Silicon Valley startup

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pages: 103 words: 24,033

The Immigrant Exodus: Why America Is Losing the Global Race to Capture Entrepreneurial Talent by Vivek Wadhwa

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3D printing, card file, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, Elon Musk, immigration reform, labour mobility, Marc Andreessen, open economy, pattern recognition, Ray Kurzweil, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, software as a service, the new new thing, Y2K

The findings from our 2007 report “America’s New Immigrant Entrepreneurs,” showed a rapid rise in the number of immigrant entrepreneurs even over the previous decade.21 In our survey, more than half (52.4%) of Silicon Valley startups had one or more immigrants as a key founder, compared with the California average of 38.8%. A comparison with Saxenian’s 1999 findings showed that the percentage of firms with Indian or Chinese founders had increased from 24% to 28%—despite the overall pie getting bigger, with there being far more tech startups. Indian immigrants outpaced their Chinese counterparts as founders of engineering and technology companies in Silicon Valley. Saxenian reported that 17% of Silicon Valley startups from 1980 to 1998 had a Chinese founder and 7% had an Indian founder. We found that from 1995 to 2005, Indians were key founders of 13.4% of all Silicon Valley startups, and immigrants from China and Taiwan were key founders in 12.8%.

It is telling that not one of the hundreds of these top-down efforts anywhere in the world, including some in Chile, have delivered the hoped-for results. Silicon Valley is what everyone has tried to re-create, but this did not spring forth from tax breaks or targeted incentives to industry. Rather, Silicon Valley evolved because a critical mass of maverick thinkers and tinkerers came together from all over the world. It is this diversity and people-to-people Silicon Valley magic that Start-up Chile has tried to create. Thus far, Start-Up Chile has surpassed expectations. Our biggest concern was that few entrepreneurs, other than those from similar or even poorer Latin American countries, would agree to relocate their companies so distant from the existing nexuses of innovation to a remote place like Chile. To date, Start-Up Chile has received more than 1,600 applications from 70 countries, with the most coming from the United States.


pages: 237 words: 64,411

Humans Need Not Apply: A Guide to Wealth and Work in the Age of Artificial Intelligence by Jerry Kaplan

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Amazon Web Services, asset allocation, autonomous vehicles, bank run, bitcoin, Bob Noyce, Brian Krebs, buy low sell high, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, combinatorial explosion, computer vision, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, estate planning, Flash crash, Gini coefficient, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, haute couture, hiring and firing, income inequality, index card, industrial robot, information asymmetry, invention of agriculture, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Loebner Prize, Mark Zuckerberg, mortgage debt, natural language processing, Own Your Own Home, pattern recognition, Satoshi Nakamoto, school choice, Schrödinger's Cat, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, software as a service, The Chicago School, The Future of Employment, Turing test, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, winner-take-all economy, women in the workforce, working poor, Works Progress Administration

The good news is they’re hiring, but only if you’ve got an engineering degree. I doubt that’s much comfort to Elvia Lopez, a kindly thirty-one-year-old Mexican immigrant who picks strawberries in Santa Maria, California (who was profiled in the Los Angeles Times).22 Agrobot isn’t alone in tackling this opportunity. A Japanese competitor claims that its technology can reduce strawberry picking time by 40 percent.23 Blue River Technologies, a Silicon Valley venture-funded startup headed by a Stanford graduate, is developing robots that can weed. To quote from their marketing materials: “We are creating systems that can distinguish crops from weeds in order to kill the weeds without harming the crops or the environment. Our systems use cameras, computer vision, and machine learning algorithms.”24 Note that the coming army of mechanical farmworkers doesn’t have to be faster than the workers they replace because, like autonomous vehicles, they can work in the dark and so aren’t limited to operating in daylight.

Our systems use cameras, computer vision, and machine learning algorithms.”24 Note that the coming army of mechanical farmworkers doesn’t have to be faster than the workers they replace because, like autonomous vehicles, they can work in the dark and so aren’t limited to operating in daylight. Warehouse workers. Beyond the picking and packing of orders, as I’ve described above, there’s the loading and unloading of packages. This is done by human workers now because it takes human judgment to decide how to grasp and stack randomly shaped boxes in delivery vehicles and shipping containers. But another Silicon Valley startup, Industrial Perception, Inc., is changing all that. Its robots can peer into a truck, select an item, then pick it up. As it quipped on its website (before the site went dark after the company was acquired by Google in 2013), Industrial Perception is “providing robots with the skills they’ll need to succeed in the economy of tomorrow.”25 Sex workers. You’d think prostitution might be a job requiring a human touch.

Rather than wait for someone to get a job before starting a Social Security account, the government could offer to add high-PBI stocks and bonds to the portfolio of people who volunteer for public-service work such as caring for the elderly, cleaning up parks, counseling troubled teens, distributing health education pamphlets, and the like. This could apply to retirees as well as those idled through unemployment or those who simply have some free time to spare. To encourage commitment and continuity, the government could take a page out of the Silicon Valley startup playbook: restricted stock vesting. You sign up for some public-service activity and are granted a pool of shares that you don’t actually own yet. As you work, these shares become yours (vest) over time. This way, you are always cognizant of the consequences of quitting prematurely, and you have a goal and scorecard with which to monitor your progress. The idea that everyone is a stockholder in society and has a retirement account automatically opened for them (say) on their tenth birthday would alter the sense of integration and participation in society.

Frugal Innovation: How to Do Better With Less by Jaideep Prabhu Navi Radjou

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3D printing, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, barriers to entry, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bretton Woods, business climate, business process, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, Computer Numeric Control, connected car, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, Elon Musk, financial exclusion, financial innovation, global supply chain, income inequality, industrial robot, intangible asset, Internet of things, job satisfaction, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, late fees, Lean Startup, low cost carrier, M-Pesa, Mahatma Gandhi, megacity, minimum viable product, more computing power than Apollo, new economy, payday loans, peer-to-peer lending, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, precision agriculture, race to the bottom, reshoring, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Ronald Coase, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, smart grid, smart meter, software as a service, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, The Nature of the Firm, transaction costs, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, women in the workforce, X Prize, yield management, Zipcar

Properly programming thermostats can save up to 20% in heating and cooling costs, yet over 85% of us never do so. This is often because we are intimidated by their complicated interfaces, some of which seem to need a PhD to crack. The electric thermostat was invented by Warren Johnson of Wisconsin in 1883, but its design has not changed much since. Until, that is, 2011 when Nest Labs, a Silicon Valley start-up, launched its “learning thermostat”. This Wi-Fi-enabled device learns and monitors the user’s habits, schedules and temperature preferences. With this information and real-time data from its integrated sensors, which track humidity, activity and light, the Nest device adjusts itself, for instance by reducing heating when the sun is out or turning off the cooling when no one is at home. Essentially, the device can reprogramme itself.

The cost-effectiveness of the approach was comparable to traditional energy conservation programmes, with annual savings of $300 million. DIY health care In coming decades, health-care costs in the West are poised to rocket because of ageing populations and the explosion of lifestyle-related and chronic diseases. To defuse this ticking time bomb, forward-thinking health providers – ranging from Silicon Valley start-ups to health maintenance organisations (HMOs) and health insurance companies – are collaborating with governments and employers to usher in the “consumerisation” of health care. This new trend aims to give individuals a more active role in managing their own health care, from seeking out providers to choosing treatments. But consumerisation is also about shifting from cure to prevention. The idea is for consumers to manage their health by focusing on wellness.

Use financial measurements to change customers’ own business model Asking customers to dramatically change their behaviour is akin to asking a company to change its business model. This only happens if the new model might significantly improve the bottom line. Changing a business model also requires investment, which must come with an attractive return. This analogy can help frugal producers convince customers to change their personal business model by showing them the relevant return on investment. For example, gThrive, a Silicon Valley start-up, offers precision agriculture services to farmers in drought-prone California. It sells gStakes, maintenance-free wireless sensors designed like a lightweight plastic ruler, which, when inserted in various parts of a field, frequently measure and track soil and environmental conditions (moisture, air temperature, sunlight). This detailed data can be monitored remotely from a website, smartphone or tablet.


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

Often it’s when you come in contact with challenges other people find hard but you find easy that you know you’re in possession of a valuable soft asset.3 Usually, however, single assets in isolation don’t have much value. A competitive edge emerges when you combine different skills, experiences, and connections. For example, Joi Ito, a friend and head of the MIT Media Lab, was born in Japan but raised in Michigan. In his mid-twenties he moved back to Japan and set up one of the first commercial Internet service providers there. He also kept developing connections in the United States, investing in Silicon Valley start-ups like Flickr and Twitter, establishing the Japanese subsidiary for the early American blogging company Six Apart, and more recently helping to establish LinkedIn Japan. Is Joi the only person with start-up experience who does angel investing in the Valley? No. Is he the only person with roots in both the United States and Japan? No. But combining these transpacific, bilingual, tech-industry assets gives him a competitive advantage over other investors and entrepreneurs.

If you’d like to be promoted from analyst to associate, it may mean a first step of building a relationship with a key partner, or taking a night course to pick up advanced financial management skills before taking that step of marching into the boss’s office and asking for that promotion. Sometimes the first step toward a goal is rather simple. A question people sometimes ask us is, “What’s the best way to get into Silicon Valley start-ups?” Well, there are various ways, but the first step is this: move here! If you’re unsure what your first, or even your second, step should be, pick a first step with high option value, meaning that it could lead to a broad range of options. Management consulting is a classic example of a career move that maximizes “optionality” because the skills and experiences of consulting can be helpful in and applied toward many other next steps, even if you’re not sure what those steps are yet.

“We contemplated pulling the plug.”11 But the resilient team partnered with other Internet radio companies and marshaled a massive lobbying effort in Washington to extend the period during which they could negotiate with labels. Westergren’s users flooded Congress with emails and phone calls; he estimates about one million emails or phone calls fighting the increase in costs were sent to legislators in total. In 2009, long after Pandora had been relegated to the “dead pool” of Silicon Valley start-ups, the artists and record labels struck a significant revenue-sharing deal with online broadcasters like Pandora, resolving the royalty dispute. Shortly thereafter, Greylock’s David Sze led a new investment in the company and joined the board. By the end of 2010, Pandora offered more than 700,000 songs in its library and had earned $100 million in revenue. The company IPO’d in 2011. For almost ten years, Pandora was beaten and battered by lawsuits, unfavorable legislation, and the constant threat of bankruptcy.


pages: 146 words: 43,446

The New New Thing: A Silicon Valley Story by Michael Lewis

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Albert Einstein, Andy Kessler, business climate, Chance favours the prepared mind, creative destruction, data acquisition, family office, high net worth, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, Marc Andreessen, Menlo Park, pre–internet, risk tolerance, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, the new new thing, Thorstein Veblen, wealth creators, Y2K

And, in massive numbers, that is exactly what they did. Indian engineers flooded Silicon Valley in the 1980s and 1990s. By 1996 nearly half of the 55,000 temporary visas issued by the U.S. government to high-tech workers went to Indians. In early 1999 a Berkeley sociologist named AnnaLee Saxenian discovered that nearly half of all Silicon Valley companies were founded by Indian entrepreneurs. The definitive smell inside a Silicon Valley start-up was of curry. So one day when Jim Clark had finished writing his code for the boat, he picked up the phone and called Pavan Nigam and told him about his idea for making him rich. When Pavan asked for a business plan, Clark simply revealed the Magic Diamond with Healthscape at the center. Pavan was at first very excited; then he was very nervous. Software engineers went hunting in packs: he couldn't do such a big project alone.

Pavan and Kittu had finished in the top one-hundredth of one percent on the test taken by bright young Indians who probably were already in the top one-hundredth of one percent on the national brainpower scale. Yet about twice a week Pavan found a way to remind Kittu that he had finished 250 places behind him. To Kittu the suggestion that he was too smart to take risks was "total bullshit." In the first place, how much risk was there in working for a Silicon Valley start-up? The worst thing that happened is that the startup failed, and you went back to your old job and your $80,000 a year. Page 121 Silicon Graphics or any other big company would have hired them back the instant they applied. In the second place, his life had been nothing but risk: the risk of growing up in a Third World hellhole, the risk that he wouldn't get into a decent school that might catapult him out of the hellhole, the risk that he wouldn't find work in the United States, the risk that ITV, the highest-profile engineering project in Silicon Valley, would flop.

In tone and spirit they were not all that different from Serious American Executives. The VCs had been to business school, they spoke the jargon, they wore the suits, or at least owned them. The VCs kept their neckties on hooks on the back of their office doors, so they could go either way. They were pleasantly free of the odor of a man on a suicide mission. One VC in particular had a gift for persuading mainstream CEOs that the only place to be was a Silicon Valley start-up: John Page 156 Doerr. Doerr was the only VC whom Clark favored with something akin to respect. He asked Doerr to join Healtheon's board and to help him recruit a CEO. Doerr, who had told a lot of people that Healtheon might one day be the biggest company Kleiner Perkins ever backed, then set out to find the Serious American Executive who could make the Magic Diamond plausible to the wider world.


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

While they had come very close, they hadn’t died; they had not had to part ways and each return to their own projects. Airbnb had found an audience, and it had started to grow; they had liftoff. In Silicon Valley start-up terms, Chesky, Gebbia, and Blecharczyk had achieved what’s known as “product/market fit,” a holy grail, proof-of-life milestone that a start-up hits when its concept has both found a good market—one with lots of real, potential customers—and demonstrated that it has created a product that can satisfy that market. Popularization of the term is often credited to Marc Andreessen, the celebrated technology entrepreneur–turned–venture capitalist–turned–philosopher-guru to legions of start-up founders in Silicon Valley. Thousands of start-ups fail trying to get to this point. Product/market fit is a key first achievement; without it, there is no company. Another way of saying this is Y Combinator’s mantra that the company has to “make something people want.”

After what Chesky would later refer to as an “intervention,” Blecharczyk finally agreed to relocate to San Francisco for three months and moved back into the Rausch Street apartment. The band was back together. They had been given another chance. “What Are You Still Doing Here?” Founded in 2005 by Paul Graham and three copartners, Y Combinator very quickly became one of the most prestigious launchpads in Silicon Valley, a “quasi startup factory, university, and venture capital fund rolled into one,” as Fortune called it. It wasn’t easy to get in, but start-ups it deemed worthy got seed funding of $5,000 plus another $5,000 per founder and a priceless wealth of knowledge, connections, operational assistance, and more offered by Graham and his copartners. Between their expertise and that of the program’s influential network of alumni, advisers, and investors, “YC” provided hands-on guidance for everything from incorporating and lawyering to hiring, building a business plan, selling to acquirers, and mediating disputes between founders.

“I think ultimately we will get to a place where the world is as it should be, and at worst there will be some lower growth in, paradoxically, two American cities [New York and San Francisco] that should be the home of bold tech plays but which are two of the most problematic cities in the world,” says Reid Hoffman. Chesky loves peppering his discourses with quotes from history’s great thinkers, often paraphrasing one from George Bernard Shaw: “The reasonable man adapts himself to the environment. The unreasonable man adapts the environment to him. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” It’s a much-cited reference in Silicon Valley, where legions of start-up founders pride themselves on being unreasonable enough to get gobs of funding and then get the laws changed in their favor. For this reason, Chesky is not surprised that Airbnb has generated so much pushback. “When we started this business, I knew that if it would become successful, it would be somewhat controversial,” he tells me in a moment of reflection in the President’s Room at Airbnb’s headquarters, a wood-paneled replica of a 1917 executive quarters in the company’s offices in 2015.


pages: 102 words: 29,596

The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age by Reid Hoffman, Ben Casnocha, Chris Yeh

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Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, centralized clearinghouse, cloud computing, Jeff Bezos, Jony Ive, Marc Andreessen, new economy, pre–internet, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, software as a service, Steve Jobs

The founder mind-set is critical to success in these industries, which means companies in those industries need a higher proportion of employees on Transformational tours. Foundational tours provide continuity by helping companies retain employees who focus on the long term. Your senior management team should consist of Foundational employees. The optimal blend of Rotational, Transformation, and Foundational tours depends on the specific market conditions of your company. Silicon Valley companies, including start-ups, rely primarily (roughly 80 percent) on Transformational tours, with a small number of Foundational and Rotational employees. This allows them to field a high-performance, highly adaptable workforce. In contrast, a manufacturing company with a stable market and a quasi-monopoly would probably rely far more on Rotational tours (for routine, lower-value work) and Foundational tours (for tapping legacy knowledge).

We have been dealing with global competition and rapid technology change for decades, and in reaction, we gravitated toward the Transformational model. Since Transformational tours represent the greatest departure from most companies’ management practices, this book focuses on defining and implementing this type of tour. Thus, whenever we refer to a tour of duty or tour, you can assume that we’re referring to a Transformational tour. A Broadly Applicable Framework No company could be more the antithesis of a Silicon Valley start-up than fast food giant McDonald’s. The company is big, it’s old, and it makes most of its money by serving the same hamburgers, fries, and shakes it served over half a century ago. Yet despite these differences, McDonald’s actually illustrates the spirit behind tours of duty. Len Jillard, chief people officer for McDonald’s Canada, said, “Whether you’re with us for one year or if you’re here for more, we will help you meet your future.

When he thought about how he wanted to build his career coming out of college, Hahn took inspiration from Theodore Roosevelt’s famous dictum, “Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”5 To Hahn, that meant finding a way to have a positive impact on the world, and to do so at the largest scale possible. He started his career in Washington DC, thinking that he would achieve this aspiration through politics and policy, but realized the pace of change wasn’t fast enough to satisfy him. He decided Silicon Valley’s start-up ecosystem offered a better alternative. He set two initial aspirations: to learn from great leaders who had already built successful companies at scale, and to work for a company with a mission grander than just achieving its financial goals. Hahn executed a plan that would let him make progress toward both of his goals. He used the very first version of LinkedIn (the product) to look up people who had recently moved from Washington DC to Silicon Valley and convinced one of them, former PayPal executive Keith Rabois, to hire him.


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

Two huge streams of culture and argument that continue to underlie many of today’s conversations were incubated by robot anxiety: the “left” and science fiction. We find a hatching of the left in the early writings of Karl Marx, who as early as the 1840s was obsessed with the Luddite dilemma. Marx was one of the first technology writers. This realization came to me in a flash many years ago when I was driving in Silicon Valley and some Internet startup was on the radio trumpeting the latest scheme to take over the world. There was a lot of the usual filler about innovation breaking through traditional market boundaries, the globalization of technical talent, and so on. I was just about to turn the radio off, muttering something about how I couldn’t take even one more pitch from one of these companies, when the announcer intoned, “This has been an anniversary reading of Das Kapital.”

One journalist found that 40 percent of the tasks on offer are to create spam.4 CHAPTER 15 Story Found The First Act Is Autocatalytic A newly launched Siren Server is like a tiny baby creature in a hostile ecosystem that must grow fast enough to survive in a world of predators. The most common means to survival is to route enough data fast enough so that by the time predators notice you at all, they won’t find it worthwhile to go after your niche. There are a variety of Siren Servers, ranging from consumer-facing Silicon Valley startups tempting people with “free” bait, to financial servers that skim the cream off the economy in relative obscurity, to providers of infrastructure who realize that they can also play the big data game, to governments and other entities yet to be discussed. In all cases, there has to be some way for a particular Siren Server to gain enough initial momentum to become the beneficiary of network effects.

Friction is what it feels like to be on the bad side of a network effect. Even the slightest expense or risk might slow the initial growth spurt, so every possible effort is made to pretend there are no costs, risks, or even delayed gratifications. This can never really be true. Yet it feels true as you sign up for a social network or an app store for the first time. Since You Asked Here’s typical advice I’d give to someone who wants to try the Silicon Valley startup game: Obviously you have to get someone else to do something on your server. This can start out as a petty activity. eBay started out as a trading site for people who collected Pez candy dispensers. The key is that it’s your server. If you’re getting a lot of traffic through someone else’s server, then you’re not really playing the game. If you get a lot of hits on a Facebook page, or for your pieces on the Huffington Post, then you are playing a little game, not the big game.


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

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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

Not conflict with guns or tanks, but a mighty business struggle waged with ingenuity, determination, and plenty of midnight oil. When PayPal’s online payment service debuted toward the end of the dot-com boom, it set in motion a chain of events that would ultimately pit the company’s talented entrepreneurs, revolutionary technology, and bold vision for global currency change against one of the fiercest series of challenges ever endured by a Silicon Valley startup. At the risk of giving away the ending, PayPal managed to survive the onslaught—but just barely. After several years of erratic ups and downs, the venture reached profitability, registered 40 million users, became the first Internet company to stage an IPO following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and eventually sold out to a much bigger firm. While this is an impressive track record by most standards, it’s far short of what our group initially hoped to accomplish.

Max recruited three engineers from the University of Illinois while Peter brought over Kenny Howery, a former Review writer and classmate of mine who worked for Peter’s hedge fund. Marty Hellman, the inventor of public key cryptography, joined the company’s advisory board, and Bill Melton, the founder of VeriFone, provided his backing, as well. Of course a startup with no revenue, much less a working product, needs more than talent. Attracting investments is critical, and selling private equity through a round of venture financing is how most Silicon Valley startups receive cash infusions. At a hyped press conference in July, 1999, a year after Peter and Max first met, representatives from Nokia Ventures and Deutsche Bank used a Palm Pilot to “beam” $3 million in venture funding to Peter in front of a gaggle of media onlookers. It was a public relations hit. Wired magazine published a glowing profile of the company’s product demo, and the International Herald Tribune quoted an analyst predicting that millions of Palm users would sign up for the service.1 With cash in the bank, a quickly increasing number of employees on staff, and a new set of offices just down the street from Stanford University, Confinity hummed along at full speed developing its software.

It was an exasperating process for young employees who took pride in their work, much less those who thought they might contribute to the making of any decisions. Andersen rigidly adhered to hierarchy to the point where title meant more than skills or experience. A total lack of ownership and frequent bouts of inactivity frustrated the entrepreneurial members of the young staff, and that frustration manifested itself in the form of constant cynicism. It was little wonder then that many of them over the past year had headed south to work for Silicon Valley startups. The thought had certainly crossed my mind more than once, especially on days such as this when I idly sat by waiting for something to do. This early-November lull proved fateful. Cranky and dejected, I decided to waste some of the long day by catching up on personal correspondence. It was when I opened the inbox of my personal e-mail account that I came across an unusual message. The e-mail’s subject line curiously exclaimed “PayPal User Beamed You Money!”


pages: 385 words: 103,561

Pinpoint: How GPS Is Changing Our World by Greg Milner

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Ayatollah Khomeini, British Empire, creative destruction, data acquisition, Dava Sobel, digital map, Edmond Halley, Eratosthenes, experimental subject, Flash crash, friendly fire, Hedy Lamarr / George Antheil, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, John Harrison: Longitude, Kevin Kelly, land tenure, lone genius, Mars Rover, Mercator projection, place-making, polynesian navigation, precision agriculture, race to the bottom, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, smart grid, the map is not the territory

French, “Automobile Navigation In the Past, Present, and Future,” http://mapcontext.com/autocarto/proceedings/auto-carto-8/pdf/pages553-562.pdf; Robert L. French, “Historical Overview of Automobile Navigation Technology,” Proceedings of the Thirty-Sixth IEEE Vehicular Technology Conference (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, 1986), 350–8. 121 Nolan Bushnell: Alexis C. Madrigal, “Chuck E. Cheese’s, Silicon Valley Startup: The Origins of the Best Pizza Chain Ever,” Atlantic, July 17, 2013, http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/07/chuck-e-cheeses-silicon-valley-startup-the-origins-of-the-best-pizza-chain-ever/277869/; Ian Bogost, “Persuasion and Gamespace,” in Space Time Play: Computer Games, Architecture and Urbanism: The Next Level, edited by Friedrich von Boories, Steffen P. Walz, and Matthias Böttger, 304–11 (Basel, Switzerland: Birkhäuser, 2007). 124 If a team were building a robot: Benjamin J.

The plan to make civilian GPS worse was led by Mel Birnbaum, the Air Force software engineer who had worked so hard to make GPS perfect, and dropped the faux bombs in the 1977 test that demonstrated it was. Implementing the idea would require a new generation of satellites, still a few years away. Launched in 1938 to market audio oscillators, Hewlett-Packard was a kind of Platonic ideal of a Silicon Valley startup, right down to its origins in a Palo Alto garage. Within the tech industry, HP became known as much for its innovative products as for its adherence to an oddball (now familiar) corporate culture it dubbed the “HP way”: egalitarian ideals, empowerment of employees, a reverence for individual ingenuity. By the 1950s, HP had instituted flextime policies, casual-dress Fridays with end-of-workday “beer busts,” and workspaces where only H and P had their own private offices, which they mostly just used for meetings.


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

Quizlet, which was created by a high school student in his bedroom, had millions of users creating and sharing flash cards and learning games—all for free. Textbooks, study rooms, coaching, fund-raising, learning aids, and much more—what I saw was the steady unbundling of the hybrid university into pieces that can be reassembled into the University of Everywhere. It was a virtual hive of Silicon Valley start-ups, each working to specialize in providing a specific kind of service that students have traditionally been forced to buy all at once from colleges, whether they needed or wanted them or not. Each start-up was taking advantage of the enormous economies of scale now available to software businesses by serving huge numbers of students at prices that were radically different from what undergraduates were indenturing themselves to pay.

Gap Year students spend three months living together in San Francisco, taking seminars and workshops; three months living in a foreign country where they don’t speak the native language; three months in an internship; and three months working on an independent project. The first class of students enrolled in fall 2013 and hundreds of students applied for spots in the subsequent winter and spring. — IN DEV BOOTCAMP and UnCollege Gap Year, I saw two more examples of Silicon Valley start-up companies picking the hybrid university to pieces by serving discrete parts of the higher-education market. In Minerva, I saw a university with the financial, technological, and intellectual resources to exploit the weakness of the hybrid model and the various inefficiencies and absurdities that universities have allowed to fester within their cocoon of wealth and privilege. Minerva showed something crucial about how information technology will enable the University of Everywhere: It won’t create a future of no higher-education institutions, where everyone learns alone.

A few months after Udacity was loosed upon the world, John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, one of the original investors in Google, announced that he would be joining the board of a new company, backed by KPCB and led by Ng and a colleague from the Stanford computer science department named Daphne Koller. The company was called Coursera. And while Udacity was busy building a bunch of new courses from scratch, Coursera had a different plan. It was going to try and build the digital higher-education platform to rule them all. — LIKE ANY SUBCULTURE, the Silicon Valley start-up world operates within a tightly defined set of aesthetic guidelines. People speak to one another in code—20X!—wear the same clothes, buy the same smartphones and computers, and work in offices that look remarkably alike. So I was a little surprised upon arriving with Michael Staton at Coursera’s offices to see that it was not located inside a converted industrial space and did not involve taking a freight elevator to a reception area/fixie bicycle storage space.

Microchip: An Idea, Its Genesis, and the Revolution It Created by Jeffrey Zygmont

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Albert Einstein, Bob Noyce, business intelligence, computer age, El Camino Real, invisible hand, popular electronics, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

After Wanlass revealed that piece of insight, semcos began to make MOS circuits successfully by scouring away the places where sodium sneaked into their manufacturing processes to befoul their products. MOS chips gave them a few strong incentives to eliminate all the sources diligently. The field-effect transistors in MOS circuits were smaller, simpler, easier to manufacture, and they Adding Contenders 97 burned less electricity than layered, bipolar transistors. When the Cal Tech project was just beginning in late 1965, the Silicon Valley start-up General Micro-electronics was already making chips with field-effect transistors just five percent the size of conventional bipolars. Therefore General Micro could pack a lot more of the tiny dynamos into an integrated circuit, providing more transistors per chip to accomplish more complex logic. While Merryman was resorting to big full-slice wafers to provide all the transistors he needed for Cal Tech, General Micro-electronics was making single MOS chips that contained 615 transistors—a staggering leap from the 20 or so in TI's standard bipolars.

Thus on July 18, 1968, the two former employees of Fairchild Semiconductor incorporated as Intel Corporation. The name came from a clever combination of the words integrated and electronics. Robert Noyce started as president and chief executive officer. Gordon Moore was executive vice president. The money behind the group came from venture capitalist Arthur Rock, who grew into a Silicon Valley icon for the start-ups he bankrolled. The new company's business plan was uncomplicated. It would make densely integrated microchips—that is, chips containing a lot of transistors—and it would make them in designs that it could sell to a lot of different customers. That way, the founders hoped, the ICs would sell in vast quantities. The strategy reflected both the progress that had occurred in microchips since 1965 and the prevailing worry over development expense that threatened to stall their advance.

. ; some historical information on the development of field-effect transistors from www.pbs.org, accessed June 17, 2002. page 95 "They could make a few, . ..; Jay Lathrup, interviewed by telephone on October 24, 2001. page 96 The biggest obstacle fell in 1962 . ..; the account of Frank Wan- lass' innovations is retold in We Were Burning: Japanese Entrepreneurs and the Forging of the Electronic Age by Bob Johnstone, published by Basic Books in 1999. page 97 ... the Silicon Valley start-up General Micro-electronics ...; information on the products and the business positions of both General Micro-electronics and General Instrument come from the article "The Expanding Market" by Jerome Eimbinder, Electronics, October 4, 1965. page 97 Another big advantage . ..; this discussion regarding the technical advantages of MOS microchips comes from the article "MOS Integrated Circuits Save Space and Money" by Donald E.


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

Gebbia and his roommate and business partner, Brian Chesky, were putting together a presentation about their new home-sharing service for a pecha-kucha (Japanese for “chatter”), an event in which a series of designers present their new product ideas by showing twenty slides apiece and discussing each slide for twenty seconds. As the very first guest of this new service, Surve had been included in the presentation. His stay hadn’t even begun yet and here he was, grafted into chapter 1 of what his hosts were clearly hoping would be a very long story. “It was very strange,” Surve says years later. Surve was happy just to have a comfortable place to sleep, but he ended up getting an education in the Silicon Valley startup scene as well. He spent lots of time that week on the couch with Gebbia and Chesky, talking about design and examining Apple’s new device, the very first iPhone. Surve hadn’t even heard of Steve Jobs, let alone the iPhone, and he was totally unfamiliar with the litany of motivational Jobs sayings that Gebbia and Chesky frequently quoted, such as “We’re here to put a dent in the universe.”

News and World Report13 and the Chicago Sun-Times.14 About two hundred new hosts signed up every week in August, and Airbnb collected a commission of around twelve dollars for each hundred-dollar-per-night booking. But then, after the conventions, things quieted down, the number of new reservations booked each week dwindled below ten, and once again Chesky was waking up early, staring at the ceiling, and marinating in dread over his unfulfilled potential. Silicon Valley’s startup scientists have a name for this phase in a company’s gestation; they call it the Trough of Sorrow, when the novelty of a new business idea wears off and the founders are left trying to jump-start an actual business. Gebbia and Chesky experienced a deep trough that would have swamped most founders. They responded in a characteristic way, digging back into their RISD past and tapping their penchant for reckless, silly creativity.

Krueger met with Airbnb representatives and urged them to warn hosts on the site, with clearly visible language, that they might be violating both state law and their leases. Airbnb, she says, responded with a rotating series of explanations of why that was too complex or how it exposed the company to legal liability. (The site was still not adequately warning New York customers a year later, according to a review by Gawker.)16 Krueger, a lifelong New York Democrat with a dry wit and a dim view of Silicon Valley startups seeking to play by their own rules, figured there was a simpler explanation: Airbnb didn’t want to curtail its fast-growing business in the city. And she laughed at the ridiculousness of the neighborhood hotline and the idea that the California company might be able to respond meaningfully when complaints came in during the middle of the night or weekends. Meanwhile, lawyers for the state attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, the top law enforcement officer in the state, were inclined to agree.


pages: 238 words: 77,730

Final Jeopardy: Man vs. Machine and the Quest to Know Everything by Stephen Baker

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23andMe, AI winter, Albert Einstein, artificial general intelligence, business process, call centre, clean water, commoditize, computer age, Frank Gehry, information retrieval, Iridium satellite, Isaac Newton, job automation, pattern recognition, Ray Kurzweil, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, statistical model, theory of mind, thinkpad, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

Second, and just as important, how much resistance would these new knowledge engines encounter? New machines, after all, are in the business of replacing people—not something that often generates a warm welcome. The third issue involved competition. Assuming that natural-language, data-snarfing, hypothesis-spouting machines made it into offices and laboratories, who was to say that they’d be the kin of a Jeopardy contraption? Other companies, from Google to Silicon Valley startups, were sure to be competing in the same market. The potential for these digital oracles was nearly limitless. But in each industry they faced obstacles, some of them considerable. Medicine was one of the most promising areas but also among the toughest to crack. The natural job for Watson would be as a diagnostic aid, taking down the symptoms in cases like Ferrucci’s and producing lists of possible conditions, along with recommended treatments.

Such analyses could save lives, Jasinski said. ”We kill a hundred thousand people a year from preventable medical errors.” In fact, the potential for next-generation computers in medicine stretches much further. Within a decade, it should cost less than $100 to have an individual’s entire genome sequenced. Some people will volunteer to have this done. (Already, companies like 23andMe, a Silicon Valley startup, charge people $429 for a basic decoding.) Others, perhaps, will find themselves pressed, or even compelled, by governments or insurers, to submit their saliva samples. In either case, computers will be studying, correlating, and answering questions about growing collections of this biological information. At the same time, we’re surrounding ourselves with sensors that provide streams of data about our activities.


pages: 224 words: 64,156

You Are Not a Gadget by Jaron Lanier

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1960s counterculture, accounting loophole / creative accounting, additive manufacturing, Albert Einstein, call centre, cloud computing, commoditize, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, digital Maoism, Douglas Hofstadter, Extropian, follow your passion, hive mind, Internet Archive, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, John Conway, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Long Term Capital Management, Network effects, new economy, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, Ponzi scheme, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Stallman, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, slashdot, social graph, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, telepresence, The Wisdom of Crowds, trickle-down economics, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog

It’s notable that it is the woman who is replaced by the computer, and that Turing’s suicide echoes Eve’s fall. The Turing Test Cuts Both Ways Whatever the motivation, Turing authored the first trope to support the idea that bits can be alive on their own, independent of human observers. This idea has since appeared in a thousand guises, from artificial intelligence to the hive mind, not to mention many overhyped Silicon Valley start-ups. It seems to me, however, that the Turing test has been poorly interpreted by generations of technologists. It is usually presented to support the idea that machines can attain whatever quality it is that gives people consciousness. After all, if a machine fooled you into believing it was conscious, it would be bigoted for you to still claim it was not. What the test really tells us, however, even if it’s not necessarily what Turing hoped it would say, is that machine intelligence can only be known in a relative sense, in the eyes of a human beholder.* The AI way of thinking is central to the ideas I’m criticizing in this book.

Even then one must remember that the customers of social networks are not the members of those networks. The real customer is the advertiser of the future, but this creature has yet to appear in any significant way as this is being written. The whole artifice, the whole idea of fake friendship, is just bait laid by the lords of the clouds to lure hypothetical advertisers—we might call them messianic advertisers—who could someday show up. The hope of a thousand Silicon Valley start-ups is that firms like Face-book are capturing extremely valuable information called the “social graph.” Using this information, an advertiser might hypothetically be able to target all the members of a peer group just as they are forming their opinions about brands, habits, and so on. Peer pressure is the great power behind adolescent behavior, goes the reasoning, and adolescent choices become life choices.


pages: 380 words: 118,675

The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon by Brad Stone

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3D printing, airport security, AltaVista, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, bank run, Bernie Madoff, big-box store, Black Swan, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, call centre, centre right, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collapse of Lehman Brothers, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Danny Hillis, Douglas Hofstadter, Elon Musk, facts on the ground, game design, housing crisis, invention of movable type, inventory management, James Dyson, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Kodak vs Instagram, late fees, loose coupling, low skilled workers, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, Network effects, new economy, optical character recognition, pets.com, Ponzi scheme, quantitative hedge fund, recommendation engine, Renaissance Technologies, RFID, Rodney Brooks, search inside the book, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, skunkworks, Skype, statistical arbitrage, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Thomas L Friedman, Tony Hsieh, Whole Earth Catalog, why are manhole covers round?, zero-sum game

He later famously admitted to thinking about how to increase his “women flow,”2 a Wall Street corollary to deal flow, the number of new opportunities a banker can access. Jeff Holden, who worked for Bezos first at D. E. Shaw & Co. and later at Amazon, says he was “the most introspective guy I ever met. He was very methodical about everything in his life.” D. E. Shaw had none of the gratuitous formalities of other Wall Street firms; in outward temperament, at least, it was closer to a Silicon Valley startup. Employees wore jeans or khakis, not suits and ties, and the hierarchy was flat (though key information about trading formulas was tightly held). Bezos seemed to love the idea of the nonstop workday; he kept a rolled-up sleeping bag in his office and some egg-crate foam on his windowsill in case he needed to bunk down for the night. Nicholas Lovejoy, a colleague who would later join him at Amazon, believes the sleeping bag “was as much a prop as it was actually useful.”

Amazon licensed the patent to Apple in 2000 for an undisclosed sum and tried to use it, ineffectively, to gain some leverage over a rising and worrisome rival that first showed up on Amazon’s radar in mid-1998: eBay. Jeff Blackburn, the former Dartmouth football player who later would become Amazon’s chief of business development, saw eBay coming before almost anyone else at Amazon. The Silicon Valley startup, founded in 1995 as a site called AuctionWeb, made $5.7 million in 1997, $47.4 million in 1998, and $224.7 million in 1999. Blackburn realized that it was growing rapidly, and, even more unsettling—and unlike Amazon—it was profitable. The company had the perfect business model: it took a commission on each sale but had none of the costs of storing inventory and mailing packages. Sellers posted their own products on the site, auctioned them off to the highest bidder, and handled shipping to the customers themselves.

Some were tired and just wanted a change. Others felt Bezos didn’t listen to them and that he wasn’t about to start. Almost all figured that Amazon’s best days were behind it. The company reached incredible levels of attrition in 2002 and 2003. “The number of employees at that point other than Jeff who thought he could turn it into an eighty-billion-dollar company—that’s a short list,” says Doug Boake, who departed for the Silicon Valley startup OpenTable. “He just never stopped believing. He never blinked once.” They all had their reasons. David Risher left to teach at the University of Washington’s business school. Joel Spiegel wanted to spend more time with his three teenage kids before they left home. Mark Britto wanted to get back to the Bay Area. Harrison Miller was exhausted and needed a change. Chris Payne left for Microsoft, where he would help launch the Bing search engine, after which he would end up as a top executive at eBay.


pages: 465 words: 109,653

Free Ride by Robert Levine

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A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Anne Wojcicki, book scanning, borderless world, Buckminster Fuller, citizen journalism, commoditize, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Firefox, future of journalism, Googley, Hacker Ethic, informal economy, Jaron Lanier, Julian Assange, Justin.tv, Kevin Kelly, linear programming, Marc Andreessen, moral panic, offshore financial centre, pets.com, publish or perish, race to the bottom, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, spectrum auction, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, subscription business, Telecommunications Act of 1996, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks

Record labels were even more involved, and they pushed for legislation that would require “Webcasters” to pay for recordings they played online, even though traditional radio stations only paid songwriters.15 Lehman laid out his agenda for online copyright regulation in July 1994 with A Preliminary Draft of the Report of the Working Group on Intellectual Property Rights, unofficially known as the Green Paper. The proposed anticircumvention policy caused a stir in the Silicon Valley start-up scene, which reacted as though the new guy from the corporate office confused his computer’s CD-ROM tray with a cup holder: Don’t these guys know that information wants to be free? But the Green Paper got much more attention in Washington for the way it began to define what would legally count as a copy. In the normal course of data traffic management, Internet service providers often “cache” temporary copies of files to make their networks run faster.

Although that amendment was repealed, musicians and managers were outraged when the RIAA then hired Glazier as a lobbyist.13 “On the one hand, RIAA creates all this flap about Napster and copyright infringement,” Eagles frontman Don Henley said at the time, “while with the other hand, they’ve taken away artists’ copyrights.”14 This didn’t exactly inspire artists to speak out on behalf of labels. At the end of May 2000, about a month after Metallica delivered its boxes, Hummer Winblad Venture Partners invested $13 million in return for 20 percent of Napster and installed one of its partners, Hank Barry, as interim chief executive, a position he ended up keeping for a year and a half. An intellectual property lawyer who had done work for A&M Records as well as numerous Silicon Valley start-ups, Barry understood both businesses and had an easy time talking with label executives, many of whom shared his professional background. Within a week of starting at Napster, he met with the Universal Music digital executives Albhy Galuten and Lawrence Kenswil at the Palo Alto office of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, the law firm where he worked before going to Hummer. “The thing I was really trying to communicate to them was, I want to try to have an industry-supported model,” Barry remembers.


pages: 422 words: 104,457

Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security, and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance by Julia Angwin

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AltaVista, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, bitcoin, Chelsea Manning, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable, clean water, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, data is the new oil, David Graeber, Debian, Edward Snowden, Filter Bubble, Firefox, GnuPG, Google Chrome, Google Glasses, informal economy, Jacob Appelbaum, John Markoff, Julian Assange, Marc Andreessen, market bubble, market design, medical residency, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mutually assured destruction, prediction markets, price discrimination, randomized controlled trial, RFID, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, security theater, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart meter, Steven Levy, Upton Sinclair, WikiLeaks, Y2K, zero-sum game, Zimmermann PGP

Marlinspike is one of the most thoughtful and talented cell phone hackers out there. I asked him why it was so difficult to use all these anonymizing tools. “There is not really a market for consumer privacy software,” Marlinspike told me. He and other privacy-oriented cell phone developers—such as the Guardian Project—are funded largely through grants. Marlinspike said he has been trying to attract talented programmers who might otherwise go to work at Silicon Valley start-ups. He used his latest grant to fly a team of developers to Hawaii for a week of programming at the beach. But Marlinspike is working on a small scale. His apps—RedPhone and TextSecure—work only on Android and most of my friends are on iPhone, so I can’t encrypt our communications with his apps. He laughed when I told him about my struggles with Tor. “Whenever I’m using Tor and it’s fast, I get nervous that I’ve misconfigured it,” he said.

It seemed particularly underhanded for a company that claimed to be in the business of “privacy innovation.” On a section of its website called “How we’re different,” PeopleSmart listed its “free and easy opt-out” as the top difference between itself and other people-search websites where it claimed, “Some don’t fully remove personal information, even when requested.” A bit of Web sleuthing led me to the surprising conclusion that this company was actually a hot Silicon Valley start-up called Inflection. Its website describes the company as a “Big Data start-up” and advertises employee perks like sailing trips, meditation, yoga, and hiking retreats. I fired off an angry e-mail demanding an explanation. To his credit, the company’s CEO, Matthew Monahan, replied almost immediately, promising to look into it. One day later, he sent a detailed response explaining that the company used different data sources for its international site and had failed to opt me out of that data set as well.


pages: 304 words: 88,495

The Powerhouse: Inside the Invention of a Battery to Save the World by Steve Levine

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colonial rule, Elon Musk, energy security, oil shale / tar sands, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Jobs, Yom Kippur War

They would spend the money to form a team of ten or so scientists who would build such an ultrapowerful battery. That would allow them to raise more cash and aim to manufacture it. At the time, it appeared that, in the automotive world, only Kumar and Sinkula were aware of Argonne’s NMC formulation. They alone seemed to conclude that, if you were thinking of profit-making applications, NMC 2.0 was the most promising battery material available. Kumar had identified its properties at the Silicon Valley start-up company where he and Sinkula previously worked. The start-up, NanoeXa, sought to develop batteries for power tools, and Kumar, its chief engineer, had stumbled on the NMC after a months-long hunt for an edge over incumbent companies. He had examined hundreds of patents and academic papers on lithium-ion. The NMC and its second-generation improvement were superior to anything else he found.

Kapadia had hired Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley for independent advice. Both he and Kumar said they favored cashing out—whenever it was in their interest. But to turn one of the interested car giants into an actual buyer, they needed to advance their technology a bit more. They could also take a greater risk and go to the equity market. They could offer shares in an initial public offering—an IPO, the traditional aim of Silicon Valley start-ups seeking to monetize their years of toil. They had a firm idea of what an IPO should raise. A billion dollars, Kumar said. That was Kumar’s and Kapadia’s personal goal—a $1 billion payout. Late one night, Chamberlain called Kumar’s founding partner, Sinkula. “Look, I am about to put my reputation on the line by pulling the string on this,” he said, meaning to stir up American interest in Envia.


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

It peers at the boxes, adjusts its gaze slightly, ponders some more, and then finally lunges forward and grapples a box from the top of the pile.* The sluggishness, however, results almost entirely from the staggering complexity of the computation required to perform this seemingly simple task. If there is one thing the history of information technology teaches, it is that this robot is going to very soon get a major speed upgrade. Indeed, engineers at Industrial Perception, Inc., the Silicon Valley start-up company that designed and built the robot, believe the machine will ultimately be able to move a box every second. That compares with a human worker’s maximum rate of a box roughly every six seconds.1 Needless to say, the robot can work continuously; it will never get tired or suffer a back injury—and it will certainly never file a worker’s compensation claim. Industrial Perception’s robot is remarkable because its capability sits at the nexus of visual perception, spatial computation, and dexterity.

A variety of educational robots focused on everything from encouraging technical creativity to assisting children with autism or learning disabilities. At the Rethink Robotics booth, Baxter had received Halloween training and was grasping small boxes of candy and then dropping them into pumpkin-shaped trick-or-treat buckets. There were also companies marketing components like motors, sensors, vision systems, electronic controllers, and the specialized software used to construct robots. Silicon Valley start-up Grabit Inc. demonstrated an innovative electroadhesion-powered gripper that allows robots to pick up, carry, and place nearly anything simply by employing a controlled electrostatic charge. To round things out, a global law firm with a specialized robotics practice was on hand to help employers navigate the complexities of labor, employment, and safety regulations when robots are brought in to replace, or work in close proximity to, people.


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

“What I’ve noticed,” he says, “is that good cybersecurity comes from smart researchers, and smart researchers tend to agglomerate with one another in small groups and start-ups.” Eventually, Bronk thinks, a big company or a big defense firm bulking up their respective cyberdefenses could buy up or invest in these smart researchers. “Basically cybersecurity is going to be very similar to Silicon Valley start-up and acquisition patterns,” says Bronk. When a Silicon Valley company wants innovation, they either do the work in house or contract it out. “But getting companies to think differently about what they do and radically undercut their current way of business in some area and do something radically different to make much more money, that isn’t really in the culture of a lot of companies,” he adds.

The question is, ‘Could you actually operate a bank like a technology company?’ The answer is probably no. And I’ll give you the simplest reason, which is what every regulator has told me: they are uncomfortable with a bank that grows more than 20 percent year over year. The number one historical indicator of a bank that is about to go belly-up is one that has a lot of growth. But a good Silicon Valley start-up grows 20 percent month over month.” Regardless, Zac made an effort. The room for improvement was too enticing for him to give up. Faced with regulatory hurdles to make a go of it as a bank in the United States, Zac’s company applied to become an independent bank in the United Kingdom, describing itself as a “technology-first wholesale bank.” He then sold Standard Treasury to Silicon Valley Bank, adding traditional banking infrastructure but doing so with a bank that thinks “digital first.”


pages: 169 words: 56,250

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

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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

However, in many situations they are toxic because of absurd licensing terms; excessive requests for equity or royalties; difficult licensing and contracting practices; and overreaching, restrictive IP protection that inhibits innovation. In some cases, the TTO is tightly integrated into the fabric of the university; in others it is a separate organization with a clear mission to generate as much revenue as possible through the capture and licensing of IP. I encourage all universities to look west toward the leadership of Stanford as an example, and the corresponding impact on the Silicon Valley startup community. I’m often asked how universities can better engage with the startup community. As a feeder, the university can be a great convener of entrepreneurial activities. Universities have great spaces to work, large conference and auditorium facilities, and lots of students and faculty interested in entrepreneurship. We’ve seen this play out brilliantly in Boulder through the leadership of CU Law and the Silicon Flatirons program.

It is cargo-cult startup-community creation, not unlike the post–World War II stories of island cultures in the Pacific that created fake runways in hopes those air force aviators would return with money and trade. This blind mimicry of Silicon Valley confuses the resources of that particular community with the causes of startup community creation, growth, and renewal. Much of what makes Silicon Valley or any startup community work has to do with things that happen below the surface. It has to do with the permeability of organizational boundaries, dictating whether people can move freely and bring their talents with them. It is driven by the continuous collision of young entrepreneurs in a dense urban environment who are coming, going, or simply milling about. It turns out that these successful centers see massive population turnover all the time, allowing the community to evolve, almost biologically.


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

—Venture capitalist Arthur Rock FOR SEVERAL YEARS, FailCon was a popular annual event in San Francisco. Attendees were technologists who would get together to talk—you guessed it—about their stupendous failures. While Hollywood film directors run as fast as they can from their mistakes—Alan Smithee is the pseudonym directors use to erase their participation in the truly lousy—in Silicon Valley a failed start-up amounts to a badge of honor. Indeed, the frequency of company-crushing errors led to the discontinuation of FailCon in 2014. The confab was cancelled not because it was hurting the ability of technologists to attract venture funding but because, as FailCon founder Cassandra Phillipps observed, discussion of one’s mistakes in the tech sector is superfluous. As she stated in a 2014 interview: “It’s in the lexicon that you’re going to fail.”1 All of this raises a fairly basic question: Why do box-office disasters in the film industry place those attached to them in credit purgatory, while technologists proudly tout their errors to colleagues and potential investors?

As she stated in a 2014 interview: “It’s in the lexicon that you’re going to fail.”1 All of this raises a fairly basic question: Why do box-office disasters in the film industry place those attached to them in credit purgatory, while technologists proudly tout their errors to colleagues and potential investors? More specifically, why does the proverbial credit window shut so quickly for money-losing directors yet remain open for entrepreneurs who preside over imploding start-ups? At a first glance, the obvious answer is that Silicon Valley start-ups generally don’t have $85-million budgets to lose. Assuming Town & Country had cost $10 million, it’s fair to say that Warren Beatty’s reputation in the eyes of film financiers wouldn’t have suffered so much. Second, and of much greater importance, tech has a higher upside than film does. The number of movies that can claim box-office receipts of more than $1 billion can generally be counted on one hand in a very good year.


pages: 538 words: 141,822

The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom by Evgeny Morozov

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A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, borderless world, Buckminster Fuller, Cass Sunstein, citizen journalism, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, computer age, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, don't be evil, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, global village, Google Earth, illegal immigration, invention of radio, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Marshall McLuhan, Naomi Klein, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, peer-to-peer, pirate software, pre–internet, Productivity paradox, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Sinatra Doctrine, Skype, Slavoj Žižek, social graph, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, The Wisdom of Crowds, urban planning, Washington Consensus, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce

It looks like a safe bet: Even if the Internet won’t bring democracy to China or Iran, it can still make the Obama administration appear to have the most technologically savvy foreign policy team in history. The best and the brightest are now also the geekiest. The Google Doctrine—the enthusiastic belief in the liberating power of technology accompanied by the irresistible urge to enlist Silicon Valley start-ups in the global fight for freedom—is of growing appeal to many policymakers. In fact, many of them are as upbeat about the revolutionary potential of the Internet as their colleagues in the corporate sector were in the late 1990s. What could possibly go wrong here? As it turns out, quite a lot. Once burst, stock bubbles have few lethal consequences; democracy bubbles, on the other hand, could easily lead to carnage.

Those were, however, extremely ambiguous, and they often strengthened rather than undermined the authoritarian rule. A Revolution in Search of Revolutionaries Of course, American diplomats had no idea how the Iranian protests would turn out; it would be unfair to blame them for the apparent inability of the Green Movement to unseat Ahmadinejad. When the future of Iranian democracy depended on the benevolence of a Silicon Valley start-up that seemed oblivious to the geopolitical problems besetting the world, what other choice did they have but to intervene? Given what was at stake, isn’t it preposterous to quibble about angry editorials in Moldovan newspapers that may have appeared even if the State Department stayed on the sidelines? All of this is true—as long as there is evidence to assert that the situation was, indeed, dramatic.


pages: 496 words: 154,363

I'm Feeling Lucky: The Confessions of Google Employee Number 59 by Douglas Edwards

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Albert Einstein, AltaVista, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, barriers to entry, book scanning, Build a better mousetrap, Burning Man, business intelligence, call centre, commoditize, crowdsourcing, don't be evil, Elon Musk, fault tolerance, Googley, gravity well, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, job-hopping, John Markoff, Marc Andreessen, Menlo Park, microcredit, music of the spheres, Network effects, P = NP, PageRank, performance metric, pets.com, Ralph Nader, risk tolerance, second-price auction, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, slashdot, stem cell, Superbowl ad, Y2K

I was ready, but not sure for what. I took a personal inventory. Two decades in marketing had taught me many practical things, from how to build consensus across divisions to how to write a CYA memo when I wanted to color outside the lines. I viewed that experience as an important asset but was beginning to suspect that within the walls of the Googleplex,* it might be valued differently. I had wanted to live the Silicon Valley startup life, with its complete lack of longstanding rules. Now, poised on the precipice of realizing that dream, I asked myself, "My God. What have I done?" Chapter 2 In the Beginning HEY, WANT TO see something cool?" Jay asked me, standing in the micro-kitchen eating from a cup of yogurt, barefoot and sporting pajama pants, a well-loved sweatshirt, and a graying ponytail. "Sure," I said, though I couldn't imagine anything cooler than the kitchen itself.

My parents Marvin and Helene Edwards raised all their children with love and fairness, and instilled in us a desire to be upright and do good in the world. Not once have they wavered in their commitment to our happiness or hesitated to sacrifice to bring it about. When they could ill afford it, they helped fund my dreams and then gave me the confidence to pursue them. I can never repay the debt I owe them for their guidance, their patience, and their understanding. My wife Kristen experienced all the pressures and insanity of a Silicon Valley startup without the compensating perks that I enjoyed. She didn't divorce me. For more than twenty-five years she has encouraged me, supported me, engaged me, and endured me. She is a ruthless editor and a stickler for facts. She has, on occasion, been the only reason I've remained sane. She is my best friend. "Gratitude" is an inadequate word for all I feel for her, but the end pages of a book about search technology hardly seem the place to delve deeper.


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

According to Jarvis, Gutenberg, “possibly the world’s first technology entrepreneur,” should be seen as “the patron saint of Silicon Valley, for he used technology to create an industry—perhaps the genesis of industrialization itself—and to improve his world.” There’s more: “Gutenberg—just like a modern-day startup—depended on exploiting new efficiencies, achieving scale, reusing assets, dividing specialized labor, and setting standards.” In fact, “the parallels between his enterprise and those of Silicon Valley startups today is [sic] striking. He faced similar challenges and grappled with apparently timeless business dynamics. He, too, operated in a climate of disruption and, like his entrepreneurial descendants, caused profound change of his own.” Navigating the bogs of contemporary Internet hype, one has to be careful not to assume that such hype is itself unique to “the Internet.” The printing press, for example, has long been useful to technology boosters—not least because we know how the print story ends: literacy, science, progress.

The problem with Silicon Valley’s quest to organize the world’s information (Google is only one of the many culprits here) is that it tends to succumb to the worst excesses of “information reductionism”—a tendency to view all knowledge through the prism of information that sociologist Nikolas Tsoukas faults for assuming that “a set of indices” can “adequately describe, to represent, the phenomenon at hand.” The quest to organize the world’s knowledge cannot proceed without doing at least some violence to the knowledge it seeks to organize; making knowledge “legible,” to borrow James Scott’s phrase, is tricky regardless of whether a totalitarian government or a Silicon Valley start-up does it. According to Tsoukas, information reductionism thrives whenever humans start thinking of ideas as autonomous objects that can be exchanged between the sender and the recipient in their original form, without any distortion that might be introduced by the communications channel or the nodes doing the sending and the receiving. It’s the ultimate double click: ideas are seen as completely independent not just of the infrastructures that transport them but also of each other.


pages: 464 words: 155,696

Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart Into a Visionary Leader by Brent Schlender, Rick Tetzeli

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Albert Einstein, Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Bob Noyce, Byte Shop, computer age, corporate governance, El Camino Real, Isaac Newton, John Markoff, Jony Ive, Marc Andreessen, market design, McMansion, Menlo Park, Paul Terrell, popular electronics, QWERTY keyboard, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Tim Cook: Apple, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog

Steve promised to be a careful steward of the cash. In the Entrepreneurs video, he repeatedly urged his staff to conserve resources, to the point of complaining about the hotel room rates they were getting. Despite having seen him throw money around at Apple, Barnes was initially hopeful that Steve might change his ways. “I thought he’d be better when it was his own money,” she remembers. “Boy, was I wrong.” Most great Silicon Valley startups start out lean and simple. The advantage they have over established companies is the focus they can bring to a single product or idea. Unencumbered by bureaucracy or a heritage of products to protect, a small group of talented folks is free to attack a concept with speed and smarts. Eagerly working hundred-hour weeks, the employees want little more from the “company” than that it pay the bills and get out of their way.

Doing so would be an open admission of Apple’s inability to create competitive technology on its own, but at least it would offer a glimmer of hope that the company had other options than a merger or bankruptcy. To find a shortcut to developing a more advanced version of the Macintosh OS, Amelio looked for companies that had built a working version of Unix that ran on familiar microprocessors. Sun and several other companies, including IBM, Apollo (by now part of Digital Equipment Corporation), NeXT, and an obscure Silicon Valley startup called Be Inc., all had developed their own implementations of BSD Unix—a version developed by Sun cofounder Bill Joy—and had managed to “port” them to machines employing chips from the very same family of microprocessors that Apple used in its Lisa and Macintosh. The pure software companies were most interesting because they were cheap enough to buy outright, and small enough to absorb.


pages: 515 words: 132,295

Makers and Takers: The Rise of Finance and the Fall of American Business by Rana Foroohar

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3D printing, accounting loophole / creative accounting, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, algorithmic trading, Alvin Roth, Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, bank run, Basel III, bonus culture, Bretton Woods, British Empire, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, carried interest, centralized clearinghouse, clean water, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, computerized trading, corporate governance, corporate raider, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, David Graeber, deskilling, Detroit bankruptcy, diversification, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, Emanuel Derman, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, financial deregulation, financial intermediation, Frederick Winslow Taylor, George Akerlof, gig economy, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, High speed trading, Home mortgage interest deduction, housing crisis, Howard Rheingold, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, index fund, information asymmetry, interest rate derivative, interest rate swap, Internet of things, invisible hand, John Markoff, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, labour mobility, London Whale, Long Term Capital Management, manufacturing employment, market design, Martin Wolf, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, non-tariff barriers, offshore financial centre, oil shock, passive investing, Paul Samuelson, pensions crisis, Ponzi scheme, principal–agent problem, quantitative easing, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, Rana Plaza, RAND corporation, random walk, rent control, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Satyajit Das, Second Machine Age, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Snapchat, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, technology bubble, The Chicago School, the new new thing, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tim Cook: Apple, Tobin tax, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Vanguard fund, zero-sum game

Why didn’t people raise their hands and wave them around until the decision makers took notice? Sometimes, as in the case of GM’s ignition switch crisis, employees are so well trained to stay in their boxes that they simply don’t raise the alarm. Other times they just can’t swim against the tide of profit. The decline of the once-great technology firm Hewlett-Packard is a good example of a culture of innovation destroyed by bean counters. HP was the original Silicon Valley start-up, founded in a garage by two Stanford engineering students. Originally its culture, like Google’s today, was focused on engineering and innovation and was very entrepreneurial. Its structure was flat rather than hierarchical. Workers were given great freedom and good benefits; layoffs, even in down times, were mostly used as a last resort. The firm was a regular on Fortune’s list of “Most Admired Corporations” and was a top performer in many areas.

Travel & Leisure magazine is complementary to the travel business…in that it gives customers travel ideas which the company hopes will lead to ticket purchases and other travel arrangements through American Express Travel Services.” Such plain-vanilla examples helped make legislators comfortable with the idea of granting exemptions for commercial activities. But the truth is that banks didn’t want to be in the magazine publishing business—they wanted to be in hot Silicon Valley start-ups and, later, in the oil, gas, electricity, and minerals business. And indeed, between 2000 and 2012, all but one of the “complementary” activities that firms would seek to engage in via the loophole in the law had to do with commodities ownership and trading.51 Referring to Goldman’s purchase of metal warehouse space, Nick Madden, chief supply chain officer for the giant aluminum maker Novelis, says, “It had all the appearance of being part of an engineered market squeeze.


pages: 391 words: 97,018

Better, Stronger, Faster: The Myth of American Decline . . . And the Rise of a New Economy by Daniel Gross

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2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, asset-backed security, Bakken shale, banking crisis, BRICs, British Empire, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, Carmen Reinhart, clean water, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, creative destruction, credit crunch, currency manipulation / currency intervention, demand response, Donald Trump, Frederick Winslow Taylor, high net worth, housing crisis, hydraulic fracturing, If something cannot go on forever, it will stop - Herbert Stein's Law, illegal immigration, index fund, intangible asset, intermodal, inventory management, Kenneth Rogoff, labor-force participation, LNG terminal, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, Maui Hawaii, McMansion, money market fund, mortgage debt, Network effects, new economy, obamacare, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, Plutocrats, plutocrats, price stability, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, reserve currency, reshoring, Richard Florida, rising living standards, risk tolerance, risk/return, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, Skype, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, superstar cities, the High Line, transit-oriented development, Wall-E, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game, Zipcar

The French cosmetics company Coty took most of two floors in 2008 for its U.S. headquarters and more than doubled its space in June 2011. An Italian accounting firm, a Swedish conglomerate, Turkish Airlines, and the People’s Daily of China have all checked in, paying significantly higher rents. “We’re now doing leases at the base of the building that average $49 to $50, and at the top we’re getting into the $60s,” said Malkin. In May 2011 the Empire State Building scored its biggest coup: LinkedIn, the Silicon Valley networking startup, whose growth demonstrates the ability of the U.S. economy to develop highly valuable, global companies at warp speed, took the entire twenty-fifth floor at a “high $40-per-square-foot range.” “Five years ago, I never would have believed we would have had a tenant like this,” Malkin told Crain’s New York Business. And the investments have yielded other returns. Part of the goal of the redesign was to improve the experience for tourists, with faster elevators to better designed observation decks.

The ethos of efficiency spurs companies and industries to make the best possible use of existing resources. Rather than dismantle production capacity vacated by General Motors, new users have taken it over, with different cost structures and with different types of vehicles in mind. In April 2010 a large factory in Fremont, California, belonging to NUMMI, a joint venture of GM and Toyota, was closed, putting 4,500 people out of work. But Tesla, the Silicon Valley start-up that makes high-end electric sports cars, took it over in May 2010. In July 2009 GM closed the Boxwood Road plant in Newport, Delaware, where it had been making vehicles since 1947. In June 2010, armed with a $528.7 million loan from the U.S. government and $175 million of its own money, Fisker Automotive, an electric vehicle manufacturer based in Anaheim and founded by two former BMW executives, bought the plant for $10 million.


pages: 222 words: 54,506

One Click: Jeff Bezos and the Rise of Amazon.com by Richard L. Brandt

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Amazon Web Services, automated trading system, big-box store, call centre, cloud computing, Dynabook, Elon Musk, inventory management, Jeff Bezos, Kevin Kelly, Marc Andreessen, new economy, science of happiness, search inside the book, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, software patent, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Tony Hsieh, Whole Earth Catalog, Y2K

He met with Kaphan in October and the two seemed compatible, so he joined the team as employee number two (the first of many former UW engineers Bezos would hire). Neither Kaphan nor Davis had much experience creating the kind of retailing or business software that Amazon.com needed, but Jeff’s philosophy was to hire people with the most talent rather than the most experience. After all, they were trying to do something new, and experience with legacy software could be more of a hindrance than a help. It’s a philosophy promoted by Silicon Valley start-ups that the best people are those who don’t know that something “can’t be done,” and therefore will figure out how to do it. Bezos is a strong believer in this philosophy. He and these two men developed the core software that launched Amazon.com, programs that ran the company for years. The third employee of the company was Jeff’s wife, MacKenzie. She handled the phone calls, ordering and purchasing, secretarial duties, and accounting.


pages: 186 words: 49,251

The Automatic Customer: Creating a Subscription Business in Any Industry by John Warrillow

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Airbnb, airport security, Amazon Web Services, asset allocation, barriers to entry, call centre, cloud computing, commoditize, David Heinemeier Hansson, discounted cash flows, high net worth, Jeff Bezos, Network effects, passive income, rolodex, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, software as a service, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, subscription business, telemarketer, time value of money, zero-sum game, Zipcar

Then we’ll turn to financing the growth of your subscription business and explore whether you want to raise venture-capital funding, as WhatsApp and Dollar Shave Club did, or self-fund your growth, like FreshBooks and Mosquito Squad. Part Three ends with a discussion on scaling your subscription business. Let’s get started. PART ONE Subscribers Are Better than Customers Why are Amazon, Apple, and many of the most promising Silicon Valley start-ups leveraging a subscription business model? In Part One we’ll look at how automatic customers make your company more valuable . . . and a whole lot more enjoyable to run. CHAPTER 1 Who Wins in the Subscription Economy? Amazon has come a long way since its days of just hawking cheap books online. Of course, you can still buy books on the site, but today’s Amazon will sell you everything from diapers to laundry detergent.


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

While most Americans are significantly healthier than they were a generation ago, childhood obesity has emerged as a meaningful problem, particularly in lower-income communities. An interesting divide separates these two macro-trends. On the one hand, there is a series of societal trends that are heavily dependent on non-market forces. The progress made in preventing drunk driving or teen pregnancy or juvenile crime isn’t coming from new gadgets or Silicon Valley start-ups or massive corporations; the progress, instead, is coming from a network of forces largely outside the marketplace: from government intervention, public service announcements, demographic changes, and the wisdom of life experience shared across generations. Capitalism didn’t reduce the number of teen smokers; in fact, certain corporations did just about everything they could to keep those kids smoking (remember Joe Camel?).


pages: 209 words: 63,649

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

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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

He observed that on the opposite end of the spectrum, employees at single-product, first-generation companies do feel rich in purpose. They are trying to disrupt the status quo and have a strong sense that their work matters. They have a sense of impact greater than themselves, are growing quickly, and are part of a vibrant tribe. Those are the three core ingredients; there is, in fact, no real purpose void. When I was working for early-stage Silicon Valley start-ups, I had a deep sense of purpose. The first place I worked, HomeShark.com, was working to revolutionize the mortgage industry by taking the power out of institutional banking and putting it in the hands of consumers, so they could make better decisions about financing their homes. After a couple of months writing online tutorials on home buying, I was moved into a product management position.


pages: 385 words: 48,143

The Monk and the Riddle: The Education of a Silicon Valley Entrepreneur by Randy Komisar

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Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, barriers to entry, belly landing, discounted cash flows, estate planning, Jeff Bezos, Network effects, new economy, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Jobs

We take them pretty much for granted out here now, but they are still endeavors that require very different skills from the ones needed in established companies. Like tourists on safari, senior executives from some of America's largest corporations come to the Valley to study the exotic ways of the natives. Arriving from Chicago or New York or Dallas, they think they need to be more like Silicon Valley startups, but they usually end up scratching their heads. I recently met with some senior managers from a world-class package goods company who had been up and down the Valley. "We thought we could take a crash course in the Valley way and apply the lessons to our business. But this place is extremely foreign to us. We'll have to partner with experienced startup talent and Valley VCs if we really want to try our hand at being entrepreneurial," a senior manager confessed.


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

APPENDIX Leadership Essentials NEVER DOUBT THAT A SMALL GROUP OF THOUGHTFUL, COMMITTED CITIZENS CAN CHANGE THE WORLD; INDEED, IT’S THE ONLY THING THAT EVER HAS. —Margaret Mead LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner sees “fewer things done better” as the most powerful mechanism for leadership. When he took the reins of the company he could easily have adopted the standard operating procedure of most Silicon Valley start-ups and tried to pursue everything. Instead, he said no to really good opportunities in order to pursue only the very best ones. He uses the acronym FCS (a.k.a. FOCUS) to teach his philosophy to his employees. The letters stand for “Fewer things done better,” “Communicating the right information to the right people at the right time,” and “Speed and quality of decision making.” Indeed, this is what it means to lead essentially.


pages: 468 words: 124,573

How to Build a Billion Dollar App: Discover the Secrets of the Most Successful Entrepreneurs of Our Time by George Berkowski

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Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, barriers to entry, Black Swan, business intelligence, call centre, crowdsourcing, en.wikipedia.org, game design, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, Google X / Alphabet X, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, Jony Ive, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Lean Startup, loose coupling, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, minimum viable product, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, Oculus Rift, Paul Graham, QR code, Ruby on Rails, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, software is eating the world, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Y Combinator

If your team is more experienced and has a track record – and there are a few more of you – and you need a bit more runway to prove your product (Hailo needed to build both the driver and passenger apps very quickly), then you might need to raise $1,000,000 or more to get you there, and perhaps you could agree a valuation of $4–5 million. According to the Angel Capital Association, the median pre-money valuation (the valuation of your company before an investor puts in their money) of companies that are not yet generating revenue was $2.75 million in 2012. This was an increase over 2011, when it was $2.1 million, and an even larger increase over 2010, when it was $1.7 million.1 This means the valuation of a typical Silicon Valley startup – at the angel or seed stage – is $2.75 million. On average, these companies raise about $750,000.2 That means that, after that cash is added to their bank account, they are worth $3.5 million on average, and the investors own 21.42 per cent. So, while raising money this way costs you quite a bit of ownership of your company, there really isn’t another way to raise that amount to grow your company so quickly.

Part of achieving product–market fit is demonstrating – with sufficient data – that users are super-happy to pay to use your service. Throughout this stage of the journey we’ll focus on how best to use your seed financing to achieve these goals and set the foundations for a solid app company – and put you in a great place to seduce some serious professional investors to allow you to expand your team and accelerate growth. How to Deliver Wow Paul Graham – one of the founders of Y Combinator, Silicon Valley’s top startup incubator – offers a great morsel of advice after decades of experience delivering software: ‘Don’t build something clever, build what people want.’ The nature of technology – and software companies in particular – has evolved quickly over the last decade. Open-source software – along with easily accessible services such as payment, mapping, messaging (and many others) in the form of APIs (application programming interfaces) – allows any developer to build powerful programs.

Fresh off the back of a major funding round in 2013, Snapchat picked up a pretty seasoned COO, Emily White.3 Previously she was the executive who was leading Facebook’s Instagram advertising programme and before that she worked at Google.4 It would be a safe assumption to think she might have been brought on board to think about how to scale the business and get on the path of revenue generation. While it is very tough to land them, big hitters require a big salary and have high expectations. They can deliver game-changing opportunities to your company. That’s probably why it is common in Silicon Valley for top startups to steal great people from each other. Francoise Brougher, former vice president of SMB (small and medium-sized businesses) global sales and operations at Google, joined Square as its business lead to help drive the company’s growth. Bob Lee, chief technology officer at Square, also came from Google. Chapter 30 Scaling Marketing It is an exhilarating feeling to be able to invest more money in marketing.


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

Thus, on April 9, 2012, just three months after Kodak filed for bankruptcy, Instagram and its thirteen employees were bought by Facebook for $1 billion.20 But how is this possible? How did Kodak—a hundred-year-old behemoth with 140,000 employees and a 1996 value of $28 billion—fail to take advantage of the most important photographic technology since roll film and end up in bankruptcy court? Simultaneously, how did a handful of entrepreneurs working out of the proverbial Silicon Valley garage go from start-up to a billion-dollar buyout in eighteen months, with a little more than a dozen employees? Simple: Instagram was an exponential organization. Welcome to the New Kodak Moment—the moment when an exponential force puts a linear company out of business. As we shall see over and over again, these New Kodak Moments are not aberrations. Rather, they are the inevitable result of the six Ds of exponential growth.

And Reichental would know, as he was the person brought in to save the company. On paper, Reichental was an odd choice for the job. Having spent the previous twenty-three years working for the Sealed Air Corporation, the inventors of Bubble Wrap, Reichental didn’t know much about additive manufacturing. But what he did understand was innovation. “Sealed Air wasn’t your standard package goods company,” says Reichental. “It was more like a Silicon Valley start-up: totally entrepreneurial, always exploring new possibilities, always trying to crack open new markets.” As a result, Reichental worked dozens of different jobs during his Sealed Air tenure—eventually becoming the company’s fourth-ranking officer and helping grow the firm from a 400-person, $100 million business (when he joined), into an 18,000-person, $5 billion behemoth (when he left).


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

Gebbia says, they now started to think, Why not make a business out of this? What if we could create this same experience in every major city? Here is where the two dreamers ran headfirst into conventional wisdom. Initially, no one, outside of Chesky, Gebbia, and a third partner they brought on, thought this was an idea that made business sense or was worth supporting. Paul Graham, a renowned angel investor in Silicon Valley who runs the start-up incubator firm Y Combinator, believed quite simply, “No one would want to stay in23 someone else’s bed.” The idea that would eventually become Airbnb was challenging a basic assumption: that you needed established, reputable hotels to provide accommodation for out-of-town visitors. Those paying close attention might have noticed that just a few years prior to this, lots of people held similar assumptions about cars—you could buy them, you could rent them, but there was no practical way to share them.

You might end up with a groundbreaking possibility that can then be scaled back to make it more affordable. What if we were to compete against ourselves?16 In 2007, the 150-year-old Atlantic Monthly was suffering along with many other advertising-starved magazines. Publisher David G. Bradley brought in new editorial and business teams and, the New York Times reports, they brainstormed as if they were launching a Silicon Valley startup whose mission was to attack the magazine, asking: What would we do if the goal was to aggressively cannibalize ourselves? Answer: they’d launch an assault on the digital front. Knowing that news aggregation was killing magazines, they started their own “killers,” TheAtlantic Wire.com, TheAtlanticCities.com, and Quartz. They gradually merged the previously separate digital and print staffs, ended the paywall for Atlantic.com readers, and even officially dropped “monthly” from their name.


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

“Hacking,” Steven Levy writes, “gave you not only an understanding of the system but an addictive control as well, along with the illusion that total control was just a few features away.” As anthropologist Coleman points out, beyond the Jocks-and-Nerds stereotypes, there are actually many different geek cultures. There are open-software advocates, most famously embodied by Linux founder Linus Torvalds, who spend untold hours collaboratively building free software tools for the masses, and there are Silicon Valley start-up entrepreneurs. There are antispam zealots, who organize online posses to seek out and shut down Viagra purveyors. And then there’s the more antagonistic wing: spammers; “trolls,” who spend their time looking for fun ways to leverage technology at others’ expense; “phreaks,” who are animated by the challenge to break open telecommunications systems; and hackers who break into government systems to prove it can be done.


pages: 304 words: 82,395

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

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

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!

Being a sample rather than everything, the dataset lacks a certain extensibility or malleability, whereby the same data can be reanalyzed in an entirely new way than the purpose for which it was originally collected. Consider the case of DNA analysis. The cost to sequence an individual’s genome approached a thousand dollars in 2012, moving it closer to a mass-market technique that can be performed at scale. As a result, a new industry of individual gene sequencing is cropping up. Since 2007 the Silicon Valley startup 23andMe has been analyzing people’s DNA for only a couple of hundred dollars. Its technique can reveal traits in people’s genetic codes that may make them more susceptible to certain diseases like breast cancer or heart problems. And by aggregating its customers’ DNA and health information, 23andMe hopes to learn new things that couldn’t be spotted otherwise. But there’s a hitch. The company sequences just a small portion of a person’s genetic code: places that are known to be markers indicating particular genetic weaknesses.


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

The advantages of the system are partly mathematical: a group member reaches his or her savings goal twice as fast on average as they would do on their own. But they are also behavioral: the power of social ties means that default rates (that is, on the public commitment to keep saving even if you have already taken home the weekly pool) are very low. ROSCAs work very well in emerging markets: they are extremely common in markets where banking systems are undeveloped and cash is king. But they may have a high-tech future as well. A Silicon Valley start-up called ClearStreet wants to take the model online, with an app that allows people to join a digital savings circle in which members make the same sorts of commitments to save into a common pool. The challenge will be to replicate the power of real-world relationships in a virtual environment. The social cost of defaulting on people who live in the same village is clearly greater than the cost of defaulting on strangers.


pages: 239 words: 70,206

Data-Ism: The Revolution Transforming Decision Making, Consumer Behavior, and Almost Everything Else by Steve Lohr

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23andMe, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, bioinformatics, business intelligence, call centre, cloud computing, computer age, conceptual framework, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Danny Hillis, data is the new oil, David Brooks, East Village, Edward Snowden, Emanuel Derman, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Google Glasses, impulse control, income inequality, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, informal economy, Internet of things, invention of writing, John Markoff, John von Neumann, lifelogging, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, meta analysis, meta-analysis, money market fund, natural language processing, obamacare, pattern recognition, payday loans, personalized medicine, precision agriculture, pre–internet, Productivity paradox, RAND corporation, rising living standards, Robert Gordon, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, skunkworks, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, The Design of Experiments, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

They won the backing of blue-chip venture capital firms including Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and the investment arm of Google, as well as Generation Investment Management, cofounded by Al Gore and dedicated to environmentally responsible investments. The founders’ pitch was that Nest had a historic opportunity to transform the conventional thermostat from a dumb switch into a clever digital assistant that would save home owners money, reduce energy consumption, and curb pollution. A few industrial companies sold programmable thermostats, but they proved to be so hard to program that few people did. The Silicon Valley start-up would make a digital device that didn’t ask users to program it. Nest was producing “the world’s first learning thermostat—a thermostat for the iPhone generation,” as Fadell told me in the fall of 2011, when Nest was about to introduce its first product. In Fadell’s telling, Nest was a new take on Silicon Valley’s favorite story line: change the world and make a bundle. About half of household energy consumption in the United States is heating and cooling, and most people set their thermostats and forget them, until they really notice the cold in winter or heat in summer, and then crank up the heat or air-conditioning, respectively.


pages: 268 words: 75,850

The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems-And Create More by Luke Dormehl

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

3D printing, algorithmic trading, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, augmented reality, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, call centre, Cass Sunstein, Clayton Christensen, commoditize, computer age, death of newspapers, deferred acceptance, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, Flash crash, Florence Nightingale: pie chart, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Google Earth, Google Glasses, High speed trading, Internet Archive, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Kodak vs Instagram, lifelogging, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, pattern recognition, price discrimination, recommendation engine, Richard Thaler, Rosa Parks, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Slavoj Žižek, social graph, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, upwardly mobile, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Y Combinator

London, he claimed, had the highest concentration of beautiful women, while Aberdeen was mathematically proven to be home to the ugliest.16 Another study saw him measure listlessness by constructing a unified “Measure of Fidget,” as Galton felt the “mutiny of constraint” epitomized in a fidget lent “numerical expression to the amount of boredom expressed by [an] audience.” The more fidgeting, the higher the levels of boredom.17 Even God wasn’t safe from quantification, since Galton saw no reason that the “efficacy of prayer” (the rate at which prayers were answered versus ignored) should not be a “perfectly appropriate and legitimate subject of scientific inquiry.”18 It is into this quantified space that Silicon Valley start-up Knack enters the picture. Founded by Israeli entrepreneur Guy Halfteck, Knack has a deceptively simple aim: to use a combination of gaming technology, machine-learning algorithms and the latest findings from behavioral science to come up with universal measures for terms like “quick-thinking,” “perceptiveness,” “empathy,” “insightfulness,” “spontaneity” and “creativity.” By doing this, Halfteck says that he hopes to trigger a “fundamental change in the human capital space” that will seek to unlock an individual’s previously untapped potential.

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport

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8-hour work day, Albert Einstein, barriers to entry, business climate, Cal Newport, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Clayton Christensen, David Brooks, David Heinemeier Hansson, deliberate practice, Donald Knuth, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, experimental subject, follow your passion, Frank Gehry, informal economy, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Jaron Lanier, knowledge worker, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Merlin Mann, Nate Silver, new economy, Nicholas Carr, popular electronics, remote working, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ruby on Rails, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Snapchat, statistical model, the medium is the message, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, web application, winner-take-all economy, zero-sum game

Another big business trend in recent years is the rise of instant messaging. A Times article notes that this technology is no longer the “province of chatty teenagers” and is now helping companies benefit from “new productivity gains and improvements in customer response time.” A senior product manager at IBM boasts: “We send 2.5 million I.M.’s within I.B.M. each day.” One of the more successful recent entrants into the business IM space is Hall, a Silicon Valley start-up that helps employees move beyond just chat and engage in “real-time collaboration.” A San Francisco–based developer I know described to me what it was like to work in a company that uses Hall. The most “efficient” employees, he explained, set up their text editor to flash an alert on their screen when a new question or comment is posted to the company’s Hall account. They can then, with a sequence of practiced keystrokes, jump over to Hall, type in their thoughts, and then jump back to their coding with barely a pause.


pages: 260 words: 77,007

Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google?: Trick Questions, Zen-Like Riddles, Insanely Difficult Puzzles, and Other Devious Interviewing Techniques You ... Know to Get a Job Anywhere in the New Economy by William Poundstone

affirmative action, Albert Einstein, big-box store, Buckminster Fuller, car-free, cloud computing, creative destruction, en.wikipedia.org, full text search, hiring and firing, index card, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, loss aversion, mental accounting, new economy, Paul Erdős, RAND corporation, random walk, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, rolodex, Rubik’s Cube, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, sorting algorithm, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, The Spirit Level, Tony Hsieh, why are manhole covers round?, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

Backus described his creative process in terms much like Edison’s or Torrance’s: “You have to generate many ideas and then you have to work very hard only to discover that they don’t work. And you keep doing that over and over until you find one that does work.” In 1957, William Shockley, the most cantankerous of the three men credited with inventing the transistor, moved west to build and market electronics. His Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory, the first Silicon Valley start-up, was in Mountain View, a bike ride from where the Googleplex now stands. Shockley was so nuts about using logic puzzles in hiring interviews that he timed applicants with a stopwatch. Maybe that should have been a tip-off. Shockley was a holy terror to work for. Mere months after they were hired, eight of his brightest employees—the “Traitorous Eight”—got so fed up they resigned. They went on to found companies like Fairchild Instruments and Intel.


pages: 265 words: 74,941

The Great Reset: How the Post-Crash Economy Will Change the Way We Live and Work by Richard Florida

banking crisis, big-box store, blue-collar work, car-free, carbon footprint, collapse of Lehman Brothers, congestion charging, creative destruction, deskilling, edge city, Edward Glaeser, falling living standards, financial innovation, Ford paid five dollars a day, high net worth, Home mortgage interest deduction, housing crisis, if you build it, they will come, income inequality, indoor plumbing, interchangeable parts, invention of the telephone, Jane Jacobs, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, labour mobility, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, McMansion, Menlo Park, Nate Silver, New Economic Geography, new economy, New Urbanism, oil shock, Own Your Own Home, pattern recognition, peak oil, Ponzi scheme, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, reserve currency, Richard Florida, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, secular stagnation, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, sovereign wealth fund, the built environment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, total factor productivity, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, white flight, young professional, Zipcar

But it is way, way down in America’s industrial cities such as Pittsburgh and Detroit, in Sunbelt cities such as Dallas and Houston, and even in big centers such as New York and Chicago. At the same time, foreign inventors have become key players in American innovation. Foreign-born scientists currently make up 17 percent of all bachelor’s degree holders, 29 percent of master’s degree holders, 38 percent of PhDs, and nearly a quarter of all scientists and engineers in the United States. Anywhere between a third and half of all Silicon Valley start-ups during the 1990s had a foreign-born entrepreneur or scientist on their core founding team.11 In the past decade, foreign inventors have come to account for almost half of all newly patented innovations. Innovation is no longer a national game but a global one. Anything that might slow the immigration or in-flow of foreign inventors or redirect their inventions and patents, for example a backlash against foreign workers, would impede American innovation and the U.S. economy as a whole.


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

In the UK, around 12 percent of the whole workforce are immigrants, but they fill half of all new jobs—either because the skills they supply are unavailable domestically or because they’re doing jobs that nobody else wants.60 Perhaps most importantly, immigrants spice things up. They carry with them their culture, language and ideas, and they connect their host country to useful networks back home. Plus, they bring to their work the same courage and ingenuity they demonstrated by moving to a new country. The founders of Google (Alphabet), Intel, PayPal and Tesla were all immigrants. In 2005, immigrants headed up 52 percent of all Silicon Valley startups and 25 percent of all US technology and engineering firms founded in the previous 10 years. Immigrant-American Nobel laureates, National Academy of Science members and Oscar-winning directors outnumber their native-born peers three to one.61 Some economists figure that returning to a pre–World War I immigration regime (when labor moved freely about the world) would contribute $40 trillion—2.6 times present-day US GDP—to the global economy over the next 25 years, and more or less end poverty at the same time.62 “All foreigners have the unrestricted right of entrance and residence,” Britain’s Secretary of State, Lord Granville, pronounced—in 1872.

In the US, 11 million undocumented immigrants are trapped in an American half-life—able, in 7 out of 10 cases, to find low-skilled work,49 but unable to access public services or pay the taxes that would make them full members of their host communities.50 High-skilled immigrants are also being turned away. In 2004, the annual visa quota for skilled temporary workers in the US was slashed from 195,000 to 85,000, making it much harder for foreign students to linger in the country past graduation.51** This dampened innovation almost immediately. In the decade 1995–2005, 52 percent of Silicon Valley tech startups were founded or co-founded by immigrants. Since then, that figure has fallen to 42 percent.52 Would-be entrepreneurs still come to America to fill their heads with ideas (more than half of the 150,000 students who each year earn advanced math, science and engineering degrees from US universities are foreign-born), but more and more are returning home to set up their companies (and create the associated jobs and wealth).53 Even if the intention behind tighter immigration controls is to help citizens during a time of economic distress, the overall results are the opposite.


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

Today, inventors such as Scott Summit, founder of Bespoke Innovations, are using 3-D printers to create next-generation customized prosthetics that are not only perfectly fitted but beautifully designed. Digital fabrication can be used to print entire homes, concrete, electrical wiring, plumbing, and all. NASA has even purchased a 3-D printer for the International Space Station from the Silicon Valley start-up Made in Space to ensure it never has to worry about a missing part on board endangering the lives of astronauts, as was the case with Apollo 13. Bio-fabricating printers have taken things to the next level with machines that can even print human tissues and organs, such as capillaries, kidneys, ears, and hearts, potentially doing away with organ transplant lists and saving lives. Prices on home 3-D printers—machines that used to cost tens of thousands of dollars—are dropping precipitously, and models such as the popular Cube 3 made by 3D Systems can be purchased at Staples for $999.

As the perceived risks from AGI have grown, numerous nonprofit institutes have been formed to address and study them, including Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute, the Machine Intelligence Research Institute, the Future of Life Institute, and the Cambridge Centre for the Study of Existential Risk. Despite the risks noted by Hawking and many others, research and development in the field of advanced artificial intelligence continues unabated. 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.”


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

What came to be called the PayPal mafia went on to found a lot of successful companies: YouTube, LinkedIn, Tesla Motors, SpaceX, Yelp, Yammer, Slide … Thiel moved out of his one-bedroom apartment in Palo Alto to a condo in the Four Seasons Hotel in San Francisco. Within a week of leaving PayPal, he started a new fund called Clarium Capital Management. The end of his career as the CEO of a Silicon Valley start-up marked the start of his life as a technology mogul. 1999 WILD RIDE TO THE TURN OF THE CENTURY … ELOQUENT CLINTON ALLY CHOSEN TO GIVE CLOSING ARGUMENT … when you hear somebody say, “This is not about sex,” it’s about … Bill and Hillary Clinton are experimenting with a trial separation, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.… Party like it’s 1999. Smell like it’s 1959.… Investigators, meanwhile, were hunting for a mystery man who fired two shots from a 40-caliber handgun inside Club New York during the dispute between Puffy’s posse and … IS THE INTERNET THE NEW HEAVEN?

Stabbed a record producer in the VIP section of a Times Square club in 1999 for bootlegging his fourth album and quoted Pacino in Godfather II as he drove in the knife: “Lance, you broke my heart.” Holed up in the Trump Hotel with his lawyer and crew playing guts, a three-card game that rewarded self-possession. Vowed never to lose his shit again and later copped a plea, getting away with probation. He became a corporate rapper, an outlaw entrepreneur, wearing sneakers to the boardroom like in a Silicon Valley start-up, working in the legit world while living the hustler’s dream. He retired from rapping in 2003 at Madison Square Garden (but that didn’t last long) and became a music executive, president of Def Jam, the biggest label in hip-hop. He cut his old partner at Roc-A-Fella loose, taking the name with him—“It’s just business,” Jay-Z told Damon Dash, sounding like another screen mobster. And he rhymed the point in his own words: I sold kilos of coke, I’m guessin I can sell CDs I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man Let me handle my business, damn!


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

My collar was tiny in the scheme of things, but enough to rub my neck raw. Such canine reflections were on my mind one day while reading the New York Times during a lull at the trading desk. To an active market participant, the New York Times’ business section is so dated and slow to respond, it may as well be a history book. Which is why it was very random indeed that I noticed something on recently funded Silicon Valley startups. Given the pestilential news from the Street, an upbeat headline must have shone like a blinking fluorescent sign. Almost in passing, the article quoted the CEO of a company called Adchemy, which had just raised its third round of financing. The one-line description was something about using mathematics for advertising. Checking out their website, I noted there was an open position for something called a “research scientist.”

., 24, 369 security, 314–15 seed money, 96 Sequoia, 122–25, 130, 159 severance package, 470–71 severity-level-one bug (SEV1), 323 sexual molestation, 17 Shaffer, Justin, 219–21, 444 Shakespeare, William, 120, 427, 456 Shapiro, Scott, 378, 459 Shelly, Percy Bysshe, 337 Shockley, William, 122 shuttles, 289, 339 Siegelman, Russell, 146, 201, 213, 397 angel investor, 110–13 commitment, 141–43 negotiations, 116–17 Silicon Valley. See also startups; tech companies acquisitions, 155 attitude, 232 capitalism, 74 ecosystem, 100, 137 engineering-first culture, 262, 283 getting paid in, 346–47 ghetto, 121 go-big-or-go-home strategy, 206 hustling, 193 immigrant workers, 69 job offers, 252 network, 130 personage, 111 sanity and, 122 startups, 28 success, 489 technology development, 294 Wall Street paralleling, 27 Simo, Fidji, 348, 483 single-trigger acceleration, 254 skulduggery, 69, 229 small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMBs), 85–86 Smith, Adam, 11 SMS, 490–91 Social Influence in Social Advertising: Evidence from Field Experiments (Bakshy, Eckles, Yan, Rosenn), 368 social mediation, 496 social mission, 257 social plugins, 6–9 The Social Network, 282, 288, 333 software ad-blocking, 325 Adchemy, 43 analytics, 448 building, 47, 155 bundling, 149–50 chaos monkey, 103 conversion-tracking, 222 development, 455 enterprise, 153 Mom and Pop, 85 photo-comparison, 310 stacked, 439 Southwest Airlines, 14 spam, 262, 315, 372, 490 Spear, Leeds & Kellogg (SLK), 24–25, 40–41 speed eating, 21 Sponsored Stories, 280, 365, 367, 369–70, 444 Spotify, 362, 364–65 SQL write command, 323 Square, 464 stack, 439 Stanford, Leland, 121 Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC), 121–22 Star Wars, 29 Starbucks, 362, 372 start date, 284–85 startups.


pages: 400 words: 94,847

Reinventing Discovery: The New Era of Networked Science by Michael Nielsen

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Albert Einstein, augmented reality, barriers to entry, bioinformatics, Cass Sunstein, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, conceptual framework, dark matter, discovery of DNA, Donald Knuth, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, fault tolerance, Fellow of the Royal Society, Firefox, Freestyle chess, Galaxy Zoo, Internet Archive, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Kevin Kelly, Magellanic Cloud, means of production, medical residency, Nicholas Carr, publish or perish, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, selection bias, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Simon Singh, Skype, slashdot, social web, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Nature of the Firm, The Wisdom of Crowds, University of East Anglia, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge

He wrote in the announcement: This is a program for hackers by a hacker. I’ve enjouyed doing it, and somebody might enjoy looking at it and even modifying it for their own needs. It is still small enough to understand, use and modify, and I’m looking forward to any comments you might have. Torvalds was an unknown, a student working in relative isolation at the University of Helsinki, not part of some hip Silicon Valley startup company. Still, what he’d announced was interesting to many hackers. The operating system is the nerve center of a computer, the piece that makes the rest of it tick. Handing a hardcore hacker the code for an operating system is like giving an artist the keys to the Sistine Chapel and asking them to redecorate. Shortly after Torvalds’s post, a Linux activists mailing list was formed, and just three months later the mailing list had grown to 196 members.


pages: 390 words: 108,811

Geektastic: Stories From the Nerd Herd by Holly Black, Cecil Castellucci

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citation needed, double helix, index card, Maui Hawaii, Rubik’s Cube, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup

But when I got up from the table, something amazing happened. The earth shook with my footsteps. It shook. From now on, the earth would tremble in my wake. And I knew. I knew what the dinosaurs sounded like. They sounded like me…. Barry Lyga was a geek long before it was cool to be a geek, back when being a geek meant getting beat up on a regular basis, as opposed to selling that cool new Web app you wrote to a Silicon Valley start-up and retiring at twenty-five. In his time, he’s been a comic-book geek, a role-playing geek, a computer geek, and a sci-fi geek, though never a Trekkie, Trekker, or a Whovian, because he has his limits. Barry is the author of The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl (called a “love letter and a suicide note to comic books”), Boy Toy, and Hero-Type. He’s still a geek. Text by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci.


pages: 237 words: 72,716

The Inequality Puzzle: European and US Leaders Discuss Rising Income Inequality by Roland Berger, David Grusky, Tobias Raffel, Geoffrey Samuels, Chris Wimer

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Branko Milanovic, Celtic Tiger, collective bargaining, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, double entry bookkeeping, equal pay for equal work, fear of failure, financial innovation, full employment, Gini coefficient, hiring and firing, illegal immigration, income inequality, invisible hand, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, Long Term Capital Management, microcredit, offshore financial centre, principal–agent problem, profit maximization, rent-seeking, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, time value of money, very high income

“As the market becomes more global, the power of governments to lower inequality is reduced, indeed political leaders increasingly face a market rather than create it, just as managers increasingly face a market rather than create it. That may be the grand development of our time.” Jerry Yang is the co-founder of Yahoo!, the Internet indexing and portal company. In one of the most famous Silicon Valley start-up stories, Yang founded Yahoo! with David Filo while a Stanford student in 1994 as “Jerry and Dave’s Guide to the World Wide Web,” and renamed the company as Yahoo! in 1995. Initially built as a web portal indexing a range of online products and services, today the company is one of the most visited Internet brands. Jerry Yang is currently Chief Yahoo, a member of Yahoo!’s Board of Directors, and a prominent philanthropist pursuing a special interest in the environment. ______________________________ There are long-standing debates about how much inequality is the right amount of inequality.


pages: 398 words: 107,788

Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking by E. Gabriella Coleman

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Benjamin Mako Hill, commoditize, crowdsourcing, Debian, Donald Knuth, dumpster diving, en.wikipedia.org, financial independence, ghettoisation, Hacker Ethic, informal economy, Jacob Appelbaum, Jaron Lanier, Jason Scott: textfiles.com, Jean Tirole, knowledge economy, laissez-faire capitalism, Larry Wall, Louis Pasteur, means of production, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer, pirate software, popular electronics, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Stallman, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, slashdot, software patent, software studies, Steve Ballmer, Steven Levy, Ted Nelson, the scientific method, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, web application, web of trust

Technology entrepreneurs were amassing millions in stock options from inflated initial public offerings fueled in part by techno-utopic articles in Wired and the New York Times.18 Internet companies like DoubleClick, Star Media, and Ivillage, all fledgling star Silicon Valley firms, were awash in venture capital funding and feverish stock market investments. In the context of one of Silicon Valley’s most pronounced tech booms, geeks continued to install free software servers and other applications in universities and, more than ever, companies, including many Silicon Valley start-ups. Thus by 1997, the grassroots enthusiasm of free software had grown material roots in the corporate sphere. Multiple Linux distributions—most famously Slackware, Debian, and Red Hat—were under vigorous development, and newer software applications, like Apache, were gaining significant visibility and being used by high-profile dot-coms like Amazon. Many of the backbone technologies of the Internet were by this time powered by free software (BIND for the domain name system, Sendmail for email, and Apache and Perl for the Web, for example).


pages: 390 words: 96,624

Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle for Internet Freedom by Rebecca MacKinnon

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A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Berlin Wall, business intelligence, Cass Sunstein, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, collective bargaining, conceptual framework, corporate social responsibility, Deng Xiaoping, digital Maoism, don't be evil, Filter Bubble, Firefox, future of journalism, illegal immigration, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, Julian Assange, Mark Zuckerberg, Mikhail Gorbachev, national security letter, online collectivism, Parag Khanna, pre–internet, race to the bottom, Richard Stallman, Ronald Reagan, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Steve Crocker, Steven Levy, WikiLeaks

His book The Net Delusion offers a scathing condemnation of the “cyber-utopian” and “Internet-centric” worldviews he believes to be epidemic among American academics (including Shirky and Zuckerman), alongside many activists, foundations, journalists, politicians, and investors. He mocks what he calls the “Google Doctrine—the enthusiastic belief in the liberating power of technology accompanied by the irresistible urge to enlist Silicon Valley start-ups in the global fight for freedom.” Cyber-utopianism, he argues, is dangerous because it fails to recognize that the Internet “penetrates and reshapes all walks of political life, not just the ones conducive to democratization.” The Internet, he points out, empowers dictators, demagogues, and terrorists as much as it empowers democrats. How the Internet interacts with politics and the particulars of how it is used for good and for ill vary drastically from country to country.


pages: 193 words: 98,671

The Inmates Are Running the Asylum by Alan Cooper

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Albert Einstein, delayed gratification, Donald Trump, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, Menlo Park, natural language processing, new economy, pets.com, Robert X Cringely, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, telemarketer, urban planning

She ran Windows 95 on her desktop PC, using Microsoft Word to write memos and contracts. The core of Windows 95 is the hierarchical file system. All of Jane's documents were stored in little folders, which were stored in other little folders. Jane didn't understand this or see the advantage to storing things that way. Actually, Jane didn't give it a lot of thought but merely took the path of least resistance. Jane had just finished drafting the new PR contract for a Silicon Valley startup company. She selected Close from the File menu. Instead of simply doing as she directed and closing the document, Word popped up a dialog box. It was, of course, the all-too-familiar Do You Want to Save the Changes? confirmation box. She responded—as always—by pressing the Enter key. She responded this way so consistently and often that she no longer even looked at the dialog box. The first dialog box was followed immediately by another one, the equally familiar Save As box.


pages: 459 words: 103,153

Adapt: Why Success Always Starts With Failure by Tim Harford

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Andrew Wiles, banking crisis, Basel III, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, car-free, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, charter city, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, complexity theory, corporate governance, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Dava Sobel, Deep Water Horizon, Deng Xiaoping, double entry bookkeeping, Edmond Halley, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, experimental subject, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Fermat's Last Theorem, Firefox, food miles, Gerolamo Cardano, global supply chain, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, John Harrison: Longitude, knowledge worker, loose coupling, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, Netflix Prize, New Urbanism, Nick Leeson, PageRank, Piper Alpha, profit motive, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, rolodex, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South China Sea, special economic zone, spectrum auction, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, the market place, The Wisdom of Crowds, too big to fail, trade route, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, web application, X Prize, zero-sum game

Far more centralised supermarkets such as Wal-Mart in the US and Tesco in the UK are clearly very profitable – they still experiment but have managed to centralise and automate that experimentation. Yet Whole Foods demonstrates that even in this most regimented of industries it is possible to succeed with a radical, employee-led management model that would not seem out of place in a utopian Silicon Valley start-up. Whole Foods isn’t unique, either. Almost every management innovation described above applies equally to one of the UK’s least glamorous brands, Timpson. Timpson has several hundred small branches which adorn many British high streets, offering a bric-a-brac of services such as key-cutting, shoe and watch repairs, and engraving. Like Whole Foods Market, Timpson has a ‘no secrets’ policy, sending round a frequent newsletter to all staff explaining how the business is doing and how much money there is in the bank.


pages: 349 words: 27,507

E=mc2: A Biography of the World's Most Famous Equation by David Bodanis

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Albert Einstein, Arthur Eddington, Berlin Wall, British Empire, dark matter, Ernest Rutherford, Erwin Freundlich, Fellow of the Royal Society, Henri Poincaré, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, Mercator projection, pre–internet, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Stephen Hawking, Thorstein Veblen, V2 rocket

It’s rare to change a lab’s research direction: all the equipment is set up for one sort of work; there are postgrads whose grants are contingent on that previous work, technicians who were trained for it, and sometimes even suppliers who’ve come to specialize in it. Economists call it the problem of sunk costs, and it’s one of the main reasons that very few top labs stay at the top for long. In a more recent era, it’s why computer industry monoliths have continually been wrong-footed by quick Silicon Valley startups. Despite her surface shyness, Meitner would have been a confident dot-com entrepreneur par excellence. 104 “The Jewess endangers our institute . . .”: For the Kurt Hess quote and associated details: Sallie Watkins’s essay in A Devotion to Their Science, p. 183; also Sime, Lise Meitner, pp. 184-85. 104 Hahn may have been slightly troubled . . . : There are many levels of culpability, and Hahn of course was never a Nazi.


pages: 370 words: 105,085

Joel on Software by Joel Spolsky

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barriers to entry, c2.com, commoditize, George Gilder, index card, Jeff Bezos, knowledge worker, Metcalfe's law, Network effects, new economy, PageRank, Paul Graham, profit motive, Robert X Cringely, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, slashdot, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, thinkpad, VA Linux, web application

You should be starting to get some ideas about how to break the chicken-and-egg problem: Provide a backward-compatibility mode that either delivers a truckload of chickens, or a truckload of eggs, depending on how you look at it, and sit back and rake in the bucks. Ah. Now back to bill presentment. Remember bill presentment? The chicken-and-egg problem is that you can only get your Con Ed bills, so you won't use the service. How can you solve it? Microsoft couldn't figure it out. PayMyBills.com (and a half-dozen other Silicon Valley startups) all figured it out at the same time. You provide a backward-compatibility mode: If the merchant won't support the system, just get the merchant to mail their damn paper bills to University Avenue, in Palo Alto, where a bunch of actual human beings will open them and scan them in. Now you can get all your bills on their website. Since every merchant on Earth is available on the system, customers are happy to use it, even if it is running in this weird backward-compatibility mode where stupid Visa member banks send the bill electronically to a printer, print it out on paper, stuff it in an envelope, ship it 1,500 miles to California, where it is cut open, the stupid flyers harping worthless "free" AM clock radios that actually cost $9.95 are thrown into a landfill somewhere, and the paper bill is scanned back into a computer and stuck up on the Web where it should have been sent in the first place.


pages: 340 words: 96,149

@War: The Rise of the Military-Internet Complex by Shane Harris

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Amazon Web Services, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Brian Krebs, centralized clearinghouse, clean water, computer age, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, don't be evil, Edward Snowden, failed state, Firefox, John Markoff, Julian Assange, mutually assured destruction, peer-to-peer, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Stuxnet, uranium enrichment, WikiLeaks, zero day

Justice Department officials were looking for information they could use to indict WikiLeaks’ founder, Julian Assange, who had posted classified military intelligence reports and State Department cables. Now the feds wanted to outsource part of their investigation, by putting Bank of America in touch with Team Themis, which drew its name from the mythological Greek Titan who represented “divine law,” as opposed to the law of men. Team Themis included Palantir Technologies, a Silicon Valley startup that had been making fast friends with such national security heavyweights as Richard Perle, former chairman of the Defense Policy Board and an influential Republican operative, as well as George Tenet, former director of the CIA, who had gone to work for Herb Allen, a Palantir investor and head of the enigmatic investment bank Allen & Company, which hosts the annual Sun Valley Conference, bringing together celebrity journalists, athletes, and business leaders.


pages: 327 words: 102,322

Losing the Signal: The Spectacular Rise and Fall of BlackBerry by Jacquie McNish, Sean Silcoff

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Albert Einstein, Clayton Christensen, corporate governance, diversified portfolio, indoor plumbing, Iridium satellite, patent troll, QWERTY keyboard, rolodex, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, the new new thing

Alluding to the company’s uncertain fate, the letters were a play on the Latin phrase Dextera Domini—the right hand of God. The South Lawn of the White House was dotted with colorful tents that sagged under a heavy midday sun. It was July 22, 1993. Representatives from technology companies were gathered to show off the latest in mobile communications. President Bill Clinton led an entourage through the tents. Stopping at one, he examined a thick glass tablet and black electronic pen created by Eo Inc., a Silicon Valley start-up. Push the stylus across the surface of the EO Personal Communicator, Clinton was urged, your handwriting will automatically convert into a digital text message, poised to fly across radio waves to the person of your choice. Reflecting on dozens of American victims claimed by recent flooding in Illinois and nearby states, the president moved the stylus across the tablet: “Al, stop the rain in the Midwest.


pages: 325 words: 110,330

Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull, Amy Wallace

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Albert Einstein, business climate, buy low sell high, complexity theory, fear of failure, Golden Gate Park, iterative process, Menlo Park, rolodex, Rubik’s Cube, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Jobs, Wall-E

CHAPTER 3 A DEFINING GOAL There is nothing quite like ignorance combined with a driving need to succeed to force rapid learning. I know this from firsthand experience. In 1986, I became the president of a new hardware company whose main business was selling the Pixar Image Computer. The only problem was, I had no idea what I was doing. From the outside, Pixar probably looked like your typical Silicon Valley startup. On the inside, however, we were anything but. Steve Jobs had never manufactured or marketed a high-end machine before, so he had neither the experience nor the intuition about how to do so. We had no sales people and no marketing people and no idea where to find them. Steve, Alvy Ray Smith, John Lasseter, me—none of us knew the first thing about how to run the kind of business we had just started.


pages: 349 words: 95,972

Messy: The Power of Disorder to Transform Our Lives by Tim Harford

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affirmative action, Air France Flight 447, Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, assortative mating, Atul Gawande, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, Barry Marshall: ulcers, Basel III, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Broken windows theory, call centre, Cass Sunstein, Chris Urmson, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, crowdsourcing, deindustrialization, Donald Trump, Erdős number, experimental subject, Ferguson, Missouri, Filter Bubble, Frank Gehry, game design, global supply chain, Googley, Guggenheim Bilbao, high net worth, Inbox Zero, income inequality, industrial cluster, Internet of things, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Loebner Prize, Louis Pasteur, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Merlin Mann, microbiome, out of africa, Paul Erdős, Richard Thaler, Rosa Parks, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, telemarketer, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Turing test, urban decay, William Langewiesche

Capital is what stands between a bank and bankruptcy: a bank with lots of capital can take large losses before becoming insolvent, whereas a bank that funds its activities by borrowing rather than using capital is far more vulnerable.* The Basel Accord was simply an international agreement that banks wouldn’t borrow too much—or wouldn’t become too highly “leveraged.”* While Basel I was celebrated as a first step toward financial stability, it was a crude rule because it did not do justice to the fact that different banks take very different risks. For example, a bank that lends $100 million to a Silicon Valley start-up is taking much more risk than a bank that lends $100 million to the U.S. government. It seems rash to have capital rules that are designed to safeguard against risks but which ignore what the risks might be. Basel I did allow for five different categories of risk, and the capital requirement varied according to how much business the bank was doing in each of these five areas. But regulators soon concluded that five categories of risk weren’t enough; their rules had been too simplistic and had too many loose ends.


pages: 344 words: 93,858

The Post-American World: Release 2.0 by Fareed Zakaria

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affirmative action, agricultural Revolution, airport security, anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, call centre, capital controls, central bank independence, centre right, collapse of Lehman Brothers, conceptual framework, Credit Default Swap, currency manipulation / currency intervention, delayed gratification, Deng Xiaoping, double entry bookkeeping, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial innovation, global reserve currency, global supply chain, illegal immigration, interest rate derivative, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), knowledge economy, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Wolf, mutually assured destruction, new economy, oil shock, open economy, out of africa, Parag Khanna, postindustrial economy, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South China Sea, Steven Pinker, The Great Moderation, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, trade route, Washington Consensus, working-age population, young professional, zero-sum game

Foreign students and immigrants account for 50 percent of the science researchers in the country and, in 2006, received 40 percent of the doctorates in science and engineering and 65 percent of the doctorates in computer science. Experts estimate that in 2010, foreign students received more than 50 percent of all Ph.D.’s awarded in every subject in the United States. In the sciences, that figure is closer to 75 percent. Half of all Silicon Valley start-ups have one founder who is an immigrant or first-generation American. America’s potential new burst of productivity, its edge in nanotechnology, biotechnology, its ability to invent the future—all rest on its immigration policies. If America can keep the people it educates in the country, the innovation will happen here. If they go back home, the innovation will travel with them. Immigration also gives America a quality rare for a rich country—hunger and energy.


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

THE INDEPENDENT-LED MODEL Independent teams are most easily established early in a company’s development before corporate structures have crystallized and ownership battles over resources and reporting formalize. When the turf isn’t yet claimed, there are fewer complaints against redistributing responsibility and headcount to a growth team. That said, it’s not impossible to introduce independent growth teams in established, larger companies. One approach is that taken by Walmart, which created its stand-alone growth operation in 2011 by acquiring an innovation center in the well-regarded Silicon Valley start-up Kosmix, which became @WalmartLabs.10 Run as an independent division focused on e-commerce, this team focuses on digital innovation initiatives for Walmart websites and mobile applications, like the successful Savings Catcher app we described in the introduction. It also leads the acquisition of promising digital start-ups, such as mobile fashion search app Stylr, and social recipe aggregator Yumprint, and works to integrate their technology and talent into Walmart’s digital offerings.


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

The government is making a huge effort to promote creativity in Singapore, and it may yet succeed. But compare Singapore with New York in 2013 and the differences are vast. Over the past fifteen years in New York City, vast networks of entrepreneurs, incubators, venture capitalists, universities, media companies, and artists have arisen to generate a new wave of creativity and entrepreneurialism. For the first time, New York rivals Silicon Valley in start-ups, concentrating more on content and culture than technology. Dial the clock back to the seventies, and you’d have witnessed a different kind of creative congestion—an art scene was burgeoning in SoHo; rappers, break dancers, and beat boxers from all the boroughs were creating a new kind of music and culture—but it wouldn’t necessarily have been the ideal place for someone looking to start up a new media company that required a thriving network of graphic designers and social media experts.

Schumpeter, the father of “creative destruction,” saw a version of capitalism in which entrepreneurs were the central, disruptive energy sustaining economic growth. The process of creative destruction undermined established monopolies and toppled existing big businesses that made profits from older regulatory, organizational, technological, and ideological regimes. We see Schumpeter’s creative destruction thriving in Silicon Valley and among start-ups in general. Apple is pushing aside RIM and Nokia, Facebook is pressuring Google to move into social, online shopping is mauling the malls. But the brutality of the free market isn’t in operation in many industries where large corporations hold sway by virtue of their powerful connections, not their innovations. Creative destruction is the enemy of crony capitalism, as well as a force that’s essential for innovation.


pages: 441 words: 136,954

That Used to Be Us by Thomas L. Friedman, Michael Mandelbaum

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3D printing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, Amazon Web Services, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Andy Kessler, Ayatollah Khomeini, bank run, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, blue-collar work, Bretton Woods, business process, call centre, carbon footprint, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, centre right, Climatic Research Unit, cloud computing, collective bargaining, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, delayed gratification, energy security, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fear of failure, full employment, Google Earth, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), job automation, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, Lean Startup, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, mass immigration, more computing power than Apollo, Network effects, obamacare, oil shock, pension reform, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Saturday Night Live, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, University of East Anglia, WikiLeaks

Although he won’t cite exact numbers, Jassy claims “hundreds of thousands of customers” already use the service, and analysts at UBS estimate Amazon will do about $750 million of business on AWS this year. In fact, a whole generation of Internet companies couldn’t exist without it. Netflix’s movie-streaming empire runs on it; Zynga, the social gaming company, uses it to handle sudden spikes in usage. AWS has become such a fact of life for Silicon Valley startups that venture capitalists actually hand out Amazon gift cards to entrepreneurs. Keeping up with the demand requires frantic expansion: Each day, Jassy’s operation adds enough computing muscle to power one whole Amazon.com circa 2000, when it was a $2.8 billion business. The physical expansion of all that data takes place in Amazon’s huge, specially designed buildings—the biggest can reach 700,000 square feet, or the equivalent of roughly 16 football fields.


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

He was a natural intellectual, well-versed in the exigencies of the Internet, with extreme social dexterity. Cohler had a degree in musicology with honors from Yale, so he fit in nicely with Thefacebook’s Harvard crowd. And he even had international experience, having lived in China while working for an Internet company there. But he was pretty happy at LinkedIn, which at the time was seen as one of the hottest and most promising of the Silicon Valley start-ups. Cohler talked to a bunch of friends trying to figure out if he should really consider Parker’s offer. He was almost twenty-eight—no longer a college kid—and had even spent time at the venerable McKinsey consulting firm. He wasn’t one to make rash moves. Cohler called his brother, an undergraduate at Princeton, to ask if he knew about this thing Thefacebook. “The answer was like, ‘Duh!’


pages: 482 words: 117,962

Exceptional People: How Migration Shaped Our World and Will Define Our Future by Ian Goldin, Geoffrey Cameron, Meera Balarajan

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Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Branko Milanovic, British Empire, conceptual framework, creative destruction, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, endogenous growth, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, guest worker program, illegal immigration, income inequality, income per capita, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, labour mobility, Lao Tzu, life extension, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, Malacca Straits, mass immigration, microcredit, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, old age dependency ratio, open borders, out of africa, price mechanism, purchasing power parity, Richard Florida, selection bias, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, spice trade, trade route, transaction costs, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, women in the workforce, working-age population

They find that higher rates of temporary high-skilled admissions “substantially increased” rates of invention.32 By 2000, migrants accounted for 47 percent of the U.S. workforce with a science or an engineering doctorate, and they constituted 67 percent of the growth in the U.S. science and engineering workforce between 1995 and 2006.33 In 2005, a migrant was at the helm of 52 percent of Silicon Valley start-ups, and a quarter of all U.S. technology and engineering firms founded between 1995 and 2005 had a migrant founder. In 2006, foreign nationals living in the United States were inventors or coinventors in 40 percent of all international patent applications filed by the U.S. government.34 Migrants file the majority of patents by leading science firms: 72 percent of the total at Qualcomm, 65 percent at Merck, 64 percent at General Electric, and 60 percent at Cisco.35 Higher rates of immigration also have second-order effects on innovation.


pages: 497 words: 150,205

European Spring: Why Our Economies and Politics Are in a Mess - and How to Put Them Right by Philippe Legrain

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3D printing, Airbnb, Asian financial crisis, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Basel III, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, business process, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, Celtic Tiger, central bank independence, centre right, cleantech, collaborative consumption, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, debt deflation, Diane Coyle, Downton Abbey, Edward Glaeser, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, energy transition, eurozone crisis, fear of failure, financial deregulation, first-past-the-post, forward guidance, full employment, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, Growth in a Time of Debt, hiring and firing, hydraulic fracturing, Hyman Minsky, Hyperloop, immigration reform, income inequality, interest rate derivative, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Irish property bubble, James Dyson, Jane Jacobs, job satisfaction, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, liquidity trap, margin call, Martin Wolf, mittelstand, moral hazard, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, North Sea oil, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, open economy, peer-to-peer rental, price stability, private sector deleveraging, pushing on a string, quantitative easing, Richard Florida, rising living standards, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Gordon, savings glut, school vouchers, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart grid, smart meter, software patent, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, total factor productivity, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, working-age population, Zipcar

But it is still troubling that none can match America’s global giants. Silicon Valley sparks off a diverse mix of dynamic people from around the world. More than half of start-ups founded there between 1995 and 2005 had a migrant as a chief executive or lead technologist.654 While a tightening of visa rules and the rise of China and India have reduced immigrants’ contribution somewhat, they still co-founded 43.9 per cent of Silicon Valley start-ups between 2006 and 2012.655 Companies co-founded by migrants – many of whom arrived as children, not through some pseudo-scientific government selection process – include stand-out successes such as Google, Yahoo, eBay, PayPal, YouTube, Hotmail, Sun Microsystems, Intel and WhatsApp. Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple, had a mixed heritage too: his biological father was Syrian-born, his biological mother Swiss American and his adoptive one Armenian American.


pages: 538 words: 147,612

All the Money in the World by Peter W. Bernstein

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Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, call centre, corporate governance, corporate raider, creative destruction, currency peg, David Brooks, Donald Trump, estate planning, family office, financial innovation, George Gilder, high net worth, invisible hand, Irwin Jacobs: Qualcomm, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job-hopping, John Markoff, Long Term Capital Management, Marc Andreessen, Martin Wolf, Maui Hawaii, means of production, mega-rich, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, new economy, Norman Mailer, PageRank, Peter Singer: altruism, pez dispenser, popular electronics, Renaissance Technologies, Rod Stewart played at Stephen Schwarzman birthday party, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, school vouchers, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, the new new thing, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, traveling salesman, urban planning, wealth creators, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, women in the workforce

The company culture reflected what is known as Moore’s Law: Moore’s belief that new technology doubles in power every eighteen months and stays at the same price. In the semiconductor industry, a company needed to constantly innovate—or perish. Not only did high-tech visionaries such as Moore and Noyce invent technology that changed the world, they also played a role in reshaping the way companies were nurtured and financed. In the 1960s Wall Street bankers were not jumping on planes to visit Silicon Valley start-ups. But through contacts, the founders of Fairchild made their way to New York investment banker Arthur Rock (whose first appearance on the Forbes 400 was in 1983, with a net worth of $160 million) and convinced him to take a look at what they were doing. With his first investment, Rock hit pay dirt. He arranged funding29 for Fairchild Semiconductor and later provided $2.5 million in seed money for Intel.


pages: 386 words: 122,595

Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science (Fully Revised and Updated) by Charles Wheelan

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affirmative action, Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Bretton Woods, capital controls, Cass Sunstein, central bank independence, clean water, collapse of Lehman Brothers, congestion charging, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, currency manipulation / currency intervention, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, demographic transition, diversified portfolio, Doha Development Round, Exxon Valdez, financial innovation, fixed income, floating exchange rates, George Akerlof, Gini coefficient, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, happiness index / gross national happiness, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, index fund, interest rate swap, invisible hand, job automation, John Markoff, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, libertarian paternalism, low skilled workers, lump of labour, Malacca Straits, market bubble, microcredit, money market fund, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Network effects, new economy, open economy, presumed consent, price discrimination, price stability, principal–agent problem, profit maximization, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, random walk, rent control, Richard Thaler, rising living standards, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South China Sea, Steve Jobs, The Market for Lemons, the rule of 72, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, transaction costs, transcontinental railway, trickle-down economics, urban sprawl, Washington Consensus, Yogi Berra, young professional, zero-sum game

The irony, of course, is that Medicare is government-run health care; the program allows Americans over age 65 to seek care from their private doctors, who are then reimbursed by the federal government. Even the Central Intelligence Agency has taken this lesson to heart. The CIA needs to be on the cutting edge of technology, yet it cannot provide the same incentives to innovate as the private sector can. Someone who makes a breakthrough discovery at the CIA will not find himself or herself worth hundreds of millions of dollars six months later, as might happen at a Silicon Valley startup. So the CIA decided to use the private sector for its own ends by using money appropriated by Congress to open its own venture capital firm, named In-Q-It (in a sly reference to Q, the technology guru who develops gadgets for James Bond).1 An In-Q-It executive explained that the purpose of the venture was to “move information technology to the agency more quickly than traditional Government procurement processes allow.”


pages: 390 words: 114,538

Digital Wars: Apple, Google, Microsoft and the Battle for the Internet by Charles Arthur

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activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, AltaVista, Build a better mousetrap, Burning Man, cloud computing, commoditize, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, disintermediation, don't be evil, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, gravity well, Jeff Bezos, John Gruber, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Network effects, PageRank, pre–internet, Robert X Cringely, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, slashdot, Snapchat, software patent, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, the new new thing, the scientific method, Tim Cook: Apple, turn-by-turn navigation, upwardly mobile

They published their paper on how to build a giant search engine that would be able to index the web and serve up the results in December 1998, followed in 1999 by the key paper explaining how PageRank worked to push the ‘best’ results to the top, rather than those that someone else had paid for or that simply used the search term repeatedly without being in any way informative. As an example of the latter, Page and Brin pointed in the second paper to the results of a search for ‘Bill Clinton’, the then US president: one search engine returned ‘Bill Clinton Joke of the Day’ as the top result. (The PageRank patent is owned by Stanford University, where it was developed; Google is the exclusive licensee.) They became a classic Silicon Valley start-up in summer 1998, maxing out their credit cards to buy equipment, spending almost nothing on office furniture (the tables in their first offices at 232 Santa Margarita Avenue, Menlo Park were doors balanced on carpenters’ timber-sawing stands), and operating in what is commonly known as ‘stealth mode’. Renamed from ‘BackRub’, and almost named ‘The Whatbox’ (they decided it sounded a bit too much like ‘wetbox’, which sounded vaguely porn related), the Google web page first went live in August 1997.


pages: 309 words: 114,984

The Digital Doctor: Hope, Hype, and Harm at the Dawn of Medicine’s Computer Age by Robert Wachter

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activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, AI winter, Airbnb, Atul Gawande, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Checklist Manifesto, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable, Clayton Christensen, collapse of Lehman Brothers, computer age, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, deskilling, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Firefox, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Google Glasses, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, Internet of things, job satisfaction, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge worker, lifelogging, medical malpractice, medical residency, Menlo Park, minimum viable product, natural language processing, Network effects, Nicholas Carr, obamacare, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, personalized medicine, pets.com, Productivity paradox, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, Skype, Snapchat, software as a service, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, the payments system, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Bayes, Toyota Production System, Uber for X, US Airways Flight 1549, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Yogi Berra

The juice bar is a busy congregational space, as are the small glasswalled rectangular conference rooms, in which one twentysomething, seated on a couch, is listening to another map out a company’s can’t-miss strategy on a dry-erase board. If one half expects to see a horse-drawn carriage from the window of David Blumenthal’s Fifth Avenue office in Manhattan, one half expects to see a self-driving car outside the offices of these Silicon Valley start-ups. The sense of limitless possibilities is palpable when you enter this world, but the hype can border on the farcical. In the “Health 2.0” office near San Francisco’s CalTrain station, a London-born healthcare impresario named Matthew Holt and his staff spend their days analyzing healthcare IT start-ups for a series of publications and conferences that they produce. In the corner of the obligatory whiteboard in the cramped office, I noticed a list of companies under a heading that read, “Uber for Healthcare.”


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

Farsighted countries create incentives for migrants to contribute in services what they cannot in wealth such as working in sanitation and infrastructure upkeep, while higher-skilled migrants work in health care and foreigner integration programs.*3 The blending will continue; the only question is whether cultural assimilation will succeed. For close to three centuries, America has been the most attractive destination for talented migrants and the greatest assimilation society. Immigrants have founded almost half of Silicon Valley start-ups, and immigrant children have been high achievers in the classroom and now fill the professional class. They are a reminder that an America of only Americans would be nothing like the America with non-Americans who have become Americans. But it is Australia that now leads the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) by percentage of foreign-born residents at 27 percent, followed by Canada at 20 percent.


pages: 401 words: 119,488

Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

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Air France Flight 447, Asperger Syndrome, Atul Gawande, Black Swan, cognitive dissonance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, digital map, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, framing effect, hiring and firing, index card, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Lean Startup, Malcom McLean invented shipping containers, meta analysis, meta-analysis, new economy, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, statistical model, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, theory of mind, Toyota Production System, William Langewiesche, Yom Kippur War

Venture capitalists loved star model companies because giving money to the A-Team, conventional wisdom held, was always the safest bet. The second category was the “engineering” model. Inside firms with engineering cultures, there weren’t many individual stars, but engineers, as a group, held the most sway. An engineering mindset prevailed in solving problems or approaching hiring decisions. “This is your stereotypical Silicon Valley start-up, with a bunch of anonymous programmers drinking Mountain Dew at their computers,” said Baron. “They’re young and hungry and might be the next generation of stars once they prove themselves, but right now, they’re focused on solving technical problems.” Engineering-focused cultures are powerful because they allow firms to grow quickly. “Think of how fast Facebook expanded,” said Baron. “When everyone comes from a similar background and mindset, you can rely on common social norms to keep everyone on the same path.”


pages: 528 words: 146,459

Computer: A History of the Information Machine by Martin Campbell-Kelly, William Aspray, Nathan L. Ensmenger, Jeffrey R. Yost

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Ada Lovelace, air freight, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, barriers to entry, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, borderless world, Buckminster Fuller, Build a better mousetrap, Byte Shop, card file, cashless society, cloud computing, combinatorial explosion, computer age, deskilling, don't be evil, Donald Davies, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, fault tolerance, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial independence, Frederick Winslow Taylor, game design, garden city movement, Grace Hopper, informal economy, interchangeable parts, invention of the wheel, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Markoff, John von Neumann, light touch regulation, linked data, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, natural language processing, Network effects, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, optical character recognition, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, Pierre-Simon Laplace, pirate software, popular electronics, prediction markets, pre–internet, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, Robert X Cringely, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, the market place, Turing machine, Vannevar Bush, Von Neumann architecture, Whole Earth Catalog, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, women in the workforce, young professional

Noyce and Moore recruited away from Fairchild the best experts in planar process manufacturing, and within two years of its incorporation in the summer of 1968, Intel (a combination of the words integrated electronics) was profitably producing integrated-circuit memory chips for the computer industry. Within five years it was a $66 million company with more than 2,500 employees. In stark contrast to what they saw as slow-moving, overly bureaucratic East Coast electronics and computer firms, the new breed of Silicon Valley start-ups such as Intel prided themselves on being fast, flexible, and meritocratic. They kept their organizational structure “flat” by eliminating middle managers and encouraging (and empowering) engineers to be entrepreneurial. There were no dress codes, no hierarchies or protocols. At Intel, every employee had access to everyone, even top executives like Noyce and Moore. No one had offices, or even cubicles: everyone worked in a shared space separated only by shallow partitions.


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

Shale technology has transformed the United States into the world’s largest oil producer, pumping out 12 million barrels a day, up from 8 million at the low point in 2008. The scale of this boom is striking: In 2014, one-third of the investment made by large U.S. companies went into energy, hitting a share very similar to that reached by corporate investment in technology, media, and telecommunications before that bubble burst in 2000. The money that poured into Silicon Valley start-ups in the late 1990s was also a good investment binge, since it left behind productive companies like Google, but its unraveling led in the short term to the 2001 recession. Now, as oil prices collapse, U.S. energy investments are plummeting, drilling rigs have been silenced from Texas to North Dakota, shale jobs are drying up, and shale boomtowns are turning into ghost towns. Though this oil rush leaves behind a productive new industry, a plus in the long run as it will likely keep a lid on U.S. energy prices, it poses a near-term risk because energy investment was such an important driver of U.S. growth in recent years, and that boost is now largely gone.

The Future of Technology by Tom Standage

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air freight, barriers to entry, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, Clayton Christensen, computer vision, connected car, corporate governance, creative destruction, disintermediation, distributed generation, double helix, experimental economics, full employment, hydrogen economy, industrial robot, informal economy, information asymmetry, interchangeable parts, job satisfaction, labour market flexibility, Marc Andreessen, market design, Menlo Park, millennium bug, moral hazard, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, optical character recognition, railway mania, rent-seeking, RFID, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, Skype, smart grid, software as a service, spectrum auction, speech recognition, stem cell, Steve Ballmer, technology bubble, telemarketer, transcontinental railway, Y2K

Amazon.com, the leading online shopping mall, for instance, managed to cut its quarterly technology spending by almost $20m (see Chart 1.3). The most interesting feature of Google’s data centre, however, is that its servers are not powered by high-end chips, and probably will not have Itanium, Intel’s most powerful processor, inside for some time yet, if ever. This sets Google apart among hot Silicon Valley start-ups, whose business plans are mostly based on taking full advantage of the exponential increase in computing power and similar growth in demand for technology. “Forget Moore’s law,” blared the headline of an article about Google in Red Herring, a now-defunct technology magazine. That is surely overblown, but Google’s decision to give Itanium a miss for now suggests that microprocessors themselves are increasingly in “overshoot”, even for servers – and that the industry’s 30-year race for ever more powerful chips with smaller and smaller transistors is coming to an end.


pages: 416 words: 129,308

The One Device: The Secret History of the iPhone by Brian Merchant

Airbnb, Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, citizen journalism, Claude Shannon: information theory, computer vision, conceptual framework, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frank Gehry, global supply chain, Google Earth, Google Hangouts, Internet of things, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, John Gruber, John Markoff, Jony Ive, Lyft, M-Pesa, more computing power than Apollo, Mother of all demos, natural language processing, new economy, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, offshore financial centre, oil shock, pattern recognition, peak oil, pirate software, profit motive, QWERTY keyboard, ride hailing / ride sharing, rolodex, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, Snapchat, special economic zone, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Tim Cook: Apple, Turing test, Upton Sinclair, Vannevar Bush, zero day

If your question can be answered by the phone itself (“Would you set my alarm for eight a.m.?”), the Cloud request is canceled. If Siri needs to pull data from the web (“Is it going to rain tomorrow?”), to the Cloud it goes, and the request is analyzed by another array of models and tools. Before Siri was a core functionality of the iPhone, it was an app on the App Store launched by a well-funded Silicon Valley start-up. Before that, it was a research project at Stanford backed by the Defense Department with the aim of creating an artificially intelligent assistant. Before that, it was an idea that had bounced around the tech industry, pop culture, and the halls of academia for decades; Apple itself had an early concept of a voice-interfacing AI in the 1980s. Before that there was the Hearsay II, a proto-Siri speech-recognition system.


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

(Vit doesn’t take a salary—he’s just about sufficiently well-off not to need it—and so the donations cover Vit’s travel costs, and events like this one year anniversary conference. All donations, along with Vit’s spending, are available to view on their website.) One of Liberland’s largest donors is thirty-seven-year-old multimillionaire Roger Ver. Like Vit, Roger considers himself an anarcho-capitalist. He left the United States and renounced his citizenship a decade ago after being convicted of selling firecrackers on eBay, and subsequently made money in Silicon Valley start-up companies, and then became a very early investor in the cryptocurrency bitcoin. (Roger plans to be cryonically frozen by Alcor when he dies, like Zoltan.) He now lives in Tokyo running a bitcoin-based business and donates $10,000 a month to Liberland.13 ‘I know it’s a long shot,’ Roger told me via Skype, ‘but the minute I’m assured the Croatian police aren’t going to destroy any investment I make there, yeah, sign me up!


pages: 540 words: 168,921

The Relentless Revolution: A History of Capitalism by Joyce Appleby

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1919 Motor Transport Corps convoy, agricultural Revolution, anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, Bartolomé de las Casas, Bernie Madoff, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, call centre, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, Columbian Exchange, commoditize, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, Doha Development Round, double entry bookkeeping, epigenetics, equal pay for equal work, European colonialism, facts on the ground, failed state, Firefox, fixed income, Ford paid five dollars a day, Francisco Pizarro, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, Gordon Gekko, Henry Ford's grandson gave labor union leader Walter Reuther a tour of the company’s new, automated factory…, Hernando de Soto, hiring and firing, illegal immigration, informal economy, interchangeable parts, interest rate swap, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, land reform, Livingstone, I presume, Long Term Capital Management, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Wolf, moral hazard, Parag Khanna, Ponzi scheme, profit maximization, profit motive, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, refrigerator car, Ronald Reagan, Scramble for Africa, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, special economic zone, spice trade, spinning jenny, strikebreaker, the built environment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Thorstein Veblen, total factor productivity, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, transcontinental railway, union organizing, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, urban renewal, War on Poverty, working poor, Works Progress Administration, Yogi Berra, Yom Kippur War

Attached to an electronic circuit board, the transistor could do wondrous things because of its smallness and adaptability. Ingenuous people had found a new way to exploit the electromagnetism of our planet. This technological newcomer “creatively destroyed” the vacuum tube that had started off wireless technology. The relentless revolution continued without the benefit of a forward-looking name for the dawning era, though the United States acquired a new place-name, Silicon Valley, where things called start-ups and initial public offerings were creating a new crop of millionaires. CAPITALISM IN NEW SETTINGS IN THE EARLY 1970S the unexpected rise in oil prices forced people to give some attention to other negative indicators in the industrial world: the slowing growth rate, intractable inflation, rising unemployment, the plunging dollar, and fluctuating exchange rates. The comfortable understanding among big business, big labor, and big government was coming apart.

The downside of a twenty-year run of high returns on capital unmistakably manifested itself, starting in New York and spreading to the major financial centers of London, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, and Tokyo. An autonomous nation, Iceland, verged on bankruptcy, leaving institutions that had invested in high-interest-yielding Icelandic bonds the poorer. Bankers, whose caution in the nineteenth-century world of J. P. Morgan had mediated market development, became as risk happy as promoters of the latest Silicon Valley start-up. Enticed by the possibility of greatly increasing earnings, bankers began competing with one another on the basis of service fees. Unlike their predecessors who financed railroad construction in the nineteenth century, they invested in the securities they created for their customers, throwing caution to the wind in order to make loans with fewer assets as ballast. Corporations replaced partnerships, allowing executives to take more risks without assuming personal responsibility.


pages: 202 words: 64,725

Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life by Bill Burnett, Dave Evans

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David Brooks, fear of failure, financial independence, game design, Haight Ashbury, invention of the printing press, iterative process, knowledge worker, market design, science of happiness, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Steve Jobs

Martha’s Many Lives What follows is an example of three five-year Odyssey Plans from a participant in one of our Mid-Career Workshops. Martha is a technology executive who was looking to try something more meaningful for the latter half of her life. She came up with three very different plans for her future, each a little more risky and innovative, but all involving some kind of community building. Her three plans were: doing her first Silicon Valley–style start-up, becoming the CEO of a nonprofit working with at-risk kids, and opening a fun and friendly neighborhood bar in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco, where she lived. Note that each example has a six-word headline describing the plan, a four-gauge dashboard (we really like dashboards), and the three questions that this particular alternative plan is asking. Example 1 Title: “All In—The Silicon Valley Story” Questions 1.


pages: 94 words: 26,453

The End of Nice: How to Be Human in a World Run by Robots (Kindle Single) by Richard Newton

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3D printing, Black Swan, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, Clayton Christensen, crowdsourcing, deliberate practice, fear of failure, Filter Bubble, future of work, Google Glasses, Isaac Newton, James Dyson, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Lean Startup, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Paul Erdős, Paul Graham, recommendation engine, rising living standards, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Y Combinator

If the key to unlocking the future belongs to the anti-conformers, then could it be that there’s a curse in the very things which once signalled great prestige – going to an elite school, employment at a big bank, being always fashionably on-season, a posh address, great wealth… If you already have everything, if your ambition is to hold on to what you have, to preserve the status quo, to have more of the same, then you have little incentive to be weird, to deviate from the path you are on. The pressure to fit is immense. The downside of pursuing the unusual, eccentric, creative and innovative things looms large if you’re already at the top. It’s one of the reasons that innovators don’t tend to come from the top of society. In fact they regularly come from nowhere near the top. Take one of the most creative social groups: immigrants. Over 50% of Silicon Valley engineering and technology start-ups were founded by immigrants, and immigrants are almost 30% more likely to launch a business than non-immigrants. (A 2008 study by Robert W Fairlie at the University of California at Santa Cruz on behalf of the US Small Business Administration found that immigrants are almost 30% more likely to launch a business than non-immigrants. It found that 16.7% of all new business owners are immigrants yet immigrants make up only 12.2% of the workforce.


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

(Which raises an existential question: Can something be a knockoff if an original doesn’t exist? China seems determined to find out.) ASUSTeK split itself in two, the better to make and sell cell phones, Kindle killers, and video games under its own name—now simply ASUS—while honoring its old contracts. Foxconn intends to open ten thousand stores across China, where its products will share shelf space with Apple’s and other customers’. It’s even investing millions of dollars in Silicon Valley start-ups in search of an edge against its own clients. “What ASUSTeK proved is that the companies with real leverage are the ones that actually make desirable products,” Clive Thompson argued in Wired. “The Taiwanese laptop builders possess the atom-hacking smarts that once defined America but which have atrophied here along with our industrial base.” A $28 billion high-tech trade surplus to China ten years ago had withered into a $54 billion deficit by 2007.


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

And as the housing bubble rose and went bust, Angelo Mozilo, CEO of subprime lender Countrywide, pocketed $410 million in salary, bonuses, and stock option grants and then got another $112 million in his severance package when his company went bust. Options Cheating The options game had an even more sinister flaw. At several hundred major corporations, including Apple, UnitedHealth Group, and Silicon Valley start-ups such as Symbol Technologies and Mercury Interactive, CEOs cheated their shareholders by manipulating their stock options. When their company’s stock did not go up and deliver them easy profits, these CEOs persuaded their boards of directors to rig the game. The boards would backdate the CEO’s stock options to a lower strike price, or buying price, than originally granted, so that even if the company’s stock had gone down, the CEO and senior executives would still get a handsome payoff while shareholders lost money.


pages: 843 words: 223,858

The Rise of the Network Society by Manuel Castells

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Apple II, Asian financial crisis, barriers to entry, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bob Noyce, borderless world, British Empire, capital controls, complexity theory, computer age, computerized trading, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, declining real wages, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, deskilling, disintermediation, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, edge city, experimental subject, financial deregulation, financial independence, floating exchange rates, future of work, global village, Gunnar Myrdal, Hacker Ethic, hiring and firing, Howard Rheingold, illegal immigration, income inequality, Induced demand, industrial robot, informal economy, information retrieval, intermodal, invention of the steam engine, invention of the telephone, inventory management, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, job-hopping, John Markoff, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, laissez-faire capitalism, Leonard Kleinrock, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Marc Andreessen, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, megacity, Menlo Park, moral panic, new economy, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, oil shock, open economy, packet switching, Pearl River Delta, peer-to-peer, planetary scale, popular capitalism, popular electronics, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, prediction markets, Productivity paradox, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, Robert Gordon, Robert Metcalfe, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, social software, South China Sea, South of Market, San Francisco, special economic zone, spinning jenny, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Ted Nelson, the built environment, the medium is the message, the new new thing, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, total factor productivity, trade liberalization, transaction costs, urban renewal, urban sprawl, zero-sum game

The most systematic effort at summarizing the developments of the early information technology revolution was conducted by Tom Forester in a series of books (1980, 1985, 1987, 1989, 1993). For good accounts of the origins of genetic engineering, see Elkington (1985) and Russell (1988). For an authoritative history of computing, see Ceruzzi (1998). For the history of the Internet, see Abbate (1999) and Naughton (1999). 40 An accepted “law” in the electronics industry, originated by Gordon Moore, chairman of Intel, the legendary Silicon Valley start-up company, today the world’s largest and one of the most profitable firms in micro-electronics. 41 The information reported in this chapter is widely available in newspapers and magazines. I extracted much of it from my reading of Business Week, The Economist, Wired, Scientific American, the New York Times, El Pais and the San Francisco Chronicle, which constitute my daily/weekly information staple.

The Man Behind the Microchip: Robert Noyce and the Invention of Silicon Valley by Leslie Berlin

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Apple II, Bob Noyce, collective bargaining, computer age, George Gilder, informal economy, John Markoff, laissez-faire capitalism, low skilled workers, means of production, Menlo Park, Murray Gell-Mann, open economy, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, union organizing, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, Yom Kippur War

The par- Breakaway 89 ent firm received an option to buy all of Fairchild Semiconductor’s stock for $3 million at any point before Fairchild Semiconductor had three successive years of net earnings greater than $300,000 per year. If Camera and Instrument waited more than three years but bought within seven years, the company would have to pay $5 million for Fairchild Semiconductor. It was, as one founder put it, “a very good deal for both sides.”22 Arthur Rock’s and Bud Coyle’s work in the establishment of Fairchild Semiconductor in many ways presaged the role of venture capitalists in future Silicon Valley startup operations, even though the term “venture capital” did not yet exist. The bankers helped the young technologists develop a business strategy, determine their funding requirements, and find investors. In return, Coyle’s and Rock’s firm took both a financial stake in the new company and a board seat from which they could influence the outcome of their investment. Coyle and Rock found only one investor to back only one company, whereas modern venture capitalists organize a pool of outside investors to back a number of startups of the financiers’ choosing, but the Northern California roots of venture capital—the pairing of brains and dollars—were established with the founding of Fairchild Semiconductor.


pages: 493 words: 139,845

Women Leaders at Work: Untold Tales of Women Achieving Their Ambitions by Elizabeth Ghaffari

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Albert Einstein, AltaVista, business process, cloud computing, Columbine, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, dark matter, family office, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial independence, follow your passion, glass ceiling, Grace Hopper, high net worth, knowledge worker, Long Term Capital Management, performance metric, pink-collar, profit maximization, profit motive, recommendation engine, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, thinkpad, trickle-down economics, urban planning, women in the workforce, young professional

Her firm specializes in marketing funds to private investors, including high-net-worth individuals, family offices, foundations, endowments, and independent financial advisors. Ms. Roden holds Series 7, 66, and 79 licenses to sell securities and provide investment advisory services. Previously, Ms. Roden was managing director of The Angels’ Forum, a leading association of individual and corporate early-stage investors, and was president and CEO of the Silicon Valley Association of Startup Entrepreneurs (SVASE), the largest nonprofit in Northern California dedicated to helping technology entrepreneurs. At both entities, she was responsible for dramatic increases in membership, deal flow, events, volunteers, sponsorship, and service offerings. During this period, she was also a lecturer in the Department of Accounting and Finance at the College of Business at San Jose State University (2001–2004).

Meanwhile, PowerTV was offering me the job to come back and be full-time CFO there. I decided to go back to PowerTV. Ghaffari: What was the technology at PowerTV? Was it embedded technology or was it content development? Roden: It was an operating system embedded in set-top boxes. PowerTV was sold to Scientific Atlanta, which was later acquired by Cisco. I was the CFO and VP of finance and administration. After we sold PowerTV, I made a commitment to Silicon Valley Association of Startup Entrepreneurs to run that organization for a year. At the same time, I started doing some teaching—just for fun—as a lecturer in the finance and accounting department of the business college at San Jose State University. I ended up doing both of those for about four and a half years. Ghaffari: How did you get that SVASE position? Roden: I was on the e-mail list for the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs, which had posted an ad for the CEO position at SVASE.


pages: 1,737 words: 491,616

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

* 120 Cultish Countercultishness In the modern world, joining a cult is probably one of the worse things that can happen to you. The best-case scenario is that you’ll end up in a group of sincere but deluded people, making an honest mistake but otherwise well-behaved, and you’ll spend a lot of time and money but end up with nothing to show. Actually, that could describe any failed Silicon Valley startup. Which is supposed to be a hell of a harrowing experience, come to think. So yes, very scary. Real cults are vastly worse. “Love bombing” as a recruitment technique, targeted at people going through a personal crisis. Sleep deprivation. Induced fatigue from hard labor. Distant communes to isolate the recruit from friends and family. Daily meetings to confess impure thoughts. It’s not unusual for cults to take all the recruit’s money—life savings plus weekly paycheck—forcing them to depend on the cult for food and clothing.

If you are terribly nervous about cultishness, then you will want to deny any hint of any characteristic that resembles a cult. But any group with a goal seen in a positive light is at risk for the halo effect, and will have to pump against entropy to avoid an affective death spiral. This is true even for ordinary institutions like political parties—people who think that “liberal values” or “conservative values” can cure cancer, etc. It is true for Silicon Valley startups, both failed and successful. It is true of Mac users and of Linux users. The halo effect doesn’t become okay just because everyone does it; if everyone walks off a cliff, you wouldn’t too. The error in reasoning is to be fought, not tolerated. But if you’re too nervous about “Are you sure this isn’t a cult?” then you will be reluctant to see any sign of cultishness, because that would imply you’re in a cult, and It’s not a cult!!


pages: 247 words: 81,135

The Great Fragmentation: And Why the Future of All Business Is Small by Steve Sammartino

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3D printing, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, augmented reality, barriers to entry, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, bitcoin, BRICs, Buckminster Fuller, citizen journalism, collaborative consumption, cryptocurrency, David Heinemeier Hansson, Elon Musk, fiat currency, Frederick Winslow Taylor, game design, Google X / Alphabet X, haute couture, helicopter parent, illegal immigration, index fund, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, Law of Accelerating Returns, lifelogging, market design, Metcalfe's law, Metcalfe’s law, Minecraft, minimum viable product, Network effects, new economy, peer-to-peer, post scarcity, prediction markets, pre–internet, profit motive, race to the bottom, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, remote working, RFID, Rubik’s Cube, self-driving car, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, social graph, social web, software is eating the world, Steve Jobs, survivorship bias, too big to fail, US Airways Flight 1549, web application, zero-sum game

The easiest way to get attention To get more attention, invest more in a product, build something amazing and let the collective sentience take over. If we qualify in the awesomeness stakes, then our audience will do the talking for us. The old model of under-investing in the product we sell so we could afford the distribution and media costs is now being reversed. If the product is amazing, is advertising really needed? Just ask Elon Musk of Tesla Motors. Tesla Motors is a Silicon Valley–based auto startup that makes all-electric vehicles. Tesla has no advertising, no agency and no chief marketing officer and it has no plans to run television advertisements any time soon. For 2012 and 2013 all of its production vehicles were presold. (Compare this to the $25 million in media Nissan spent on their ‘leaf’ electric vehicle.) The buzz Tesla Motors gets (through its new omnichannel media world) because it’s disrupting an entire industry with a better-looking, better-performing, safer and more futuristic vehicle is fuel enough for serious attention.


pages: 413 words: 119,587

Machines of Loving Grace: The Quest for Common Ground Between Humans and Robots by John Markoff

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A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, AI winter, airport security, Apple II, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bill Duvall, bioinformatics, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, call centre, cellular automata, Chris Urmson, Claude Shannon: information theory, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, collective bargaining, computer age, computer vision, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, DARPA: Urban Challenge, data acquisition, Dean Kamen, deskilling, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Hofstadter, Dynabook, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, future of work, Galaxy Zoo, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Grace Hopper, Gunnar Myrdal, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Hacker Ethic, haute couture, hive mind, hypertext link, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invention of the wheel, Jacques de Vaucanson, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Conway, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, labor-force participation, loose coupling, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, medical residency, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, natural language processing, new economy, Norbert Wiener, PageRank, pattern recognition, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Stallman, Robert Gordon, Rodney Brooks, Sand Hill Road, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, semantic web, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Singularitarianism, skunkworks, Skype, social software, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, strong AI, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tenerife airport disaster, The Coming Technological Singularity, the medium is the message, Thorstein Veblen, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, zero-sum game

Certainly AI and robotics technologies will destroy a vast number of jobs, but they can also be used to extend humanity. Which path is taken will be determined entirely by individual human designers. Tandy Trower is a software engineer who once oversaw armies of software engineers at Microsoft Corporation, but now works from a cramped office in South Seattle. The four-room shop might be any Silicon Valley garage start-up. There are circuit boards and computers strewn in every direction, and there are robots. Many of them are toys, but several look suspiciously like extras from the movie Robot & Frank. The idea of developing a robot to act as a human caregiver speaks directly to the tensions between AI and IA approaches to robotics. How will we care for our elderly? For some, integrating robots into elder care taps into a largely unmined market and offers roboticists the chance to orient their research toward a social good.


pages: 497 words: 130,817

Pedigree: How Elite Students Get Elite Jobs by Lauren A. Rivera

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affirmative action, availability heuristic, barriers to entry, Donald Trump, fundamental attribution error, glass ceiling, income inequality, job satisfaction, knowledge economy, meta analysis, meta-analysis, new economy, performance metric, profit maximization, profit motive, school choice, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, The Wisdom of Crowds, unpaid internship, women in the workforce, young professional

Scholars who study labor markets frequently portray communication skills as an innate, binary quality—an employee either has strong people skills or does not.19 In practice, though, appropriate interactional styles and norms vary across persons and settings. Obedience to authority figures, for example, is an asset in many blue-collar jobs; demonstrating independence and self-expression is valued in upper-middle-class, managerial jobs.20 There is variation in norms even between types of professional positions: wearing colorful socks and a slim tie to a job interview at a Silicon Valley tech start-up might be seen as a sign of creativity and insider status; donning the same outfit for an interview at a Wall Street law firm might be interpreted as showing disrespect. It is not surprising, then, that across firm types, evaluators readily acknowledged that assessing polish was a subjective undertaking. In the sections below, I look closely at what constitutes polish in elite corporate contexts.


pages: 537 words: 149,628

Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War by P. W. Singer, August Cole

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3D printing, Admiral Zheng, augmented reality, British Empire, digital map, energy security, Firefox, glass ceiling, global reserve currency, Google Earth, Google Glasses, IFF: identification friend or foe, Just-in-time delivery, Maui Hawaii, new economy, old-boy network, RAND corporation, reserve currency, RFID, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, stealth mode startup, trade route, Wall-E, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, zero day, zero-sum game

Hangar One, Moffett Field, Mountain View, California The thing that always jarred Daniel Aboye was the smell. The space was cavernous, 1,140 feet by 308 feet, to be exact, the size of three Superdomes. But the smell filled even that void. To someone from outside the valley, it was the tangy funk of old pizza and people who’d gone too long without a shower. But to anyone local, it smelled like money. Fame. Power. Success. So much had changed in Silicon Valley’s startup scene during the past few decades, but there was one constant. This smell. And the fact that it now filled Hangar One made it all the more appropriate. In 1931, the city fathers of Sunnyvale, California, had come up with a unique plan for economic development. They’d raised $480,000 to buy nearly a thousand acres of farmland and then sold off the land to the U.S. government for one dollar.


pages: 466 words: 127,728

The Death of Money: The Coming Collapse of the International Monetary System by James Rickards

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, Ayatollah Khomeini, bank run, banking crisis, Ben Bernanke: helicopter money, bitcoin, Black Swan, Bretton Woods, BRICs, business climate, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, centre right, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, complexity theory, computer age, credit crunch, currency peg, David Graeber, debt deflation, Deng Xiaoping, diversification, Edward Snowden, eurozone crisis, fiat currency, financial innovation, financial intermediation, financial repression, fixed income, Flash crash, floating exchange rates, forward guidance, G4S, George Akerlof, global reserve currency, global supply chain, Growth in a Time of Debt, income inequality, inflation targeting, information asymmetry, invisible hand, jitney, John Meriwether, Kenneth Rogoff, labor-force participation, labour mobility, Lao Tzu, liquidationism / Banker’s doctrine / the Treasury view, liquidity trap, Long Term Capital Management, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, market bubble, market clearing, market design, money market fund, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, mutually assured destruction, obamacare, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, open economy, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, price stability, quantitative easing, RAND corporation, reserve currency, risk-adjusted returns, Rod Stewart played at Stephen Schwarzman birthday party, Ronald Reagan, Satoshi Nakamoto, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, sovereign wealth fund, special drawing rights, Stuxnet, The Market for Lemons, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, trade route, uranium enrichment, Washington Consensus, working-age population, yield curve

A hedge fund might not care about the origin of the hidden information—it can just piggyback on the trade. For the CIA, the observation became a clue. And the stakes were higher. Like any development project, Prophesy had its geek squad of programmers and systems administrators to design protocols for security, interconnectivity, and the user interface. The team combined the joy of a Silicon Valley garage start-up with the can-do culture of the CIA in a unique effort to preempt terrorism using the same information that viewers see every day on Bloomberg TV. The climax of Project Prophesy was a red team exercise in September 2003. Red teaming is a classic way of testing hypotheses and models by recruiting a group of experts as the “enemy,” then asking them to role-play scenarios designed to expose flaws in the original assumptions.


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

the average cost of a one-bedroom apartment was 23 per cent: ‘Golden gates’, The Economist, 5 November 2015. One, the Negev, had been reported: ‘SRO tenants’ tales tell scary story’, Jessica Kwong, San Francisco Examiner, 21 November 2014. Meanwhile, Chez JJ, in the Castro: ‘An SF Hacker Hostel Faces the Real World and Loses’, Davey Alba, Wired, 22 August 2015. The Startup Castle, a Tudor-style mansion: ‘Silicon Valley’s “Startup Castle” is looking for roommates, and the requirements are completely bonkers’, Kevin Roose, Fusion.net, 13 May 2015. They cite surveys that suggest . . . etc.: Generation Me, Jean Twenge (Atria, 2006), p. 99. One 2006 poll of British children placed . . . Over in the US: The Narcissism Epidemic, Jean M. Twenge and W. Keith Campbell (Free Press, 2010), pp. 93, 94. Twenge points to further data that suggest individualism is rising: ‘Increases in Individualistic Words and Phrases in American Books, 1960–2008’, Jean M.


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

Although every business had its unique flavor, I sought to identify the commonalities behind the winners and understand what was missing among the losers. I looked for insights from academia: drawing upon consumer psychology, human-computer interaction, and behavioral economics research. In 2011, I began sharing what I learned and started working as a consultant to a host of Silicon Valley companies, from small startups to Fortune 500 enterprises. Each client provided an opportunity to test my theories, draw new insights, and refine my thinking. I began blogging about what I learned at NirAndFar.com and my essays were syndicated to other sites. Soon, readers began writing in with their own observations and examples. In the fall of 2012, Dr. Baba Shiv and I designed and taught a class at the Stanford Graduate School of Business on the science of influencing human behavior.


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

He had a vision of a more collaborative, more effective kind of teaching for students everywhere. With his initial traction, he was able to raise money from some of the most prestigious investors in Silicon Valley. When I first met Farb, his company was already on the fast track to success. They had raised venture capital from well-regarded investors, had built an awesome team, and were fresh off an impressive debut at one of Silicon Valley’s famous startup competitions. They were extremely process-oriented and disciplined. Their product development followed a rigorous version of the agile development methodology known as Extreme Programming (described below), thanks to their partnership with a San Francisco–based company called Pivotal Labs. Their early product was hailed by the press as a breakthrough. There was only one problem: they were not seeing sufficient growth in the use of the product by customers.


pages: 426 words: 105,423

The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss

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Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, call centre, clean water, Donald Trump, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, fixed income, follow your passion, game design, global village, Iridium satellite, knowledge worker, late fees, Maui Hawaii, oil shock, paper trading, Parkinson's law, passive income, peer-to-peer, pre–internet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, remote working, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Steve Jobs, Vilfredo Pareto, wage slave, William of Occam

—DAN PARTLAND, Emmy Award–winning producer of American High and Welcome to the Dollhouse “The 4-Hour Workweek is an absolute necessity for those adventurous souls who want to live life to its fullest. Buy it and read it before you sacrifice any more!” —JOHN LUSK, group product manager at Microsoft World Headquarters “If you want to live your dreams now, and not in 20 or 30 years, buy this book!” —LAURA RODEN, chairman of the Silicon Valley Association of Startup Entrepreneurs and a lecturer in Corporate Finance at San Jose State University “With this kind of time management and focus on the important things in life, people should be able to get 15 times as much done in a normal workweek.” —TIM DRAPER, founder of Draper Fisher Jurvetson, financiers to innovators including Hotmail, Skype, and Overture.com “Tim has done what most people only dream of doing.


pages: 284 words: 92,688

Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble by Dan Lyons

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activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Airbnb, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, call centre, cleantech, cloud computing, corporate governance, dumpster diving, fear of failure, Filter Bubble, Golden Gate Park, Google Glasses, Googley, Gordon Gekko, hiring and firing, Jeff Bezos, Lean Startup, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, minimum viable product, new economy, Paul Graham, pre–internet, quantitative easing, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rosa Parks, Sand Hill Road, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, software as a service, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, telemarketer, tulip mania, Y Combinator, éminence grise

Think of Rodney Dangerfield’s character in Caddyshack—big and loud, throwing money around—and you get the idea of how Andreessen has elbowed his way into the clubby world of venture capital: by paying more than everyone else and drawing a lot of attention to himself. In 2009 Andreessen was just another guy with a new venture fund, albeit a guy with a famous name. Six years later he is probably the best known and arguably the most influential investor in Silicon Valley. “Guys running start-ups love him. They all want to meet him,” one Boston-based venture capitalist says. “Every time I meet with a start-up, the first question they ask me is, ‘Do you know Marc Andreessen? Can you introduce us to him?’ He’s like a rock star.” Says another venture capitalist: “If you take money from Andreessen Horowitz, your valuation doubles or triples just because they’re involved. Why?


pages: 443 words: 98,113

The Corruption of Capitalism: Why Rentiers Thrive and Work Does Not Pay by Guy Standing

3D printing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, basic income, Ben Bernanke: helicopter money, Bernie Sanders, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bilateral investment treaty, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carried interest, cashless society, central bank independence, centre right, Clayton Christensen, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, credit crunch, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, debt deflation, declining real wages, deindustrialization, Doha Development Round, Donald Trump, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, ending welfare as we know it, eurozone crisis, falling living standards, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Firefox, first-past-the-post, future of work, gig economy, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Growth in a Time of Debt, housing crisis, income inequality, information retrieval, intangible asset, invention of the steam engine, investor state dispute settlement, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, labour market flexibility, light touch regulation, Long Term Capital Management, lump of labour, Lyft, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market clearing, Martin Wolf, means of production, mini-job, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, Neil Kinnock, non-tariff barriers, North Sea oil, Northern Rock, nudge unit, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, open economy, openstreetmap, patent troll, payday loans, peer-to-peer lending, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, precariat, quantitative easing, remote working, rent control, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, Right to Buy, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Simon Kuznets, sovereign wealth fund, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, structural adjustment programs, TaskRabbit, The Chicago School, The Future of Employment, the payments system, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, Y Combinator, zero-sum game, Zipcar

Many, if not most, inventions build on the past ingenuity of one or more, perhaps many, people, even over several generations. Faraday’s invention of the electric motor followed inventions of the electromagnet (Sturgeon) and the battery (Volta). Moreover, many inventions involve no investment, no cost and no risk, and may even arise by accident. President John Kennedy’s pledge to put a man on the moon led to spin-offs including memory foam, improved radial tyres, freeze-dried food and cochlear implants. Silicon Valley’s early start-ups benefited from public spending on research in universities and for defence (including invention of the internet itself, a freely available, publicly funded technology). The research that led to touch-screen displays, GPS and smartphone voice control all had government backing.6 In effect, government has socialised the risks but not the rewards. Why should all the income from an invention that happens to be commercially successful accrue to just one person or firm, the patent holder?


pages: 331 words: 104,366

Deep Thinking: Where Machine Intelligence Ends and Human Creativity Begins by Garry Kasparov

3D printing, Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Albert Einstein, AltaVista, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, business process, call centre, clean water, computer age, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, Drosophila, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, Freestyle chess, Gödel, Escher, Bach, job automation, Leonard Kleinrock, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nate Silver, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, pattern recognition, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, rising living standards, rolodex, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, speech recognition, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, zero-sum game

Not every great singer writes her own songs, however, and Apple’s shareholders and consumers clearly believe that their design and brand add a lot of value to their products. But if everyone imitates, soon there will be nothing new to imitate. Demand can be stimulated by incremental product diversification for only so long. The entrepreneur and venture capitalist Max Levchin used a good expression for this effect referring to Silicon Valley and tech start-ups, and I like it for just about everything. While we were working on a book project together a few years ago, he called it “innovating at the margins.” That is, looking for small efficiencies instead of taking on more substantial risks in the main area of business. Levchin has been interested in online payment and alternative currencies since cofounding PayPal in 1998, and he described how most of these services are trying to squeeze nickels out of the 2 to 3 percent banking fees while leaving the principle risk to the big banks.


pages: 238 words: 73,824

Makers by Chris Anderson

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3D printing, Airbnb, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Apple II, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Buckminster Fuller, Build a better mousetrap, business process, commoditize, Computer Numeric Control, crowdsourcing, dark matter, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, death of newspapers, dematerialisation, Elon Musk, factory automation, Firefox, future of work, global supply chain, global village, industrial robot, interchangeable parts, Internet of things, inventory management, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, Menlo Park, Network effects, profit maximization, QR code, race to the bottom, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Coase, Rubik’s Cube, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, slashdot, South of Market, San Francisco, spinning jenny, Startup school, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, Whole Earth Catalog, X Prize, Y Combinator

So, too, for most of the other successful companies that have followed this path. Although the revenues and profits outgrew the category of “small business,” employment did not. Because these companies are built along Web lines, they tend to be lean. But they also tend to be numerous, since the barriers to entry are so low. And with that many small manufacturers and companies, the odds that some of them will get big increase. The Silicon Valley model—that all startups are created with the hope of becoming the next Facebook—is what’s really the engine of economic growth. Even though almost all of them will fail to reach those highs, if a few do they can create multibillion-dollar industries and tens of thousands of jobs. And companies built on the Web-driven Maker model can do that. Why? For three reasons: First, because most start with an open community, they have the powerful growth potential of network effects built in.


pages: 260 words: 76,223

Ctrl Alt Delete: Reboot Your Business. Reboot Your Life. Your Future Depends on It. by Mitch Joel

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3D printing, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, call centre, clockwatching, cloud computing, Firefox, future of work, ghettoisation, Google Chrome, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, Lean Startup, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Network effects, new economy, Occupy movement, place-making, prediction markets, pre–internet, QR code, recommendation engine, Richard Florida, risk tolerance, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, social graph, social web, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Thomas L Friedman, Tim Cook: Apple, Tony Hsieh, white picket fence, WikiLeaks, zero-sum game

Everything—as we have known it to date—is going through a massive shift in digitization and mobility. This changes everything. The reality is that some of the biggest organizations in the marketplace today are actually hiring fewer and fewer people because they simply need less people to generate the same kinds of revenue. There is no doubt that the fastest-growing sector in the North American economy is being driven by anything and everything that touches Silicon Valley—the hotbed for startups. The challenge is that the biggest and brightest in this industry (Google, Facebook, Twitter, Kickstarter, LinkedIn…) simply do not employ a lot of people in relation to their valuations. Yes, the majority of these companies have many job openings, but they are for technical and engineering posts. The fact remains that the biggest companies are doing more with a lot less. Thinking like a startup is a skill set that will get you through the next half decade.


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

Henry Ford needed a domestic middle class with buying power; increasingly, his successors can look to the emerging markets to supply those mass consumers. Meanwhile, the oligarchs who prosper in extractive emerging market regimes don’t need to worry too much that repression at home is cutting them off from the innovation that democracies are better at nurturing. Communist Chinese princelings can import technology from the West; Russian oligarchs can invest directly in Silicon Valley’s hottest start-ups. And all of them can buy second homes in Manhattan and Kensington and villas on the Côte d’Azur and send their children to British boarding schools and American Ivy League universities. — There’s another way that globalization and its twin economic force, the technology revolution, are reducing the pressure on the plutocrats to make their societies more inclusive, or to keep them that way.


pages: 457 words: 128,838

The Age of Cryptocurrency: How Bitcoin and Digital Money Are Challenging the Global Economic Order by Paul Vigna, Michael J. Casey

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3D printing, Airbnb, altcoin, bank run, banking crisis, bitcoin, blockchain, Bretton Woods, California gold rush, capital controls, carbon footprint, clean water, collaborative economy, collapse of Lehman Brothers, Columbine, Credit Default Swap, cryptocurrency, David Graeber, disintermediation, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, ethereum blockchain, fiat currency, financial innovation, Firefox, Flash crash, Fractional reserve banking, hacker house, Hernando de Soto, high net worth, informal economy, intangible asset, Internet of things, inventory management, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, Kuwabatake Sanjuro: assassination market, litecoin, Long Term Capital Management, Lyft, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, McMansion, means of production, Menlo Park, mobile money, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Network effects, new economy, new new economy, Nixon shock, offshore financial centre, payday loans, Pearl River Delta, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, pets.com, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, price stability, profit motive, QR code, RAND corporation, regulatory arbitrage, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Satoshi Nakamoto, seigniorage, shareholder value, sharing economy, short selling, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart contracts, special drawing rights, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, Ted Nelson, The Great Moderation, the market place, the payments system, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, transaction costs, tulip mania, Turing complete, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber and Lyft, underbanked, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator, Y2K, zero-sum game, Zimmermann PGP

But as we’ve seen, that cumbersome system, as it is currently designed, is tightly interwoven into the traditional banking system, which always demands its cut. * * * As the calendar progressed through 2013 a vanguard of retail businesses began to spot the advantages of cryptocurrency’s lower-cost, faster payment system and started signing up for payment-processing services offered by Silicon Valley–funded bitcoin start-ups such as BitPay, Coinbase, and GoCoin. These firms touted a new model to break the paradigm of merchants’ dependence on the bank-centric payment system described above. These services charged monthly fees that amounted to significantly lower transaction costs for merchants than those charged in credit-card transactions and delivered swift, efficient payments online or on-site. In these new cases, the customer uses bitcoin to make the payment but merchants have the choice to be paid in dollars or their home currency.


pages: 336 words: 88,320

Being Geek: The Software Developer's Career Handbook by Michael Lopp

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finite state, game design, job satisfaction, John Gruber, knowledge worker, remote working, rolodex, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, sorting algorithm, web application

No drama, dealing with in management, You Will Be a Multilingual Translator Dreamweaver, My Tools Do Only What I've Told Them to Do Dropbox, My Tools Do Not Care Where My Work Is E editing presentations, The Disaster email and remote workers, Do You Mean It? Enemy, The Enemy engagement at work, Early Warning Signs of Doom engineers, That Damned Triangle, That Damned Triangle, The Reveal, The Curse of the Silicon Valley bits, features, and truth exercise, That Damned Triangle constructing a demo, The Reveal management, where they come from, The Curse of the Silicon Valley established companies vs. startups, Three Choices Evening Scrub of the to-do list, Practice Productivity Minimalism, The Trickle Process excuses, On Excuses exodus from the company, This Sucks experience, The Issue with the Doof, Established, Established, Bad News About Your Bright Future acquiring, at established companies, Established value of, The Issue with the Doof vs. confidence, Bad News About Your Bright Future F failure, Delivery, Do You Mean It?


pages: 394 words: 108,215

What the Dormouse Said: How the Sixties Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer Industry by John Markoff

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Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Apple II, back-to-the-land, beat the dealer, Bill Duvall, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Buckminster Fuller, California gold rush, card file, computer age, computer vision, conceptual framework, cuban missile crisis, Donald Knuth, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Edward Thorp, El Camino Real, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, general-purpose programming language, Golden Gate Park, Hacker Ethic, hypertext link, informal economy, information retrieval, invention of the printing press, Jeff Rulifson, John Markoff, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Mahatma Gandhi, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, Paul Terrell, popular electronics, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Stallman, Robert X Cringely, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South of Market, San Francisco, speech recognition, Steve Crocker, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, Thorstein Veblen, Turing test, union organizing, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

It seemed only logical to him that it was all about media coverage, and he was determined to become a top executive at CBS, which would enable him to make the changes from the inside. It didn’t work out that way, however, and two years later he was back at Stanford, where he received a graduate degree in economics. He coined the term “information economy,” went to work for Apple Computer, and later became the cofounder of General Magic, one of Silicon Valley’s ill-starred start-up companies. The West Coast counterculture acted like a magnet for thousands of young people around the country. Dorothy Bender picked the Summer of Love to leave Washington, D.C., and come to California. She was a rarity in the computer world of the 1960s: a woman and a programmer. Her interest in computing came from her father, who had escaped Buchenwald in the late 1930s and come to New York, where he found work in a factory.


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

They want you to understand what the iPhone and Android projects were like at the beginning—and so that is where this book will start. 1 The Moon Mission The fifty-five miles from Campbell to San Francisco is one of the nicest commutes anywhere. The journey mostly zips along the Junipero Serra Freeway, a grand and remarkably empty highway that abuts the east side of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Known as 280 to locals, it is one of the best places in Silicon Valley to spot a start-up tycoon speed-testing his Ferrari and one of the worst places for cell phone reception. For Andy Grignon in his Porsche Carrera, therefore, it was the perfect place for him to be alone with his thoughts early on January 8, 2007. This wasn’t Grignon’s typical route to work. He was a senior engineer at Apple in Cupertino, the town just west of Campbell. His morning drive typically covered seven miles and took exactly fifteen minutes.


pages: 435 words: 127,403

Panderer to Power by Frederick Sheehan

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Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, Bretton Woods, British Empire, call centre, central bank independence, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, deindustrialization, diversification, financial deregulation, financial innovation, full employment, inflation targeting, interest rate swap, inventory management, Isaac Newton, John Meriwether, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, market bubble, McMansion, Menlo Park, money market fund, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, new economy, Norman Mailer, Northern Rock, oil shock, Paul Samuelson, place-making, Ponzi scheme, price stability, reserve currency, rising living standards, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, savings glut, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South Sea Bubble, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, The Great Moderation, too big to fail, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, VA Linux, Y2K, Yom Kippur War, zero-sum game

Wall Street,” he offered up-to-the-minute advice: “This is the new economy, and you can learn as much about Wall Street on the Internet in two years as you could in the 10 or 15 years it used to take others.”30 Strictly speaking, Hendrix was correct, given the advice that Wall Street firms were offering their clients and the public. Harvard Business School opened an office in Silicon Valley to develop Internet start-up case studies.31 A March 2000 KPMG International poll of college seniors found that 74 percent of the students expected to become millionaires.32 Instead of sounding like “Dr. Wall Street” himself, Greenspan might have dampened the future carnage. Among his other storied accomplishments was that of an economic advisor who made stock market predictions for more than 50 years. Basking in Adulation: “Let’s Hear It for a Great Chairman” Yet Greenspan continued to root for the Nasdaq.


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

(i) Taleb, Nassim Nicholas, “Soviet–Harvard illusion” (The Black Swan) (i) tax havens (i) taxes and debt vs. equity financing (i), (ii) and labor (i) and policy uncertainty (i) in Sweden (i) taxi services and driverless cars debate (i) and regulation (i) tech entrepreneurs (i) tech incubators (i) technofeudal society (i) technological platforms, and regulation (i) technological singularity (i) technological unemployment (i), (ii) technology and capitalism (i) dystopian visions of (i) and economy (i), (ii), (iii) and employment (i) and French dirigisme (i) and innovation success (i), (ii), (iii), (iv) and “scientific civilization” thinking (i) technology angst vs. technology frustration (i) technology blitz theory (i), (ii), (iii), (iv) and vertical specialization (i) see also artificial intelligence; automation; diffusion; innovation; New Machine Age thesis; robotics/robots technostructure (i), (ii), (iii), (iv) telecommunications and deregulation (i) and globalization (i) and investment (i) see also Ericsson telephone (i), (ii) see also mobile phones/technology; smartphones Teles, Steven (i) Teller, Astro (i) 1066 and All That (Sellar and Yeatman) (i) Tesla (i) Texas, Special/Permanent School Fund (i) TFP (total factor productivity) growth (i), (ii), (iii) Thiel, Peter (i), (ii) Thomson, George (i) Tiberius (i) Time magazine, “The Committee to Save the World” (i) TNT, attempted acquisition of by UPS (i) total factor productivity (TFP) growth (i), (ii), (iii) Toynbee, Arnold (i), (ii) trade interfirm vs. intrafirm trade (i) see also global trade; mercantilism; protectionism transaction costs (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v), (vi) transmission costs (i), (ii), (iii) transparency Linaburg Maduell Transparency Index (LMTI) (i) and regulation (i), (ii) and sovereign wealth funds (i), (ii) Transparency International (i) “triple helix” models (i) “triple revolution” (i) trucking industry (US), shortages of drivers (i) Trump, Donald (i), (ii) Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development (i), (ii) Tullock, Gordon (i) Twitter, and Nobel Peace Prize (i) Uber (i), (ii), (iii) unbundling of production first (i) second (i), (ii), (iii), (iv) uncertainty and compliance officers (i), (ii) and entrepreneurship (i) and financial regulation (i) and globalist worldview (i), (ii) market uncertainty (i), (ii) policy uncertainty (i), (ii) and probabilistic approach (i), (ii) and risk (i), (ii) and strategy (i) see also predictability; regulatory complexity/uncertainty; volatility unemployment and decoupling (productivity/wages) thesis (i) and Great Recession (i) and New Machine Age hype (i) and productivity (i) technological unemployment (i), (ii) see also labor unicorns (firms) (i) United Kingdom (UK) “boom and bust” and Gordon Brown (i) business investment: declining trend (i); as a proportion of GDP (i) corporate net lending (i), (ii) corporate profit margins (1948–2014) (i), (ii) dependence on larger enterprises (i) EU Leave campaign and older generation (i) exports to China (i) financialization of real economy (i) and globalization (i), (ii), (iii) income inequality and generations (i) “Independent Review of UK Economic Statistics” (Charles Bean) (i) London Stock Exchange and sovereign wealth funds (i) managerialism (i) Middle Ages economy (i) pension deficits (i) pensioners vs. working-age households incomes (i) productivity and incomes (i) productivity puzzle (i) R&D spending (i) retirement savings (i) United States (US) academia and speech codes (i) American Financial Stability Oversight Council (i) banks: and compliance officers (i); and financial regulations (i) Blue Ribbon Commission (i) Burning Man festival (Nevada) (i) capital expenditure (capex) (i)n39 car industry: driverless cars (i); and environment-related regulations (i); and lean production (i) Code of Federal Regulations (i) Consumer Protection Act (i) corporate cash hoarding (i) corporate net lending (i), (ii) corporate profit margins (1948–2014) (i), (ii) corporate renewal levels (i) corporate retained earnings figures (i) corporations’ decline (1980s) (i) debt vs. equity (i) diffusion of innovations (i) dockers and containerization (i) Dodd–Frank Act (i), (ii), (iii), (iv) Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) (i) Federal Register (i) Federal Reserve (i) financial governance (1990s) (i) financialization of real economy (i) firm entry-and-exit rates (i), (ii), (iii) Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (i), (ii), (iii) GDP figures (i), (ii) and globalization (i), (ii), (iii) high-tech sector (i) Inc 500 ranking (i) incomes: and benefits (i); inequality and generations (i); inequality and productivity (i); and productivity (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v) information and communications technology: hardware investment as share of GDP (i), (ii); intensity and productivity (i); sector (i), (ii) investment: business investment declining trend (i), (ii); corporate borrowing and low investment levels (i); corporate investment and shareholders (i), (ii); institutional investors (i); private investment (i) labor: ATMs and teller jobs (i); farming occupation statistics (i); job creation and destruction trends (i), (ii), (iii); labor market flexibility, low rates of (i); occupational licenses (i), (ii); staff turnover rates (i); truck drivers, shortages of (i) market concentration (1997–2012) (i), (ii) Memphis International Airport and FedEx hub (i) mergers and acquisitions (i) New York Stock Exchange (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v) North American Free Trade Agreement (i) Organization Man (i) pessimism and capitalist decline (i) policy uncertainty (i), (ii) productivity: downward trend (i), (ii), (iii); via foreign operations (i)n46; and ICT intensity (i); and income inequality (i); and incomes (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v); total factor productivity (TFP) growth (i), (ii)n11; and un/employment (i) profit margins (i) public debt (i) public pensions (i) R&D spending (i), (ii), (iii) regulation/deregulation: air cargo services deregulation (i); car industry and environment-related regulations (i); Code of Federal Regulations (i); compliance officers and Dodd–Frank rules (i); drone aircraft rules (i); green building codes (i); index of regulatory freedom (i), (ii); index of regulatory trade barriers (i), (ii); medical devices (i); taxi services (i), (ii) retirement savings (i) robots, fear of (i) Silicon Valley (i), (ii), (iii) start-ups and entrepreneurship (i), (ii) stock market crash and modern portfolio theory (i) subprime mortgage crisis (i) subsidies to firms (i) Texas Special/Permanent School Fund (i) trade: and big business (i); index of regulatory trade barriers (i), (ii) Wall Street (i), (ii), (iii), (iv) universities, and erosion of dissent (i) University of Chicago (i) University of Oxford, Future of Humanity Institute (i) UPS, attempted acquisition of TNT (i) urbanization, and diffusion of innovations (i) value vs. numbers (i) value innovation (i) value chains fragmentation of (i), (ii), (iii) and German corporations (i) globalization of (i), (ii) and market concentration (i) marketization of (i) and outsourcing of supply chains (i) “slicing up” of (i), (ii) and specialization (i), (ii) see also supply chains Van Reenen, John (i) Vanguard Group (i) Vernon, John A.


pages: 836 words: 158,284

The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman by Timothy Ferriss

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23andMe, airport security, Albert Einstein, Black Swan, Buckminster Fuller, carbon footprint, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, correlation does not imply causation, Dean Kamen, game design, Gary Taubes, index card, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, life extension, lifelogging, Mahatma Gandhi, microbiome, p-value, Parkinson's law, Paul Buchheit, placebo effect, Productivity paradox, publish or perish, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, stem cell, Steve Jobs, survivorship bias, Thorstein Veblen, Vilfredo Pareto, wage slave, William of Occam

—Dan Partland, Emmy Award–winning producer of American High and Welcome to the Dollhouse “The 4-Hour Workweek is an absolute necessity for those adventurous souls who want to live life to its fullest. Buy it and read it before you sacrifice any more!” —John Lusk, group product manager at Microsoft World Headquarters “If you want to live your dreams now, and not in 20 or 30 years, buy this book!” —Laura Roden, chairman of the Silicon Valley Association of Startup Entrepreneurs and a lecturer in Corporate Finance at San Jose State University “With this kind of time management and focus on the important things in life, people should be able to get 15 times as much done in a normal workweek.” —Tim Draper, founder of Draper Fisher Jurvetson, financiers to innovators including Hotmail, Skype, and Overture.com “Tim has done what most people only dream of doing.