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Bitcoin has been on a nice run over the last few months, currently trading above $500 USD/BTC.

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A large driver of the run up has been growing demand for Bitcoin in China. BTC China has always been the biggest Bitcoin exchange in China, and is now the biggest Bitcoin exchange in the world.

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We’ve been bullish about the opportunities in Bitcoin for a while and are excited to be able to announce that, together with our partners in China at Lightspeed China Partners, we are investors in BTC China.

We have long believed that a lot of the innovation in Bitcoin will come from outside the US, and BTCChina is proving out this thesis. The opportunity for innovation that Bitcoin will enable in China is truly enormous, given the scale and growth of e-commerce, remittance, microtransactions and payments in that country.  and  The company is led by Bobby Lee, an extremely experienced technologist and leader. We believe that mature management is going to be a critical factor in navigating the regulatory, security and business challenges in the Bitcoin ecosystems, and Bobby and his cofounders, Linke Yang and Xiaoyu Huang, are ideally suited to continue to lead innovation in the Chinese Bitcoin environment and, eventually, beyond China’s borders

We’re excited to support them on their journey!

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In yesterday’s Facebook earnings call, a lot of concern has been raised about how teen usage on Facebook has dropped slightly. Said Facebook’s CFO:

“Our best analysis of youth engagement in the U.S. reveals that usage of Facebook among U.S. teens overall was stable,” Ebersman said, noting that adolescents’ tendency to fib about their age makes any analysis tricky. However, he added, “we did see a decrease in daily users specifically among younger teens.”

Slate reports:

“Ebersman added that the “younger teens” finding was “of questionable statistical significance,” because Facebook’s youngest users don’t always accurately report their ages. And he maintained that the overwhelming majority U.S. teens still have Facebook accounts. (His exact phrasing—”We remain close to fully penetrated among teens in the U.S.”—probably did not come out quite the way he intended it to.)”

There has been plenty of anecdotal evidence that some teens are abandoning Facebook, turning instead to Vine, Instagram and Snapchat* instead. And Facebook Quitters are certainly something to worry about. But I don’t think there are that many of them. Facebook usage is still incredibly high.

*  Mobile MAUs (monthly active users) grew 45% year-over-year to 874 million

*  Mobile DAUS (daily active users) were 507 million on average for September 2013

*  MAUs were 1.19 billion as of September 30, 2013 up 18% year-over-year 

*  DAUs were 728 million on average for September 2013 up 25% year-over-year

The MAU/DAU ratio for all of Facebook is 61% and for mobile is 58%, still industry leading numbers. It is an incredibly sticky service for most users, and engagement is an excellent predictor of retention.

Facebook should be more worried about the people (teens and younger) who never use Facebook at all, but instead turn to Snapchat, Instagram, Vine, Twitter or something else as their FIRST social network. It is the Facebook Nevers that should worry Facebook.

Other “home pages” on the internet have fallen from favor before, ranging from AOL to Yahoo to MySpace. In some instances the fall has been precipitous. But in many cases, the fall has been far more gradual. Current users have continued to use the site, although perhaps less frequently. But much faster than usage has dropped off, average age has gone up. For example, Yahoo’s reach among 55-65 year olds is higher than it is among 16-24 year olds:

That is because few new, young users are starting to use the site. The aging of Yahoo’s user base is what drove it’s acquisition of Tumblr.

Facebook will likely continue to have an enormous reach for a very long time. But unless Facebook finds a way to reverse this trend of Facebook Nevers, it will one day wake up with a user age profile that looks like Yahoos. That could be 10 years or more away. But it will happen because of  Facebook Nevers, not because of Facebook quitters.

* A Lightspeed portfolio company.

 

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Social media sites by definition involve user generated content. In some cases, like Youtube comments or Chatroulette, that makes for some unpleasant behavior. In other cases, like Pinterest and Quora, the better angels of our nature win out. The difference comes down to user culture. I wrote a guest post over at Forbes about how the user culture of social media sites determines whether you good good behavior or bad behavior. Check it out.

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We all know that internet usage is steadily shifting over to mobile. We also know that mobile phones are not just mini laptops. User behavior changes on mobile phones. I have a guest column in Pando Daily today that talks …

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Education is a topic near and dear to my heart. Today I attended the demo day for Co.lab, an incubator focused on the intersection of edtech and games. Co.lab is a joint venture between the non profit venture philanthropy …

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This morning, John Schroeder, CEO of MapR, shared a great post on what it takes to run a company that is “Built to Last.” As John writes, being “built to last” is an idea that is arguably most relevant in …

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Successful media is entertaining. It has to be to get you to keep coming back day after day, many times a day.

Getting this right requires a mix of serendipity and high value content. Not enough high value content and …

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Joe Lonsdale (co-founder of Palantir, Addepar and Formation8)  kicked off a meaningful conversation with us on building  multi-billion dollar businesses in big data at one of our recent Lightspeed Dinner Series events this week.

Lightspeed Dinner Series on Big Data with Joe Lonsdale from Formation 8

Lightspeed Dinner Series on Big Data

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In the early days of a startup, every business component, from what to pay employees to new product features seems critical.  But what are the most important measures of success for a startup?

This week, I shared an article on …

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Only occasionally do you meet people who can look past what everyone else is doing and see through to an essential truth. Something that is obvious once they say it, but completely unclear beforehand. The founders of Snapchat, Evan Spiegel …

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