Building in Miami, for Miami

Lately, a lot of founders have been asking me “why is Miami important to the future of tech?” The short answer is easy: come see for yourself. For me, it’s a little bit of everything: the weather, the culture, the diversity, the art, the ideas…but mostly, it’s the people. Miami mayor Francis Suarez described the workforce here as “young, incredibly talented, diverse, and competitive.” I would add “entrepreneurial’’ to that list based on the folks I’ve met since first visiting Miami earlier this year.

Our founder Jack Abraham moved here last July because the opportunity to build new companies in…

More startups are being created and funded, and more companies are reaching $1B+ valuations than ever before in history. And still, anyone who has built a company will tell you it is hard. Really hard. Founders often forgo their salary and benefits while putting in huge effort to find a co-founder, define their business, raise capital, hire vendors, monitor finances, and recruit a team of early believers. On top of that, it often takes 18–36 months to find product-market fit… because let’s face it, 95% of startups fail.

Atomic’s mission is simple: partner with co-founders to build a company of…

TL;DR — I joined Atomic earlier this year to work at the intersection of starting and investing in companies. It’s already been everything I was hoping for and more; here’s why. 👇

The traditional framework of a job search always felt wrong. High-achieving individuals don’t really look for jobs. (Fun fact: the word “job” comes from jobbe or “piece of work”, which is a synonym for “task” and seems anachronistic!) They look for opportunities to work with amazing people on big problems that have enduring impact.

I’m lucky to have had a wide variety of experiences in my career thus…

a deep dive into the crypto security stack

When we discuss crypto, we often talk about security and characterize blockchain as being a more secure architecture compared to centralized services. While it’s easy to nod in agreement here — after all, who can disagree with more security? — I found myself confused about how exactly blockchain provides “more security” compared to a more traditional, cloud-hosted Web 2.0 stack. With more research, it became clear that using the adjective “secure” in crypto means different things to different people.

#1 — Cryptography

Cryptography is essential to crypto as it forms the mathematical basis that enable blockchains to be utilized as a decentralized system…

How to reach the next step in the crypto innovation cycle

Crypto investors today are constantly pitched by startups building protocols and infrastructure that target developers as the end users. The pitch goes:

We are creating the platform that will enable developers to do XYZ.

With each additional crypto startup making the same promise to investors, the question on my mind is: how are you going to attract these developers to your protocol? Increasingly, I’m seeing that protocols are finding it hard to recruit developers to build on their platform, and the path to real world applications built on their protocols continues to be unclear. …

or, how startups can continue to innovate and thrive

A recent Vox article by Timothy Lee is titled: “The end of the internet startup”. In his piece, Lee goes on to explain how today’s startups face a tougher competition from technology incumbents due to two primary factors.

First, technology giants acquire early and often.

This has become easier lately especially with the help of their large balance sheet (cash) and high enterprise value (equity). There are many successful examples of this that we can point to in recent history: Google purchased YouTube and Android, Facebook acquired Instagram and WhatsApp, Amazon bought Zappos and Quidsi.

At the same time, CEO’s of public technology companies have enjoyed unprecedented…

(or, How Slack can become an enterprise messaging platform)

Connie Chan at a16z recently published an in-depth analysis of Tencent’s WeChat. Tencent (a Chinese media & internet holding company) launched WeChat in 2011 and today, it’s one of the largest standalone messaging app with nearly 550 million MAUs. Not only is its reach and scale impressive, WeChat is also a pioneer in the mobile space due to the high ARPU it has been able to extract from its user base. …

The title of “Business Operations” (or “BizOps”) has become one of the more buzz-y Silicon Valley terms as of late. At IVP, we are seeing an increasing number of growth-stage startups (many of which are in our own portfolio) recruit for and build out a BizOps team — Slack, Dropbox, CloudFlare, Stripe, Counsyl, NerdWallet, and ZipRecruiter, just to name a few. While this may seem like a new trend, large tech incumbents have long ago pioneered the role of Business Operations; companies like Yahoo, Google, and LinkedIn currently have upwards of hundreds of people on their BizOps team.

What is BizOps?

BizOps teams…

Fitbit, a leading provider of activity trackers, recently released of its S-1 filing in preparation for an IPO. If you haven’t heard about Fitbits yet, you might be behind the curve — President Obama was recently seen sporting the latest Fitbit Surge. The company’s growth and profitability is truly impressive; as Malay Gandhi of Rock Health points out:

In less than six years from the launch of its first device, […] the company has built a billion dollar plus revenue (run rate) business (at 50% gross margin), legitimately pioneering the category of “connected health and fitness” trackers.

Fitness is clearly…

Shortcomings of “all-you-can-eat” subscription and alternative ways of pricing digital content

My friend James Riney, VC at DeNA, recently published a post on the “Digital Omnivore” — a term coined by Deloitte to describe the contemporary content consumer’s tendency to use all 3 screens (phone, tablet, desktop). James concludes that since content consumption has almost doubled year-over-year, “all-you-can-eat” pricing (ie. Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu, Oyster) will be most palatable for the consumer.

All-you-can-eat subscription models, however, aren’t without their challenges. Here are a few:

  1. Misalignment of incentives: Think of the buffet owner and customer. My goal as a diner would be to take full advantage, maybe even abuse the…

Jordan Kong

startup operator <> early-stage investor

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store