Data As the Fourth Pillar

This article was previously published in Forbes

Throughout the history of commerce, from ancient-era merchants to 19th-century whaling ships to modern corporations, companies have used three main pillars to create strategic differentiation: people, processes and technology.

19th Century Whaling Ship

The past decade has been different. While the vast majority of companies have used or collected data simply in support of their technology pillar, an elite few have instead elevated data as a pillar of its own, finding success at historically unprecedented levels.

In his classic 1996 Harvard Business Review article “What Is Strategy?” Michael Porter makes an important…


A Most Excellent Post by Jeff Hyman of Recruit Rockstars

My friend and colleague Jeff Hyman, founder of Recruit Rockstars, sent this out in an email blast today and I thought it was so good that it deserved wider distribution!

***His email starts here***

Star Wars nerds unite.

Today is May 4th… International Star Wars Day.

(One of us nerds came up with the pun “May the 4th be with you” and the rest is history.)

So, I figured I’d use this as a chance to review some of the job candidates you’re likely to interview in the next few…


Dan Malven of 4490 Ventures says VC firms’ outperformance is much more broadly distributed than previously understood.

A previously undiscovered view of VC returns

Most institutional investors have some exposure to the venture capital asset class, but conventional wisdom has been that only a small handful of marquee VC managers are worthy of investment.

A working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) in November 2020 contradicts that notion, showing that half of all VC fund managers outperform the public markets, and are therefore worthy of institutional investment.

This is still an NBER “working paper”, meaning it has not yet been peer-reviewed, but the…


We all know the cybersecurity industry is massive. As it should be. Our personal lives and global economic growth are increasingly based on data. Protecting the integrity of that data is paramount to the safety and well-being of individuals, nation-states and the global economy.

Some of the smartest people in the world work on cybersecurity. All those smart people continually come up with new techniques and technologies to protect our digital assets, causing the bad guys to continually come up with ways to circumvent those protections.

But what if all those smart people are all thinking about cybersecurity in a…

Dan Malven

Managing Director at 4490 Ventures, 3-time software company founder.

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