VC Slowdown Hurts Employees; What 2015 Was Not

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Vested vs. Invested

When the VC security blanket begins to unravel, it’s employees – not investors or founders – who end up out in the cold. Look at Foursquare’s recent down round, which cut the company’s valuation by more than half and added more investors who must be paid back before employees see a dime. Workers at the data-mining startup Palantir are clashing with investors over decisions, like abandoning an IPO, that devalue employee stock. Katie Benner of The New York Times reports on a few tech startups that put too much faith in their investors. For many employees, in the end “their shares were practically worthless.” More.

The Year That Wasn’t

Yahoo didn’t merge with AOL last year. Agencies were never seriously threatened. And data did not conquer the TV upfronts. Those are just a few of the bold predictions for 2015 that failed to come to pass, Mike Shields writes for The Wall Street Journal. Read it. Shields also writes that a widely anticipated consolidation wave failed to materialize in ad tech, which is sorta true and sorta not.  

WaPo: Subs Over Ads?

“What they’re trying to do is rack up numbers,” is how Forrester analyst Susan Bidel describes The Washington Post’s audience growth strategy, and management seems to agree. “Our goal is to gain a large number of paying subscribers,” outgoing President Stephen Hills tells Ad Age. “Our goal is not to maximize the dollars we receive from paying subscribers.” Read it. What about ads? They matter, naturally, but Hills says recurring revenue from readers is the bigger priority right now.

Harrowing Social Metric

Marketers like eBay are using the “upvote/downvote” system on Reddit and Imgur to evaluate performance of their content-driven campaigns on those platforms. eBay’s interest comes “even as other advertisers experienced negative results,” according to a story in the International Business Times. Read it. For instance, Warner Bros. pulled its ads after a wave of downvotes of its content that was perceived as a backlash.

But Wait, There’s More!

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