Seneca breaks

Bad and good breaks
In the year 41 CE, Seneca was banished by the emperor Claudius for supposedly sleeping with Julia Livilla, the sister of Caligula. We don’t know if he was completely innocent of the accusation, but we do know that the incident was hardly an exemplar of justice. The historian Suetonius tells us that Seneca’s “charge was vague and the accused was given no opportunity to defend himself.”
It was a bad break that would cost Seneca eight years of his life in exile.
In 49 CE, as Seneca tired of the burden and the distance of his punishment, he was suddenly recalled to Rome by the wife of the emperor, in order to serve as the tutor to her son. In the words of the historian Richard M. Gummere, “Fortune, whom Seneca as a Stoic often ridicules, came to his rescue.” Within a few years, he would be one of the richest men in Rome, his fame and power assured, influencing world events with the snap of his fingers.
Life is like this. It gives us bad breaks—heartbreakingly bad breaks—and it also gives us incredible lucky breaks. Sometimes the ball that should have gone in, bounces out. Sometimes the ball that had no business going in, surprises both the athlete and the crowd when it goes through the net.
When we’re going through a bad break, we should never forget Fortune’s power to redeem us. When we’re singing in the roses, we should never forget how easily and how quickly we can be humbled. Sometimes life goes your way, sometimes it doesn’t.
The only thing you can do is be ready… for either one.

small habits

I’ve been trying more intensively in the last months to factor this in my day-to-day routines. With some success, actually!

This is a good read from a cool newsletter and podcast (The Knowledge Project) done by Farnam Street:

Here’s how the math works out: if you can get 1 percent better each day for one year, you’ll end up thirty-seven times better by the time you’re done. Conversely, if you get 1 percent worse each day for one year, you’ll decline nearly down to zero. What starts as a small win or a minor setback accumulates into something much more.

Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement. The same way that money multiplies through compound interest, the effects of your habits multiply as you repeat them. They seem to make little difference on any given day and yet the impact they deliver over the months and years can be enormous. It is only when looking back two, five, or perhaps ten years later that the value of good habits and the cost of bad ones becomes strikingly apparent.

market matters

from CB insights:

Opinions vary quite a bit among both operators & investors, with technology investors tending to have the most divergent (and strongest) opinions.


Many investors say they don’t look at TAM for new markets, because it’s often too small or undefined to even be interesting or valuable. In these cases, doing any sort of TAM analysis is actually misleading and will make you overlook opportunities. What was the TAM for something like Airbnb (couch surfing) or Amazon (books) when they started?


On the flip side are many investors who view the market as critical and perhaps the top dimension when evaluating a company.

One More Year

A great song to start 2021 – click here to listen…

One whole year – click to watch video clip

Do you remember we were standing here a year ago?
Our minds were racing and time went slow
If there was trouble in the world we didn’t know
If we had a care, it didn’t show
But now I worry our horizon’s bear nothing new
‘Cause I get this feeling and maybe you get it, too
We’re on a rollercoaster stuck on its loop-de-loop
‘Cause what we did one day on a whim
Has slowly become all we do
I never wanted any other way to spend our lives
I know we promised we’d be doing this ’til we die
And now I fear we might
Oh, now I fear we might
But it’s okay, I think there’s a way
Why don’t we just say one more year?
(One more year)
Not worrying if I get the right amount of sleep
(One more year)
Not caring if we do the same thing every week
(One more year)
Of living like I’m only living for me
(One more year)
Of never talking about where we’re gonna be
(One more year)
One more year
Of living like the free spirit I wanna be
We got a whole year
(One more year) Fifty-two weeks
Seven days each
(One more year) Four seasons, one reason
One way, one year
(One more year)
One year, one year
From today (From today)
From today (From today)
I never wanted any other way to spend our lives
Now one of these is gonna be the last for all time
For all time
One more year

Cloud Judgement

The Q3 Report

A very detailed and relevant method of assessing the value of SaaS public companies. Worth a read.

Link to blog post – Cloud Judgement 

“Q3 earnings season for cloud businesses is now behind us. The 61 companies that I’ll discuss here (which is not an exhaustive list, but is still comprehensive) all reported quarterly earnings sometime between October 26 – December 9. New additions to the analysis from Q2 include Snowflake, Asana, JFrog, and Sumo Logic.  In this post, I’ll take a data-driven approach in evaluating the overall group’s performance, and highlight individual standouts along the way. As a venture capitalist, I naturally cater my analysis through the lens of a private investor. Over my ~4.5 years at Redpoint Ventures, I’ve had the opportunity to meet with hundreds of entrepreneurs who are all building special companies. Through these interactions, I’ve built up mental benchmarks for metrics on which I place extra emphasis. My hope is that this analysis can provide startup entrepreneurs with a framework for how to manage their businesses around SaaS metrics (e.g., net retention and CAC payback).”

Dive in!

Q2 Report also available here

helping the small ones

Banking needs to help more small and medium sized companies (SMBs).

Fintech companies entering with solutions that are alternatives to traditional banks are more than welcome…

This a good example!

Liberis, the U.K.-based fintech that provides finance for small businesses as an alternative to a traditional bank loan or extended overdraft, has replenished its own coffers with £70 million in funding. The round is a mixture of debt and venture debt, although the company is declining to disclose the percentage split, so we can likely chalk this up as mostly debt to fund the loans Liberis issues.

Providing the financing are previous backers British Business Investments, Paragon Bank and BCI Europe, along with new partner Silicon Valley Bank  (SVB). It brings the total funding raised by Liberis  to £200 million, including more than £50 million in equity funding. “The new funds will be used to fuel company growth, launch new products and markets, and provide additional customer financing solutions,” says the fintech.

To date, 2007-founded Liberis has provided over £500 million in financing to 16,000 SMEs across Europe, the U.S. and the U.K. (the product is available in five new countries: U.S., Finland, Sweden, Czech Republic and Slovakia). However, lending has really picked up lately, with £250 million lent in the past two years alone.

Link to read more!




AI is here to stay and improve over time

We used recently GPT2, an old version of an algorithm to automatically generate text with just a little bit of context.

Just have a look at the poems it wrote on behalf of Elon Musk using the peculiar style of Dr. Seuss!

Link to the original thing

And another cool link as well

Here’s a poem by Dr. Seuss about Elon Musk launching rockets with SpaceX, building electric cars at Tesla, selling flame throwers, dating Grimes, fighting the SEC, crushing short sellers, building brain chips to fight AI, and colonizing mars, and tweeting at all hours of day and night. Musk wants to make humans interplanetary to prevent extinction. The poem rhymes every other line with an ABAB structure. The rhyme structure is typical of Dr. Seuss nursery rhymes.

Elon Musk
By Dr. Seuss

Once there was a man
who really was a Musk.
He liked to build robots
and rocket ships and such.

He said, “I’m building a car
that’s electric and cool.
I’ll bet it outsells those
Gasoline-burning clunkers soon!”

They sell cool cars
that are electric and clean.
And then he wanted to go
even farther, you see.

The first Tesla, Roadster,
Was just the start of a bigger dream.
He said, “I’m building a plane
that’s electric and green.

That’s not all!
That man is also a Musk.
He likes electric cars,
flamethrowers, tunnels, and such.

But then he thought, “If we make
a very small, small chip,
We’ll implant it in our heads,
And then connect our minds to the Internet!”

But then, in his haste,
he got into a fight.
He had some emails that he sent
that weren’t quite polite.

The SEC said, “Musk,
your tweets are a blight.
They really could cost you your job,
if you don’t stop
all this tweeting at night.”

He replied, “Well, I do tweet
and it’s really quite neat.
and I’ll tweet in a while
and send you some sweet treats.”

But the SEC said, “Nay,
You can’t tweet anymore.
We’ll see you in court,
and you’ll pay a fine,
for the tweets that you wrote.”

Then Musk cried, “Why?
The tweets I wrote are not mean,
I don’t use all-caps
and I’m sure that my tweets are clean.”

“But your tweets can move markets
and that’s why we’re sore.
You may be a genius
and a billionaire,
but that doesn’t give you the right to be a bore!”

Then Elon Musk said,
“You’re not much fun.
And I don’t want to sue.
But I’ll tell you what I’ll do.
I’ll send my Mars Rovers
to red planet you.”

But then he thought, “But I don’t
want to start a fight.
Instead, I’ll just stick to building my cars
and launching rockets at night.”

And that’s what he did.
And the SEC said, “Fine.”
And Elon Musk said, “OK.
And the market was
A bit worried that day.
But the price of Tesla
Went up that same old way.

So you see,
Musk is just fine,
If you can ignore all the hype.
But if you trade Tesla,
The tweets might give you a fright.

But Tesla’s still going up
With each tweet and each post.
The shorts are getting so mad
That they’re going to burst!

And now Musk is building a spaceship
that can take us to Mars.
And he’ll soon be launching
some satellites to the stars.

And then we’ll really be
Interplanetary for sure.
And Musk’s tweets will continue
In space and on Earth.

Continue reading “GPT3”

Inside Pixel HoHoHo

Hit me baby one more time!

I don’t know if you remember, but by this time, last year, we launched 20by20. A brilliant (we believe) initiative that gathered several players from the Portuguese entrepreneurial ecosystem to give their vision on what would be the trends for 2020. As you can expect, none of us predicted that the trend would be … well … hell.

Don’t get us wrong. Our guest writers were actually really good predicting the technological trends and the pandemic accelerated the adoption of some of the solutions we’ve all been preaching about for some time now. Let’s take a quick look to the macro topics highlighted last year:

· 5G – it seemed that the new generation of broadband cellular networks was getting in shape in the beginning of the year, but it seems like we will have to wait a bit more while companies and regulators find a deal. Meanwhile, several industries are already preparing their products with software that benefits from this technology (e.g. ultra connected cars), so, we think it’s safe to say that we’re not that far.

· Cybersecurity – definitely a trend, but not a winner. Companies had major difficulties protecting their assets with the transition to home offices. Many still had on-premises servers and had their workers accessing them via VPN. It’s crucial to prevent and people are more aware of that, which led to a hot November for this industry.

· Sustainability – a strong (but no one expected to be this stronger) winner. Airplanes grounded, cars in garages and people consumerism at its minimum level. No one expected this. The planet gained a few days, and so the future generations.

· The gig economy – well… not a good year for it. Let’s skip this.

· Technology at the service of the humans – ding ding ding. Ladies and gentleman, we have a winner! We never saw so many developers, founders, creatives joining forces to create technological solutions to respond to so many different challenges of the societ

So, let’s do it again! Now with a special guest.

As you see, we really liked this concept. So, this year we invited 21 people to set 21 trends for 2021 – introducing 21by21. Excited, yet? First of all, who are they? They are founders, investors, businessmen and women, from different sectors and with different backgrounds. A conclusion that we always find interesting is that, even though we all belong to the same industry, one way or another, all of us have a very personal perspective and that brings value to it.

So, without further ado, the bets for 2021 are on:

·   Sustainability – elected by the second time in a row. No one expects consumer habits to go back to be the same, and people are more severe when choosing brands that show concerns with the environment and a transparent supply chain.

·   Short video will dethrone YouTube – new generations don’t have the same attention span, they don’t need more than a few seconds of video to know the highlights. Let’s see if this is the year of short videos and how influencers and entertainment industries will adapt to that demanding new process.

·   Brain food – mental health is now one of the biggest concerns of people and companies for 2021, and it is expected that more and more consumers will look for products that help them stay focused and fight anxiety, and that more companies will launch products with L-Theanine, caffeine and cannabinoids.

·   Hybrid work – All of us have already experienced the benefits (and challenges) of home office, but organizations are facing some additional adversities in transmitting their culture to their workers, so hybrid methodologies are being highly praised by leaders across industries.

·   Data – 2020 locked us down, so all we had was the internet. Companies collected years-worth of online growth and client & sales data, and they can now use them wisely (if they know how to…).

·   VC investors are hopeful – startups will have a major role in the recovery of economies worldwide and our part as investors is to boost them up. Governmental entities may also find in these private, agile companies a faster way to innovate and solve society’s new challenges.

Last but not the least, we invited a very special guest to participate: AI. GPT-2 wrote a very clear text of what it expects to be the trends for 2021. Curious? We were too.

Read more! and the past editions are also cool!

Thanks to all the participants of this initiative. It couldn’t have been possible without you. Let’s hope we don’t mess up next year too!

Thank you to those who followed our endless thoughts throughout the year. If you want to catch up, you can see what we’ve been talking about here…

March – Investment: “You can do anything. But never go against the family”

April – The unexpected new world

May – The winner takes it all

June – I want damage modeling

July – When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro

August – The bright new days

September – We’re chained

October – The perfect storm

November – Everybody be cool, this is a robbery!