Marriage/Choosing a Life Partner"
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"For 60% of people, how you meet their significant other is determined mostly by who you know and who you get introduced to, although that’s changing with the “digital people network” layer beginning to break down geographic networks and other closed networks."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"What my team told me at the time was that the most successful marriages were ones where 1) the two people were the most similar, and 2) they had shared network connections."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"What this means is that when you’re dating someone, you’re not just dating them. You’re dating their networks — their friends, family, and colleagues. And vice versa."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"“The stronger the tie between [two individuals], the larger the proportion of individuals to whom they will both be tied.”"
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"Which acquaintance is most likely to know a lot of people that you’re compatible with?"
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"Crossroad 6 – Where You Live"
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"When coming out of college, this is even more important to your life than your choice of job."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"physical proximity is predictive of network formation. Cities, from a network perspective, are like scaled-up colleges. Network density, frequency, similarity, and status accumulation all drive urban network formation. Cities do a great job of helping us form our networks because they are networks themselves, both physical and social."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"It’s certainly the most common life advice I give to people. Pick your city first. Everything flows from that. Your job, spouse, friends, income, and other opportunities flow from that core choice. The reason is network forces."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"It could be that this dependence on location-based networks is changing thanks to the internet and telecommunications in general, since it’s now easier to maintain and form networks in spite of geographical distance. But we’re just 25 years into the digital world, and that process will take 50-75 more years to play out."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"The higher rate of social interactions in a city has important consequences for your ongoing network topology. Larger cities mean more access to network clusters, leading to a greater diversity of talent, ideas, and backgrounds versus smaller cities."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"Are the people in this city like me? Each city has a vibe that may or may not fit with you."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"SF calls you to create more, invent more. It’s the garage where the crazy uncle is inventing crazy inventions."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"How important is your career to you? Because GDP scales nonlinearly with population size in cities, your career earnings will grow faster in a city than elsewhere. More importantly, the opportunity to build out your professional network and meet top talent in your industry will be higher in bigger cities."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"How much do you enjoy a fast pace of life? In a big city, everything moves faster. People walk faster, opportunities arise more frequently, you meet new people and encounter new ideas more often."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"Are the core parts of your network topology filled in? Do you have close relationships that you’re happy with and can rely on? If not, a smaller city may be a better place for you than a big one."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"Crossroad 7 – Reassessments"
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"The network force has been guiding someone for their whole lives, and then it stops exerting so much pressure and the person can consider their own innate interests and agency."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"The most lasting and effective way to change your life is to change who you’re surrounded by. Since networks so powerfully shape who we are and what we do, the best way to change ourselves is to change our networks."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"So the smartest use of energy for those of us looking to make a change can often be to carefully reassess the networks we’re a part of, and find ways to join new ones that are better suited to the life path we want to be on."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"On the flip side, if life is going well and you’re happy, understand how important networks are. Double down on your relationships. Cherish the people in your life and be aware of the value of their relationships and the networks you’re a part of."
James Currier
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
"One of the key choices Founders of network businesses must make is how much to tie user profiles to real identity. More broadly called “nodes,” profiles on a network can lie anywhere on a spectrum from purposefully anonymous (e.g. Monero, ZCash, Whisper, Yik Yak) to using real-names (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn)."
James Currier
Does Real Identity Matter for Networks?
"we’ve observed a very strong correlation between tying profiles to real identity and a higher probability that a network endures and becomes a valuable business — a correlation that usually goes unobserved."
James Currier
Does Real Identity Matter for Networks?
"Using real identity in user profiles is not the easiest path when you’re starting out. Real identity requires more commitment from your users and introduces greater risk, so the barrier to activation is often higher. It’s one reason why LinkedIn grew so slowly for their first three years."
James Currier
Does Real Identity Matter for Networks?
"Using real names increases user engagement which causes networks to grow in size, density, and activity — all of which builds a stronger network effect in your company. The more active and committed the nodes on the network, the more powerful the network effects."
James Currier
Does Real Identity Matter for Networks?
"On the other hand, networks with profiles that allow for more anonymity often grow more easily at the beginning because of the lower commitment required. Long term, however, we’ve seen them burn out and produce less value on average."
James Currier
Does Real Identity Matter for Networks?
"How did Facebook get people to use their real names when people weren’t yet comfortable putting real-name profiles out in the open (unless it was a resume)? By launching in a constrained environment of perceived safety where it already made sense to show your real name: college."
James Currier
Does Real Identity Matter for Networks?
"When Facebook finally did break out of the college niche into the mainstream, online Facebook profiles quickly became tied to personal identity and reputation in real life."
James Currier
Does Real Identity Matter for Networks?
"The vulnerability came from having weaker network effects, because as networks they weren’t as closely tied to user’s real identities. Their users were therefore less committed and easier for a competitor to come along and steal — which is exactly what happened."
James Currier
Does Real Identity Matter for Networks?
"Networks such as Twitter, Reddit, and Snapchat also have usernames that differ from people’s real names, but they’re still around. This is because their user identities, in contrast to the dead anonymous/pseudonymous networks discussed earlier, are persistent over time and partially tied to real-world identities"
James Currier
Does Real Identity Matter for Networks?
"These semi-pseudonymous networks have strong enough network effects to fend off the competition because they’ve given their users a persistent online identity to which they commit. As social creatures, people are emotionally invested in creating, building, and maintaining their reputations — even if that reputation is semi-virtual."
James Currier
Does Real Identity Matter for Networks?
"Although these semi-pseudonymous networks are working as businesses, they’re not as successful as real-identity networks."
James Currier
Does Real Identity Matter for Networks?
"That’s true, but go one level deeper, and you realize it’s actually the amount of usage that matters."
James Currier
Does Real Identity Matter for Networks?
"One important lesson here is that engagement matters to network effects. A first level understanding of network effects is that they occur when more users = more value for existing users."
James Currier
Does Real Identity Matter for Networks?
"This is why we say “start with the white-hot center” of your network and expand out from there. A dense, highly active network will outperform a larger but less active one every time."
James Currier
Does Real Identity Matter for Networks?
"Another lesson is that in the competition between network effects companies, the companies with more powerful network effects will win. Just having network effects is no guarantee of success. It’s the strength of those network effects that matters — strength that stems from the network size, density, and engagement."
James Currier
Does Real Identity Matter for Networks?
"Three years before FB opened up outside colleges, Friendster launched a general social network with real names and grew rapidly.  However, Friendster never achieved stability, either in technology or product experience. Jonathan Abrams, the founder of Friendster, told us that they battled against “heavy criticism for focusing on real names,” and suffered from “epic mismanagement.”"
James Currier
Does Real Identity Matter for Networks?