Mar 14, 2019

Axios Login

Ina Fried

Lots to get to, so let's get to it.

1 big thing: Entrepreneurs leaving Bay Area for their next startup

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

When Jeff Haynie started his last company, Appcelerator, he moved from Atlanta to the Bay Area because he felt he needed to be close to other startups and those who fund them. But when he was starting his latest venture Pinpoint, he decided to leave the Bay Area and set up shop in Austin, Texas.

The bottom line: Haynie is not alone. As a growing number of founders already have the connections they need, and as talent becomes more diffused throughout the country, a growing number of startups are choosing to forego the Bay Area and its sky-high rents and intense competition for engineering talent.

  • "You’ve got to do your tour of duty in the Bay Area but once you have, you have your network and people are willing to write you a check," says Mark Johnson, former CEO of Zite, whose current startup Descartes Labs is based in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
  • While specific numbers are hard to come by, Bloomberg Beta partner Roy Bahat says he is definitely seeing more entrepreneurs with Bay Area ties setting up shop elsewhere. He highlighted the trend in a series of tweets back in February.

My thought bubble: This kind of story is often framed as a tug of war between Silicon Valley and the rest of the country. But Silicon Valley isn't going anywhere, and for every startup or founder who leaves the Bay Area, someone else graduates from Stanford or wants to move here. This is about tech becoming a bigger part of the overall economy.

Where to go: As for which cities will benefit, Bahat says to look at where Google, Apple and others are setting up shop.

  • That means cities like Seattle, Portland and Austin that already have their share of tech growth — but also emerging tech hubs like Atlanta, Northern Virginia and Indianapolis.

Driving the trend: There are a variety of reasons why those founders leaving the Bay Area are doing so. For some, it's the cost of labor and housing, while for others it's for more personal reasons.

  • For Johnson, it made sense to be in New Mexico, because that's where the technology the company is built on was developed. Descartes Labs uses satellite imagery to find patterns using an approach developed at Los Alamos National Laboratories.
  • He had been worried about hiring, but says he's found lots of good talent — "not the people Google would have found, but the people Google should have found."

Yes, but: While there are plenty of people with technical skills, several people I talked to said the toughest part is finding senior people outside the Bay Area with experience scaling a fast-growing tech company.

Go deeper: Read the full story here.

2. Facebook's big outage

Photo: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty Images

Those who might be contemplating deleting Facebook had a chance Wednesday to see what life is like without the social network.

What's happening: Facebook suffered a major outage that left many people unable to access significant chunks of the main service as well as WhatsApp and Instagram.

Meanwhile, the outage wasn't the only thing Facebook had to deal with in the last 24 hours.

  • The New York Times reports that Facebook faces a criminal probe over its data-sharing arrangements with hardware partners.
  • And Bloomberg Businessweek, in a just-posted cover story, maintains that Facebook's new efforts at content moderation still fall far short.
3. Impossible Foods taps former Motorola exec

Dennis Woodside. Photo: Impossible Foods

Meatless burger startup Impossible Foods plans to announce later this morning that it has hired former Motorola CEO and Dropbox COO Dennis Woodside to serve as company president, a new role.

Why it matters: The company is looking to grow, offering more products in more restaurants and bringing the Impossible Burger to retail stores for the first time later this year.

In an interview, Woodside said he was pleasantly surprised when he tried the company's meatless burger last year and even more so after Vinod Khosla introduced him to founder and CEO Pat Brown earlier this year. And, he said, Khosla had been pushing him to make sure his next company was one that could change the world.

  • "The potential to change how people think about food and how they think about health and sustainability is just a huge opportunity," he said.
  • Woodside doesn't have any experience in the food business. (He was even rejected in his youth when he applied to be a bus boy at an upscale restaurant in New Jersey.)
  • But, he says, Impossible Foods is looking for someone to help them scale. "I've had some experience with that."
4. "Everything Store" author to revisit Amazon in new book

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Photo: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

As Axios' David McCabe reported earlier today, journalist Brad Stone is doing another book on Amazon and founder Jeff Bezos. He previously wrote "The Everything Store," a 2013 bestseller that chronicled Amazon's rise.

Why it matters: Amazon has moved far beyond its retail roots — becoming a player in far-flung sectors of the economy — and as a result faces more questions about its dominance. Bezos is also the the richest person in the world.

  • Simon & Schuster expects to publish the book, titled "Amazon Unbound," in the fall of 2021.
  • "Stone will explore the company’s ongoing successes and failures and deconstruct its strategies for growth," the publisher said in a release, "and in doing so pose the ultimate question: Is Amazon good for us?"
  • The book will "pick up where 'The Everything Store' left off," the publisher said.

What he's saying: “Over the last few years, I’ve come to realize that my first book explored only the first few chapters of this historic story," said Stone, who leads Bloomberg's tech coverage, in a statement. "Now I want to chronicle how the everything store became the everything company."

The big picture: Tech has transformed from a nerdy niche to one of the world's most prosperous and ubiquitous industries, and publishers and Hollywood can't get enough.

  • There are books in the works about Uber, Facebook, Instagram and Tesla.
  • Screenplays about Facebook's Cambridge Analytica scandal and Snapchat founder Evan Spiegel have been picking up buzz.

Go deeper: Silicon Valley, get ready for your closeup

5. Take Note

On Tap

  • Tesla is set to introduce its Model Y at 8pm PT.
  • It's also Pi Day (3/14).

Trading Places

  • TED named former Wall Street Journal analytics editor Carla Zanoni as its first director of audience development.


  • Google released its first test build of Android Q. This year's mobile operating system update will include more granular privacy control and support for foldable devices. Still to be revealed are the key consumer features as well as just what dessert starts with Q. (Google)
  • Also, Google is reportedly shutting down its Spotlight Stories VR filmmaking unit. (Variety)
  • Apple acquired Laserlike, a small Bay Area machine learning startup. (The Information)
  • Verizon plans to launch 5G service next month in two cities — Chicago and Minneapolis. It will charge $10 more per month as compared to 4G. (The Verge)
6. After you Login

It's the first rule of TV: Don't wear green. Apparently this CNN crew didn't get the memo.

Ina Fried