When I was working for the credit industry, and that was only for 2 months, again I picked up a lot of the terms, asked questions about how the debt buying companies works, how were the banks using the information we gave them, how the debt relief system in the uk works, looked up our clients to find out what they do, ask the customer support team what they do, etc.
Now I'm working making tools for the restaurant business, etc., etc.
One of the things I've noticed is that most other programmers don't. Because they don't talk to the sales people. They don't talk to customers. They don't talk to the consultants. They don't ask questions about why they're implementing something. They don't ask how their product is used.
You have to ask yourself, if you're not picking up problems in the domain you're presently working on, why would you if you'd worked anywhere else?
A lot of people loathe talking to Sales & Marketing but I always try to have a good understanding of their areas. If you build the right relationship it also gives you great trust and authority when cross-department decisions are made since you can (reasonably) speak to both sides.
I think the problem is we are too accepting. We should put our foot down and say no. No to two clipboards on the same system. No to Eudora or whatever running in the background even though you haven't set up an email account with it. No to apps having ability to access the Internet or run at boot or run in background by default.
The problem is if I try to implement this, my best hope is to fracture everything further and realistically I will fail and have no users.
Don't go to your local "I want to build a startup!" meetup as those are almost always useless. 99% of the people there have an idea and "just need someone to build it!"
Instead, check out events, meetups, conferences, trainings outside your core field. I went to a few game developer events and then music+tech meetups and learned a bunch but the most valuable were construction technology. Project management is project management. Accounting is accounting. The industry/situation changes some of the specifics but it's many of the same principles and concepts.
The vast majority are free, you just have to show up.
My skills are a product of the needs of my environment.
Try getting a job that way though - you're looked at as if you're too much of a risk.
I've never seen a startup valued at this large percentage of market size
please correct me if I'm wrong
Instead value of a company is the perpetual value of the cash flows to the buyer. The problem is for startups we have very little idea what their cash flows will be in the future. Their revenues could be anywhere, we have no idea what their costs will be (how many sales people do you need, how much R&D, etc.), etc. So because of that valuation becomes a very imprecise art.
Outside of the cash flow approach, another approach for valuing a company is to consider future buyers. Suppose you have a magic bean that returns 50 cents each year in perpetuity. However, the magic bean is called MagicBeanAI and since AI is hot you know you can sell that bean for $50 to someone else. In this case you would be willing to buy it for <$50 regardless of MagicBeanAI's cash flows. This is what happens when markets start to behave irrationally. Eventually people realize they don't have any more suckers to sell to and their MagicBeanAIs value goes to almost nothing. This is essentially a market crashl; google "tulip mania" for more examples.
from the article: Petersen told Forbes he expects revenue of $500 million this year, yet that still makes Flexport an underdog. “There are 25 freight forwarders that each do more than $1 billion in revenue a year,” he said.
As an aside, I have pondered the viability of an escrow service aimed specifically at people who want to wager about topics like these.
I see this at verious forums, someone says Company A will be bankrupt in a year and another one says that won't happen. One of them frequently pipes up to say, "I'll bet you $100 that I'm right!"
Yet, nobody ever takes the chance to capitalize on those potential bets.
Basically, they would set their terms, agree on those terms, upload those terms in a verifiable way as the terms they agreed to, pay their money, and then wait for the time period to end.
At that point, someone at the escrow company will review the wager and the evidence and decide who gets the payout, less the fees associated with it. Not all bets are easy to judge, so writing accurate terms would be important. The service will supply, if needed, impartial judging of the merits. I suppose the company would also need to have the ability to refuse to accept certain bets, perhaps insisting that they make the goals clearly articulated and demonstrable success or failures would be important.
They might even enable it for multiple parties. Each bet would require a deposit of the entire amount due. I suppose people could even go so far as to set odds, if they wanted.
I'm pretty sure this should be a thing.
I had no idea their founder also was involved in Import Genius, but that makes total sense.
> But as the mainstream embraces startup culture and aspiring founders flood Silicon Valley, there seems to be no shortage of people willing to chase things that seem like a bad idea.
... how does this company possibly seem like a bad idea?
I mean, if you find writing websites in $web_framework_of_the_month more exciting (or "sexy", whatever that's supposed to mean, I don't need to know about your tech fetishes) than delivering business value, that seems like your sense of excitement is off, not that they're doing something unexpected.
Just read the comments over here if the topic interests you.
The problem is Container ships leave on weekends. If you don't get your shipment to the dock by early Friday it isn't going. You have to wait until next week for it to leave.
On another note he did found import genius which presented everyone's customs / shipping information for anyone else to see in a nice format. I would bet he leveraged the data to figure out how to approach the logistics industry. It gave him an advantage over his competitors that were old school. Probably mined the customs database he fed into Import Genius. It has all shipping records for almost every country in the world.
Glad to see someone shaking up the industry. Smart guy...
30% of unicorns are founded by an MBA and 80% of unicorns have an mba on their exec team:
In SV they are derided and part of it, IMO, it's because all the investors want a brilliant guy with no sense of organizing. Investors will provide that, for an extra xx% :)
This is straight out of Silicon Valley (the show)... why wouldn't you take the best valuation for your company?
Sometimes it gets it so close I kind of cringe because I've been through similar things in real life.
The tabs vs spaces argument comes to mind.
Edit: to stay on topic. As other people said, I would take a lower valuation in a heartbeat if it gives away less equity and it is enough money to get me to another round (or exit) at a higher valuation owning more of the company.
Not refuting your point in the least, but that plot line made me cringe for an entirely different reason--it characterized people who use spaces as though they actually pressed the spacebar once for each space instead of letting the editor handle the work.
That said, I think it was a good decision since the majority of the audience (based on my super scientific study where I asked my wife and friend if they knew what was weird about that scene) has no idea how text editors work and it did help to drive home the point.
Python v3.4.0 had a feature regression which hijacked TAB for autocomplete and prevented using TAB for indentation in the basic REPL. To my amazement, there was actually discussion on whether converting a TAB to 4 spaces was a worthwhile feature.
Happily, the TAB was recovered.
Either way, this is super impressive from Ryan and the rest of the Flexport team. Kudos.
IE, if the company does a down round, certain investors are privileged and get their money back first, without taking any of the loss.
Imagine if you own half of a billion dollar company, and an investor owns the other half, but has full guarantees on their 500 million dollars that they invested in your company.
That means that if the company's valuation goes down to 500 million and you sell, the investor loses 0$ and gets their full investment back, whereas you are left with nothing.
Investment valuations are strongly related to the amount raised. Don't think of it as "this is how much we think your company is worth" but more as "we want to invest in you and we're going to set a valuation based on the amount of capital we want to invest and the ownership we want to take".
People are starting to get into the whole, we aren't sexy but we are solving meaningful problems thing lately.
What's Flexport's advantage in that case ?
But for now, just to put things in perspective, Amazon only a year ago started up a cargo plane operation with ~20 planes. Depending on the kind of plane, that's around 1000-1500 cubic meters, 400-500 metric tons for their whole fleet of cargo planes.
For comparison, a single cargo ship (not even the biggest ones) caries >50,000 cubic meters and >150,000 tons. So we're talking orders and orders of magnitude difference when you account for a whole fleet.
I'd wait to see whether or not amazon expands their air freight more after using it to capacity before guessing that they'd get into the container industry.
But again, outsider perspective, so I could be way off, would welcome some info from someone more knowledgeable.
By the time Amazon becomes a large percentage of global trade, Alibaba will already be in double digits.
And remember who has more shipping data to run algos on. In addition, Alibaba already owns an own 3PL operation, and an "Order a container shipment in 1 minute" from 1688
Where ships have an advantage is in mass, not volume.
Though I would argue ships have advantage in both mass and volume, but are significantly lacking in latency.
Just like a restaurant that is always full makes more money if their clients eat quickly and leave, freeing up space for more customers to do the same.
From my own supply chain experience, by volume air freight is only slightly more expensive than sea, but by mass the difference is an order of magnitude.
We're one of them -- and looking for more like-minded people to join us. If you're interested, hit me up at the email in my profile.
I've loved working in the logistics space, because there are so many resources already available. It's a matter of pulling them together into a package of convenience and quality, which is a fun prospect.
Still, lots of complex problems and unique constraints in the space that make for a challenging and ultimately rewarding domain to develop software for.
We will take aptitude over experience. In particular, a commitment to master the craft. Mastery has many parts to it: understanding the domain area with its parts and participants, understanding what our company can and should offer to the ecosystem, seeking out the best way you can contribute to that offering (and to the customers), studying the elemental parts that factor into decisions to be made. We don't expect you to come in like that, we do expect that you will commit to getting there.
This job I would say is 80% coding and 20% "research". So coding is a major part, but I can take the skill growth velocity over the skill itself.
For example, one way to understand the domain is to take "Supply Chain Management" course from MIT . I am taking it now (first assignment dropped two days ago), not sure yet if it's any good though.
Our stack is React & Rails, though we don't require any specific experience. All you need is an ability to chew through difficult software problems and an interest in having real-world impact with your code. Contact me via my profile if you're interested, or apply directly at the link below.
One of many gazillions companies doing the same.
If you ask who can be sold for a lot of moneys, it will be them: all 'seals of approval'(Thiel, YC, big banks waiting in line to underwrite for them), buzzwords, star team, and so much money and resources that they can't possibly screw up operationally
If you ask who will be dominating the market in 3 year term, it WILL be Alibaba's satellite companies, because they already are the biggest on the market, and will only have more opportunities coming as Alibaba will try to plug them as an add-ons to more services.
Another worthy thing to mention is that 'one click shipping' is one thing, and 'Wholly APIsed third party logistics, warehousing, packing, packaging, and inventory management' is another, completely qualitatively different and much higher added value.
The importance of that 'Wholly APIsed 3PL, inventory, and SCM' is that you can basically decouple nearly all physical processes from an average online store (and there are a lot of those online stores as you can guess)
Nor Alibaba, nor SV startups ever touched that 'APIsed 3PL/SCM' thing, and the current leaders on this front come from Singapore and, if my memory does not betray me, India.
Btw who is this Singaporean"APIsed 3pl/scm" leader ?
Although in a sense , what the big deal, if flexe(very scalable warehousing and fulfillment provider) has an API, flexport can just easily integrate it.
P.S. At least I assume the "ouch" was about it being a misspelling. Maybe I'm wrong.
Is it really the same word? holistic comes from Greek ὅλος, whereas whole is a word of Germanic origin.
Of course that doesn't mean they aren't from the same Indo-European root — after all, whole certainly has cognates in many languages with the same meaning, such as Russian целый. But Wiktionary tells me that whole is from Proto-Indo-European ٭kóylos, whereas holistic is from PIE
In any case, the initial w in whole is an innovation in Early Modern English without etymological justification, so a more logical choice to emphasize the similarity would be to revert to the spelling hole.
If someone tasked me to come up with a replacement word, I might suggest "integralist". As in "holistic approach" -> "integralist approach", etc.
Product + Design: https://www.flexport.com/careers/department/design
You can learn more about what's involved on our engineering blog at https://flexport.engineering.