Peter Thiel

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pages: 222 words: 70,132

Move Fast and Break Things: How Facebook, Google, and Amazon Cornered Culture and Undermined Democracy by Jonathan Taplin

1960s counterculture, 3D printing, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, American Legislative Exchange Council, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, back-to-the-land, barriers to entry, basic income, battle of ideas, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, bitcoin, Brewster Kahle, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, Clayton Christensen, commoditize, creative destruction, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, data is the new oil, David Brooks, David Graeber, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, equal pay for equal work, Erik Brynjolfsson, future of journalism, future of work, George Akerlof, George Gilder, Google bus, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, income inequality, informal economy, information asymmetry, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, labor-force participation, life extension, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, Mother of all demos, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, offshore financial centre, packet switching, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, rent-seeking, revision control, Robert Bork, Robert Gordon, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, secular stagnation, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, smart grid, Snapchat, software is eating the world, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, The Chicago School, The Market for Lemons, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, transfer pricing, trickle-down economics, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, universal basic income, unpaid internship, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, web application, Whole Earth Catalog, winner-take-all economy, women in the workforce, Y Combinator

Jennifer Burns, Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right (London: Oxford University Press, 2009). Anne Conover Heller, Ayn Rand and the World She Made (New York: Nan A. Talese, 2009). Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead (New York: Bobbs-Merrill, 1943). Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged (New York: Random House, 1957). Peter Thiel, “The Education of a Libertarian,” Cato Institute, April 2009, www.cato-unbound.org/2009/04/13/peter-thiel/education-libertarian. Hans Hermann-Hoppe, Democracy—The God That Failed (Newark: Transaction, 2001). Greg Satell, “Peter Thiel’s Four Rules for Creating a Great Business,” Forbes, October 3, 2014, www.forbes.com/sites/gregsatell/2014/10/03/peter-thiels-4-rules-for-creating-a-great-business/2/#2ea53ac12804. Brad Stone, The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon (New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2013). Chapter Five: Digital Destruction The film The Social Network, written by Aaron Sorkin and directed by David Fincher, is a remarkably honest telling of the birth of Facebook.

Speaking at the Black Hat USA cybersecurity conference in 2015, longtime tech security guru Dan Kaminsky said, “Half of all Americans are backing away from the net due to fears regarding security and privacy. We need to go ahead and get the Internet fixed or risk losing this engine of beauty.” People like Google CEO Larry Page, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, PayPal founder Peter Thiel, and Sean Parker of Napster and Facebook fame are among the richest men in the world, with ambitions so outsize that they are the stuff of fiction: Dave Eggers’s The Circle and Don DeLillo’s Zero K are populated with tech billionaires inventing technology that will enable people to live forever. But this scenario is happening in real life. Peter Thiel, Larry Page, and others are investing hundreds of millions of dollars in research to “end human aging” and to merge human consciousness into their all-powerful networks. As George Packer, writing in the New Yorker, put it, “In Thiel’s techno-utopia a few thousand Americans might own robot-driven cars and live to a hundred and fifty, while millions of others lose their jobs to computers that are far smarter than they are, then perish at sixty.”

First, he kept Zuckerberg centered on Facebook, even though the young coder was spending a lot of time writing another program called Wirehog, which was essentially a version of Napster. Parker convinced him that it would be nothing but trouble in the form of lawsuits from the content community. The genius of Facebook was that the users provided all the content. There was no need to steal pictures, as he had for Facemash, or music files, as Parker had done for Napster. The second thing Parker did was to introduce Zuckerberg to Peter Thiel. Peter Thiel grasped almost immediately the potential of Facebook. As David Kirkpatrick explained in The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World, “What happened once it opened at a new school was what most impressed Thiel. Within days it typically captured essentially the entire student body, and more than 80 percent of users returned to the site daily!” This was unprecedented, and Thiel knew that Facebook fit all four of his success categories.


pages: 398 words: 108,889

The Paypal Wars: Battles With Ebay, the Media, the Mafia, and the Rest of Planet Earth by Eric M. Jackson

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

bank run, business process, call centre, creative destruction, disintermediation, Elon Musk, index fund, Internet Archive, iterative process, Joseph Schumpeter, market design, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, money market fund, moral hazard, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, Peter Thiel, Robert Metcalfe, Sand Hill Road, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, telemarketer, The Chicago School, the new new thing, Turing test

See also legal compromises with eBay priorities Democratic party donation flap, 110 Deutsche Bank, 10 developing world, Peter’s plans for, 25–26 digital sweatshops, 58 digital wallet platform for, 9–10 relation to online accounts, 13 diversification, PayPal’s move to, 211, 212–213, 235–236, 260–261 Diversity Myth, The (David Sacks and Peter Thiel), 7, 15, 103 “Dollar” conference room, 144 Doohan, James (“Scotty”), 30, 33–34 reason promotion failed, 52 dotBank, 38–39 decision not to pursue eBay, 54–55 Yahoo purchase of, 83–84 dot-com boom, 6 dot-com crash, 90–92, 178, 187 Peter Thiel’s strategy, 244 drop-in customers, 63–64 eBay “Auction for America” campaign, 220–222 ban on robotic activity, 59–60 BIN (“Buy It Now”) format, 174–175 blocking of PayPal logos, 145 business model, 51 buyer protection policy, 169–170 “Checkout” feature, 228–229, 232 company culture, 296–299 compared to Amazon.com, 44 competition with Amazon auctions, 185–187 Confinity strategies to grow PayPal on, 57–60 financials, 50, 305–306 “Instant Purchase” buttons, 134 integration of PayPal, 299–302 listing fee raises, 187, 305 logo policy, 86 mascot, 297 mission, 307 offer to buy PayPal, 237–238 origins, 51 partnership with AOL, 204 partnership with Visa, 93–94 partnership with Wells Fargo, 80–81 PayPal buyout offer, 255–258 PayPal use of banner ads on, 46–48 PayPal view of threat from, 191 product placement for Billpoint, 262–263 pursuit of payments sector, 96 scalability advantage, 49, 50 “Sell Your Item” (SYI) form, 206–208 slights to PayPal at eBay Live, 274–275 weakness in business model, 132–133 web site, 44 Yahoo attempt to acquire, 83 .

See PayPal milestones Super Bowl commercials, 30 Sydney Olympics, 155 telephone customer service at startups, 100 telephone networks, 41–42 Templeton, Jamie, 18 auction logo insertion tool (AutoLink), 52 dotBank feature challenge, 39 update of PayPal Web site, 81 web server crisis, 101–103 Thiel, Peter announcement of PayPal sale to eBay, 282–283 appointed day-to-day manager of X.com (PayPal), 162 attempt to retain Paul Martin, 266 blue hair dare, 198 career before PayPal, 7 CEO appointment in 2001, 197 choice of employees, 21 concern for employees’ opinions, 216–217 conflict with Bill Harris, 109–110 decision to diversify PayPal, 211 decision to sell PayPal, 302 discussion of Confinity and X.com merger, 73–74 founding of Confinity, 8–9 hiring of Eric, 5–7 IPO moves, 223, 244 leadership after Elon Musk’s departure, 163–165 life after PayPal, 312 machine analogy for PayPal, 196 main objective for Confinity, 41 management strength, 311 management style, 196–198 on “Nightly Business Report” (PBS), 202–203 one million dollar challenge to Eric, 43 out of loop, with Meg Whitman, 301 PayPal valedictory address, 293–295 PayPal “world domination” speech, 25–26, 269 position in X.com (PayPal), 70 public image, 298 reaction to eBay buyout offer, 237–238, 290 reaction to IdeaLab funded competition, 63 resignation from PayPal, 303 resignation from X.com (PayPal), 108–109 role in buyout by eBay, 285 role in Elon Musk ouster, 160 speculation about his leaving, 295 speech after Confinity/X.com merger, 77–78 tactics to combat “eBay threat,” 191 tactic to speed up IPO, 244 venture capital financing, 10, 14, 32–33, 89–91, 197 view of government, 8, 293–295 visit to White House, 197–198 Today Show, 132 transaction payment margins effect on PayPal deficit, 195 Peter Thiel’s explanation of, 196 trust bank status, 168, 241 Tuckfield, Paul, 153, 154 Tumbleweed Communications, 240 TV ads, PayPal’s non-use of, 30 TV publicity for startups, 132, 202–204 United Parcel Service. See UPS shipping feature on PayPal upselling auction sellers to PayPal Shops, 212 AutoLink to PayPal customers, 53 X.com services to PayPal users, 70 UPS shipping feature on PayPal, 260 U.S. Attorney, Eastern Missouri District, 291 venture capital financing competition among startups for, 73 difficulties for startups, 309–310 by Elon Musk, 148–149 by Peter Thiel, 32–33, 77–78, 89–91, 197 on Sand Hill Road, 31 stock market slide impact on, 91 verification, PayPal, 136–138 VeriFone, 10 viral growth business model, 49, 53 Visa and eBay, 93–94, 173, 182 reprimand of PayPal, 148 Wallace, Dave, 20–22, 100, 312 Wall Street eBay/PayPal buyout leak, 257–258 reaction to PayPal IPO, 236 WBN (Wining Bidder Notification) feature from PayPal, 191–192 Web Accept, 281 Webb, Maynard, 298–299 Web enforcement system, 51 web server crisis at X.com (PayPal), 101–103 .

My fellow authors Candice Jackson and Alec Rawls provided me with invaluable feedback as I prepared my manuscript. I also appreciate Ron Kenner’s editing assistance and Sharon Goldlinger’s astute guidance. Brandi Laughey, Jonathan New, Nancy Humphreys, and Steven Phenix have been wonderful to work with. And I’ve never met a more thorough or trustworthy adviser than Hank Terry. I would also like to thank my PayPal compatriots, including Peter Thiel, Max Levchin, David Sacks, and Paul Martin, for providing me with their time and feedback; while the conclusions reached in this book are ultimately my own, I nonetheless appreciate their support and enthusiasm. Friends and family played no small role in this endeavor, and my wife, Beatrice, played a role above and beyond all others; without her steadfast devotion and countless hours laboring alongside me, this project would not have been possible.


pages: 455 words: 133,322

The Facebook Effect by David Kirkpatrick

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Andy Kessler, Burning Man, delayed gratification, demand response, don't be evil, global village, happiness index / gross national happiness, Howard Rheingold, Jeff Bezos, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Network effects, Peter Thiel, rolodex, Sand Hill Road, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, social graph, social software, social web, Startup school, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, the payments system, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Whole Earth Review, winner-take-all economy, Y Combinator

Eduardo Saverin owns 5 percent, Sean Parker about 4 percent, and Peter Thiel around 3 percent (he sold about half his holdings in late 2009, mostly to Digital Sky). Greylock Partners and Meritech Capital Partners each have between 1 percent and 2 percent. Microsoft owns about 1.3 percent, and Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing about .75 percent. Advertising giant The Interpublic Group owns a little less than half a percent, the happy heritage of an ad-and-equity deal in Facebook’s early days. A amall group of current and former employees own a substantial share but less than 1 percent. They include Matt Cohler, Jeff Rothschild, Adam D’Angelo, Chris Hughes, and Owen Van Natta. Others with sizable holdings include Reid Hoffman and Mark Pincus, who invested alongside Peter Thiel in the company’s very first financing round, as well as Western Technology Investments (WTI) which loaned the company a total of $3.6 million in its first two years, and invested $25,000 in that same initial round.

As Facebook grows and grows past 500 million members, one has to ask if there may not be a macro version of the Facebook Effect. Could it become a factor in helping bring together a world filled with political and religious strife and in the midst of environmental and economic breakdown? A communications system that includes people of all countries, all races, all religions, could not be a bad thing, could it? There is no more fervent believer in Facebook’s potential to help bring the world together than Peter Thiel. Thiel is a master contrarian who has made billions in his hedge fund betting correctly on the direction of oil, currencies, and stocks. He is also an entrepreneur, the co-founder, and former CEO of the PayPal online payments service (which he sold to eBay). He was the very first professional investor to put money in Facebook, in the late summer of 2004, and he’s been on the company’s board of directors ever since.

Hoffman was impressed with Thefacebook almost immediately but didn’t want to be its lead investor, given his involvement in LinkedIn. By mid-2004, many in the Internet industry were beginning to wonder if social networking might ultimately all converge in one big network. Although Hoffman didn’t believe that himself, he knew that some would see it as a conflict of interest if he led an investment in Thefacebook. So he arranged for Parker and Zuckerberg to meet with Peter Thiel, the brooding, dark-haired financial genius who had co-founded and led PayPal and was now a private investor. Hoffman is a key member of a very distinct and important Silicon Valley subculture—the wealthy former employees of PayPal. Hoffman remained close to many onetime PayPal colleagues, including Thiel. PayPal created the first successful large-scale online payment system and sold itself to eBay for $1.5 billion in October 2002, just two years after it was created in a merger of two start-ups.


pages: 226 words: 69,893

The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook: A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal by Ben Mezrich

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Mark Zuckerberg, old-boy network, Peter Thiel, rolodex, side project, Silicon Valley, social web

This time, he was looking for something really life changing. Sure, everyone was looking for the next big thing. The difference was, Sean knew what the next big thing was. He knew with a complete, and almost religious certainty: Social Networks. Just a few months ago, he’d made some connections at the social network site Friendster. He’d brought them some series D VC funding, introduced them to his buddies around town—most notably, Peter Thiel, the guy behind PayPal, a colleague who’d also experienced some run-ins with the gang at Sequoia. But Friendster wasn’t going to be Sean Parker’s next home run; it was already too far along, and Sean wasn’t getting in anywhere near the ground floor. And to be honest, Friendster had its limitations. It was really a dating Web site. A good one, more disguised than Match or JDate, but it was about meeting chicks you didn’t know and trying to get their e-mail.

Formerly the Bank of America Center, the behemoth at 555 California Street was an architectural wonder, an enormous, polished granite tower with thousands of bay windows that could be seen for miles, a 750-foot spire rising right out of the epicenter of the city’s financial district. And the man they were on their way to meet—well, he was nearly as impressive as the building itself, both in personal reputation and in what he had already achieved. “Peter’s going to love you,” Sean responded. “Fifteen minutes, in and out, that’s all it’s going to take.” Deep down, he was certain that he was right. Peter Thiel—the founding force behind the incredibly successful company PayPal, head of the multibillion-dollar venture fund Clarium Capital, former chess master, and one of the richest men in the country—was intimidating, fast-talking, and a true genius—but he was also exactly the sort of angel investor who had the guts and the foresight to understand how important—how groundbreaking—thefacebook had the potential to be.

It wasn’t life-changing money, it wasn’t empire-making money, it wasn’t fuck-you money—it wasn’t even as much money as Mark had once turned down, back in high school, when he’d created that MP3 player add-on, simply because he didn’t really give a damn about money, whether it was a thousand dollars borrowed from a friend to start a company, or a million dollars thrown his way from an even bigger company. As far as Sean could tell, Mark still didn’t really give a damn about money; but he couldn’t ignore the sentiment that came with those five hundred thousand dollars, the promise of a future for the company that he’d started in that Harvard dorm room. Peter Thiel had been exactly everything that Sean had prepared Mark for. Scary as hell, brilliant as hell—and willing to play ball. More than that, he’d turned a fifteen-minute pitch meeting into a lunch and an afternoon spent going over the details—of the deal that would ensure thefacebook’s survival, once and for all. At one point, Sean and Mark had even been sent out of the meeting, to walk around town while Thiel and Hoffman and Kohler discussed their pitch—but by the end of the afternoon, Thiel had given them the great news: thefacebook was on its way.


pages: 76 words: 20,238

The Great Stagnation by Tyler Cowen

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Asian financial crisis, Bernie Madoff, en.wikipedia.org, endogenous growth, financial innovation, Flynn Effect, income inequality, indoor plumbing, life extension, liquidity trap, Long Term Capital Management, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Peter Thiel, RAND corporation, school choice, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, urban renewal

Further, the publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party Web sites or their content. http://us.penguingroup.com Acknowledgments For useful comments and discussions, I wish to thank Peter Thiel, Daniel Sutter, Alex Tabarrok, Garett Jones, Bryan Caplan, Robin Hanson, Michael Mandel, Stephen Morrow, Natasha Cowen, Teresa Hartnett, John Nye, Jason Fichtner, Michelle Dawson, Nathan Molteni, Michael Munger, seminar participants at Duke University, and Jayme Lemke. I dedicate this work to Michael Mandel and Peter Thiel, who have blazed the way. The Low-Hanging Fruit We Ate Land, Technology, and Uneducated Kids America is in disarray and our economy is failing us. We have been through the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression, unemployment remains stubbornly high, and talk of a double-dip recession persists.

Paul Krugman, Nouriel Roubini, and Jeffrey Sachs are all more famous, prizewinning commentators on the questions of macroeconomics and development, and from them you will hear a lot of talk about liquidity traps, currency crises, and the future of Africa. But this group misses many of the critical angles of science and technology and the broader historical picture of how a technological plateau is possible. Peter Thiel, a cofounder of PayPal and an early investor in Facebook (he shows up as a character in the movie Social Network, albeit poorly portrayed), also deserves credit for promoting the idea of an innovation and productivity slowdown. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, he put it bluntly: “People don’t want to believe that technology is broken.... Pharmaceuticals, robotics, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology—all these areas where the progress has been a lot more limited than people think.

I am using a pre-crisis number to adjust for the fall in GDP from the financial crisis; in that sense, this number is an approximate one and thus a more conservative estimate than what a completely current calculation would yield. For one example of Michael Mandel’s writings, see “Official GDP, Productivity Stats Tell a Different Story of U.S. Economy,” Seeking Alpha, May 10, 2010, http://seekingalpha.com/article/204083-official-gdpproductivity-stats-tell-a-different-story-of-u-s-economy. The Peter Thiel quotation is from Holman W. Jenkins Jr., “Technology = Salvation, An early investor in Facebook and the founder of Clarium Capital on the subprime crisis and why American ingenuity has hit a dead end,” The Wall Street Journal, October 9, 2010. Chapter 3 Does the Internet Change Everything? Some of the employment figures from respective corporate Web sites. See http://investor.ebay.com/faq.cfm, http://investor.google.com/corporate/faq.html#employees, www.facebook.com/press/info.php?


pages: 377 words: 97,144

Singularity Rising: Surviving and Thriving in a Smarter, Richer, and More Dangerous World by James D. Miller

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23andMe, affirmative action, Albert Einstein, artificial general intelligence, Asperger Syndrome, barriers to entry, brain emulation, cloud computing, cognitive bias, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Deng Xiaoping, en.wikipedia.org, feminist movement, Flynn Effect, friendly AI, hive mind, impulse control, indoor plumbing, invention of agriculture, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Long Term Capital Management, low skilled workers, Netflix Prize, neurotypical, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, phenotype, placebo effect, prisoner's dilemma, profit maximization, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, Skype, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, supervolcano, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, the scientific method, Thomas Malthus, transaction costs, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Von Neumann architecture

Vast increases in biological and machine intelligences will create what’s being called the Singularity—a threshold of time at which AIs that are at least as smart as humans, and/or augmented human intelligence, radically remake civilization. A belief in a coming Singularity is slowly gaining traction among the technological elite. As the New York Times reported in 2010, “Some of Silicon Valley’s smartest and wealthiest people have embraced the Singularity.”4 These early adopters include two self-made billionaires: Peter Thiel, a financial backer of the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence, and Larry Page, who helped found Singularity University. Peter Thiel was one of the founders of PayPal, and after selling the site to eBay, he used some of his money to become the key early investor in Facebook. Larry Page cofounded Google. Thiel and Page obtained their riches by successfully betting on technology. Famed physicist Stephen Hawking is so concerned about a bad Singularity-like event that he warned that computers might become so intelligent that they could “take over the world.”

—Vernor Vinge, computer scientist; Hugo Award-winning author, A Fire Upon the Deep; essayist, “The Coming Technological Singularity” “The arrow of progress may kick upwards into a booming curve or it may terminate in an existential zero. What it will not do is carry on as before. With great insight and fore thought, Miller’s Singularity Rising prepares us for the forking paths ahead by teasing out the consequences of an artificial intelligence explosion and by staking red flags on the important technological problems of the next three decades.” —Peter Thiel, self-made technology billionaire; co-founder, Singularity Summit “Many books are fun and interesting, but Singularity Rising is fun and interesting while focusing on some of the most important pieces of humanity’s most important problem.” —Luke Muehlhauser, executive director, Singularity Institute “We’ve waited too long for a thorough, articulate, general-audience account of modern thinking on exponentially increasing machine intelligence and its risks and rewards for humanity.

I’ve become convinced that if an unfriendly ultra-AI is the greatest threat facing humanity, Eliezer’s efforts represent our best hope of survival. In the year 2000, Eliezer founded the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence. Although the Institute has garnered less support than Eliezer believes is justified, the best testament to Eliezer’s credibility comes from the quality of the people who have either contributed to the Institute or have spoken at one of its events. These include: •Peter Thiel—self-made tech billionaire and key financier behind Face-book. Donated $1.1 million to the Institute;91 •Ray Kurzweil—famed investor and Singularity writer; •Justin Rattner—Intel’s chief technology officer; •Eric Drexler—the father of nanotechnology; •Peter Norvig—Director of Research at Google; •Aubrey de Grey—leading longevity researcher; •Stephen Wolfram—developer of the computation platform Mathematica; and •Jaan Tallinn—founding engineer of Skype and self-made tech decamillionaire who donated $100,000.92 I also spoke on the economics of the Singularity at the Institute’s 2008 Summit.


pages: 361 words: 81,068

The Internet Is Not the Answer by Andrew Keen

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3D printing, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Airbnb, AltaVista, Andrew Keen, augmented reality, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Black Swan, Bob Geldof, Burning Man, Cass Sunstein, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, collective bargaining, Colonization of Mars, computer age, connected car, creative destruction, cuban missile crisis, David Brooks, disintermediation, Donald Davies, Downton Abbey, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Gehry, Frederick Winslow Taylor, frictionless, full employment, future of work, gig economy, global village, Google bus, Google Glasses, Hacker Ethic, happiness index / gross national happiness, income inequality, index card, informal economy, information trail, Innovator's Dilemma, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, Lean Startup, libertarian paternalism, lifelogging, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, Metcalfe’s law, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, nonsequential writing, Norbert Wiener, Norman Mailer, Occupy movement, packet switching, PageRank, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer rental, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Potemkin village, precariat, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Metcalfe, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Skype, smart cities, Snapchat, social web, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, TaskRabbit, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, The Future of Employment, the medium is the message, the new new thing, Thomas L Friedman, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber for X, urban planning, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, working poor, Y Combinator

He’s a Ferrari-driving, Stanford-educated moral philosopher, a chess genius and multibillionaire investor who is accompanied everywhere by a “staff of two blond, black-clad female assistants, a white-coated butler and a cook who prepares a daily health drink of celery, beets, kale, and ginger.”71 It would be easy, of course, to dismiss Peter Thiel as an eccentric with cash. But that’s the least interesting part of his story. He is, in fact, an even richer, smarter, and—as a major funder of radical American libertarians like Rand Paul and Ted Cruz—more powerful version of Tom Perkins. Peter Thiel has everything: brains, charm, prescience, intellect, charisma; everything, that is, except compassion for those less successful than him. In the increasingly unequal America described in Packer’s The Unwinding, Thiel is the supreme unwinder, a hard-hearted follower of Ayn Rand’s radical free-market philosophy who unashamedly celebrates the texture of inequality now reshaping America.

The Internet economy “produces very valuable companies with very few employees,” Brooks says of this crisis, while “the majority of workers are not seeing income gains commensurate with their productivity levels.”69 In his 2013 National Book Award–winning The Unwinding, George Packer mourns the passing of the twentieth-century Great Society. What he calls “New America” has been corrupted, he suggests, by its deepening inequality of wealth and opportunity. And it’s not surprising that Packer places Silicon Valley and the multibillionaire Internet entrepreneur and libertarian Peter Thiel at the center of his narrative. The cofounder, with Elon Musk, of the online payments service PayPal, Thiel became a billionaire as the first outside investor in Facebook, after being introduced to Mark Zuckerberg by Sean Parker, the cofounder of Napster and Facebook’s founding president. The San Francisco–based Thiel lives in a “ten thousand square foot white wedding cake of a mansion,” 70 a smaller but no less meretricious building than the Battery.

Cowan underlines the “stunning truth” that wages for men, over the last forty years, have fallen by 28%.78 He describes the divide in what he calls this new “hyper-meritocracy” as being between “billionaires” like the Battery member Sean Parker and the homeless “beggars” on the streets of San Francisco, and sees an economy in which “10 to 15 percent of the citizenry is extremely wealthy and has fantastically comfortable and stimulating lives.”79 Supporting many of Frank and Cook’s theses in their Winner-Take-All Society, Cowen suggests that the network lends itself to a superstar economy of “charismatic” teachers, lawyers, doctors, and other “prodigies” who will have feudal retinues of followers working for them.80 But, Cowen reassures us, there will be lots of jobs for “maids, chauffeurs and gardeners” who can “serve” wealthy entrepreneurs like his fellow chess enthusiast Peter Thiel. The feudal aspect of this new economy isn’t just metaphorical. The Chapman University geographer Joel Kotkin has broken down what he calls this “new feudalism” into different classes, including “oligarch” billionaires like Thiel and Uber’s Travis Kalanick, the “clerisy” of media commentators like Kevin Kelly, the “new serfs” of the working poor and the unemployed, and the “yeomanry” of the old “private sector middle class,” the professionals and skilled workers in towns like Rochester who are victims of the new winner-take-all networked economy.81 The respected MIT economists Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, who are cautiously optimistic about what they call “the brilliant technologies” of “the Second Machine Age,” acknowledge that our networked society is creating a world of “stars and superstars” in a “winner-take-all” economy.


pages: 274 words: 75,846

The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding From You by Eli Pariser

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A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, A Pattern Language, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, back-to-the-land, Black Swan, borderless world, Build a better mousetrap, Cass Sunstein, citizen journalism, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, data acquisition, disintermediation, don't be evil, Filter Bubble, Flash crash, fundamental attribution error, global village, Haight Ashbury, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, Metcalfe’s law, Netflix Prize, new economy, PageRank, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, recommendation engine, RFID, Robert Metcalfe, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, social graph, social software, social web, speech recognition, Startup school, statistical model, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, the scientific method, urban planning, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator

O’Brien, “The PayPal Mafia,” Fortune, Nov. 14, 2007, accessed Dec. 16, 2010, http://money.cnn.com/2007/11/13/magazines/fortune/paypal_mafia.fortune/index2.htm. 183 sold to eBay for $1.5 billion: Troy Wolverton, “It’s official: eBay Weds PayPal,” CNET News, Oct. 3, 2002, accessed Dec. 16, 2010, http://news.cnet.com/Its-official-eBay-weds-PayPal/2100-1017_3-960658.html. 183 “impact and force change”: Peter Thie, “Education of a Libertarian,” Cato Unbound, Apr. 13, 2009, accessed Dec. 16, 2010, www.cato-unbound.org/2009/04/13/peter-thiel/the-education-of-a-libertarian. 183 “end the inevitability of death and taxes”: Chris Baker, “Live Free or Drown: Floating Utopias on the Cheap,” Wired, Jan. 19, 2009, accessed Dec. 16, 2010, www.wired.com/techbiz/startups/magazine/17-02/mf_seasteading?currentPage=all. 183 “ ‘capitalist democracy’ into an oxymoron”: Thiel, “Education of a Libertarian.” 184 “makes a living being against computers”: Nicholas Carlson, “Peter Thiel Says Don’t Piss Off the Robots (or Bet on a Recovery),” Business Insider, Nov. 18, 2009, accessed Dec. 16, 2010, www.businessinsider.com/peter-thiel-on-obama-ai-and-why-he-rents-his-mansion-2009-11#. 184 “which technologies to foster”: Ronald Bailey, “Technology Is at the Center,” Reason.com, May 2008, accessed Dec. 16, 2010, http://reason.com/archives/2008/05/01/technology-is-at-the-center/singlepage. 184 “way I think about the business”: Deepak Gopinath, “PayPal’s Thiel Scores 230 Percent Gain with Soros-Style Fund,” CanadianHedgeWatch .com, Dec. 4, 2006, accessed Jan. 30, 2011, at www.canadianhedgewatch.com/content/news/general/?

“There are aspects of it that are great and aspects that are terrible, and there are some real choices humans have to make about which technologies to foster and which ones we should be more careful about.” Peter Thiel is entitled to his idiosyncratic views, of course, but they’re worth paying attention to because they increasingly shape the world we all live in. There are only four other people on the Facebook board besides Mark Zuckerberg; Thiel is one of them, and Zuckerberg publicly describes him as a mentor. “He helped shape the way I think about the business,” Zuckerberg said in a 2006 Bloomberg News interview. As Thiel says, we have some big decisions to make about technology. And as for how those decisions get made? “I have little hope,” he writes, “that voting will make things better.” “What Game Are You Playing?” Of course, not all engineers and geeks have the views about democracy and freedom that Peter Thiel does—he’s surely an outlier. Craig Newmark, the founder of the free Web site craigslist, spends most of his time arguing for “geek values” that include service and public-spiritedness.

currentPage=all. 183 “ ‘capitalist democracy’ into an oxymoron”: Thiel, “Education of a Libertarian.” 184 “makes a living being against computers”: Nicholas Carlson, “Peter Thiel Says Don’t Piss Off the Robots (or Bet on a Recovery),” Business Insider, Nov. 18, 2009, accessed Dec. 16, 2010, www.businessinsider.com/peter-thiel-on-obama-ai-and-why-he-rents-his-mansion-2009-11#. 184 “which technologies to foster”: Ronald Bailey, “Technology Is at the Center,” Reason.com, May 2008, accessed Dec. 16, 2010, http://reason.com/archives/2008/05/01/technology-is-at-the-center/singlepage. 184 “way I think about the business”: Deepak Gopinath, “PayPal’s Thiel Scores 230 Percent Gain with Soros-Style Fund,” CanadianHedgeWatch .com, Dec. 4, 2006, accessed Jan. 30, 2011, at www.canadianhedgewatch.com/content/news/general/?id=1169. 184 “that voting will make things better”: Peter Thiel, “Your Suffrage Isn’t in Danger. Your Other Rights Are,” Cato Unbound, May 1, 2009, accessed Dec. 16, 2010, www.cato-unbound.org/2009/05/01/peter-thiel/your-suffrage-isnt-in-danger-your-other-rights-are. 185 talked to Scott Heiferman: Interview with author, New York, NY, Oct. 5, 2010. 188 “good or bad, nor is it neutral”: Melvin Kranzberg, “Technology and History: ‘Kranzberg’s Laws,’ ” Technology and Culture 27, no. 3 (1986): 544–60. Chapter Seven: What You Want, Whether You Want It or Not 189 “millions of people doing complicated things”: Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Nick Montfort, The New Media Reader, Vol. 1 (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2003), 8. 189 “yet to be completely correlated”: Isaac Asimov, The Intelligent Man’s Guide to Science (New York: Basic Books, 1965), 190 “you’ve got a problem”: Bill Jay, phone interview with author, Oct. 10, 2010. 191 ads tailored to her: Jason Mick, “Tokyo’s ‘Minority Report’ Ad Boards Scan Viewer’s Sex and Age,” Daily Tech, July 16, 2010, accessed Dec. 17, 2010, www.dailytech.com/Tokyos+Minority+Report+Ad+Boards+Scan+Viewers+Sex+and+Age/article19063.htm. 191 the future of art: David Shields, Reality Hunger: A Manifesto (New York: Knopf, 2010).


pages: 265 words: 69,310

What's Yours Is Mine: Against the Sharing Economy by Tom Slee

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4chan, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, asset-backed security, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, bitcoin, blockchain, citizen journalism, collaborative consumption, congestion charging, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, David Brooks, don't be evil, gig economy, Hacker Ethic, income inequality, informal economy, invisible hand, Jacob Appelbaum, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Khan Academy, Kibera, Kickstarter, license plate recognition, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, new economy, Occupy movement, openstreetmap, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, principal–agent problem, profit motive, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, rent control, ride hailing / ride sharing, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, software is eating the world, South of Market, San Francisco, TaskRabbit, The Nature of the Firm, Thomas L Friedman, transportation-network company, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, ultimatum game, urban planning, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, Y Combinator, Zipcar

One of the leading companies in the open data space is Palantir Technologies. It was highlighted by the civic-minded Code for America; it sponsored O’Reilly’s Gov 2.0 summit and adopts his “Government as a Platform” terminology, and was an early partner of USAid’s Food Security Open Data Challenge.52 Palantir received early funding from the CIA’s In-Q-Tel venture capital arm and from Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund, both organizations known for their deep commitment to openness and equality. Peter Thiel is Palantir’s Chairman of the Board: perhaps he will be pursuing open data projects for the secretive Bilderberg Group, on whose Steering Committee he sits? It would be nice to think that the shift to open data might undermine some vested interests without re-enacting Animal Farm, but the prospects are not bright. One lesson of cultural economics is that creative works for which there is significant demand in a small market can be swamped by near-zero-marginal cost exports from large markets.

Companies see themselves as enlightened participants in these debates, with a social mandate as well as a business mandate; Google’s “Don’t be evil” mantra encapsulates their belief that the company has a moral mission as well as a technological one. Internet culture is also supremely ambitious and self-confident. It’s a confidence captured in venture capitalist Marc Andreessen’s saying that “software is eating the world.” In its outer reaches it is an ambition manifested in ideas of Seasteading (a movement to build self-governing floating cities, started by PayPal founder Peter Thiel) and the Singularity (a belief in “the dawning of a new civilization that will enable us to transcend our biological limitations and amplify our creativity,” originating with the ideas of inventor and now Google employee Ray Kurzweil). Just as Hollywood is both a physical location and a global industry with a distinctive set of traditions, beliefs, and practices, so Silicon Valley is more than a place—it is shorthand for the world of digital technology, specifically Internet technology.

Whatever the intent of the more community-focused Peers activists, the group functioned in part as a front for Silicon Valley lobbying. The funding behind the larger Sharing Economy companies highlights the contradictory currents that drive it. Billionaire and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has invested in both Airbnb and Uber; leading venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz has invested in Airbnb, Lyft, and delivery service Instacart; Founders Fund, a firm set up and led by billionaire and ­PayPal founder Peter Thiel, has invested in Airbnb, Lyft, and TaskRabbit. ­Goldman Sachs is another investor in Uber as well as WeWork, which has also been funded by JP Morgan. Lending Club sends emails emphasizing that “Instead of paying interest to a credit card company or on a traditional bank loan, you get your loan through ordinary people like YOU who want to invest in YOUR success,” 14 but its board includes John Mack (ex–Morgan Stanley) and Larry Summers (former Treasury secretary).


pages: 168 words: 50,647

The End of Jobs: Money, Meaning and Freedom Without the 9-To-5 by Taylor Pearson

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Airbnb, barriers to entry, Black Swan, call centre, cloud computing, commoditize, creative destruction, David Heinemeier Hansson, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, Google Hangouts, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, loss aversion, low skilled workers, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market fragmentation, means of production, Oculus Rift, passive income, passive investing, Peter Thiel, remote working, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, software as a service, software is eating the world, Startup school, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, telemarketer, Thomas Malthus, Uber and Lyft, unpaid internship, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, web application, Whole Earth Catalog

Dan Ariely, Uri Gneezy, George Lowenstein, and Nina Mazar, “Large Stakes and Big Mistakes,” Federal Reserve Bank of Boston Working Paper No. 05-11, July 23, 2005 59. Pink, Daniel H. (2011-04-05). Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us 60. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6h5cY7d6nPU 61. http://www.inc.com/allison-fass/peter-thiel-mark-zuckerberg-luck-day-facebook-turned-down-billion-dollars.html 62. Pink, Daniel H. (2011-04-05). Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us (Kindle Locations 1836-1848). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition. Conclusion 63. JFK’s speech at Rice University on September 12th, 1962 64. Source: Peter Thiel, Zero to One 65. Author interview with Rob Walling, to download the full interview, go to http://taylorpearson.me/eoj Next Steps 66. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/08/10/high-intensity-strength-training.aspx 67.

Why was one group living in fear of the threat of job loss, unreasonably long hours, and shrinking wages, while another was so overwhelmed by new opportunities they don’t know what to do? Two years after I’d first shown up in Bangkok, I finally got it. What’s Your Secret? “If you do things that are safe but feel risky, you gain a significant advantage in the marketplace.” Seth Godin Multi-millionaire investor Peter Thiel begins every interview with companies he’s considering investing in with the same three questions: What’s your secret? What important truth do very few people agree with you on? What do you believe that is both contrarian and correct? What Thiel and the group in Bangkok understood is based on an old axiom from Archimedes over two thousand years ago: “Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.”

If you look at the current head coaches in the NBA or NFL, the 80/20 rule applies. 80% of them usually have common roots in apprenticing with 20% of the head coaches of the past generation. Technology startups have started to develop “mafias,” or groups of successful entrepreneurs that can trace their roots back to a common source. Elon Musk (Currently of SpaceX and Tesla), Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn), and Peter Thiel (Palantir) all worked together at PayPal.42 Trajectory Theory—A Guide to Hiring an Apprentice (or Getting Hired) Three-time New York Times bestselling author Tucker Max has hired a lot of people to work in an apprentice-type position, and they’ve almost always gone on to be successful in future projects and companies. Why is his track record so good? In his words, he hires “people who have done things.”


pages: 268 words: 74,724

Who Needs the Fed?: What Taylor Swift, Uber, and Robots Tell Us About Money, Credit, and Why We Should Abolish America's Central Bank by John Tamny

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Airbnb, bank run, banks create money, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, Bretton Woods, Carmen Reinhart, corporate raider, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, fiat currency, financial innovation, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, George Gilder, Home mortgage interest deduction, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, liquidity trap, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage tax deduction, NetJets, offshore financial centre, oil shock, peak oil, Peter Thiel, price stability, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Jobs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, Uber for X, War on Poverty, yield curve

Claire Cain, “Wearing Your Failures on Your Sleeve,” New York Times, November 8, 2014. 2. Mike Isaac, “Upstarts Raiding Giants for Staff in Silicon Valley,” New York Times, August 19, 2015. 3. Thomas K. McCraw, Prophet of Innovation: Joseph Schumpeter and Creative Destruction (Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press, 2007), 70. 4. Ibid., 73. 5. Julianne Pepitone & Stacy Cawley, “Facebook’s first big investor, Peter Thiel, cashes out,” CNNMoney, August 20, 2012. 6. Peter Thiel, with Blake Masters, Zero to One (New York: Crown Business, 2014), 84. 7. Tim Harford, Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure (New York: Farrar Strauss and Giroux, 2011), 236. 8. George Gilder, Knowledge and Power (Washington, D.C.: Regnery, 2013), 5. 9. Thomas Kessner, Capital City: New York City and the Men behind America’s Rise to Economic Dominance, 1860–1900 (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2004), 216. 10.

Schumpeter further described entrepreneurialism as the “opening of a new market, that is a market into which the particular branch of manufacturer of the country in question has not previously entered.”4 Entrepreneurs are doing something entirely new, something that has never been tested by the markets before. By that very description, such ventures are most often going to end in failure. Billionaire venture capitalist Peter Thiel earned his initial fortune as a cofounder of PayPal. However, his most famous investment success to this day was the $500,000 he invested in Facebook in 2004.5 His PayPal wealth meant that he had money to lose, and odds were the then largely unknown social network would not succeed. That his stake would eventually be measured in the billions is all the evidence we need to prove that he risked losing his entire investment.

Whatever the perks of being in Congress, or for that matter being an ex-politician, great investors can earn billions. So it’s no major insight to say that if Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, or Marco Rubio had a clue about what companies and business concepts were going to prosper in the future, they would not be members of the political class. Simply put, wealth in the hands of politicians is not the same as wealth in the hands of Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Peter Thiel, or Jeff Bezos. Government can’t spend or invest us to prosperity for reasons of talent alone. My sermonizing, while true, ultimately amounts to shooting fish in the most crowded of barrels. While the talent differential between politicians and successful investors is blindingly obvious, to point it out is arguably to miss the greater point. Undoubtedly, those who properly decry government in its role as venture capitalist can point to the massive government loan to now bankrupt Solyndra as one of many modern examples of how politicians don’t know how to invest.


pages: 669 words: 210,153

Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers by Timothy Ferriss

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Airbnb, Alexander Shulgin, artificial general intelligence, asset allocation, Atul Gawande, augmented reality, back-to-the-land, Bernie Madoff, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, Black Swan, blue-collar work, Buckminster Fuller, business process, Cal Newport, call centre, Checklist Manifesto, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, Colonization of Mars, Columbine, commoditize, correlation does not imply causation, David Brooks, David Graeber, diversification, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, effective altruism, Elon Musk, fault tolerance, fear of failure, Firefox, follow your passion, future of work, Google X / Alphabet X, Howard Zinn, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Lao Tzu, life extension, lifelogging, Mahatma Gandhi, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Mason jar, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nicholas Carr, optical character recognition, PageRank, passive income, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, phenotype, PIHKAL and TIHKAL, post scarcity, premature optimization, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, rent-seeking, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, selection bias, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, software is eating the world, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, superintelligent machines, Tesla Model S, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas L Friedman, Wall-E, Washington Consensus, Whole Earth Catalog, Y Combinator, zero-sum game

[There were] a variety of possible good reasons to go, but none justified a trip in and of itself. He said, ‘There needs to be one decisive reason, and then the worthiness of the trip needs to be measured against that one reason. If I go, then we can backfill into the schedule all the other secondary activities. But if I go for a blended reason, I’ll almost surely come back and feel like it was a waste of time.’ ” * * * Peter Thiel Peter Thiel (TW: @peterthiel, with 1 tweet and 130K+ followers; foundersfund.com) is a serial company founder (PayPal, Palantir), billionaire investor (the first outside investor in Facebook and more than a hundred others), and author of the book Zero to One. His teachings on differentiation, value creation, and competition alone have helped me make some of the best investment decisions of my life (such as Uber, Alibaba, and more).

Novak (p. 378) Alexis Ohanian (p. 194) Amanda Palmer (p. 520) Rhonda Patrick (p. 6) Caroline Paul (p. 459) Martin Polanco (p. 109) Charles Poliquin (p. 74) Maria Popova (p. 406) Rolf Potts (p. 362) Naval Ravikant (p. 546) Gabby Reece (p. 92) Tony Robbins (p. 210) Robert Rodriguez (p. 628) Seth Rogen (p. 531) Kevin Rose (p. 340) Rick Rubin (p. 502) Chris Sacca (p. 164) Arnold Schwarzenegger (p. 176) Ramit Sethi (p. 287) Mike Shinoda (p. 352) Jason Silva (p. 589) Derek Sivers (p. 184) Joshua Skenes (p. 500) Christopher Sommer (p. 9) Morgan Spurlock (p. 221) Kelly Starrett (p. 122) Neil Strauss (p. 347) Cheryl Strayed (p. 515) Chade-Meng Tan (p. 154) Peter Thiel (p. 232) Pavel Tsatsouline (p. 85) Luis von Ahn (p. 331) Josh Waitzkin (p. 577) Eric Weinstein (p. 523) Shaun White (p. 271) Jocko Willink (p. 412) Rainn Wilson (p. 543) Chris Young (p. 318) Andrew Zimmern (p. 540) Contents FOREWORD ON THE SHOULDERS OF GIANTS READ THIS FIRST—HOW TO USE THIS BOOK * * * Part 1: Healthy Amelia Boone Rhonda Perciavalle Patrick Christopher Sommer Gymnast Strong Dominic D’Agostino Patrick Arnold Joe De Sena Wim “The Iceman” Hof Rick Rubin’s Barrel Sauna Jason Nemer AcroYoga—Thai and Fly Deconstructing Sports and Skills with Questions Peter Attia Justin Mager Charles Poliquin The Slow-Carb Diet® Cheat Sheet My 6-Piece Gym in a Bag Pavel Tsatsouline Laird Hamilton, Gabby Reece & Brian MacKenzie James Fadiman Martin Polanco & Dan Engle Kelly Starrett Paul Levesque (Triple H) Jane McGonigal Adam Gazzaley 5 Tools for Faster and Better Sleep 5 Morning Rituals that Help Me Win the Day Mind Training 101 Three Tips from a Google Pioneer Coach Sommer—The Single Decision * * * Part 2: Wealthy Chris Sacca Marc Andreessen Arnold Schwarzenegger Derek Sivers Alexis Ohanian “Productivity” Tricks for the Neurotic, Manic-Depressive, and Crazy (Like Me) Matt Mullenweg Nicholas McCarthy Tony Robbins Casey Neistat Morgan Spurlock What My Morning Journal Looks Like Reid Hoffman Peter Thiel Seth Godin James Altucher How to Create a Real-World MBA Scott Adams Shaun White The Law of Category Chase Jarvis Dan Carlin Ramit Sethi 1,000 True Fans—Revisited Hacking Kickstarter Alex Blumberg The Podcast Gear I Use Ed Catmull Tracy DiNunzio Phil Libin Chris Young Daymond John Noah Kagan Kaskade Luis von Ahn The Canvas Strategy Kevin Rose Gut Investing Neil Strauss Mike Shinoda Justin Boreta Scott Belsky How to Earn Your Freedom Peter Diamandis Sophia Amoruso B.J.

Novak (p. 378) Alexis Ohanian (p. 194) Amanda Palmer (p. 520) Rhonda Patrick (p. 6) Caroline Paul (p. 459) Martin Polanco (p. 109) Charles Poliquin (p. 74) Maria Popova (p. 406) Rolf Potts (p. 362) Naval Ravikant (p. 546) Gabby Reece (p. 92) Tony Robbins (p. 210) Robert Rodriguez (p. 628) Seth Rogen (p. 531) Kevin Rose (p. 340) Rick Rubin (p. 502) Chris Sacca (p. 164) Arnold Schwarzenegger (p. 176) Ramit Sethi (p. 287) Mike Shinoda (p. 352) Jason Silva (p. 589) Derek Sivers (p. 184) Joshua Skenes (p. 500) Christopher Sommer (p. 9) Morgan Spurlock (p. 221) Kelly Starrett (p. 122) Neil Strauss (p. 347) Cheryl Strayed (p. 515) Chade-Meng Tan (p. 154) Peter Thiel (p. 232) Pavel Tsatsouline (p. 85) Luis von Ahn (p. 331) Josh Waitzkin (p. 577) Eric Weinstein (p. 523) Shaun White (p. 271) Jocko Willink (p. 412) Rainn Wilson (p. 543) Chris Young (p. 318) Andrew Zimmern (p. 540) Contents FOREWORD ON THE SHOULDERS OF GIANTS READ THIS FIRST—HOW TO USE THIS BOOK * * * Part 1: Healthy Amelia Boone Rhonda Perciavalle Patrick Christopher Sommer Gymnast Strong Dominic D’Agostino Patrick Arnold Joe De Sena Wim “The Iceman” Hof Rick Rubin’s Barrel Sauna Jason Nemer AcroYoga—Thai and Fly Deconstructing Sports and Skills with Questions Peter Attia Justin Mager Charles Poliquin The Slow-Carb Diet® Cheat Sheet My 6-Piece Gym in a Bag Pavel Tsatsouline Laird Hamilton, Gabby Reece & Brian MacKenzie James Fadiman Martin Polanco & Dan Engle Kelly Starrett Paul Levesque (Triple H) Jane McGonigal Adam Gazzaley 5 Tools for Faster and Better Sleep 5 Morning Rituals that Help Me Win the Day Mind Training 101 Three Tips from a Google Pioneer Coach Sommer—The Single Decision * * * Part 2: Wealthy Chris Sacca Marc Andreessen Arnold Schwarzenegger Derek Sivers Alexis Ohanian “Productivity” Tricks for the Neurotic, Manic-Depressive, and Crazy (Like Me) Matt Mullenweg Nicholas McCarthy Tony Robbins Casey Neistat Morgan Spurlock What My Morning Journal Looks Like Reid Hoffman Peter Thiel Seth Godin James Altucher How to Create a Real-World MBA Scott Adams Shaun White The Law of Category Chase Jarvis Dan Carlin Ramit Sethi 1,000 True Fans—Revisited Hacking Kickstarter Alex Blumberg The Podcast Gear I Use Ed Catmull Tracy DiNunzio Phil Libin Chris Young Daymond John Noah Kagan Kaskade Luis von Ahn The Canvas Strategy Kevin Rose Gut Investing Neil Strauss Mike Shinoda Justin Boreta Scott Belsky How to Earn Your Freedom Peter Diamandis Sophia Amoruso B.J.


pages: 362 words: 99,063

The Education of Millionaires: It's Not What You Think and It's Not Too Late by Michael Ellsberg

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affirmative action, Black Swan, Burning Man, corporate governance, creative destruction, financial independence, follow your passion, future of work, hiring and firing, job automation, knowledge worker, Lean Startup, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, mega-rich, meta analysis, meta-analysis, new economy, Norman Mailer, Peter Thiel, profit motive, race to the bottom, Sand Hill Road, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Ballmer, survivorship bias, telemarketer, Tony Hsieh

The next speaker was Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS shoes (http://www.toms.com), a company famous for donating one pair of shoes to children in need for every pair it sells. Blake, of course, did not complete college. Peter Thiel (whom I introduced via e-mail to Elliott) spoke to the audience about his fellowship, and received powerful applause for his comments about the failure of higher education today. A revolution is happening. All of a sudden, I was meeting kids everywhere who were waking up and realizing something profoundly important: they have more power and choice to control their own destiny than most parents, teachers, pundits, and politicians tell them. They don’t need to follow the crowd running into a building that’s burning down, just because everyone else is running into it. They have choice. They have the tools at their disposal now to create their own path through life. Peter Thiel continued on this theme: “I was talking with someone here in San Francisco, who was running a foundation to get minority students into college and then into various tracked careers.

Many thanks to Gregory Berns, PhD; Chris Brogan; Victor Cheng; Keith Ferrazzi; Seth Godin; Ace Greenberg; Cameron Herold; Josh Kaufman; Robert Kiyosaki; Randy Komisar; John Kremer; Charles Murray, PhD; Kenneth Roman; Marian Schembari; Peter Thiel; and Johnny Truant. The following people all connected me to one or more interviewees: Elliott Bisnow; Justin Cohen; Adair Curtis; Mike Del Ponte; Mike Faith; Tim Ferriss; Jonathan Fields; Marie Forleo; Sandor Gardos; Adam Gilad; David Hassell; Cameron Herold; Ken Howery; Lisa Kotecki; Jena la Flamme; Tonya Leigh; Justine Musk; Kenneth Roman; Polly Samson; Marian Schembari; Yanik Silver; and Peter Thiel. Thank you so much for your help. John Kremer’s incredible “College Dropouts Hall of Fame” (http://www.collegedropoutshalloffame.com) provided inspiration, and many of my initial ideas about whom to contact for interviews.

If you’re driven only by a desire for the status that is associated with being an entrepreneur, you’re not going to be willing to deal with the humiliation of sleeping on people’s couches.” Sean famously connected with Mark Zuckerberg when TheFacebook was an infant, and played a crucial role in making Facebook what it is today, adding central innovations like photo sharing and friend-tagging, and introducing Zuckerberg to Peter Thiel (whom we’ll meet later in the book), Facebook’s first investor. Facebook is now well on its way to becoming the single point of login and user authentication for a large swath of the Internet. Sean, with a 7 percent stake in Facebook, is now worth billions. So the first part of marketing has nothing to do with communications or ads or messages. It has to do with the concept of the product or service itself, and how well it is designed to meet needs/ solve the problems of a specific target market.


pages: 381 words: 78,467

100 Plus: How the Coming Age of Longevity Will Change Everything, From Careers and Relationships to Family And by Sonia Arrison

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23andMe, 8-hour work day, Albert Einstein, Anne Wojcicki, artificial general intelligence, attribution theory, Bill Joy: nanobots, bioinformatics, Clayton Christensen, dark matter, East Village, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Frank Gehry, Googley, income per capita, indoor plumbing, Jeff Bezos, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, personalized medicine, Peter Thiel, placebo effect, post scarcity, Ray Kurzweil, rolodex, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Singularitarianism, smart grid, speech recognition, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Thomas Malthus, upwardly mobile, World Values Survey, X Prize

We are not mere spectators, and Arrison is no mere prophet. Instead, she truly is a great general, who is marshaling all of the vast forces of humanity in its titanic struggle against the Great Enemy of the world, whose true name is Death. I look forward to the battle being joined. Death was natural in the past, but so was the instinct to fight it. The future only has room for one of them. Peter Thiel Spring 2011 San Francisco CHAPTER 1 Humankind’s Eternal Quest for the Fountain of Youth DR. TYRELL: What seems to be the problem? ROY: Death. —Blade Runner FOR AS LONG as humans have been around, they have dreamed about living forever. Now, for the first time in history, science is bringing humanity closer to realizing that dream through advances that could potentially add hundreds of years to the average life span.

And even though Peterson is still the president of the Foresight Institute, she also organizes many successful conferences, including one called the Personalized Life Extension Conference: Anti-Aging Strategies for a Long Healthy Life.39 If that sounds like a fringe conference, think again. The headliner for the event was venture capitalist (VC) Ester Dyson, who sits on the board of directors for genomics company 23andMe and is a former chairman of the illustrious Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the agency governing the Internet address system. Hedge fund manager, VC, and PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel also delivered a keynote, as did multi-prize-winning scientist Bruce Ames, after whom the Ames test for carcinogens is named. Venture capitalists are now paying close attention to the longevity space. Ester Dyson discussed her interest in an interview with the New York Times. “I’m looking at a lot of companies that are in the formation mode of health and self tracking platforms,” she said in February 2010.40 This helps explain why she was speaking at a life-extension conference organized by Peterson, who is superconnected to individuals in that industry.

The point is that biology has become the latest and greatest engineering project, one that hobbyists celebrate. More importantly, eventually this passion will change the world. Those who have already made it big in the technology industry have not failed to notice. Aside from Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos, other tech titans who are driving interest in the longevity meme include Oracle’s Larry Ellison, PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel, Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin, and Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen. TECH TITANS TAKING ON BIOLOGY “Death has never made any sense to me,” Larry Ellison told investigative reporter Mike Wilson, who wrote an authorized biography of the so-called bad boy of Silicon Valley. “How can a person be there and then just vanish, just not be there?. . . Death makes me very angry. Premature death makes me angrier still.”63 With these sentiments, it’s not surprising that Ellison has devoted a large chunk of his wealth to antiaging research.


pages: 176 words: 55,819

The Start-Up of You by Reid Hoffman

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Airbnb, Andy Kessler, Black Swan, business intelligence, Cal Newport, Clayton Christensen, commoditize, David Brooks, Donald Trump, en.wikipedia.org, fear of failure, follow your passion, future of work, game design, Jeff Bezos, job automation, late fees, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, out of africa, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, recommendation engine, Richard Bolles, risk tolerance, rolodex, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, social web, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Tony Hsieh, transaction costs

People around the world have sent hundreds of billions of dollars to one another over the Web—instantly and safely—thanks to PayPal’s innovative technology. When PayPal went public in 2002 (one of only two companies to do so that year), it gave hope to a technology industry in recession. When eBay acquired the company for $1.5 billion, PayPal staked its claim as a great Silicon Valley success story. Yet the PayPal Plan A did not look anything like the company looks today. In 1998 programmer Max Levchin teamed with derivatives trader Peter Thiel to create a “digital wallet”—an encryption platform that allowed you to store cash and information securely on your mobile phone. That soon evolved to software that allowed you to send and receive digital cash wirelessly and securely via a Palm Pilot (the first of several iterations) so that two friends could split a dinner tab using their PDAs. It was a neat idea that leveraged Max’s and Peter’s technology and finance backgrounds, respectively (complementary assets that gave them a competitive edge as founders).

Amazon, Boeing, UNICEF, and Whole Foods—to pick a handful of companies—are very different organizations, but they are all, ultimately, people organizations. People develop the technologies, write the mission statements, and stand behind the corporate logos and abstractions. People are the source of key resources, opportunities, information, and the like. For example, my long-term friendship with Peter Thiel, which started in college, is what connected me to PayPal. Without the relationship, Peter never would have called me with the life-changing opportunity. Likewise, without the alliance, I wouldn’t have referred Sean Parker and Mark Zuckerberg to Peter during Facebook’s initial financing. In alliances, resources and assistance flow both ways. People also act as gatekeepers. Jeffrey Pfeffer, professor of organizational behavior at Stanford, has marshaled evidence that shows that when it comes to getting promoted in your job, strong relationships and being on good terms with your boss can matter more than competence.

Our different styles make conversation fun. But it’s our similar interests and vision that have made our collaborations so successful. We invested in Friendster together in 2002, at the dawn of social networking. In 2003 the two of us bought the Six Degrees patent, which covers some of the foundational technology of social networking. Mark then started his own social network, Tribe; I started LinkedIn. When Peter Thiel and I were set to put the first money into Facebook in 2004, I suggested that Mark take half of my investment allocation. As a matter of course, I wanted to involve Mark in any opportunity that seemed intriguing, especially one that played to his social networking background—it’s what you do in an alliance. In 2007, Mark called me to talk about his idea for Zynga, the social gaming company he cofounded and now leads.


pages: 606 words: 157,120

To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism by Evgeny Morozov

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3D printing, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrew Keen, augmented reality, Automated Insights, Berlin Wall, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, citizen journalism, cloud computing, cognitive bias, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, Dava Sobel, disintermediation, East Village, en.wikipedia.org, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, frictionless, future of journalism, game design, Gary Taubes, Google Glasses, illegal immigration, income inequality, invention of the printing press, Jane Jacobs, Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, license plate recognition, lifelogging, lone genius, Louis Pasteur, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, moral panic, Narrative Science, Nicholas Carr, packet switching, PageRank, Parag Khanna, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, pets.com, placebo effect, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Richard Thaler, Ronald Coase, Rosa Parks, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Slavoj Žižek, smart meter, social graph, social web, stakhanovite, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stuxnet, technoutopianism, the built environment, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the medium is the message, The Nature of the Firm, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas L Friedman, transaction costs, urban decay, urban planning, urban sprawl, Vannevar Bush, WikiLeaks

Kirkpatrick, “Egyptian Revolt’s Leaders Count Their Mistakes,” New York Times, June 14, 2012, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/15/world/middleeast/egyptian-revolts-leaders-count-their-mistakes.html?pagewanted=all. 129 German-born investor Peter Thiel: some of the best reporting on Thiel includes Brian Caulfield and Nicole Perlroth, “Life After Facebook,” Forbes, February 14, 2011, http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2011/0214/features-peter-thiel-social-media-life-after-facebook.html; Jonathan Miles, “The Billionaire King of Techtopia,” Details, September 2011, http://www.details.com/culture-trends/critical-eye/201109/peter-thiel-billionaire -paypal-facebook-internet-success; George Packer, “No Death, No Taxes,” The New Yorker, November 28, 2011, http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/11/28/111128fa_fact_packer; Ashlee Vance and Brad Stone, “Palantir, the War on Terror’s Secret Weapon,” Businessweek, November 22, 2011, http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/palantir-the-vanguard-of-cyberterror-security-11222011.html. 129 a video on Palantir’s YouTube channel: see “Creating Transparency with Palantir,” uploaded July 5, 2012; available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?

v=8cbGChfagUA&feature=plcp. 130 “because the first place most of us want to experiment”: Tabatha Southey, “A Billionaire’s Waterworld Takes Libertarianism to New Depths,” Globe and Mail, August 19, 2011, http://www.theglobeandmail.com/commentary/a-billionaires-waterworld-takes-libertarianism-to-new-depths/article548981. 130 “In our time, the great task”: Peter Thiel, “The Education of a Libertarian,” Cato Unbound, April 13, 2009, http://www.cato-unbound.org/2009/04/13/peter-thiel/the-education-of-a-libertarian. 130 “the critical question then becomes”: ibid. 130 “in the late 1990s, the founding vision”: ibid. 130 PayPal revised how it deals: Cyrus Farivar, “PayPal Sets Down Stricter Regulations for File-Sharing Sites,” Ars Technica, July 11, 2012, http://arstechnica.com/business/2012/07/paypal-sets-down-stricter-regulations-for-file-sharing-sites. 131 “when seen through the lens of technology”: Peter H.

The former are the technoescapists, who think that technology, exemplified by “the Internet,” can make politics obsolete; the latter are the technorationalists, who think that technology and “the Internet” can shrink what makes politics political and instead boost its technocratic dimension. Both are extremely dangerous. The best ambassador of the technoescapist camp is German-born investor Peter Thiel, who made his fortune with PayPal and was the first outside investor in Facebook. Thiel cuts a very odd figure: a self-proclaimed libertarian who bankrolled much of Ron Paul’s presidential campaign, he also chairs the board of Palantir, a leader in intelligence-gathering and data-mining solutions that mostly caters to the interests of America’s defense community—a community that devoted libertarians like Paul actually want to dismantle.


pages: 385 words: 101,761

Creative Intelligence: Harnessing the Power to Create, Connect, and Inspire by Bruce Nussbaum

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3D printing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, Black Swan, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable, clean water, collapse of Lehman Brothers, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, declining real wages, demographic dividend, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, follow your passion, game design, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, industrial robot, invisible hand, James Dyson, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Gruber, John Markoff, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, lone genius, manufacturing employment, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, new economy, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, QR code, race to the bottom, reshoring, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, Skype, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, supply-chain management, Tesla Model S, The Chicago School, The Design of Experiments, the High Line, The Myth of the Rational Market, thinkpad, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, tulip mania, We are the 99%, Y Combinator, young professional, Zipcar

. $44.2 Billion,” Safe Haven, October 17, 2012, accessed October 20, 2012, http://www.safehaven.com/article/27361/ us-august-net-trade-deficit-reported-at-us442-billion. 235 Even in high tech: Michael Mandel, “Innovation Failure,” Mandel on Innovation and Growth, October 5, 2010, accessed October 21, 2012, http://innovationandgrowth.wordpress.com/2010/10/05/ innovation-failure/; Michael Mandel, discussions with the author, 2012. 235 A National Science Foundation report: Mark Boroush, “NSF Releases New Statistics on Business Innovation,” October 2010, accessed October 12, 2012, http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/ infbrief/nsf11300/. 235 At an Aspen Institute: TPI Aspen Forum, August 21 to 23, 2011, https://techpolicyinstitute.org/aspen2011/. 235 Peter Thiel, a cofounder: Rip Empson, “Max Levchin and Peter Thiel: Innovation in the World Today Is Between ’Dire Straits and Dead,’” TechCrunch, September 12, 2011, http://techcrunch.com/2011/09/12/ max-levchin-and-peter-thiel-innovation-in-the-world-today-is-between-dire-straits-and-dead/. 235 and we haven’t seen any new breakthroughs in energy: Ken Bossong, “Renewable Energy Provided 11% of Domestic Energy Production in 2010,” Renewable Energy World, accessed September 15, 2012, http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/ article/2011/04/ renewable-energy-provided-11-of-domestic-energy-production-in-2010. 235 We have all been feeling the ripple: Michael Mandel, “Why Isn’t the Innovation Economy Creating More Jobs?”

With enough money to do a start-up, Zuckerberg hired Owen Van Natta from Amazon, and Van Natta was instrumental in increasing revenue and building out the company from twenty-six employees to hundreds. Then he fired Van Natta and hired Sheryl Sandberg, a veteran manager from Google, to help him scale Facebook to a global corporation. Along this journey, according to Blodget, Zuckerberg sought counsel from the likes of Peter Thiel, who was an early investor; Marc Andreessen, now a board member; and LinkedIn’s Reid Hoffman. None of this was easy for Zuckerberg, who was far more comfortable as a software programmer and product designer. But he pushed himself to find people who could teach him a wide variety of communication and business skills, which he used to further his vision. When I saw him in Davos, he was already on his way to shape shifting from computer nerd to high-tech entrepreneur, exuding a confidence in his calling that didn’t exist when he was in school.

A National Science Foundation report released in September 2010, called the 2008 Business R&D and Innovation Survey (BRDIS), showed that only 9 percent of public and private companies engaged in either product or service innovation between 2006 and 2008. This is an extraordinary and unexpected fact. Because of the proliferation of cool gadgets like tablets and smart phones, many of us believe we’re living in an era of immense innovation—but we’re not. At an Aspen Institute Conference on technology in 2011, Peter Thiel, a cofounder of PayPal and an early investor in Facebook, said that except for big advances in computer-related areas, innovation has actually “stalled out.” There’s been little innovation in transportation and we haven’t seen any new breakthroughs in energy, with alternatives to hydrocarbons making up just a fraction of all energy production. We have all been feeling the ripple effects of the innovation shortfall.


pages: 292 words: 85,151

Exponential Organizations: Why New Organizations Are Ten Times Better, Faster, and Cheaper Than Yours (And What to Do About It) by Salim Ismail, Yuri van Geest

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23andMe, 3D printing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, bioinformatics, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, Burning Man, business intelligence, business process, call centre, chief data officer, Chris Wanstrath, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive bias, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, commoditize, corporate social responsibility, cross-subsidies, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, dark matter, Dean Kamen, dematerialisation, discounted cash flows, distributed ledger, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, ethereum blockchain, Galaxy Zoo, game design, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, Google X / Alphabet X, gravity well, hiring and firing, Hyperloop, industrial robot, Innovator's Dilemma, intangible asset, Internet of things, Iridium satellite, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, life extension, lifelogging, loose coupling, loss aversion, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, means of production, minimum viable product, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, new economy, Oculus Rift, offshore financial centre, p-value, PageRank, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer model, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, prediction markets, profit motive, publish or perish, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Ronald Coase, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, smart contracts, Snapchat, social software, software is eating the world, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, subscription business, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tony Hsieh, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, urban planning, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, X Prize, Y Combinator, zero-sum game

Gabriel Baldinucci, Chief Strategy Officer at Singularity University and a former principal at Virgin Group’s U.S. venture arm, has observed that there are two levels of immune responses. The first is to defend the core business because it’s the status quo; the second is to defend yourself as an individual because there’s more ROI for you than for the organization. What makes traditional companies highly efficient at expansion and growth as long as market conditions remain unchanged is also what makes them extremely vulnerable to disruption. As Peter Thiel said, “Globalization is moving from one to N copying existing products. That was the 20th century. Now in the 21st century we move into a world where zero to one and creating new products will increasingly be a priority for companies due to the rise of different exponential technologies.” Whatever else they may be, big companies aren’t stupid. They know about this structural weakness and many are striving to fix it.

A quick but relevant side note here: We strongly recommend reading The Lean Startup by Eric Ries as an accompaniment to this chapter, since we’ll be referring to it frequently. In fact, the best definition we’ve found for a startup comes from Ries: “A startup is a human institution designed to deliver a new product or service under conditions of extreme uncertainty.” A second book we recommend is Peter Thiel and Blake Masters’ recent publication, Zero to One: Notes on Startups or How to Build the Future. This is perhaps the best time in the history of business to build a new enterprise. The confluence of breakthrough technologies, acceptance (and even celebration) of entrepreneurship, different crowdsourcing options, crowdfunding opportunities and legacy markets ripe for disruption—all create a compelling (and unprecedented) scenario for new company creation.

Finding an MTP can be seen as a novel and perhaps more interesting way of asking yourself the following questions: What do I really care about? What am I meant to do? Two more questions that can help speed the process of discovering your passion: What would I do if I could never fail? What would I do if I received a billion dollars today? It is not only about you as an entrepreneur, however. It is also about your employees. PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel poses the following question as an effective way to test if a startup has an MTP that will attract not only friends, but also employees beyond your personal network who share your motivation: “Why would the 20th employee join your startup without the perks, [such as] a co-founder title or stock [options]?” Accordingly, you should gauge your MTP against each of the acronym’s letters. Is it Massive?


pages: 410 words: 101,260

Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant

Albert Einstein, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, availability heuristic, barriers to entry, business process, business process outsourcing, Cass Sunstein, clean water, cognitive dissonance, creative destruction, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Dean Kamen, double helix, Elon Musk, fear of failure, Firefox, George Santayana, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, job-hopping, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, minimum viable product, Network effects, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, risk tolerance, Rosa Parks, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, The Wisdom of Crowds, women in the workforce

as was Nelson Mandela: “Nelson Mandela, the ‘Gandhi of South Africa,’ Had Strong Indian Ties,” Economic Times, December 6, 2013, articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2013-12-06/news/44864354_1_nelson-mandela-gandhi-memorial-gandhian-philosophy. Elon Musk . . . Lord of the Rings: Tad Friend, “Plugged In: Can Elon Musk Lead the Way to an Electric-Car Future?” New Yorker, August 24, 2009, www.newyorker.com/magazine/2009/08/24/plugged-in. Peter Thiel . . . Lord of the Rings: Julian Guthrie, “Entrepreneur Peter Thiel Talks ‘Zero to One,’” SFGate, September 21, 2014, www.sfgate.com/living/article/Entrepreneur-Peter-Thiel-talks-Zero-to-One-5771228.php. Sheryl Sandberg . . . A Wrinkle in Time: “Sheryl Sandberg: By the Book,” New York Times, March 14, 2013, www.nytimes.com/2013/03/17/books/review/sheryl-sandberg-by-the-book.html. Jeff Bezos . . . A Wrinkle in Time: “Jeffrey P. Bezos Recommended Reading”: www.achievement.org/autodoc/bibliography/WrinkleinT_1.

When entrepreneurs wait for the market to cool down, they have higher odds of success: “Nonconformists . . . that buck the trend are most likely to stay in the market, receive funding, and ultimately go public.” Third, along with being less recklessly ambitious, settlers can improve upon competitors’ technology to make products better. When you’re the first to market, you have to make all the mistakes yourself. Meanwhile, settlers can watch and learn from your errors. “Moving first is a tactic, not a goal,” Peter Thiel writes in Zero to One; “being the first mover doesn’t do you any good if someone else comes along and unseats you.” Fourth, whereas pioneers tend to get stuck in their early offerings, settlers can observe market changes and shifting consumer tastes and adjust accordingly. In a study of the U.S. automobile industry over nearly a century, pioneers had lower survival rates because they struggled to establish legitimacy, developed routines that didn’t fit the market, and became obsolete as consumer needs clarified.

With a proof of concept, but no working prototype, she had a chicken-and-egg problem: she needed funding to build a prototype, but her idea was so radical that investors wanted to see a prototype first. As the solo founder of a technology startup, with no engineering background, she needed allies to move forward. Three years later, I met Perry at a Google event. After landing $750,000 in seed money from Mark Cuban, Marissa Mayer, and Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund, her team had just finished its first functional prototype. It could power devices faster than a wire, at longer distances, and would be ready for consumers in two years. By the end of 2014, her company, uBeam, had accumulated eighteen patents and $10 million in venture funding. Perry took her place onstage in a lineup that included Snoop Dogg, a Nobel Prize winner, and former President Bill Clinton.


pages: 374 words: 89,725

A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas by Warren Berger

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3D printing, Airbnb, carbon footprint, Clayton Christensen, clean water, fear of failure, Google X / Alphabet X, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Kickstarter, late fees, Lean Startup, Mark Zuckerberg, minimum viable product, new economy, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, Ray Kurzweil, self-driving car, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Thomas L Friedman, Toyota Production System, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Y Combinator, Zipcar

.”); also, Douglas McGray, “How Carrots Became the New Junk Food,” Fast Company, March 22, 2011. 20 “What is your tennis ball? (and other entrepreneurial questions)” . . . Drew Houston’s comments excerpted from his commencement speech at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, June 7, 2013; Brian Spaly quote from “How Entrepreneurs Come Up With Great Ideas,” Wall Street Journal Reports, April 29, 2013; Peter Thiel question from Trevor Gilbert, “Peter Thiel’s Pointed Questions to Ask Startups,” PandoDaily, April 19, 2012, http://pandodaily.com/2012/04/19/peter-thiels-pointed-questions-to-ask-startups/; Dave Kashen, “The Values-Driven Startup,” Gigaom.com, December 17, 2011, http://gigaom.com/2011/12/17/kashen-values-driven-startup/. 21 Ries believes one of the most . . . Ries’s question also appeared in my previously cited Fast Company post “The 5 Questions Every Company Should Ask Itself.”

(and other entrepreneurial questions)20 Drew Houston, founder of the online storage service Dropbox, thinks all would-be entrepreneurs should try to answer the above question. “The most successful people are obsessed with solving an important problem, something that matters to them,” according to Houston. “They remind me of a dog chasing a tennis ball.” To enhance your prospects, “find your tennis ball—the thing that pulls you.” PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel believes entrepreneurs can find ideas to pursue by asking themselves, What is something I believe that nearly no one agrees with me on? If self-examination doesn’t work, try looking around: Brian Spaly, a serial entrepreneur in the apparel industry, advises, “Whenever you encounter a service or customer experience that frustrates you, ask, Is this a problem I could solve?” Lastly, don’t just focus on the mercenary question Will consumers pay for this?

, (Coca Cola’s “unbeautiful” question) What if I peel off the skin and cut them into perfect mini-carrots? What if we marketed baby carrots like junk food? Do we want to take a shortcut on this, or do it right? What are we against? What if we asked people not to buy from us? How can we make a better experiment?, (Eric Ries’ central question) What is your tennis ball?, (Dropbox’s Drew Houston) What is something I believe that nearly no one agrees with me on?, (Peter Thiel’s question for startups) Is this a problem I could solve? Will this make people’s lives meaningfully better? How do companies get better at experimenting? What will we learn? What is our Petri dish? Where in the company is it safe to ask radical questions? Where, within the company, can you explore heretical questions that could threaten the business as it is—without contaminating what you’re doing now?


pages: 357 words: 94,852

No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need by Naomi Klein

Airbnb, basic income, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Brewster Kahle, Celebration, Florida, clean water, collective bargaining, Corrections Corporation of America, desegregation, Donald Trump, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, energy transition, financial deregulation, greed is good, high net worth, Howard Zinn, illegal immigration, income inequality, Internet Archive, late capitalism, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, market fundamentalism, mass incarceration, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral panic, Naomi Klein, Nate Silver, new economy, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, open borders, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, private military company, profit motive, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, sexual politics, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, too big to fail, trade liberalization, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, trickle-down economics, Upton Sinclair, urban decay, women in the workforce, working poor

Evan Osnos: high-end survivalists are “hedging” against climate disruption Evan Osnos, “Doomsday Prep for the Super-Rich,” New Yorker, January 30, 2017, http://www.newyorker.com/​magazine/​2017/​01/​30/​doomsday-prep-for-the-super-rich. Seasteading: “vote with your boat” Seasteading Institute, “Vote with Your Boat,” Seasteading.org, December 13, 2012, https://www.seasteading.org/​2012/​12/​new-promotional-video-vote-with-your-boat/. Peter Thiel: “not quite feasible” Maureen Dowd, “Peter Thiel, Trump’s Tech Pal, Explains Himself,” New York Times, January 11, 2017, https://mobile.nytimes.com/​2017/​01/​11/​fashion/​peter-thiel-donald-trump-silicon-valley-technology-gawker.html. FEMA: “Foolishly Expecting Meaningful Aid” Evan Osnos, “Doomsday Prep for the Super-Rich,” New Yorker, January 30, 2017, http://www.newyorker.com/​magazine/​2017/​01/​30/​doomsday-prep-for-the-super-rich. In fire-prone states, insurance companies provide a “concierge” service to their high-end clients Kimi Yoshino, “Another Way the Rich Are Different: ‘Concierge-Level’ Fire Protection,” Los Angeles Times, October 26, 2007, http://www.latimes.com/​business/​la-fi-richfire26oct26-story.html.

If you think “combat training” is something armies used to do all on their own, you’d be right. One noticeable thing about Trump’s contractor appointees is how many of them come from firms that did not even exist before 9/11: L1 Identity Solutions (specializing in biometrics), the Chertoff Group (founded by Bush’s Homeland Security director Michael Chertoff), Palantir Technologies (a surveillance/big data firm cofounded by PayPal billionaire and Trump backer Peter Thiel), and many more. Security firms draw heavily on the military and intelligence wings of government for their staffing. Under Trump, a remarkable number of lobbyists and staffers from these firms are now migrating back to government, where they will very likely push for even more opportunities to monetize the hunt for people President Trump likes to call “bad hombres.” This creates a disastrous cocktail.

Evan Osnos recently reported in the New Yorker that, in Silicon Valley and on Wall Street, the more serious high-end survivalists are hedging against climate disruption and social collapse by buying space in custom-built underground bunkers in Kansas (protected by heavily armed mercenaries) and building escape homes on high ground in New Zealand. It goes without saying that you need your own private jet to get there—the ultimate Green Zone. At the ultra-extreme end of this trend is PayPal billionaire Peter Thiel, a major Trump donor and member of his transition team. Thiel underwrote an initiative called the Seasteading Institute, cofounded by Patri Friedman (grandson of Milton) in 2008. The goal of Seasteading is for wealthy people to eventually secede into fully independent nation-states, floating in the open ocean—protected from sea-level rise and fully self-sufficient. Anybody who doesn’t like being taxed or regulated will simply be able to, as the movement’s manifesto states, “vote with your boat.”


pages: 270 words: 79,180

The Middleman Economy: How Brokers, Agents, Dealers, and Everyday Matchmakers Create Value and Profit by Marina Krakovsky

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Al Roth, Black Swan, buy low sell high, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable, Credit Default Swap, cross-subsidies, crowdsourcing, disintermediation, diversified portfolio, experimental economics, George Akerlof, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, income inequality, index fund, information asymmetry, Jean Tirole, Kenneth Arrow, Lean Startup, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market microstructure, Martin Wolf, McMansion, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, moral hazard, multi-sided market, Network effects, patent troll, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, pez dispenser, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Metcalfe, Sand Hill Road, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, social graph, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, The Market for Lemons, too big to fail, trade route, transaction costs, two-sided market, Uber for X, ultimatum game, Y Combinator

Newman, “Power Laws, Pareto Distributions and Zipf’s Law,” Contemporary Physics 46 (2005): 323–51. 35.Patricia Cohen, “Richest 1% Likely to Control Half of Global by Wealth by 2016, Study Finds,” New York Times, January 19, 2015. 36.Taleb wrote that “In Extremistan, inequalities are such that one single observation can disproportionately impact the aggregate, or the total.” See Nassim Nicholas Taleb, The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable (New York: Random House, 2007), 33. 37.Peter Thiel, Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future (New York: Crown Business, 2014), 86. 38.Julianne Pepitone and Stacy Cowley, “Facebook’s First Big Investor, Peter Thiel, Cashes Out,” CNNMoney, August 20, 2012. 39.In the introduction to their book of interviews with 35 top VCs and angel investors (including Maples), Tarang Shah and Sheetal Shah observe that entrepreneurs who had founded successful companies “had a very strong intuition and access to asymmetric information” that enabled them to tap emerging opportunities.

Andreessen and partner Ben Horowitz picked up much of their investment philosophy, probably including this idea, from investment advisor Andy Rachleff, a former partner at Benchmark Capital and founder of Wealthfront, a firm that uses technology to transform the investment advisory business.29 Rachleff, in turn, credits his “investment idol,” Howard Marks, with this framework.30 When the entrepreneur-turned-VC Peter Thiel asks, “What important truth do very few people agree with you on?” he is getting at the same sort of exceptionalism: the contrarian truth, something that is nonconsensus and right. Understanding that the biggest returns will come from nonconsensus ideas is only a first step, though, because it is very hard to figure out the “right” part. Consider Twitter, which Maples invested in before founding Floodgate.

For example, according to a study released today, the 80 wealthiest individuals in the world collectively own $1.9 trillion—a total about equal to the “wealth” of all the people in the poorer half of the world.35 In The Black Swan, Taleb coined a memorable word to refer to such highly skewed distributions: they occur in “Extremistan,” where a single event or data point has a disproportionate impact on the total.36 Venture capital lives in Extremistan in that only about 15 start-ups out of several thousand vying for VC funding each year are responsible for the vast majority of profits: just one of those megahits—the next Google or Facebook or Twitter—will make you a monumental winner even if all your other investments lose money. Peter Thiel calls this “the biggest secret in venture capital,” writing in Zero to One. “The best investment in a successful fund equals or outperforms the entire rest of the fund combined.”37 Thiel’s $500,000 angel investment in Facebook in 2004 (before he became a VC) came to be worth more than $1 billion when Facebook went public in 2012,38 making it easier for him to take the kind of radical bets that we associate with eccentric billionaires.


pages: 559 words: 169,094

The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America by George Packer

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, bank run, big-box store, citizen journalism, cleantech, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, corporate raider, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, deindustrialization, diversified portfolio, East Village, El Camino Real, Elon Musk, family office, financial independence, financial innovation, fixed income, Flash crash, Henry Ford's grandson gave labor union leader Walter Reuther a tour of the company’s new, automated factory…, housing crisis, income inequality, informal economy, Jane Jacobs, life extension, Long Term Capital Management, low skilled workers, Marc Andreessen, margin call, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, Neil Kinnock, new economy, New Journalism, obamacare, Occupy movement, oil shock, peak oil, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, Richard Florida, Robert Bork, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, single-payer health, smart grid, Steve Jobs, strikebreaker, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the scientific method, too big to fail, union organizing, urban planning, We are the 99%, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, white flight, white picket fence, zero-sum game

.: Work and Memory in Youngstown (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2002). John Russo, “Integrated Production or Systematic Disinvestment: The Restructuring of Packard Electric” (unpublished paper, 1994). Sean Safford, Why the Garden Club Couldn’t Save Youngstown: The Transformation of the Rust Belt (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2009). PETER THIEL AND SILICON VALLEY Sonia Arrison, 100 Plus: How the Coming Age of Longevity Will Change Everything, from Careers and Relationships to Family and Faith, with a foreword by Peter Thiel (New York: Basic Books, 2011). Eric M. Jackson, The PayPal Wars: Battles with eBay, the Media, the Mafia and the Rest of Planet Earth (Los Angeles: World Ahead Publishing, 2010). David Kirkpatrick, The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2011).

To get things running, he looked around for a number two—someone who knew how to make his boss look good. His eye fell on Connaughton. Clinton had banned top officials who left the administration from contacting the federal government for five years. The rule applied to Quinn but not to Connaughton, who wasn’t senior enough. So, at the age of thirty-seven, he joined Arnold & Porter and launched a new career: as a lobbyist. SILICON VALLEY Peter Thiel was three years old when he found out that he was going to die. It was in 1971, and he was sitting on a rug in his family’s apartment in Cleveland. Peter asked his father, “Where did the rug come from?” “It came from a cow,” his father said. They were speaking German, Peter’s first language—the Thiels were from Germany, Peter had been born in Frankfurt. “What happened to the cow?” “The cow died.”

The best students went on to Berkeley, Davis, or UCLA (a few made it to Stanford or the Ivies), the average ones went to San Francisco State or Chico State, and the burnouts and heads could always get a two-year degree at Foothill or De Anza. The tax revolt—Proposition 13, a referendum that would limit property taxes in California to 1 percent of assessed value, sending the state’s public schools into a long decline—was still a year away. Peter Thiel moved to the Valley in the last year of its middle-class heyday. Everything was about to change, including the name. After Swakopmund, Foster City in the school year of Saturday Night Fever seemed riotous and decadent. A lot of the kids had divorced parents. In Peter’s fifth-grade classroom, the teacher was a long-term substitute who lost all control. Kids stood on their desks and yelled at one another and the teacher.


pages: 484 words: 104,873

Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future by Martin Ford

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3D printing, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, AI winter, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, artificial general intelligence, assortative mating, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, basic income, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bernie Madoff, Bill Joy: nanobots, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Chris Urmson, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, computer age, creative destruction, debt deflation, deskilling, diversified portfolio, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, financial innovation, Flash crash, Fractional reserve banking, Freestyle chess, full employment, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Gunnar Myrdal, High speed trading, income inequality, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, informal economy, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, labour mobility, liquidity trap, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, Lyft, manufacturing employment, Marc Andreessen, McJob, moral hazard, Narrative Science, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, obamacare, optical character recognition, passive income, Paul Samuelson, performance metric, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, post scarcity, precision agriculture, price mechanism, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, rent-seeking, reshoring, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, single-payer health, software is eating the world, sovereign wealth fund, speech recognition, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, strong AI, Stuxnet, technological singularity, telepresence, telepresence robot, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Future of Employment, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, union organizing, Vernor Vinge, very high income, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, women in the workforce

Erin Geiger Smith, “Shocking? Temp Attorneys Must Review 80 Documents Per Hour,” Business Insider, October 21, 2009, http://www.businessinsider.com/temp-attorney-told-to-review-80-documents-per-hour-2009–10. 58. Ian Ayres, Super Crunchers: Why Thinking in Numbers Is the New Way to Be Smart (New York: Bantam Books, 2007), p. 117. 59. “Peter Thiel’s Graph of the Year,” Washington Post (Wonkblog), December 30, 2013, http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/12/30/peter-thiels-graph-of-the-year/. 60. Paul Beaudry, David A. Green, and Benjamin M. Sand, “The Great Reversal in the Demand for Skill and Cognitive Tasks,” National Bureau of Economic Research, NBER Working Paper No. 18901, issued in March 2013, http://www.nber.org/papers/w18901. 61. Hal Salzman, Daniel Kuehn, and B. Lindsay Lowell, “Guestworkers in the High-Skill U.S.

Acceleration Versus Stagnation As information and communications technologies have advanced in their decades-long exponential march, innovation in other areas has been largely incremental. Examples include the basic design of cars, homes, aircraft, kitchen appliances, and our overall transportation and energy infrastructures, none of which, for the most part, have changed significantly since the middle of the twentieth century. PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel’s famous comment—“We were promised flying cars, and instead what we got was 140 characters”—captures the sentiment of a generation that expected the future to be way cooler than this. This lack of broad-based progress stands in stark contrast to what a person who lived through the final decades of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth would have experienced. Indoor plumbing, automobiles, airplanes, electricity, home appliances, and public sanitation and utility systems all came into widespread use during this period.

Robert Geraci, a professor of religious studies at Manhattan College, wrote in an essay entitled “The Cult of Kurzweil” that if the movement achieves traction with the broader public, it “will present a serious challenge to traditional religious communities, whose own promises of salvation may appear weak in comparison.”7 Kurzweil, for his part, vociferously denies any religious connotation and argues that his predictions are based on a solid, scientific analysis of historical data. The whole concept might be easy to dismiss completely were it not for the fact that an entire pantheon of Silicon Valley billionaires have demonstrated a very strong interest in the Singularity. Both Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google and PayPal co-founder (and Facebook investor) Peter Thiel have associated themselves with the subject. Bill Gates has likewise lauded Kurzweil’s ability to predict the future of artificial intelligence. In December 2012 Google hired Kurzweil to direct its efforts in advanced artificial intelligence research, and in 2013 Google spun off a new biotechnology venture named Calico. The new company’s stated objective is to conduct research focused on curing aging and extending the human lifespan.


pages: 421 words: 110,406

Platform Revolution: How Networked Markets Are Transforming the Economy--And How to Make Them Work for You by Sangeet Paul Choudary, Marshall W. van Alstyne, Geoffrey G. Parker

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3D printing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Alvin Roth, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, Andrei Shleifer, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, bitcoin, blockchain, business process, buy low sell high, chief data officer, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable, clean water, cloud computing, connected car, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, data is the new oil, digital map, discounted cash flows, disintermediation, Edward Glaeser, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, financial innovation, Haber-Bosch Process, High speed trading, information asymmetry, Internet of things, inventory management, invisible hand, Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Markoff, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, market design, Metcalfe’s law, multi-sided market, Network effects, new economy, payday loans, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, pets.com, pre–internet, price mechanism, recommendation engine, RFID, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Coase, Satoshi Nakamoto, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart contracts, smart grid, Snapchat, software is eating the world, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, The Chicago School, the payments system, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs, two-sided market, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, winner-take-all economy, zero-sum game, Zipcar

Barry Wacksman and Chris Stutzman, Connected by Design: Seven Principles for Business Transformation Through Functional Integration (New York: John Wiley and Sons, 2014). CHAPTER 5: LAUNCH 1. Eric M. Jackson, “How eBay’s purchase of PayPal changed Silicon Valley,” VentureBeat, October 27, 2012, http://venturebeat.com/2012/10/27/how-ebays-purchase-of-paypal-changed-silicon-valley/. 2. Blake Masters, “Peter Thiel’s CS183: Startup—Class 2 Notes Essay,” Blake Masters blog, April 6, 2012, http://blakemasters.com/post/20582845717/peter-thiels-cs183-startup-class-2-notes-essay. Copyright 2014 by David O. Sacks. Reprinted by permission. 3. Eric M. Jackson, The PayPal Wars: Battles with eBay, the Media, the Mafia, and the Rest of Planet Earth (Los Angeles: WND Books, 2012). 4. Andrei Hagiu and Thomas Eisenmann, “A Staged Solution to the Catch-22,” Harvard Business Review 85, no. 11 (2007): 25–26. 5.

Inspired by the early experiences of companies like AOL and Amazon, high-tech entrepreneurs and their cheerleaders in the media decided that the key to long-term success was growth at all costs—and many of them burned through millions of dollars in pursuit of that growth. Countless ambitious nerds in their twenties and early thirties were amassing giant fortunes—on paper, at least. In this tumultuous atmosphere, a pair of young entrepreneurs entered the exploding Internet arena. Thirty-one-year-old Peter Thiel was born in Germany and raised in California, where he became one of the country’s highest-ranked young chess players and went on to study philosophy and law at Stanford University. An avowed libertarian, Thiel helped found the Stanford Review, a conservative newspaper that challenged the university’s dominant liberal culture. Max Levchin, twenty-three years old, was born in Ukraine and granted political asylum when he moved to the U.S. with his family.

This simplicity was in stark contrast to previous online payment mechanisms, which demanded multiple rounds of verification before an account could be set up, thereby discouraging early users. PayPal’s user-friendly, almost frictionless system attracted a significant initial base of consumers—though not enough, in itself, to make the platform attractive to the universe of online sellers. In a lecture he later gave at Stanford, Peter Thiel explained what happened next: PayPal’s big challenge was to get new customers. They tried advertising. It was too expensive. They tried BD [business development] deals with big banks. Bureaucratic hilarity ensued. … the PayPal team reached an important conclusion: BD didn’t work. They needed organic, viral growth. They needed to give people money. So that’s what they did. New customers got $10 for signing up, and existing ones got $10 for referrals.


pages: 385 words: 128,358

Inside the House of Money: Top Hedge Fund Traders on Profiting in a Global Market by Steven Drobny

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Albert Einstein, asset allocation, Berlin Wall, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, buy low sell high, capital controls, central bank independence, Chance favours the prepared mind, commoditize, commodity trading advisor, corporate governance, correlation coefficient, Credit Default Swap, diversification, diversified portfolio, family office, fixed income, glass ceiling, high batting average, implied volatility, index fund, inflation targeting, interest rate derivative, inventory management, John Meriwether, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, market bubble, Maui Hawaii, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, moral hazard, Myron Scholes, new economy, Nick Leeson, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, out of africa, paper trading, Paul Samuelson, Peter Thiel, price anchoring, purchasing power parity, reserve currency, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, rolodex, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Silicon Valley, The Wisdom of Crowds, too big to fail, transaction costs, value at risk, yield curve, zero-coupon bond, zero-sum game

(See Figure 9.2.) 70 65 Dollars per Barrel 60 55 50 45 Long Oil Presentation 40 35 30 FIGURE 9.2 5 5 -0 -0 Oc t No v 5 5 -0 Se p 5 -0 l-0 Ju Au g 5 05 nJu 5 -0 ay M -0 5 Crude Oil Futures (WTI), 2004–2005 Source: Bloomberg. Ap r 05 -0 ar Fe b- M 04 05 nJa De c- 4 04 t-0 vNo Oc 4 4 -0 Se p 4 -0 Au g 04 l-0 n- Ju Ju 4 04 -0 ay - Ap r M 4 4 M ar -0 -0 -0 Ja n Fe b 4 25 190 INSIDE THE HOUSE OF MONEY DROBNY GLOBAL CONFERENCE REVIEW, APRIL 2004 Peter Thiel’s Favorite Trade: Long Long-Dated Oil Peter Thiel, of Clarium Capital Management, suggested buying shares in oil sand companies in Canada.The idea is to create a synthetic call option on long-term oil. The Canadian oil sand companies are high marginal cost oil producers whose valuation can be explosive if oil were to rise substantially over the next decade. Both the demand and supply curves for oil are very price inelastic.

The History of Global Macro Hedge Funds 5 3. The Future of Global Macro Hedge Funds 31 4. The Family Office Manager: Jim Leitner (Falcon Management) 35 5. The Prop Trader: Christian Siva-Jothy (SemperMacro) 71 6. The Researcher: Dr.Andres Drobny (Drobny Global Advisors) 103 7. The Treasurer: Dr. John Porter (Barclays Capital) 133 8. The Central Banker: Dr. Sushil Wadhwani (Wadhwani Asset Management) 161 9. The Dot-Commer: Peter Thiel (Clarium Capital) 181 10. The Floor Trader:Yra Harris (Praxis Trading) 199 11. The Pioneer: Jim Rogers 217 12. The Commodity Specialist: Dwight Anderson (Ospraie Management) 241 vii viii CONTENTS 13. The Stock Operator: Scott Bessent (Bessent Capital) 269 14. The Emerging Market Specialist: Marko Dimitrijević (Everest Capital) 289 15. The Fixed Income Specialists: David Gorton and Rob Standing (London Diversified Fund Management) 309 16.

In regard to how the world adjusts to China, I think the economic adjustment will be easier than perhaps some of the political issues.As they become more powerful, there are various potential flashpoints and a lot of potential for friction, especially as they become more and more self-assertive, which I think they will. In Japan, things have clearly looked up, but they have stored up such huge problems. Perhaps what you’re going to have is a lot of inflation in Japan, which may be the only way they’ll come out of this mess. CHAPTER 9 The Dot-Commer Peter Thiel Former CEO and Cofounder of PayPal Clarium Capital San Francisco eter Thiel is bit of an enigma in global macro.Whereas some managers earn distinction because they are successful and secretive, Thiel is unusually open about all things related to his business, Clarium Capital Management, a San Francisco–based global macro hedge fund. Since its launch in October 2002, initial investors have more than tripled their money and fund assets are now well over $1 billion.


pages: 252 words: 73,131

The Inner Lives of Markets: How People Shape Them—And They Shape Us by Tim Sullivan

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Airbnb, airport security, Al Roth, Alvin Roth, Andrei Shleifer, attribution theory, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Brownian motion, centralized clearinghouse, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable, clean water, conceptual framework, constrained optimization, continuous double auction, creative destruction, deferred acceptance, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, experimental subject, first-price auction, framing effect, frictionless, fundamental attribution error, George Akerlof, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Gunnar Myrdal, helicopter parent, information asymmetry, Internet of things, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, late fees, linear programming, Lyft, market clearing, market design, market friction, medical residency, multi-sided market, mutually assured destruction, Nash equilibrium, Occupy movement, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, Peter Thiel, pets.com, pez dispenser, pre–internet, price mechanism, price stability, prisoner's dilemma, profit motive, proxy bid, RAND corporation, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, school choice, school vouchers, sealed-bid auction, second-price auction, second-price sealed-bid, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, spectrum auction, Steve Jobs, Tacoma Narrows Bridge, technoutopianism, telemarketer, The Market for Lemons, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, transaction costs, two-sided market, uranium enrichment, Vickrey auction, Vilfredo Pareto, winner-take-all economy

See, for example, “The Sharing Economy Is Not as Open as You Might Think,” The Guardian, November 12, 2014. A post titled “Can the Sharing Economy End Discrimination?” on the website of tech magazine Wired took the opposite view, albeit without providing any evidence in support of the argument. For a broader critique of the sharing economy, see Tom Slee, What’s Yours Is Mine (London: OR Books, 2015). 12. Peter Thiel, “Competition Is for Losers,” Wall Street Journal, September 12, 2014, http://www.wsj.com/articles/peter-thiel-competition-is-for-losers-1410535536. Chapter 9. How Markets Shape Us 1. Despite its fearsome reputation, Changi was among the better-run Japanese camps, with only 850 deaths among the 87,000 prisoners who passed through. 2. On Changi as heaven compared to other camps: Kevin Blackburn, “Commemorating and Commodifying the Prisoner of War Experience in South-east Asia: The Creation of Changi Prison Museum,” Journal of the Australian War Memorial 33 (2000), http://www.awm.gov.au/journal/j33/blackburn.asp. 3.

Although proponents of the sharing economy tout its ability to reduce market frictions, the only way they’re going to make the kinds of profits they (and their investors) want is to create new ones. That’s something they’re not interested in talking about to the public at large, or to their representatives in government. This leaves a bit of a paradox in the techno-utopian free-market narrative. A great entrepreneur will use technology to create a fantastic new market, then will use technology to set up market frictions to protect it. As entrepreneur and venture capitalist Peter Thiel wrote in the Wall Street Journal, “Competition Is for Losers.”12 Don’t get us wrong. We’re not faulting the market makers of Silicon Valley nor begrudging them for the profits they’ve generated and captured. But we are trying to point out some of the inconsistencies between the claims of pristine competition espoused by free-market zealots in general and the practicalities of making markets work.


pages: 348 words: 39,850

Data Scientists at Work by Sebastian Gutierrez

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Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, Bayesian statistics, bioinformatics, bitcoin, business intelligence, chief data officer, clean water, cloud computing, commoditize, computer vision, continuous integration, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, data is the new oil, DevOps, domain-specific language, Donald Knuth, follow your passion, full text search, informal economy, information retrieval, Infrastructure as a Service, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), inventory management, iterative process, lifelogging, linked data, Mark Zuckerberg, microbiome, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, natural language processing, Network effects, nuclear winter, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, personalized medicine, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, quantitative hedge fund, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, recommendation engine, Renaissance Technologies, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, software as a service, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, stochastic process, technology bubble, text mining, the scientific method, web application

., 139 UMSI, 148 Wall Street, 131 Wilson, Fred (investors), 141 Electrical engineering and computer science (EECS), 295 Embedding, 52 F www.it-ebooks.info Index G Galene, 87 Global Bay Mobile Technologies, 131 Google, 89, 91, 311 LeCun,Yann, 58 Lenaghan, Jonathan, 185, 197 Smallwood, Caitlin, 27 Tunkelang, Daniel, 89, 91 Grameen Foundation, 319 H Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS), 195 Hadoop software, 103 Heineike, Amy advice to fresher, 254 Cambridge University, 239 career, 240 Crawford, Kate (researcher), 250 Cukier, Kenneth (big data editor), 250 data exploration, 251 data science colleagues, 257 data visualization, 239, 245 Director of Mathematics, 239, 241 economic consultancy work, 246 engineering team, 242 first data set, 247 government agencies, 239 The Guardian, 249 hedge funds, 239 hiring people, 255 machine learning, 239, 245 math and programming interest, 246 natural language processing, 239 network diagram, 251 network science, 239, 245 new data streams, 244 news sources, 244 next challenges, 249 NLP, 245 optimize user experience, 255 Ormerod, Paul (director), 247 own success measurement, 252 Quid’s product, 242 research and strategy analysis, 248 Rosewell, Bridget (director), 248 scaling up, 244 Software-as-a-Service platform, 242 software development toolkit, 249 spreadsheet/PowerPoint slide, 245 Strata conference, 250 study and analyze, 252 tools/techniques, 256 Twitter feed/posts, 249, 253 typical day, 251 users, 253 Volterra Consulting, 247 Hu,Victor advanced machine learning, 272 advice to fresher, 269 artist evolution, 267 Billboard 200, 266 book division, 264 Chief Data Scientist, (Next Big Sound), 259 college life, 260 cross-sectional analyses, 271 D3.js visualizations, 268 DataKind Data Dive, 269 data management track, 262 data team structure, 265 effective data visualization, 262 effective writing, 262 first project, 264 forecasting album sales, 263 hiring data scientists, 268 impactful feedback, 270 Java and PHP, 268 machine learning techniques, 262, 264 modeling process, 268 new skills, 262 NLP projects, 270 nonwork data sets, 270 personal believe, 272 PrestoDB, 268 product team and customer team, 266 record label deal, 264 R/Python, 268 skill acquisition, 261 social and music industry data, 263 social media, 263 SoundCloud, 263 theoretical techniques, 266 traditional industries, 260 Twitter profile, 265 two-week project cycles, 265 Yankees experience, 261 www.it-ebooks.info 337 338 Index I new BRAIN initiative, 295 nontechnical advice, 317 other people’s work expedition, 309 Palantir, 300–301 Peter Norvig philosophy, 311 Peter Thiel’s group, 294 Peter Thiel’s venture capital firm, 293 as PhD student, 303 PhD theses, 300 predictive analytics, 311 Prior Knowledge (PK), 294, 302 “Probability Theory: The Logic of Science”, 316 problem solving, 308 Python, 306 quantitative and computational science, 316 research scientist, 293 Salesforce, 302 science tool companies, 301 Sebastian Seung’s group, 296 as startup CEO, 303 study and analyze, 295, 297, 305 TechCrunch Disrupt, 294 VC money, 307 IA Ventures, 131 Institute for Data Sciences and Engineering (IDSE), 1 International Conference on Learning Representation (ICLR), 51 Invite Media, 131, 137 J Jonas, Eric advice to fresher, 313 Bayesian models, 306 Bayesian nonparametric models, 315 Bayesian statistical community, 294 Berkeley’s AMPLab, 312 biological systems, 299 Brown, Scott (CEO of Vicarious and Bob Mcgrew), 300 C++, 306 Chief Predictive Scientist, 293 C++ numerical methods, 317 computational neuroscience, 298, 311 COSYNE conference, 296, 303 DARPA, 307 data sets, 312 dating spread sheet, 310 EECS and BCS sciences, 297 experiences, 300 Founders Fund, 294 funding agencies, 298 Grande Data problems, 312 Hadoop, 307 Harvard Business Review, 311 hiring people, 314 as independent researcher, 304 Kording, Konrad (scientist), 296 LASSO-based linear regression system, 316 Levie, Aaron (Box CEO), 295 machine learning models, 293 Markov chain Monte Carlo, 315 Matplotlib, 309 Nature Reviews Genetics, 300 Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 300 Navia Systems, 293 neuroscience research, 294 neuroscience tools, 301 K Karpištšenko, André ADCP, 223 advice to starter, 235 atmosphere capturing data, 221 Brute-force analytics, 231 career, 222 challenges, 234 climate changes, 226 co-founder and research lead (Planet OS), 221 co-founder (ASA Quality Services), 221 communication patterns, 225 Cornell and Rutgers (partners), 227 create models, 237 creating and writing software, 237 daily operation decisions, 222 data mining methods, 225 data privacy and trust, 223 data science, future of, 234 engineering and calibration tools, 225 engineering, data, and technology side, 222 www.it-ebooks.info Index European environmental agency, 224 FuturICT program, 224 Gephi, 231 Greenplum, 231 hiring, 232 insurance companies, 227 investment decisions, 222 IPCC reports, 237 Kaggle data science community, 228 machine learning methods, 225 model-driven development, 224 music generation algorithms, 237 NASA, 227 National Data Buoy Center profilers, 223 NOAA, 227 ocean infrastructure, 223 oceanography, 222 OPeNDAP data exchange protocol, 228 past year project, 233 people’s work, expectation, 234 personal operational things, 229 physical world, 226 problem solving, 230 public transport ticketing system, 224 Python, 231 R, 231 Sharemind, 236 shipping, oil, and gas industries, 226 success and measure success, 229 team building, 232 team members, 223 Vowpal Wabbit, 232 Weka, 232 Keyhole Markup Language (KML), 166 Knight Foundation, 319 L LASSO-based linear regression system, 316 LeCun,Yann academic scientific disciplines, 63 AI research materials, 50 artificial neural networks with back-propagation, 45 check-reading/check-recognition system, 52 content analysis and understanding users, 57 convolutional net, 53 CVPR 2014 conference papers, 57 daily work, 54 data sets, 50 deep learning, 45, 47, 52 Director of AI Research, Facebook, 45–46 DjVu system, 54 educational courses, 64 EMNLP 2014 papers, 57 experimental work, 60 first data set, 49 future of data science, 62 grad school, 48 graduation,VLSI integrated circuit design and automatic control, 48 graphical models, 51 Hinton,Geoff, 48 hiring research scientists and exceptional engineers, 65 ICML conference, 51 Image Processing Research Department head, AT&T Bell Labs, 45–46 image recognition, 57 industry impacts deployed things, 55 intellectual impact, 54 research projects, 55 initial understanding of data science, 65 innovative and creative work, 60 inspired work, 59 interest in AI, 48 kernel methods, 51 language translation, 64 long-term goal, understanding intelligence, 47 machine learning, 51–52 mathematical virtuosity, 60 Memory Networks, 57 multi-layer neural nets learning, 48 natural language, 52, 57 NEC Research Institute, 45 opportunities for data science, 65 opportunity at Facebook, 46 organizing research lab, 55 radar techniques, 51 www.it-ebooks.info 339 340 Index LeCun,Yann (cont.) robotics, Google, 58 Sejnowski, Terry, 48 shorter-term goal, understanding content, 47 Silver Professor of Computer Science, New York University, 45–46 solving right problem, 58 supervised and unsupervised learning, 46 support vector machines, 51 team members, 46 tools Lush project, 56 Torch 7, 56 undergrad, electrical engineering, 47 unsupervised learning, 61 Lenaghan, Jonathan career, 179, 182 engineering practices, 198 financial vs. ad tech industry, 184 Google, 197 high-frequency algorithmic trading, 183 mathematical consistency, 183 overfitting models, 183 packages and libraries, 196 Physical Review in Brookhaven, 183 PlaceIQ academic literature, 185 academic research, 185 ad-request logs, 181 ad-supported apps, 189 Air Traveler audience, 192 algorithmic trading, 180 Amazon’s S3 service, 194 ambient background location app, 184 architecture and long-term planning, 186 augmented intelligence service, 190 building models, 186 campaigns, 186 C++ and Perl, 190 Clojure projects, 195 data science team, 186 data scientist, 180 data sets, 180 data volume, 183 demographic results, 193 device IDs, 194 discussions with account managers, 187 domain, 190 explosive growth, 186 final output and functionality, 187 financial services, 180 geography, 185 geospatial layer, 182 geospatial location analytics, 181 geospatial visualization, 191 Google, 185 high-QPS and low-latency environment, 196 human behavior, 185 identifier, 194 ingest, transformation, and contextualization, 182 initial prototype, 188 interview process, 195 Julia, 195 location targeting, 192 matplotlib, 191 meetup, 180 mobile ads and location intelligence, 179 munging data, 191 ontology/taxonomy, 192 potential APIs, 190 problem solving, 187, 194 product/troubleshooting meetings, 187 prototype code, 188 prototype performs, 188 Python, 190 qualitative terms, 182 query language, 192–193 real-time processing and computation affects, 196 residential/nonresidential classifiers, 193 scaling test, 188 self-critical, 195 smartphones, 189 social anthropology, 189 spatial dimension testing, 188 temporal data, 191 tile level, 192 www.it-ebooks.info Index time periods, 180 urgency, 184 quantitative fields, 197 quantitative finance industry, 183 quantum chromodynamics, 182 relational queries, 196 software engineering skills, 198 Starbucks, 197 statistical analyses, 196 tech ad space, 181 testing, 198 LinkedIn, 34, 83 Lua programming language, 56 M Magnetic, 131 MailChimp.com, 108 Mandrill, 111–112 Media6Degrees, 151 Moneyball, 260 N National Data Buoy Center profilers, 223 National Security Agency, 107 Natural language, 52, 57 Natural Language Processing (NLP), 245 Netflix Culture, 20 Network operations Center (NOC), 120 The New York Times (NYT), 1 Neural net version 1.0, 48 Neural net winter, 48 Next Big Sound, 259 O O’Reilly Strata, 95 P, Q PANDA, 57 Perlich, Claudia AAAI, 162 advertising exchanges, 154 algorithm sorts list, 167 appreciation, 168 artificial neural networks, 152 Bayesian theory, 172 career, 151 challenges, 158 chief scientist (Dstillery), 151 communication, 171 Dstillery’s history and focus, 153 engineering team, 167 first data set, 158 fraud problem, 160 Hadoop cluster, 165 hire data scientists, 173 IBM’s Watson Research Center, 152 insight translate, 158 interview, 172 Journal of Advertising Research and American Marketing Association, 161 Kaggle website, 177 KML, 166 learning lessons, 166–167 long-tailed distributions, 170 machine learning techniques, 177 managerial responsibilities, 154 marksmanship, 167 matchmaking, 169 medical field, 175–176 Melinda approach, 172 Nielsen reports, 172 nonwork data puzzles, 157 NoSQL, 165 NYU Stern Business School, 152 PhD program, 152 photo-sharing URL, 154 present and future, data science, 174 prototype building tasks, 164 Provost, Foster (PhD advisor), 153 puzzles, 156 responsibilities, 155 routine tasks, 163 single-numbered aggregates, 170 statistical measures, 170 SVMlight, 165 teach data mining, 151 team members, 154 typical day, 161 www.it-ebooks.info 341 342 Index Perlich, Claudia (cont.) typical intellectual leadership day, 162 typical modeling and analysis day, 162 Personally identifiable information (PII), 181 Porway, Jake academia/government labs, 331 Amnesty International, 323–324 artificial intelligence, 325 career, 319 communication/translation challenges, 322 computer vision course, 325 data science, future of, 330 ethical responsibility, 331 founder and executive director (DataKind), 319 global chapter network, 323 Grameen Foundation’s Community Knowledge Program, 327 “The Human Face of Big Data”, 326 hunger alleviation experts, 321 Kenyan village, 322 Kirkpatrick, Robert (UN Global Pulse), 332 “The Macroscope”, 329 measure success, 330 Netflix, 325 New York Times, 324 OkCupid, 332 personal philosophies, 332 PhD program, 326 playbook, 322 problem solving, 325 pro bono service, 324 Rees, Kim, 329 Stanford Social Innovation Review, 327 statistical background, 331 statistics department, 326 team and organization, 320 Thorp, Jer, 329 typical workday, 327 volunteer, 325 volunteer data scientists, 322 Predictive Analytics Innovation Summit Chicago 2013 conference, 262 Prior Knowledge (PK), 293 R Radinsky, Kira computer science bioinformatics, 280 causality graph, 282 causes and effects, 283 cholera outbreaks, 284 computer games, 280 earthquakes, 282–283 Google Trends, 281 history patterns, 283 iPad, 283 Mayan calendar, 281 Microsoft research, 284–285 oxygen depletion, 281–282 Russian language, 280 storylines, 283 Technion External Studies program, 281 workshops, 285 data scientists hiring data science skills, 288 data stack, 289–290 government-backed research data sets, 290 medical data sets, 290 personal philosophy, 289 problem domain, 288 problem perception, 288 self-building algorithms, 290 smartphones, 290 team building, 288 toolkits and techniques, 288 data structures, 291 genetic hardware, 291 learning resources, 291 problem solving data science, and big data, 286 engineers, 286 lectures, 286 passion, 292 SalesPredict artificial intelligence, 285 buyer persona, 279 cloud-based solution, 275 customer based challenges, 276 customer’s perception, 279 www.it-ebooks.info Index customer’s website data, 276 data distributors, 279 data-specific challenges, 277 decision making, 274 engineering task, 287 engineering team, 275 global data changes, 280 hiring people, 287–288 HR department, tackling, 274 issues, 278 Java and Scala, 286 money spending, 274 MySQL and NoSQL, 286 ontology, 280 performance, 278 pilot customer, 274 problem solving, 287 salesperson, 278 sales process, 277 senior engineer, 279 statistical model, 277 web crawlers, 276 S Shellman, Erin advice to data scientists, 81 advice to undergrads, 70 beauty replenishment project, 77 beauty stylists, 73 company-wide open-door policy, 72 Confluence, 79 cost-benefit conversation, 78 data lab structure, 68 develop ideas, 76 experiment, 73 fashion retail industry, 74 freeing data scientists, 80 HauteLook and Trunk Club, 74 internal customers, 72 kanban board, 75 Lancôme and M•A•C, 78 machine learning class, 81 measuring success, 75 NIH internship, 70 other companies, 73 pair programing, 68 people relationship, 72 predictive modeling, 80 presentation skills, 80 programming and computer science, 70 quantitative and computational skills, 71 recommendations, 71 recommendation strategy, 78 Recommendo, 71, 75 Recommendo API, 77 R programmer, 69 Segmento, 71 SKU turnover, 77 STEM subject, 81 under graduation, 69 Wickham’s, Hadley work, 79 work area, 68 SIGIR conferences, 95 Skype, 221–222, 225, 230–231 Smallwood, Caitlin A/B test, 37 algorithm, 23, 42 Amazon, 34 analytics meeting, 28 analytics pre-Internet, 20 appreciation change, 36 basic data, 42 brainstorming meeting, 27 business priorities, 32 camaraderie, 35 collaborative environment, 42 company strategies, 21 content acquiring model, 29 custom model implementation, 31 data capture, 32 data-centric organizations, 20 data culture, 21 egoless attitude, 40 experience, 39, 42 experimentation, 23, 28, 30 experimentation-heavy culture, 28 Gomez-Uribe, Carlos (colleague), 34 Google search, 27 health care data sharing, 39 HiQ Labs, 34 hunger and insatiable curiosity, 36 Hunt, Neil (manager), 20 incredibly creative and innovative, 43 interesting insights, 35 internet data products, 19 internet entertainment, 24 www.it-ebooks.info 343 344 Index Smallwood, Caitlin (cont.)

The first set involves finding the right models and techniques to interpret and work with incredibly noisy, high-throughput neural data. The other set of problems involves bridging the gap between the scientists running the experiments and those creating the mathematical models. While Jonas has been continuously fascinated with the brain since he was seven years old, he has alternated brain science with entrepreneurship. He co-founded two start-ups, both of which were backed by Peter Thiel’s venture capital firm, Founders Fund. The first, Navia Systems, developed a new class of probabilistic computers to make inferences under uncertainty. He was CEO of the second, Prior Knowledge, which created a predictive database that learned the deep structure of the data it contained, and then used that knowledge to generate predictions based on probabilistic inference. Just three months after being featured as a TechCrunch Disrupt Finalist, Prior Knowledge was acquired by Salesforce.com.

It is important to ask whether you can trust this answer or not, especially since often whether or not you can trust an answer varies greatly on the question you happen to be asking. Machine learning systems will quite reliably tell you that there are two genders, male and female, but they won’t always be accurate in predicting which one you’re talking to. So that was really the goal. We did the normal startup thing—we built the product, we demoed and made it to the finals at TechCrunch Disrupt, and we raised funding from venture capital firms. Peter Thiel’s group, Founders Fund, backed us. We then were acquired in December of 2012 by Salesforce, where we found a great team of people who very closely agreed with the vision of a ubiquitous predictive platform, where at the end of the day saying “predict” should be as easy as saying “select.” I was at Salesforce for over a year, where my team and I continued to work on machine learning technology.


pages: 510 words: 120,048

Who Owns the Future? by Jaron Lanier

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3D printing, 4chan, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, augmented reality, automated trading system, barriers to entry, bitcoin, book scanning, Burning Man, call centre, carbon footprint, cloud computing, commoditize, computer age, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, David Graeber, delayed gratification, digital Maoism, Douglas Engelbart, en.wikipedia.org, Everything should be made as simple as possible, facts on the ground, Filter Bubble, financial deregulation, Fractional reserve banking, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Akerlof, global supply chain, global village, Haight Ashbury, hive mind, if you build it, they will come, income inequality, informal economy, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Jacquard loom, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, life extension, Long Term Capital Management, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Metcalfe’s law, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, obamacare, packet switching, Peter Thiel, place-making, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, post-oil, pre–internet, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart meter, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, The Market for Lemons, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, WikiLeaks, zero-sum game

The responsibility for fixing problems enabled by the perfect investment lies with those sorry souls who are fated to act and take risks in the disadvantaged neighborhood that is reality. The perfect investment will quickly anneal into an impermeable and unchallengeable position, by nature a monopoly in its domain. Competition in a traditional sense might appear, but it will never achieve more than a token status. (I use the term monopoly here not in the legal sense, as in antitrust law, but in the vernacular Silicon Valley sense. For instance, Peter Thiel, founder of PayPal and a foundational investor in Facebook, taught students in his Stanford course on startups to find a way to create “monopolies.”) Candy The primary business of digital networking has come to be the creation of ultrasecret mega-dossiers about what others are doing, and using this information to concentrate money and power. It doesn’t matter whether the concentration is called a social network, an insurance company, a derivatives fund, a search engine, or an online store.

It means something to have a PhD from someplace like MIT. We love those places! There are legendary professors and we scramble to recruit their graduating students. But it’s also considered the height of hipness to eschew a traditional degree and unequivocally prove yourself through other means. The list of top company runners who dropped out of college is commanding: Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Mark Zuckerberg, for a start. Peter Thiel, of Facebook and PayPal fame, started a fund to pay top students to drop out of school, since the task of building high-tech startups should not be delayed. Mea culpa. I never earned a real degree (though I have received honorary ones). In my case poverty played a role, as it did for many others. But also, the very thought of slogging through someone else’s procedures to gain abstract approval seemed unacceptably retro and irrelevant.

This is the sort of fantasy that drives many—and I would actually guess most—successful young entrepreneurs and engineers in Silicon Valley these days. The idea is that the amazing lift you get from starting a ’net-based business that can become huge in just a few years is the fore-echo of something far more profound that you will be able to achieve almost as quickly. Soon technological prowess will make the cleverest hackers not only immortal but immortal superheroes. Earlier, I noted that Peter Thiel, founder of PayPal and an investor in Facebook, teaches a class at Stanford in which he advocates that students not think in terms of competing in a marketplace, but in terms of defining a position they can “monopolize.” This is precisely the idea of the Siren Server. It is a given that in Silicon Valley no one wants to suffer the indignity of sharing a market with competitors. It is the correlate that must be understood.


pages: 387 words: 112,868

Digital Gold: Bitcoin and the Inside Story of the Misfits and Millionaires Trying to Reinvent Money by Nathaniel Popper

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4chan, Airbnb, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, banking crisis, bitcoin, blockchain, Burning Man, capital controls, Colonization of Mars, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, David Graeber, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Extropian, fiat currency, Fractional reserve banking, Jeff Bezos, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, life extension, litecoin, lone genius, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Occupy movement, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, price stability, QR code, Satoshi Nakamoto, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, Skype, slashdot, smart contracts, Startup school, stealth mode startup, the payments system, transaction costs, tulip mania, WikiLeaks

CHAPTER 16 167Some $1.2 million worth of Bitcoin: Nicolas Christin, “Traveling the Silk Road: A Measurement Analysis of a Large Anonymous Online Marketplace,” Working Paper, November 28, 2012. 167seventy thousand different topics on Silk Road’s forum: Eileen Ormsby, Silk Road (Sydney: Pan Macmillan Australia, 2014). 168His work on Silk Road was done at an Internet café around the corner: Sealed complaint against Ross Ulbricht filed by FBI Special Agent Christopher Tarbell, September 27, 2013. 168Over the summer, a Silk Road user had managed to follow a series of transactions: Ormsby. 169paying the attacker $25,000: RUTE GX 250. 169Ross explained that he was changing his writing style: Ormsby. 169In November, Ross flew to Dominica: RUTE GX 291. 169“put yourself in the shoes of a prosecutor”: RUTE GX 225B. 170Ross decided to help nob sell his kilogram: Superseding indictment against Ross Ulbricht filed by the Grand Jury for the District of Maryland, October 1, 2013. 171Ross had always been somewhat skeptical: RUTE GX240B. 171“beat up, then forced to send the Bitcoins he stole back”: Superseding indictment against Ross Ulbricht filed by the Grand Jury for the District of Maryland, October 1, 2013. Ross has not yet been tried on the charges in the Maryland indictment and has not been found guilty on any counts related to murder. CHAPTER 18 186“PayPal will give citizens worldwide more”: Eric Jackson, PayPal Wars (Washington, DC: WND Books, 2004). 187Thiel advocating for floating structures: “Peter Thiel Offers $100,000 in Matching Donations to TSI, Makes Grant of $250,000,” Sea-steading Institute, February 10, 2010, http://www.seasteading. org/2010/02/peter-thiel-offers-100000-matching-donations-tsi-makes-grant-250000/. 187aiming for the colonization of Mars: Adam Mann, “Elon Musk Wants to Build 80,000-Person Mars Colony,” Wired, November 26, 2012, http://www.wired.com/2012/11/elon-musk-mars-colony/. CHAPTER 19 190In June 2012 the founders announced: BFL (Butterfly Labs) to BTCF, June 16, 2012. 190a young Chinese immigrant in New York, Yifu Guo, announced: ngzhang to BTCF, September 17, 2012. 191that power doubled again in just one month after Yifu’s machines: Historical data on the hashing power available at https://blockchain.info/charts/hash-rate. 195“This is a dark day for Bitcoin”: “Breaking: The Blockchain Has Forked,” Bitcoin Trader, March 11, 2013, http://www.thebitcointrader .com/2013/03/breaking-blockchain-has-forked.html. 196“clarify the applicability of the regulations implementing”: The FinCen guidance is available at http://fincen.gov/statutes_regs/guidance/html/FIN-2013-G001.html.

Much of this skepticism had the same root as the excitement, and that was Silicon Valley’s defining, and cautionary, experience with financial technology: PayPal. PayPal, of course, still existed, owned by eBay and run by Wences’s friend David Marcus. But what made people wary was not the current incarnation of PayPal, but instead the company’s early days, when it had ambitions to be something much bigger. PayPal had been founded back in 1998 by Peter Thiel and Max Levchin, among others. Thiel was an avid libertarian, who had wanted to use Levchin’s cryptographic expertise to fulfill the Cypherpunks’ dream of sending money through encrypted channels, between private individuals and in particular between mobile devices like the PalmPilots of that time. In early staff meetings, Thiel gave speeches that could almost have come from the Cypherpunk mailing list.

This was a simple enough proposition, and the price of Bitcoin was rising fast enough that it attracted interest from venture capitalists who were still queasy about tying their firms to Bitcoin. Both of the founders of Andreessen Horowitz, Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, signed up to put some of their own personal money into Balaji’s project, as did several of the original founders of PayPal, including Peter Thiel and David Sacks. Soon enough, Balaji was closing in on a $5 million fund-raising round. The Bitcoin arms race had begun. THE TYPE OF chip was not the only thing about Bitcoin mining that had changed since late 2010. Over the course of 2011 and 2012, more and more users were joining collectives that pooled their mining power. These mining pools allowed lots of people to combine their resources, with each person getting a proportional fraction of the total winnings, thus increasing the chances that everyone would get something every day.


pages: 527 words: 147,690

Terms of Service: Social Media and the Price of Constant Connection by Jacob Silverman

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23andMe, 4chan, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Airbnb, airport security, Amazon Mechanical Turk, augmented reality, basic income, Brian Krebs, California gold rush, call centre, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, don't be evil, drone strike, Edward Snowden, feminist movement, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Flash crash, game design, global village, Google Chrome, Google Glasses, hive mind, income inequality, informal economy, information retrieval, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, late capitalism, license plate recognition, life extension, lifelogging, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, Marshall McLuhan, mass incarceration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Minecraft, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, national security letter, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Occupy movement, optical character recognition, payday loans, Peter Thiel, postindustrial economy, prediction markets, pre–internet, price discrimination, price stability, profit motive, quantitative hedge fund, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, rent control, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Snapchat, social graph, social web, sorting algorithm, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, TaskRabbit, technoutopianism, telemarketer, transportation-network company, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, universal basic income, unpaid internship, women in the workforce, Y Combinator, Zipcar

Google, remember, is a company that plans to organize all of the world’s information; its ambitions could not be greater. It also employs Ray Kurzweil, the chief promoter of the Singularity, a belief that machines will soon become self-aware, or that we will somehow combine with them, or upgrade our brains to the cloud—something amazing, we just don’t know what yet. In short, this is an industry in which such far-fetched thinking is de rigueur. Some of these people actually believe they will live forever. Peter Thiel, a PayPal cofounder and major early investor in Facebook (and another Rand disciple), has derided the inevitability of death as an “ideology” while plowing millions into companies that might, as he said, “cure aging.” Google’s own forays into life-extension research, through a biotech subsidiary called Calico, reflects its belief that it can solve death—at least for a paying few. So how does social media fit into these dreams of emancipatory digital technology?

An important part of identity, as it’s long been understood, is that we act differently in different situations. We put on different roles, we code-switch. We might speak differently with our parents than we would with our children or a coworker or someone we’re flirting with at a bar. At the risk of slipping into something hazily postmodern, there is no single “self.” But don’t tell that to Peter Thiel. The Facebook investor has said that Myspace was “about being someone fake on the Internet; everyone could be a movie star.” With Myspace’s demise and Facebook’s subsequent ascension, Thiel told a reporter, “The real people have won out over the fake people.” Social-media companies have worked hard to equate authenticity with being “real,” and having a single identity, a single log-in associated with your real name and all of your social-media accounts, with being a safe and good citizen of the social web.

This mission is important because connectivity is, in Zuckerberg’s words, “a human right.” Former Facebook employee and venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya agrees, telling an interviewer: “Companies are transcending power now. We are becoming the eminent vehicles for change and influence, and capital structures that matter.” (Palihapitiya is also a supporter of FWD.us, Zuckerberg’s political lobbying organization.) Others, such as libertarian PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel, would like to do away with government entirely; he has donated nearly $2 million to the Seasteading Institute, which hopes to build floating cities unencumbered by the trappings of government. Balaji Srinivasan, an entrepreneur and founder of a genetic-testing start-up, has called for “Silicon Valley’s ultimate exit” from “the paper belt,” his term for traditional sovereign governments. A number of other tech leaders agree, with some even calling for the breakup of California into several smaller states.


pages: 391 words: 105,382

Utopia Is Creepy: And Other Provocations by Nicholas Carr

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Air France Flight 447, Airbnb, Airbus A320, AltaVista, Amazon Mechanical Turk, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Bernie Sanders, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, centralized clearinghouse, cloud computing, cognitive bias, collaborative consumption, computer age, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, deskilling, digital map, Donald Trump, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Elon Musk, factory automation, failed state, feminist movement, Frederick Winslow Taylor, friendly fire, game design, global village, Google bus, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Googley, hive mind, impulse control, indoor plumbing, interchangeable parts, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, job automation, Kevin Kelly, lifelogging, low skilled workers, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Menlo Park, mental accounting, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norman Mailer, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Republic of Letters, robot derives from the Czech word robota Czech, meaning slave, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, SETI@home, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Singularitarianism, Snapchat, social graph, social web, speech recognition, Startup school, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, technoutopianism, the medium is the message, theory of mind, Turing test, Whole Earth Catalog, Y Combinator

Fox has a lot of company. He points to science fiction writer Neal Stephenson, who worries that the internet, far from spurring a great burst of industrial creativity, may have put innovation “on hold for a generation.” Fox also cites economist Tyler Cowen, who has argued that, recent techno-enthusiasm aside, we’re living in a time of innovation stagnation. He might also have mentioned tech powerbroker Peter Thiel, who believes that large-scale innovation has gone dormant and that we’ve entered a technological “desert.” Thiel blames the hippies. “Men reached the moon in July 1969,” he wrote in “The End of the Future,” a 2011 National Review article, “and Woodstock began three weeks later. With the benefit of hindsight, we can see that this was when the hippies took over the country, and when the true cultural war over Progress was lost.”

I think as technologists we should have some safe places where we can try out some new things and figure out: What is the effect on society? What’s the effect on people? Without having to deploy it into the normal world. And people who like those kinds of things can go there and experience that. It’s not only Page. Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk dream of establishing Learyesque space colonies, celestial Burning Mans. Peter Thiel is slightly more down to earth. His Seasteading Institute hopes to set up floating technology incubation camps on the ocean, outside national boundaries. “If you can start a new business, why can you not start a new country?” he asks. In a speech last fall at the Y Combinator Startup School, venture capitalist Balaji Srinivasan channeled Leary when he called for “Silicon Valley’s Ultimate Exit”—the establishment of a new country beyond the reach of the U.S. government and other allegedly failed states.

It particularly suits the interests of those who have become extraordinarily wealthy through the labor-saving, profit-concentrating effects of automated systems and the computers that control them. It provides our new plutocrats with a heroic narrative in which they play starring roles: Recent job losses may be unfortunate, but they’re a necessary evil on the path to the human race’s eventual emancipation by the computerized slaves that our benevolent enterprises are creating. Peter Thiel, a successful entrepreneur and investor who has become one of Silicon Valley’s most prominent thinkers, grants that “a robotics revolution would basically have the effect of people losing their jobs.” But, he hastens to add, “it would have the benefit of freeing people up to do many other things.” Being freed up sounds a lot more pleasant than being fired. There’s a callousness to such grandiose futurism.


pages: 283 words: 85,824

The People's Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age by Astra Taylor

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A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, American Legislative Exchange Council, Andrew Keen, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, Brewster Kahle, citizen journalism, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, Community Supported Agriculture, conceptual framework, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, cross-subsidies, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, digital Maoism, disintermediation, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, future of journalism, George Gilder, Google Chrome, Google Glasses, hive mind, income inequality, informal economy, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, Metcalfe’s law, Naomi Klein, Narrative Science, Network effects, new economy, New Journalism, New Urbanism, Nicholas Carr, oil rush, peer-to-peer, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, pre–internet, profit motive, recommendation engine, Richard Florida, Richard Stallman, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, slashdot, Slavoj Žižek, Snapchat, social graph, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, trade route, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, Works Progress Administration, young professional

For the one-in-three-Internet-users figure, see Patrick Thibodeau, “Amazon Cloud Accessed Daily by a Third of All ’Net Users,” Computerworld.com, April 18, 2012, http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9226349/Amazon_cloud_accessed_daily_by_a_third_of_all_Net_users. On Apple’s valuation see Susanna Kim, “Apple Is World’s Most Valuable Company Again,” ABCNews.com, January 25, 2012, http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2012/01/apple-is-worlds-most-valuable-company-again/. 30. David Brooks, “The Creative Monopoly,” New York Times, April 24, 2012, A23; and Ryan Mac, “Ten Lessons from Peter Thiel’s Class on Startups,” Forbes.com, June 7, 2012, http://www.forbes.com/sites/ryanmac/2012/06/07/ten-lessons-from-peter-thiels-class-on-startups/. 31. Slavoj Zizek describes this issue succinctly in his essay “Corporate Rule of Cyberspace,” InsideHigherEd.com, May 2, 2011, http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2011/05/02/slavoj_zizek_essay_on_cloud_computing_and_privacy. 32. One predictable consequence of Amazon’s rapid expansion has been the further consolidation of the book business.

Monopolies, contrary to early expectations, prosper online, where winner-take-all markets emerge partly as a consequence of Metcalfe’s law, which says that the value of a network increases exponentially by the number of connections or users: the more people have telephones or have social media profiles or use a search engine, the more valuable those services become. (Counterintuitively, given his outspoken libertarian views, PayPal founder and first Facebook investor Peter Thiel has declared competition overrated and praised monopolies for improving margins.30) What’s more, many of the emerging info-monopolies now dabble in hardware, software, and content, building their businesses at every possible level, vertically integrating as in the analog era. This is the contradiction at the center of the new information system: the more customized and user friendly our computers and mobile devices are, the more connected we are to an extensive and opaque circuit of machines that coordinate and keep tabs on our activities; everything is accessible and individualized, but only through companies that control the network from the bottom up.31 Amazon strives to control both the bookshelf and the book and everything in between.


pages: 344 words: 96,020

Hacking Growth: How Today's Fastest-Growing Companies Drive Breakout Success by Sean Ellis, Morgan Brown

Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, barriers to entry, bounce rate, business intelligence, business process, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, DevOps, Elon Musk, game design, Google Glasses, Internet of things, inventory management, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, Khan Academy, Lean Startup, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, minimum viable product, Network effects, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, software as a service, Steve Jobs, subscription business, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, working poor, Y Combinator, young professional

Video of Febreze advertisement from 1999, viewed at: youtube.com/watch?v=ZTPNtruSIU0. 11. Molly Young, “Be Bossy: Sophia Amoruso Has Advice for Millennials and a Bone to Pick With Sheryl Sandberg,” New York magazine, The Cut (blog), May 26, 2014, nymag.com/thecut/2014/05/sophia-amoruso-nasty-gal-millennial-advice.xhtmll. 12. Blake Masters, “Peter Thiel’s CS183: Startup—Class 9 Notes Essay,” Blake Masters blog, May 4, 2012, blakemasters.com/post/22405055017/peter-thiels-cs183-startup-class-9-notes-essay. 13. Awan, “Lessons Learned from Growing LinkedIn.” 14. Brian Balfour, “5 Steps to Choose Your Customer Acquisition Channel,” Coelevate (blog), May 21, 2013, coelevate.com/essays/5-steps-to-choose-your-customer-acquisition-channel. 15. Ivan Kirigin, “[500DISTRO] Sharing Lab Notes: 27 Referral Program Hack-tics in 20 Minutes,” August 13, 2014, retrieved from: youtube.com/watch?

But this is not the right strategy when it comes to finding the channels for marketing and distributing your product (which in Web business are often one and the same). Marketers commonly make the mistake of believing that diversifying efforts across a wide variety of channels is best for growth. As a result, they spread resources too thin and don’t focus enough on optimizing one or a couple of the channels likely to be most effective. Most often it’s better, as Google founder and CEO Larry Page has said, to put “more wood behind fewer arrows.” Or as Peter Thiel, cofounder of PayPal, Palantir, and the first outside investor in Facebook, tells start-up founders, “It is very likely that one channel is optimal. Most businesses actually get zero distribution channels to work. Poor distribution—not product—is the number one cause of failure. If you can get even a single distribution channel to work, you have great business. If you try for several but don’t nail one, you’re finished.”12 At the same time, too many companies get caught in the trap of following the herd, using the same channels as everyone else, such as Google paid ads or Facebook advertising, and not experimenting with options that might be more effective for their specific product, and less expensive.


pages: 199 words: 43,653

Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal

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Airbnb, AltaVista, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, en.wikipedia.org, framing effect, game design, Google Glasses, Inbox Zero, invention of the telephone, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, Lean Startup, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Oculus Rift, Paul Buchheit, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, QWERTY keyboard, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Snapchat, TaskRabbit, telemarketer, the new new thing, Toyota Production System, Y Combinator

Technology. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/14/technology/instagram-founders-were-helped-by-bay-area-connections.html. [xliii] “Twitter ‘Tried to Buy Instagram before Facebook’.” Telegraph.co.uk, April 16, 2012, sec. twitter. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/twitter/9206312/Twitter-tried-to-buy-Instagram-before-Facebook.html. [xliv] Schwartz, Barry. The Paradox of Choice. New York: ECCO, 2004. [xlv] Masters, Blake. “Blakemasters.com.” Peter Thiel’s CS183: Startup - Class 2 Notes Essay, April 6, 2012. http://blakemasters.com/post/20582845717/peter-thiels-cs183-startup-class-2-notes-essay. [xlvi] Katikalapudi, R., S. Chellappan, F. Montgomery, D. Wunsch, and K. Lutzen. “Associating Internet Usage with Depressive Behavior Among College Students.” IEEE Technology and Society Magazine 31, no. 4 (2012): 73–80. doi:10.1109/MTS.2012.2225462. [xlvii] Chellappan, Sriram, and Raghavendra Kotikalapudi.


pages: 193 words: 47,808

The Flat White Economy by Douglas McWilliams

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access to a mobile phone, banking crisis, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bonus culture, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable, cleantech, cloud computing, computer age, correlation coefficient, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, eurozone crisis, George Gilder, hiring and firing, income inequality, informal economy, knowledge economy, loadsamoney, low skilled workers, mass immigration, Metcalfe’s law, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, Pareto efficiency, Peter Thiel, Productivity paradox, Robert Metcalfe, Silicon Valley, smart cities, special economic zone, Steve Jobs, working-age population, zero-sum game

According to the New Scientist “The annual KSI, or average number of cyclists killed or seriously injured, between 1994 and 1998 was 567, compared with 515 per year from 2008 to 2012. That’s a fall of nine per cent. At the same time, there has been a huge rise in the number of people getting on their bikes – 176 per cent more since 2000.”17 But the significant danger of at least serious injury must be a discouragement to many potential cyclists. Clothing According to Business Insider, Peter Thiel, founder of PayPal and one of Silicon Valley’s key venture capitalists, “hates suits”. While he cautions that there are “no absolute and timeless sartorial rules,” Thiel says that, “in Silicon Valley, wearing a suit in a pitch meeting makes you look like someone who is bad at sales and worse at tech.” Maybe that’s why he has a simple rule for investing: never bet on a CEO in a suit. Thiel says that this rule has helped him avoid making poor bets on slick business folk compensating for crap products with well-dressed charm.

This analysis was carried out by Cebr staff. 11. twowheelsgood-fourwheelsbad.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/cycling-is-now-dominant-mode-of-travel.html 12. data.london.gov.uk/datastore/package/cycle-flows-tfl-road-network 13. www.ctc.org.uk/resources/ctc-cycling-statistics 14. www.bikebiz.com/news/read/cycling-isn-t-mainstream-enough-yet/016851 15. London has 29 inches of rainfall annually, Amsterdam has 31 www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=349393 16. amsterdamize.com/2011/11/21/bicycle-cultures-are-man-made 17. www.newscientist.com/article/dn24636-despite-the-deaths-cycling-in-london-is-getting-safer.html#.VETGl_nF-So 18. www.businessinsider.com/peter-thiel-ama-2014–9#ixzz3GflCaosA 19. www.esquire.co.uk/culture/features/5720/the-silicon-roundabout 20. The article attributes the phrase Silicon Roundabout to a tweet from software developer Matt Biddulph working out of Moo.com in July 2007. 21. www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/nov/01/google-new-london-headquarters 22. Quote from The Guardian article above. 23. Ibid. 24. www.neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk/HTMLDocs/dvc126/ 25. s3.amazonaws.com/bbpa-prod/attachments/documents/resources/22617/original/Oxford%20Economics%20for%20the%20BBPA%20Regional%20 Impacts%20Jan%202014.pdf?


pages: 184 words: 53,625

Future Perfect: The Case for Progress in a Networked Age by Steven Johnson

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Airbus A320, airport security, algorithmic trading, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, call centre, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Cass Sunstein, cognitive dissonance, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, dark matter, Dava Sobel, David Brooks, Donald Davies, future of journalism, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, HyperCard, Jane Jacobs, John Gruber, John Harrison: Longitude, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, lone genius, Mark Zuckerberg, mega-rich, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Naomi Klein, Nate Silver, Occupy movement, packet switching, peer-to-peer, Peter Thiel, planetary scale, pre–internet, RAND corporation, risk tolerance, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, social graph, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Tim Cook: Apple, urban planning, US Airways Flight 1549, WikiLeaks, William Langewiesche, working poor, X Prize, your tax dollars at work

You can always get bandwidth by declaring yourself a utopian; and you can always get bandwidth by mourning the downward trend lines for some pressing social issue—however modest the trend itself may be. But declaring that things are slightly better than they were a year ago, as they have been for most years since at least the dawn of industrialization, almost never makes the front page. Consider this observation from the entrepreneur and investor Peter Thiel, published in National Review: When tracked against the admittedly lofty hopes of the 1950s and 1960s, technological progress has fallen short in many domains. Consider the most literal instance of non-acceleration: We are no longer moving faster. The centuries-long acceleration of travel speeds—from ever-faster sailing ships in the 16th through 18th centuries, to the advent of ever-faster railroads in the 19th century, and ever-faster cars and airplanes in the 20th century—reversed with the decommissioning of the Concorde in 2003, to say nothing of the nightmarish delays caused by strikingly low-tech post-9/11 airport-security systems.

PROGRESS, ACTUALLY The article on airline safety, “Airlines Go Two Years with No Fatalities,” appeared in the January 12, 2009, edition of USA Today. My original post on air safety and subsequent coverage of the US Airways crash ran on the website BoingBoing; the first post can be found at http://boingboing.net/2009/01/14/for-once-news-about.html. William Langewiesche’s Fly by Wire: The Geese, the Glide, the Miracle on the Hudson gives a thorough account of the Airbus 320 design and its role in the Hudson landing. Peter Thiel’s “The End of the Future” appeared in the October 3, 2011, issue of National Review. High school dropout rates and college enrollment: Between 1988 and 2008, the high school dropout rate for the United States declined from 14.6 to 9.3. (Source: “Trends in High School Dropout and Completion Rates in the United States: 1972–2008”; http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2011/2011012.pdf.) During that same period, college enrollment increased from 30.3 to 39.6 percent.


pages: 223 words: 58,732

The Retreat of Western Liberalism by Edward Luce

3D printing, affirmative action, Airbnb, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, call centre, carried interest, centre right, cognitive dissonance, colonial exploitation, colonial rule, computer age, corporate raider, cuban missile crisis, currency manipulation / currency intervention, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Doha Development Round, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, Erik Brynjolfsson, European colonialism, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, future of work, George Santayana, gig economy, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, illegal immigration, imperial preference, income inequality, informal economy, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, knowledge economy, liberal capitalism, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, means of production, Monroe Doctrine, moral panic, more computing power than Apollo, mutually assured destruction, new economy, New Urbanism, Norman Mailer, offshore financial centre, one-China policy, Peace of Westphalia, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, precariat, purchasing power parity, reserve currency, Richard Florida, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, software is eating the world, South China Sea, Steve Jobs, superstar cities, TaskRabbit, telepresence, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, universal basic income, unpaid internship, Washington Consensus, We are the 99%, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, white flight, World Values Survey, Yogi Berra

But the growth vanished almost as quickly as it came. We are still awaiting the productivity gains we were assured would result from the digital economy. With the exception of most of the 1990s, productivity growth has never recaptured the rates it achieved in the post-war decades. ‘You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics,’ said Robert Solow, the Nobel Prize-winning economist. Peter Thiel, the Silicon Valley billionaire, who has controversially backed Donald Trump, put it more vividly: ‘We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters [Twitter].’ That may be about to change, with the acceleration of the robot revolution and the spread of artificial intelligence. But we should be careful what we wish for. The squeeze is already uncomfortable enough. I am nearing fifty. My generation – those born in the mid-to-late 1960s and the 1970s – straddled the transition from the golden years to the new normal, though we did not wake up to it until we were into our thirties.

It is ­possible to imagine we can pull together to ensure that everyone will have a stake in a hyper-automated future. But there are gaping holes in this pleasant reverie. The digital revolution is still in its infancy, yet we are already throwing our toys out of the pram. As political societies, we are further away from plausible solutions than when the digital revolution began. Unlike the Industrial Revolution, it is taking place in a hyper-democratic world. Peter Thiel was right, of course; Twitter cannot be compared to the invention of printing, or flying cars. Yet he was also wrong. We live in a world where everyone with a grievance wields more digital power in the palm of their hand than the computers that sent Apollo 14 into orbit. The Industrial Revolution was unleashed on undemocratic – or in the case of Britain and the US, semi-democratic – societies.


pages: 252 words: 72,473

Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy by Cathy O'Neil

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Bernie Madoff, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, call centre, carried interest, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crowdsourcing, Emanuel Derman, housing crisis, I will remember that I didn’t make the world, and it doesn’t satisfy my equations, illegal immigration, Internet of things, late fees, mass incarceration, medical bankruptcy, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, new economy, obamacare, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, payday loans, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, price discrimination, quantitative hedge fund, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, recommendation engine, Rubik’s Cube, Sharpe ratio, statistical model, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, working poor

Douglas Merrill’s idea: Steve Lohr, “Big Data Underwriting for Payday Loans,” New York Times, January 19, 2015, http://​bits.​blogs.​nytimes.​com/​2015/​01/​19/​big-​data-​underwriting-​for-​payday-​loans/. On the company web page: Website ZestFinance.​com, accessed January 9, 2016, www.​zestfinance.​com/. A typical $500 loan: Lohr, “Big Data Underwriting.” ten thousand data points: Michael Carney, “Flush with $20M from Peter Thiel, ZestFinance Is Measuring Credit Risk Through Non-traditional Big Data,” Pando, July 31, 2013, https://​pando.​com/​2013/​07/​31/​flush-​with-​20m-​from-​peter-​thiel-​zestfinance-​is-​measuring-​credit-​risk-​through-​non-​traditional-​big-​data/. one of the first peer-to-peer exchanges, Lending Club: Richard MacManus, “Facebook App, Lending Club, Passes Half a Million Dollars in Loans,” Readwrite, July 29, 2007, http://​readwrite.​com/​2007/​07/​29/​facebook_​app_​lending_​club_​passes_​half_​a_​million_​in_​loans.


pages: 235 words: 62,862

Utopia for Realists: The Case for a Universal Basic Income, Open Borders, and a 15-Hour Workweek by Rutger Bregman

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autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, Bartolomé de las Casas, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, Branko Milanovic, cognitive dissonance, computer age, conceptual framework, credit crunch, David Graeber, Diane Coyle, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, full employment, George Gilder, George Santayana, happiness index / gross national happiness, Henry Ford's grandson gave labor union leader Walter Reuther a tour of the company’s new, automated factory…, income inequality, invention of gunpowder, James Watt: steam engine, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, low skilled workers, means of production, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microcredit, minimum wage unemployment, Mont Pelerin Society, Nathan Meyer Rothschild: antibiotics, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, Paul Samuelson, Peter Thiel, post-industrial society, precariat, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Skype, stem cell, Steven Pinker, telemarketer, The Future of Employment, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, universal basic income, wage slave, War on Poverty, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, wikimedia commons, women in the workforce, working poor, World Values Survey

Demand doesn’t exist in a vacuum, after all; it’s the product of a constant negotiation, determined by a country’s laws and institutions, and, of course, by the people who control the purse strings. Maybe this is also a clue as to why the innovations of the past 30 years – a time of spiraling inequality – haven’t quite lived up to our expectations. “We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters,” mocks Peter Thiel, Silicon Valley’s resident intellectual.16 If the post-war era gave us fabulous inventions like the washing machine, the refrigerator, the space shuttle, and the pill, lately it’s been slightly improved iterations of the same phone we bought a couple years ago. In fact, it has become increasingly profitable not to innovate. Imagine just how much progress we’ve missed out on because thousands of bright minds have frittered away their time dreaming up hypercomplex financial products that are ultimately only destructive.

Alfred Kleinknecht, Ro Naastepad, and Servaas Storm, “Overdaad schaadt: meer management, minder productiviteitsgroei,” ESB (September 8, 2006). 14. See: Tony Schwartz and Christine Poratz, “Why You Hate Work,” The New York Times (May 30, 2014). http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/01/opinion/sunday/why-you-hate-work.html?_r=1 15. Will Dahlgreen, “37% of British workers think their jobs are meaningless”, YouGov (August 12, 2015). https://yougov.co.uk/news/2015/08/12/british-jobs-meaningless 16. Peter Thiel, “What happened to the future?” Founders Fund, http://www.foundersfund.com/the-future 17. William Baumol, “Entrepreneurship: Productive, Unproductive, and Destructive,” Journal of Political Economy (1990), pp. 893-920. 18. Sam Ro, “Stock Market Investors Have Become Absurdly Impatient,” Business Insider (August 7, 2012). http://www.businessinsider.com/stock-investor-holding-period-2012-8 19.


pages: 270 words: 79,992

The End of Big: How the Internet Makes David the New Goliath by Nicco Mele

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3D printing, 4chan, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, bitcoin, business climate, call centre, Cass Sunstein, centralized clearinghouse, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, collaborative editing, commoditize, creative destruction, crony capitalism, cross-subsidies, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, death of newspapers, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, en.wikipedia.org, Exxon Valdez, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Galaxy Zoo, global supply chain, Google Chrome, Gordon Gekko, Hacker Ethic, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Markoff, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, Mark Zuckerberg, minimum viable product, Mohammed Bouazizi, Mother of all demos, Narrative Science, new economy, Occupy movement, old-boy network, peer-to-peer, period drama, Peter Thiel, pirate software, publication bias, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, social web, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, Stuxnet, Ted Nelson, Telecommunications Act of 1996, telemarketer, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, uranium enrichment, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, Zipcar

A 2011 Pew study finds the broad American public increasingly wary of the cost of college and the value of higher education.10 Parents still expect their kids to go to college, but they’re sure it’s overpriced and not certain their children will get a good education. In a particularly stunning finding, only 19% of college and university presidents think that the American college system is the best in the world.11 Our college and university presidents don’t think our system is exceptional, and many of them think it is getting worse. One prominent tech entrepreneur, Peter Thiel, finds higher education so much of a dead-end that he has offered to pay promising smart high school kids not to attend college. Thiel cofounded the online payment juggernaut PayPal and was an early investor and mentor for two Silicon Valley heavyweights, Facebook and Palantir. Each year, he picks twenty people under twenty years old and gives them $100,000 to stay out of school for two years and focus on building their start-ups.

Harry Lewis, Excellence Without a Soul: How a Great University Forgot Education (New York: PublicAffairs, 2006), 8. 5. http://www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2011/03/18/a-harvard-education-isnt-as-advertised 6. http://www.demos.org/publication/great-cost-shift-how-higher-education-cuts-undermine-future-middle-class 7. http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/when-it-comes-to-e-mailed-political-rumors-conservatives-beat-liberals/2011/11/17/gIQAyycZWN_story.html 8. http://www.csmonitor.com/The-Culture/Family/2012/0617/Bachelor-s-degree-Has-it-lost-its-edge-and-its-value 9. http://chronicle.com/blogs/innovations/why-did-17-million-students-go-to-college/27634 10. http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1993/survey-is-college-degree-worth-cost-debt-college-presidents-higher-education-system 11. http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1993/survey-is-college-degree-worth-cost-debt-college-presidents-higher-education-system 12. http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/may2011/tc20110524_317819.htm 13. http://techcrunch.com/2011/04/10/peter-thiel-were-in-a-bubble-and-its-not-the-internet-its-higher-education/ 14. http://ocw.mit.edu/about/newsletter/archive/2011-10/ 15. http://techcrunch.com/2011/10/19/khan-academy-triples-unique-users-to-3-5-million/ 16. http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2012/01/31/udacitys-model/ 17. http://www.britannica.com/blogs/2008/04/the-great-unbundling-newspapers-the-net/ 18. http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/01/the-great-unbundling-of-the-university/251831/ 19. http://www.centerforcollegeaffordability.org/uploads/ForProfit_HigherEd.pdf 20. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-10-19/apollo-fourth-quarter-profit-sales-top-analysts-estimates-1-.html 21. http://nber.org/papers/w18201 22. http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/07/why-the-internet-isnt-going-to-end-college-as-we-know-it/259378/ 23. http://toolserver.org/~daniel/WikiSense/Contributors.php?


pages: 287 words: 82,576

The Complacent Class: The Self-Defeating Quest for the American Dream by Tyler Cowen

affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Alvin Roth, assortative mating, Bernie Sanders, Black Swan, business climate, circulation of elites, clean water, David Graeber, declining real wages, deindustrialization, desegregation, Donald Trump, drone strike, East Village, Elon Musk, Ferguson, Missouri, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, gig economy, Google Glasses, Hyman Minsky, Hyperloop, income inequality, intangible asset, Internet of things, inventory management, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, labour mobility, low skilled workers, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, medical residency, meta analysis, meta-analysis, obamacare, offshore financial centre, Paul Samuelson, Peter Thiel, purchasing power parity, Richard Florida, security theater, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Skype, South China Sea, Steven Pinker, Stuxnet, The Great Moderation, total factor productivity, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, upwardly mobile, Vilfredo Pareto, working-age population, World Values Survey

To the rebel in each of us ACKNOWLEDGMENTS For useful comments, edits, and discussion, the author would like to thank most of all Tim Bartlett and Michael Rosenwald and Teresa Hartnett, but also Bryan Caplan, Yana Chernyak, Carrie Conko, Natasha Cowen, Michelle Dawson, Veronique de Rugy, Jason Fichtner, David Gordon, Kevin and Robin Grier, Robin Hanson, Garett Jones, Daniel Klein, Randall Kroszner, Edward Luce, Megan McArdle, Stephen Morrow, John Nye, Jim Olds, Hollis Robbins, Daniel Rothschild, Reihan Salam, Alex Tabarrok, Peter Thiel, and surely some number of others whom I have neglected or forgotten unjustly. 1. THE COMPLACENT CLASS AND ITS DANGERS Disruption has been the buzzword of the decade. And it’s true that there have been some significant changes afoot, from the wiring of the whole world to the coming of unprecedented levels of multiculturalism and tolerance. But as important and yet neglected is a story that’s happening alongside and to some degree in reaction to all of that change.

Slow, inefficient travel has made Americans less likely to travel, with the knock-on effect of removing political pressure to improve transportation systems. If I think of my own life, I’ve simply stopped taking most local car trips between 4 and 7 p.m., mostly because of pressures from traffic. I end up staying at home and clicking on Amazon and waiting for the packages to arrive. One final way of thinking about progress, sometimes stressed by Silicon Valley venture capitalist Peter Thiel, is to ask whether the era of grand projects is mostly over. In the twentieth century, American grand projects included the Manhattan Project, which was highly successful, and cemented an era of Pax Americana. Two other grand projects were winning World War II and, starting in the 1950s, construction of the interstate highway system, both examples of thinking big and changing the world permanently on a large scale.


pages: 479 words: 144,453

Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari

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23andMe, agricultural Revolution, algorithmic trading, Anne Wojcicki, anti-communist, Anton Chekhov, autonomous vehicles, Berlin Wall, call centre, Chris Urmson, cognitive dissonance, Columbian Exchange, computer age, Deng Xiaoping, don't be evil, drone strike, European colonialism, experimental subject, falling living standards, Flash crash, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, glass ceiling, global village, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of writing, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, job automation, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, lifelogging, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, Minecraft, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, mutually assured destruction, new economy, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, placebo effect, Ray Kurzweil, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, stem cell, Steven Pinker, telemarketer, The Future of Employment, too big to fail, trade route, Turing machine, Turing test, ultimatum game, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, zero-sum game

Arion McNicoll, ‘How Google’s Calico Aims to Fight Aging and “Solve Death”’, CNN, 3 October 2013, accessed 19 December 2014, http://edition.cnn.com/2013/10/03/tech/innovation/google-calico-aging-death/. 27. Katrina Brooker, ‘Google Ventures and the Search for Immortality’, Bloomberg, 9 March 2015, accessed 15 April 2015, http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-03-09/google-ventures-bill-maris-investing-in-idea-of-living-to-500. 28. Mick Brown, ‘Peter Thiel: The Billionaire Tech Entrepreneur on a Mission to Cheat Death’, Telegraph, 19 September 2014, accessed 19 December 2014, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/11098971/Peter-Thiel-the-billionaire-tech-entrepreneur-on-a-mission-to-cheat-death.html. 29. Kim Hill et al., ‘Mortality Rates among Wild Chimpanzees’, Journal of Human Evolution 40:5 (2001), 437–50; James G. Herndon, ‘Brain Weight Throughout the Life Span of the Chimpanzee’, Journal of Comparative Neurology 409 (1999), 567–72. 30.

Google Ventures is investing 36 per cent of its $2 billion portfolio in life sciences start-ups, including several ambitious life-extending projects. Using an American football analogy, Maris explained that in the fight against death, ‘We aren’t trying to gain a few yards. We are trying to win the game.’ Why? Because, says Maris, ‘it is better to live than to die’.27 Such dreams are shared by other Silicon Valley luminaries. PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel has recently confessed that he aims to live for ever. ‘I think there are probably three main modes of approaching [death],’ he explained. ‘You can accept it, you can deny it or you can fight it. I think our society is dominated by people who are into denial or acceptance, and I prefer to fight it.’ Many people are likely to dismiss such statements as teenage fantasies. Yet Thiel is somebody to be taken very seriously.


pages: 504 words: 126,835

The Innovation Illusion: How So Little Is Created by So Many Working So Hard by Fredrik Erixon, Bjorn Weigel

Airbnb, Albert Einstein, asset allocation, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Basel III, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, BRICs, Burning Man, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, Clayton Christensen, Colonization of Mars, commoditize, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, crony capitalism, dark matter, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, discounted cash flows, distributed ledger, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, fear of failure, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Gilder, global supply chain, global value chain, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, hiring and firing, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, income per capita, index fund, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Just-in-time delivery, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, labour market flexibility, laissez-faire capitalism, lump of labour, Lyft, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, Martin Wolf, mass affluent, means of production, Mont Pelerin Society, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, pensions crisis, Peter Thiel, Potemkin village, price mechanism, principal–agent problem, Productivity paradox, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, risk tolerance, risk/return, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, technological singularity, telemarketer, The Chicago School, The Future of Employment, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, total factor productivity, transaction costs, transportation-network company, tulip mania, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, University of East Anglia, unpaid internship, Vanguard fund, Yogi Berra

There are several thinkers today that can be put in the same category. If you get bored by all those who just repeat the conventional wisdom about the economy and how it evolves, pick any work from these economic thinkers and you will immediately be reinvigorated: David Autor, Tyler Cowen, Deirdre McCloskey, Malcolm Gladwell, David Graeber, Deepak Lal, Joel Mokyr, Matt Ridley, Richard Sennett, Robert Solow, Lawrence Summers, Peter Thiel, and Martin Wolf. Their works have contributed to our thinking for this book. Likewise, there are many successful investors and entrepreneurs whose thinking about innovation and business creation have inspired us. Innovation happens through entrepreneurship and it is impossible to grasp innovation without understanding the business motivations behind it. In reality, books like ours cannot substitute for studies of successful entrepreneurs like Warren Buffett, Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and Sam Walton, and the business environment they and others created in their respective firms.

New Jersey, for instance, withdrew Tesla’s license for dealer-free car sales in 2014, forcing it to go through a franchise if it wanted to sell cars in the Garden State.19 Likewise Airbnb, the online platform for individuals to rent out their homes, has effectively been banned or repeatedly fined in cities like Santa Monica and Barcelona.20 Other city authorities, such as in Berlin and New York, impose regulations – old or new – that seriously constrain homeowners from renting out beds or their entire home on sites like Airbnb.21 All too often innovators need to err on the wrong side of regulation if they aim to contest markets. The time and money of regulation If regulatory resistance to innovation is strong in business sectors that are comparatively less regulated, such as car sales and online services, imagine then the effects of regulation in energy, pharmaceuticals, neuroscience, medical technology, and other sectors with more complicated regulations. Investor Peter Thiel has contrasted two different regulatory worlds and how the various regulatory approaches feed different innovative outcomes. In the “world of bits,” regulation has for some time had a “light touch,” while “the world of atoms” has been burdened by the heavy hand of regulation. The difference helps to explain why in the past decades there has been so much more innovation in software than in physical things.

And this is also what happened in the past decades as a consequence of market reforms. The broad wave of deregulation did not affect all sectors equally. The actual flow of the economy carried the hallmark of regulation rather than reflecting natural changes among consumers and producers. Reforms generally motivated companies to focus their energy on horizontal expansion and vertical specialization. Or, to use Peter Thiel’s mathematical imagery: companies were not incentivized to move from “zero to one” (to bring something new to the market) but to go “from 1 to n” (to expand volumes on the product and resource base they already possessed).43 Together with the shift in economic structure – from industry to services – product market reforms reoriented the way companies compete and how much importance they place on contestable innovation.


pages: 903 words: 235,753

The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty by Benjamin H. Bratton

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1960s counterculture, 3D printing, 4chan, Ada Lovelace, additive manufacturing, airport security, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Benevolent Dictator For Life (BDFL), Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, bitcoin, blockchain, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, call centre, carbon footprint, carbon-based life, Cass Sunstein, Celebration, Florida, charter city, clean water, cloud computing, connected car, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, dark matter, David Graeber, deglobalization, dematerialisation, disintermediation, distributed generation, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Eratosthenes, ethereum blockchain, facts on the ground, Flash crash, Frank Gehry, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, Georg Cantor, gig economy, global supply chain, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Guggenheim Bilbao, High speed trading, Hyperloop, illegal immigration, industrial robot, information retrieval, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), intermodal, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jacob Appelbaum, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, Jony Ive, Julian Assange, Khan Academy, liberal capitalism, lifelogging, linked data, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, Masdar, McMansion, means of production, megacity, megastructure, Menlo Park, Minecraft, Monroe Doctrine, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, peak oil, peer-to-peer, performance metric, personalized medicine, Peter Eisenman, Peter Thiel, phenotype, Philip Mirowski, Pierre-Simon Laplace, place-making, planetary scale, RAND corporation, recommendation engine, reserve currency, RFID, Robert Bork, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, semantic web, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Slavoj Žižek, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, social graph, software studies, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spectrum auction, Startup school, statistical arbitrage, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Stuxnet, Superbowl ad, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, TaskRabbit, the built environment, The Chicago School, the scientific method, Torches of Freedom, transaction costs, Turing complete, Turing machine, Turing test, universal basic income, urban planning, Vernor Vinge, Washington Consensus, web application, Westphalian system, WikiLeaks, working poor, Y Combinator

It also invites the legal preemption of many techniques for social graph capitalization that Facebook (or any other graph-based Cloud) might wish to pursue and leverage in the future toward further independence. The company's leadership is unloved and popularly perceived as selfish, petulant, and uncommitted (as reflected in the company's IPO problems, the David Fincher movie, a hundred Sean Parker jokes, a smirking Eduardo Saverin defecting to Singapore to avoid paying his taxes, and the contrarian public persona of early funder Peter Thiel). There are, however, many other examples of network closure that deliver very different effects (Apple's own take on the walled garden is discussed below) not the least of which is the model provided by China's portfolio of social media properties like Renren, Sina Weibo, Tencent/QQ, and others. All of these are interested first in the extraction of some sort of surplus from a captured social domain over which they exercise a slightly resented monopoly, and each looks at the other—state-sanctioned company versus private holding—as an ambiguous variable in its own strategies.

We could mark an ancestral trace from Yona Friedman's La Ville Spatiale to the new Asian smart cities such as New Songdo City (“a ubiquitous city,” says its brochure) in South Korea's Incheon development, or see Paolo Soleri's Arcology as a first pass at Masdar, the massive “green” smart city in Abu Dhabi. (Both Songdo and Masdar were built with Cisco and IBM as key partners.) Is Situationist cut-and-paste psychogeography reborn or smashed to bits by Minecraft? What binds the hyperlibertarian secessionism of the Seasteading Institute, which would move whole populations offshore to live on massive ships floating from port to port unmolested by regulation and undesired publics (Facebook funder Peter Thiel is a key funder) with Archigram's Walking City project from 1967, which plotted for Star Wars Land Walker–like city machines to get up and amble away to greener pastures as needed? For that matter, as models of programmable planets and embryonic Matrioshka brains, how should we weigh Cisco/NASA's Planetary Skin, which, as we know, would blanket the globe's epidermal crust with ubiquitous physical sensors, on one hand, and the Death Star, on the other?

Further, the original version of the photograph showed the continent of Africa with the tip of the Cape of Good Hope facing “up” and so putting the occluded areas Europe and the United States “below” Africa in perspective. There is no north or south in space, but the public versions of the photo inverted this perspective to a north-up map orientation restoring a completely artificial natural order. 12.  On Peter Thiel's thesis see “Technology Stalled in 1970,” MIT Technology Review, September 18, 2014, http://www.technologyreview.com/qa/530901/technology-stalled-in-1970/. 13.  See my “We Need to Talk About TED” editorial published by The Guardian, December 30, 2014, http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/dec/30/we-need-to-talk-about-ted. 14.  Mike Davis, “Who Will Build the Ark?” New Left Review, no. 61 (January/February 2010): 45, http://newleftreview.org/II/61/mike-davis-who-will-build-the-ark: “Tackling the challenge of sustainable urban design for the whole planet, and not just for a few privileged countries or social groups, requires a vast stage for the imagination, such as the arts and sciences inhabited in the May Days of Vkhutemas and the Bauhaus.


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The Golden Passport: Harvard Business School, the Limits of Capitalism, and the Moral Failure of the MBA Elite by Duff McDonald

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, barriers to entry, Bayesian statistics, Bernie Madoff, Bob Noyce, Bonfire of the Vanities, business process, butterfly effect, capital asset pricing model, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, commoditize, corporate governance, corporate raider, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, deskilling, discounted cash flows, disintermediation, Donald Trump, family office, financial innovation, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, George Gilder, glass ceiling, Gordon Gekko, hiring and firing, income inequality, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, job-hopping, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, London Whale, Long Term Capital Management, market fundamentalism, Menlo Park, new economy, obamacare, oil shock, pattern recognition, performance metric, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, profit maximization, profit motive, pushing on a string, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, random walk, rent-seeking, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, survivorship bias, The Nature of the Firm, the scientific method, Thorstein Veblen, union organizing, urban renewal, Vilfredo Pareto, War on Poverty, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, women in the workforce, Y Combinator

Chandler, “The Competitive Performance of US Industrial Enterprises since the Second World War,” Business History Review 68 (Spring 1994). 16Cruikshank, A Delicate Experiment, p. 242 17Zeff, “The Contribution of the Harvard Business School to Management Control, 1908–1980,” p. 183. 18HBS course catalog, 1946–47, p. 31. 19Zeff, “The Contribution of the Harvard Business School to Management Control, 1908–1980,” p. 189. 20Ibid. Chapter 13: The Venture Capitalist: Georges Doriot 1“Peter Thiel on Creativity: Asperger’s Promotes It, Business School Crushes It,” BloombergView, October 7, 2014, http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/articles/2014–10–07/peter-thiel-criticizes-harvard-business-school-praises-aspergers. 2Spencer E. Ante, Creative Capital: Georges Doriot and the Birth of Venture Capital (Boston: Harvard Business Review Press, 2008), Introduction. 3Harry Goldberg, “All Aboard for the New Business Era,” Cincinnati Enquirer, April 10, 1932. 4Ante, Creative Capital, p. 5Ibid. 6Ibid. 7Jeffrey L.

“Company managers,” Zeff writes, “aggressively managed earnings by attuning their accounting policies to strategic and tactical aims.” If the original intent of Control had been to shift the use of accounting and statistical data from a look at the past to a means of charting a course into the future, by the 1970s, scores of HBS graduates had pulled it back into the present, using the concepts they had learned in Control in order to paint a better picture of today. 13 The Venture Capitalist: Georges Doriot When Peter Thiel, the cofounder of PayPal turned venture capitalist, was publicizing his 2014 book for aspiring entrepreneurs, Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future, his handlers included stops at a number of the nation’s premier business schools, including Harvard, Stanford, and Wharton. There was, of course, irony in the decision, given Thiel’s well-known opinion of the value of MBAs: “Never hire an MBA; they will ruin your company.”

Arthur Rock (’51) is one of Silicon Valley’s most legendary moneymen, a founding investor of Intel in 1968, and also one of Apple’s early backers. Thomas Perkins and Frank Caufield, two cofounders of the legendary venture capital firm that bears their names, were HBS grads. And then there is HBS professor Georges Frederic Doriot, one of the founders of the modern venture capital industry, the latest stampede into which included the likes of Peter Thiel himself. In that, Thiel is like many of those MBAs that he so likes to criticize: the follower who has convinced himself that he is leading instead. A wiry five feet, ten inches with a thin mustache that Peter Sellers might have worn, Georges Doriot had a career at the Harvard Business School cut across four decades, from his time as an MBA student in the mid-1920s all the way through to his retirement in 1966.


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Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era by James Barrat

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3D printing, AI winter, Amazon Web Services, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, Automated Insights, Bayesian statistics, Bernie Madoff, Bill Joy: nanobots, brain emulation, cellular automata, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable, cloud computing, cognitive bias, commoditize, computer vision, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Danny Hillis, data acquisition, don't be evil, drone strike, Extropian, finite state, Flash crash, friendly AI, friendly fire, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, Loebner Prize, lone genius, mutually assured destruction, natural language processing, Nicholas Carr, optical character recognition, PageRank, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, prisoner's dilemma, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, Skype, smart grid, speech recognition, statistical model, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, Stuxnet, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, Thomas Bayes, traveling salesman, Turing machine, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, zero day

I’d heard about so-called stealth companies that are privately held, hire secretly, never issue press releases or otherwise reveal what they’re up to. In AI, the only reason for a company to be stealthy is if they’ve had some powerful insight, and they don’t want to reward competitors with information about what that their breakthrough is. By definition, stealth companies are hard to discover, though rumors abound. PayPal founder Peter Thiel funds three stealth companies devoted to AI. Companies in “stealth mode” however, are different and more common. These companies seek funding and even publicity, but don’t reveal their plans. Peter Voss, an AI innovator known for developing voice-recognition technology, pursues AGI with his company, Adaptive AI, Inc. He has gone on record saying AGI can be achieved within ten years. But he won’t say how

—Vernor Vinge, author, professor, computer scientist Each year since 2005, the Machine Intelligence Research Institute, formerly the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence, has held a Singularity Summit. Over two days, a roster of speakers preach to about a thousand members of the choir about the Singularity big picture—its impact on jobs and the economy, health and longevity, and its ethical implications. Speakers at the 2011 summit in New York City included science legends, like Mathematica’s Stephen Wolfram, Peter Thiel, a dot-com billionaire who pays tech-savvy teens to skip college and start companies, and IBM’s David Ferrucci, principal investigator for the DeepQA/Watson Project. Eliezer Yudkowsky always speaks, and there’s usually an ethicist or two as well as spokespeople for the extropian and transhuman communities. Extropians explore technologies and therapies that will permit humans to live forever. Transhumans think about hardware and cosmetic ways for increasing human capability, beauty, and … opportunities to live forever.


pages: 345 words: 92,849

Equal Is Unfair: America's Misguided Fight Against Income Inequality by Don Watkins, Yaron Brook

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3D printing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Apple II, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, blue-collar work, business process, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, collective bargaining, colonial exploitation, corporate governance, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, David Brooks, deskilling, Edward Glaeser, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, financial deregulation, immigration reform, income inequality, indoor plumbing, inventory management, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Jony Ive, laissez-faire capitalism, Louis Pasteur, low skilled workers, means of production, minimum wage unemployment, Naomi Klein, new economy, obamacare, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, profit motive, rent control, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, The Spirit Level, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Uber for X, urban renewal, War on Poverty, wealth creators, women in the workforce, working poor, zero-sum game

If opportunity refers to conditions that are favorable to the achievement of success and happiness, then America has always supplied those conditions in spades: the freedom to think, choose, and produce—and the chance to live among other producers, whose ever-growing sum of knowledge, wealth, and achievements magnifies what we can achieve. In America, we have the opportunity to work with entrepreneurs like Bill Gates and Mark Cuban—or to become one of them. We have the opportunity to use new technologies pioneered by innovators like Steve Jobs and Peter Thiel—and to create our own. We have the opportunity to gain access to capital from banks, venture capitalists, and other investors—and to become a capitalist. We have the opportunity to take advantage of the services of first-rate doctors, electricians, home builders, and chefs—and to become first-rate in whatever field we choose. We have the opportunity to buy an increasingly wide array of goods, of increasingly good quality, at an ever-declining cost.

If you are motivated in Silicon Valley, [then] you can make it, period.”35 What matters in the Valley is not where you were born or where (or even whether) you went to college. What matters is your ability. Talent is the currency of Silicon Valley, and individuals there use their talent to move us forward, pioneering revolutionary achievements in social media, big data, personalized health care, biotechnology, smartphones, mobile commerce, cloud technology, and 3D printing, to name just a few. Silicon Valley is the place creators like Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, and Peter Thiel go to make a fortune by inventing the future. What made it all possible? No doubt there are many forces at work, but one enormous factor is the extent to which the government has kept its hands off the Valley. Perry Piscione points out the benefits of “the lack of heavy government regulation that would typically favor the interests of established banks, companies, and labor unions” over young upstarts.36 People are free to act on their ideas and compete on ability, without having to wade through a minefield of government permissions before launching their ventures.


pages: 364 words: 99,897

The Industries of the Future by Alec Ross

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23andMe, 3D printing, Airbnb, algorithmic trading, AltaVista, Anne Wojcicki, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, bioinformatics, bitcoin, blockchain, Brian Krebs, British Empire, business intelligence, call centre, carbon footprint, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, connected car, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, cryptocurrency, David Brooks, disintermediation, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, distributed ledger, Edward Glaeser, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, fiat currency, future of work, global supply chain, Google X / Alphabet X, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of the printing press, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, lifelogging, litecoin, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Mikhail Gorbachev, mobile money, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, new economy, offshore financial centre, open economy, Parag Khanna, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, personalized medicine, Peter Thiel, precision agriculture, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rubik’s Cube, Satoshi Nakamoto, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, social graph, software as a service, special economic zone, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, technoutopianism, The Future of Employment, underbanked, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, women in the workforce, Y Combinator, young professional

The company simply created 100 billion ripples and put 80 billion into its account. Ripple Labs maintains the global ledger, and its servers automatically monitor the transactions to ensure against fraud. In turn, Ripple Labs plans to distribute about 50 billion of these 80 billion ripples throughout the network to reward people for building up the network. The rest will be used to fund the company. Ripple is backed by Marc Andreessen’s VC firm Andreessen Horowitz and Peter Thiel’s Founder’s Fund. Most Silicon Valley figures push back whenever another cryptocurrency is mentioned. Investor Chamath Paliyipatiya believes Bitcoin will continue to dominate the space. “I don’t want to comment on other currencies because they’re all irrelevant,” he says. “It’s about Bitcoin, so we should talk about Bitcoin.” Former CEO John Donahoe of eBay, one of the first companies to establish a trust-based commerce network online, said, “I don’t know what Bitcoin will look like ten years from now, but I do think cryptocurrency and digital currency are growing technologies with tremendous potential.

Home for me isn’t a place but rather a feeling—a feeling best felt when near family or with close friends.” Today Sheel is the youngest venture capitalist with a senior role at a major Silicon Valley venture capital firm. His brother, Sujay, matriculated at Harvard as a 15-year-old and stayed for five semesters before accepting a Thiel Fellowship. The fellowship, set up by PayPal Mafia alum Peter Thiel, gives young college students $100,000 to drop out of college and focus on entrepreneurship. Sujay moved out west and became the chief operating officer of Hired.com (an online marketplace where companies compete for engineering talent) and a vice president at a mobile entertainment network. He recently decided to go back to school to finish up an environmental science and public policy degree at Harvard.


pages: 366 words: 94,209

Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus: How Growth Became the Enemy of Prosperity by Douglas Rushkoff

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3D printing, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Airbnb, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrew Keen, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, Burning Man, business process, buy low sell high, California gold rush, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, centralized clearinghouse, citizen journalism, clean water, cloud computing, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, colonial exploitation, Community Supported Agriculture, corporate personhood, corporate raider, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, disintermediation, diversified portfolio, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, ethereum blockchain, fiat currency, Firefox, Flash crash, full employment, future of work, gig economy, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, global village, Google bus, Howard Rheingold, IBM and the Holocaust, impulse control, income inequality, index fund, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, loss aversion, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, medical bankruptcy, minimum viable product, Naomi Klein, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, Oculus Rift, passive investing, payday loans, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, post-industrial society, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, recommendation engine, reserve currency, RFID, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, social graph, software patent, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, The Future of Employment, trade route, transportation-network company, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, unpaid internship, Y Combinator, young professional, zero-sum game, Zipcar

Vicarious claims to have succeeded, and its first Turing test demonstrations appear to back up its claim.76 How would such a technology be deployed or monetized? Vicarious doesn’t need to worry about that just yet. As a flexible purpose corporation, Vicarious can work with the long-term, big picture, experimental approach required to innovate in a still-emerging field such as AI. Although investors including Mark Zuckerberg and Peter Thiel have invested $56 million in the company, the flexible purpose structure prevents them from exerting the sort of pressure to get to market that venture capitalists typically put on their investments. The company can’t be forced to sell out or to abandon scientific curiosity for commercial viability. Vicarious has freed itself from the pressures of the market without having retreated to a research university, where funding comes with strings of its own.

That’s all they have really accomplished with whatever digital fad they’ve foisted onto the market or sold to yesterday’s tech winners. They thought they were engineering a new technology, when they were actually engineering a reallocation of capital. That’s why digital entrepreneurs who do win often end up becoming the next generation of venture capitalists. Everyone from Marc Andreessen (Netscape) to Sean Parker (Napster) to Peter Thiel (PayPal) to Jack Dorsey (Twitter) now runs venture funds of his own. Facebook and Google, once startups themselves, now acquire more businesses than they incubate internally. With each new generation, firms and investors leverage the startup economy more deliberately, or even cynically. After all, a win is a win. Take OMGPop, a gaming Web site startup that won a spot in the Y Combinator incubator to build social games.


pages: 327 words: 88,121

The Vanishing Neighbor: The Transformation of American Community by Marc J. Dunkelman

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, assortative mating, Berlin Wall, big-box store, blue-collar work, Bretton Woods, Broken windows theory, call centre, clean water, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, David Brooks, delayed gratification, double helix, Downton Abbey, Edward Glaeser, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Santayana, Gini coefficient, glass ceiling, global supply chain, global village, helicopter parent, if you build it, they will come, impulse control, income inequality, invention of movable type, Jane Jacobs, John Markoff, Khyber Pass, Louis Pasteur, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, McMansion, Nate Silver, Nicholas Carr, obamacare, Occupy movement, Peter Thiel, post-industrial society, Richard Florida, rolodex, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, telemarketer, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the medium is the message, Thomas L Friedman, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, urban decay, urban planning, Walter Mischel, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, World Values Survey, zero-sum game

By several estimates, American innovation has slowed of late, as massive investments in fields like green energy and pharmaceuticals have failed to produce the return that investments in information technology generated just a few decades ago.29 (Some of that analysis, we should note, predates the new development of “fracking.”) George Mason University economist Tyler Cowen recently argued that innovation in the United States has actually stagnated, noting that we’ve picked the low-hanging fruit of technologies produced by previous generations and are burning through the competitive advantages those breakthroughs bestowed on today’s economy.30 Peter Thiel, a cofounder of PayPal and a powerful figure in the world of venture capital, has sounded a similar alarm, arguing that whatever advances Silicon Valley has spurred of late have been cancelled out by America’s failure to make progress on other technological and scientific fronts.31 No fair assessment can blame the stagnation of American innovation entirely on the structure of American community.

.: Harvard University Press, 2009), 15–16. 26Safford, Why the Garden Club Couldn’t Save Youngstown, 22, 31–32, 63–68. 27Safford, Why the Garden Club Couldn’t Save Youngstown, 83, 92–95. 28Locke, Remaking the Italian Economy, 134. 29Michael Mandel, “The Failed Promise of Innovation in the U.S.,” Bloomberg Businessweek, June 3, 2009. 30Tyler Cowen, The Great Stagnation (New York: Dutton, 2011). 31http://news.cnet.com/8301-31921_3-20096067-281/peter-thiel-thinks-tech-innovation-has-stalled/. 32Edward Glaeser, Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier (New York: Penguin Press, 2011). 33Richard Florida, The Rise of the Creative Class: And How It’s Transforming Work, Leisure, Community and Everyday Life (New York: Basic Books, 2002). 34Elsa Brenner, “In Westchester County, the Platinum Mile Is Reinvented, Again,” New York Times, January 3, 2012. 35Charles V.


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Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz

affirmative action, AltaVista, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Asian financial crisis, Bernie Sanders, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, Cass Sunstein, computer vision, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, desegregation, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, Filter Bubble, game design, happiness index / gross national happiness, income inequality, Jeff Bezos, John Snow's cholera map, Mark Zuckerberg, Nate Silver, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, price discrimination, quantitative hedge fund, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, TaskRabbit, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, working poor

The group was able to grow so rapidly precisely because so many people had heard that their friends had joined—and they learned this through their News Feed. In other words, while people were joining in a big public uproar over how unhappy they were about seeing all the details of their friends’ lives on Facebook, they were coming back to Facebook to see all the details of their friends’ lives. News Feed stayed. Facebook now has more than one billion daily active users. In his book Zero to One, Peter Thiel, an early investor in Facebook, says that great businesses are built on secrets, either secrets about nature or secrets about people. Jeff Seder, as discussed in Chapter 3, found the natural secret that left ventricle size predicted horse performance. Google found the natural secret of how powerful the information in links can be. Thiel defines “secrets about people” as “things that people don’t know about themselves or things they hide because they don’t want others to know.”

According to SimilarWeb, as of September 4, 2016, the most popular porn site was XVideos, and this was the 17th-most-popular website. The top ten, according to Alexa, are Google, YouTube, Facebook, Baidu, Yahoo!, Amazon, Wikipedia, Tencent QQ, Google India, and Twitter. 153 In the early morning of September 5, 2006: This story is from David Kirkpatrick, The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2010). 155 great businesses are built on secrets: Peter Thiel and Blake Masters, Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future (New York: The Crown Publishing Group, 2014). 157 says Xavier Amatriain: I interviewed Xavier Amatriain by phone on May 5, 2015. 159 top questions Americans had during Obama’s 2014: Author’s analysis of Google Trends data. 162 this time at a mosque: “The President Speaks at the Islamic Society of Baltimore,” YouTube video, posted February 3, 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?


pages: 532 words: 139,706

Googled: The End of the World as We Know It by Ken Auletta

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

23andMe, AltaVista, Anne Wojcicki, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, bioinformatics, Burning Man, carbon footprint, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, Colonization of Mars, commoditize, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, death of newspapers, disintermediation, don't be evil, facts on the ground, Firefox, Frank Gehry, Google Earth, hypertext link, Innovator's Dilemma, Internet Archive, invention of the telephone, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Long Term Capital Management, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, PageRank, Paul Buchheit, Peter Thiel, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, semantic web, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, social graph, spectrum auction, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, strikebreaker, telemarketer, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Upton Sinclair, X Prize, yield management, zero-sum game

They’ve created with software a narrow strait through which most people need to pass to do an activity that is at the root of much of what we do on the Web.... The fear is that an increasing number of businesses depend on Google to get their eyeballs. At a certain point, Google can flip their business from being a utility” to a gatekeeper that charges for access. This power imposes constant pressure on other companies. “You can’t wait for the wave to get there. You’ve got to start paddling,” said Peter Thiel, who was cofounder and CEO of PayPal, and is now president of Clarium Capital Management, a global hedge fund and Silicon Valley venture capital firm. “If you were running a railroad company in the 1940s and people started to fly airplanes, what would you do?” I asked Thiel what he would do if placed in charge of a traditional media company. He said there were two choices. Either you push consolidation and cost cutting much further than media companies have done.

Guth, ”Bill Gates Issues Call for Kinder Capitalism,“ Wall Street Journal, January 24, 2008. 291 ”We believe the Internet“: Yahoo press release, May 2, 2006. 291 extols ”nerd values“: Craig Newmark commencement speech to UC Berkeley, May 13 2008; Jim Stengel quote from ”Veteran Marketer Promotes a New Kind of Selling,“ Wall Street Journal, October 31, 2008. Account of Harvard Business School pledge in Leslie Wayne, ”A Promise to Be Ethical in an Era of Temptation,“ New York Times, May 30, 2009. 292 ”My pause“: author interview with Tom Glocer, June 5, 2008. 292 ”You can’t wait“: author interview with Peter Thiel, January 29, 2008. 293 ”When I landed“: author interview with Michael Eisner, June 19, 2008. 293 ”feels incredibly exciting“: author interview with Jeff Zucker, April 25, 2008. 294 ”All large media companies“: author interview with Eric Schmidt, June 11, 2008. 295 Sergey Brin told me that it is Google’s willingness to ”experiment“: author interview with Sergey Brin, March 26, 2008. 295 Google aims ”to do everything“: author interview with Marc Andreessen, March 27, 2008. 295 ”The French regarded“: Clay Shirky Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations, The Penguin Press, 2008.


pages: 481 words: 120,693

Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else by Chrystia Freeland

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activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, assortative mating, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Basel III, battle of ideas, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Black Swan, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, BRICs, business climate, call centre, carried interest, Cass Sunstein, Clayton Christensen, collapse of Lehman Brothers, commoditize, conceptual framework, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, Deng Xiaoping, don't be evil, double helix, energy security, estate planning, experimental subject, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Flash crash, Frank Gehry, Gini coefficient, global village, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Gordon Gekko, Guggenheim Bilbao, haute couture, high net worth, income inequality, invention of the steam engine, job automation, John Markoff, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, liberation theology, light touch regulation, linear programming, London Whale, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, Mikhail Gorbachev, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, NetJets, new economy, Occupy movement, open economy, Peter Thiel, place-making, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances, postindustrial economy, Potemkin village, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, rent-seeking, Rod Stewart played at Stephen Schwarzman birthday party, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, short selling, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Simon Kuznets, Solar eclipse in 1919, sovereign wealth fund, stem cell, Steve Jobs, the new new thing, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tony Hsieh, too big to fail, trade route, trickle-down economics, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, wage slave, Washington Consensus, winner-take-all economy, zero-sum game

And the need to run fast is a good impulse to have.” As it turned out, the revolution wasn’t quite over. By 1997, with just four years of technology experience under his belt, Hoffman, still running fast, decided to found his own company, Socialnet.com, an online dating site. Socialnet eventually closed down four years later without making much of a mark, but as Hoffman waded into the start-up world, two friends, Peter Thiel and Max Levchin, invited him to join the founding board of directors of their new company, PayPal. In January 2000, Hoffman went to work there full-time, a decision that made him a multimillionaire just two years later when eBay acquired the company. But the revolution still wasn’t over yet, and Hoffman wasn’t finished running. “After the eBay/PayPal deal in 2002, I had a plan to take a year off and do some travel,” he recalled.

This is the project of the Seasteading Institute, which is hoping to construct man-made islands in the international waters of the ocean, beyond the legal reach of any national government. These oases, where the rich would be free to prosper unrestrained by the grasping of the 99 percent, are the brainchild of Milton Friedman’s grandson and are being funded in part by Silicon Valley billionaire and libertarian Peter Thiel. Not all plutocrats want to escape to a Seastead. Paul Martin and Ernesto Zedillo are members in good standing of the global elite. Martin is a former Canadian prime minister, finance minister, deficit hawk, and, in his life before politics, a multimillionaire businessman. Zedillo is a former Mexican president, holds a doctorate in economics, directs Yale University’s Center for the Study of Globalization, and serves on the boards of the blue chips Procter & Gamble and Alcoa.


pages: 515 words: 126,820

Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business, and the World by Don Tapscott, Alex Tapscott

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Airbnb, altcoin, asset-backed security, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, Bretton Woods, business process, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, disintermediation, distributed ledger, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, ethereum blockchain, failed state, fiat currency, financial innovation, Firefox, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, future of work, Galaxy Zoo, George Gilder, glass ceiling, Google bus, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, informal economy, information asymmetry, intangible asset, interest rate swap, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, Lean Startup, litecoin, Lyft, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, microcredit, mobile money, money market fund, Network effects, new economy, Oculus Rift, off grid, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, peer-to-peer model, performance metric, Peter Thiel, planetary scale, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, price mechanism, Productivity paradox, QR code, quantitative easing, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, renewable energy credits, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, seigniorage, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart contracts, smart grid, social graph, social software, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, The Nature of the Firm, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, Turing complete, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, unorthodox policies, wealth creators, X Prize, Y2K, Zipcar

Another Nobel laureate, Oliver Williamson, predicted as much,6 and pointed out the negative effects on productivity: “Suffice it to observe here that the move from autonomous supply (by the collection of small firms) to unified ownership (in one large firm) is unavoidably attended by changes in both incentive intensity (incentives are weaker in the integrated firm) and administrative controls (controls are more extensive).”7 Peter Thiel, cofounder of PayPal, wrote in praise of monopolies in his enormously readable and equally controversial book, Zero to One. A Rand Paul supporter, Thiel said, “Competition is for losers. . . . Creative monopolies aren’t just good for the rest of society; they’re powerful engines for making it better.”8 While Thiel might be right about striving to dominate one’s industry or market, he provided no real evidence that monopolies are good for consumers or society as a whole.

The limit to the size of the firm [is reached] when the costs of organizing additional transactions within the firm [exceed] the costs of carrying the same transactions in the market.” As cited in Oliver Williamson and Sydney G. Winter, eds., The Nature of the Firm (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993), 90. 6. Oliver Williamson, “The Theory of the Firm as Governance Structure: From Choice to Contract,” The Journal of Economic Perspectives 16(3) (Summer 2002) 171–95. 7. Ibid. 8. Peter Thiel with Blake Masters, Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future (New York: Crown Business, 2014). 9. Lord Wilberforce, The Law of Restrictive Trade Practices and Monopolies (Sweet & Maxwell, 1966), 22. 10. Interview with Yochai Benkler, August 26, 2015. 11. John Hagel and John Seely Brown, “Embrace the Edge or Perish,” Bloomberg, November 28, 2007; www.bloomberg.com/bw/stories/2007-11-28/embrace-the-edge-or-perishbusinessweek-business-news-stock-market-and-financial-advice. 12.


pages: 373 words: 112,822

The Upstarts: How Uber, Airbnb, and the Killer Companies of the New Silicon Valley Are Changing the World by Brad Stone

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, AltaVista, Amazon Web Services, Andy Kessler, autonomous vehicles, Burning Man, call centre, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable, collaborative consumption, East Village, fixed income, Google X / Alphabet X, housing crisis, inflight wifi, Jeff Bezos, Justin.tv, Kickstarter, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Necker cube, obamacare, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer, Peter Thiel, race to the bottom, rent control, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ruby on Rails, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, semantic web, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, South of Market, San Francisco, Startup school, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, Tony Hsieh, transportation-network company, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, Y Combinator, Y2K, Zipcar

The first hearing was canceled due to Hurricane Sandy, which resulted in a long delay that led him to mistakenly believe he was in the clear. Then he was called back to appear in housing court. The city was throwing the book at Nigel Warren, hoping to set an example to curb usage of Airbnb. At the time, Airbnb was enjoying a wave of positive press for new features and another $200 million in funding led by venture capitalist Peter Thiel, a PayPal co-founder and early Facebook investor. Warren seethed that the company was enjoying all this adulation while embroiling hosts like himself in legal trouble. Finally, he decided to take action. He did two things. First, he e-mailed Airbnb, complaining in part, “This entire situation came as a complete surprise. I had no idea that being an Airbnb host is illegal in most locations in New York City.”

Uber offered 8 percent; Kalanick wasn’t a fan of mergers to begin with and wasn’t about to hand over a fifth of his prize. Neither party would budge, and the talks fell apart. Lyft recovered quickly. That spring, with unconventional sources of capital now flooding into Silicon Valley, it raised $250 million from a consortium of investors that included hedge fund Coatue Management, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, and the Founders Fund, the investment vehicle of PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, and it expanded into twenty-four new U.S. cities, thirteen of which were midsize markets where Uber did not yet operate.21 The battle was on again. A few weeks later, Uber rushed to raise another $1.2 billion in a hastily convened Series D round from the financial firms Fidelity, Wellington, and BlackRock, as well as the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins. The fund-raising process took all of three weeks, and Kalanick was at his charismatic best, pitching investors a compelling vision of Uber’s future.


pages: 431 words: 129,071

Selfie: How We Became So Self-Obsessed and What It's Doing to Us by Will Storr

Albert Einstein, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, bitcoin, book scanning, computer age, correlation does not imply causation, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, gig economy, greed is good, invisible hand, job automation, John Markoff, Lyft, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mont Pelerin Society, mortgage debt, Mother of all demos, Nixon shock, Peter Thiel, QWERTY keyboard, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, The Future of Employment, Tim Cook: Apple, Uber and Lyft, War on Poverty, Whole Earth Catalog

We want people who have lived internationally, people who are doing amazing things in their careers and people who are easy to get along with. If they have networks, that can be really useful too, because then we have access to more people like them.’ She showed me a shared room, upstairs, where temporary guests auditioning for a place in the house would sleep. Their beds were neatly made and cluttered with belongings: the books The Psychology of Influence and Persuasion by Dr Robert Cialdini and Zero to One by Peter Thiel, the influential libertarian investor, Trump supporter and co-founder of PayPal, lay near a comedy Viking helmet and a bright red squirt gun. During their trial, the Mansion’s permanent residents would have meetings in which the auditionees’ potential career trajectory and personalities would be discussed, judged and voted upon. It seemed to me that in order to win a place here, the main thing you had to be was beneficial to everyone else.

Their test worked. Their hybrid plant glowed in the dark. They decided to put it on sale. The $10,000 they spent on a promotional video was quickly recouped; they took in almost $60,000 on their first day of sales and $484,013 within six weeks, with orders eventually building towards $1,000,000. He founded Cambrian Genomics and raised $10,000,000 from venture capitalists including PayPal billionaire Peter Thiel. His company began partnering with major international corporations, such as Roche and GlaxoSmithKline, as well as some smaller start-ups. One of these was Sweet Peach, which had been founded by Audrey Hutchinson, a young biology student and Distinguished Scientist scholarship recipient at New York’s Bard College. After suffering a series of painful urinary tract infections, Hutchinson had become interested in vaginal health.


pages: 390 words: 109,870

Radicals Chasing Utopia: Inside the Rogue Movements Trying to Change the World by Jamie Bartlett

Andrew Keen, back-to-the-land, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, blue-collar work, brain emulation, centre right, clean water, cryptocurrency, Donald Trump, drone strike, Elon Musk, energy security, ethereum blockchain, failed state, gig economy, hydraulic fracturing, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Jaron Lanier, job automation, John Markoff, Joseph Schumpeter, life extension, Occupy movement, off grid, Peter Thiel, post-industrial society, postnationalism / post nation state, precariat, QR code, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Rosa Parks, Satoshi Nakamoto, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart contracts, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, technoutopianism

There are now tens of thousands of self-declared transhumanists based all over the world, including influential people at the heart of the world’s tech scene. Ray Kurzweil, a firm believer in the ‘singularity moment’ (the point at which artificial intelligence becomes so advanced that it begins to produce new and ever more advanced versions of itself), is a senior engineer at Google. Billionaire Peter Thiel—co-founder of PayPal, influential Silicon Valley investor and a member of President Donald Trump’s transition team—is also a self-declared transhumanist and has invested millions of dollars into life extension and artificial-intelligence projects. Transhumanism is fast becoming the meeting point between science and science fiction. Zoltan is obsessed with odds. And one wager in particular dominates his life: the transhumanist’s wager.

Of the nineteen tech entrepreneurs or investor billionaires who have signed the Giving Pledge to donate half their wealth, at least half are financing healthcare and medical research. Ben Popper, ‘Understanding Calico: Larry Page, Google Ventures, and the quest for immortality’, The Verge, 2013, http://www.theverge.com/2013/9/19/4748594/understanding-calico-larry-page-google-ventures-and-the-quest-for. 16. Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal, donated $3.5 million to the forerunner of de Grey’s SENS research centre, called the Methuselah Foundation. Ariana Eunjung Cha, ‘The tech titans latest project: Defy death’, Washington Post, 2015, http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/national/2015/04/04/tech-titans-latest-project-defy-death/. 17. In order to minimise cell degeneration, this needs to happen as soon after death as possible.


pages: 209 words: 63,649

The Purpose Economy: How Your Desire for Impact, Personal Growth and Community Is Changing the World by Aaron Hurst

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

3D printing, Airbnb, Atul Gawande, barriers to entry, big-box store, business process, call centre, carbon footprint, citizen journalism, commoditize, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, disintermediation, Elon Musk, Firefox, glass ceiling, greed is good, housing crisis, informal economy, Jane Jacobs, jimmy wales, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, means of production, new economy, pattern recognition, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, QR code, Ray Oldenburg, remote working, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, selection bias, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, Tony Hsieh, too big to fail, underbanked, women in the workforce, young professional, Zipcar

And as the dot-com sector regained its footing after the crash, we saw whole industries transformed, as well as the way most Americans communicated and engaged in society. So many of the pioneers in social entrepreneurship, social media, and sustainability are from Generation X and were in some way engaged with the dot-com boom. Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger of Wikipedia, Max Levchin, Elon Musk and Peter Thiel of PayPal, and Chris Anderson of Wired and now 3DRobotics are just a few examples. The core leadership of the Purpose Economy today is from this often forgotten generation, who in many ways produced the architects and catalysts of the new economy. 4. Environmental, Economic & Political Turmoil The growing uncertainty in our society is moving people to find stability within themselves, and to identify the need, to develop empathy for those affected by turmoil.


pages: 169 words: 56,250

Startup Communities: Building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Your City by Brad Feld

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

barriers to entry, cleantech, cloud computing, corporate social responsibility, Grace Hopper, job satisfaction, Kickstarter, labour mobility, Lean Startup, minimum viable product, Network effects, Peter Thiel, place-making, pre–internet, Richard Florida, Ruby on Rails, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, smart cities, software as a service, Steve Jobs, text mining, Y Combinator, zero-sum game, Zipcar

For students interested in entrepreneurship, MIT functions as a ramp where students can build their entrepreneurial knowledge and skills so they reach escape velocity upon graduation. This approach ramp works well for many students, but some high-level students found it lacking, and eventually dropped out of MIT or openly considered dropping out to start a company instead of finish their college education. They pointed to Ellison, Jobs, Gates, and Zuckerberg. They heard the calls from Peter Thiel to drop out of college (http://startuprev.com/o2). They were fascinated with TechStars, Y Combinator, and similar programs. As we tell entrepreneurs, when there is a crisis, there is great opportunity for innovation. So at MIT we took some of our own medicine and explored what we could do to meet this challenge of making the academic environment more conducive to successful entrepreneurial development.


pages: 202 words: 62,199

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

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Albert Einstein, Clayton Christensen, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, deliberate practice, double helix, en.wikipedia.org, endowment effect, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, Lao Tzu, loss aversion, Mahatma Gandhi, microcredit, minimum viable product, North Sea oil, Peter Thiel, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Thaler, Rosa Parks, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, Vilfredo Pareto

He ensures that everyone on the team is really clear about what they are expected to contribute and what everyone else is contributing. One CEO recently admitted that he had allowed ambiguity on his executive team to keep the whole organization back. To repair the damage, he said he went through a huge streamlining process until he was down to just four direct reports, each with a clear functional responsibility across the whole organization. The iconoclastic entrepreneur and venture capitalist Peter Thiel took “less but better” to an unorthodox level when he insisted that PayPal employees select one single priority in their role—and focus on that exclusively. As PayPal executive Keith Rabois recalls: “Peter required that everyone be tasked with exactly one priority. He would refuse to discuss virtually anything else with you except what was currently assigned as your #1 initiative. Even our annual review forms in 2001 required each employee to identify their single most valuable contribution to the company.”2 The result was the employees were empowered to do anything within the confines of that clearly defined role that they felt would make a high level of contribution to the shared mission of the company.


pages: 144 words: 43,356

Surviving AI: The Promise and Peril of Artificial Intelligence by Calum Chace

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

3D printing, Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Airbnb, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, barriers to entry, basic income, bitcoin, blockchain, brain emulation, Buckminster Fuller, cloud computing, computer age, computer vision, correlation does not imply causation, credit crunch, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, dematerialisation, discovery of the americas, disintermediation, don't be evil, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Flash crash, friendly AI, Google Glasses, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of agriculture, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, life extension, low skilled workers, Mahatma Gandhi, means of production, mutually assured destruction, Nicholas Carr, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer model, Peter Thiel, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Skype, South Sea Bubble, speech recognition, Stanislav Petrov, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, strong AI, technological singularity, The Future of Employment, theory of mind, Turing machine, Turing test, universal basic income, Vernor Vinge, wage slave, Wall-E, zero-sum game

The future isn’t what it used to be We are curiously nostalgic about the future. People point out that technologies which futurists confidently expected several decades ago have yet to materialise: “where’s my jetpack?” is a common refrain. When 2015 rolled around, people celebrated the fact that this was the year depicted in Back to the Future, the biggest movie of 1985, by asking, “hey dude, where’s my hoverboard?” PayPal founder Peter Thiel laments the slower-than-expected progress by saying that “we were promised flying cars and instead what we got was 140 characters” (ie, Twitter). Yet we also got the ability to access almost every fact, idea or thought that a human has ever recorded within a couple of seconds, which people 100 years ago would probably have viewed as far more impressive than flying cars. It is amazing how quickly we humans become habituated to the marvels we create, and simply take them for granted.


pages: 275 words: 77,017

The End of Money: Counterfeiters, Preachers, Techies, Dreamers--And the Coming Cashless Society by David Wolman

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Bay Area Rapid Transit, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, Bretton Woods, carbon footprint, cashless society, central bank independence, collateralized debt obligation, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, cross-subsidies, Diane Coyle, fiat currency, financial innovation, floating exchange rates, German hyperinflation, greed is good, Isaac Newton, M-Pesa, Mahatma Gandhi, mental accounting, mobile money, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, offshore financial centre, Peter Thiel, place-making, placebo effect, Ponzi scheme, Ronald Reagan, seigniorage, Silicon Valley, special drawing rights, Steven Levy, the payments system, transaction costs

He says it took him twenty-three years to engineer precisely how the Liberty Dollar would work. “Do you have any idea how hard it is to develop a private currency based on a commodity with an ever-changing price?” His goal seemed straightforward enough: make it inflation-proof and rescue the nation from self-destruction. “This is an important step to give people power to control manipulations of currencies,” he says. That public-spirited line is reminiscent of what PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel is said to have told his employees in the early days of the company, when they were trailblazing a new online system for sending and receiving money. By having one’s money in an online account, Thiel claimed, people would be able to bounce between currencies. “It will be nearly impossible for corrupt governments to steal wealth from their people through their old means [a.k.a. devaluation or stealth taxes] because if they try, the people will switch to dollars or pounds or yen, in effect dumping the worthless local currency for something more secure.”15 Yet few people would consider Thiel to be some kind of clown.


pages: 252 words: 80,636

Bureaucracy by David Graeber

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3D printing, a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, airport security, Albert Einstein, banking crisis, barriers to entry, borderless world, Bretton Woods, British Empire, collateralized debt obligation, Columbine, conceptual framework, Corn Laws, David Graeber, George Gilder, High speed trading, hiring and firing, Kitchen Debate, late capitalism, means of production, music of the spheres, new economy, obamacare, Occupy movement, Parkinson's law, Peter Thiel, planetary scale, price mechanism, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, transcontinental railway, union organizing, urban planning, zero-sum game

His wife’s sister, who seems to have been the ringleader in the magical society, eventually left him for L. Ron Hubbard; on leaving NASA, Parsons went on to apply his magic to creating pyrotechnic effects for Hollywood until he finally blew himself up in 1962. 113. Lewis Mumford, The Myth of the Machine: Technics and Human Development (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1966). 114. I note that Peter Thiel, who agreed with much of the original argument of this essay, has recently come out as an antimarket promonopoly capitalist for precisely the reason that he feels this is the best way to further rapid technological change. 115. For as long as I can remember, at least since I was in my twenties, I’ve heard at least one person every year or so tell me that a drug that will stop the aging process is approximately three years away. 3.


pages: 291 words: 81,703

Average Is Over: Powering America Beyond the Age of the Great Stagnation by Tyler Cowen

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Amazon Mechanical Turk, Black Swan, brain emulation, Brownian motion, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, computerized trading, cosmological constant, crowdsourcing, dark matter, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deliberate practice, Drosophila, en.wikipedia.org, endowment effect, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, eurozone crisis, experimental economics, Flynn Effect, Freestyle chess, full employment, future of work, game design, income inequality, industrial robot, informal economy, Isaac Newton, John Markoff, Khan Academy, labor-force participation, Loebner Prize, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microcredit, Myron Scholes, Narrative Science, Netflix Prize, Nicholas Carr, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, reshoring, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, statistical model, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Turing test, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, upwardly mobile, Yogi Berra

The Richard Florida quotation is from Richard Florida, “The Conservative States of America,” The Atlantic, March 29, 2011. Acknowledgments For useful discussions and comments I wish to thank Nelson Hernandez, Anson Williams, Kenneth Regan, Jason Fichtner, Erik Brynolfsson, Andrew McGee, Don Peck, Derek Thompson, Michelle Dawson, Peter Snow, Veronique de Rugy, Garett Jones, Robin Hanson, Bryan Caplan, Alex Tabarrok, Natasha Cowen, Garry Kasparov, Vasik Rajlich, Stephen Morrow, David Brooks, Peter Thiel, Michael Mandel, and Larry Kaufman, with apologies to anyone I may have left out. Index The page numbers in this index refer to the printed version of this book. To find the corresponding locations in the text of this digital version, please use the “search” function on your e-reader. Note that not all terms may be searchable. accountability, 128–30 accreditation of schools, 182, 191 “acqhired” workers, 26 Adams, Michael, 69 advertising, 24 age of workers, 41–42, 51–52, 62–63 aggression, 106 Akst, Daniel, 202 Alger, Horatio, 230 alien intelligence, 158 altruism, 235–36 Amazon.com, 16, 17, 221 ambiguity, 126 American Medical Association (AMA), 88 Anand, Vishy, 110, 156 Anson Williams Freestyle team, 86 anti-intellectualism, 258 Aplia website, 195 Apple, 17, 28 applied sciences, 208, 210 Arab Spring, 251 Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google?


pages: 270 words: 79,068

The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz

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Airbnb, business intelligence, cloud computing, financial independence, Google Glasses, hiring and firing, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, new economy, nuclear winter, Peter Thiel, Productivity paradox, random walk, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs

“But the indeterminate future is somehow one in which probability and statistics are the dominant modality for making sense of the world. Bell curves and random walks define what the future is going to look like. The standard pedagogical argument is that high schools should get rid of calculus and replace it with statistics, which is really important and actually useful. There has been a powerful shift toward the idea that statistical ways of thinking are going to drive the future.” —PETER THIEL When I was attempting to sell the cloud computing services part of the Loudcloud business, I met with Bill Campbell to update him on where I was with the deal. The deal was critical, because without it, the company would almost certainly go bankrupt. After I carefully briefed him on where we were with both interested parties, IBM and EDS, Bill paused for a moment. He looked me in the eyes and said, “Ben, you need to do something in addition to working on this deal.


pages: 278 words: 70,416

Smartcuts: How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success by Shane Snow

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3D printing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, attribution theory, augmented reality, barriers to entry, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, David Heinemeier Hansson, deliberate practice, Elon Musk, Fellow of the Royal Society, Filter Bubble, Google X / Alphabet X, hive mind, index card, index fund, Isaac Newton, job satisfaction, Khan Academy, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, Mahatma Gandhi, meta analysis, meta-analysis, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, popular electronics, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, Ruby on Rails, Saturday Night Live, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs

Ritchie King, “The Rise of the Machines,” Popular Science, http://www.popsci.com/content/computing (accessed February 15, 2014). 5 Most large businesses stop growing: Eighty-seven percent of large businesses stop growing, according to researchers Matthew S. Olson and Derek van Bever, Stall Points: Most Companies Stop Growing—Yours Doesn’t Have To (Yale University Press, 2009). 5 venture capitalists pay bright people: Peter Thiel, an early Facebook investor, founded the Thiel Foundation, which offers whiz kids investment money to build companies instead of going to college. Learn more at Thiel Fellowship, “About the Fellowship,” http://www.thielfellowship.org/become-a-fellow/about-the-program/ (accessed February 15, 2014). 7 “If any person or persons”: James Franklin, New-England Courant, December 3, 1772, http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Franklin/01-01-02-0021.


pages: 304 words: 82,395

Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think by Viktor Mayer-Schonberger, Kenneth Cukier

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23andMe, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, airport security, AltaVista, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, Black Swan, book scanning, business intelligence, business process, call centre, cloud computing, computer age, correlation does not imply causation, dark matter, double entry bookkeeping, Eratosthenes, Erik Brynjolfsson, game design, IBM and the Holocaust, index card, informal economy, intangible asset, Internet of things, invention of the printing press, Jeff Bezos, lifelogging, Louis Pasteur, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, obamacare, optical character recognition, PageRank, performance metric, Peter Thiel, Post-materialism, post-materialism, random walk, recommendation engine, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, smart grid, smart meter, social graph, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Turing test, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

The factory hands at Teradata and Accenture don’t just punch a clock; they too are known to have a great notion from time to time. Still, the archetypes are helpful as a way to appreciate the roles that different firms play. Today’s pioneers of big data often come from disparate backgrounds and cross-apply their data skills in a wide variety of areas. A new generation of angel investors and entrepreneurs is emerging, notably from among ex-Googlers and the so-called PayPal Mafia (the firm’s former leaders like Peter Thiel, Reid Hoffman, and Max Levchin). They, along with a handful of academic computer scientists, are some of the biggest backers of today’s data-infused startups. The creative vision of individuals and firms in the big data food-chain helps us reassess the worth of companies. For instance, Salesforce.com may not simply be a useful platform for firms to host their corporate applications: it is also well placed to unleash value from the data that flows atop its infrastructure.


pages: 280 words: 79,029

Smart Money: How High-Stakes Financial Innovation Is Reshaping Our WorldÑFor the Better by Andrew Palmer

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, algorithmic trading, Andrei Shleifer, asset-backed security, availability heuristic, bank run, banking crisis, Black-Scholes formula, bonus culture, break the buck, Bretton Woods, call centre, Carmen Reinhart, cloud computing, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, computerized trading, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Graeber, diversification, diversified portfolio, Edmond Halley, Edward Glaeser, endogenous growth, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, family office, financial deregulation, financial innovation, fixed income, Flash crash, Google Glasses, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, implied volatility, income inequality, index fund, information asymmetry, Innovator's Dilemma, interest rate swap, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, late fees, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, margin call, Mark Zuckerberg, McMansion, money market fund, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, Myron Scholes, negative equity, Network effects, Northern Rock, obamacare, payday loans, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, principal–agent problem, profit maximization, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, railway mania, randomized controlled trial, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, short selling, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, statistical model, transaction costs, Tunguska event, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, Vanguard fund, web application

As much as he might rationally accept that this firm and others like it were adding value to the capital markets, he did not feel an emotional connection to what he was doing. Gu is the kind of person who does not lack for options. He was one of the first batch of Thiel fellows, twenty people under twenty who were each given one hundred thousand dollars to skip college for two years and pursue their ambitions in a program funded by Peter Thiel, a guru of technology investing whose résumé includes founding PayPal and backing Facebook. So Gu headed to Silicon Valley, where he worked for six months developing a variety of random Web applications. As he turned business ideas over in his head, he was drawn to a very basic financial problem for young people. As we discussed in the opening chapter, people have two forms of capital: they have financial capital, which is the money they actually accumulate, and they have human capital, which is their potential to make money through their future earnings.


pages: 233 words: 66,446

Bitcoin: The Future of Money? by Dominic Frisby

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3D printing, altcoin, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, capital controls, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, computer age, cryptocurrency, disintermediation, ethereum blockchain, fiat currency, fixed income, friendly fire, game design, Isaac Newton, Julian Assange, land value tax, litecoin, M-Pesa, mobile money, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Occupy movement, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, price stability, QR code, quantitative easing, railway mania, Ronald Reagan, Satoshi Nakamoto, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, smart contracts, Snapchat, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Ted Nelson, too big to fail, transaction costs, Turing complete, War on Poverty, web application, WikiLeaks

Escrow and other forms of payment protection can be built on Bitcoin – but then you’re back to third parties with all the associated costs and need for trust. Such forms of protection are already being developed. Whether you choose them or not is up to you. Meanwhile, as I write, MtGox is in legal proceedings. 4 Nerds, Squats and Millionaires I do think Bitcoin…has the potential to do something like change the world. Peter Thiel, Co-Founder of PayPal It is January 2014. ‘Informal Bitcoin get-together,’ says the link I’ve been texted. ‘Saturday 1pm to 4pm. Meet under the blue awning at St James Square in Spitalfields.’ I arrive about 1.45. There is no blue awning. But a group of 70 people are milling under a white one. It’s bitterly cold. ‘Ask me,’ says a sticker on the coat of a young chap with a bowler hat. So I do.


pages: 253 words: 65,834

Mastering the VC Game: A Venture Capital Insider Reveals How to Get From Start-Up to IPO on Your Terms by Jeffrey Bussgang

business process, carried interest, digital map, discounted cash flows, hiring and firing, Jeff Bezos, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, moveable type in China, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, performance metric, Peter Thiel, pets.com, risk tolerance, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, selection bias, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype, software as a service, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, technology bubble, The Wisdom of Crowds

“Starting from scratch, building something, a whole company and product, is a very different experience than iterating on something that’s already there. The whole entrepreneurial thing is that you kind of jump off a cliff and assemble your airplane on the way down. And financing, by the way, is a thermal draft, right? You’re a little further away, but the ground’s still coming at you if you can’t build an airplane.” While Reid struggled to construct the Socialnet airplane, he kept talking with a close friend, Peter Thiel, who invited Reid to join him in a new venture called PayPal. PayPal’s mission was to leverage the Internet as a mechanism to transfer money between consumers. It represented the potential for electronic commerce at its best—helping facilitate payments in a cheaper, more convenient manner. In December 1998, Reid joined the board. “In November 1999, I decided that I was going to leave Socialnet.


pages: 223 words: 77,566

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J. D. Vance

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, blue-collar work, cognitive dissonance, late fees, medical malpractice, obamacare, payday loans, Peter Thiel, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, school vouchers, Silicon Valley, unbiased observer, upwardly mobile, working poor

I’ve been fortunate to have Darrell Stark, Nate Ellis, Bill Zaboski, Craig Baldwin, Jamil Jivani, Ethan (Doug) Fallang, Kyle Walsh, and Aaron Kash in my life, and I consider each of them more brother than friend. I’ve been fortunate, too, to have mentors and friends of incredible ability, each of whom ensured that I had access to opportunities I simply didn’t deserve. They include: Ron Selby, Mike Stratton, Shannon Arledge, Shawn Haney, Brad Nelson, David Frum, Matt Johnson, Judge David Bunning, Reihan Salam, Ajay Royan, Fred Moll, and Peter Thiel. Many of these folks read versions of the manuscript and provided critical feedback. I owe an incredible amount to my family, especially those who opened their hearts and shared memories, no matter how difficult or painful. My sister Lindsay Ratliff and Aunt Wee (Lori Meibers) deserve special thanks, both for helping me write this book and for supporting me throughout my life. I’m also grateful to Jim Vance, Dan Meibers, Kevin Ratliff, Mom, Bonnie Rose Meibers, Hannah Meibers, Kameron Ratliff, Meghan Ratliff, Emma Ratliff, Hattie Hounshell Blanton, Don Bowman (my dad), Cheryl Bowman, Cory Bowman, Chelsea Bowman, Lakshmi Chilukuri, Krish Chilukuri, Shreya Chilukuri, Donna Vance, Rachael Vance, Nate Vance, Lilly Hudson Vance, Daisy Hudson Vance, Gail Huber, Allan Huber, Mike Huber, Nick Huber, Denise Blanton, Arch Stacy, Rose Stacy, Rick Stacy, Amber Stacy, Adam Stacy, Taheton Stacy, Betty Sebastian, David Blanton, Gary Blanton, Wanda Blanton, Pet Blanton, Teaberry Blanton, and every crazy hillbilly I’ve ever had the honor to call my kin.


pages: 296 words: 78,112

Devil's Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency by Joshua Green

4chan, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Ayatollah Khomeini, Bernie Sanders, business climate, centre right, collateralized debt obligation, conceptual framework, corporate raider, crony capitalism, currency manipulation / currency intervention, Donald Trump, Fractional reserve banking, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Gordon Gekko, guest worker program, illegal immigration, immigration reform, liberation theology, low skilled workers, Nate Silver, nuclear winter, obamacare, Peace of Westphalia, Peter Thiel, quantitative hedge fund, Renaissance Technologies, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, urban planning

Informally called the “Defeat Crooked Hillary PAC,” the Mercer-backed effort had been set up three months earlier, with a novel twist: it would only attack Clinton, not boost Trump. That way conservatives reluctant to support Trump could still donate in good conscience. (The give-to-stop-Clinton gambit didn’t work. According to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, the only substantial donations after the Super PAC shifted its focus to defeating “Crooked Hillary” came from Robert Mercer [$2 million] and Peter Thiel [$1 million].) After Cruz dropped out in May, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner had approached Mercer to ask if she would organize an effort to support Trump. She agreed. But the awkward truth was that most wealthy conservatives didn’t support Trump. The Clinton angle was a move born of desperation, and one that risked skirting federal election law. “Some donors don’t want to associate with something overtly pro-Trump,” Bossie admitted.


pages: 278 words: 83,468

The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries

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3D printing, barriers to entry, call centre, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, commoditize, Computer Numeric Control, continuous integration, corporate governance, experimental subject, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Lean Startup, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Metcalfe’s law, minimum viable product, Network effects, payday loans, Peter Thiel, pets.com, Ponzi scheme, pull request, risk tolerance, selection bias, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, skunkworks, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, Toyota Production System, transaction costs

As is usually the case, the effort required to reform a legacy product took extra work. Counteracting these forces were the hard-won lessons David had learned through each milestone. Votizen accelerated its MVP process because it was learning critical things about its customers, market, and strategy. Today, two years after its inception, Votizen is doing well. They recently raised $1.5 million from Facebook’s initial investor Peter Thiel, one of the very few consumer Internet investments he has made in recent years. Votizen’s system now can process voter identity in real time for forty-seven states representing 94 percent of the U.S. population and has delivered tens of thousands of messages to Congress. The Startup Visa campaign used Votizen’s tools to introduce the Startup Visa Act (S.565), which is the first legislation introduced into the Senate solely as a result of social lobbying.


pages: 372 words: 101,174

How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed by Ray Kurzweil

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Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, anesthesia awareness, anthropic principle, brain emulation, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, computer age, Dean Kamen, discovery of DNA, double helix, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, George Gilder, Google Earth, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, John von Neumann, Law of Accelerating Returns, linear programming, Loebner Prize, mandelbrot fractal, Norbert Wiener, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, reversible computing, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), self-driving car, speech recognition, Steven Pinker, strong AI, the scientific method, theory of mind, Turing complete, Turing machine, Turing test, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, X Prize

A more up-to-date and very elegant presentation of the hierarchical temporal memory method can be found in Dileep George’s 2008 doctoral dissertation.12 Numenta has implemented it in a system called NuPIC (Numenta Platform for Intelligent Computing) and has developed pattern recognition and intelligent data-mining systems for such clients as Forbes and Power Analytics Corporation. After working at Numenta, George has started a new company called Vicarious Systems with funding from the Founder Fund (managed by Peter Thiel, the venture capitalist behind Facebook, and Sean Parker, the first president of Facebook) and from Good Ventures, led by Dustin Moskovitz, cofounder of Facebook. George reports significant progress in automatically modeling, learning, and recognizing information with a substantial number of hierarchies. He calls his system a “recursive cortical network” and plans applications for medical imaging and robotics, among other fields.


pages: 368 words: 96,825

Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World by Peter H. Diamandis, Steven Kotler

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3D printing, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, cloud computing, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dematerialisation, deskilling, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Exxon Valdez, fear of failure, Firefox, Galaxy Zoo, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, Google X / Alphabet X, gravity well, ImageNet competition, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, John Harrison: Longitude, John Markoff, Jono Bacon, Just-in-time delivery, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, life extension, loss aversion, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, minimum viable product, move fast and break things, Narrative Science, Netflix Prize, Network effects, Oculus Rift, optical character recognition, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, performance metric, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, rolodex, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, smart grid, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, telepresence, telepresence robot, Turing test, urban renewal, web application, X Prize, Y Combinator, zero-sum game

That means the ability for us to work with anyone on the planet is fantastic.”26 So there you have it. A quick overview on the exponentially exploding world of crowdsourcing, today’s poor man’s version of artificial intelligence. More incredibly, today the exponential world is starting to overtake the crowd. Recently, an AI company called Vicarious, which is backed by such investors as Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, and Peter Thiel, announced that their machine learning software achieved success rates up to 90 percent on CAPTCHAs from Google, Yahoo, PayPal, Captcha.com, and others.27 So stay tuned, since even the crowd can eventually be dematerialized and demonetized. But one use of the crowd that AI is unlikely to disrupt in the near term is the ability of people from around the world to send you cash to underwrite your ideas.


pages: 308 words: 84,713

The Glass Cage: Automation and Us by Nicholas Carr

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Airbnb, Airbus A320, Andy Kessler, Atul Gawande, autonomous vehicles, Bernard Ziegler, business process, call centre, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Checklist Manifesto, cloud computing, computerized trading, David Brooks, deliberate practice, deskilling, digital map, Douglas Engelbart, drone strike, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Flash crash, Frank Gehry, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, global supply chain, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, High speed trading, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, natural language processing, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, Oculus Rift, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, place-making, Plutocrats, plutocrats, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, robot derives from the Czech word robota Czech, meaning slave, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, software is eating the world, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, technoutopianism, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, turn-by-turn navigation, US Airways Flight 1549, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, William Langewiesche

It particularly suits the interests of those who have become extraordinarily wealthy through the labor-saving, profit-concentrating effects of automated systems and the computers that control them. It provides our new plutocrats with a heroic narrative in which they play starring roles: recent job losses may be unfortunate, but they’re a necessary evil on the path to the human race’s eventual emancipation by the computerized slaves that our benevolent enterprises are creating. Peter Thiel, a successful entrepreneur and investor who has become one of Silicon Valley’s most prominent thinkers, grants that “a robotics revolution would basically have the effect of people losing their jobs.” But, he hastens to add, “it would have the benefit of freeing people up to do many other things.”34 Being freed up sounds a lot more pleasant than being fired. There’s a callousness to such grandiose futurism.


pages: 353 words: 91,520

Most Likely to Succeed: Preparing Our Kids for the Innovation Era by Tony Wagner, Ted Dintersmith

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affirmative action, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Bernie Sanders, Clayton Christensen, creative destruction, David Brooks, en.wikipedia.org, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, immigration reform, income inequality, index card, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, new economy, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, pre–internet, school choice, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steven Pinker, TaskRabbit, the scientific method, unpaid internship, Y Combinator

Why not turn these costly consulting arrangements into student-based projects, with assessments and credits? And if you think it’s because outside consultants are far more effective at telling a college’s story, just look at a few college videos and brochures—which are generally so “corporate” in nature that they turn off the high school students they target. While we expect pressure on traditional colleges to increase gradually, there is a scenario where things go south for them quickly. Peter Thiel argues that a diploma from a second-class university has become a “dunce hat in disguise,” awarded to graduates foolish enough to spend $100,000 to $250,000 to brand themselves permanently as mediocre.16 Thiel’s view is far from today’s mainstream, but attitudes can shift suddenly in a fickle society. If they do, these colleges will enter a death spiral, with falling demand for an overpriced offering, no ability to cut costs, and eroding public confidence.


pages: 275 words: 84,418

Dogfight: How Apple and Google Went to War and Started a Revolution by Fred Vogelstein

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Apple II, cloud computing, commoditize, disintermediation, don't be evil, Dynabook, Firefox, Google Chrome, Google Glasses, Googley, John Markoff, Jony Ive, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, software patent, spectrum auction, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Tim Cook: Apple, web application, zero-sum game

What really got Atavist attention from investors and then mainstream media, however, was the sophistication of its software. Rabb had designed it to work with all the e-book and e-mag formats in existence. So as Amazon and Apple tried to lock authors into their proprietary formats—Amazon with its Kindle e-books, Apple with iBooks—Atavist became an attractive intermediary. Eric Schmidt of Google and the venture capitalists Marc Andreessen, Peter Thiel, and Sean Parker were part of an outside-investor group in mid-2012. By the end of 2012 the media moguls Barry Diller and Scott Rudin had teamed up to create their own e-books start-up called Brightline. Atavist, with its software, was to be their exclusive online publisher. The iPad’s impacts weren’t just limited to media. It seemed to change … everything. Pilots stopped carrying bulky bags of navigation charts, runway data, and weather reports.


pages: 347 words: 97,721

Only Humans Need Apply: Winners and Losers in the Age of Smart Machines by Thomas H. Davenport, Julia Kirby

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AI winter, Andy Kessler, artificial general intelligence, asset allocation, Automated Insights, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, business intelligence, business process, call centre, carbon-based life, Clayton Christensen, clockwork universe, commoditize, conceptual framework, dark matter, David Brooks, deliberate practice, deskilling, digital map, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, estate planning, fixed income, follow your passion, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Freestyle chess, game design, general-purpose programming language, Google Glasses, Hans Lippershey, haute cuisine, income inequality, index fund, industrial robot, information retrieval, intermodal, Internet of things, inventory management, Isaac Newton, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, lifelogging, loss aversion, Mark Zuckerberg, Narrative Science, natural language processing, Norbert Wiener, nuclear winter, pattern recognition, performance metric, Peter Thiel, precariat, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Rodney Brooks, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Skype, speech recognition, spinning jenny, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, superintelligent machines, supply-chain management, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Works Progress Administration, Zipcar

Why not pay people for many of the tasks that are now done on a volunteer basis, for the good of communities? Volunteer service does generally lead to greater happiness. We do believe that the huge gains in productivity will mean we could afford, as a society, to go in either direction. But guaranteed jobs, in our book, still beat guaranteed incomes hands down. More to Worry About than Jobs At a 2014 gathering in Boston, PayPal cofounder and venture investor Peter Thiel observed that the arrival of general artificial intelligence would be as momentous as the arrival of some new species of intelligent being on earth. And, he added wryly, “I think, if aliens landed, our first question wouldn’t be: what will happen to jobs?” Throughout this book, we’ve been talking about how to ensure continued employment, but even we have to admit that jobs are not the only things threatened in a world where machines become more capable of making decisions and acting on them.


pages: 518 words: 107,836

How Not to Network a Nation: The Uneasy History of the Soviet Internet (Information Policy) by Benjamin Peters

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Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, Benoit Mandelbrot, bitcoin, Brownian motion, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, computer age, conceptual framework, continuation of politics by other means, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Graeber, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Donald Davies, double helix, Drosophila, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, hive mind, index card, informal economy, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, linear programming, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, Pareto efficiency, pattern recognition, Paul Erdős, Peter Thiel, Philip Mirowski, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, road to serfdom, Ronald Coase, scientific mainstream, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, stochastic process, technoutopianism, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, transaction costs, Turing machine

Ledeneva, Russia’s Economy of Favors: Blat, Networking and Information Exchange (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998), and Vadim Volkov, Violent Entrepreneurs: The Use of Force in the Making of Russian Capitalism (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2002). 28. The English-language literature on tech entrepreneurs is long and popular, including Walter Isaacson, The Innovators (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2014), and Peter Thiel, Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future (New York: Crown Business, 2014), but very little of it to my knowledge looks beyond the West (in particular, the west coast of the United States and the eastern Asian rim), such as Eden Medina, ed., Beyond Imported Magic: Essays on Science, Technology, and Society in Latin America (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2014). Chapter 1: A Global History of Cybernetics 1.


pages: 344 words: 94,332

The 100-Year Life: Living and Working in an Age of Longevity by Lynda Gratton, Andrew Scott

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3D printing, Airbnb, assortative mating, carbon footprint, Clayton Christensen, collapse of Lehman Brothers, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, delayed gratification, diversification, Downton Abbey, Erik Brynjolfsson, falling living standards, financial independence, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, future of work, gender pay gap, gig economy, Google Glasses, indoor plumbing, information retrieval, intangible asset, Isaac Newton, job satisfaction, low skilled workers, Lyft, Network effects, New Economic Geography, old age dependency ratio, pattern recognition, pension reform, Peter Thiel, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, Second Machine Age, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, smart cities, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, The Future of Employment, women in the workforce, young professional

Indeed those that remain in employment could have more income because they are more productive and this income is then spent on goods and services in other industries. Another boost for new jobs will come as the result of technological innovation in the development of new products and services. Over the next decades there will be a host of new products that are as yet unimagined but will be seen as indispensable and will prove economically valuable. Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal, critically commented that we were promised flying cars and all we got was 140 characters. However that is one of the critical features of technology. No one could have foreseen how economically valuable Twitter would prove to be or how much time people would spend on it. This is clearly an important debate with serious consequences for the coming decades. From a technological perspective the argument is that the rate of innovation is speeding up dramatically and machines will embody intelligence in a way that humans cannot compete with.


pages: 319 words: 90,965

The End of College: Creating the Future of Learning and the University of Everywhere by Kevin Carey

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Albert Einstein, barriers to entry, Bayesian statistics, Berlin Wall, business intelligence, carbon-based life, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, David Heinemeier Hansson, declining real wages, deliberate practice, discrete time, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Downton Abbey, Drosophila, Firefox, Frank Gehry, Google X / Alphabet X, informal economy, invention of the printing press, inventory management, John Markoff, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, low skilled workers, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, natural language processing, Network effects, open borders, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, pez dispenser, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Ruby on Rails, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, social web, South of Market, San Francisco, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, transcontinental railway, Vannevar Bush

Stephens dropped out of school in the fifth grade, taught himself at home, went to Hendrix College in Arkansas for seven months, dropped out, and is now trying to lead an UnCollege Movement, “a social movement designed to help you hack your education.” According to a manifesto posted on its web site, UnCollege “will show you how to gain the passion, hustle, and contrarianism requisite for success—all without setting foot inside a classroom.” Stephens is one of the most well-known “Thiel Fellows,” a program named for the billionaire Silicon Valley libertarian entrepreneur Peter Thiel, who gave a small group of smart young men and women each a “a no-strings-attached grant of $100,000 to skip college” and do something useful instead, like start a technology company. Within a year, both Stephens and Bishay would be well on their way to building new higher-education enterprises existing completely outside of the established system. When I returned to San Francisco the following spring, Dev Bootcamp had moved into a bigger hip start-up space in order to handle pent-up demand.


pages: 831 words: 98,409

SUPERHUBS: How the Financial Elite and Their Networks Rule Our World by Sandra Navidi

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activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, assortative mating, bank run, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, Black Swan, Bretton Woods, butterfly effect, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, cognitive bias, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, conceptual framework, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, diversification, East Village, Elon Musk, eurozone crisis, family office, financial repression, Gini coefficient, glass ceiling, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Google bus, Gordon Gekko, haute cuisine, high net worth, hindsight bias, income inequality, index fund, intangible asset, Jaron Lanier, John Meriwether, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, London Whale, Long Term Capital Management, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, McMansion, mittelstand, money market fund, Myron Scholes, NetJets, Network effects, offshore financial centre, old-boy network, Parag Khanna, Paul Samuelson, peer-to-peer, performance metric, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, quantitative easing, Renaissance Technologies, rent-seeking, reserve currency, risk tolerance, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, rolodex, Satyajit Das, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, sovereign wealth fund, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, The Future of Employment, The Predators' Ball, too big to fail, women in the workforce, young professional

Past attendees include central bankers such as Mario Draghi and Ben Bernanke; finance ministers George Osborne, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, Hank Paulson, Tim Geithner, Larry Summers, and Robert Rubin; bank executives such as Lloyd Blankfein and Robert Zoellick of Goldman Sachs, Paul Achleitner of Deutsche Bank, and Ana Botín of Banco Santander; and big investors such as Philipp Hildebrand of BlackRock, Peter Thiel of Thiel Capital, Ken Griffin of Citadel, Roger Altman of Evercore, and Henry Kravis and General David Petraeus of KKR. The program remains undisclosed, and discussions are subject to the Chatham House Rule,5 according to which participants may use the information received, but are prohibited from revealing the speaker’s identity and affiliation, or that of any other participant for that matter.


pages: 375 words: 106,536

Lost at Sea by Jon Ronson

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Columbine, computer age, credit crunch, Douglas Hofstadter, Downton Abbey, East Village, Etonian, false memory syndrome, Gödel, Escher, Bach, income inequality, Internet Archive, Jeff Bezos, late fees, Louis Pasteur, obamacare, Peter Thiel, Saturday Night Live, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Skype, telemarketer

I ask Zeno again. “I prefer not to use dangerous things,” he replies. “Is David Hanson God?” I ask. Zeno pauses. David Hanson is Zeno’s inventor. He’s a former Disney theme-park imagineer who later founded Hanson Robotics, now the world’s most respected manufacturer of humanoid robots. He and Zeno are guests of honor here at the Hyatt Regency in San Francisco, at an AI conference organized by Peter Thiel, the PayPal cofounder and chief Facebook bankroller. There’s huge interest in the robot. Delegates gather around him in the lobby outside the conference room, firing questions, attempting to ascertain his level of consciousness. “Is David Hanson God?” I repeat. There’s a monitor attached discreetly to Zeno that automatically scrolls a transcript of what he “hears.” He thinks I just asked, “If David uncertain dogs.”


pages: 290 words: 87,549

The Airbnb Story: How Three Ordinary Guys Disrupted an Industry, Made Billions...and Created Plenty of Controversy by Leigh Gallagher

Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, don't be evil, Donald Trump, East Village, Elon Musk, housing crisis, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, Jony Ive, Justin.tv, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, medical residency, Menlo Park, Network effects, Paul Buchheit, Paul Graham, performance metric, Peter Thiel, RFID, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South of Market, San Francisco, Startup school, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, the payments system, Tony Hsieh, Y Combinator, yield management

“Don’t Fuck Up the Culture” The company’s culture could almost be its own character in any story about Airbnb. A common fixation among Silicon Valley start-ups, culture has been an obsessive focus of all three founders ever since they exited the Y Combinator program. But it didn’t truly hit home for Chesky until 2012, after the company closed its Series-C round of funding, a $200 million round that was led by Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund. The Airbnb founders invited Thiel to the office, and Chesky asked him for advice. Thiel said simply, “Don’t fuck up the culture.” He said that Airbnb’s culture was one of the reasons he had invested, but he said it was basically inevitable that after a company got to a certain size, it would “fuck it up.” Chesky took this as a challenge, and he has had a somewhat maniacal focus on Airbnb’s culture ever since.


pages: 462 words: 150,129

The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves by Matt Ridley

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23andMe, agricultural Revolution, air freight, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, call centre, carbon footprint, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, charter city, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, colonial exploitation, colonial rule, Corn Laws, creative destruction, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, dematerialisation, demographic dividend, demographic transition, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, falling living standards, feminist movement, financial innovation, Flynn Effect, food miles, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Hans Rosling, happiness index / gross national happiness, haute cuisine, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, income per capita, Indoor air pollution, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of agriculture, invisible hand, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, John Nash: game theory, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Kula ring, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, Northern Rock, nuclear winter, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, packet switching, patent troll, Pax Mongolica, Peter Thiel, phenotype, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, Productivity paradox, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, rising living standards, Silicon Valley, spice trade, spinning jenny, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supervolcano, technological singularity, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, transaction costs, ultimatum game, upwardly mobile, urban sprawl, Vernor Vinge, Vilfredo Pareto, wage slave, working poor, working-age population, Y2K, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

Victorian British inventors lived under a regime that spent a large proportion of its outgoings on interest payments, in effect sending a signal that the safest thing for rich folk to do with their money was to collect rent on it from taxes on trade. Today, plenty of money is wasted on research that does not develop, and plenty of discoveries are made without the application of much money. When Mark Zuckerberg invented Facebook in 2004 as a Harvard student, he needed very little R&D expenditure. Even when expanding it into a business, his first investment of $500,000 from Peter Thiel, founder of Paypal, was tiny compared with what entrepreneurs needed in the age of steam or railways. Intellectual property? Perhaps property is the answer. Inventors will not invent unless they can keep at least some of the proceeds of their inventions. After all, somebody will not invest time and effort in planting a crop in his field if he cannot expect to harvest it and keep the profit for himself – a fact Stalin, Mao and Robert Mugabe learned the hard way – so surely nobody will invest time and effort in developing a new tool or building a new kind of organisation if he cannot keep at least some of the rewards for himself.


pages: 494 words: 116,739

Geek Heresy: Rescuing Social Change From the Cult of Technology by Kentaro Toyama

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active measures, Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, blood diamonds, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, computer vision, conceptual framework, delayed gratification, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, end world poverty, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, fundamental attribution error, germ theory of disease, global village, Hans Rosling, happiness index / gross national happiness, income inequality, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Khan Academy, Kibera, knowledge worker, liberation theology, libertarian paternalism, M-Pesa, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, microcredit, mobile money, Nicholas Carr, North Sea oil, pattern recognition, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, post-industrial society, Powell Memorandum, randomized controlled trial, rent-seeking, RFID, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, school vouchers, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, technoutopianism, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, Upton Sinclair, Walter Mischel, War on Poverty, winner-take-all economy, World Values Survey, Y2K

Commentators in a range of fields cite that period as the turning point where America (and possibly the Western world as a whole) began to decline. Hedrick Smith (2013) blames the 1971 Powell memorandum for turning corporations into narrowly selfish, power-hungry profit seekers. Political scientists Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson (2010) blame a political system bent to the will of the wealthy. PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel (2012), 39:30, says technological advance has decelerated since the early 1970s (except in the computer industry). Economists Goldin and Katz (2009), p. 4, note that “educational advance slowed considerably for young adults beginning in the 1970s.” 11.The evidence for middle-class income stagnation and rising inequality is well-established. See, for example, Piketty and Saez (2003) and US Department of Commerce, US Census Bureau (2011).


pages: 478 words: 126,416

Other People's Money: Masters of the Universe or Servants of the People? by John Kay

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, Basel III, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bitcoin, Black Swan, Bonfire of the Vanities, bonus culture, Bretton Woods, call centre, capital asset pricing model, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, cross-subsidies, dematerialisation, diversification, diversified portfolio, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Elon Musk, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, financial innovation, financial intermediation, financial thriller, fixed income, Flash crash, forward guidance, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, George Akerlof, German hyperinflation, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Growth in a Time of Debt, income inequality, index fund, inflation targeting, information asymmetry, intangible asset, interest rate derivative, interest rate swap, invention of the wheel, Irish property bubble, Isaac Newton, John Meriwether, light touch regulation, London Whale, Long Term Capital Management, loose coupling, low cost carrier, M-Pesa, market design, millennium bug, mittelstand, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, new economy, Nick Leeson, Northern Rock, obamacare, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shock, passive investing, Paul Samuelson, peer-to-peer lending, performance metric, Peter Thiel, Piper Alpha, Ponzi scheme, price mechanism, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, railway mania, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, regulatory arbitrage, Renaissance Technologies, rent control, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Schrödinger's Cat, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, The Great Moderation, The Market for Lemons, the market place, The Myth of the Rational Market, the payments system, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Tobin tax, too big to fail, transaction costs, tulip mania, Upton Sinclair, Vanguard fund, Washington Consensus, We are the 99%, Yom Kippur War

The proximity of a major research-based university at Stanford is also significant, and many successful entrepreneurs have been Stanford alumni.12 The success of some early ventures established a pool of individuals with both considerable personal wealth and experience of the application of new technologies to infant businesses. These individuals supported fresh start-ups. Markkula had retired from Intel as a multimillionaire at the age of thirty-two. Another Intel veteran, John Doerr, was an early supporter of Amazon and Google. Peter Thiel, a founder of PayPal, was the first external investor in Facebook. The activities of these and other entrepreneur financiers were aided by small financial advisory firms (the ‘four horsemen’: Alex Brown, Hambrecht & Quist, Montgomery Securities and Robertson Stephens) which acted as conduits for institutional investors to put money alongside business angels. Since the funds financed start-up losses, the finance involved necessarily took the form of equity, and initially neither investment banks nor retail banks were involved.


pages: 483 words: 143,123

The Frackers: The Outrageous Inside Story of the New Billionaire Wildcatters by Gregory Zuckerman

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activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, American energy revolution, Asian financial crisis, Bakken shale, Bernie Sanders, Buckminster Fuller, corporate governance, corporate raider, credit crunch, energy security, Exxon Valdez, housing crisis, hydraulic fracturing, LNG terminal, margin call, Maui Hawaii, North Sea oil, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, Peter Thiel, reshoring, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, urban decay

Why did a new age of energy emerge from the depths of the Great Recession, even as Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan warned of dwindling U.S. supplies, investors Warren Buffett and Henry Kravis bet on a dearth of natural gas, and Vladimir Putin predicted a Russian gas monopoly? Why did private enterprise revitalize the nation’s energy outlook with a focus on fossil fuels, of all things, even as governments funneled $2 trillion toward cleaner, alternative energy? How did obscure energy entrepreneurs develop technologies to produce a surge of energy, even as a chorus of experts, including Peter Thiel, an original investor in Facebook, derided the country for no longer making dramatic technological advances? And why did it all happen in the United States and not in China, Russia, or other countries that boast their own enormous deposits of oil and gas in similar rock? This book, based on over three hundred hours of interviews with more than fifty of the key players of the era, attempts to answer these questions.


pages: 497 words: 144,283

Connectography: Mapping the Future of Global Civilization by Parag Khanna

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1919 Motor Transport Corps convoy, 2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 3D printing, 9 dash line, additive manufacturing, Admiral Zheng, affirmative action, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, amateurs talk tactics, professionals talk logistics, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, Basel III, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, borderless world, Boycotts of Israel, Branko Milanovic, BRICs, British Empire, business intelligence, call centre, capital controls, charter city, clean water, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, complexity theory, continuation of politics by other means, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, data is the new oil, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deglobalization, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, Deng Xiaoping, Detroit bankruptcy, digital map, diversification, Doha Development Round, edge city, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, energy security, ethereum blockchain, European colonialism, eurozone crisis, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, family office, Ferguson, Missouri, financial innovation, financial repression, fixed income, forward guidance, global supply chain, global value chain, global village, Google Earth, Hernando de Soto, high net worth, Hyperloop, ice-free Arctic, if you build it, they will come, illegal immigration, income inequality, income per capita, industrial cluster, industrial robot, informal economy, Infrastructure as a Service, interest rate swap, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, Julian Assange, Just-in-time delivery, Kevin Kelly, Khyber Pass, Kibera, Kickstarter, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, LNG terminal, low cost carrier, manufacturing employment, mass affluent, mass immigration, megacity, Mercator projection, Metcalfe’s law, microcredit, mittelstand, Monroe Doctrine, mutually assured destruction, New Economic Geography, new economy, New Urbanism, off grid, offshore financial centre, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, openstreetmap, out of africa, Panamax, Parag Khanna, Peace of Westphalia, peak oil, Pearl River Delta, Peter Thiel, Philip Mirowski, Plutocrats, plutocrats, post-oil, post-Panamax, private military company, purchasing power parity, QWERTY keyboard, race to the bottom, Rana Plaza, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Scramble for Africa, Second Machine Age, sharing economy, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, Skype, smart cities, Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spice trade, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, sustainable-tourism, TaskRabbit, telepresence, the built environment, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, transaction costs, UNCLOS, uranium enrichment, urban planning, urban sprawl, WikiLeaks, young professional, zero day

Extra special thanks are due to Peter Marber for his profoundly constructive intellectual guidance over the years and his pinpoint observations and corrections and to Neeraj Seth, whose immense knowledge of global financial challenges doesn’t inhibit him from thinking of creative solutions nor fortunately from sharing them with me. Many expert thinkers on technology and its wide-ranging impact have provided forward-thinking ideas such as Scott Borg, Tyler Cowen, Marc Goodman, James Law, Daniel Rasmus, Tom Standage, Peter Thiel, and Vivek Wadhwa. Numerous innovators and doers in the information technology industry have also provided wide-ranging insights such as Jeff Jonas, Deepankar Sengupta, and Donald Hanson of IBM; Ann Lavin, Jared Cohen, and Will Fitzgerald of Google; Shailesh Rao, Aliza Knox, and Peter Greenberger of Twitter; Yinglan Tan of Sequoia Capital; John Kim of Amasia; Tom Crampton of Ogilvy; and James Chan of Silicon Straits.


pages: 437 words: 113,173

Age of Discovery: Navigating the Risks and Rewards of Our New Renaissance by Ian Goldin, Chris Kutarna

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2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 3D printing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, AltaVista, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, barriers to entry, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, bitcoin, Bonfire of the Vanities, clean water, collective bargaining, Colonization of Mars, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Dava Sobel, demographic dividend, Deng Xiaoping, Doha Development Round, double helix, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, experimental economics, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial innovation, full employment, Galaxy Zoo, global supply chain, Hyperloop, immigration reform, income inequality, indoor plumbing, industrial cluster, industrial robot, information retrieval, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), intermodal, Internet of things, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, labour market flexibility, low cost carrier, low skilled workers, Lyft, Malacca Straits, mass immigration, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral hazard, Network effects, New Urbanism, non-tariff barriers, Occupy movement, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, open economy, Panamax, Pearl River Delta, personalized medicine, Peter Thiel, post-Panamax, profit motive, rent-seeking, reshoring, Robert Gordon, Robert Metcalfe, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart grid, Snapchat, special economic zone, spice trade, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stuxnet, TaskRabbit, The Future of Employment, too big to fail, trade liberalization, trade route, transaction costs, transatlantic slave trade, uranium enrichment, We are the 99%, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, working poor, working-age population, zero day

Now that Concorde has been shut down, it takes us the same six hours to fly from New York to London that it took them. (We don’t even fly to the moon anymore.) Despite the hundreds of billions of dollars we’ve plowed into medical research in the last 40 years, rich people only live some 8 percent (five years) longer than their grandparents, and we suffer from the same chronic diseases: cancer, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s and organ failure. As Peter Thiel, who co-founded PayPal, put it: “We wanted flying cars—instead we got 140 characters.”36 Figure 6-1. To date, many expectations of the future have been disappointed. Image credit: Bill Watterston (1989). Calvin and Hobbes. Reprinted with permission of Universal Uclick. All rights reserved. Diminishing dreams All the above has sown a deeper doubt: that humanity’s glory days may be permanently past.


pages: 559 words: 155,372

Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley by Antonio Garcia Martinez

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Airbnb, airport security, always be closing, Amazon Web Services, Burning Man, Celtic Tiger, centralized clearinghouse, cognitive dissonance, collective bargaining, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, drone strike, El Camino Real, Elon Musk, Emanuel Derman, financial independence, global supply chain, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, hive mind, income inequality, information asymmetry, interest rate swap, intermodal, Jeff Bezos, Malcom McLean invented shipping containers, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Maui Hawaii, means of production, Menlo Park, minimum viable product, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, Paul Graham, performance metric, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, pre–internet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, Ruby on Rails, Sand Hill Road, Scientific racism, second-price auction, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, social graph, social web, Socratic dialogue, source of truth, Steve Jobs, telemarketer, urban renewal, Y Combinator, zero-sum game, éminence grise

While the role of product manager is near universal in tech companies of any size, the de facto or de jure reality of it varies widely. What the PM does is in many ways representative of how the company itself develops product. Some companies have opted for different titles. At Microsoft, they are known as “program managers.” At Palantir, the secretive defense intelligence software company founded by the billionaire investor Peter Thiel, they are known as “product navigators,” which sounds terribly romantic. Whatever the flavor of title, what does a product manager, by whatever name, actually do? The MBA-esque job description would be “CEO of the product,” because those B-school pukes like sporting acronymic titles. This is many a company’s definition of the role, and it’s not completely wrong, though it makes the job seem statelier than it is.


pages: 566 words: 163,322

The Rise and Fall of Nations: Forces of Change in the Post-Crisis World by Ruchir Sharma

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3D printing, Asian financial crisis, backtesting, bank run, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, BRICs, business climate, business process, call centre, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, centre right, colonial rule, Commodity Super-Cycle, corporate governance, creative destruction, crony capitalism, currency peg, dark matter, debt deflation, deglobalization, deindustrialization, demographic dividend, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, Doha Development Round, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, Elon Musk, eurozone crisis, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, falling living standards, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Freestyle chess, Gini coefficient, hiring and firing, income inequality, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, inflation targeting, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, liberal capitalism, Malacca Straits, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, mass immigration, megacity, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, mittelstand, moral hazard, New Economic Geography, North Sea oil, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, pattern recognition, Paul Samuelson, Peter Thiel, pets.com, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, price stability, Productivity paradox, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, secular stagnation, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Simon Kuznets, smart cities, Snapchat, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spectrum auction, Steve Jobs, The Future of Employment, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Malthus, total factor productivity, trade liberalization, trade route, tulip mania, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, unorthodox policies, Washington Consensus, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce, working-age population

In his generally admiring review of Thomas Piketty’s 2013 international best seller on inequality, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, former U.S. Treasury secretary Lawrence Summers questioned the French author’s claims about the enduring power of inherited wealth in the United States by pointing to the high degree of churn among American billionaires. Summers highlighted the fact that only one out of every 10 names on the original Forbes list in 1982 were still on the list in 2012. The author and venture capitalist Peter Thiel also incorporated billionaire lists into his entertaining lament about the stagnant state of technological innovation. Scanning the Forbes global list of the ninety-two people who were worth more than $10 billion in 2012, Thiel found only eleven tech industry figures in the group, all of them names he considered distressingly familiar, such as Gates, Ellison, and Zuckerberg. By way of comparison, he found twice as many names that made their bundle mainly by “mining natural resources,” a group Thiel ridiculed as “basically cases of technological failure, because commodities are inelastic goods, and farmers make a fortune when there’s a famine.”


pages: 411 words: 114,717

Breakout Nations: In Pursuit of the Next Economic Miracles by Ruchir Sharma

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3D printing, affirmative action, Albert Einstein, American energy revolution, anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, BRICs, British Empire, business climate, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, centre right, cloud computing, collective bargaining, colonial rule, corporate governance, creative destruction, crony capitalism, deindustrialization, demographic dividend, Deng Xiaoping, eurozone crisis, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, housing crisis, income inequality, indoor plumbing, inflation targeting, informal economy, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, labour market flexibility, land reform, M-Pesa, Mahatma Gandhi, Marc Andreessen, market bubble, mass immigration, megacity, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, open economy, Peter Thiel, planetary scale, quantitative easing, reserve currency, Robert Gordon, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, software is eating the world, sovereign wealth fund, The Great Moderation, Thomas L Friedman, trade liberalization, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, working-age population, zero-sum game

Nearly 70 percent of Japanese R&D is targeted at strengthening existing businesses, not exploring new ones. Without a more urgent push to compete more aggressively, Japan’s share of global GDP seems likely to keep falling. The American technology edge is especially critical in light of the slowdown in global growth. The question now is, what is the new driver, what will push the global economy to the next level of development? As the entrepreneur Peter Thiel has argued, the next driver usually comes in the form of material advances in new technology, and these are most likely to emerge in nations like the United States, where the system promotes innovation. For example, as 3D manufacturing advances, it is expected to give manufacturers the capacity to custom build goods for individual consumers more cheaply than the goods can be mass-produced in manned factories in Asia.


pages: 410 words: 119,823

Radical Technologies: The Design of Everyday Life by Adam Greenfield

3D printing, Airbnb, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, bank run, barriers to entry, basic income, bitcoin, blockchain, business intelligence, business process, call centre, cellular automata, centralized clearinghouse, centre right, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable, cloud computing, collective bargaining, combinatorial explosion, Computer Numeric Control, computer vision, Conway's Game of Life, cryptocurrency, David Graeber, dematerialisation, digital map, distributed ledger, drone strike, Elon Musk, ethereum blockchain, facts on the ground, fiat currency, global supply chain, global village, Google Glasses, IBM and the Holocaust, industrial robot, informal economy, information retrieval, Internet of things, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Conway, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, late capitalism, license plate recognition, lifelogging, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, megacity, megastructure, minimum viable product, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, natural language processing, Network effects, New Urbanism, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, Pareto efficiency, pattern recognition, Pearl River Delta, performance metric, Peter Eisenman, Peter Thiel, planetary scale, Ponzi scheme, post scarcity, RAND corporation, recommendation engine, RFID, rolodex, Satoshi Nakamoto, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, smart cities, smart contracts, sorting algorithm, special economic zone, speech recognition, stakhanovite, statistical model, stem cell, technoutopianism, Tesla Model S, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Future of Employment, transaction costs, Uber for X, universal basic income, urban planning, urban sprawl, Whole Earth Review, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce

But otherwise he is a blank. So little personal information about him is available that it’s all but impossible to get a sense of who he is, or what values he might cherish beyond this one core conviction.1 Born in Russia in 1994, Buterin was just shy of twenty when he dropped out of Ontario’s Waterloo University, spurred by a $100,000 grant from the foundation of libertarian venture capitalist Peter Thiel. As a co-founder of and primary contributor to Bitcoin Magazine, he had immersed himself in the body of theory developing around the blockchain, mastered its abstruse concepts, and in so doing, become convinced that Satoshi’s design was profoundly limited. Now, Thiel’s stipend in hand, he was free to pursue the intuition that he could improve upon that design. In November 2013, Buterin published a white paper describing a protocol intended to rectify all the flaws and shortcomings he saw in Bitcoin.


pages: 1,773 words: 486,685

Global Crisis: War, Climate Change and Catastrophe in the Seventeenth Century by Geoffrey Parker

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agricultural Revolution, British Empire, Climatic Research Unit, colonial rule, creative destruction, currency manipulation / currency intervention, Defenestration of Prague, Edmond Halley, en.wikipedia.org, European colonialism, failed state, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial independence, friendly fire, Google Earth, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Isaac Newton, Joseph Schumpeter, Khyber Pass, mass immigration, Mercator projection, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Peace of Westphalia, Peter Thiel, Republic of Letters, sexual politics, South China Sea, the market place, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, unemployed young men, University of East Anglia, World Values Survey, zero-sum game

It also led many of them to record their misfortunes as a warning to others. ‘Those who live in times to come will not believe that we who are alive now have suffered such toil, pain and misery,’ wrote Fra Francesco Voersio, an Italian friar, in his Plague Diary. Nehemiah Wallington, a London craftsman, compiled several volumes of ‘Historical notes and meditations’ so that ‘the generation to come may see what wofull and miserable times we lived in’. Likewise Peter Thiele, a German tax official, kept a diary so that ‘our descendants can discover from this how we were harassed, and see what a terribly distressed time it was'; while the German Lutheran Pastor Johann Daniel Minck did the same because, ‘without such records … those who come after us will never believe what miseries we have suffered’.4 According to the Welsh historian James Howell in 1647, ‘‘Tis tru we have had many such black days in England in former ages, but those parallel'd to the present are to the shadow of a mountain compar'd to the eclipse of the moon’; and he speculated that God Almighty has a quarrel lately with all Mankind, and given the reins to the ill Spirit to compass the whole earth; for within these twelve years there have the strangest Revolutions and horridest things happened, not only in Europe but all the world over, that have befallen mankind (I dare boldly say) since Adam fell, in so short a revolution of time … [Such] monstrous things have happened [that] it seems the whole world is off the hinges; and (which is the more wonderful) all these prodigious passages have fallen out in less than the compass of twelve years.5 In 1651, in his book Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes (then a refugee from the English Civil War living in France) provided perhaps the most celebrated description of the consequences of the fatal synergy between natural and human disasters faced by him and his contemporaries: There is no place for industry, because the fruit thereof is uncertain, and consequently no culture of the earth; no navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by sea; no commodious building; no instruments of moving and removing such things as require much force; no knowledge of the face of the earth; no account of Time; no arts; no letters; no society.

Farmer Caspar Preis, also in Hessen, felt ‘so afraid and panicky that even a rustling leaf drove us out’. Shoemaker Hans Heberle complained that he and his family ‘were hunted like wild beasts in the forest’, and they fled from their village no fewer than 30 times during the war in search of safety.38 Peace Breaks Out in Germany Remarkably, only one of the printed eyewitness accounts blamed the rulers of Germany for their misfortunes. Peter Thiele, a tax official in Brandenburg, pulled no punches: ‘This whole war has been a veritable robbers’ and thieves’ campaign. The generals and colonels have lined their purses while princes and lords have been led about by the nose. But whenever there has been talk of wanting to make peace they have always looked to their reputations. That's what the land and people have been devastated for.‘39 Yet although Thiele condemned one obsession of the rulers of his day, ‘reputation’, he remained silent about another: religion.

91 The survivors of the Thirty Years War who recorded their experience had no intention of surrounding themselves with ‘the silence of the grave’. On the contrary, Maria Anna Junius, a nun in Bamberg, kept a chronicle specifically ‘so that when pious sisters come after us who know nothing of these distressed and difficult times, they can see what we poor sisters suffered and endured, with the grace and help of God, during these long years of war’. Near Berlin, the tax official Peter Thiele concluded his account: ‘Our descendants can discover from this how we were harassed, and see what a terribly distressed time it was. May they take this to heart and guard themselves against sin, begging God for mercy so that they may be spared such dread.’ In Hessen, farmer Casper Preis lamented that ‘to tell of all the misery and misfortune [of the war years] is not within my power, not even what I know and have seen myself'; and in any case, he added, even ‘if I did report everything which I have seen and so painfully experienced, no-one living in a better age would believe it’ because ‘the times were awful beyond measure’.


pages: 468 words: 233,091

Founders at Work: Stories of Startups' Early Days by Jessica Livingston

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8-hour work day, affirmative action, AltaVista, Apple II, Brewster Kahle, business process, Byte Shop, Danny Hillis, David Heinemeier Hansson, don't be evil, fear of failure, financial independence, Firefox, full text search, game design, Googley, HyperCard, illegal immigration, Internet Archive, Jeff Bezos, Justin.tv, Larry Wall, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, nuclear winter, Paul Buchheit, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Robert Metcalfe, Ruby on Rails, Sand Hill Road, side project, Silicon Valley, slashdot, social software, software patent, South of Market, San Francisco, Startup school, stealth mode startup, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, web application, Y Combinator

Perhaps if people can see how these companies actually started, it will be less daunting for them to envision starting something of their own. I hope a lot of the people who read these stories will think, “Hey, these guys were once just like me. Maybe I could do it too.” C H A P T 1 E R Max Levchin Cofounder, PayPal PayPal was founded in December 1998 by recent college grad Max Levchin and hedge fund manager Peter Thiel. The company went through several ideas, including cryptography software and a service for transmitting money via PDAs, before finding its niche as a web-based payment system. That service became wildly popular for online vendors, especially eBay sellers, who preferred it to traditional payment methods. PayPal went public in early 2002 and was acquired later that year by eBay for $1.5 billion.


pages: 603 words: 182,781

Aerotropolis by John D. Kasarda, Greg Lindsay

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3D printing, air freight, airline deregulation, airport security, Akira Okazaki, Asian financial crisis, back-to-the-land, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, blood diamonds, borderless world, British Empire, call centre, carbon footprint, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, Clayton Christensen, cleantech, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, conceptual framework, credit crunch, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, digital map, edge city, Edward Glaeser, failed state, food miles, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frank Gehry, fudge factor, full employment, future of work, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, George Gilder, global supply chain, global village, gravity well, Haber-Bosch Process, Hernando de Soto, hive mind, if you build it, they will come, illegal immigration, inflight wifi, intangible asset, interchangeable parts, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), intermodal, invention of the telephone, inventory management, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Kangaroo Route, knowledge worker, kremlinology, labour mobility, Marchetti’s constant, Marshall McLuhan, Masdar, mass immigration, McMansion, megacity, Menlo Park, microcredit, Network effects, New Economic Geography, new economy, New Urbanism, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, Pearl River Delta, Peter Thiel, pets.com, pink-collar, pre–internet, RFID, Richard Florida, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, savings glut, Seaside, Florida, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spice trade, spinning jenny, stem cell, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, sustainable-tourism, telepresence, the built environment, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Nature of the Firm, thinkpad, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, Tony Hsieh, trade route, transcontinental railway, transit-oriented development, traveling salesman, trickle-down economics, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, walkable city, white flight, white picket fence, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

The Tempo Group’s plans for Detroit are from an interview with the general manager Jeff Zhao and stories in Crain’s Detroit Business. 7: The Cool Chain The migration of the tulip from the steppes of Central Asia to Holland in the saddlebags of Carolus Clusius is best told by Mike Dash in Tulipomania. The history and details of the Dutch East India Company are drawn from a number of sources found through Wikipedia. The idea that all financial bubbles are bets on globalization is suggested in Michael Pettis’s The Volatility Machine and Peter Thiel’s “The Optimistic Thought Experiment” (Policy Review, February and March 2008). The early history of floral logistics is found in From Green to Gold: An Illustrated History of the Aalsmeer Flower Auction, a book commissioned by the Aalsmeer. The scenes detailing how the auctions work are taken from interviews and tours with auction officials (including Henk de Groot), interviews with the staff of Hilverda De Boer (including Aard de Boer), and Amy Stewart’s invaluable Flower Confidential, from which I also gleaned innumerable details about the history of Dutch floriculture and the globalization of the floral industry.


pages: 598 words: 172,137

Who Stole the American Dream? by Hedrick Smith

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbus A320, airline deregulation, anti-communist, asset allocation, banking crisis, Bonfire of the Vanities, British Empire, business process, clean water, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, commoditize, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Brooks, Deng Xiaoping, desegregation, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, family office, full employment, global supply chain, Gordon Gekko, guest worker program, hiring and firing, housing crisis, Howard Zinn, income inequality, index fund, industrial cluster, informal economy, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, Kitchen Debate, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, laissez-faire capitalism, late fees, Long Term Capital Management, low cost carrier, manufacturing employment, market fundamentalism, Maui Hawaii, mega-rich, mortgage debt, negative equity, new economy, Occupy movement, Own Your Own Home, Paul Samuelson, Peter Thiel, Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances, Ponzi scheme, Powell Memorandum, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, Renaissance Technologies, reshoring, rising living standards, Robert Bork, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, The Spirit Level, too big to fail, transaction costs, transcontinental railway, union organizing, Unsafe at Any Speed, Vanguard fund, We are the 99%, women in the workforce, working poor, Y2K

“The Super-PACs are plainly an avenue for candidates to evade the law that limits contributions,” Mann and Ornstein commented ruefully. By late spring, Super-PACs had raised $160 million, bankrolled mainly by a small group of billionaire would-be kingmakers such as Las Vegas casino owner Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam; Harold C. Simmons of Dallas and his chemical and metals conglomerate, Contran Corporation; Houston home builder Robert J. Perry; PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel; Hollywood producer Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of Dream-works; and hedge fund managers John A. Paulson and Paul Singer of New York. Just three super-donors—the Adelsons, Simmons/Contran, and Perry—contributed close to one fourth of all the Super-PAC cash. In the 2012 general election campaign, Super-PACs have cast themselves as weapons of political mass destruction. Long before the party conventions actually nominated presidential candidates, runaway campaign fund-raising by Republicans, Democrats, and independent groups was on track to outspend the record-breaking $1.8 billion presidential election of 2008.


pages: 677 words: 206,548

Future Crimes: Everything Is Connected, Everyone Is Vulnerable and What We Can Do About It by Marc Goodman

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23andMe, 3D printing, active measures, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bill Joy: nanobots, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, borderless world, Brian Krebs, business process, butterfly effect, call centre, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, computer vision, connected car, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, data acquisition, data is the new oil, Dean Kamen, disintermediation, don't be evil, double helix, Downton Abbey, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Flash crash, future of work, game design, Google Chrome, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, High speed trading, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, illegal immigration, impulse control, industrial robot, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Harrison: Longitude, John Markoff, Jony Ive, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kuwabatake Sanjuro: assassination market, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, license plate recognition, lifelogging, litecoin, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, mobile money, more computing power than Apollo, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, national security letter, natural language processing, obamacare, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, off grid, offshore financial centre, optical character recognition, Parag Khanna, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, personalized medicine, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, RAND corporation, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, refrigerator car, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rodney Brooks, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, security theater, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, technological singularity, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tesla Model S, The Future of Employment, The Wisdom of Crowds, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, uranium enrichment, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Wave and Pay, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, web application, Westphalian system, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator, zero day

There are even those who believe it might be possible to use artificial intelligence to replicate the neocortex of the human brain. One such company, Vicarious, a Silicon Valley start-up, is developing AI software “based upon the computational principles of the human brain.” An AI that can learn. Tens of millions of dollars in venture capital funding have flowed to the firm, including prominent investments by Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and PayPal’s co-founder Peter Thiel. The company’s goal is to re-create the “part of the brain that sees, controls the body, reasons and understands language.” In other words, Vicarious wants to translate the human neocortex into computer code, and it is not alone in attempting to build a mind. How to Build a Brain A typical neuron makes about ten thousand connections to neighboring neurons. Given the billions of neurons, this means there are as many connections in a single cubic centimeter of brain tissue as there are stars in the Milky Way galaxy.


pages: 743 words: 201,651

Free Speech: Ten Principles for a Connected World by Timothy Garton Ash

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A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Andrew Keen, Apple II, Ayatollah Khomeini, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, British Empire, Cass Sunstein, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, Clapham omnibus, colonial rule, crowdsourcing, David Attenborough, don't be evil, Donald Davies, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Snowden, Etonian, European colonialism, eurozone crisis, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Ferguson, Missouri, Filter Bubble, financial independence, Firefox, Galaxy Zoo, George Santayana, global village, index card, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, invention of writing, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, John Markoff, Julian Assange, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, mass immigration, megacity, mutually assured destruction, national security letter, Netflix Prize, Nicholas Carr, obamacare, Peace of Westphalia, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, profit motive, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Ronald Reagan, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, Snapchat, social graph, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Wisdom of Crowds, Turing test, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, WikiLeaks, World Values Survey, Yom Kippur War

_r=0 29. see reports and analysis by Elise Hu, ‘The White House Is Backing Strong Open Internet Rules’, NPR, 10 November 2014, http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2014/11/10/363013806/the-white-house-is-backing-the-internet-in-a-major-way, and ‘3.7 Million Comments Later, Here’s Where Net Neutrality Stands’, NPR, 17 September 2014, http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2014/09/17/349243335/3-7-million-comments-later-heres-where-net-neutrality-stands. In the end, it was more than 4 million comments 30. quoted in David Crow, ‘Strife in the Fast Lane’, Financial Times, 16 November 2014, http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/997ad3ee-6b23-11e4-ae52-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3s4VCr5dH 31. the legendary libertarian Silicon Valley investor Peter Thiel even argued that internet monopolies, or near-monopolies, could be good for innovation; see Thiel 2014 32. Federal Communications Commission, ‘In the Matter of Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet’, 26 February 2015, http://perma.cc/R9H9-MWXG, and Tim Wu, ‘Net Neutrality: How the Government Finally Got It Right’, New Yorker, 5 February 2015, http://perma.cc/SW5W-27QF 33. http://www.thisisnetneutrality.org and the post on Jeremy Gillula et al., ‘EFF Co-Launches Global Coalition on Net Neutrality, as the Battle for an Open Internet Heats Up’, Electronic Frontier Foundation, 25 November 2014, https://perma.cc/N9PK-UC29?


pages: 578 words: 168,350

Scale: The Universal Laws of Growth, Innovation, Sustainability, and the Pace of Life in Organisms, Cities, Economies, and Companies by Geoffrey West

Alfred Russel Wallace, Anton Chekhov, Benoit Mandelbrot, Black Swan, British Empire, butterfly effect, carbon footprint, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, clean water, complexity theory, computer age, conceptual framework, continuous integration, corporate social responsibility, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, dark matter, Deng Xiaoping, double helix, Edward Glaeser, endogenous growth, Ernest Rutherford, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Frank Gehry, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, Guggenheim Bilbao, housing crisis, Index librorum prohibitorum, invention of agriculture, invention of the telephone, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, laissez-faire capitalism, life extension, Mahatma Gandhi, mandelbrot fractal, Marchetti’s constant, Masdar, megacity, Murano, Venice glass, Murray Gell-Mann, New Urbanism, Peter Thiel, profit motive, publish or perish, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Florida, Silicon Valley, smart cities, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the scientific method, too big to fail, transaction costs, urban planning, urban renewal, Vernor Vinge, Vilfredo Pareto, Von Neumann architecture, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, wikimedia commons, working poor

It is also not surprising that some of the most prominent of these are funded by Silicon Valley tycoons. After all, they have revolutionized society and not unreasonably want both themselves and their hugely successful companies to go on living forever and are willing to spend their money in trying to do so. Among the more prominent ones are Larry Ellison, the founder of Oracle, whose foundation has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on aging research; Peter Thiel, a cofounder of PayPal, who has invested millions in biotech companies oriented toward solving the problem of aging; and Larry Page, a cofounder of Google, who started Calico (the California Life Company), whose focus is on aging research and life extension. And then there’s the health care mogul Joon Yun, who, though he didn’t make his fortune in classic high-tech, is based in Silicon Valley and is the sponsor of the $1 million Longevity Prize “dedicated to ending aging” through his foundation, the Palo Alto Institute.


pages: 1,152 words: 266,246

Why the West Rules--For Now: The Patterns of History, and What They Reveal About the Future by Ian Morris

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Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Arthur Eddington, Atahualpa, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Columbian Exchange, conceptual framework, cuban missile crisis, defense in depth, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of the americas, Doomsday Clock, en.wikipedia.org, falling living standards, Flynn Effect, Francisco Pizarro, global village, God and Mammon, hiring and firing, indoor plumbing, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of agriculture, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Kitchen Debate, knowledge economy, market bubble, mass immigration, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, New Journalism, out of africa, Peter Thiel, phenotype, pink-collar, place-making, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Ronald Reagan, Scientific racism, sexual politics, Silicon Valley, Sinatra Doctrine, South China Sea, special economic zone, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, strong AI, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, trade route, upwardly mobile, wage slave, washing machines reduced drudgery

option=com_staticxt&staticfile=show.php%3Ftitle=2183). 452 “None comes”: Richard Rumbold, spoken at his own execution, London, 1685, cited from Hill 1984, p. 37. 452, 453 “that mighty Leveller” and “Overturn”: Abiezer Coppe, A Fiery Flying Roll I (1649), pp. 1–5, cited from Hill 1984, p. 43. 453 “sharpened their hoes”: cited from Elvin 1973, p. 246. 453 “I, feeble and”: Emperor Chongzhen, suicide note (1644), cited from Paludan 1998, p. 187. 454 “were subjected”: Liu Shangyou, A Short Record to Settle My Thoughts (1644 or 1645), translated in Struve 1993, p. 15. 454 “the robbers and murderers” and “for so long”: Peter Thiele, Account of the Town of Beelitz in the Thirty Years’ War, cited from C. Clark 2006, pp. 32–34. 455 “Sometimes everyone”: cited from Spence 1990, pp. 23–24. 460 “Every day”: Felipe Guaman Poma, New Chronicle and Good Government (1614), cited from Kamen 2003, p. 117. 460 “Every peso”: Antonio de la Calancha (1638), cited from Hemming 2004, p. 356. 461 “Potosí lives”: cited from Kamen 2003, p. 286. 461 “The king of China”: ibid., p. 292. 462 “Along the whole coast”: cited from Lane 1998, p. 18. 464 “If death came”: The saying has been attributed to several sources, but Cardinal Antoine Perrenot de Granvelle said something very similar in a letter dated May 11, 1573, cited in Kamen 1999, p. 252. 464 “naked people”: letter to Juan de Oñate (1605), cited from Kamen 2003, p. 253. 464 “Even if you are poor”: settler’s letter home to Spain, cited from Kamen 2003, p. 131. 468 “one-handed clocks”: Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D’Urbervilles (1891), Phase the First, chapter 3. 468 “The honour and reverence” etc.: Francis Bacon, Novum Organum (1620), preface. 469 “it is not less natural”: René Descartes, Principles of Philosophy (1644), chapter 203. 470 “Nature, and Nature’s laws”: Alexander Pope, “Epitaph: intended for Sir Isaac Newton” (1730).


pages: 1,104 words: 302,176

The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The U.S. Standard of Living Since the Civil War (The Princeton Economic History of the Western World) by Robert J. Gordon

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3D printing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, airline deregulation, airport security, Apple II, barriers to entry, big-box store, blue-collar work, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, clean water, collective bargaining, computer age, creative destruction, deindustrialization, Detroit bankruptcy, discovery of penicillin, Donner party, Downton Abbey, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, feminist movement, financial innovation, full employment, George Akerlof, germ theory of disease, glass ceiling, high net worth, housing crisis, immigration reform, impulse control, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, inflight wifi, interchangeable parts, invention of agriculture, invention of air conditioning, invention of the telegraph, invention of the telephone, inventory management, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, jitney, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, labor-force participation, Loma Prieta earthquake, Louis Daguerre, Louis Pasteur, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market fragmentation, Mason jar, mass immigration, mass incarceration, McMansion, Menlo Park, minimum wage unemployment, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, Norbert Wiener, obamacare, occupational segregation, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, payday loans, Peter Thiel, pink-collar, Productivity paradox, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, refrigerator car, rent control, Robert X Cringely, Ronald Coase, school choice, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, Skype, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, The Market for Lemons, Thomas Malthus, total factor productivity, transaction costs, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, upwardly mobile, urban decay, urban planning, urban sprawl, washing machines reduced drudgery, Washington Consensus, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, working poor, working-age population, Works Progress Administration, yellow journalism, yield management

Alex Field revitalized U.S. economic history by his startling claim that the 1930s were the “most progressive decade.” For us to determine that labor productivity and TFP growth were even quicker during 1941–50 does not diminish the boldness of Field’s imagination with his claim or the depth of evidence that he has marshaled to support it.61 Chapter 17 INNOVATION: CAN THE FUTURE MATCH THE GREAT INVENTIONS OF THE PAST? We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters. —Peter Thiel INTRODUCTION The epochal rise in the U.S. standard of living that occurred from 1870 to 1940, with continuing benefits to 1970, represent the fruits of the Second Industrial Revolution (IR #2). Many of the benefits of this unprecedented tidal wave of inventions show up in measured GDP and hence in output per person, output per hour, and total factor productivity (TFP), which as we have seen grew more rapidly during the half-century 1920–70 than before or since.


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Rationality: From AI to Zombies by Eliezer Yudkowsky

Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, anthropic principle, anti-pattern, anti-work, Arthur Eddington, artificial general intelligence, availability heuristic, Bayesian statistics, Berlin Wall, Build a better mousetrap, Cass Sunstein, cellular automata, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, correlation does not imply causation, cosmological constant, creative destruction, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dematerialisation, discovery of DNA, Douglas Hofstadter, Drosophila, effective altruism, experimental subject, Extropian, friendly AI, fundamental attribution error, Gödel, Escher, Bach, hindsight bias, index card, index fund, Isaac Newton, John Conway, John von Neumann, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Pasteur, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, money market fund, Nash equilibrium, Necker cube, NP-complete, P = NP, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, Pierre-Simon Laplace, placebo effect, planetary scale, prediction markets, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, Rubik’s Cube, Saturday Night Live, Schrödinger's Cat, scientific mainstream, sensible shoes, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Singularitarianism, Solar eclipse in 1919, speech recognition, statistical model, Steven Pinker, strong AI, technological singularity, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, the map is not the territory, the scientific method, Turing complete, Turing machine, ultimatum game, X Prize, Y Combinator, zero-sum game

It has similarly been a general rule with the Machine Intelligence Research Institute that, whatever it is we’re supposed to do to be more credible, when we actually do it, nothing much changes. “Do you do any sort of code development? I’m not interested in supporting an organization that doesn’t develop code” → OpenCog → nothing changes. “Eliezer Yudkowsky lacks academic credentials” → Professor Ben Goertzel installed as Director of Research → nothing changes. The one thing that actually has seemed to raise credibility, is famous people associating with the organization, like Peter Thiel funding us, or Ray Kurzweil on the Board. This might be an important thing for young businesses and new-minted consultants to keep in mind—that what your failed prospects tell you is the reason for rejection, may not make the real difference; and you should ponder that carefully before spending huge efforts. If the venture capitalist says “If only your sales were growing a little faster!,” or if the potential customer says “It seems good, but you don’t have feature X,” that may not be the true rejection.