What We Talk About When We Talk About Startups.
If you are anything like our team here at Visible, you bookend your days at the office with StrictlyVC and the Mattermark Daily. Over time, both have proven to be extremely useful sources of startup content – StrictlyVC opens things up with the day’s funding news (and great interviews) and Mattermark closes things out with thoughtful pieces from investors and operators for the ride home.
Mattermark’s founder, Danielle Morrill launched the newsletter almost 2 years ago aiming “to provide a weekly rundown of interesting events, data, and insights from the startup world”. It has since turned into a daily publication that has featured over 1500 different articles from founders and investors sharing tips and insight on everything from designing products to dealing with the difficulties of running early stage companies (“Depression”, for example was featured in 7 article headlines).
We utilized Import.io to comb through the Mattermark Daily archives and analyze the headlines of all of the articles from over 190 editions of the Daily. Not surprisingly, words like ‘Startup’ and ‘VC’ were among the most common while the remaining words on the list paint an interesting web of all the things people in the startup ecosystem (some would say echo-chamber) think about and discuss on a daily basis.
Building a company is uncharted territory for first-time founders, people early in their careers and those entering new markets or exploring new business models. Luckily for advice seekers, especially those hoping to understand and grow SaaS or Mobile businesses, there was plenty of great content to choose from.
How can we raise, spend and eventually make money? How come you keep asking me for money…and why aren’t you a unicorn yet? These are some of the things that founders and investors, respectively, focused on as hundreds of posts throughout the Mattermark archives feature thoughts on raising funding, exit opportunities and everything that happens in between.
If there is one thing we learned with this exercise, it is that VCs have a bit of a tendency to talk about themselves. Some of it is navel gazing, sure, but most provide an interesting peek behind the VC curtain or words of advice for founders looking to raise money, make key hires or scale their businesses.
It is no surprise, with the ubiquity of YCombinator and the continually growing relevance of A16Z, that Paul Graham and Marc Andreesen share the top spot for most mentioned individuals. Add that to the list of examples showing how much weight people in the technology industry place on the opinions of top investors.
Women in technology, one of the most important issues facing the industry, featured heavily in Mattermark’s archive with a primary focus on profiles and interviews of women in technology leadership positions working to inspire the next generation of female CEOs, investors, hackers and painters.
People loved writing and reading about the companies that make up the technology world, either as examples to follow or in response to various controversies or product launches. The posts from the last couple years heavily feature companies leading the growth of the early stage ecosystem (Y Combinator, Angellist, A16Z), ones embroiled in controversy on their way to massive growth (Uber & Snapchat) and one-time darlings that have since fallen on harder, or at least less rocketshippy times (Square & Foursquare).
Want to get into the Mattermark Daily? Your best bet is to go with a ‘How to” headline. The other apparent way in is by being Tren Griffin, whose posts on lessons learned from leaders in Technology (Sheryl Sandberg & Jeff Bezos) and Finance (Warren Buffett & Ray Dalio) offer instructive frameworks for how to make decisions and build better companies which at the end of the day is what most people in the startup universe care about.