The Medium Rules: Long-Term Trends in Media and Technology


Network Effects, with Tim Gunderson of Carta

Ep. 19

Sometimes the biggest startup ideas are sitting right under our noses until somebody decides to just pick up and build the company. This is the case with Carta, which took an obvious pain point, the management of private company capitalization tables, and built a unicorn business. On the final episode of The Medium Rules for 2019, I sat down with Tim Gunderson, VP Products at Carta, to discuss how Carta took what might have seemed like a straightforward problem, built a simple cloud-based solution, and grew a company to a valuation of $1.7 billion (and counting!). In addition to great tech, the ubiquity of the cloud, a great founder and a great team, the magic insight here lies to a great extent in network effects: startups (in many cases with a not-so-gentle nudge from startup counsel!) go on the platform to reduce friction associated with cap table management, fund investors start to see the benefit of a high-level view of all of their portfolio investments and also urge companies to be on Carta, and finally fund LP’s are also pulled into the network to be able to easily view fund performance from the bottom up. We hope you tune in, watch and listen to this very lively season-ending episode. 

More Episodes


Media Strategies for Political Advocacy in the 2020 Election Cycle w/ Swing Left

Ep. 18
How do you crack the code on effectively messaging political advocacy on social media?What is the right tone, what are the right platforms, and what is the right targeting? One organization that seems to be nailing this challenge is the progressive, grassroots political advocacy organization, Swing Left.Swing Left was founded in the wake of the 2016 Presidential election.The initial, basic idea was to develop a tool by which individuals could plug their zip code into Swing Left’s website and quickly locate the nearest US House district whose seat was, in 2016, decided by a small margin and might be “flappable” from red to blue in the 2018 midterms.So the idea was to identify the “swing seats” in the 2018 midterm elections and to mobilize volunteers to help flip the US House of Representatives from Republican to Democrat.In and around this advocacy, Swing Left developed a highly visible social media campaign mixing in voters and volunteers with influencers and celebrities, all in service to Swing Left’s ambitious activist swing seat agenda.Those short videos with celebrities each speaking a line or two telling you how to vote?That was Swing Left.And, as we know, the 2018 midterms were a historic blue wave, particularly with respect to the House, and many observers credited Swing Left as a significant factor.In other words, mission accomplished.On this episode of The Medium Rules, Alan sits down with Michelle Finocchi and Marc Smrikarov, respectively the Chief Marketing Officer and the Head of Communications of Swing Left, for a discussion around Swing Left’s highly successful media strategy leading up to 2018 and, of more moment, and how it is thinking about creating and deploying media in the months leading up to 2020. We cover the shifting political landscape since the 2018 mid-terms, how Swing Left is evolving its advocacy for a Presidential cycle, its priorities for the coming cycle, as well as how Swing Left is developing and deploying technology in service of advocacy.We hope you tune in, listen and watch this very interesting episode by a group that represents some of the most skilled advocacy entrepreneurs in the country.

AppNexus, AT&T and the Future of Media, with Michael Rubenstein President of AppNexus

Ep. 17
The explosion of so-called programmatic advertising over the past decade is one of those technological phenomena that has had so many and so varied a set of seismic second-order effects that we almost take it for granted that the world of interactive advertising was always so.Not the case.Consider this quote, which now reads as charmingly quaint, from the April 14, 2007New York Timesarticle announcing the sale of DoubleClick to Google:“DoubleClick’s chief executive, David Rosenblatt, said a few weeks ago that a new system it had developed for the buying and selling of online ads would probably become the chief money maker within five years. The system, a Nasdaq-like exchange for online ads, brings Web publishers and advertising buyers together on a Web site where they can participate in auctions for ad space.”As it turned out, the acquisition of DoubleClick by Google has turned to be one of, if not the single-most consequential acquisition by any tech company in history as it relates to the publishing web and the business of online advertising.On this episode The Medium Rules I sit down with Michael Rubenstein, the President of AppNexus, for a conversation tracing the origins and history of electronic exchanges for buying and selling digital advertising inventory.Michael takes us through his experiences working on the first ad exchange developed at DoubleClick, the decision-making process in connection with the sale of DoubleClick to Google, and then his decision to leave Google for another startup, AppNexus.Of course, AppNexus went on to become the biggest and most successful independent ad exchange out there, and Michael discusses the growth of AppNexus, it’s various strategic decisions along the way, the competitive pressures as programmatic advertising in effect swallowed the industry, and finally the process and logic in selling to AT&T.In the process of walking through all of this history, Michael ends up delivering a master class in current and future trends with respect to the media business.This episode is a true must-listen piece of content which we hope you will enjoy watching and listening as much as we enjoyed in the taping.