Cross-Functional and Friendly and More

Here's everything we published this week.

Knowledge Partner: McKinsey & Company

The Titanium Economy: Meet the US industrial-technology companies that are driving innovation and sustainable and inclusive growth. These companies have seen an 11 to 15 percent return on invested capital over the past decade, rivaling that of Silicon Valley’s top performers. Read here.

Happy Sunday!

The theme of the week at Every is disruption, with essays on threats to Excel’s monopoly, the future of writing with machines, and why venture capital is due for a shakeup. Plus, a look at an underappreciated “sixth sense”—and a new podcast! 

Let’s get to it!

The End of Excel? 

Matthew Guay / Every

For decades, if you told someone you were building something to go toe-to-toe with Excel, the reaction you were likely to hear was “Good luck.” The received wisdom seemed to be that Microsoft had built something so bulletproof, so perfectly primed to the needs of the target audience, that its primacy could never be challenged.

Lately, though, it seems like spreadsheet products are everywhere. Notion. Coda. Airtable. The list goes on. So why now? And what is it about the spreadsheet paradigm that makes it so compelling in the first place? 


Writing with Machines

Nathan Baschez / Divinations

When people hear about AI-powered writing tools, their reactions tend to fall into one of two camps: either they think it’s amazing, and they want AI to do all of the writing for them forever, or they think it’s an abomination that promises to flood the world with subpar content.

As Nathan points out in this essay, both of these reactions miss the point, because both assume on some level that AI is going to replace writers wholesale—which is not what’s going to happen. What AI is going to do is far more subtle, and far more interesting. 


Venture Capital is Ripe for Disruption

Evan Armstrong / Napkin Math

Last month, Figma announced that it was being acquired by Adobe for a mind-boggling $20B. The crazy thing? Even that astronomical outcome isn’t enough to return the fund for Figma’s investors. 

The Figma situation underscores something Evan has long suspected: the venture capital model is broken. With venture firms needing upwards of $50B exits to hit their 3-5X returns, it means that the same small pool of ideas—and the same small pool of founders—are getting investments again and again and again. And the ecosystem as a whole is poorer for it. Here, Evan unpacks how we got here, what a solution might look like, and what the blockers are to that solution. 


The Art and Science of Interoception

Jonny Miller / Superorganizers

The idea that we humans have five senses — sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste—is a belief that dates back 2,000 years to Aristotle. But neuroscience has advanced significantly since the days of ancient Greece. We now know we have at least four additional senses—the most underrated of which is called interoception. 

Interoception is awareness of our internal state—the learned associations, memories, emotions, and all the data running through our bodies. Mastering interoception has all kinds of benefits, from making informed decisions to avoiding burnout to enhanced emotion regulation. In this post, Jonny Miller takes us through it—and shares four experiments that he’s used to build his own interoceptive capability. 


New from Every: Cross-Functional and Friendly

We’re excited to announce a new podcast from Every: Cross-Functional and Friendly—a show where three seasoned startup veterans from sales, marketing, and product backgrounds discuss how to work together across functions to solve problems as your startup scales. 

Cohosts  Kristen, Nikita, and Stella led sales, product, and marketing, respectively, at Trello, and they’ve gone on to lead those functions for other companies—and invest in and advise other startups as well. Along the way, they’ve seen startups struggle with the same sets of challenges: Who should your first hires be? How do you instill processes as you scale? How do you foster great cross-functional relationships? What do you do when things aren’t going so well? 

On Cross-Functional and Friendly, Kristen, Nikita, Stella cover all of these topics and more. We hope you enjoy their conversations as much as we do! 

A Few More Recommendations

Startups Make the Future Less Scary | Weisser’s Multitudes

Startups have the opportunity to build the future. The problem with that is that society's default view of the future is one of fear. The way Julian Weisser sees it, the best startups are able to surmount that fear and give people the feeling that the future is something to look forward to. In a detail that helps prove his point, Lex helped Julian write this essay—but not in the way you might think. 

Bleeding Edge |

If it feels like the pace of AI innovation is accelerating, that’s because it is. Need help staying on top of all the activity? Bleeding Edge is a feed of all the latest noteworthy developments in AI. 

The Crypto Story | Bloomberg

When Matt Levine writes about something in the finance world, you pay attention. This week, he’s turning all of his analytical prowess on crypto: where it came from, what it means, and why it still matters. Sure to be a go-to resource for the crypto curious and skeptics alike. 

That’s all for this week! 

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Knowledge Partner: McKinsey & Company

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