goodthinking! blog

Making board meetings work for you

Many startup founders don’t really have to sweat board of directors meetings all that much; typically, at the earliest stages, the founders are the only people on the company’s board. If the board meets at all, it’s a “family affair” or otherwise, official actions are handled by written consents outside of meetings. However, once you have outsiders on the board – and especially, outside institutional investors like VCs – there is more pressure to perform.

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Categorised as: Startup Stuff

Websites as places of public accommodation

Clients frequently ask goodcounsel to draft online Terms of Use and Privacy Policies. What they often fail to consider is whether the Americans with Disabilities Act applies to their websites and mobile apps. Yes, you read that correctly: the Americans with Disabilities Act. Whether the ADA applies depends on the state(s) the company operates in, the kind of goods or services the company offers, and how and to whom the company provides such goods or services.

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Categorised as: ADA Compliance, Legal Issues

Can WeWork survive? Should it?

It’s striking to me how the media hypes certain companies to ridiculous heights with fawning, uncritical coverage, only to join in the feeding frenzy of negativity when the same companies inevitably encounter problems. In that respect, I suppose, the media plays a central role in the tech-era bubbles that we’ve lived through over the past two decades.

What else could be prompting this observation right now than the story of WeWork? This story hits home for us at goodcounsel, literally, since we work at WeWork.

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Categorised as: Company culture, Current events, Entrepreneurship

VC-style financing is not the only way

In my last post, I enthusiastically recommended Tim O’Reilly’s piece in Quartz, critiquing the prevailing winner-take-all ethos of Silicon Valley investing.

In this post, I want to recommend a piece animated by a similar spirit: an interview with Bryce Roberts, founder of (and one of O’Reilly’s partners in the O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures fund) on the Recode Media podcast.

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Categorised as: Fundraising, Seed Financing

Tech veteran Tim O’Reilly criticizes “blitzscaling”

I wanted to share a link to this fantastic article written by veteran technology entrepreneur and thinker Tim O’Reilly on Quartz called “Blitzscaling: The fundamental problem with Silicon Valley’s favorite growth strategy.”

The piece insightfully reviews and critiques LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman’s new book of the same name. More than that, it takes the reader on a fascinating journey through the history of technology entrepreneurship and investing, going back to Microsoft in the 1980s. O’Reilly convincingly argues that the winner-take-all approach to technology investing is neither the only model nor necessarily a sustainable one, from the perspective both of a particular business and of our society as a whole.

Whether you are an entrepreneur, an investor, or simply a citizen who is interested in understanding the growth of technology companies that profoundly shape our world, I advise you to spend some time reading and thinking about this article.

In my next post, I will describe the alternative to blitzscaling that O’Reilly lays out – “sustainable scaling” – and explore the alternative forms of financing that sustainable models require.

Update 11/19/19: Wired magazine columnist criticizes Softbank’s chief Masayoshi Son as “blitzscaling’s enabler-in-chief” in light of the WeWork collapse.

Categorised as: Entrepreneurship, Startup Stuff

The high costs of “free” Services

I have written recently about my increasing concerns about the practices of the internet monopolies – Google (including its YouTube service) and Facebook especially – as I have done more reading of works by prominent critics such as Roger McNamee and Tristan Harris, and seen the real-world effects of these platforms, which are terrifying across so many dimensions.

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Categorised as: Internet monopolists, News and Views

The risks of complexity in 737s – and contracts

I’ve been keeping up on the Boeing 737 MAX 8 story/debacle, which has many fascinating aspects to it, among them: how a storied company like Boeing, whose brand is entirely dependent on the perception of safety, could sacrifice safety for short-term gain, and what happens when regulators can no longer keep up with the companies they regulate, and must therefore rely on the companies to regulate themselves.

Diminishing returns of complexity

A recent article in the IEEE’s Spectrum magazine explored Boeing’s errors in judgment and software design that led to the tragic loss of 348 lives. One point from the article struck me as directly applicable to legal drafting (which is not surprising, given the oft-discussed parallels between contracts and computer code):

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Categorised as: Lawyering, Legal Drafting

Time to reign in the Internet-era robber barons

I have recently been listening to the tech investor Roger McNamee (most recently of Elevation Partners) on radio interviews and podcasts publicizing his new book, “Zucked,” in which he chronicles the evolution of Facebook, and which he argues, along with Internet and mobile giants Google and Instagram, threaten the integrity of our democracy and are tearing the fabric of our society.

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Categorised as: News and Views, soapbox

Be one of the first to own a NUNI Tortilla Toaster

goodcounsel client Nuni Toaster has announced that its flagship product, the NUNI tortilla toaster, is now available on Amazon. Through May 5, you can get one for $59.

Any readers who do “taco nights” with their families, or simply love tacos, know that conventional means are not up to the task of heating multiple tortillas quickly and evenly. The NUNI is here to solve your problems.

To see the rave customer reviews and learn more about Nuni Toaster, visit their website.

Categorised as: Client news