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Big Revolution - Ignoring the venture adventure

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Welcome to Monday’s Big Revolution, brought to you from a train somewhere between Manchester and Lond
 
January 14 · Issue #317 · View online
Big Revolution
Welcome to Monday’s Big Revolution, brought to you from a train somewhere between Manchester and London. Longtime readers may remember this sometimes results in weird multiple image glitches and the like. Today I’m being super-diligent so fingers crossed everything looks good.
Martin

Big things you need to know today
  • Alibaba has launched an initiative to help enterprises of all sizes digitise their operations. ‘A100’ will help shift the Chinese ecommerce giant towards a future where it becomes a major B2B technology provider.
The big thought
Credit: Thought Catalog on Unsplash
Choosing to ignore the venture adventure
A New York Times article about startups rejecting venture capital investment got a lot of shares over the weekend (in fact, it was in our Saturday edition!) but what amused me about it was how it seemed more in tune with the media perception of the tech industry than the real thing.
According to the prevalent tech media narrative, entrepreneurs all chase VC cash so they can scale as rapidly as possible. And they all want enormous exits, having grown their businesses as large as possible.
That’s a useful narrative if you’re a VC but not the truth beyond a certain slice of the industry. That slice may be prevalent in places like Silicon Valley but to ignore the wider tech sector beyond those small geographic areas is to misrepresent tech entirely.
I live in Manchester in the North of England. Manchester was ignored by many VCs for years - and that helped foment a certain negative attitude towards venture capitalists. It didn’t help that some of the VCs that were active in the area were overly greedy and unsupportive of the companies they backed. Entrepreneurs were forced to bootstrap their businesses with their own cash instead.
Now VCs pay more attention to the region, but it feels like there’s a healthier mix of venture-backed and bootstrapped businesses here than there may have been otherwise. It feels like we largely skipped VC mania.
So it’s funny to see rejection of venture capital presented as a novelty. The beauty of business is you can go as big or small as you like. VC is a tool to help you go stratospheric, but not everyone wants to do that.
And if anyone looks down their nose at your for running a ‘lifestyle business,’ it’s probably them who has the problem, not you.
One big read
Don’t believe the hype: the media are unwittingly selling us an AI fantasy
After my piece in this newsletter about false narratives and tech, here’s a similar perspective backed up by research.
One big tweet
Brevity is good.
👨🏻‍💻☕️
Most books should be magazine articles

Most articles should be blog posts

Most blog posts should be tweets

And most tweets ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
5:48 PM - 13 Jan 2019
That’s all for today...
Back tomorrow. Catch you in your inbox then. In the meantime, don’t forget to share this newsletter with a colleague and encourage them to subscribe. Much appreciated!
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