TLDR Founders 2024-05-13

How Eight Sleep Builds Hardware 🏗️, Apple x OpenAI 🔍, SAFE or Priced Round? ⚖️

Headlines & Trends

Lessons on Building Hardware from Eight Sleep (2 minute read)

Eight Sleep, a company from YC's Summer 2015 class, developed the Pod, an intelligent mattress cover that adjusts temperature for optimal sleep, which has become highly popular. In this article, the founders share key insights for hardware startups, emphasizing the importance of solving unit economics early, maintaining high development velocity, creating a unique product feature that is hard to replicate, aligning hardware and software teams, and integrating robust customer support into the product experience.

Software Weakness Across the Board (5 minute read)

The recent Q1 earnings season for software companies has been challenging, with many companies experiencing weaker demand, increased scrutiny of budgets, and slower deal progression. Despite some mixed signals from consumer spending, the overall outlook for the software industry remains uncertain, with only a few companies tied to AI tailwinds seeing positive growth.

Apple x OpenAI (1 minute read)

Apple is close to reaching a deal with OpenAI to integrate ChatGPT technology into the upcoming iOS 18 operating system for iPhones. The company is also in ongoing discussions with Google about potentially licensing its Gemini chatbot as part of a broader effort to introduce new AI features across Apple's products and services.
Strategies & Tactics

Growth at Dropbox (7 minute read)

The Growth team at Dropbox concentrates on four core metrics: acquisition, activation, monetization, and engagement. The team is divided into two functions - Growth Product Management and Data. The former focuses exclusively on distribution, while the latter analyzes data. Dropbox is highly deliberate in developing a growth culture and hiring people to join the team. It encourages learning from mistakes and prioritizes continuous innovation, with a particular emphasis on improving product-led growth.

SAFE or Priced Round? That is the Question (4 minute read)

Convertible notes and SAFEs have become increasingly popular in recent years due to their simplicity, speed, and lower transaction costs. With a single document and standardized terms, these instruments allow founders to raise money quickly without the need for complex negotiations or extensive legal work. However, this simplicity comes with some notable drawbacks, including uncertain dilution, lack of price discovery, and the potential for misaligned incentives between founders and investors.

A Simple Tool to Beat Burnout and Boost Fulfillment (3 minute read)

This author shares a personal story of burnout and introduces the "Energy Audit" tool, which involves categorizing daily activities as energy-giving, energy-draining, or neutral. One can aim to end each day with a positive energy balance and combat burnout by identifying trends, reducing energy-draining activities, increasing energy-giving ones, and strategically scheduling them.
Tools & Resources

PictoGraphic (Tool)

AI-generated illustration library.

43North Accelerator Program (Accelerator)

Five companies will receive a $1 million investment in exchange for 5% equity.

AI Automation Market Map (Chart)

An ecosystem map of AI automation vendors.

Should I Meet Prospects and Customers Face-to-Face? (2 minute read)

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly altered the SaaS landscape, with remote work and Zoom meetings becoming the norm for closing deals and engaging with customers. However, in-person meetings with top customers and prospects remain crucial for fostering stronger relationships, increasing win rates, and driving customer success, even if the timing of these face-to-face interactions has shifted to later stages in the sales funnel.

How Becoming a Parent Has Made Me a Better Leader (3 minute read)

Having a life outside of work, such as being a parent, can actually enhance one's leadership skills by fostering efficiency, risk-taking, and emotional accessibility. This perspective challenges the common narrative that having personal commitments outside of work leads to failure, instead highlighting the benefits of balancing multiple responsibilities.

The Struggle of Late Customer Payments (3 minute read)

Late customer payments are causing significant cash flow issues for businesses, prompting the need for a more efficient collections process. Strategies such as running AR aging reports, documenting and optimizing collections workflows, and incorporating payment terms into sales compensation plans are recommended to improve the timeliness of customer payments and overall financial health of the company.
Quick Links

The Danger of "What's Next?” (2 minute read)

The relentless pursuit of more and better can lead to a never-ending cycle of dissatisfaction, causing individuals to overlook and underappreciate the present moment and the accomplishments they've already achieved.

What Scales, What Doesn't, and Why This Kills You (2 minute read)

Focusing on creating products and experiences tailored to individual customers, rather than abstract market segments, is crucial for success.

Ambition vs. Contentment (1 minute read)

The story of Icarus also cautions against flying too low, emphasizing the need for a balanced approach between ambition and contentment, highlighting the dangers of both extremes.
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