Danielle Morrill

Tweetstorms, Hashtags, and Why User-Invented “Features” Keep Me Long on Twitter

Full Disclosure: I bought Twitter stock in the company’s IPO and I will not be selling it anytime soon.

Each year around the holidays I head North to Washington State to hibernate for a few weeks with my parents at their house, reflect on what I’ve been doing with my life, read, gamble at the reservation casino, drink and snuggle by the fire. This past winter I decided, after a few glasses of wine, to drive my Twitter followers a little crazy. I had a lot of ideas I wanted to share, 140 characters weren’t enough to express what I wanted to say and I was too lazy to blog.

Soon, Marc Andreessen and I crossed paths (he had just gotten active on Twitter)… and he started tweetstorming too!

I got some positive feedback, and kept going:

There were questions of ettiquette for kicking off a new tweetstorm:

And some tweetstorms inspired response storms, which was really cool:

Other cool things happened, including talking to the Twitter team about their timelines feature (something you can only use through the API right now)…

And other things… mostly just new friendships started and great conversations…

It even resulted in an offer to turn one tweetstorm into a book (TBD)!

I am pretty sure I did *not* invent tweetstorming (it actually has a different meaning, primarily used by activists in the past to harass brands online) but the tweetstorm — much like the hashtag, which was created by my friend Chris — is why Twitter is awesome.

On Twitter, users figure out the features and the interface for their conversations.

I’m Right Here, 5 Minutes at a Time

Measuring Startup & VC Performance – Everyday is Another Chance to Turn It All Around

Today I wrote about some potential methods for benchmarking startup investors, and on a call with a client this afternoon I was asked how I handle the inevitable pushback from investors who aren’t in the top 10 of the list. This the same question I regularly face regarding our approach to assigning scores to startups and the pushback I receive there is similar. My answer right now is simple: this is not predictive.

While this frustrating from a data science perspective, not to mention as an investor (who doesn’t want to predict the next Facebook or Twitter!?) it is heartening as a founder — because every day is another chance to turn it all around.

When we look at metrics, whether they’re “soft” KPIs like web traffic or hard ones like cash flow, it is a reflection of the past. It might be an indicator of the future but we don’t have enough data to backtest and prove that yet. It takes much less energy to make something in motion go faster than does to get it started moving in the first place, so I think a company that has momentum this week is more likely to have momentum next week. Still the most I think we could predict right now is which startups will be competitive for their next round of funding.

The future isn’t promised, in either the positive or negative sense. In financial advising and investing the phrase my Dad always reminded me of went like this: “past performance does not guarantee future results”. Nowhere is this more true than in startups. While we’re busy working on making our measurements, algorithms, and data collection a better reflection of each fund’s reality I hope investors are dropping notes to their companies with helpful value add to bring the bottom to the middle, the middle to the top, and the top to their ultimate outcomes.

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