Incentives in Venture Capital, Why You Should Avoid Your Competitors’ Investors, China’s Malaise, and More [link blog]

Hunter Walk
4 min readFeb 6, 2024

I read a lot of stuff and here’s a few worth passing along to you!

China’s Age of Malaise [Evan Osnos/New Yorker] — A loooong read but essential stuff if you are interested in China from an sort of view (cultural, economic, geopolitical, startup).

When I return to China these days, the feeling of ineluctable ascent has waned. The streets of Beijing still show progress; armadas of electric cars glide by like props in a sci-fi film, and the smoke that used to impose a perpetual twilight is gone. But, in the alleys, most of the improvised cafés and galleries that used to enliven the city have been cleared away, in the name of order; overhead, the race to build new skyscrapers, which attracted designers from around the world, has stalled. This summer, I had a drink with an intellectual I’ve known for years. He recalled a time when he took inspiration from the dissidents of the Eastern Bloc: “Fifteen years ago, we were talking about Havel.” These days, he told me with a wince, “people don’t want to say anything.” By the time we stood to leave, he had drained four Martinis.

Incentives and the Cobra Effect [Andrew ‘Boz’ Bozworth/Facebook] — So I don’t know if the story Boz references here is fully accurate or has taken on some metaphorical expansion, but it’s worth sharing. A quick post about the power of incentives — and how they can sometimes backfire. The title is explained in the opening paragraph:

When Delhi was under colonial rule it suffered from an excess of venomous cobras. To curb the population the government paid a bounty for dead cobras. This triggered entrepreneurs to start breeding cobras to collect the bounty. When the government figured out what was happening, they discontinued the bounty which meant all the cobras being bred were worthless and were thus set free, increasing the cobra population significantly.

It’s Never Been More Important to Understand Your Capital Provider’s Business Model [Charles Hudson/Precursor] — Charles is just a wonderful human and his posts about venture capital are essential for anyone who considers themselves part of the startup community. Similar to Boz’s essay earlier, this one too is…

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Hunter Walk

You’ll find me @homebrew , Seed Stage Venture Fund w @satyap . Previously made products at YouTube, Google & SecondLife. Married to @cbarlerin .