If you’re a frequent Twitter consumer (as I am), you might be familiar with the frustrations of millions of users that want to see their Twitter stream in chronological order, not the “algorithmically-best-based-on-what-Twitter-thinks-you’ll-engage-with-order”. When news is breaking (or during live sports) it’s… jarring to see Tweets from early in the day mixed in with very recent tweets.
A few months ago I saw a tweet from Andy Baio (@waxpancake on Twitter) that showed how to use Twitter’s native search functions to get to a Tweetstream that showed Tweets in chronological order. And not only did it do that, but it also removed replies, ads, etc. You only saw tweets from people you followed, and in chronological order.
Because Twitter is Twitter, there’s a different URL scheme to access what Andy shared, depending on if you’re on a desktop or mobile browser. Because… Twitter. <sigh> Which sucked because there’s no way I was going to bookmark two obscure URLs (and absolutely no way I was going to remember them offhand).
As a fun bonus, if you go to https://tweetorder.com when you’re logged out (or in an incognito window) you see what appears to be the most recent tweets across *all* Twitter users. This is a really interesting window into the diversity of Twitter worldwide. Finally, if you’ve read this far, also check out the TweetOrder about page, and follow TweetOrder on Twitter. Thanks again to Andy Baio for the inspiration!
As a blue state tech worker (CA, in my case) it seems that I don’t have a lot of ways to affect politics. My Senators, representative, and local politicians already hold the same values and believe in the same policies I do. But I want to make a difference for Americans across the country, especially those that are in danger of a Trump administration. For others in my situation, here is a simple, 3-step guide to make a difference in our country:
Step 1 — Ask if your employer offers a gift match on charitable donations! It’s not unusual for top technology employers to match thousands of dollars a year.
Step 2 — Create an account on CharityNavigator. It’s a leading site to help make good decisions on how to spend charitable donations. It rates charities on a 0 to 4-star scale, where 4-star charities are “Exceptional”, exceeding industry standards and outperforming most charities in its cause, and 3-star charities are “Good”, exceeding/meeting industry standards and performing as good or better than charities in its cause. (Donating through CharityNavigator then makes it very easy to do your tax paperwork!)
Step 3 — Give to top-rated non-profits that correspond to the causes you care about, and take advantage of your employer’s gift match! Make an impact with dollars. A $1000 donation with an employer gift match gives $2000 to the charity, but could only cost you ~$700 with your tax deduction. Check these causes and charities out… and donate:
It’s official: Donald Trump will be the next President of the United States.
I’m deeply saddened, and am finding it hard to deal with this news. It shows just how insulated we’ve become as a country. We’ve always been divided (Hamilton reminded me of this), but the effects of social media has made this feel worse. Because you only tend to hear the news you want from the people that believe the same way you do, it hits harder when you realize how many people are on the other side.
I deeply worry about the country under President Trump. Less because of what he believes in policy-wise, far more because of how his election could embolden those who try to drive us apart. If you’re not a white, straight, Christian male, the next four years just became a lot scarier. People I know are literally scared for their personal safety. The kind of visceral hate, racism, anti-Semitism, and sexism that we saw in the primary and general elections could become far more powerful and dangerous to individual American’s lives when Trump leads the government and the party that controls all branches of government. Incidents of violence toward Muslims, Jews, LGBTs, and more have had an uptick during Trump’s run because his campaign implicitly (explicitly?) encouraged that type of behavior. I pray that this trend will stop and reverse, but I worry it will only get worse.
This was lost in the coverage last night, but for the second time in five presidential elections, the Presidential candidate who won more votes lost the Electoral College. I don’t think the Electoral College will ever go away, but I’m frustrated by this frequency.
Practically, there will be two years of a unified Republican government (Presidency, Senate, House, Supreme Court) before voters have their say again to re-elect Congress. Maybe things will change then, maybe not. I certainly hope so, but given built-in advantages the Republicans have with congressional districting, I’m skeptical. I worry that America’s debt will skyrocket from poorly-planned tax cuts. I worry that rights (like the right to marry who you want, whether you’re straight or gay) will be rolled back and cause chaos across the country. I worry about violence toward anyone that’s not a straight, white, Christian male.
But I believe in America, and as a country I believe we can survive four years of President Trump. The cost of survival may be high, and it the burden of that cost will be unequal. But in 2020 he’ll have to face voters; this time with four years of actually being President. Will he be able to achieve what he’s promised, or will he have been outed as a carnival huckster? That will be an interesting election.
I keep coming back to the Zen Master story from Charlie Wilson’s War:
Over $5 billion in exits have already been achieved by accelerator graduates. Companies that have yet to exit are collectively valued at over $80 billion.
Early stage startups continue to be a power-law phenomenon. Despite funding over 6,000 companies in nearly 200 programs around the world, 75% of the investment dollars have gone into accelerator graduates of just four programs: Y Combinator, Techstars, 500 startups, and Angelpad.
That said, this stat isn’t as dramatic as it might appear. Those four programs have collectively funded over 40% of the 6,000+ graduates. Essentially, they’re prominent because they figured out ways to scale effectively, either through bigger class sizes or more frequent programs. Between these programs’ alumni and mentor networks, and reputational effects, they’re able to consistently find, fund, and mentor a higher-achieving tier of startups.
And while you obviously don’t have to go through an accelerator to succeed; it helps. Pitchbook found that one-third of startups that raised a Series A round in 2015 went through an accelerator. But only about 1,200 companies per year went through an accelerator in 2013, 2014, and 2015, and there were far more than 3,600 companies started each of those years. So while companies that go through an accelerator are a small portion of early-stage startups (likely 10% or less), they are a much larger percentage of successful startups (33%).
One of the big reasons I created Seed-DB is because the world of accelerators is plagued by anecdata. It’s easy to remember the accelerators that helped the B2C companies that you may use today; it’s harder to know about accelerators behind the B2B hard-tech companies that don’t get a lot of press but are growing like crazy. I also believe there are some great accelerators (or at least accelerators that have found great companies) that don’t get the attention they deserve.
For example, did you know the Flashpoint program at Georgia Tech funded two companies that have both gone on to raise over $100million each? Did you know the third biggest exit of an accelerator company (for $350million) came from AngelPad?
Seed-DB exists to give entrepreneurs the data on which companies have been through which programs, in order to make more informed choices. To answer the questions: is an accelerator right for me? Which accelerator is right for me? And why?
Seed-DB — relaunch
Today also marks a re-launch of Seed-DB! While the user interface hasn’t changed substantially (I’m not a strong front-end developer), the data structures behind the scenes have changed substantially.
Charts & Tables
Tabular data is valuable, but charts bring data to life. Seed-DB now has a dedicated “Charts & Tables” page to showcase this information. There are four key charts:
Total number of accelerator companies over time, updated monthly
Total funding (in $) of accelerator companies over time, updated daily — now > $20 billion
Number of funding rounds over time, updated daily
Number of accelerator cohorts/batches over time, updated monthly
Log/Log chart of company total funding (for companies that have raised >$500k)
You can see from these charts that there was a significant change in trajectory with more companies going through accelerators starting in 2011, which increased further in 2012. The chart of total funding has a significant trajectory change in 2014, which increased again in 2015.
The same page also has some of the most popular tables:
The biggest data structure change has been a pivot on accelerator cohorts or batches. Previously each accelerator was a flat list of companies they had funded, though Seed-DB did store the month they started with at the program. Now each accelerator shows the highlights of each individual cohort, and then you can drill down further to see individual companies in that cohort. (You can toggle back to the old view if you want, though.)
This is significantly faster for most users, but also shows a new layer of detail. It’s clear to see that one of the most successful YC companies to date (AirBnB) was in one of the smallest YC classes ever, in the middle of the financial crisis in Jan — Mar 2009.
Additionally, this cleans up the user experience for accelerators that run multiple programs in different cities or verticals. (Specifically, programs like Techstars, DreamIT Ventures, Startupbootcamp, Wayra, etc) Instead of each of these programs getting listed as separate accelerators, the various cohorts are all grouped together in one overall accelerator.
While I won’t say Seed-DB is truly mobile optimized, the tables of data in Seed-DB can be used far more easily on mobile than they ever have before, and the new charts work great on mobile, too. (Thanks, d3.js!)
Finally, I’ve kicked off a Patreon campaign to help support Seed-DB. If you find Seed-DB valuable for yourself or the startup community, please consider supporting the campaign! No funds will go to Jed; they will all be used to either pay monthly infrastructure costs, or go to contractors to help with data collection. In other words, any contributions only go to keeping Seed-DB running and improving data quality.
Personal Disclaimer: I did my first research into accelerators in the summer of 2009, and created Seed-DB in the summer of 2012. Two and a half years ago I started working for Techstars as a Product Manager. This post represents my personal views, and not those of Techstars. All data comes from Seed-DB alone.