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Steve Cheney: The Next Internet

By David Perell

My guest today is Steve Cheney, the cofounder of Estimote. Before founding Estimote, Steve was the head of business and platform at GroupMe, which was acquired by Skype. I’ve been reading Steve's writing for more than half a decade, but this year, he picked up the pace of his publishing and now I’m hooked. This episode begins with the discussion of startup dynamics. We talked about fundraising, capital efficiency, and why Steve believes that every dollar from a customer is five times more valuable than a one dollar from an investor. Then we explore the world of frontier technologies. We talked about augmented reality, self driving cars, and image recognition software. Then at the end of the episode, Steve talks about why he's been so successful writing online. Steve talks about his journey of sharing his ideas, how he started writing for Techcrunch, and why writing online is the best way to get discovered right now. This was without question, my favorite part of the episode because it ties right into my work. I teach an online course called Write of Passage where students learn to accelerate their career by writing online and by building an audience. i hope you enjoy my conversation with Steve Cheney. SUBSCRIBE TO MY “MONDAY MUSINGS” NEWSLETTER TO KEEP UP WITH THE PODCAST. SHOW TOPICS LINKS: Find Matt online: Twitter Website Estimote Other mentions: Ben Thompson Write of Passage On How to be Discovered Knowledge and Power by George Gilder SHOW NOTES 1:53 What startups get wrong about capital efficiency, trap door decisions, and how fundraising cycles for startups work  11:35 Why Steve changed his perspective on capital efficiency, why is every dollar from a customer is five times more valuable than a one dollar from an investor, and the importance of employee retention in startups 20:09 The importance of avoiding competition for talent, why Steve’s Electrical Engineering background was very good training for startups, and the future of image recognition 33:16 Tesla and why image recognition is the next act of the internet, why frontier technologies are driven by cost curves, and the latest improvements in eyesight  43:53 The physical limits to wireless and how they are being pushed, what the future of authenticity will look like, and the defining experiences in Steve’s childhood 57:37 Steve’s core beliefs, how he has changed his views on them, and what Steve believes are his core skills 1:01:57 Why you want to work at a product-driven organization, creating something in a new area of technology, and zero sum games 1:09:40 Why Steve got back to writing online, how writing helps him learn, why writing online is the best way to get discovered 1:12:46 The switch from public to private conversations when you write online, how to crank out blog posts and get your ideas on the page, why inspiration is perishable and the importance of taking notes on things that inspire you 1:19:12 How to not get discouraged by an initial slow pace of writing, the importance of reading a lot to be a good writer, and how to become good at curation SUBSCRIBE TO MY “MONDAY MUSINGS” NEWSLETTER TO KEEP UP WITH THE PODCAST.  

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