Why Unicorns Exist

Posted in Startups

I just listened to an excellent, thought-provoking conversation hosted by the a16z podcast on Venture Capital and unicorn private companies:

Good Bubbles, Bad Bubbles – and Where Unicorns Come from

It’s worth listening to the entire thing, especially the first part as the guest explains how we got to our current climate of cheap money, and why investors are continuing to throw billions of dollars at Uber every three months.

I find these discussions fascinating, and not just intellectually. This may sound head-scratchingly obvious to some, but I’ve met and worked with enough engineers who were content to completely ignore everything outside of their immediate technical spheres. Having been around this industry for a decade now, I’ve realized that being informed about the business and financial sides of tech is critical to understanding what and why and how companies do the things they do. Compensation, product roadmaps (influenced by acquisition activity), and engineering trends can be systematically traced back to the meta-business climate.