National / International News

George Zimmerman Injured After Gun Is Reportedly Fired At His Car

NPR News - Mon, 2015-05-11 12:01

George Zimmerman reportedly suffered minor injuries from shattered glass from his car's passenger window. Police say the incident involves a man who previously accused Zimmerman of making threats.

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Zimmerman hurt in Florida shooting

BBC - Mon, 2015-05-11 11:47
George Zimmerman, the man acquitted in 2013 of the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, is injured in a shooting in Florida on Monday afternoon.

I'm ready for England - Pietersen

BBC - Mon, 2015-05-11 11:46
Kevin Pietersen says he is ready to return to the England side after scoring a career-best 326 not out for Surrey.

Father sexually assaults two-year-old

BBC - Mon, 2015-05-11 11:39
A father is jailed for 20 years for sexually assaulting his two-year-old daughter and raping his wife.

Colombia: 'No full amnesty for Farc'

BBC - Mon, 2015-05-11 11:06
Colombian Peace Commissioner Sergio Jaramillo rules out a blanket amnesty for Farc rebels but says he is confident a peace deal can be reached.

Jury: Starbucks' Free Coffee Not At Fault In Police Officer's Burn Claims

NPR News - Mon, 2015-05-11 11:06

A North Carolina jury has rejected a $750,000 civil lawsuit filed by a police officer who said that a Starbucks store had given him a large cup of hot coffee with an insecure lid.

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New York Governor Pledges Action After Revelations Of Nail Salon Work Conditions

NPR News - Mon, 2015-05-11 10:51

After The New York Times published a series on exploitative work conditions at nail salons, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has launched a task force to confront the issue.

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The First Place In East Asia To Welcome Same-Sex Marriage

NPR News - Mon, 2015-05-11 10:21

Tokyo's trendy Shibuya district has become the first place in Japan – and all of East Asia — to recognize same-sex partnerships. It raises the possibility other parts of Japan will follow.

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No One's Talking About What The Pacific Trade Deal Means For Diets

NPR News - Mon, 2015-05-11 10:11

Trade deals like NAFTA can have vast long-term impacts on diet and health. Experts say they're concerned that the U.S. isn't talking about these implications of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

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Lamb confirms Lib Dem leadership bid

BBC - Mon, 2015-05-11 10:04
Former Health Minister Norman Lamb confirms he will run for the leadership of the Liberal Democrats.

Questions swirl around Bin Laden report

BBC - Mon, 2015-05-11 09:58
Did the US do a deal to kill Bin Laden?

VIDEO: Aerial footage shows US tornado damage

BBC - Mon, 2015-05-11 09:56
A severe storm has rolled through the southern US, killing at least five people and leaving more than 43 injured.

Paraguay rebuked over pregnant child

BBC - Mon, 2015-05-11 09:54
Paraguay 'failed to protect' pregnant 10-year-old rape victim who has been denied an abortion, says a group of UN experts.

What can a board member do for a high-value startup?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-05-11 09:41

When the anonymous sharing app Secret shut down recently after taking around $35 million in investment in its first year, it sparked an open conversation that touched on current frothy conditions in Silicon Valley, where high financing rounds and valuations have been getting more attention of late.  (Secret's valuation rose $60 million over just four months last year, but this pales in comparison to Uber, which is growing so rapidly that it might be on its way to a $50 billion valuation). A Google Ventures investor was quoted saying Secret raised too much, too soon. He later wrote that it's inadvisable for companies to sell stock too early

In an unrelated series of tweets, the president of the influential startup incubator Y Combinator presented a different view on today's startup financing scene, but one that also began on a cautionary note: "I am deeply uncomfortable by the continued phenomenon of startups raising multi-million dollar seed/Series A rounds with no board member." 

We wanted to know more, so we asked Y Combinator's Sam Altman for some details: 

What's the purpose of investors also serving as board members for the startups they inject money into?

An outside board member provides discipline and rigor.  If the company knows they have to present to the board once a month, everyone is focused on making sure things are moving in the right direction.  If there is no board meeting to act as a forcing function, there is less urgency.

Also, board members can often talk the founders out of their own (often healthy) delusions.  Delusions are good in some cases but not when a company is getting close to running out of money.  The board provides an important guardrail in cases like these.

 When did you start to see a shift away from that arrangement becoming the norm?  

I started to see the shift about four years ago.  It started with the start of party rounds (lots of investors writing small checks and no one single investor taking a board seat).  Then it got worse when VC firms started doing large seed rounds; they stopped taking board seats too.  It's a case of being very aggressive and trying to participate in more companies than they have bandwidth to help.

What can potential investors do in this environment to balance out responsibility for a startup's performance?

 I think that this is an easy problem for investors to fix — they can just return to their previous practice of rolling up their sleeves and helping companies. 

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