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The 2020s promise higher technical options to mankind's biggest issues

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After Monday, let's pause for a minute to think about the technological trends emerging over the next decade. While human problems have never been greater, our tools have never been better. Here's more from Danny Crichton:

The 2010s was about realizing the dreams of mobile, cloud and basic data. These ideas had historical histories that in some cases go back decades or more (Vannevar Bush's description of the Internet, for example, dates back to the 1940s). But for the first time, we had the infrastructure and users to actually create these products and make them useful. It was probably the most extensive green field opportunity in technology history.

However, this green field is increasingly fallow. Businesses have cycles and seasonality just like media reports. The simple stuff was done. Creating an app for copywriters has already been done by dozens. There are a variety of analysis packages, payroll providers, credit card issuers, and more. This decade has to deal with the more difficult issues, such as building a better society, empowering people to do deep and creative work, and building a more resilient and sustainable planet for all.

Neither of these topics has pure point solutions – but that's going to make the next decade so damn interesting. Realizing these next improvements will require intense collaboration, multiple inventions and products, and legal and cultural changes. If you're (like me) fed up with the latest apps and SaaS products du jour, this decade is going to be an amazing one to experience and develop.

In a companion article to Extra Crunch, he examines five key areas of the future that he names: wellness, climate, data society, creativity, and fundamentals. Here is an excerpt from the Data Society part:

Data is ubiquitous, but it's amazing how much more work it can do to calculate an LTV or an ad campaign ROI. No-code tools solve some of these problems, but we need a whole revolution in our data tools. We need to be able to sketch lines of inquiry and use our tools to expand our thinking from data. What are we missing? What gaps in our thinking should we fill? What data am I missing to make a complete decision? Am I too biased towards a statistic over a more holistic representation of my situation? From personal decisions to business strategy, we need better tools to abstract the complexities of today's modern society.

We also need to think better about how we can network knowledge. Roam Research and several other tools are increasingly helping users think in terms of a knowledge graph. However, there is incredible potential if these ideas can be democratized and packaged into more user-friendly interfaces. How do we deal with the increasing depth of most areas of knowledge and enable more people to push the limits as quickly as possible?

Ultimately, we need to promote our understanding of complexity and chaos and build these theories into the basic structures of our society. How can we make governance more adaptable and resilient so that we don't see a complete collapse of our society during massive crises like COVID-19? Can we create more flexible property and property systems that can create more diverse housing, tangible or intellectual property? The strengthening of technology (“Blockchain!”, But it can be anything) in connection with legal changes could dramatically develop these core elements of our society.

Even today we're still tied to a mental model made up of paper, titles and, if you're lucky, an Excel spreadsheet. There is so much work to be done to empower each of us through data in this decade.

Data education

The building blocks of the Data Society concept are being rebuilt faster than ever this year as the pandemic has shut down traditional trade and education and forced alternative approaches. For example, someone starting a small business today basically has to use a lot of software. However, crossing this initial barrier means they can automatically track each customer's lifetime value, for example. Previous generations of small businesses simply did not have the resources or skills to do such things with the low-tech options available.

This is the generational power of No-Code, as Danny separately stated on TechCrunch:

In today's business world, just opening a spreadsheet and making occasional observations is no longer enough. Today's new hires know how to immerse themselves in systems, bring together different programs using no-code platforms, and answer problems with much broader, real-time answers.

Honestly, it's noticeable to see the difference. While just a few years ago a store manager could save his sales data in Excel (and emphasize this) and then look through it occasionally, this new generation is ready to combine several online tools to create an online storefront (via No- Code tools like Shopify or Squarespace) calculate LTV base values ​​using a no-code data platform and prioritize your best customers with marketing reach through basic email delivery services. And everything is reproducible because it is technology and code and not hand made.

There are two important points here. The first thing to note is how fluent these new employees are in these technologies and how many members of this generation seem willing to use them. They just aren't afraid to try new programs and they know that they can always use search engines to find answers to their problems.

Second, the productivity gap between basic computer skills and some advanced technical knowledge is profound. Even basic, but accurate, data analysis on a company can dramatically improve performance compared to gut instinct and expired spreadsheets.

How do we realize this future? Natasha Mascarenhas takes a closer look at the generational perspective, examining how school teachers are adapting to the pandemic – and the emerging online education world they are entering. At least some seem to be jumping into the supplementary part-time tuition. The educational experience, while not the same as the personal, clearly has its own value. Here is a company as an example:

Outschool is a platform that sells small-group classes led by instructors on a variety of topics, from Taylor Swift Spanish classes to engineering classes through Lego challenges. In the past year, teachers at the outschool totaled more than $ 40 million, up from $ 4 million the previous year.

CEO Amir Nathoo estimates that teachers can make between $ 40 and $ 60 an hour, compared to an average of $ 30 an hour in traditional public schools. The outschool itself is up over 2,000% in new bookings and recently made its first profit.

Outschool makes more money when teachers are on the platform full time: teachers pocket 70% of the price they set for classes, while Outschool gets the other 30% of the income. However, Nathoo sees the platform more as a complement to traditional education. Instead of increasing sales by convincing teachers to work full-time, the CEO grows by adding more part-time teachers to the platform.

Perhaps one day a class on online business will be a high school graduation requirement. And we will see this type of education lead to more success in the next generation of your local high street.

The problems of the coming decade may be more difficult than ever, but the solutions are there.

Isometric process management for business data analysis or intelligence dashboard with statistics on sales and operational data statistics and the concept of key performance indicators. (Isometric process management for business data analysis or intelligence dashboard

Credit: Intpro / Getty Images

Run a bottom-up SaaS growth plan

The combination of skills in consumer tech products and business revenue models fueled the explosion in SaaS success stories this decade. This week, Coatue Management's Caryn Marooney and David Cahn summarized the lessons of this model in a popular Extra Crunch article. Here is an excerpt showing how market leaders deal with key metrics and prices:

The MAP customer value framework:

Metrics: What are the most important metrics that are important to customers? Is there a threshold value associated with this metric? Metrics can include things like logs, messages, meetings, data, and storage. Examples:

Zoom Minutes: Free with 40 minutes notice for group meetings.
Slack Messages: Free up to 10,000 messages in total.
Airtable – Records: Free of charge up to 1,200 records.

Activity: How do your customers really use your product? Are you creators? Are you editors? Do different customers use your product differently? Examples:

Figma – editors versus viewer: freely visible, changes after two changes. Creator vs. Viewer: The ad is free and costs $ 30 + / month.
Smartsheet Creators Versus Viewers: Creators are free to view and pay $ 10 + / month.

People: How do your customers fit into a broader organization? Are they mostly individuals? Groups? Part of a company? Examples:

Superhuman – Individuals Only: No Free Version, $ 30 / mo.

Asana – Small team versus larger teams: Teams <15 people can use the product for free.

Atlassian – Free against team against company: The prices depend on the size of the team.

Unity Game Engine concept by Nigel Sussman

Credit: Nigel Sussman (opens in a new window)

Root keeps the IPO market warm

The stock market was out this week, but not entirely. Root Insurance was the big IPO this week and ended at $ 24 per share. This is slightly below the aggressive opening price of $ 27 per share, but is still in line with last week's price target. In other words, it's already a success for the company – and we'll see what happens when the entire market stops revolving around the elections.

"Root's Ohio IPO is a win for the Midwest," wrote Alex Wilhelm for Extra Crunch. “The company shows that it is possible to build billions of dollars worth of high-growth technology companies far from coastal centers. For the broader Insurtech space, Root's IPO is a win. The company follows Lemonade into the public markets and once again sets a strong benchmark for the neo-insurance startup market. It's a good day for similar companies like Clearcover, MetroMile, and all root and lemonade related startups. "

It still looks good for any software company with a growth story, Alex continues, and looks good for more IPOs this year. Like Airbnb.

But enough about IPOs this year – Alex also built on previous reports to examine how Databricks will go public next year, which sounds very likely at this point.

In the course of the week


Why do you have to pay attention to the Indian startup scene?

Yale may just have turned institutional investments on its head with a new edict of diversity

Cloud infrastructure revenue rose 33% this quarter to nearly $ 33 billion

We need new business models to burst old media filter bubbles

The former CEO of Facebook and Pinterest, Tim Kendall, attributes “extractive business models” to VCs

Extra crunch

Good and Bad Board Members (and What To Do About It)

The new AGM partner Terri Burns has a simple investment thesis: Gen Z.

What happens to venture capital when the venture capital recovers?

In the "buy now, pay later" wars, PayPal is geared towards dominance

Dear Sophie, are there upgrade options for E-2 visa holders who are interested in changing jobs?


From Alex:

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch's venture capital-focused podcast (now on Twitter!) Where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.

A couple of notes before we get into that. Firstly, we have a bonus episode this Saturday that focuses on this week's earnings reports. Second, we didn't record a video this week. So if you enjoy watching the show on YouTube this is not the week for it!

Right, here's what Natasha, Danny, and your humble servant did this week:

We topped it off with the latest from r2c and then made the heck of the mics. We'll see each other all Saturday and then return to the regular program on Monday morning.

Equity declines every Monday at 7:00 a.m. PDT and as fast as possible on Thursday afternoon. So subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify and all casts.

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