Sunday Reads and A Quiet Dare I Say Sad SOHO in Manhattan

I am finally back in New York. The last time I was here was February 2020.

It feels great to be back, but it sure is different.

Unfortunately it is cold. Too cold for the end of May.

I was walking around SOHO late yesterday and it feels like more than 50 percent of the storefronts are gone/empty.

The streets are very quiet for a Saturday but like I mentioned…it is cold.

It seems impossible that SOHO will not bounce back completely and some smart retail entrepreneurs and brands will take advantage of the changes. I know my brain is buzzing with ideas.


A couple of reads that I really enjoyed and got me thinking this week …

Ben Thompson – ‘Market Making On The Internet‘ was fantastic. This subject is near and dear to my heart as a longtime Twitter product die hard who worries that Twitter will blow it and leave me with no audience.

Ben takes a look at how Twitter, Shopify and Spotify (three companies in my 8-80 portfolio that I own myself) are trying to fulfill a promise of web 2.0 by offering interoperability. It is not perfect of course because of the centralization of web 2.0 leaders, but it is possible. As Ben points out:

What is neat about markets is that they create the conditions for win-win outcomes; Spotify aligning with creators doesn’t hurt Spotify’s core business, it enhances it by making sure Spotify’s podcast service is as complete as it can be. Critically, it does this not by fighting over users, but rather by linking them.

This is the part that Web 2.0 got wrong; much like the Facebook model of social networking emphasized being your whole self, Web 2.0 assumed that your one identity would connect together the different pieces of your web existence. However, just as the future of social networking is about different identities for different contexts, interoperability via markets is about linking together distinct user bases in a way that is appropriate for different services, all under the control of the user who is paying for the privilege.

I know that Rishi at Stocktwits and team (me included) are thinking and doing the same things.

Have a read.

With Ben’s post in mind it is good to go back and Read Chris Dixon’s piece in January 2019 titled ‘Who Will Control The Software That Powers The Internet‘. No wonder Chris Dixon is so successful as an investor.

Anyhoo…there are probably hundreds of software companies now birthed that will be taking on the web 2.0 leaders because of the work done by VC’s like Chris Dixon who are backing founders wanting to power the internet in a more decentralized way.

One more for good measure is technology crossover fund manager Ram’s quarterly letter titled ‘A Few Things We Learned‘. I am a limited partner in Ram’s fund and am a big fan of how he thinks about technology and markets.

This stat about business starts in 2021 really stood out, especially in light of the half full SOHO storefronts I walked past last night…

Have a great Sunday.

PS – One podcast I plan on listening too is my friend Barry’s interview of Bill Gurley.