Hello world, from Austin!

Hi readers,

I’m working my way towards migrating my primary blog at andrewchen.com to Substack. Not quite sure how to deal with the complexities of keeping it up so that I get SEO, continue to collect emails, etc., while simultaneously also having a new thing. But I’m figuring it out. In the meantime, I’m going to start writing here a little bit to experiment more with the platform.

Right now I’m in Austin, TX. And have been here for almost a month. No, no, I’m not moving here, don’t worry. San Francisco is my home, and I have a high degree of confidence that it’ll be the primary home of the tech industry post-pandemic. So I’m coming back in a few weeks. But in the meantime, I’m staying in a good friend’s guest house in one of my favorite neighborhoods of Austin, and getting plenty of time to write my book, which is actually what I’m focused on right now.

OK, so the book - I’ve been working on “The Cold Start Problem” now for almost 3 years. Crazy. It’s been a marathon, not a sprint. It’s not just 100x more work than writing a blog post, it might be 1000x. There’s interviews, discussions, frameworks, case studies, tons of research, etc. I could see how I might work on it for like 5 years, or even more. I’m not ready to share quite all the details on what the book includes yet, but I’ll have more soon. But basically I picked a very large umbrella - “network effects” - that is then able to fit in a ton of different topics, like Uber, user growth frameworks, viral loops, etc etc.

Work is going great. I’m enjoying it immensely, and it’s fun to invest and work with entrepreneurs on products that I really love. Sometimes I describe the investing job as, “the smartest people in the world explain all their best ideas.” How wonderful is that?

Some of you may know that I spent about 3 months last year driving around the US in a van — Utah, Arizona, Nevada, SoCal, etc., etc. — until it got so cold that it stopped making sense. Right now the van is parked away for storage, but I can’t wait to get back to SF and start driving again. It was weirdly functional for a tiny 100sqft experience. I was able to Zoom all day, get all my work done, and also see a lot of the US. I went to Zion, Sedona, Powder Mountain, and a bunch of other places for the first time. Once things warm up, I’m planning to go north to hit up Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, etc. Might even check out my home state of Washington and the Olympic Peninsula, the San Juan Islands, and some of the other favorites.

Anyway, I appreciate all of you for subscribing to my Substack early. I think I just had a screenshot of my home screen here for months and months. But maybe I’ll start to write here and see where it goes, without promoting it on Twitter etc. Just for fun. Thanks again all!

Andrew, from Austin TX.