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I feel quite vindicated today.

I may sound crazy but when we were investing in the company, I spent our first few interactions with the SimSim founders trying to convince them to watch porn.
Like a ton of it. Purely for academic purposes obviously.

You see, they're building a highly engaging format for video-based e-commerce. And if you're experimenting on UX for video, the most rampant innovation came from the adult entertainment sector.

I could go on and on about this, but I strongly encourage you to divert your attention to this gem instead:
How porn sites were the precursor to the UX of modern ecommerce platforms

BTW SimSim has been doing a terrific job. No word on whether they took my advice, but they're working a lot of late nights…🤫

Here's a LOVELY story on them and Meesho, another portfolio company –
India's women lead an e-commerce revolution: A new breed of startups battle for the country's next 100 million consumers


Culture Vulture

A portfolio founder recently explained the sustained effort it takes to create a culture for a high-growth startup.

Culture becomes the defining strand on how every little thing is done at a company. As Ben Horowitz explains here, it's dealing with these kinds of issues:
  • Should we discuss the color of this new product for five minutes or 30 hours?
  • Is the quality of this document good enough or should I keep working on it?
  • Do I have to be on time for that meeting?
  • Should I point out what my peers do wrong or what they do right?
  • Should I go home at 5 p.m. or 8 p.m.?
And setting a culture is especially difficult in India.

Typically, there's a tendency to revert to a deference to seniority. Sometimes, it's to revert to a more Hobbesian state of nature.

That's not to say strong hierarchy-driven corporate structures are bad. In industries where mistakes are costly (e.g. manufacturing, exports), structures where orders should not be questioned or creativity is discouraged can actually be highly functional.

But tech startups require at least some decentralisation of key decision-making.

This founder argued that Bangalore "works" because it brings in engineers from all over the country – outsiders by definition have to accommodate diverse opinions. And that isn't to say it's easy. Culture creation still demands a ton of deliberate work.

Consider the leading tech companies in the NCR, Bombay, and Bangalore. Without naming names, there looks to me a clear trend for where culture reverts to an unstructured mean, while decision-making concentrates up top.

On that note, the practical takeaways from this article really resonated: High Love, High Structure

Truck tug of war

Earlier this week, I was amused to find a story going viral challenging Elon Musk to a tug-of-war of trucks…
Musk Accepts Ford Challenge to Apples-to-Apples Truck Tug of War

Most people in the Good family recognize Sunny from this article – he's been a close advisor to us and our companies. Without him, Rohan and I wouldn't be doing what we're doing today. #TeamFord

Sidenote: he features in a recent story that Fortune magazine put up about us –
The millennial investors

Fun fact: Rohan was travelling during his birthday this year. So I organised a birthday party for him which included all his friends and a cardboard cutout of him. Somehow, I convinced the photographer to include that in the photoshoot for this story. 😛

One more thing

This is really good.

Lock yourself in a quiet room for 15 minutes and read it: Common Plots of Economic History.
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