They’ve figured out things that in hindsight just seem so obvious to a good UX, and yet we’ve all been so trained to have low expectations from the mediocre service traditional banks/corporate card providers offer that it seems outstanding.
From limited experience - the fact that virtual cards are first-party citizens, the helpful text messages you get (which include a warning the first time you use a card physically, instant text records when you use a card physically, the ability to photograph receipts and send them back to that same text phone #, and and and.)
American Express (my only other corporate card comparison) of course _could_ offer this stuff, but it’s just not in their DNA because, well, they haven’t had to innovate because they had what amounts to a monopoly on corporate spending cards. And I should note - Amex ties the credit on those cards to the founder (requiring a personal guarantee until the company reaches a certain - large - size.)
Anyway, this is all to say I’m a fan and it doesn’t surprise me they’ve having the success they are so far. Let’s hope they can do it profitably and keep it up!
When setting it up on the web I had to type in the answer/passphrase/whatever. It was rejected. I read the form again, looked at the error msg, no indication why, typed it in again, again rejected.
I called the bank, "oh, it's got to have a digit in it". It did not say on the form a digit was needed, nor did the error message.
They could not even manage to tell the users the most trivial requirements either directly or in the error message. It's beyond pathetic. It's literally incomprehensibly incompetent to fail at such a low level.
It is strange because operationally Visa is good at what they do, and they put a huge amount of effort and expense into developing a brand, but for legacy organizations (academia too) the web seems to be made of kryptonite.
I thought I was being phished until I confirmed it was real on the phone with them.
(it may not have been that domain so don’t try in case that’s a sketchy site)
Entrusting my finances to another startup like Brex is scary, but damn is the pitch compelling compared to mainstream banks.
Shareholders, on the other side, well. Let's just say that in the 60's or even 80's issuing IPOs was not something a professional investment bank would do. It was considered an undignified exploitation of the naive investor (from "The Intelligent Investor").
It sounds like you were in a perfect position to raise a round without losing your control of the company. If you want a risky loan, you go to investors.
By 1998, Yahoo was the beneficiary of a de facto Ponzi scheme. Investors were excited about the Internet. One reason they were excited was Yahoo's revenue growth. So they invested in new Internet startups. The startups then used the money to buy ads on Yahoo to get traffic. Which caused yet more revenue growth for Yahoo, and further convinced investors the Internet was worth investing in. When I realized this one day, sitting in my cubicle, I jumped up like Archimedes in his bathtub, except instead of "Eureka!" I was shouting "Sell!"
Here's Ray Dalio explaining it (founder Bridgewater, the largest hedge fund; apparently Dalio is busy building his legacy now that he's a billionaire):
and then missing 2 more sustained years of jaw dropping prices
don't act clairvoyant.
I describe our company as being in the blue jeans business. We don’t know who will strike gold, we just want to outfit everyone with the best possible gear for running a gold mine.
Mainstream companies were not spending marketing money on the internet until much later.
The point I am getting at, is that if Amazon and similar companies had ads on Yahoo and was making money profitably from it, that is different from a startup who is burning VC money on ads on the hope of making money in the future.
I'm guessing you didn't live through the dotcom bubble. No one was making money on the Internet, not even Amazon.
Please can you provide a source for that, as it is an extraordinary claim.
eBay made a profit in 1998: https://investors.ebayinc.com/investor-news/press-release-de...
It took me 30 seconds to find this example, sure there are many more.
It is very since you didn't experience it, and seem completely oblivious to what was going on. I wouldn't argue history with someone who had actually lived it.
eBay made a profit in 1998: https://investors.ebayinc.com/investor-news/press-release-de....
Ebay was an exception. There weren't any (many?) others. Try again: maybe you want to Google "Boo.com", "Webvan", and "many more." Archive.org "fuckedcompany.com". Or read the PG article about Yahoo.
All I am asking for is some references for these extraordinary claims, otherwise I am going to assume it is "possibly true" folklore.
I enjoyed the 90's BTW.
Or learn how to use Google and pay attention to information that is handed to you.
Either you mine for gold yourself or you sell shovels to others who want to mine for gold.
> there are a lot of desperate startups getting loans to 'simulate' growth by having negative profit margins (since they can't get real growth otherwise)
You're conflating a few things, here. The Amazon strategy of reinvestment works as long as it's genuine growth and not overdone. Uber's more of an open question: they've increased demand through subsidies, the question is what will demand look like when prices reflect the true cost. Postmates is in the same situation as Uber, but much worse because they offer a service people can trivially do themselves.
> All these debts end up the hands of corporate shareholders.
Not usually. And startups don't usually use debt (except in ~2015/2016), they sell equity. VC funds tend to have more pensions and sovereign wealth.
(Fwiw, the difference between the two is super nuanced and irrelevant to most journalism about tech. They're both "tools to make software". If I were a journalist, I'd also call Rails a programming language, because that's a term much of the general public understands is "a thing people use to build software with")
(so who knows, maybe the author actually knows, but decided to write for the NYT audience and not pedants on HN)
Reading it again, I'm sure you're right, but I totally missed that. Actually the lines between language and library and framework are not so easy to pin down. Maybe the finance journalists are on to something.
> I hate that the modern idea of a “successful” company is how much money they can raise and at what evaluation.
So the value of the company? I agree that it doesn't capture value to society, but it's better than "community-adjusted EBITDA."
From glancing at their literature it seemed like their gig was lending money to companies that actually already had the money in the bank, like providing company spending cards to a startup with a few million in VC money sitting somewhere.
Is that correct or do they lend to companies with more traditional economics, like a bootstrapped company with a million or two in annual revenue but without major cash reserves or investment?
Though I guess that question answers itself, it seems logical to the predictably solipsistic VC community, who then throw money at it.
I’ve used it for my bootstrapped company, works great.
Do they offer credit lines and revolvers now too? Curious how that works out in the p2p space.
That's never actually true, it's just a nice saying. The most money is always made in owning a super structure business - in tech, a platform - that has very wide appeal, rather than concerning yourself with trying to compete to sell shovels to a temporary gold rush.
Selling shovels is an opportunistic business, only good for a short-term run. The real money is always made by focusing instead on larger, longer term opportunities that are sustainable.
Some things persistently ignored about the shovel selling business during gold rushes: most of the shovel sellers lose their hats in the bust, because they don't see it coming and they carry inventory and speculate on demand constantly. The history of gold rushes is that the shovel sellers frequently miscalculate the duration of the rushes. They get hammered when it ends, most of them go bankrupt (see: every oil boom in US history).
It's better to be Exxon or Chevron and own large reserves in the ground, not the primary company selling little pieces of gear to Exxon. It's better to be the majors in the Permian (gold rush) making money long-term off the reserves, not the little shovel sellers that constantly boom and bust with each big blip in the oil market.
It was far better to own refining and pipelines - chokepoint super structures - during the oil boom in Standard Oil's time, than to be a shovel seller to the oil industry or oil wildcatters.
It's better to be Rio Tinto, Newmont or BHP and own the mines & supply than to be selling mining equipment. BHP is a $137b company, Rio Tinto is a $91b company. The shovel sellers are comically tiny by comparison, borderline irrelevant in size versus these juggernauts.
For the last century it has been better to be De Beers than to be selling diamond industry equipment.
During the car boom in Henry Ford's time, it was better to be one of the surviving majors than to be a shovel seller. This fundamental is always true.
During the mobile gold rush it's better to be Apple and Google than ARM, Foxconn or Qualcomm (Samsung for their part covers all the bases). The super structures - Apple & Google platforms in this case - usually by far make the most money, the shovel sellers are typically much smaller and less profitable.
In a gold rush, the objective isn't to make a ton of money. It's too keep enough of it after the bust so that you don't need to sell mine or sell shovels. I.e. to survive.
In an ordinary economic atmosphere, one can choose many different ways to get ahead. In a gold rush, everything revolves around this one activity. Either you're actually doing the activity, that is, mining the gold, or you're facilitating others doing the activity, i.e. selling shovels.
What started this discussion was a third category of gold rush activity, that of owning the underlying platform / land. This was accused to be survivor's bias. I'm saying that unless you can come up with a fourth category of even more successful economic activity that's still relevant to the discussion, survivor's bias doesn't apply, and we can accept the model of causation as stated on the tin.
There will not be another IBM coming out of San Francisco culture.
I only skimmed the article so I couldn't tell if it was loathsome or self-paraody of what is going on in SF right now. But I hope they and readers realize it is simply ouroboros.
Some part of these diamonds go to India for processing which has minted many millionaires and atleast one billionaire I know : https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gautam_Adani
If you own the reserve, everything is fine as long as your reserve is not empty or has still value to some people.
If you are an hardware supplier, there can be a way to repurpose parts of the hardware to customers from other domains. Building oil extractors but oil is not selling anymore ? Repurpose and sell water extractors.
I also do not have sources nor evidences.
if you like brevity