Ben Horowitz, famed entrepreneur and venture capitalist, once quipped that as a startup CEO he “slept like a baby [because he] woke up every two hours and cried.” As many others at the head of early-stage businesses can attest, Ben isn’t overreaching all that far in his comparison. While many factors play into the often-disrupted sleep patterns of entrepreneurs, perhaps the most jarring is the fact that the vast majority of early-stage companies are destined to flop. Statistically speaking, nine out of ten startups will fail.
Invincible. Infallible. Unshakeable. When the tech heavyweights stepped up to fight nearly ten years ago, they were substantially leaner in almost every measurable category. Market caps were deflated following a bloody bear bath; earnings were paltry and, in many cases, non-existent; and influence on Main Street, Wall Street and Capitol Hill were meaningful but not, by any means, overwhelming.
The unicorn, a mythological creature first depicted in the Bronze Age, has taken many forms in many cultures over many centuries. One of the earliest descriptions of the majestic, single-horned beast came in 400 BC by the Greek historian Ctesias. He described the animal as having a white head, purple body, blue eyes, and a cubit-long colored horn.
Evolutions in telecom are like clockwork: once a decade something extremely important happens. In the 1980s, the first nationwide mobile network operators (MNOs) appeared (think AT&T and the predecessors to Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile). In the 1990s, GSM (Global System for Mobile communications) rolled out as a standard that became like the Bible for the industry. At the turn of the century, 3G was the new rage and, about ten years after that, 4G/LTE opened the floodgates for transmitting large quantities of data.
Back in early September, we ran a fascinating interview with Rick Davidson, former CEO and President of Century 21. In the exchange, Rick hinted at the beginnings of a real estate slowdown in the US, anticipating coastal markets would see the tide shifting first, before a more broad-based tightening took hold. Since then, ominous headlines have made waves in national publications, echoing and expanding on this outlook (you can find a particularly popular one in The Wall Street Journal).