Arianna Huffington LIVE at Now, New, Next

The Great Global Burnout: an intimate conversation on how burnout has taken new form

We’re 4 days away from Now, New, Next and we have some surprises in store for you. We are thrilled to announce our keynote speaker, Arianna Huffington.

We’ve gathered a lineup of speakers and events spanning the worlds of business, VC, and culture to speak directly to the challenges and questions we face in a world that’s shifted drastically over the last several months—and we want you to be a part of the conversation. 

See our full slate of events here

Event Highlights

Additional Speaker Highlights

A Treat From Haus, a new low-alcohol apéritif 

Invest with friends. Claim your $50 stock 

gift with Public here

For families @ home together, try OK Play

Have you checked out the entire slate of events? RSVP for more events here. Let us know what you are most excited for! 

Worklife, one year later

culture, technology, work in a world that’s drastically shifted

Dear friends,

I founded Worklife this time last year to build and back companies that make work more creative, flexible, and well… human.

We’re the first venture capital designed for a new era.
Where work is more creative and anyone can start something.
Where life is more flexible and not tied to an office.

Where everyone is a triple threat.

To deliver on these values and invest in our community, we’re hosting a three day event for investors, founders and builders & creators from all industries.

Think of it as Sun Valley meets SXSW, upbeat talks with musical performances.

We’ve gathered a lineup of speakers and events spanning the worlds of business, VC, and culture to speak directly to the challenges and questions we face in a world that’s drastically shifted over the last several months—and we want you to be a part of the conversation. 

RSVP for events here

Thank you for your ongoing support and I hope to see you all next week.


Event Highlights

Speaker Highlights

  • Leif Abraham, Co-CEO at Public

  • Shavone Charles, Director of Communications + Creative Partnerships at VSCO

  • Adrienne Lawrence, Author of Staying in The Game

  • Phil Libin, Founder & CEO of Mmhmm, previously Founder & CEO of Evernote

  • Anne Raimondi, CCO at Guru, Board Member at Asana, Gusto, Patreon

  • Ben Rubin, Founder & CEO of /talk, previously Founder & CEO of Houseparty

  • And more to come!

Here’s the full list of events (with even more coming soon…)

Shifting the Future of Business & Design

Event Date & Time: Tuesday, October 13th; 12:30PM - 1:30PM PST

Join Worklife in a series of thought-provoking, multidisciplinary talks—spanning business, design, and culture—that will explore trends in progress and examine where greater change is still needed. RSVP here.

Cultivating Resilience In Crisis

Event Date & Time: Tuesday, October 13th; 2:15PM - 3:00PM PST

The world is radically shifting due to a series of recent global events. While a few businesses and movements have made major gains, most have suffered profound losses. Stop by for an inspiring talk on how we can survive and find the strength to move our lives, societies, and economies forward in a post-COVID world. RSVP here

Beyond Black Lives Marketing

Event Date & Time: Wednesday, October 14th; 12:00PM - 12:45PM PST

While many companies posted black tiles in solidarity with BLM, many are falling short of cultivating psychological safety, inclusion, and growth in our industries—come through for a discussion on how to move beyond empty statements. RSVP here

Raising Cash Outside of VC

Event Date & Time: Wednesday, October 14th; 12:45PM - 1:30PM PST

VC is a gated community of sorts and it’s becoming ever more competitive for founders to raise funds, especially in times of economic uncertainty. Join Worklife for an insightful discussion on the new modes enabling founders to raise in the future. RSVP here

Worklife Radio | Hannah Faith

Event Date & Time: Wednesday, October 14th; 1:30PM - 2:00PM PST

Turn your sound on for a special dj set from London-based DJ and curator, Hannah Faith. Worklife Radio curates sounds and moods for the full spectrum of life. RSVP here

Building Highly Productive Teams

Event Date & Time: Wednesday, October 14th; 2:00PM - 2:45PM

Practically overnight, the world’s workplace went digital. In an era of dispersed teams, how do you stay productive and up your team’s productivity? Anne Raimondi and Rajiv Ayyangar will lead a panel discussion on how to do just that. RSVP here

Career Evolution: Planning Your Next Step In Your Career

Event Date & Time: Thursday, October 15th; 12:00PM - 12:45PM

Join Worklife for a thoughtful conversation about how to think about what’s next for your career amid global upheaval and accelerated change. RSVP here

Convert Your Audience To Cash: Creator Monetization Post-Covid

Event Date & Time: Thursday, October 15th; 1:30PM - 2:30PM

Creators put in a lot of work to grow their audience, and they deserve to make a living doing what they love. Stop by for a panel discussion about the methods and latest tech that can help you grow your empire. RSVP here

Worklife Radio | Alex Isley

Event Date & Time: Thursday, October 15th; 2:30PM -3:00PM

Turn your sound on for a special performance from LA based R&B songstress Alex Isley as we close out our Now, New, Next event! Worklife Radio curates sounds and moods for the full spectrum of life. RSVP here

Worklife Presents: Now, New, Next

A three day event for investors, founders and artists from all industries

Worklife’s first annual meeting is on the horizon—and since it’s been a hell of a year, we’ve curated a lineup of discussions, workshops, and musical performances spanning the worlds of business, venture capital, and culture to speak directly to the challenges and questions we face in a world that’s shifted drastically over the last several months.

We wanted to give you first dibs on joining the event, so see below for a sampling of the schedule and mark your calendars for October 13th through October 15th! 

RSVP for events here

Event Highlights

  • Building Highly Productive Teams 

  • Beyond Black Lives Marketing

  • Shifting The Future of Business & Design

  • The Latest Tech to Grow Your Creative Empire

  • Musical performances including a special guest from NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts

  • And more to come! 

Speaker Highlights

  • Leif Abraham, Co-CEO at Public

  • Shavone Charles, Director of Communications + Creative Partnerships at VSCO

  • Adrienne Lawrence, Author of Staying in The Game

  • Phil Libin, Founder & CEO of Mmhmm, previously Founder & CEO of Evernote

  • Anne Raimondi, CCO at Guru, Board Member at Asana, Gusto, Patreon

  • Ben Rubin, Founder & CEO of /talk, previously Founder & CEO of Houseparty

  • And more to come!

The JAMStack & the startups building it

A special edition with Technically's Justin Gage for this week's JAMStack Conference

As an angel investor in Webflow and now full-time investor in companies like WorkOS, TakeShape, GitDuck and other great dev tools, I get asked a lot about what’s to come for software development and the future of work for individual builders and contributors.

This week marks an important milestone for the JAMStack community, it’s the first virtual conference hosted by my friends at Netlify including founder & CEO Matt Biilmann, the up-and-coming media mogul and everyone’s favorite developer evangelist Cassidy Williams and the broader JAMStack community that’s revolutionizing the developer experience with better performance, lower cost and greater scalability.

If you haven’t already, subscribe to Justin’s newsletter Technically, it’s personally my favorite tech newsletter for technical, non-technical, and triple threats across a number of industries :)

The JAMStack and the startups building it

As the line between frontend and backend has blurred over the past few years (thanks React), the JAMStack has emerged as a new paradigm for building sites and apps. The stack itself is generally easy to understand, but the ecosystem – tools, plugins, and APIs – isn’t. We’re going to walk through what the JAMStack is, how to categorize tooling, and why modular use case specific APIs are going to continue to grow in popularity.

Javascript, API, and Markup

The JAMStack is an architectural pattern (sort of) for building apps that moves away from the traditional web server model and focuses on serving static files from “the edge” (data centers physically close to your computer). JAM stands for Javascript, API, and Markup:

  • Javascript: all code is in JS, for both frontend interactivity and API requests and handling

  • API: instead of a monolithic web server, all backend functionality (authentication, users, etc.) is served via APIs

  • Markup: your whole site is just a bunch of HTML files served statically

This is like, very different from what most larger apps look like. If you’re accessing a web app like Twitter in your browser, there’s probably a ton of server side logic dictating what you see, how you log in, and everything else that’s custom about your experience. In a JAMStack app, all of that logic would be encapsulated in simple APIs.

These ideas have been around for a while, but the JAMStack concept is definitely having a moment over the past couple of years:

jamstack google trends

There’s even a JAMStack conference that started in 2018, started by a group of repeat founders from early JAMStack companies (Contentful, Gatsby, etc.) that have continued investing in the ecosystem.

The past few years have been a perfect storm for the kind of apps we’re talking about. Javascript is now the most popular programming language in the world, used by 70% of devs last year and likely more in 2020. GraphQL is used by almost 40% of JS devs, and even Apollo by 25%. Hosting has gotten laughably cheap, and services like Netlify give you automatic deploys, a global CDN, and authentication for free.

As with everything in web development, JAMStack apps vs. traditional web apps isn’t entirely black and white. Even if you hide complex server logic behind easy to use APIs, JAMStack apps need to have a backend somewhere; and caching and serving files from a CDN isn’t exactly a new idea.

jamstack tweet

Think of JAMStack less as an architecture and more as a philosophy for where application logic should sit and what best practices for serving sites should be. In that vein, keep an eye out for Redwood.js – they’re taking aim at a full framework for JAMStack apps complete with an actual backend.

The JAMStack Ecosystem

The easiest way to understand all of the available tooling out there is to break it down by JAM – Javascript, API, and Markup.

1. J is for Javascript

It’s a meme that Javascript is the worst, and some teams have been focusing on improving ergonomics by building on top of it. The best known example is Typescript – it’s basically strongly typed Javascript. The ability to define static types means you’ll be able to catch errors before your code runs. Static typing is standard in languages like Java and C++, and Python added pseudo-support last year. Another example of a related JS add-on: Purescript.

2. A is for API

Even if your backend is nice and clean and obscured behind a simple API, application logic has to live somewhere. The serverless ecosystem has been growing pretty quickly: all major cloud providers offer the ability to run functions without setting up a server, like Lambda on AWS. Over the past few years though, hosting providers like Netlify and Vercel have started to support serverless functions as add-ons. They’re both just white-labeling other cloud providers for now, but that could change in the future. AWS’s Amplify is lurking (along with ages old Firebase), too.

Another important area of the ecosystem is CMS providers. If you’re running a blog or publication, you’d traditionally need to use a Content Management System like Wordpress or Drupal – deployed on a server – to write and manage your content. For JAMStack apps (or regular apps too, really), newer providers like Contentful and Storyblok expose content through REST or GraphQL APIs so you don’t need to manage any servers yourself. There are a lot of headless CMS solutions out there.

3. M is for Markup

This is where things get interesting. Probably the biggest story in frontend over the past few years has been the meteoric rise of client side rendering via ReactVue, and Angular. Building componentized pages that interact well with your data model is now more of a science than an art. Alongside these kinds of libraries, a new suite of static site generators like HugoJekyllGatsby, and Next.js are making it simpler to go from content to built page.

The last missing piece here is hosting and deployment. Like Firebase did for mobile apps, companies like Netlify offer platforms that simplify a lot of the annoying parts of building JAMStack apps, like a global CDN, automatic deploys, identity and login, and serverless functions. More about them in the next section.

Two types of tools: point and platform

As with pretty much all developer tools, the JAMStack landscape can be split into two basic approaches: do a really good job at one task, or offer a full platform for accomplishing an entire workflow.

→ Point solutions

Most of the tools we covered across the J,A, and M try to be useful for one particular task: Contentful for CMS, Lambda for Serverless, or Hugo for static site generation. You can’t realistically finish an entire project without using multiple of these, and they don’t necessarily integrate well out of the box.

→ Platforms

Companies like Netlify and Vercel, formally known as Zeit, are trying to build full platforms for building JAMStack apps – they take care of almost everything, from deploy to functions to CMS. Individually, each piece that they offer isn’t going to be the best on the market, or even close to that; but the power of features integrated together can sometimes outweigh shortcomings of individual products (just ask Microsoft). This is part of why Netlify is trying to own the content and narrative around JAMStack sites.

For an exhaustive list of JAMStack related tools, check out the awesome-jamstack repo on Github.

The Future: Use Case Specific APIs

Earlier, we looked at tools like Contentful; they provide a fully managed CMS that gets exposed via an API. CMS is just one well scoped use case – writing and managing content. But the Contentful model is getting a lot more popular as a broader category: SaaS tools that take care of a full piece of a workflow with a very use case specific series of APIs. Here are a few examples of more established ones:

  • Algolia – search as a service via configurable APIs

  • Auth0 – identity and authentication as a service via API

  • Optimizely – APIs for feature flagging and experimentation

  • Shopify Plus – headless e-commerce, like Contentful

  • Sendgrid – send emails to your users via API

  • Stripe – IDK if you’ve heard of them, they’re hiring

These tools have 2 equally important parts:

  1. A series of APIs to integrate directly into your app

  2. A frontend / admin panel for visibility and management

Take a look at Algolia, for example. You push data, configure indices, and call search all via a client library like Javascript. Once you have the Algolia APIs working in your app, you can use their dashboards to get analytics and see how users are interacting with what you’ve built.

These services have nothing to with each other in terms of what they actually help developers do, but they all rely on the same approach of providing value through a narrowly scoped set of APIs (and they’re API first, even if there are frontends) that solve a particular functional use case.

One way of looking at these third party APIs is as a natural progression from JAMStack’s core tenet: couching complexity behind well designed APIs that make actual deployment easy. The next logical step is outsourcing those APIs.

jamstack diagram

I think this is going to become an increasingly common piece of how developers automate parts of their work. A few newer services I’m keeping an eye on:

  • Memberstack – APIs for building and managing memberships

  • Getform – APIs for building forms into your site with “no backend”

  • Sendbird – APIs for chat and messaging in your app

  • Snipcart – API for adding a shopping cart to your site

Some of these services are more infrastructure-y (think Plaid, Algolia) while some are more functional (Memberstack, Sendbird). The common thread is that they need to solve some non-trivial problem (if it’s too easy to build yourself, you will) while still giving developers the flexibility they’d expect from something more custom.

Thanks to Justin Gage and Bucky Moore for some good ideas. If you liked or hated this, share it on TwitterReddit, or HackerNews.

Why I built Silicon Valley in Figma

How a workplace product became a viral social network overnight

As work and life have converged, we continue to see new virtual experiences for nearly every major life event and daily activity.

New startups are being formed with no physical office space. Zillow, a publicly traded company, announced a fully remote policy for its 5,000+ employees until the end of 2020. The new playbook for people & culture is currently being written for a new way of worklife: more flexibility, fewer meetings and an optional office in the future with new safe, socially-distant features.

For the first time in its 45-year run, the late night show that unites America, declared from Tom Hanks’ kitchen, “Live from Zoom, it’s Saturday Night Live!” Bar mitzvahs and baby showers now take place on screens and first dates once scheduled at a local bar are audio streamed on Clubhouse, complete with a remote bartender and an audience. 

While sheltered in place, I’ve thought a lot about our quirky culture in Silicon Valley and why the media, #techtwitter and invite-only, private beta, and ‘skip the line’ tools and apps all fail to paint an accurate picture of the open, thoughtful and inclusive nature of daily life in Silicon Valley. Our daily serendipitous interactions are far better than our public-facing personas.

As a long-time gamer, elder egirl and frequently labeled tech bro, I thought what if we created the Sims or Animal Crossing, but for the people of Silicon Valley?

This thought kicked off what would become Stay at Home Valleya spatial interface and digital recreation of the Bay Area tech ecosystem that anyone could access and collectively build.

A single Figma file shared with a simple link: no wait list, invite code, or moderator.

Bringing the Serendipity and Energy of The Bay Area Online

Before moving to San Francisco, I lived in a number of places starting in the suburbs of Ohio then Sydney, Hong Kong with a number of month long stints other places in between. Since then, I’ve fallen in love with Mexico City, “split my time” with Los Angeles and frequently have the same thought: there’s no place quite like Silicon Valley.

As we translate our in-person interactions into online equivalents, it’s hard not to miss the electricity of the city: driven individuals and teams, the eagerness to pay it forward, and the unbridled enthusiasm that we lovingly call founder craziness. I’ve described Silicon Valley as a place where a cold email and a coffee can change your life.

Paul Graham’s ode to great cities succinctly captures how our environment can shape us:

“Great cities attract ambitious people. You can sense it when you walk around one. In a hundred subtle ways, the city sends you a message: you could do more; you should try harder.”

As someone who has personally experienced the magic of running into someone at Bluebottle or catching up while waiting for an Uber, I wanted to build an online equivalent that captured the serendipitous moments that make Silicon Valley great.

I wanted to create a safe space where anyone could share company updates, meet someone new, or build something from scratch.

I worked with designer, Fiona Carty, a Boba Guys-alum who I hired two days after the company let go of 400 people and shut 17 locations in a single day.

Fiona contacted me via Instagram DMs and I was blown away by her ability to build authentic communities through technology that's traditionally used for work: Figma, Notion, and Airtable.

We built Stay at Home Valley in Figma late one evening. We started with a few key buildings and tech influencers. Shortly after, we shared a link to the public Figma file to the #DesignTwitter community and launched it on Product Hunt

How the Tech Community Responded

Stay at Home Valley saw 15,000 visits in less than 24 hours. In total, the map has over 200 startup offices and points of interest including Dropbox, Instagram, Webflow, and the Salesforce Tower. It also saw coverage in Fast Company, Business Insider and New York Times tech, memes, internet culture writer Taylor Lorenz tweeted about it (twice!)

Visitors to our virtual world built their startup, added their office dog, and re-opened their favorite places like Boba Guys, Mission Cliffs and nostalgic points of interest.

For two weeks, we pushed Figma’s 50 editor maximum per file limit, which we candidly called “Dreamforce-level traffic” in and out of the city.

While many online communities and digital gathering can be difficult to moderate with harassment, spam, and the new threat of Zoombombing, we saw zero malicious postings or spam. If anything, this was an early signal that it is in fact “time to build.”

Founders, designers, individuals with no design experience collaborated to host COVID-19 relief events, celebrate new rounds of funding and build a better city altogether with more housing and free, safe transportation.

Here are some of the landmarks and moments recreated in Stay at Home Valley:

  • Residents of Stay at Home Valley re-opened The Wing, which laid off hundreds of its staff including friends in SF, and invited Audrey Gelman to join a charity event to support The Wing Relief Fund.

  • Spotify CEO can be spotted near the Spotify SF office for a charity event supporting Spotify's COVID-19 Music Relief page dollar-for-dollar up to a total Spotify contribution of $10 million.

  • Flexport was added to the map as the company focuses their efforts on COVID-19 relief; they’ve delivered 62 million pieces of personal protective equipment. They’re also recruiting in Stay at Home Valley, a sign near their HQ reveals that they're hiring infrastructure engineers. 

  • Notion announced a $50M funding round at $2B valuation – Index Ventures' Sarah Cannon was digitally added leaving the office while Cristina Cordova is seen joining Stripe as their Head of Platform & Partnerships. You'll find shoes outside the office, a nod to Notion's no shoes culture. 

  • Stripe announced its latest round $600M round with board member and avid sailor Diane Green outside sailing in Stripe's moat protected by unicorns. 

  • Adam Noffsinger, a product designer at Cruise, added autonomous vehicles throughout the city to provide a safe form of transportation for the citizens of Stay at Home Valley during shelter in place. 

  • Celebrity CEOs were added including Naval Ravikant in the clouds, Tobi Lütke playing Starcraft, and Ivan Zhao celebrating Notion’s $2B valuation. 

  • The community "re-opened" their favorite local businesses: Boba Guys re-opened across the city, local climbing gyms invited people back, and trendy date spots like Dumpling Time came back to life. 

  • Inside jokes are hidden throughout the city. Near the headquarters of Square and Twitter, you’ll find a secret tunnel for Jack Dorsey to travel between meetings. 

  • Beyond the Bay Area, new cities like Seattle, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Lisbon and more emerge with major points of interest and a growing startup scene. In the spirit of distributed work, “Remote Land” was added, where the fully remote team at Doist sits. 

  • There was a romantic engagement announcement near Dropbox's office. 

  • AWS, Google Cloud, Azure and Riot Games hover symbolically in the sky.

In between historic buildings, interesting startups, and city landmarks, Stay at Home Valley gave people a fun way to recapture some of the magic of The Bay Area and beyond.  

With an extended period of time at home, my hope is we’ll continue to see the builders that will thrive in the new world think of creative ways to bridge the gap between real life and the virtual world.

If you’re building something new, either a startup or a fun creative project, say “hi” on Twitter.  

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