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The DL - 2021 Review, What's Happening at Plus, Favorite YouTubers

January 10 · Issue #86 · View online
The DL
Happy new year everyone! I hope you all had a great holiday. Sarah and I were able to visit Australia and introduce Zac to our family there, and it was an awesome trip. I will spare newsletter readers baby photos, but always happy to send if you email/text me! 😄
This issue of the DL covers…
  • 2021 tech themes and what to watch in 2022
  • What’s going on at Plus ➕ (hint: we need people to try it out!)
  • My favorite YouTube channels
If you’re new, welcome to the DL! You can check out old issues of the newsletter here.

2021 Highlights / 2022 Outlook
Here are five key tech themes/trends I observed last year, and what I’m going to be watching out for in 2022.
1. Valuations have SKYROCKETED
The headline for tech is times are good. Valuations are at all-time highs (1,000% more insane than 1999, according to Elon), and there were more unicorns minted in 2021 than the previous five years combined.
However, people at the top are selling more stock than ever before. Satya Nadella sold half of his Microsoft stock, and Jeff Bezos sold ~$10B of Amazon stock (including his largest sale ever) last year.
Next year, investors will continue investing in technology because they want to invest in growth, but keep a close eye on what smart money investors and insiders are doing.
2. Everyone wants a new job, AND no one can hire
According to “The Great Resignation” articles, more than 50% of the US workforce is planning to look for a new job, and more people left their jobs last year than any other time in the last twenty years.
At the same time, companies can’t hire new employees fast enough. To staff their warehouses, Amazon needs applications from 5% of the entire American work force, and only ~50% of Facebook’s offers to E5 engineers (avg comp = $400K+) are getting accepted.
Next year, companies will continue trying to pay more money and/or recruit people outside of core geographies (including going overseas). If you are thinking of looking for a new job, it’s a good time!
3. Memes > Mainstream media
As people spend less time watching the news, it’s not surprising that TikTok became the most visited site on the internet last year. They have mastered silly memes and serious machine learning to create user engagement.
Memes are a powerful way for people to share information, and whether it’s a Reddit community promoting GameStop or VCs building their brands, memes are shifting power from traditional media companies to individuals and their communities.
Next year, large companies will allocate more budget to “community” initiatives rather than traditional marketing campaigns. You’ll also see large companies make acquisitions in order to learn how to take advantage of new marketing and distribution channels (e.g., HubSpot/The Hustle, Nike/RTFKT).
4. More and more and more software
According to Okta, the average tech company uses 150+ apps. Those of us who work in tech often don’t realize how early we are in terms of software adoption, but if you look at the chart above, there is a big gap between the early adopters and the laggards.
Today, every tech company talks about how their addressable markets are becoming larger and larger, and the growth of the software market has allowed VCs to imagine bigger and bigger outcomes for their early stage investments (and write checks at higher and higher valuations).
Next year, we’ll continue to see record amounts of venture capital invested in technology startups because investors continue to see big market opportunities.
5. The market LOVES the crypto -> Web3/Metaverse rebranding
The crypto and metaverse markets did very well last year. DeFi tokens reached $100B+ of market cap, NFTs went from ~$0 to $10B+ of market cap, and Roblox went public and ended the year at a ~$60B valuation.
At this point, it’s clear that (1) there are “real” use cases for blockchain, and (2) people want to spend time in the metaverse. The average 12 year old today probably cares more about digital assets (in-game items, skins, etc.) than physical goods (except for their iPhone… which they use to play Roblox).
Next year, you’ll probably continuing hearing about Web3 ad nauseum until the current cycle dies down. My recommendation is just to get a wallet and do something (buy an NFT, swap a token, etc.), so you learn how it works.
Plus Update
Last March, I left my job at Madrona to start Plus. Our product allows customers to easily pull live data from multiple sources into one view, without having to write code or worry about integrations.
Starting a startup has been a lot of work (you probably aren’t surprised 😄), but it’s been incredibly fun and rewarding to be able to work closely with a team of amazing people building something from nothing.
Over the last year, some of the highlights have been:
  • Shipping our first working prototype to validate our idea
  • Testing our product with dozens of alpha customers
  • Building a team of 12 who have shaped an awesome, remote-first work culture
  • Raising ~$10M from VCs like Madrona, Positive Sum, and Box Group, and angels from Smartsheet, Auth0, Zapier, Plaid, and Webflow
  • Responding to early customer feedback and rebuilding an “Alpha” product that is ready for new customers to test out
Let me know if you’d like to hear more about our recruiting, fundraising, and product development processes. I’d like to write more about our startup journey this year!
🚨 If you’d like to try out Plus (or you know someone who would fit the profile below), please hit reply on this email!
We are looking for people who work at small- to mid-size companies in roles that require them to frequently navigate across multiple systems to access data, create regular reports (e.g., weekly slide decks), and share updates with other members of their team. 🚨
If you are someone who frequently gets “pinged” to pull data together, or you wish it was easier to quickly see dashboards from five different apps without having to open ten browser tabs, we will make your life a lot easier!
Other stuff Dan's talking about
Learned that you can do this two hours outside of Seattle!
Learned that you can do this two hours outside of Seattle!
📺 YouTube Recs - These days, I’d rather watch a 20 min video on Youtube than spend 20 min finding something to watch on Netflix! My favorite channels: Paolo from Tokyo, DudePerfect, YesTheory, MrBeast
💼 Why I Left Amazon After 10 Months - Interesting blog post from one engineer’s experience interviewing, onboarding, and working at Amazon
🐑 Ed Sheering - AMAZING video of Ed Sheeran sheering sheep 😂
⌨️ ⌘-⇧-A - Pretty great Chrome shortcut. Thanks Patrick Collison!
Please hit reply! (Or subscribe or forward!)
About me: I’m the CEO of a startup in the low code / productivity tools space. Before that, I was a partner at Madrona, a Seattle-based VC firm.
If you have thoughts, questions, or comments on the newsletter, hit reply! If you’re new, check out some of the DL’s past articles:
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