What We’re Reading

Here are a few good reads the Collaborative Fund team came across this week.


U.S. population growth is at the lowest level since the Great Depression:

An uptick in deaths, a slowdown in births and a slight drop in immigration all damped American population growth for the year ended July 1. The 0.7% increase, to 323.1 million, was the smallest on record since 1936-37.


Typical startup problems:

Another of my high-frequency “sad” moments happens when visiting with a team that is consistently “flatlining,” or delivering minimal or trivial user growth week after week or worse. Clearly, something’s horribly wrong, and everyone just keeps showing up, doing their jobs, without attacking the core problem that’s almost always a lack of palpable customer enthusiasm. What’s the point? What are they waiting for? It’s time to bring the leadership team into a room, dissect each key element of the business model, and identify pivots that are worth exploring smartly—where else—with customers.


Howard Love has a rebuttal to the VC power law:

Our biggest wins have been deals that were not “Unicorns” where we invested a small amount of money that then multiplied by 1,000 and “made the portfolio.” Rather, our success has come from backing excellent entrepreneurs very early, receiving a relatively large amount of equity, working hard for the company, and sticking with the investment for a long time.

Higher ed

College enrollment is dropping as the economy improves:

Total fall-term undergraduate and graduate enrollment slid by 1.4% to 19.01 million students as of the beginning of this month … Students over age 24 account for almost the entire overall decline, as adults who may consider returning to school to boost their career prospects are finding jobs instead.


I have a feeling we’ll see more of these stories in the coming decade:

France has opened what it claims to be the world’s first solar panel road, in a Normandy village. A 1km (0.6-mile) route in the small village of Tourouvre-au-Perche covered with 2,800 sq m of electricity-generating panels, was inaugurated on Thursday by the ecology minister, Ségolène Royal.


This explains a lot:

The study demonstrated that about half of individuals will come to believe a fictional event occurred if they are told about that event and then repeatedly imagine it happening.

Have a good weekend.