10 Observations from Last Week

Catching up on startup and tech news in the New Year, Propllr has you covered – here are 10 stories from the past two weeks that will help your conversation skills around the water cooler.

1. Being in the PR business, we frequently look for timely excuses to tell our clients’ stories. Enter New Years and our annual resolution song and dance. Forbes details four resolutions that science says won’t work. Mashable hits its high horse and tells you to stop making selfish resolutions.

If you are like us and turning to tech to help you, here are our favorite apps to get in 2015 to meet those personal, physical and financial goals: (1) Headspace (meditation); (2) Acorns (financial); (3) 7 Minute Workout (physical fitness); (4) and Pomodoro (productivity).

2. 2014 was certainly a big year for tech exits, led by Facebook’s $22 billion acquisition of WhatsApp. Here in Chicago, GrubHub’s $2 billion IPO cracked the list, coming in at #6.

3. Another 2014 recap from TechCrunch – how the world changed last year. Notably missing from the list is any mention of recent hackings and data breaches. What gives? On the other hand, nice to see more light given to the gender inequality in tech – though couldn’t that be higher than 10th?

4. And here are the five best fake tech products from 2014. It makes us pine for season two of HBO’s Silicon Valley.

5. Thinking about raising money or launching a product this year? Listen to Pitbull: “Ask for money and get advice; ask for advice and get paid twice.” That’s what Ilya Semin, a 29-year-old founder of a web crawler did. A simple email for feedback helped Ilya not only acquire his best customer, but also to close a round of funding with Mark Cuban, IDG Ventures and Google Ventures.

6. Also, if you are thinking about raising money, might be good to take another look at those cap tables. eShares did just that and found that cap tables are frequently wrong, leading to high legal bills and ultimately harming employees the most. And despite the fact that law requires companies to issue stock certificates, few companies do.

7. The 2015 outlook articles are drawing to a close. But before you stop reading them, check out these 19 startups (seriously, couldn’t make it an even 20?) that are poised for growth in 2015. We use Slack – the productivity app – while heavily rooting for InPowered as it fights the good fight against click-bait articles.

8. Chances are good that over the past couple weeks you were watching some football. If you missed Florida State Quarterback Jameis Winston’s fumble against Oregon, here it is… set to Yakety Sax.

9. Here are some interesting life lessons for 30 year olds from folks who have been there before. Instead of broad statements, the article phrases things in people’s own words, a tactic that resonates. The author did a great job making the content fresh despite the fact that we probably heard bits or pieces of it before.

10. How do you turn $11,000 into millions without doing anything? Get a vanity address from New York City. It turns out that the new billionaire building – 432 Park Avenue – is not actually on Park Avenue. It’s on 56th Street. But residences on Park Ave get 5 to 10 percent more. With the lowest-priced unit at $16.5 million, that’s a profit of $825,000 on a single unit. Not a bad ROI.

The Propllr Team