Unpacking BuzzFeed’s SPAC, curb your meeting enthusiasm, more – TechCrunch

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Story by: Walter Thompson TechCrunch » Startup

Meetings should have a clear purpose, but instead they have become a way of measuring status and strengthening what is colloquially known as the CYA culture.

There is a grain of truth in every joke, so if someone jokes, “This meeting could have been an email!” You can bet that a small part of you meant it sincerely.

Few people know how to conduct meetings effectively and keep conversations on track. To make matters worse, the participants often do not bother to prepare, which makes a boring session even less productive.

And then there is the complication of workplace politics: How sure do you feel about declining an invitation from a colleague – or a manager?

"Every time a recurring meeting is added to a calendar, a kitten dies," said Chuck Phillips, co-founder of MeetWell. "Very few employees reject meetings, even if it is obvious that the meeting is going to be a sucker."

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Save 20% on a one- or two-year subscription with the discount code ECFriday .

Changing the meeting culture is difficult, but with 26% of workers planning to find a new job after the end of the pandemic, startups must do everything possible to retain talent.

This post is aimed at managers and offers several verifiable strategies to help you increase productivity and say goodbye to poorly managed, lazily planned meetings.

"Turning down a bad meeting should never be a taboo, and you should repeat your trust in the team and challenge them to spend their and others' time with more intent," says Phillips. "Help them feel empowered to turn down a bad meeting."

Thank you for reading Extra Crunch and have a great weekend.

Walter Thompson
Senior Editor, TechCrunch
@yourprotagonist

Why Amazon Should Watch Out For Shein

Photo credits: Shein

Last year, the online clothing shopping app Shein increased the number of active daily users by 130%, reports Apptopia.

Thousands of new products appear on the virtual shelves of the app every day. Items are quickly designed and prototyped before Shein's contractors put them into production in factories in Guangzhou – two weeks later, these SKUs arrive at fulfillment centers around the world.

TechCrunch reporter Rita Liao examined how the company's agile supply chain became too hot-air debates among e-commerce pundits, but beyond a strong logistics game and data-driven product development, Shein's close relationships with suppliers are an integral part of its success.

She also tried to answer a question that many ask: Is Shein a Chinese company?

"It's hard to say where Shein is from," replied Richard Xu of Grand View Capital, a Chinese venture capital company.

"It is a company with operations and supply chains in China targeting the world market with almost no business in China."

Insights into GM's startup incubator strategy

Picture credits: Chevrolet

GM Vice President of Innovation Pam Fletcher is responsible for the company's “electrification, connectivity, and even insurance” startups – all part of the automaker's goal of bringing values ​​(and profits) through its traditional manufacturing business, of the sale and financing of vehicles, ”writes Kirsten Korosec.

Fletcher joined TechCrunch at a TC Sessions: Mobility 2021 virtual event to discuss what it's like to create a range of startups under the umbrella of a 113-year-old automaker.

Wonderschool investor Marlon Nichols and Chris Bennett getting to the point with a pitch deck

Photo credits: MaC Venture Capital / Wonderschool

MaC Venture Capital managing partner Marlon Nichols and Wonderschool CEO Chris Bennett joined Extra Crunch Live to tear down the company's early deck.

"The first thing we all noticed was how simple the presentation is: white text on a blue background, mostly made up of bullet points," writes Brian Heater before noting the CEO admitted that "not between This first pitch and the deck of the series A has changed a lot aesthetically. "

"It was what we valued at the time," says Bennett. “We really focused on getting the product market in shape and really understanding what our customers need. And we really concentrate on building the team. "

Dear Sophie: What possibilities would allow me to start something myself?

Photo credits: Bryce Durbin / TechCrunch

Dear Sophie,

I've been working on an H-1B in the US for almost two years.

While I am grateful to have made it through the H-1B lottery and to work, I feel unhappy and frustrated with my job.

I really want to start something of my own and work on my own terms in the United States. Are there any immigration opportunities that would make this possible for me?

– Search for satisfaction

Investor growth could bode well for SentinelOne's IPO

Photo credits: Nigel Sussman (opens in a new window)

Alex Wilhelm calls SentinelOne's threatening debut "fascinating".

“Why? Because the company has a combination of rapid growth and mounting losses that makes it a good heat check for the IPO market, ”he writes. "With his debut, we can answer whether public investors still value growth."

Alex takes an early dataset from SentinelOne and explains why investors in the public market still seem to value growth above anything else.

Before leaving, founders must get their labor law ducks in a row

Photo credits: Jenny Dettrick (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Guest columnist Rob Hudock, a litigation attorney focused on helping companies recruit the best talent available while avoiding distracting problems in the workplace or litigation, explains the importance of breaking work-related fires before leaving delete.

"Inattention to employment issues can have a significant impact on business – from preventing deals and reducing business value to changing terms and conditions or significantly restricting potential buyers," he writes.

"Fortunately, such problems can usually be resolved well in advance with a little foresight and legal guidance."

Practice agile, iterative change to refine products and build a corporate culture

Photo credit: John M Lund Photography Inc (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Building an excellent product and corporate culture requires the same process, writes Heap CEO Ken Fine in a guest column.

"At Heap, the provider of analytics solutions that I manage, a governing principle is that good ideas should not be lost through top-down dictations and exaggerated hierarchies," he writes. "You get the best results when you approach the leadership as if you were developing a great product – you hypothesize, you test and iterate, and if you get it right, you build it up."

Here he sets out his method, which speaks for iterative change, not for “one-off decrees”.

A16z's new $ 2.2 billion fund will not only bet on the crypto future but defend it too

Photo credits: Nigel Sussman (opens in a new window)

Big news on Thursday was the announcement of Andreessen Horowitz's new cryptocurrency fund. Most focused on the staggering $ 2.2 billion figure, but Alex Wilhelm delved a little deeper into the announcement, noting that a16z is not only pumping a ton of money into the crypto room, but putting on gloves to do so to fight for it]

Alex writes that “a16z intends to defend crypto in the American and perhaps global market. Crypto-focused startups are unlikely to be able to handle the regulation of their market on their own as they focus more on product work in a particular region of the larger crypto economy. The wealthy and affiliated investment firm they support will do the job for their chosen champions. ”

5 takeaways from BuzzFeed's SPAC deck

Credit: Nicholas Kamm / AFP / Getty Images

Alex Wilhelm dives headlong into BuzzFeed's announcement that it will go public through a blank check company.

He looked at his historical and expected sales growth (the latter is very sunny, which is not atypical for SPAC presentations), what constitutes that sales (more "commerce" over time), his long-term profitability forecasts, and funny things like Pulitzer Prize-winning BuzzFeed News.

Admit it. You are curious.

3 issues to resolve before moving to a subscription business model

Photo credits: SaskiaAcht (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Moving from a pay-as-you-go model to a subscription service is more than just a monthly or annual price tag for a product, writes CloudBlue's Jess Warrington in a guest column.

"Executives can't just put a subscription model over an existing business," writes Warrington. "You have to change the entire operating process, involve everyone involved, recalibrate your strategy and create a subscription culture."

Warrington says that in his role at CloudBlue, companies often ask him for help in solving technology challenges in transitioning to a subscription business model, only to find that they have not taken the critical organizational steps necessary for a successful transition are.

How to avoid this situation.

Veo CEO Candice Xie has a plan for building a sustainable scooter company, and it works

Photo credits: Bryce Durbin

Rebecca Bellan interviewed Veo-CEO Candice Xie about the "old-fashioned" business method of the micromobility start-up.

"I understand that people are eager to prove their unit economy, their scalability and also improve their matrix for the VC to start another round," says Xie. "I would say that's fine in the consumer goods industry, like consumer electronics or SaaS.

“But we are in the transport sector. It's a different business, and transportation takes years of collaboration and building between private and public partners. … So I don't see that it happens from day one to turn a billion-dollar company around and at the same time make everything meaningful for the cities and the users. "

5 companies that do growth marketing the right way

Photo credits: jayk7 (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

All companies want more or less the same thing: growth. But how do you do it?

Ideally, don't start from scratch.

The race for faster growth is more urgent than ever. … "[F] Forward-looking entrepreneurs and growth marketers just need to take the time to study their competition, learn best practices and apply them to their own business growth," writes Mark Spera, head of growth marketing at Minted, in a guest column.

“Of course you should still do your own experiments, but it is just more capital efficient to imitate than to try from scratch. Here are five companies with growth strategies worth emulating – including key lessons to apply to your business today. ”

Medical start-ups in the musculoskeletal sector are battling to enter the market for personalized health technology

Photo credits: ChrisChrisW (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

With more than 50 million Americans suffering from chronic pain and medical musculoskeletal problems (MSK), a number of start-ups are offering patients new products "that don't resemble the status quo of the cookie cutter," reports Natasha Mascarenhas .

Startups hoping to enter this space have made a steep climb. Aside from regulations that cover aspects such as product packaging and marketing, they have to compete with established competition from Big Pharma when trying to work with health insurers.

Natasha introduces three companies, each with a different approach to personalized health: Clear, Hinge Health, and PeerWell.

As in the US, a two-tier venture capital market is emerging in Latin America

Photo credits: Nigel Sussman (opens in a new window)

In the second part of an exchange series that deals with the early-stage global venture capital market, Alex Wilhelm and Anna Heim unpacked the scene in Latin America and found that it was very similar to the situation in the United States: slow series A laps, fast B laps.

“Mega-rounds are no longer an exception in Latin America; In fact, they have become a trend, with ever larger rounds being announced in recent months, ”they write.

Nevertheless, the funds are not distributed fairly and the region still lags behind its competitors: Brazil has the most startups in Latin America with 12 billion US dollars. In the USA there are 369 and in China 159.

But the Latin American market remains hot, if not quite as hot as the USA and China.

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Source References: TechCrunch » Startup