FoundersGrid Market Update

From product to platform, these are the keys to success that made Amazon an online powerhouse
Amazon is now one of the largest companies in the world, but it didn’t start out that way. In this deep-dive, angel investor Matt Ward takes a look at the key ingredients that made Amazon successful from the start, and why its founder took an infrastructure and platform-first approach to building the business from the ground up.

Silicon Valley VCs are preparing for a major wave of new IPOs in 2018
After several years that saw most startups stay private in hopes of landing more funding and increasing their valuations, the trend looks set to reverse this year as key players like Dropbox and Spotify are now opting to go public. As the number of exits increases, it seems likely that the talent outflows from these firms will increase as well – and that more new startups will likely be born as a result.

Take a look inside Gmail’s brand new redesign
After several years of pretty much the same interface, every founder’s favorite tool is about to get a major facelift. The new Gmail interface will integrate design elements from the rest of the Google Suite, while adding some powerful features like smart replies and support for third-party plugins via its SDK.

Looking to increase your tech salary even more? You might want to become an AI developer
As artificial intelligence continues to grow in importance for corporations around the world, the demand for qualified AI researchers continues to increase. With that demand, comes some of the highest salaries in tech. Some AI researchers are reportedly making more than $1.5m per year – even when working for a nonprofit.

OLPC’s $100 laptop was supposed to transform the world of education. What happened?
The mid-2000s saw the advent of OLPC’s $100 laptop, hailed by many as a solution poised to change education in developing countries forever. But soon after launch, the firm ran into some serious problems, and it’s never been the same since. The OLPC is a cautionary tale for hardware and software founders alike, and the lessons to be learned here can be applied to nearly any venture.

Marissa Mayer talks about the challenges she faced while running Yahoo, and what’s next
In a wide-ranging interview with The New York Times, former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer discusses how she helped maintain a healthy culture at Google in its early days, and how she would’ve tried to reinvigorate Yahoo if given a second opportunity. After leaving Yahoo, Mayer has since founded Lumi Labs, a consumer startup that’s still in stealth mode.

Here’s why the conventional wisdom about growing your startup isn’t so wise
Many organizations tout their reasons for success as running a lean organization or aggressively scaling their platform. But founders should beware that such advice isn’t always a “one size fits all” solution, and would be wise to put such declarations in the proper context of their business before entirely shifting their strategy.

Machine learning is already being lauded by researchers for its amazing ability to predict chaos
Researchers at the University of Maryland have found that machine learning can be used to predict the developments of incredibly chaotic systems. The significant breakthrough has the potential to transform the way machine learning is used to develop consumer software products in the future, and will likely end up touching other industries (such as healthcare) as well.

Meet the battery guru who’s taking Uber to the skies
Uber’s new head of energy storage is Celina Mikolajczak, a former Tesla executive that is now focused on helping the ride-sharing service develop the technology necessary to launch its next-generation flying cars. In her previous role at Tesla, Mikolajczak was responsible for increasing the cars’ range to 300 miles, and she’s now looking to do something similar for the world of flying cars.

Inside this pigment researcher’s quest for the next billion-dollar color
Color is perhaps one of the most underrated and overlooked elements of any business. That said, it’s critical to branding, and pigment researcher Mas Subramanian is well aware of this as he’s currently trying to develop a new shade of red. Unknown by many, the world of pigments is big business, and the creation of just one widely-used pigment can result in a massive financial windfall for its creators.


  • Check out this set of free marketing tools to help you drive massive growth this year. Link
  • Y Combinator is opening up a research lab for biotech companies in Berkeley. Link
  • Hackers stole a casino’s entire customer list through a fish tank thermometer. Link
  • Stripe announces Home, its new internal workplace collaboration tool. Link
  • Alibaba is set to invest $320m to transform Thailand’s digital economy. Link
  • Apple has just open-sourced FoundationDB, a powerful tool for distributed databases. Link
  • Now anyone can build apps for Alexa, with Alexa Blueprints. Link
  • BenevolentAI has raised $115m in fresh funding at a $2b valuation. Link
  • Robinhood is hiring a Product Manager in Palo Alto, CA. Link
  • Join WSJ’s Future of Everything Festival, taking place May 8-10 in NYC. Link


Edited by Chris Osborne in Bangkok. Want to sponsor an edition of FoundersGrid? More info here. Interested in crypto/bitcoin news? Consider subscribing to CryptoWeekly.

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