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

card file, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, Elon Musk, immigration reform, 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: 406 words: 105,602

The Startup Way: Making Entrepreneurship a Fundamental Discipline of Every Enterprise by Eric Ries

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, Ben Horowitz, Black-Scholes formula, call centre, centralized clearinghouse, Clayton Christensen, cognitive dissonance, connected car, corporate governance, DevOps, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, fault tolerance, Frederick Winslow Taylor, global supply chain, index card, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, loss aversion, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, minimum viable product, moral hazard, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, obamacare, peer-to-peer, place-making, rent-seeking, Richard Florida, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, secular stagnation, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, skunkworks, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, time value of money, Toyota Production System, Uber for X, universal basic income, web of trust, Y Combinator

In his new book, The Startup Way, Ries argues that established businesses need to build a new entrepreneurial capability in order to innovate continuously. Most large companies are missing this fundamental piece of the corporate innovation puzzle. Neglect his advice at your peril.” —Thales S. Teixeira, Harvard Business School “People tend to associate the term ‘startup’ with a uniqueness that assumes a culture of creativity, innovation, and continuous learning. But as Eric Ries shows, you don’t have to fit the mold of a typical Silicon Valley startup to prioritize learning over perfection and create a culture where making mistakes is not just accepted, but encouraged. The Startup Way presents a new vision for what a modern company can, and should, look like.” —Reshma Saujani, founder of Girls Who Code “In The Startup Way, Eric Ries applies the secrets of Silicon Valley to established companies in every industry. The fact is, today every one of us is in startup mode.

If it hurts, you’re not doing it wrong, you’re doing it right.”3 In this part of the book, we’ll talk about what it means to become a modern company, and the entrepreneurial structure required to survive and embody a long-term vision for the future. Implementing that vision takes patience and dedication—transformation is never a quick fix—but organizations that operate this way have the greatest chance at continued expansion. We’ll walk through the elements of startup culture and work that have made Silicon Valley and other startup hubs such dynamic places, as well as the lessons and theories from the past that form the foundation on which to build a new way of thinking about management. Finally, we’ll synthesize these ideas into the Startup Way. CHAPTER 1 RESPECT THE PAST, INVENT THE FUTURE: CREATING THE MODERN COMPANY When I first began working with GE years ago, I sat down for a conversation with CEO Jeff Immelt.

Is it any wonder they don’t have a logical home in the traditional org chart? Not only that, but the entrepreneurs who lead these startups require a distinct career path with its own performance development standards of best practices and metrics for success, including mentorship in the high-impact techniques that accelerate growth. Figuring this out has been part of the secret sauce of Silicon Valley.1 Integrate Startups into the Parent Organization The second responsibility of the entrepreneurial function is to manage the problem of success. Although I acknowledge the fact that most startups fail, the hardest part for most organizations is knowing what to do when they succeed. A startup within an established organization that is limping along is only moderately threatening to the established order.


pages: 469 words: 132,438

Taming the Sun: Innovations to Harness Solar Energy and Power the Planet by Varun Sivaram

addicted to oil, Albert Einstein, asset-backed security, autonomous vehicles, bitcoin, blockchain, carbon footprint, cleantech, collateralized debt obligation, Colonization of Mars, decarbonisation, demand response, disruptive innovation, distributed generation, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, energy security, energy transition, financial innovation, fixed income, global supply chain, global village, Google Earth, hive mind, hydrogen economy, index fund, Indoor air pollution, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, M-Pesa, market clearing, market design, mass immigration, megacity, mobile money, Negawatt, off grid, oil shock, peer-to-peer lending, performance metric, renewable energy transition, Richard Feynman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, smart grid, smart meter, sovereign wealth fund, Tesla Model S, time value of money, undersea cable, wikimedia commons

But it is alive and well for memory chips, as I’ve learned from my father—the technology chief at a major chipmaker—who recently unveiled a new flash memory chip design that is actually beating Moore’s Law and is already in your iPhone.)2 Recognizing the value of different perspectives, I’ve eagerly sought out more over the last decade. In addition to my time in academia and in Los Angeles, I’ve worked at two Silicon Valley start-ups, consulted for large energy companies, advised U.S. federal and state officials, and visited burgeoning markets for solar power all over the world. There, too, I’ve found contradictions. Scientists despair that commercial solar technology is stagnating, whereas the industry trumpets its progress. Some scholars predict that solar panels and wind turbines could keep multiplying until the world runs off of 100% clean energy; others reject this idea as folly.

Green, “Don’t Link Carbon Markets,” Nature 543, no. 7646, (March 21, 2017), http://www.nature.com/news/don-t-link-carbon-markets-1.21663. Chapter 2    Coming of Age In the fall of 2007, I was torn between two offers I couldn’t pass up. One was to attend Stanford University, my dream school as far back as I could remember. The other offer was to stay on as a process engineer at a Silicon Valley start-up called Nanosolar that was going to change the world. The chief executive officer, a visionary entrepreneur from Germany named Martin Roscheisen, put his arm around me and told me in his booming voice, “Varun, it’ll be just like Xerox PARC.” He was referring to the legendary Palo Alto research park where the modern computer was invented. Nanosolar had set out to commercialize a technology that it knew was just as revolutionary.

Then, as Japan and Germany took the lead from the United States in supporting their domestic solar industries, solar PV started to gain traction in the early years of the twenty-first century. China’s solar industry had modest beginnings, but when it finally got going, its competitors stood no chance. Even though the solar industry is finally in the ascendant, it lost a vital element when Silicon Valley’s start-ups failed. The surviving firms harbor no illusion that solar technology might change fundamentally. Rather, in each segment of the industry, all the way from upstream manufacturing to downstream deployment, firms are laser-focused on cutting costs rather than disrupting the current order. This approach looks set to fuel continued growth in the coming years, but it is not at all conducive to the innovation the industry needs to pursue to brighten solar’s long-term prospects.


pages: 237 words: 64,411

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

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Amazon Web Services, asset allocation, autonomous vehicles, bank run, bitcoin, Bob Noyce, Brian Krebs, business cycle, 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.


pages: 499 words: 144,278

Coders: The Making of a New Tribe and the Remaking of the World by Clive Thompson

2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 4chan, 8-hour work day, Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, Asperger Syndrome, augmented reality, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, basic income, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, blue-collar work, Brewster Kahle, Brian Krebs, Broken windows theory, call centre, cellular automata, Chelsea Manning, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, computer vision, Conway's Game of Life, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Danny Hillis, David Heinemeier Hansson, don't be evil, don't repeat yourself, Donald Trump, dumpster diving, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ernest Rutherford, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, Firefox, Frederick Winslow Taylor, game design, glass ceiling, Golden Gate Park, Google Hangouts, Google X / Alphabet X, Grace Hopper, Guido van Rossum, Hacker Ethic, HyperCard, illegal immigration, ImageNet competition, Internet Archive, Internet of things, Jane Jacobs, John Markoff, Jony Ive, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, Larry Wall, lone genius, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Shuttleworth, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, microservices, Minecraft, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, Network effects, neurotypical, Nicholas Carr, Oculus Rift, PageRank, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, pink-collar, planetary scale, profit motive, ransomware, recommendation engine, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rubik’s Cube, Ruby on Rails, Sam Altman, Satoshi Nakamoto, Saturday Night Live, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, single-payer health, Skype, smart contracts, Snapchat, social software, software is eating the world, sorting algorithm, South of Market, San Francisco, speech recognition, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, TaskRabbit, the High Line, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, universal basic income, urban planning, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce, Y Combinator, Zimmermann PGP, éminence grise

to focus while coding: Rhett Jones, “Lawsuit: VR Company Had a ‘Kink Room,’ Pressured Female Employees to ‘Microdose,’ ” Gizmodo, May 15, 2017, accessed August 19, 2018, https://gizmodo.com/lawsuit-vr-company-had-a-kink-room-pressured-female-e-1795243868. The lawsuit was later settled out of court: Marisa Kendall, “Silicon Valley Virtual Reality Startup Settles ‘Kink Room’ Lawsuit,” The Mercury News, September 7, 2017, accessed October 7, 2018, https://gizmodo.com/lawsuit-vr-company-had-a-kink-room-pressured-female-e-1795243868. The lawsuit was later settled out of court: Marisa Kendall, “Silicon Valley Virtual Reality Startup Settles ‘Kink Room’ Lawsuit,” The Mercury News, September 7, 2017, accessed October 7, 2018, https://www.mercurynews.com/2017/09/07/san-francisco-virtual-reality-startup-settles-kink-room-lawsuit/. a good example of that: Adam Fisher, “Sex, Beer, and Coding: Inside Facebook’s Wild Early Days,” Wired, July 10, 2018, accessed August 19, 2018, https://www.wired.com/story/sex-beer-and-coding-inside-facebooks-wild-early-days. 96 percent of the investors are men: Dan Primack, “Venture Capital’s Stunning Lack of Female Decision-makers,” Fortune, February 6, 2014, accessed August 19, 2018, http://fortune.com/2014/02/06/venture-capitals-stunning-lack-of-female-decision-makers/.

The blizzard of “do stuff for me” apps is what you get when you populate a tech hub—San Francisco—with a plurality of young men just out of college, and give them the tools of optimization and geysers of money for start-ups. The odds are high the “problem” they’ll decide needs most urgently to be solved is the re-creation of the conveniences of dorm and home-life—where everyone prepared their meals, cleaned up after them, and ferried them around in vehicles. As my friend Clara Jeffery, the editor in chief of Mother Jones noted in a tweet, “So many Silicon Valley startups are about dudes wanting to replicate mom.” It’s also a symptom of how coding has evolved. To be sure, some of these services are popular outside the coterie of coddled recent grads. Many people—the ones wealthy enough to pay for it, certainly—are happy to pay to have the pain-in-the-ass parts of life abstracted away. Uber’s enormous success was predicated on reshaping the hailing of a car, an act that was historically plagued by a teeth-gnashing inefficiency: Taxis didn’t know where customers were, and customers didn’t know where taxis were.

One analysis of his emails suggested he wasn’t any more venomous to women than to men. But even Torvalds decided, at long last, that his behavior was a problem for the Linux community: In September 2018, he temporarily stepped down as benevolent dictator to “get some assistance on how to understand people’s emotions and respond appropriately,” as he wrote. One could reply, as some coders do, that the low proportion of women and minorities in projects like this—or at Silicon Valley startups like the early stage PayPal—is also just a function of meritocracy. Maybe women are just inherently less good at the discipline. The short answer to that is no. The longer answer is something I take up in the next chapter, “The ENIAC Girls Vanish.” Coders and techies, certainly in the US, have a reputation for leaning libertarian—which we could define here very loosely as believing that each person is responsible for their own fate, that government regulations generally stifle liberty, and that society is best served by letting the best rise by their own efforts.


pages: 400 words: 88,647

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

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, disruptive innovation, Elon Musk, financial exclusion, financial innovation, global supply chain, IKEA effect, income inequality, industrial robot, intangible asset, Internet of things, job satisfaction, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, late fees, Lean Startup, low cost airline, 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, 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, standardized shipping container, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, The Nature of the Firm, transaction costs, Travis Kalanick, 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: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career by Reid Hoffman, Ben Casnocha

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, Joi Ito, late fees, lateral thinking, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, out of africa, Paul Graham, paypal mafia, 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: 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, Ben Horowitz, 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, Sam Altman, 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, Travis Kalanick, uber lyft, 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: 146 words: 43,446

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

Albert Einstein, Andy Kessler, business climate, 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: 116 words: 31,356

Platform Capitalism by Nick Srnicek

3D printing, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cloud computing, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, deindustrialization, deskilling, disintermediation, future of work, gig economy, Infrastructure as a Service, Internet of things, Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, liquidity trap, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, mittelstand, multi-sided market, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Oculus Rift, offshore financial centre, pattern recognition, platform as a service, quantitative easing, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, self-driving car, sharing economy, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, software as a service, TaskRabbit, the built environment, total factor productivity, two-sided market, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, unconventional monetary instruments, unorthodox policies, Zipcar

‘Mapped: Negative Central Bank Interest Rates Now Herald New Danger for the World’. The Telegraph, 15 February. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/12149894/Mapped-Why-negative-interest-rates-herald-new-danger-for-the-world.html (accessed 22 May 2016). Kim, Eugene. 2016. ‘Dropbox Cut a Bunch of Perks and Told Employees to Save More as Silicon Valley Startups Brace for the Cold’. Business Insider. 7 May. http://uk.businessinsider.com/cost-cutting-at-dropbox-and-silicon-valley-startups-2016-5 (accessed 22 May 2016). Klein, Matthew. 2016. ‘The US Tech Sector Is Really Small’. Financial Times, 8 January. http://ftalphaville.ft.com/2016/01/08/2149557/the-ustech-sector-is-really-small (accessed 30 June 2016). Knight, Sam. 2016. ‘How Uber Conquered London’. The Guardian, 27 April. http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/apr/27/how-uber-conquered-london (accessed 22 May 2016).


pages: 170 words: 49,193

The People vs Tech: How the Internet Is Killing Democracy (And How We Save It) by Jamie Bartlett

Ada Lovelace, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrew Keen, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, Boris Johnson, central bank independence, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, computer vision, creative destruction, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Dominic Cummings, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Filter Bubble, future of work, gig economy, global village, Google bus, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, information retrieval, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Julian Assange, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mittelstand, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, Nicholas Carr, off grid, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, payday loans, Peter Thiel, prediction markets, QR code, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Renaissance Technologies, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Mercer, Ross Ulbricht, Sam Altman, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, smart cities, smart contracts, smart meter, Snapchat, Stanford prison experiment, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, strong AI, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, technoutopianism, Ted Kaczynski, the medium is the message, the scientific method, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, too big to fail, ultimatum game, universal basic income, WikiLeaks, World Values Survey, Y Combinator

We were the first campaign in the UK to put almost all our money into digital communication then have it partly controlled by people whose normal work was subjects like quantum information . . . If you want to make big improvements in communication, my advice is – hire physicists, not communications people from normal companies. * * * • • • Just like Brad, Cummings set up Vote Leave like a Silicon Valley start-up, with physicists, data, innovation and constant testing of ads or messages. One especially smart move involved inviting people to guess the results of all 51 matches in the Euro 2016 football tournament with the chance of winning £50 million, in exchange for their phone number, email, home address and a score of 1–5 in respect of how likely they were to vote for staying in the EU.14 This, of course, fed into the models.

Chapter 4: Driverless Democracy What Happens to Citizens When AI Takes All the Work? Science fiction is fast becoming science fact, as rapidly improving artificial intelligence starts to impact our economy. However, rather than speculation about a ‘jobless future’, we should be worrying about growing inequality and whether the coming tech revolution will wipe out the middle class. LIKE MANY SILICON VALLEY start-ups, Starsky Robotics was founded by two twenty-somethings who regard sleep as optional. Any successful new tech firm needs someone who understands technology and someone who understands business, and these two distinct skills are rarely found in one individual. At Starsky, Kartik Tiwari is the ‘tech guy’ who specialises in artificial intelligence, and Stefan Seltz-Axmacher is the ‘serial entrepreneur’ guy, who mostly specialises in starting-up start-ups.

Epilogue: Universal Basic Income At some point all this creative destruction becomes bad even for the winners. No one wants to live in a world comprising a handful of trillionaires and hordes of unemployed or extremely poorly paid people – not even the trillionaires. A growing number of people are proposing a bold new idea to deal with this. In 2017 I interviewed Sam Altman, the president of Y Combinator, the most important fund in Silicon Valley for tech start-ups. Thousands of businesses apply every year to access Y Combinator’s funding and guidance, in exchange for a small slice of their company. Sam is a Princeton dropout and frequently wears a hoodie, yet when I met him, he was only 31 years old and already a multi-millionaire. He is often described as ‘the man who invents the future’. The companies Y Combinator have funded include Airbnb and Starsky Robotics, and are now altogether valued at $80 billion.


pages: 510 words: 120,048

Who Owns the Future? by Jaron Lanier

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, 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, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Peter Thiel, place-making, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, post-oil, pre–internet, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, scientific worldview, 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: 102 words: 29,596

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

Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, centralized clearinghouse, cloud computing, disruptive innovation, 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: 347 words: 91,318

Netflixed: The Epic Battle for America's Eyeballs by Gina Keating

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, barriers to entry, business intelligence, collaborative consumption, corporate raider, inventory management, Jeff Bezos, late fees, Mark Zuckerberg, McMansion, Menlo Park, Netflix Prize, new economy, out of africa, performance metric, Ponzi scheme, pre–internet, price stability, recommendation engine, Saturday Night Live, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Jobs, subscription business, Superbowl ad, telemarketer, X Prize

It was a common dance in 1990s Silicon Valley, a verdant and sunny groove of flat land sandwiched between the southern reaches of the San Francisco Bay in the east and the Santa Cruz Mountains in the west. Start-ups bloomed for a year or so, watered by plentiful venture capital dollars, and were quickly swallowed up by private investors or large, rich companies fishing for the next big innovation in software, biomedical engineering, telecoms, or the ever-evolving Internet. It was the new gold rush, and venture capital investors would pour more than $70 billion into Silicon Valley start-ups before the decade was out. Things moved so quickly and money was so plentiful that most entrepreneurs had no chance, or any need, to turn a profit, or even run to their companies for long. The pace was grueling, and everyone was expected to bring his or her top game each day for months of sixteen-hour days, until it was clear whether a fledgling business would fly or crash. The money was easy, but in exchange the entrepreneurs had to return tens, if not hundreds of times the VCs’ initial investment.

While the founding team grumbled that Hastings had pushed out Netflix’s rightful leader, Randolph tried to be philosophical about the arrangement. He had what it took to conceive and launch Netflix. What came next—ruthless optimization and relentless growth—were not his strong suits. Netflix badly needed a large cash infusion and some hard decisions made about its direction, and Hastings could handle both tasks better. Although the venture capital community poured a then record $5.4 billion into Silicon Valley start-ups in 1998, and interest in dot-coms was still climbing, investors were becoming wary of companies with no clear path to solvency and profit. Nevertheless, when Hastings started making the rounds of the venture capital community he found checkbooks opening for him based on his success with Pure Atria. He also considered opportunities to sell Netflix but found no offer large enough to return the capital that he and others had already invested.

“When you are getting photographed in the New York Times or Fortune or the AP, you’re making a statement about the company,” he told Hastings. Hasting liked to be photographed with a fan of DVDs or behind a conveyor belt in the nearby distribution center. He stuck to company-related settings as a safeguard against the embarrassment he had felt after posing on the hood of his Porsche for a photo accompanying a 1995 USA Today article about Silicon Valley start-ups entitled “Boom! You’re a Millionaire.” Hastings proved an adept and interested student of mass media, and held up well most of the time as Netflix’s public persona. Occasionally Hastings’s engineer brain would trump his CEO manners. At a 2010 event at the Churchill Club, hosted by former Walt Disney chairman and chief executive Michael Eisner, Hastings ended his ninety-minute appearance, rose, and walked off the stage before the moderator had finished a rather meandering concluding speech—eliciting an audible gasp from the audience.


pages: 319 words: 90,965

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

Albert Einstein, barriers to entry, Bayesian statistics, Berlin Wall, business cycle, business intelligence, carbon-based life, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, David Heinemeier Hansson, declining real wages, deliberate practice, discrete time, disruptive innovation, 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, uber lyft, 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.


pages: 223 words: 60,909

Technically Wrong: Sexist Apps, Biased Algorithms, and Other Threats of Toxic Tech by Sara Wachter-Boettcher

Airbnb, airport security, AltaVista, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, Donald Trump, Ferguson, Missouri, Firefox, Grace Hopper, job automation, Kickstarter, lifelogging, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, natural language processing, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, Tim Cook: Apple, Travis Kalanick, upwardly mobile, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

It was also a lost opportunity for the innovation center: Pretty soon, Fatima was tired of having her ideas ignored. She quit. Fatima’s story is over the top: her company ignored her input, made sexist assumptions, and launched a product that failed. But this mind-set—where someone assumes they have all the answers about a product, and leaves out anyone with a different perspective—isn’t rare. Scratch the surface at all kinds of companies—from Silicon Valley’s “unicorns” (startups with valuations of more than a billion dollars) to tech firms in cities around the world—and you’ll find a culture that routinely excludes anyone who’s not young, white, and male. One designer working on digital products in the Midwest told me she sat down with her company’s owners to talk about maternity leave and found out they didn’t even know whether they had a maternity policy.

“A prestigious degree, a proven track record and personal connections to power-brokers are at least as important as a great idea,” she wrote. “Scrappy unknowns with a suitcase and a dream are the exceptions, not the rule.” 3 As Sharon Vosmek, CEO of the venture accelerator Astia, put it, “They call it pattern recognition, but in other industries they call it profiling or stereotyping.” 4 Meanwhile, women hardly get funded at all: only 10 percent of the 187 Silicon Valley startups that received Series A funding in 2016 were woman-led, up a meager 2 percent from the year before.5 Yet much of the tech industry still clings to meritocracy like a tattered baby blanket. Sequoia Capital partner Greg McAdoo insisted, “This business is a meritocracy by and large.” 6 David Sacks, an early executive at PayPal, claimed that “if meritocracy exists anywhere on earth, it is in Silicon Valley.” 7 Until 2014, code-hosting platform GitHub even put a rug emblazoned with “United Meritocracy of GitHub” in the center of its Oval Office–replica waiting room.8 In the fall of 2016, the Atlantic sent out its annual “pulse of the technology industry” survey to influential executives, founders, and thinkers—and found that “men were three times as likely as women to say Silicon Valley is a meritocracy.” 9 It’s not just tech that wants desperately to believe in a meritocracy, of course.

Hall’s now-deleted article in Forbes, “There Is No Diversity Crisis in Tech,” which he reposted at Medium.com on October 7, 2015: https://medium.com/@brianshall/the-article-on-diversity-in-tech-that-forbes-took-down-15cfd28d5639#.sp3ogqmuw. 2. Michael Young, “Down with Meritocracy,” Guardian, June 28, 2001, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2001/jun/29/comment. 3. Sarah McBride, “Insight: In Silicon Valley Start-up World, Pedigree Counts,” Reuters, September 12, 2013, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-startup-connections-insight-idUSBRE98B15U20130912. 4. Vivek Wadhwa, “Silicon Valley: You and Some of Your VC’s Have a Gender Problem,” TechCrunch, February 7, 2010, https://techcrunch.com/2010/02/07/silicon-valley-you%E2%80%99ve-got-a-gender-problem-and-some-of-your-vc%E2%80%99s-still-live-in-the-past. 5.


pages: 359 words: 110,488

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, bioinformatics, corporate governance, Donald Trump, El Camino Real, Elon Musk, Google Chrome, John Markoff, Jony Ive, Kickstarter, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, medical malpractice, Menlo Park, obamacare, Ponzi scheme, ride hailing / ride sharing, Right to Buy, Sand Hill Road, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, Travis Kalanick, ubercab

Knopf, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, New York, and distributed in Canada by Random House of Canada, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited, Toronto. www.aaknopf.com Knopf, Borzoi Books, and the colophon are registered trademarks of Penguin Random House LLC. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Names: Carreyrou, John, author. Title: Bad blood : secrets and lies in a Silicon Valley startup / John Carreyrou. Description: First Edition. | New York : Knopf, 2018. Identifiers: LCCN 2018000263 | ISBN 9781524731656 (hardback) | ISBN 9781524731663 (ebook) Subjects: LCSH: Theranos (Firm)—History. | Hematologic equipment industry—United States. | Fraud—United States. | BISAC: BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Entrepreneurship. | BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Finance. | TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Biomedical.

A distinguished fellow at the Hoover Institution, the think tank housed on the Stanford campus, Shultz remained a revered and influential figure in Republican circles despite his advancing age (he was ninety-two). That made him a friend of the Journal’s famously conservative editorial page, to which he occasionally contributed op-eds. During a visit to the paper’s Midtown Manhattan headquarters to discuss climate change with its editorial board in 2012, Shultz had dropped mention of a secretive and reclusive Silicon Valley startup founder who he felt certain was going to revolutionize medicine with her technology. Intrigued, the Journal’s long-serving editorial page editor, Paul Gigot, had offered to send one of his writers to interview the mysterious wunderkind when she felt ready to break her silence and introduce her invention to the world. A year later, Shultz had called back with word that Elizabeth was ready and Gigot had handed the assignment to Joseph Rago, a member of the Journal’s editorial board who had written extensively about health care.

I knew from reading the New Yorker and Fortune articles and from browsing the Theranos website that Balwani was the company’s president and chief operating officer. If what Alan was saying was true, this added a new twist: Silicon Valley’s first female billionaire tech founder was sleeping with her number-two executive, who was nearly twenty years her senior. It was sloppy corporate governance, but then again this was a private company. There were no rules against that sort of thing in Silicon Valley’s private startup world. What I found more interesting was the fact that Holmes seemed to be hiding the relationship from her board. Why else would the New Yorker article have portrayed her as single, with Henry Kissinger telling the magazine that he and his wife had tried to fix her up on dates? If Holmes wasn’t forthright with her board about her relationship with Balwani, then what else might she be keeping from it?


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, Amazon Web Services, Andy Kessler, autonomous vehicles, Ben Horowitz, Boris Johnson, 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, Mitch Kapor, 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, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, ubercab, 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: 286 words: 87,401

Blitzscaling: The Lightning-Fast Path to Building Massively Valuable Companies by Reid Hoffman, Chris Yeh

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, autonomous vehicles, bitcoin, blockchain, Bob Noyce, business intelligence, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, database schema, discounted cash flows, Elon Musk, Firefox, forensic accounting, George Gilder, global pandemic, Google Hangouts, Google X / Alphabet X, hydraulic fracturing, Hyperloop, inventory management, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Joi Ito, Khan Academy, late fees, Lean Startup, Lyft, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, margin call, Mark Zuckerberg, minimum viable product, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, Oculus Rift, oil shale / tar sands, Paul Buchheit, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart grid, social graph, software as a service, software is eating the world, speech recognition, stem cell, Steve Jobs, subscription business, Tesla Model S, thinkpad, transaction costs, transport as a service, Travis Kalanick, Uber for X, uber lyft, web application, winner-take-all economy, Y Combinator, yellow journalism

After dropping out of college, he or she gathers a small team who are happy to work for equity, sets up shop in a humble garage, plays foosball, raises money from sage venture capitalists, and proceeds to change the world—after which, of course, the founders and early employees live happily ever after, using the wealth they’ve amassed to fund both a new generation of entrepreneurs and a set of eponymous buildings for Stanford University’s Computer Science Department. It’s an exciting and inspiring story. We get the appeal. There’s only one problem. It’s incomplete and deceptive in several important ways. First, while “Silicon Valley” and “start-ups” are used almost synonymously these days, only a tiny fraction of the world’s start-ups actually originate in Silicon Valley, and this fraction has been getting smaller as start-up knowledge spreads around the globe. Thanks to the Internet, entrepreneurs everywhere have access to the same information. Moreover, as other markets have matured, smart founders from around the globe are electing to build companies in start-up hubs in their home countries rather than immigrating to Silicon Valley.

Craig Newmark simply started e-mailing his friends about local events in 1995; almost twenty-two years later, network effects have kept Craigslist a dominant player in online classifieds despite operating with a skeleton crew and making seemingly no changes to the website design during that entire period! This is where an emphasis on speed also plays an important role. Because Silicon Valley’s entrepreneurs focus on designing business models that can get big fast, they are more likely to incorporate network effects. And because the fierce local competition forces start-ups to grow so aggressively (i.e., blitzscale), Silicon Valley start-ups are more likely to reach the tipping point of network effects before start-ups from less aggressive geographies. One of the motivations for this book is to help entrepreneurs from around the world emulate these successes by teaching them how to systematically design their businesses for blitzscaling. When you design your business model to leverage network effects, you can succeed anywhere.

At this phase, you should try to make your opponents defend every bit of their territories, because, if you succeed, they will be stretched too thin to ward off the attacks you actually consider important. Just remember to save a few ships to fend off attacks from those pesky pirates! From Captain to Admiral At the time of the writing of this book, the ridesharing company Uber was Silicon Valley’s most valuable start-up (and second globally to its frenemy, China’s Didi Chuxing), despite having spent most of 2017 in the news for a number of serious problems and scandals. Some of these issues were due to clearly unethical behavior, including internal problems, such as the sexual harassment reported by the former Uber engineer Susan Fowler, and various external attempts to subvert free competition, regulation, and the press, such as creating fake accounts to poach drivers from its rival Lyft (as reported by The Verge), developing software (Greyball) to prevent law enforcement and regulators from accessing the service, and then-COO Emil Michael suggesting that the company spend money to hire opposition researchers to intimidate journalists.


pages: 307 words: 88,180

AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order by Kai-Fu Lee

AI winter, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, business cycle, cloud computing, commoditize, computer vision, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, crony capitalism, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, full employment, future of work, gig economy, Google Chrome, happiness index / gross national happiness, if you build it, they will come, ImageNet competition, income inequality, informal economy, Internet of things, invention of the telegraph, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Lean Startup, low skilled workers, Lyft, mandatory minimum, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, minimum viable product, natural language processing, new economy, pattern recognition, pirate software, profit maximization, QR code, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Robert Mercer, Rodney Brooks, Rubik’s Cube, Sam Altman, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, special economic zone, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, strong AI, The Future of Employment, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, universal basic income, urban planning, Y Combinator

Thriving in this environment required both engineering prowess and raw manpower: armies of scooter-riding deliverymen schlepping hot meals around town, tens of thousands of sales reps fanning out to push mobile payments on street vendors, and millions of shared bikes loaded onto trucks and dispersed around cities. An explosion of these services pushed Chinese companies to roll up their sleeves and do the grunt work of running an operations-heavy business in the real world. In my view, that willingness to get one’s hands dirty in the real world separates Chinese technology companies from their Silicon Valley peers. American startups like to stick to what they know: building clean digital platforms that facilitate information exchanges. Those platforms can be used by vendors who do the legwork, but the tech companies tend to stay distant and aloof from these logistical details. They aspire to the mythology satirized in the HBO series Silicon Valley, that of a skeleton crew of hackers building a billion-dollar business without ever leaving their San Francisco loft.

They represent the extent of vertical integration as a company links up the on- and offline worlds. When looking to disrupt a new industry, American internet companies tend to take a “light” approach. They generally believe the internet’s fundamental power is sharing information, closing knowledge gaps, and connecting people digitally. As internet-driven companies, they try to stick to this core strength. Silicon Valley startups will build the information platform but then let brick-and-mortar businesses handle the on-the-ground logistics. They want to win by outsmarting opponents, by coming up with novel and elegant code-based solutions to information problems. In China, companies tend to go “heavy.” They don’t want to just build the platform—they want to recruit each seller, handle the goods, run the delivery team, supply the scooters, repair those scooters, and control the payment.

Between 2016 and early 2018, the company’s stock price multiplied by a factor of ten. These chips are central to everything from facial recognition to self-driving cars, and that has set off a race to build the next-generation AI chip. Google and Microsoft—companies that had long avoided building their own chips—have jumped into the fray, alongside Intel, Qualcomm, and a batch of well-funded Silicon Valley chip startups. Facebook has partnered with Intel to test-drive its first foray into AI-specific chips. But for the first time, much of the action in this space is taking place in China. The Chinese government has for many years—decades, even—tried to build up indigenous chip capabilities. But constructing a high-performance chip is an extremely complex and expertise-intensive process, one that has so far remained impervious to several government-sponsored projects.


The Buddha and the Badass: The Secret Spiritual Art of Succeeding at Work by Vishen Lakhiani

Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, call centre, Colonization of Mars, crowdsourcing, deliberate practice, Elon Musk, fundamental attribution error, future of work, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, performance metric, Peter Thiel, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, web application, white picket fence

In this chapter, you’ll get a glimpse of your unique soulprint by uncovering your values. But before we do that work, since there are so many misconceptions around core values, let me clear up the muck. Your Values Point to New Visions for the World Most entrepreneurs get core values wrong. In Mindvalley’s early days, I certainly did. In 2008 when I assembled my team to do a values exercise, I was imitating Silicon Valley start-ups. We went through a democratic voting process to choose the company values. Every member of my team has an equal vote, and our forty-person team identified some three hundred different attributes of Mindvalley. We clustered them and came up with a ten-point list of our supposed “values.” The list included lines like: We Turn Customers into Raving Fans We Dare to Dream Big We Evolve Through Learning It was democratic.

The country’s most talented professionals were moving to countries like Singapore, Hong Kong, the UK, or Canada. There were simply far better opportunities. Malaysia was seen as a career dead end. Friends asked: “Why the hell are you back? There are no good jobs here.” At least in Malaysia we had the comfort and support of my immediate family. My mom and dad still lived in Kuala Lumpur. The question was: Could I achieve my dreams of building a Silicon Valley–style start-up catering to the US market in a country on the other side of the planet with a severe shortage of talent? I had four suitcases and the love of my wife and parents. And I was now moving back into my parents’ home at the age of twenty-eight. They also believed in me and gave me the space to be foolishly stubborn. That’s when an inner voice spoke to me. Have you ever noticed an inner voice nudging you?

Any vision you commit to should be so inspiring that you stay up at night as it pulls you and flirts with you. Now, here is a big secret: The bigger your vision, the easier it gets. When you live this way, you may find that the vision is not coming from you. Instead the Universe is choosing to go through you to realize what the world needs. IN 2003, AT THE age of twenty-seven, I quit my job as vice president of a promising Silicon Valley start-up so I could dedicate my life to a career that gave me great meaning. I had decided to teach and promote meditation. My very first site made me a decent living teaching meditation classes around the world. But I quickly realized that teaching meditation was nowhere as lucrative as my previous job. Instead it was a pretty reliable path to going broke. And so to make ends meet, I ran a side digital marketing agency that helped authors with their websites and their tech backends.


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

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

Ayatollah Khomeini, British Empire, creative destruction, data acquisition, Dava Sobel, different worldview, 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, low earth orbit, 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: 332 words: 97,325

The Launch Pad: Inside Y Combinator, Silicon Valley's Most Exclusive School for Startups by Randall Stross

affirmative action, Airbnb, AltaVista, always be closing, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, barriers to entry, Ben Horowitz, Burning Man, business cycle, California gold rush, call centre, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, don't be evil, Elon Musk, high net worth, index fund, inventory management, John Markoff, Justin.tv, Lean Startup, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, medical residency, Menlo Park, Minecraft, minimum viable product, Paul Buchheit, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, QR code, Richard Feynman, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, social graph, software is eating the world, South of Market, San Francisco, speech recognition, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Startup school, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, TaskRabbit, transaction costs, Y Combinator

Graham has consistently argued that few people are well suited for starting a startup but that the only effective way of determining who does excel is by having lots of people try: “As long as you’re at a point in your life when you can bear the risk of failure, the best way to find out if you’re suited to running a startup is to try it.”11 • In Graham’s view, there is only one best place to start a startup: among countries, it is America, and within America, it is Silicon Valley. It is a view that comes naturally to someone who works and lives at the epicenter of Silicon Valley’s startup ecosystem. But this view of the world does not take into account the way that software has outgrown its original boundaries, as a subindustry within the computer industry. It has become a pervasive presence in virtually all industries: Software is eating the world. No economic force of such size can be commandeered by coders in a single place. In many ways, it is Graham’s success with his own startup—Y Combinator—that has helped legitimize the notion in places well distant from Silicon Valley that starting a software startup is an appealing proposition to the ambitious young.

If any member of YC’s summer 2011 batch were to enjoy Reddit-scale success on a similar timeline, it would not be evident until the year 2019. By then, the original founders may have left long before—this was the case with Reddit—and set off on new startup adventures. The attraction of starting afresh is powerful, even to those who are already working on startups. No narrative that centers on Silicon Valley startups can end with a proper ending. Where a conclusion is expected are always new beginnings. Randall Stross April 29, 2013 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS To begin, I thank Paul Graham and Jessica Livingston. Their willingness to let me observe unimpeded the workings of Y Combinator is what made this book possible. I expanded their workload with uncountable requests for information, and I also imposed upon the other YC partners and staff members: Sam Altman, Trevor Blackwell, Paul Buchheit, Kate Courteau, Aaron Iba, Justin Kan, Kirsty Nathoo, Geoff Ralston, Renee Robinson, Emmett Shear, Harj Taggar, and Garry Tan.

Dan Primack, “Exclusive: SV Angel’s Investment Portfolio,” Fortune, November 22, 2011, http://finance.fortune.cnn.com/2011/11/22/exclusive-sv-angels-investment-portfolio/. For a portrait of Conway during the dot-com boom of the late 1990s, see Gary Rivlin, The Godfather of Silicon Valley: Ron Conway and the Fall of the Dot-coms (New York: AtRandom, 2001); for a contemporary portrait, see Miguel Helft, “Ron Conway Is a Silicon Valley Startup’s Best Friend,” Fortune, February 10, 2012, http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2012/02/10/ron-conway-sv-angel/. 4. Dave McClure interview, “9th Founder Showcase—Alexia Tsotsis of TechCrunch Interviews Dave McClure of 500 Startups,” http://vimeo.com/35399949; Anthony Ha, “Dave McClure Isn’t Worried About the ‘Series A Crunch,’” TC, January 21, 2012, http://techcrunch.com/2012/01/21/dave-mcclure-series-a-crunch/.


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

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: 380 words: 118,675

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

airport security, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, bank run, Bernie Madoff, big-box store, Black Swan, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, buy and hold, 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: 224 words: 64,156

You Are Not a Gadget by Jaron Lanier

1960s counterculture, accounting loophole / creative accounting, additive manufacturing, Albert Einstein, call centre, cloud computing, commoditize, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, different worldview, 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.


To Pixar and Beyond by Lawrence Levy

computerized trading, index card, Loma Prieta earthquake, risk tolerance, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, spice trade, Steve Jobs, Wall-E

“So, he doesn’t support what you’re doing?” I asked. “He does now,” Ed said. “Steve was on board when we negotiated with Disney to make a feature film. He was a big help in making it happen. But he still gets frustrated at having to keep funding the rest of Pixar.” “How much has he invested in the company?” I asked. “Close to fifty million,” Ed said. Fifty million! That was a huge number by Silicon Valley start-up standards. No wonder Steve griped when he had to put in more. I enjoyed talking to Ed. He wasn’t pulling any punches with me on our first meeting, even though what he was saying wasn’t making me feel great about this opportunity. Pixar felt like a company that had meandered from here to there but never found its way. Why would I join a company that had been struggling for sixteen years and whose payroll was paid every month out of the personal checkbook of its owner?

Despite a somewhat thick Israeli accent, he was also very well spoken in English. “Greetings,” Efi said. “May I offer you some libation?” “Who says ‘libation’?” I thought to myself. So began a collaboration that would take Efi and me all over the world making deals with the titans of the office automation industry, companies like Canon, Xerox, Ricoh, and Kodak. Developing fair arrangements with these enormous companies was no small task for tiny Silicon Valley start-ups. In fact, my entire law practice was built around doing this. The habit of corporate giants like these was to try to tie up the start-ups every which way they could, often blocking their freedom to become independent, thriving companies. The large corporations often had impenetrable walls of bureaucracy that were stifling to the far nimbler start-ups. My job was to make sure these little start-ups got fair deals.

If there was one person I could turn to for that, it was my old boss and mentor, Larry Sonsini. 10 On Board Larry Sonsini was the managing partner at my old law firm, Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati. He was a legend in Silicon Valley, and with good reason. Larry was Silicon Valley’s resident guru on start-ups and IPOs; he had built the firm advising many if not most of Silicon Valley’s most famous start-ups, guiding them and advising them through their initial public offerings and beyond. He was chief legal adviser to Silicon Valley’s most prominent CEOs and boards of directors. If Silicon Valley had a consigliere, it was Larry. Within the law firm, Larry inspired a combination of admiration and awe. He was a brilliant lawyer—efficient, effective, and intensely focused on client service.


pages: 238 words: 77,730

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

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: 276 words: 78,094

Design for Hackers: Reverse Engineering Beauty by David Kadavy

Airbnb, complexity theory, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, Isaac Newton, John Gruber, Paul Graham, Ruby on Rails, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, web application, wikimedia commons, Y Combinator

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library. 978-1-119-99895-2 Set in 11pt Adobe Garamond Pro by Wiley Composition Services Printed in the United States by CJ Krehbiel About the Author David Kadavy is president of Kadavy, Inc., a user interface design consultancy with clients including oDesk, PBworks, and UserVoice, and mentor at the 500 Startups seed fund. Previously, David led the design departments of two Silicon Valley startups and an architecture firm, taught a college course in typography, and studied ancient typography in Rome while earning his BFA in graphic design at Iowa State University. David’s design work has been featured in Communication Arts magazine, and he has spoken at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive conference. David blogs about design and entrepreneurship at kadavy.net and can be reached on Twitter at the handle @kadavy or by e-mail at david@kadavy.net.

I got my degree in graphic design, while exhausting the university library’s supply of typography and design books – skipping keggers so I could conduct experiments with typography and geometry. I studied the very origins of modern typography in the ruins of the ancient Roman Empire. I’ve even discussed the hidden meaning of something as simple as a brick or a piece of wood, while working at an architecture firm. Finally, I’ve implemented the fruits of all this practice and analysis in the fast-paced environment of Silicon Valley startups. Design and visual communication is so deeply embedded in my brain that I’m hardly aware of its presence. My handwriting still sucks, though. Design as Literacy One evening, I was “moworking” in a cafe with my friend Ziad, coding some design tweaks to the WordPress template for my blog. Ziad always has a way of saying abstract things that break my concentration and split my brain wide open, and this evening was no exception: “Design is this mysterious thing.


pages: 267 words: 72,552

Reinventing Capitalism in the Age of Big Data by Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, Thomas Ramge

accounting loophole / creative accounting, Air France Flight 447, Airbnb, Alvin Roth, Atul Gawande, augmented reality, banking crisis, basic income, Bayesian statistics, bitcoin, blockchain, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, centralized clearinghouse, Checklist Manifesto, cloud computing, cognitive bias, conceptual framework, creative destruction, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frederick Winslow Taylor, fundamental attribution error, George Akerlof, gig economy, Google Glasses, information asymmetry, interchangeable parts, invention of the telegraph, inventory management, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, land reform, lone genius, low cost airline, low cost carrier, Marc Andreessen, market bubble, market design, market fundamentalism, means of production, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, multi-sided market, natural language processing, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, offshore financial centre, Parag Khanna, payday loans, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, price anchoring, price mechanism, purchasing power parity, random walk, recommendation engine, Richard Thaler, ride hailing / ride sharing, Sam Altman, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, smart grid, smart meter, Snapchat, statistical model, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, The Future of Employment, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, transaction costs, universal basic income, William Langewiesche, Y Combinator

It connotes freedom of choice as well as relative power. Outside investment increases a company’s flexibility, and it also conveys further information—about the prowess of the company as well as the trust that an investor has in it. Sometimes, the informational dimension of an outside investment may be more valuable than the capital inflow itself. When a highly respected venture capital (VC) firm such as Sequoia Capital invests in a Silicon Valley start-up, it’s akin to conferring a peerage in nineteenth-century England: the recipient gets immediate name recognition and often gains additional market value as a result. As markets embrace diverse information streams, these two functions of capital—information and value—are no longer necessarily intertwined. Rather, they will more frequently be separated. The point here is not to suggest that in the future, capital will have no role to play.

A world of abundant capital may sound unreal, but there has been renewed talk recently about such a situation developing for venture capital activities around the world, as the volume of deals has increased, reaching record levels not seen since the dot-com bubble of 2000. In general, more money is becoming available for capital investments as investors are trying to identify opportunities that offer higher returns than the rock-bottom interest rates available through conventional and conservative investment mechanisms. Attracting capital, especially for start-ups in the right location, is far easier today than it was in earlier decades. One CEO of a Silicon Valley start-up commented that the company, absent an urgent need, raised money simply because it could. At the same time, fewer investment options exist on conventional stock markets. In the United States, the number of listed companies is down from more than 9,000 in the late 1990s to fewer than 6,000 in 2016. If capital is abundant, but fewer companies are looking for capital, supply outstrips demand on capital markets, and this means returns on investment are plummeting.


pages: 280 words: 71,268

Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World With OKRs by John Doerr

Albert Einstein, Bob Noyce, cloud computing, collaborative editing, commoditize, crowdsourcing, Firefox, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Google Chrome, Google Earth, Google X / Alphabet X, Haight Ashbury, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, PageRank, Paul Buchheit, Ray Kurzweil, risk tolerance, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, subscription business, web application, Yogi Berra, éminence grise

With $30,000 from friends and family, David and I did the full-monty entrepreneur thing, pasta dinners every night. And we failed because I was arrogant. We spent lots of time meeting potential investors and working up intricate website schematics, and no time learning about teachers’ problems. We weren’t yet focused on what counted. Down to a few hundred dollars, our company cheated death by getting into Imagine K12, the Silicon Valley start-up accelerator for the education market. Our mission statement went something like: “Remind101: A safe way for teachers to message students and parents. We’re building the most powerful communication platform in education and using SMS as the ‘hook.’ Think Twitter, for education.” There were millions of children with learning issues like mine, and countless teachers struggling to help them.

Create internal tools to track key growth metrics. Launch features to enable instructors to create more engaging videos. OKRs furnished the pathway for Coursera’s mission. They enabled teams to articulate their goals and to align with the company’s objectives—and with its broader values, as well. Years later, the company’s friendly, inclusive culture remains a welcome contrast to the blustery, combative personality of many Silicon Valley start-ups. Coursera team with former president and COO Lila Ibrahim (left), cofounder Daphne Kohler (to the left of John Doerr), and cofounder Andrew Ng (far right), 2012. As Rick Levin, Coursera’s former CEO, said, “I can’t imagine where we would be without OKRs. The discipline forces us to look back every quarter and hold ourselves accountable, and to look ahead every quarter to imagine how we can better live our values


pages: 255 words: 76,495

The Facebook era: tapping online social networks to build better products, reach new audiences, and sell more stuff by Clara Shih

business process, call centre, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, commoditize, conceptual framework, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, glass ceiling, jimmy wales, Mark Zuckerberg, Metcalfe’s law, Network effects, pets.com, pre–internet, rolodex, semantic web, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, social graph, social web, software as a service, Tony Hsieh, web application

It explores how online interactions facilitate entrepreneurial networks, the crossover between offline and online networking, organizational flattening, and value creation from network effects. Part II: Transforming the Way We Do Business • Chapter 4,“Social Sales,” speaks to the power of the online social graph for a sales cycle, from prospecting and the first call through to customer references, navigating customer organizations, and enabling sales teams to more easily collaborate. It features a case study on how Silicon Valley start-up Aster Data Systems has used employees’ collective MySpace, Facebook, and LinkedIn networks to source leads and build personal relationships with customers. • Chapter 5,“Social Network Marketing,” talks about the breakthrough new marketing techniques made possible by online social networks, including hypertargeting, enhanced ability to capture passive interest and conduct rapid testing and iteration on campaigns, social community engagement, and automated word-of-mouth marketing.

Recruiters can further expand their network reach by joining a LION network, described in Chapter 4 in the context of sales prospecting. Figure 7.5 A request for referral sent to me from a LinkedIn connection. LinkedIn allows recruiters to tap extended networks not only for interested applicants but also for referrals of interested applicants, which has a multiplying effect on how many people within the trusted network they are able to reach. Silicon Valley start-up company Appirio has taken this concept to Facebook with Jobs4MyFriends, an application it developed that allows businesses to easily tap employees’ Facebook networks to source job candidates. Given the high costs of recruiting and From the Library of Kerri Ross 132 Pa r t I I Edited by Foxit Reader Copyright(C) by Foxit Software Company,2005-2008 Tra n s fo r m i n g t h e Way We D o B u s i n e s s For Evaluation Only.


pages: 615 words: 168,775

Troublemakers: Silicon Valley's Coming of Age by Leslie Berlin

AltaVista, Apple II, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, beat the dealer, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Bob Noyce, Byte Shop, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, computer age, discovery of DNA, don't be evil, Donald Knuth, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Edward Thorp, El Camino Real, fear of failure, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial independence, game design, Haight Ashbury, hiring and firing, industrial robot, informal economy, Internet of things, inventory management, John Markoff, Kickstarter, Kitchen Debate, Leonard Kleinrock, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Minecraft, Mother of all demos, packet switching, Ralph Nader, Robert Metcalfe, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Snapchat, software as a service, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, union organizing, upwardly mobile, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, women in the workforce

It was the first formal use of a name that for years had been bandied about inside the valley.1 No one beyond the readers of Electronic News took notice that a new technology region had been born on the San Francisco Peninsula. Individual companies had begun to attract outside interest—Intel would have a successful IPO in 1971, for example—but three years would pass before any major national publication wrote about the Peninsula as a distinct, technology-based regional economy.2 Years would pass before the name “Silicon Valley” gained widespread use.III In the early 1970s, Silicon Valley startup companies were largely deemed irrelevant to the real business of the United States, which was concentrated in East Coast financial centers and cities such as Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Chicago that had manufacturing at their core. The nation’s new minicomputer companies, Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) most prominent among them, were clustered near MIT and Harvard, along Boston’s Route 128.

Bristow concurs: “The thinking moved from ‘We don’t know what we can do, so let’s give it a try’ to ‘You need to prove why you need to do this new product.’ ” Decades later, Alcorn still cannot understand why, at a time when Atari’s revenues were so high that it would have made no discernible difference to the bottom line if the Cosmos hologram system failed, Kassar was unwilling to risk its release. Kassar and the rest of the Warner executive team, in Alcorn’s estimation, were paralyzed by “the fear of failure”: “They weren’t Silicon Valley, they weren’t start-up guys, they were not risk takers—so nothing came out!”55 Even more important than Kassar’s East Coast roots, however, was his lack of technical background. He was a marketing expert who believed, correctly, that much of the success of the VCS had come from the marketing push behind it. He somehow failed to recognize that Atari had a product to market only because its engineers had been given the freedom to develop it.

An experienced salesman, he had met Kurtzig when he had come to California to see if she wanted to sell ASK to the giant computer-leasing conglomerate Itel Corporation, his then employer. After spending the day with Lavey, Kurtzig declared, “I don’t want to be bought by Itel, but I want to buy you. How much do you cost?” Kurtzig was on the cusp of recognizing that ASK, a small business started at her kitchen table, might be a high-tech Silicon Valley startup. Certainly Paul Ely, a computing executive at Hewlett-Packard, saw ASK that way. When Kurtzig asked him to suggest potential board members—she, her father, and Arie were the ASK board at that point—he recommended men enmeshed in Silicon Valley’s financial and entrepreneurial networks.VI One of those men was Burt McMurtry, now sitting across the restaurant table from Kurtzig. McMurtry headed a venture capital firm, Institutional Venture Associates, whose lead fund would quintuple in value, from $19 million to roughly $200 million, in a space of six years.


pages: 304 words: 88,495

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

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: 561 words: 157,589

WTF?: What's the Future and Why It's Up to Us by Tim O'Reilly

4chan, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Alvin Roth, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Bill Joy: nanobots, bitcoin, blockchain, Bretton Woods, Brewster Kahle, British Empire, business process, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, computer vision, corporate governance, corporate raider, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, data acquisition, deskilling, DevOps, Donald Davies, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Flash crash, full employment, future of work, George Akerlof, gig economy, glass ceiling, Google Glasses, Gordon Gekko, gravity well, greed is good, Guido van Rossum, High speed trading, hiring and firing, Home mortgage interest deduction, Hyperloop, income inequality, index fund, informal economy, information asymmetry, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invention of movable type, invisible hand, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jitney, job automation, job satisfaction, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, Lao Tzu, Larry Wall, Lean Startup, Leonard Kleinrock, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, McMansion, microbiome, microservices, minimum viable product, mortgage tax deduction, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, obamacare, Oculus Rift, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, Paul Buchheit, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer model, Ponzi scheme, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, randomized controlled trial, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Coase, Sam Altman, school choice, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, SETI@home, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, smart contracts, Snapchat, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, social web, software as a service, software patent, spectrum auction, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, strong AI, TaskRabbit, telepresence, the built environment, The Future of Employment, the map is not the territory, The Nature of the Firm, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Davenport, transaction costs, transcontinental railway, transportation-network company, Travis Kalanick, trickle-down economics, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, ubercab, universal basic income, US Airways Flight 1549, VA Linux, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, We are the 99%, web application, Whole Earth Catalog, winner-take-all economy, women in the workforce, Y Combinator, yellow journalism, zero-sum game, Zipcar

Amazon also pioneered ebooks; with the Kindle it came to dominate that emerging market and gain channel control over the future of book publishing. It has become a leader in online entertainment of all kinds, rivaling Netflix as the next-generation movie and television studio. And with the Amazon Echo, it has become a force in bringing intelligent agents and AI into the consumer realm. But arguably the most important thing that Amazon did was to turn its e-commerce application into a cloud computing platform on which the bulk of Silicon Valley startups operate; as the cloud model has matured, large, established enterprises have migrated to it as well. The lessons of this business transformation alone could fill a book (and will be the subject of a later chapter in this one). Apple led the generational shift from the personal computer to the smartphone, and from the web to mobile apps. The iPhone is the platform where most cutting-edge applications are first launched.

The experiment was so successful that they decided to build out a short-term room, apartment, and home rental service for the upcoming SXSW technology conference in Austin, Texas, because they knew that every hotel room in the city would be sold out. They followed that up by doing the same thing for the 2008 Democratic National Convention, held in Denver, Colorado. In 2009, they were accepted into Y Combinator, the prestigious Silicon Valley startup incubator, and then received funding from one of Silicon Valley’s top venture firms, Sequoia Capital. But despite a promising start, they were still struggling with acquiring users fast enough. The breakthrough came when they realized that hosts were taking lousy photographs of their properties, leading to lower trust and thus lower interest by possible renters. So in the spring of 2009, Brian and Joe rented a high-end digital camera, went to New York, Airbnb’s top city at the time, and took as many professional photos as they could.

Meanwhile, the advantages accruing to firms from new technology are deeply wrapped up in their ability to train their workforce and change their workflows to accommodate it. This retraining was central, for example, to former IBM CIO Jeff Smith’s attempt to transform IBM’s internal software development culture to one that mirrors the agile, user-centered, data-driven, and cross-functional approach that characterizes today’s Silicon Valley startups. Except that instead of doing it at a startup, he was doing it for a software development team of 20,000 people, in support of a company with more than 400,000 employees. Laura Baldwin, president and COO at O’Reilly Media, tells our customers, “You have to go to war with the army you have.” Yes, it’s essential to bring in new talent with the latest skills, but retraining your existing team and building new ways for people to work together is also essential.


pages: 354 words: 118,970

Transaction Man: The Rise of the Deal and the Decline of the American Dream by Nicholas Lemann

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, airline deregulation, Albert Einstein, augmented reality, basic income, Bernie Sanders, Black-Scholes formula, buy and hold, capital controls, computerized trading, corporate governance, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dematerialisation, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, financial deregulation, financial innovation, fixed income, future of work, George Akerlof, gig economy, Henry Ford's grandson gave labor union leader Walter Reuther a tour of the company’s new, automated factory…, index fund, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Irwin Jacobs, Joi Ito, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kickstarter, life extension, Long Term Capital Management, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, means of production, Metcalfe’s law, money market fund, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, Myron Scholes, new economy, Norman Mailer, obamacare, Paul Samuelson, Peter Thiel, price mechanism, principal–agent problem, profit maximization, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Ralph Nader, Richard Thaler, road to serfdom, Robert Bork, Robert Metcalfe, rolodex, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, The Nature of the Firm, the payments system, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, transaction costs, universal basic income, War on Poverty, white flight, working poor

General Motors by now was worth only $50 billion, and even in its reduced and post-glorious state, it still had more than two hundred thousand employees. And Facebook had thought it wise to acquire even newer potential rivals, for prices like $1 billion for Instagram, when it had thirteen employees, and $19 billion for WhatsApp, when it had fifty-five employees, when both were years away from being profitable or even from producing significant revenues. Successes like these were exceedingly rare. One study of Silicon Valley start-ups found that almost three-quarters of company founders who got funding from venture capital firms—and these were the lucky ones, representing a small minority of those who pitched to the venture firms—wound up making nothing. The common wisdom in Silicon Valley had it that one start-up a year, of perhaps thirty thousand, would wind up being as valuable as all the others combined, and that the ten most successful would account for more than 95 percent of the value of all of them.

NETWORK MAN you might well wind up in Silicon Valley: General background and history about Silicon Valley comes from author’s interviews with Arthur Rock, Hal Varian, Laszlo Bock, AnnaLee Saxenian, Bob Metcalfe, Ben Rosen, Reid Hoffman, Thomas Perkins, John Doerr, John Lilly, David Sze, David Hahn, Michael Mandel, Joe Kraus, Josh Kopelman, Nancy Lublin, Joi Ito, Peter Thiel, Simon Rothman, George Arison, David Sanford, Mark Pincus, Jeff Weiner, Premal Shah, James Manyika, Evan Williams, Allen Blue, Ann Miurako, John Etchemendy, Mike Maples, Roy Bahat, Terry Winograd, Ian McCarthy, Jen Pahlka, Tim O’Reilly, Linda Rottenberg, Ben Casnocha, and Dan Portillo. Arthur Rock, by now retired: Author’s interviews with Arthur Rock. One study of Silicon Valley start-ups: Susan E. Woodward and Robert E. Hall, “Benchmarking the Returns to Venture,” NBER Working Paper Number w10202 (January 2004). Reid Hoffman’s association with Silicon Valley: Reid Hoffman’s story comes from author’s interviews with Hoffman. “At PayPal, we broke the rules”: Reid Hoffman, Blitzscaling, Currency, 2018, 180. “a massively better idea”: Author’s interview with Reid Hoffman.

commissions, fixed Committee to Restore Dealer Rights Commodity Futures Modernization Act; process behind Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) communism; failure of; rejection of community organizing; see also interest groups Community Reinvestment Act Comptroller of the Currency computers; in investment banking; see also Silicon Valley Concept of the Corporation (Drucker) conformity conglomerates; see also leveraged buyouts; mergers and acquisitions Congregationalist church Congress: auto dealers and; bailout authorized by; banking regulated by; campaign contributions to; confirmation hearings by; corporate oversight by; deregulation by; housing regulated by; lobbying of consumers; corporations held accountable by; deregulation for; manipulation of Coordination, Control, and the Management of Organizations (class) Corporation in Modern Society, The (Mason) corporations; advertising used by; as autocratic; big government as counter to; as black box; boards of; conservative critiques of; converted to pure market entities; debt of; executives of, see executives; finance vs.; founders of; jobs lost at; liberal acceptance of; liberal critiques of; lifetime employees of; regulation of; research labs of; shareholders of, see shareholders; in Silicon Valley; as social institutions; start-ups vs.; trustbusting as counter to; as unforeseen by founders of U.S.; in web of related institutions; see also General Motors; institutions; Organization Man corruption Council of Economic Advisers countervailing power Countrywide Cowles, Alfred Cowles Commission for Research in Economics crime; white collar Croly, Herbert Cruz, Zoe Cuba Daley, Bill D’Andrea, Amy D’Andrea, Nick Darvish, Tamara Davis Polk Debreu, Gerard Debs, Eugene debt: in auto industry; corporate; derivatives and; foreign; hedge funds and; interest rates and; of investment banks; junk bonds and; in leveraged buyouts; risk magnified by; see also mortgages democracy; threats to Democratic Party: in Chicago; databases of; deregulation by; Silicon Valley and; Wall Street donors to Department of Labor deposits, insurance of deregulation; by Democrats; globalization and; interest rates and; of mortgages; in 1970s; skeptics of derivatives; fight to keep unregulated; regulated by EU; risks of; skepticism about; volume of; see also specific financial instruments D.


pages: 169 words: 56,250

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

barriers to entry, cleantech, cloud computing, corporate social responsibility, G4S, Grace Hopper, job satisfaction, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, minimum viable product, Network effects, paypal mafia, 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: 465 words: 109,653

Free Ride by Robert Levine

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, Joi Ito, Julian Assange, Justin.tv, Kevin Kelly, linear programming, Marc Andreessen, Mitch Kapor, 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: 364 words: 99,897

The Industries of the Future by Alec Ross

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, Joi Ito, Kickstarter, 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, Nelson Mandela, new economy, offshore financial centre, open economy, Parag Khanna, paypal mafia, 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, Travis Kalanick, 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: 484 words: 104,873

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

"Robert Solow", 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, business cycle, 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, disruptive innovation, 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, 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, Rodney Brooks, Sam Peltzman, 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, uber lyft, 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: 334 words: 104,382

Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys' Club of Silicon Valley by Emily Chang

23andMe, 4chan, Ada Lovelace, affirmative action, Airbnb, Apple II, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, Burning Man, California gold rush, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, David Brooks, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, equal pay for equal work, Ferguson, Missouri, game design, gender pay gap, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Grace Hopper, high net worth, Hyperloop, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, Khan Academy, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microservices, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, post-work, pull request, ride hailing / ride sharing, rolodex, Saturday Night Live, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, subscription business, Tim Cook: Apple, Travis Kalanick, uber lyft, women in the workforce

., and took down Slide’s entire website. The few female engineers started to feel uncomfortable. “At some point, the alcohol culture led to grabby hands at parties, that sort of thing,” Rubenstein recalls. “If someone says no and it keeps happening, that’s a problem.” A woman who worked at the company told me that Slide felt like a frat house, with an undercurrent of sexism and rumored hookups. Given that many Silicon Valley start-ups are founded and staffed by young men straight out of college, drinking at the office is common. There’s beer on tap at most big tech companies, including Google, Facebook, and Twitter, and you’ll often find beer in the refrigerator at small start-ups, to juice those late nights of coding with your buddies. Rubenstein calls Slide’s alcohol problem and “ambient sexism” symptoms of “a culture of immature individuals.”

“He put his hand around my neck and tried to choke me.” As Holmes recounted this story, there were a few gasps from the women in the living room and then silence. This wasn’t some sick joke, Holmes went on; this man was angry. Fear overtook her. “I immediately burst into tears,” Holmes remembered. A bystander intervened, and the man’s grip was broken. Holmes never told anyone else at the company about it. As is common among Silicon Valley start-ups, Holmes said Cooliris did not have a human resources department. Instead, she buried that moment and went back to work the next day. It was the most dramatic, but far from the only offensive, incident to occur during her internship. Sexist behavior often comes from the top, and in Holmes’s telling that was the case at Cooliris, where the young CEO, Soujanya Bhumkar, gave the entire staff copies of the Kama Sutra, an illustrated guide to sexual positions.


pages: 422 words: 104,457

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

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, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, 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: 343 words: 102,846

Trees on Mars: Our Obsession With the Future by Hal Niedzviecki

"Robert Solow", Ada Lovelace, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, big-box store, business intelligence, Colonization of Mars, computer age, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Flynn Effect, Google Glasses, hive mind, Howard Zinn, if you build it, they will come, income inequality, Internet of things, invention of movable type, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John von Neumann, knowledge economy, Kodak vs Instagram, life extension, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, Pierre-Simon Laplace, Ponzi scheme, precariat, prediction markets, Ralph Nader, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, technoutopianism, Ted Kaczynski, Thomas L Friedman, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, working poor

As I perform several more fruitless searches, I think back to what Mara Lewis told me at the conference: “There is no plan B.”60 CHAPTER 2 Teaching Future Why Schools are Teaching Change and Preaching Tech In a high-security Manhattan building that houses the regional headquarters of technology and telephony companies, including Google’s New York City offices, I walk into a large open-concept office jammed with desks and flanked by glassed-in meeting rooms. The look of the space—wide open, chaotic, customizable—is familiar to me from my visits to high-tech firms across North America. Everything from the cords dangling from the exposed ceiling to the translucent conference areas oozes innovation. Only, this isn’t the already too-cramped offices of a Silicon Valley start-up. This is the temporary home of Cornell Tech, university of the future. Cornell Tech is, in many ways, the brainchild of former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg held a competition for proposals for a new educational facility on Manhattan’s Roosevelt Island. The contest was part of an initiative called Applied Sciences NYC launched by Mayor Bloomberg in 2011. As such, it was open only to educational facilities dedicated to technological entrepreneurship and innovation, with the stated aim of growing the city’s innovation sector and adding to New York’s status as a high-tech hub.

The global financial data firm Bloomberg “logs every keystroke of every employee, along with their comings and goings in the office.”32 Over in Vegas, Harrah’s casino “tracks the smiles of the card dealers and waitstaff on the floor (its analytics team has quantified the impact of smiling on customer satisfaction).”33 More and more companies are not just storing but also analyzing e-mail, looking for “insights about our productivity, our treatment of co-workers, our willingness to collaborate or lend a hand, our patterns of written language, and what those patterns reveal about our intelligence, social skills, and behavior.”34 The trend with much of this “indoor logistics” is to generate data to predict the future. For instance, there’s Knack, a clever Silicon Valley start-up that makes games for mobile devices. The games include Dungeon Scrawl, in which players have to move through quest-themed mazes and puzzles, and Wasabi Waiter, which, as you might imagine, is a game in which players have to match up sushi to an ever-growing number of customers. But here’s the rub. The games are carefully “designed by a team of neuroscientists, psychologists, and data scientists to suss out human potential.”35 According to Guy Halfteck, Knack’s founder, when you play any of the games, you generate massive amounts of data about how quickly you are able to solve problems and make the right decisions while multitasking and learning on the go.


pages: 237 words: 74,109

Uncanny Valley: A Memoir by Anna Wiener

autonomous vehicles, back-to-the-land, basic income, blockchain, Burning Man, call centre, charter city, cloud computing, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Extropian, future of work, Golden Gate Park, housing crisis, Jane Jacobs, job automation, knowledge worker, Lean Startup, means of production, medical residency, new economy, New Urbanism, passive income, pull request, rent control, ride hailing / ride sharing, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, social web, South of Market, San Francisco, special economic zone, technoutopianism, telepresence, telepresence robot, union organizing, universal basic income, unpaid internship, urban planning, urban renewal, women in the workforce, Y2K, young professional

The author and publisher have provided this e-book to you for your personal use only. You may not make this e-book publicly available in any way. Copyright infringement is against the law. If you believe the copy of this e-book you are reading infringes on the author’s copyright, please notify the publisher at: us.macmillanusa.com/piracy. INCENTIVES Depending on whom you ask, it was either the apex, the inflection point, or the beginning of the end for Silicon Valley’s startup scene—what cynics called a bubble, optimists called the future, and my future coworkers, high on the fumes of world-historical potential, breathlessly called the ecosystem. A social network everyone said they hated but no one could stop logging in to went public at a valuation of one-hundred-odd billion dollars, its grinning founder ringing the opening bell over video chat, a death knell for affordable rent in San Francisco.

Thank you to the Shermans, north and south, for their kindness and encouragement. Thank you to my family, especially David and Marina Wiener. Thank you to Dan Wiener and Ellen Freudenheim, for their enthusiasm and guidance. I am grateful to Ian Sherman for his love, for his steady support of my writing, and for always asking the right questions. A NOTE ABOUT THE AUTHOR Anna Wiener is a contributing writer to The New Yorker, where she writes about Silicon Valley, startup culture, and technology. She lives in San Francisco. Uncanny Valley is her first book. You can sign up for email updates here. Thank you for buying this Farrar, Straus and Giroux ebook. To receive special offers, bonus content, and info on new releases and other great reads, sign up for our newsletters. Or visit us online at us.macmillan.com/newslettersignup For email updates on the author, click here.


pages: 190 words: 62,941

Wild Ride: Inside Uber's Quest for World Domination by Adam Lashinsky

"side hustle", Airbnb, always be closing, Amazon Web Services, autonomous vehicles, Ayatollah Khomeini, business process, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, DARPA: Urban Challenge, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, gig economy, Golden Gate Park, Google X / Alphabet X, information retrieval, Jeff Bezos, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, Menlo Park, new economy, pattern recognition, price mechanism, ride hailing / ride sharing, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, South of Market, San Francisco, sovereign wealth fund, statistical model, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, Tony Hsieh, transportation-network company, Travis Kalanick, turn-by-turn navigation, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, ubercab, young professional

Six long years later he sold that company to Akamai, the dominant software competitor in its field, for just enough money for Kalanick to join the club of San Francisco entrepreneurs who had achieved an “exit,” a financing event that put some cash in his pocket. During our first chat Kalanick also told me how Uber got started. It was an after-the-fact creation myth, which nearly every successful Silicon Valley start-up has, about how he and a friend named Garrett Camp had an epiphany when they couldn’t catch a cab during a blizzard in Paris in late 2008. If only there were a way to turn one’s phone into a taxi dispatcher. “The germ of the idea was Garrett’s,” Kalanick said. “Mine was the business architecture.” Three years later, Uber was already beloved by its young, largely male customer base—people like Kalanick and Camp who are thrilled with the transformative power of pushing a button on their smartphones and having a Lincoln Town Car show up at their doorstep.

He didn’t sign on with Scour in earnest until later in the school year because he had another internship that summer, this time working on an electricity-industry project in Los Angeles with Boston Consulting Group. It was not the last time Kalanick would hang back from a fledgling start-up while he considered his options; he would do it again a decade later as Uber took flight. Scour was a perfect example of what would later be described as an ideal product-market fit, an almost totemic term among Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. Some start-ups make a nifty product that nobody wants. Others go after a massive market but have nothing to offer. Scour was a simple-to-use Web site that identified and listed music files available on a network, which greatly appealed to a market of college students who wanted to discover new music but could afford to buy only so many CDs. Scour’s promise was to build a large audience that would be commercially attractive to entertainment companies, either as a promotional vehicle or as a sales platform.


Small Change: Why Business Won't Save the World by Michael Edwards

Bernie Madoff, clean water, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, different worldview, high net worth, invisible hand, knowledge economy, light touch regulation, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Shuttleworth, market bubble, microcredit, Nelson Mandela, New Journalism, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs

The essence of this movement is blended value, a process first described by Jed Emerson that creates hybrid institutions by combining elements from two different worlds — the social (meaning beyond the market or the individual), and the enterprise (meaning from business and the market).4 Venture philanthropists use business thinking to advance the social mission of foundations and other forms of giving. The hallmarks of venture philanthropy are “an entrepreneurial resultsoriented framework, leverage, personal engagement, and impatience.”5 As befits an approach that emerged from the world of venture capital and Silicon Valley start-ups, “engagement” means direct intervention in, and a high measure of control over, the activities of the organizations that each foundation supports; effectiveness is measured using business metrics to monitor performance; strategy is dominated by aggressive revenue-generation efforts to promote financial sustainability and rapid “scaling up”; and “leverage” comes from pulling in resources from government and others and investing in a wider range of vehicles to achieve social goals — such as pre-purchasing new vaccines in order to lower prices while maintaining the profit margins that are required to cover the costs of R&D.


pages: 397 words: 110,222

Habeas Data: Privacy vs. The Rise of Surveillance Tech by Cyrus Farivar

Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, autonomous vehicles, call centre, citizen journalism, cloud computing, computer age, connected car, do-ocracy, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, failed state, Ferguson, Missouri, Frank Gehry, Golden Gate Park, John Markoff, license plate recognition, Lyft, national security letter, Occupy movement, optical character recognition, Port of Oakland, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, The Hackers Conference, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs, uber lyft, WikiLeaks, Zimmermann PGP

In Pueblo, Colorado, some camera footage is kept indefinitely. In Minnesota, traffic stops are kept for a year. In Orlando, Florida, non-evidentiary body-camera videos are kept for 90 days, while in Oakland, California, those same videos are kept for two years. Just like with other consumer technology, which is getting faster, cheaper, and smaller all the time, law enforcement surveillance technology is as well. Even now, a Silicon Valley startup, Visual Labs, is selling body-camera software that runs on existing Android phones—eliminating the need for another dedicated piece of hardware on an officer’s body. The small, central California town of Dos Palos (population 5,000) in Merced County is one of a handful of law enforcement agencies testing out this system, and is paying considerably less than it would with one of Visual Labs’ larger competitors, like VIEVU or Axon (the company formerly known as Taser)

Also in 2017, Ferguson, Missouri: Paul LeBlanc, “Settlement Reached in Michael Brown Civil Lawsuit,” CNN, June 20, 2017. Available at: http://www.cnn.com/​2017/​06/​20/​us/​michael-brown-settlement-ferguson/​index.html. But like LPRs: Elizabeth Atkins, “#Blacklivesrecorded,” Unpublished Thesis, Thomas Jefferson School of Law, 2016. Available at: https://www.documentcloud.org/​documents/​3894162-SSRN-id2803588.html#document/​p12/​a362822. Even now, a Silicon Valley startup: Cyrus Farivar, “Meet Visual Labs, A Body Camera Startup That Doesn’t Sell Body Cameras,” Ars Technica, September 3, 2016. Available at: https://arstechnica.com/​tech-policy/​2016/​09/​meet-visual-labs-a-body-camera-startup-that-doesnt-sell-body-cameras/​. However, facial recognition doesn’t: Cyrus Farivar, “Boston Police Chief: Facial Recognition Tech Didn’t Help Find Bombing Suspects,” Ars Technica, April 21, 2013.


eBoys by Randall E. Stross

barriers to entry, business cycle, call centre, carried interest, cognitive dissonance, disintermediation, edge city, high net worth, hiring and firing, Jeff Bezos, job-hopping, knowledge worker, late capitalism, market bubble, Menlo Park, new economy, old-boy network, passive investing, performance metric, pez dispenser, railway mania, rolodex, Sand Hill Road, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Y2K

After eight weeks of courtship, Henry Paulson, Jr., Goldman Sachs’s CEO who had seemed so ready to commit to founding with Benchmark an entirely new online banking service for high-net-worth individuals, balked in the end. “What if there were to be another Meg Whitman?” he asked Dunlevie. What would happen, that is, if the head of this new Goldman Sachs entity, which would be structured like a Silicon Valley start-up, and its CEO, given an equity stake similar to that given to other Valley CEOs, was very successful, went public, and its CEO—like eBay’s Whitman—became extraordinarily wealthy? Wouldn’t the other Goldman Sachs partners become envious and demoralized? Dunlevie did not try to argue that that would not be the case. He instead focused on the numbers: a $30-billion-market-cap business; Goldman Sachs would own 75 percent of it, which would mean a boost of $22.5 billion to the parent investor’s market cap.

Negotiations had gone swiftly and smoothly, helped by the thirty-six-year-old executive that the parent company had placed on point and who would become the new unit’s CEO. An avid skier and climber, he got along well with the Benchmark partners when he came down from Seattle to visit, and he declared that Nordstrom had chosen Benchmark not only for its e-commerce expertise but also for help in developing a corporate culture at Nordstrom “just as dynamic and hard-driven as a Silicon Valley start-up.” At the onset, Toys had said all the right things, too, but in Nordstrom’s case the details agreed upon between the two partners had remained intact, free of CFO and attorney meddling on the part of the larger partner. The new subsidiary would have its own management team and its own board of directors, and the sourcing arrangements with the parent were clean, without any surprise gotchas.


pages: 185 words: 43,609

Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel, Blake Masters

Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Andrew Wiles, Andy Kessler, Berlin Wall, cleantech, cloud computing, crony capitalism, discounted cash flows, diversified portfolio, don't be evil, Elon Musk, eurozone crisis, income inequality, Jeff Bezos, Lean Startup, life extension, lone genius, Long Term Capital Management, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, minimum viable product, Nate Silver, Network effects, new economy, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, pets.com, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Singularitarianism, software is eating the world, Steve Jobs, strong AI, Ted Kaczynski, Tesla Model S, uber lyft, Vilfredo Pareto, working poor

We can invent faster ways to travel from place to place over the surface of the planet; we can even learn how to escape it entirely and settle new frontiers. But we will never learn any of these secrets unless we demand to know them and force ourselves to look. The same is true of business. Great companies can be built on open but unsuspected secrets about how the world works. Consider the Silicon Valley startups that have harnessed the spare capacity that is all around us but often ignored. Before Airbnb, travelers had little choice but to pay high prices for a hotel room, and property owners couldn’t easily and reliably rent out their unoccupied space. Airbnb saw untapped supply and unaddressed demand where others saw nothing at all. The same is true of private car services Lyft and Uber. Few people imagined that it was possible to build a billion-dollar business by simply connecting people who want to go places with people willing to drive them there.


pages: 252 words: 78,780

Lab Rats: How Silicon Valley Made Work Miserable for the Rest of Us by Dan Lyons

Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, Apple II, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, bitcoin, blockchain, business process, call centre, Clayton Christensen, clean water, collective bargaining, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, cryptocurrency, David Heinemeier Hansson, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, full employment, future of work, gig economy, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, hiring and firing, housing crisis, income inequality, informal economy, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, job-hopping, John Gruber, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Lean Startup, loose coupling, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, McMansion, Menlo Park, Milgram experiment, minimum viable product, Mitch Kapor, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, new economy, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Paul Graham, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, precariat, RAND corporation, remote working, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, Ruby on Rails, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, Skype, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, software is eating the world, Stanford prison experiment, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, TaskRabbit, telemarketer, Tesla Model S, Thomas Davenport, Tony Hsieh, Toyota Production System, traveling salesman, Travis Kalanick, tulip mania, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, universal basic income, web application, Whole Earth Catalog, Y Combinator, young professional

She’s a cheery, round-faced woman in her fifties with a disarming smile and an easy laugh. Julia arrived carrying a big canvas bag filled with Legos, and they’re now scattered out on the table. As we’re making small talk, she plays with the pieces, idly snapping and unsnapping them. Soon, between sips of my caffè Americano and bites of a remarkably good almond croissant, I start tinkering with the Legos, too. A few years earlier I briefly worked at a Silicon Valley–style start-up in Boston, a disastrous experience I chronicled in my last book, before getting a job as a writer on the HBO comedy Silicon Valley. Today, I have returned to the setting of that show—which, while a real place, is also a state of mind—not for fun, but for research. For the last two years, I have made it my mission to speak to as many people as I can to better understand the modern workplace and why work today seems to make so many people unhappy.

Women represent only 15 percent of decision-making roles. VCs claim that they make decisions based entirely on the strength of the company’s ideas, and without any regard for race or gender. But can you guess where the members of the White Man Club tend to put their money? “I can be tricked by anyone who looks like Mark Zuckerberg” is how Paul Graham, the founder of Y Combinator, a top Silicon Valley start-up incubator, once famously put it. Graham later claimed he was joking, but a glance through the roster of Y Combinator portfolio companies turns up an awful lot of nerdy young Zuckerberg clones. As for why there are so few women in venture capital, Michael Moritz, a partner at Sequoia Ventures, once said that it’s not because of gender bias but that “What we’re not prepared to do is to lower our standards.”


pages: 480 words: 123,979

Dawn of the New Everything: Encounters With Reality and Virtual Reality by Jaron Lanier

4chan, augmented reality, back-to-the-land, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, carbon footprint, cloud computing, collaborative editing, commoditize, cosmological constant, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Hofstadter, El Camino Real, Elon Musk, Firefox, game design, general-purpose programming language, gig economy, Google Glasses, Grace Hopper, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, impulse control, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Kuiper Belt, lifelogging, mandelbrot fractal, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Minecraft, Mitch Kapor, Mother of all demos, Murray Gell-Mann, Netflix Prize, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, Oculus Rift, pattern recognition, Paul Erdős, profit motive, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, telepresence, telepresence robot, Thorstein Veblen, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, WikiLeaks, wikimedia commons

We had actual factories in Silicon Valley, which produced chips and Apple computers and all the rest. That’s probably the biggest difference between then and now. VPL had to create its own production line. We started up a little factory in Redwood City to make headsets, gloves, and the rest. We did things that seem inconceivable today. We hired local people and trained them. Blue-collar local jobs! From a Silicon Valley startup! It happened! But it wasn’t perfect. There were ready consultants for every other aspect of being a startup, but manufacturing was still considered part of the parental, big-company world; part of the old economy Back East rather than the new Wild West. No one supported tiny-scale manufacturing in Silicon Valley. It was big or nothing. I wonder if America would have lost so much of its place in tech manufacturing if that divide had been bridged.

There have been dozens of partial solutions to the duplex problem in VR, but nothing ready to change the world. Sounds easy to solve, right? Once it’s solved, then that will be true. * * * Thirty-fourth VR Definition: Instrumentation that might just enable telecommunications with honest signals someday. * * * Back to Palo Alto in the 1980s. 16. The VPL Experience In-Spiral This is around the time when a normal memoir of a Silicon Valley startup would kick into gossip mode. Next would come juicy stories of intrigues on the board, struggles over stock, people yelling and quitting, backstabbings and betrayals. VPL had all of that, and such stuff might make a good story, and yet it’s not the story I’m telling. Here are a few reasons why. First, you have to understand the most basic quality of the startup experience; you work harder than you had ever thought was possible.


pages: 385 words: 48,143

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

Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, barriers to entry, belly landing, discounted cash flows, estate planning, Jeff Bezos, Network effects, new economy, Pepto Bismol, 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: 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

Airbnb, bank run, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, Bretton Woods, buy and hold, 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, Travis Kalanick, 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

"Robert Solow", 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, Mitch Kapor, Naomi Klein, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, 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: 370 words: 129,096

Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance

addicted to oil, Burning Man, cleantech, digital map, El Camino Real, Elon Musk, global supply chain, Hyperloop, industrial robot, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, low earth orbit, Mark Zuckerberg, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, Mercator projection, money market fund, multiplanetary species, optical character recognition, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, paypal mafia, performance metric, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, Tesla Model S, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, X Prize

Crucially, the Falcon 5 could also theoretically reach the International Space Station for resupply missions—a capability that would open up SpaceX for some large NASA contracts. And, in a nod to Musk’s obsession with safety, the rocket was said to be able to complete its missions even if three of the five engines failed, which was a level of added reliability that had not been seen in the market in decades. The only way to keep up with all of this work was to do what SpaceX had promised from the beginning: operate in the spirit of a Silicon Valley start-up. Musk was always looking for brainy engineers who had not just done well at school but had done something exceptional with their talents. When he found someone good, Musk was relentless in courting him or her to come to SpaceX. Bryan Gardner, for example, first met Musk at a space rave in the hangars at the Mojave airport and a short while later started talking about a job. Gardner was having some of his academic work sponsored by Northrop Grumman.

The sum total of the company’s automotive expertise was that a couple of the guys at Tesla really liked cars and another one had created a series of science fair projects based on technology that the automotive industry considered ridiculous. What’s more, the founding team had no intention of turning to Detroit for advice on how to build a car company. No, Tesla would do what every other Silicon Valley start-up had done before it, which was hire a bunch of young, hungry engineers and figure things out as they went along. Never mind that the Bay Area had no real history of this model ever having worked for something like a car and that building a complex, physical object had little in common with writing a software application. What Tesla did have, ahead of anyone else, was the realization that 18650 lithium ion batteries had gotten really good and were going to keep getting better.


pages: 515 words: 132,295

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

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, business cycle, buy and hold, 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, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, 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, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, 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: 165 words: 50,798

Intertwingled: Information Changes Everything by Peter Morville

A Pattern Language, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Arthur Eddington, augmented reality, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, business process, Cass Sunstein, cognitive dissonance, collective bargaining, disruptive innovation, index card, information retrieval, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Jane Jacobs, John Markoff, Lean Startup, Lyft, minimum viable product, Mother of all demos, Nelson Mandela, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer, RFID, Richard Thaler, ride hailing / ride sharing, Schrödinger's Cat, self-driving car, semantic web, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, source of truth, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, uber lyft, urban planning, urban sprawl, Vannevar Bush, zero-sum game

Galileo was found “gravely suspect of heresy” for confirming the Copernican re-classification of the universe, Joan of Arc was burned to death for “dressing as a man” and Nelson Mandela was categorized as a domestic terrorist by South Africa and the United States for defying the taxonomy – black, white, coloured, Indian – of apartheid. Mostly what we do isn’t quite so heavy. But it’s unwise to ask certain questions before understanding politics and culture. In all organizations, from libraries, nonprofits, and government agencies to Fortune 500s and Silicon Valley startups, visible categories are built on invisible fault lines. So speak softly and carry some Silly String, because the dark paths that wander betwixt taxonomies and org charts are riddled with tripwire. xxxii Organizing for Users Of course, since users are the center of our universe, it’s our duty to take risks on their behalf. And while we tend to talk about the visible leaves and branches of information architecture – menus, buttons, links, labels, tags, facets, search, navigation, personalization – categories are the root of all this work.


pages: 186 words: 49,251

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

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: 359 words: 96,019

How to Turn Down a Billion Dollars: The Snapchat Story by Billy Gallagher

Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Web Services, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, augmented reality, Bernie Sanders, Black Swan, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, computer vision, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, El Camino Real, Elon Musk, Frank Gehry, Google Glasses, Hyperloop, information asymmetry, Jeff Bezos, Justin.tv, Lean Startup, Long Term Capital Management, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, minimum viable product, Nelson Mandela, Oculus Rift, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, QR code, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Snapchat, social graph, sorting algorithm, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, too big to fail, Y Combinator, young professional

All told, close to sixty people and institutions invested a sum of $30 million in Clinkle before the company even told the world what they were doing. The company had at this point been in “stealth mode,” a sexy term meaning they weren’t telling anyone what they were working on. Stanford has been intertwined with Silicon Valley for more than a century. In 1909, a Stanford graduate founded one of the earliest big Silicon Valley startups, Federal Telegraph. David Starr Jordan, Stanford’s first president, was an angel investor. But Clinkle made students, faculty, and alumni uneasy. Should the university president be advising a company that is recruiting students to drop out of school? Should professors be investing in their students’ companies? The questions around Clinkle had no easy answers, but certainly it would look better for everyone involved if Clinkle turned out to be a massive success—the kind of endeavor obviously worth leaving school for.

Miami (Michael Salzhauer) Samsung Sandberg, Sheryl Sanders, Bernie Saturday Night Live Sawyer, Diane Scan (QR code app) Schiffer, Eric Schmidt, Eric Sculley, John Secret (app) Sehn, Tim selfies Academy Awards (2014) selfie with Ellen DeGeneres first photographic self-portrait history of Sequoia Capital sexting Shark Tank (television program) Shonduras (Shaun McBride) Shontell, Alyson Sierra Ventures Silicon Valley (television sitcom) Slingshot (Facebook app) Smith, Daniel Smith, Kevin Snapchat Android app Arsenic Bitstrips purchased by brand advertising Brown lawsuit captions celebrities and Snapchat stars content management system (CMS) Council (employee gatherings) demographics of users Discover DJ Khaled and and Electric Daisy Carnival (Las Vegas) email leaks founding date of funding and investment geofilters Ghostface Chillah logo Good Luck America (election show) hacking and security Instant Articles IPO (initial public offering) Lenses Literally Can’t Even (original programming) Live Stories media coverage of Memories monetization original programming origins of Our Story Picaboo publishing and journalism Rio Summer Olympics (2016) coverage S-1 (SEC filing) Safety Center Scan purchased by Snap Channel Snap Lab Snapcash Snapcode “Snappy New Year” promotion Spectacles Stories Vergence Labs purchased by workforce and human resources Social Network, The (film) Sony Entertainment Sorrell, Martin SpaceX Spiegel, Evan Brown lawsuit and childhood education Forbes’s “30 Under 30” issue Future Freshman girlfriend at Stanford (Lily) interest in journalism internship at Red Bull and Kappa Sigma Market Street headquarters parents of proposal to Miranda Kerr at $SNAP IPO Snapchat’s origins at Stanford Stanford Women in Business conference keynote address worldview and corporate culture of Snapchat See also Snapchat Spielberg, Sasha Spotify Square Square Cash Stanford University commencement (2012) Donner (dorm) founding of Kappa Sigma Sigma Nu Silicon Valley and Startup Hau5 (Picaboo headquarters) stealth mode Stith, Mackenzie Stone, Josh Streep, Meryl Sun Microsystems Swift, Taylor Swisher, Kara Systrom, Kevin Taco Bell Tam, Donna Taneja, Hemant TechCrunch (tech blog) Disrupt conference Tencent Teo, Jon Tesla ThankYouX (Ryan Wilson) That White Bitch (blog) therealdrmiami. See Dr. Miami (Michael Salzhauer) Thiel, Peter third-party content (Snapchat Discover) Thompson, Nicholas Thorning-Schmidt, Helle TigerText (app) Tinder Trainor, Meghan Trump, Donald Turley, Ben Turner, Elizabeth Turner, Sarah Twitter demographics of users innovation and Snapchat account at Snapchat compared with txtWeb Uber Valleywag (Gawker blog) Van Natta, Owen Vanity Fair Venice, California Venmo Vergence Labs Vine (app) virtual private network (VPN) Viterbi, Andrew VMWare Vollero, Drew Warner Music Group WeChat (app) Weiner, Anthony Wendell, Peter WhatsApp Whisper (app) White, Emily Wiley, Marcus Wilson, Ryan (ThankYouX) Wolf, Michelle Y Combinator Yahoo Yelp YesJulz (Julieanna Goddard) Yik Yak (app) YouTube Zedd Zero to One (Masters and Thiel) Zuckerberg, Mark ABOUT THE AUTHOR BILLY GALLAGHER is an MBA candidate at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.


pages: 391 words: 97,018

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

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 cycle, 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

Amazon Web Services, automated trading system, big-box store, call centre, cloud computing, Dynabook, Elon Musk, inventory management, Jeff Bezos, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, 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: 184 words: 53,625

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

Airbus A320, airport security, algorithmic trading, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, call centre, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Cass Sunstein, Charles Lindbergh, 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, Joi Ito, 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: 166 words: 53,103

Slack: Getting Past Burnout, Busywork, and the Myth of Total Efficiency by Tom Demarco

Brownian motion, delayed gratification, Frederick Winslow Taylor, interchangeable parts, knowledge worker, new economy, risk tolerance, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Jobs, Yogi Berra

Box these gifted people in tightly enough, and none of their magic will be able to happen. 19 Vision MY FRIEND Sheila Brady was regaling us one night over dinner at her Woodside, California, home. The rain was coming down in sheets and wind was whipping through the eucalypts and the wine was flowing freely: a perfect time for let-your-hair-down storytelling. Many of the stories were of Sheila’s days at Apple, where she was a star project manager. But then the tales turned to Silicon Valley start-ups of more recent vintage, and she opened the floor to the subject of vision. Others around the table (they were employees of half a dozen Valley start-ups) leaped in. They began to talk about vision, mostly observed by its absence. The most common sign of absent vision was the sense of not knowing “who we are.” One particularly depressing example was a top-level meeting at a new Valley dot-com where the company’s only apparent reason for existing was to make millionaires out of everybody in the meeting as quickly as possible so they could all retire.


pages: 464 words: 155,696

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

Albert Einstein, Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Bob Noyce, Byte Shop, Charles Lindbergh, computer age, corporate governance, El Camino Real, Isaac Newton, John Markoff, Jony Ive, Kickstarter, 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: 496 words: 154,363

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

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, Kickstarter, Marc Andreessen, Menlo Park, microcredit, music of the spheres, Network effects, 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.


We Are the Nerds: The Birth and Tumultuous Life of Reddit, the Internet's Culture Laboratory by Christine Lagorio-Chafkin

4chan, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, Bernie Sanders, big-box store, bitcoin, blockchain, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, David Heinemeier Hansson, Donald Trump, East Village, game design, Golden Gate Park, hiring and firing, Internet Archive, Jacob Appelbaum, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Joi Ito, Justin.tv, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, medical residency, minimum viable product, natural language processing, Paul Buchheit, Paul Graham, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, QR code, recommendation engine, RFID, rolodex, Ruby on Rails, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, self-driving car, semantic web, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, slashdot, Snapchat, social web, South of Market, San Francisco, Startup school, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, technoutopianism, uber lyft, web application, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator

He had supported the Reddit team’s strategy of focusing on traffic growth, and felt proud of the initiatives the scrappy group had undertaken. They’d taught him about open-sourcing a site’s code, and he’d taught them about maintaining quarterly goals. But in 2011, Newhouse decided it was time to try something new for Reddit. Bob Sauerberg, Condé’s president, was on board. He and Newhouse figured that if Reddit was allowed to raise venture capital funding and behave more like other Silicon Valley startups, the company would have a chance at competing with the likes of Facebook and Twitter. Reddit would also have more flexibility to hire new employees, to pay them competitively, and to offer stock options. Plus, given investors’ enthusiasm for heavily trafficked money-losing websites, an independent Reddit would almost certainly be worth a lot more to the market than it was to Condé Nast.

If Wong’s vision of growing and evolving Reddit as a “city-state” and trying to appease the community was rough going, his other objective, to move the company toward profitability, was tougher. By this point in 2014 it seemed too far-fetched to even put a timeline on. Instead, Wong decided to consider switching mind-sets—and possibly change the goal altogether. He could envision treating Reddit as a typical Silicon Valley startup. To that end, he had gone back to the place Reddit started, back to Y Combinator. Wong and Altman stepped away from their nearly matching cars and walked together into Y Combinator. Wong took in the space, all clean lines and stark design. This office, like Paul Graham’s original Cambridge one, had been built out by Graham’s architect friend Kate Courteau. The scale, though, was entirely different here: There were rows of dozens of tables in the airplane-hangar-sized communal hall.


pages: 285 words: 58,517

The Network Imperative: How to Survive and Grow in the Age of Digital Business Models by Barry Libert, Megan Beck

active measures, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, asset allocation, autonomous vehicles, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, business intelligence, call centre, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, commoditize, crowdsourcing, disintermediation, diversification, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, future of work, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Infrastructure as a Service, intangible asset, Internet of things, invention of writing, inventory management, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, late fees, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Oculus Rift, pirate software, ride hailing / ride sharing, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, software as a service, software patent, Steve Jobs, subscription business, TaskRabbit, Travis Kalanick, uber lyft, Wall-E, women in the workforce, Zipcar

X projects benefit from passionate leaders having relevant experience. For example, when embarking on the self-driving car project, the team brought on Sebastian Thrun, who previously sent an autonomous car through a seven-mile obstacle course in the Mojave Desert. The external network. Google leverages external experts to support its projects. It has partnered with at least sixteen other companies so far, ranging from Silicon Valley start-ups to established chip manufacturers. All these criteria—separation, low investment, the right talent, and the external network—make for an open space in which teams can be innovative and almost instantly responsive to market feedback. All are necessary for creating a new, networked business within asset builder, service provider, and technology creator companies. PIVOT Step 4: Operate The goal of the Operate step is to get your new network business up and running with the components and processes that will help your company, and the network, achieve success.


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

Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, barriers to entry, Black Swan, business intelligence, call centre, crowdsourcing, disruptive innovation, 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, MITM: man-in-the-middle, 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, Travis Kalanick, ubercab, 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: 209 words: 63,649

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

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, longitudinal study, means of production, Mitch Kapor, new economy, pattern recognition, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, QR code, Ray Oldenburg, remote working, 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: 206 words: 60,587

Side Hustle: From Idea to Income in 27 Days by Chris Guillebeau

"side hustle", Airbnb, buy low sell high, inventory management, Lyft, passive income, ride hailing / ride sharing, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, subscription business, TaskRabbit, the scientific method, Uber for X, uber lyft

There’s a school of thought that advises you to focus on making money only from one revenue source or only on offers that are fully aligned with your core business. This conventional “wisdom” is commonly taught in business school, business books, and executive coaching. But the side hustler’s mindset is different, or at least it should be. After all, it’s something you’re doing on the side. You aren’t trying to build a Silicon Valley startup and make money for a million investors; you’re doing this to make money for yourself. Consider the Million Dollar Homepage, started by a college student, that I mentioned on Day 21. The traditional business perspective would argue that such a thing is a gimmick, and a distraction from some “real” business that he could have been building. This is, of course, terrible advice. If you happen to find a million dollars lying under a rock somewhere, pick it up.


pages: 202 words: 62,199

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

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, lateral thinking, loss aversion, low cost airline, Mahatma Gandhi, microcredit, minimum viable product, Nelson Mandela, North Sea oil, Peter Thiel, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Thaler, Rosa Parks, Shai Danziger, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, sovereign wealth fund, Stanford prison experiment, 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: 606 words: 157,120

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

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, Nelson Mandela, 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: 559 words: 169,094

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

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, paypal mafia, 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: 533

Future Politics: Living Together in a World Transformed by Tech by Jamie Susskind

3D printing, additive manufacturing, affirmative action, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, airport security, Andrew Keen, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, automated trading system, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, bitcoin, blockchain, brain emulation, British Empire, business process, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cashless society, Cass Sunstein, cellular automata, cloud computing, computer age, computer vision, continuation of politics by other means, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, digital map, distributed ledger, Donald Trump, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, Filter Bubble, future of work, Google bus, Google X / Alphabet X, Googley, industrial robot, informal economy, intangible asset, Internet of things, invention of the printing press, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, lifelogging, Metcalfe’s law, mittelstand, more computing power than Apollo, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, night-watchman state, Oculus Rift, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, pattern recognition, payday loans, price discrimination, price mechanism, RAND corporation, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, road to serfdom, Robert Mercer, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, selection bias, self-driving car, sexual politics, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia, smart contracts, Snapchat, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, technological singularity, the built environment, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas L Friedman, universal basic income, urban planning, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, working-age population

Forster portrayed a world in which humans were subordinated to The Machine, a global technological system that monitored and controlled every aspect of human existence.27 Some writers have tried to pin down what they see as the ideology of our own time. Evgeny Morozov, for instance, has written of 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’);28 ‘cyber-utopianism’ (‘a naive belief in the emancipatory nature of online communication that rests on a stubborn refusal to acknowledge its downside’);29 and ‘solutionism’ (‘Recasting all complex social situations either as neatly defined problems with definite, computable solutions or as transparent and self-evident processes that can be easily optimized—if only the right algorithms are in place’).30 My own view is that the technologies in question are too young for us to know what lasting imprint they will leave on our political thought.

32 OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 28/05/18, SPi РЕЛИЗ ПОДГОТОВИЛА ГРУППА "What's News" VK.COM/WSNWS Index Jie, Ke 32 job applicants 266–7, 268 Jobs, Steve 314 Johnson, Bobby 399 Johnson, Steve 427 Jones, Steve 388 Jøsang, Audun 423 Jouppi, Norm 375 judicial system 102 Jury Theorem 224 justice algorithmic injustice 279–94 civil 259 concept 74–5, 76 conceptual analysis 81 criminal 259 as desert 260–1 as dessert 261, 262 distributive 257–70, 274, 278 and equality, difference between 259 fairness principle 353 property 313–41 in recognition 260, 271–8 social see social justice technological unemployment 295–312 Justinian, Emperor 202 Kahane, Guy 434 Kant, Immanuel 186, 272, 406 Karrahalios, Karrie 433 Kasparov, Garry 31, 36, 373 Kassarnig,Valentin 372 Keen, Andrew 376 Kelion, Leo 413 Kellmereit, Daniel 380 Kelly, Kevin 20, 21, 370, 373, 374, 375, 430 Kelly, Rick 384, 385 Kelly III, John E. 386, 388 Kelsen, Hans 103, 392 Kennedy, John F. 164, 188, 347 Kennedy, Robert F. 256 Keurig 116 Khatchadourian, Raffi 52, 382 503 Khomami, Nadia 397 Al-Khw­ār izmī, Abd’Abdallah Muhammad ibn Mūsā 94 Kim, Mark 376 King, Martin Luther 6, 180, 257, 360, 404 Kirchner, Lauren 403 Kirobo Mini 55 Kitchin, Rob 376, 377, 380, 381, 387, 388, 391, 404 Klaas, Brian 408 Kleinman, Zoe 383 Knockel, Jeffrey 399 Koch brothers 230 Kolhatkar, Sheelah 367, 423 Kollanyi, Bence 413 Korea 20 Kotler, Steven 374, 435 Krasodomski-Jones, Alex 412 Kurzweil, Ray 38, 366, 374, 436 Kymlicka, Will 418 labour market 303 Lai, Richard 386 Lampos,Vasileios 393 Landemore, Hélène 408, 411, 416 Laney, Doug 431 Langbort, Cedric 433 language importance to politics 16–17, 19 limits of 10–11 political concepts 76–80 public and private power 157 Lanier, Jaron 367, 374, 384, 400, 416, 419, 428, 431, 435 Data Deal 338 human enhancement 363 network effect 321 Silicon Valley startups 6–7 Wiki Democracy 246 Lant, Karla 376 Laouris,Yiannis 435 Large Hadron Collider 65 Larkin,Yelena 427 Larson, Jeff 403, 422 Larson, Selena 370, 421 OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 28/05/18, SPi РЕЛИЗ ПОДГОТОВИЛА ГРУППА "What's News" VK.COM/WSNWS 504 Index law adaptive 107–10 AI Democracy 253 AI systems 31 code-ified 110–12, 245 digital 100–14 dissent 179–80 enforcement 101–7 intellectual property 332 justice in recognition 274–5 oral cultures 111–12 rule of 115 self-enforcing 101–3 supercharged state 171–2 wise restraints 185–6 written 111, 112 Lawrence, Neil 374, 388, 427 Leftwich, Adrian 389 Lenin,Vladimir Ilyich 21, 153, 370 Leonardo Da Vinci 28 Lessig, Lawrence 391, 392, 394, 420, 433 code as law 96 cyberspace as a place 97 free software 359 law enforcement through force 104, 105 privatization of force 100, 117 Leta Jones, Meg 138, 397, 432 Levellers 215–16 Levy, Steven 404 Lewis, Michael 428 liberal democracy 216–17, 246, 254 liberal-democratic principle of legitimacy 350 liberalism 77, 350 liberty 3, 10, 23, 346 concept 74–5, 76 conceptual analysis 81 contextual analysis 84 Deliberative Democracy 234 and democracy 207–8, 222, 225, 249 digital 205–7 digital dissent 179–84 digital liberation 168–71 harm principle 195–205 human enhancement 363 nature of politics 74 price mechanism 270 and private power 189–94 supercharged state 171–9 and the tech firm 188–208 transparency regulation 355 types 164–8 wise restraints 184–6 see also freedom Library of Congress 56 life-logs 63 Lincoln, Abraham 89, 210, 231, 323 Linn, Allison 398 Linux 243–4, 245, 333 Lipińska,Veronika 435 lip-reading 30 liquid democracy 242 Lively, J. 409 Livingston, James 425 Livy 216 loans, and distributive justice 267, 268 Locke, John 216, 246, 301, 323, 429 loomio.org 234 Lopatto, Elizabeth 434 lottery, work distribution via 304 Loveluck, Benjamin 378 Luca, Michael 423 luck egalitarianism 262, 307 Luddites 13 Lukes, Steven 390–1, 395, 398 Luxemburg, Rosa 348, 432 Lynch, Jack 384 Machiavelli, Niccolò 188, 217, 406, 409 machine learning 34–7, 266 algorithmic injustice 293 commons 332 data-based injustice 282 Data Democracy 248 data’s economic importance 317 distributive justice 267 future of code 98 group membership fallacy 284 OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 28/05/18, SPi РЕЛИЗ ПОДГОТОВИЛА ГРУППА "What's News" VK.COM/WSNWS Index increasingly quantified society 61 liberty and private power 191 political campaigning 220 predictions 139, 173, 175 productive technologies 316 rule-based injustice 284 MacKinnon, Rebecca 396 Madison, James 216, 241, 369, 415 MagicLeap 59 Maistre, Joseph de 101 make-work 304 manipulation 93, 122 code 96, 97 digital liberation 170–1 harm principle 200 Mannheim, Karl 78, 390 Manyika, James 424 Mao, Huina 416 Marconi, Guglielmo 21 marginalization 273 Margretts, Helen 410 market system, and distributive justice 264–5 Markoff, John 400, 413 Martinez, Peter 413 Marx, Karl 367, 390, 398, 415, 417, 424, 425, 429, 434, 436 Communist Manifesto 326–7, 362 Direct Democracy 240–1 future of political ideas 86 justice 258 perception-control 144 on philosophers 7 political concepts 78 property 324, 326–7 sorcerer 366 workers 295, 298, 301, 307 Mason, Paul 374 Massachusetts Institute of Technology see MIT Mattu, Surya 403 Maxim, Hiram 20 Mayer-Schönberger,Viktor 387, 388, 395, 397, 427, 433 data 62, 65 forgetting versus remembering 137 505 Mayr, Otto 14, 368 McAfee, Andrew 374, 382, 390, 393, 427, 431 capital 315, 316, 334 McChesney, Robert W. 400, 427 McDermott, Daniel 390 McGinnis, John O. 416 McKinsey 295, 299 Mearian, Lucas 386 MedEthEx 108 medicine 3D printing 56–7 AI systems 31, 32, 108–9, 113 digital law 112–13 increasingly integrated technology 51, 54, 56–7 ransomware 182 robotics 54 technological unemployment 300 Medium 183 memory 136–8 Merchant, Brian 430 merit, and distributive justice 261 Mesthene, Emmanuel G. 368 metadata 63 Metcalfe’s Law 320 Metz, Cade 372, 373, 374, 375, 380 Metz, Rachel 407 Michaely, Roni 427 Microsoft acquisitions 318 chips 40 commons 332 concentration of tech industry 318, 320 Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism 191 HoloLens 59 patents 315 speech-recognition AI system 30 Tay 37, 346 might is right 349 military AI systems 31 brain–computer interfaces 48 sensors 50 OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 28/05/18, SPi РЕЛИЗ ПОДГОТОВИЛА ГРУППА "What's News" VK.COM/WSNWS 506 Index Mill, James 195 Mill, John Stuart 367, 403, 406–7, 411, 414, 415 change, need for 3 Deliberative Democracy 234 democracy 223 freedom of speech, constraints on 237 harm principle 196, 198, 199, 203 liberty 195–6, 201, 203 liquid democracy 242 normative analysis 83 predictions 173 upbringing 195 Miller, David 435 Mills, Laurence 418 Milton, John 124, 167, 395 minstrel accounts 232 Mirani, Leo 396 Miremadi, Mehdi 424 Misra, Tanvi 377 MIT affective computing 53 bomb-detecting spinach 50–1 Senseable City Lab 50 Technology Review Custom 427 temporary tattoos for smartphone control 51 Mitchell, Margaret 403 Mitchell, William J. 183, 376, 405 Mizokami, Kyle 379 Moley 407 Momentum Machines 299 Montesquieu, Charles de Secondat, Baron de 358, 433 Moore, Gordon 39, 374 Moore’s Law 39–40, 41 morality AI Democracy 253 automation of 176–7 Data Democracy 249–50 Direct Democracy 240 fragmented 204, 231 harm principle 200–5 justice in distribution 261 see also ethics Moravec’s paradox 54, 382 More, Max 402, 434 Morgan, J.


pages: 437 words: 113,173

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

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 pandemic, 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, Johannes Kepler, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, low cost airline, low cost carrier, low skilled workers, Lyft, Malacca Straits, mass immigration, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral hazard, Nelson Mandela, 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, The Future of Employment, too big to fail, trade liberalization, trade route, transaction costs, transatlantic slave trade, uber lyft, undersea cable, 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: 374 words: 89,725

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

Airbnb, carbon footprint, Clayton Christensen, clean water, disruptive innovation, fear of failure, Google X / Alphabet X, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Joi Ito, 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, Stanford marshmallow experiment, 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: 239 words: 70,206

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

"Robert Solow", 23andMe, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, bioinformatics, business cycle, 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, Johannes Kepler, 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: 382 words: 105,819

Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe by Roger McNamee

4chan, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, AltaVista, Amazon Web Services, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, Boycotts of Israel, Cass Sunstein, cloud computing, computer age, cross-subsidies, data is the new oil, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Elon Musk, Filter Bubble, game design, income inequality, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, laissez-faire capitalism, Lean Startup, light touch regulation, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, minimum viable product, Mother of all demos, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, pets.com, post-work, profit maximization, profit motive, race to the bottom, recommendation engine, Robert Mercer, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, social graph, software is eating the world, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, The Chicago School, Tim Cook: Apple, two-sided market, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, Upton Sinclair, WikiLeaks, Yom Kippur War

The people in Zuck’s inner circle bought into his vision without reservation, and they conveyed that vision to the rank-and-file engineers. On its own terms, Facebook’s human resources strategy worked exceptionally well. The company exceeded its goals year after year, creating massive wealth for its shareholders, but especially for Zuck. The success of Facebook’s strategy had a profound impact on the human resources culture of Silicon Valley startups. In the early days of Silicon Valley, software engineers generally came from the computer science and electrical engineering programs at MIT, Caltech, and Carnegie Mellon. By the late seventies, Berkeley and Stanford had joined the top tier. They were followed in the mid-nineties by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the alma mater of Marc Andreessen, and other universities with strong computer science programs.

After On, by Rob Reid (New York: Del Rey, 2017), imagines a next-generation social network whose AI becomes sentient. This is a long but incredibly funny novel that is worth every moment you spend with it. You will understand why technologists must be forced to prepare for unintended consequences. They always happen, and their impact is increasingly harmful. HBO’s television series Silicon Valley lampoons the startup culture in a way that always rings true. The plots are exaggerated, but not by as much as you might think. The Valley culture is strange. When I first met the creative team, I asked the boss man, Mike Judge, to describe the gestalt of the show. He said, “There is a titanic struggle between the hippie culture espoused by people like Steve Jobs and the libertarian culture of Peter Thiel.”


pages: 368 words: 96,825

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

3D printing, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Charles Lindbergh, cloud computing, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dematerialisation, deskilling, disruptive innovation, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Exxon Valdez, fear of failure, Firefox, Galaxy Zoo, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, 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, low earth orbit, 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, 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, superconnector, 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: 411 words: 98,128

Bezonomics: How Amazon Is Changing Our Lives and What the World's Best Companies Are Learning From It by Brian Dumaine

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, AI winter, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, Atul Gawande, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Bernie Sanders, Black Swan, call centre, Chris Urmson, cloud computing, corporate raider, creative destruction, Danny Hillis, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, future of work, gig economy, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, income inequality, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, money market fund, natural language processing, pets.com, plutocrats, Plutocrats, race to the bottom, ride hailing / ride sharing, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Snapchat, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, universal basic income, wealth creators, web application, Whole Earth Catalog

In its partnership with Toyota, Amazon is developing a self-driving concept vehicle called the e-Palette, a minivan that can move people or packages, and the two companies plan to unveil it at the 2020 summer Olympic games in Tokyo. In early 2019, Amazon led a $700 million investment round in Rivian, a Michigan company that is developing a battery-powered pickup truck and a sport utility vehicle. Ford later that year invested another $500 million in the company. Around the same time, Amazon led a $530 million investment round for Aurora, a Silicon Valley self-driving vehicle start-up founded by three stars of this emerging industry: Sterling Anderson, Drew Bagnell, and Chris Urmson. Anderson ran Tesla’s autopilot program, Bagnell headed the autonomy and perception team at Uber, and Urmson was the former head of Google’s self-driving project, which has morphed into one of the leading self-driving car companies: Waymo. Aurora will not build cars but is developing the AI brains behind autonomous vehicles and plans to partner with retailers like Amazon and major automakers to create state-of-the-art autonomous vehicles.

Also favoring delivery vans in this first-mover role is that, for the most part, they have predictable routes and therefore can more easily learn the ins and outs of complex cityscapes—reducing the chance of navigation errors and accidents. A number of innovative companies, working with big retailers, are already running pilot programs with autonomous delivery vans. On January 30, 2018, the Silicon Valley start-up Udelv made what it claims to have been the first self-driving delivery for Draeger’s Market in San Mateo, California. The brains of the vehicle were built on the Apollo software platform, created by the Chinese search engine company Baidu. Baidu is in competition with Alphabet’s Waymo and others to create an industry standard—sort of like Android for self-driving vehicles. Subsequently, Udelv partnered with Walmart to deliver goods in Arizona.


pages: 274 words: 75,846

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

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: 280 words: 79,029

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

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, longitudinal study, 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 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, Thales of Miletus, 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: 325 words: 73,035

Who's Your City?: How the Creative Economy Is Making Where to Live the Most Important Decision of Your Life by Richard Florida

active measures, assortative mating, barriers to entry, big-box store, blue-collar work, borderless world, BRICs, business climate, Celebration, Florida, correlation coefficient, creative destruction, dark matter, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, demographic transition, edge city, Edward Glaeser, epigenetics, extreme commuting, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, happiness index / gross national happiness, high net worth, income inequality, industrial cluster, invention of the telegraph, Jane Jacobs, job satisfaction, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, megacity, new economy, New Urbanism, Peter Calthorpe, place-making, post-work, Richard Florida, risk tolerance, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Seaside, Florida, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, superstar cities, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, urban planning, World Values Survey, young professional

Beijing and Shanghai appear poised to join the ranks of global innovators. This trend may come at the expense of the United States, which has long depended on the innovative and entrepreneurial capabilities of Indian and Chinese immigrants. The detailed research of AnnaLee Saxenian, of the University of California-Berkeley, has shown that Indian and Chinese entrepreneurs ran roughly 25 percent of all Silicon Valley start-ups from 1980 to 1999, which generated $17 billion in annual revenue and about 58,000 jobs.9 By 2005 that percentage had increased to 30 percent. SOURCE: THE WORLD INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ORGANIZATION; UNITED STATES PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE SOURCE : THE WORLD IN INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ORGANIZATION, UNITED STATES PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE But as the map shows, there are at most two dozen places worldwide that generate significant innovation.


pages: 254 words: 76,064

Whiplash: How to Survive Our Faster Future by Joi Ito, Jeff Howe

3D printing, Albert Michelson, Amazon Web Services, artificial general intelligence, basic income, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, Burning Man, buy low sell high, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, Computer Numeric Control, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, data acquisition, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, double helix, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Ferguson, Missouri, fiat currency, financial innovation, Flash crash, frictionless, game design, Gerolamo Cardano, informal economy, interchangeable parts, Internet Archive, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, John Harrison: Longitude, Joi Ito, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, Mark Zuckerberg, microbiome, Nate Silver, Network effects, neurotypical, Oculus Rift, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, pirate software, pre–internet, prisoner's dilemma, Productivity paradox, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, Ronald Coase, Ross Ulbricht, Satoshi Nakamoto, self-driving car, SETI@home, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Simon Singh, Singularitarianism, Skype, slashdot, smart contracts, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, technological singularity, technoutopianism, The Nature of the Firm, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, There's no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home - Ken Olsen, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, universal basic income, unpaid internship, uranium enrichment, urban planning, WikiLeaks

When the group visited DJI, which makes the Phantom line of aerial UAV quadcopter drones, they saw a company that was ahead.33 DJI is a start-up that is growing fivefold every year. It has one of the most popular drones ever designed for the consumer market, and it’s one of the top ten patent holders in China. It was clearly benefiting from the tradecraft of the factories but also very aware of the importance of being clean (and aggressive) from an IP perspective. DJI had the feel of a Silicon Valley start-up mashed together with the work ethic and tradecraft of the factories the group had been visiting. The tour also visited a very high-end, top-tier mobile phone factory that made millions of phones. All of the parts were delivered by robots from a warehouse that was completely automated. The processes and the equipment were the top of the line and probably as sophisticated as at any factory in the world.


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, business cycle, 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, 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, social intelligence, sovereign wealth fund, starchitect, 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: 243 words: 76,686

How to Do Nothing by Jenny Odell

Airbnb, augmented reality, back-to-the-land, Burning Man, collective bargaining, Donald Trump, Filter Bubble, full employment, gig economy, Google Earth, Internet Archive, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Kickstarter, late capitalism, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, means of production, Minecraft, peer-to-peer, Peter Thiel, Port of Oakland, Results Only Work Environment, Rosa Parks, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Snapchat, source of truth, Steve Jobs, strikebreaker, technoutopianism, union organizing, white flight, Works Progress Administration

Although he meant it somewhat jokingly, when I went to Nextdoor’s About page, the first two out of seven suggested uses were “Quickly get the word out about a break-in” and “Organize a Neighborhood Watch Group.” Their manifesto suggests that “strong neighborhoods not only improve our property value, they improve each one of our lives.” But Joe’s biggest gripe, which is his gripe with most online platforms, has to do with advertising and scale. As of December 2017, Nextdoor was valued at $1.5 billion, and it is as committed to growth and VC funding as any other Silicon Valley startup. In 2017 it invited companies to begin advertising on its network. Now the Nextdoor daily digest email is kicked off by a sponsored post by a company, followed by real estate listings. On Nextdoor’s Ads page, which invites businesses to “connect directly with local communities,” you see the same language as that of a community network—trust, local relevance, and word of mouth—but directed toward brands: Verified identity Confirmed identities result in a brand-safe environment Local at scale Customized messaging drives authentic, relevant connections between consumers and brands Brand advocates Word of mouth from trusted sources is the most effective form of advertising.15 In startup parlance, “at scale” refers to the expansion of a software or service to larger and larger contexts—i.e., the development of a local prototype into a widely used product.


pages: 296 words: 78,631

Hello World: Being Human in the Age of Algorithms by Hannah Fry

23andMe, 3D printing, Air France Flight 447, Airbnb, airport security, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Brixton riot, chief data officer, computer vision, crowdsourcing, DARPA: Urban Challenge, Douglas Hofstadter, Elon Musk, Firefox, Google Chrome, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, John Markoff, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, RAND corporation, ransomware, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, selection bias, self-driving car, Shai Danziger, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Snapchat, speech recognition, Stanislav Petrov, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steven Levy, Tesla Model S, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Bayes, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, web of trust, William Langewiesche

The most significant, he told me, the one that gives you away as a responsible, houseproud person more than any other, was fresh fennel. If that’s what you can infer from people’s shopping habits in the physical world, just imagine what you might be able to infer if you had access to more data. Imagine how much you could learn about someone if you had a record of everything they did online. The Wild West Palantir Technologies is one of the most successful Silicon Valley start-ups of all time. It was founded in 2003 by Peter Thiel (of PayPal fame), and at the last count was estimated to be worth a staggering $20 billion.8 That’s about the same market value as Twitter, although chances are you’ve never heard of it. And yet – trust me when I tell you – Palantir has most certainly heard of you. Palantir is just one example of a new breed of companies known as data brokers, who buy and collect people’s personal information and then resell it or share it for profit.


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

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, disruptive innovation, 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, 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: 268 words: 75,850

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

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, disruptive innovation, 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, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, 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.


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, Johannes Kepler, John von Neumann, lateral thinking, loss aversion, mental accounting, new economy, Paul Erdős, RAND corporation, random walk, 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: 268 words: 76,702

The System: Who Owns the Internet, and How It Owns Us by James Ball

Bill Duvall, bitcoin, blockchain, Chelsea Manning, cryptocurrency, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, Frank Gehry, Internet of things, invention of movable type, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, Leonard Kleinrock, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Minecraft, Mother of all demos, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, Oculus Rift, packet switching, patent troll, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, ransomware, RFC: Request For Comment, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, self-driving car, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, Steve Crocker, Stuxnet, The Chicago School, undersea cable, uranium enrichment, WikiLeaks, yield management, zero day

ICANN and its stakeholders have clearly managed to think up a new and more secure system that would fix at least some of the system’s problems, and they still host regular ceremonies to keep its certificates up to date; but nearly a decade after the system began, it’s still barely used in practice, even if the big players have signed up in theory. ‘Slow and bureaucratic’ are supposedly dead concepts, things of the past when it comes to the ‘move fast and break things’ mantras of the Silicon Valley start-ups – but when it comes to online infrastructure, the analogy seems to be more ‘move fast, grow fast, fix achingly slowly’. The struggles of working out these tensions are more obvious in what – at first at least – seems like one of ICANN’s more trivial functions: deciding what gets to be a web domain, and who gets to administer it if so. There are different rules over who is eligible or not to buy different web addresses: .com was initially intended to be for commercial use only, but was then opened up to general use and so anyone in any country can buy a domain if they can afford it and it’s available.


pages: 677 words: 206,548

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

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, Charles Lindbergh, 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, global pandemic, 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, Joi Ito, 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, low earth orbit, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, MITM: man-in-the-middle, 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, Ross Ulbricht, 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: 706 words: 202,591

Facebook: The Inside Story by Steven Levy

active measures, Airbnb, Airbus A320, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, augmented reality, Ben Horowitz, blockchain, Burning Man, business intelligence, cloud computing, computer vision, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, don't be evil, Donald Trump, East Village, Edward Snowden, El Camino Real, Elon Musk, Firefox, Frank Gehry, glass ceiling, indoor plumbing, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, Jony Ive, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, MITM: man-in-the-middle, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, natural language processing, Network effects, Oculus Rift, PageRank, Paul Buchheit, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, pets.com, post-work, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Robert Mercer, Robert Metcalfe, rolodex, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, sexual politics, Shoshana Zuboff, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, slashdot, Snapchat, social graph, social software, South of Market, San Francisco, Startup school, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, Tim Cook: Apple, web application, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce, Y Combinator, Y2K

Callahan was asked to help out with this. Six months earlier, the idea of delegating that task would have gone to Eduardo Saverin, the co-founder in charge of the company’s commercial aspect. But Saverin had remained on the East Coast that summer, selling ads for Thefacebook, with plans to return to Harvard to finish his degree. He’d missed the shift from an East Coast college product to an ambitious Silicon Valley start-up. Sean Parker, the louche Yoda of La Jennifer Way, thought that Saverin was a drag on the company and would often say so. As one observer puts it, “Eduardo was talking about thousands when Sean was talking about millions.” At one point, Parker asked Callahan if he could fill in for Saverin’s duties. Eventually, Zuckerberg agreed that Saverin had to go. Zuckerberg would let his lawyers and bankers break the news, by way of presenting a reformulation of the partnership that set up his friend’s stake in the company to shrink.

In part this was because Zuckerberg made it clear that while seeking profits was definitely something he encouraged, it was not the heart of the company. And in part it was because Saverin simply was not around. When Thefacebook moved to California, Saverin decided to remain on the East Coast that summer. Had he lived in “Casa Facebook,” maybe he would have picked up the business-model basics of a Silicon Valley start-up. As it was, Sean Parker began angling to replace him, with Zuckerberg’s tacit compliance. Late that fall, Parker tapped his former housemate Ezra Callahan to help with a business plan. Callahan’s previous experience in commerce was limited to selling ads for his college paper. No matter. At that point, with Thefacebook looking for investors, all it needed was to concoct a story of how it would make money.


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

Branko Milanovic, business cycle, 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, 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: 297 words: 84,009

Big Business: A Love Letter to an American Anti-Hero by Tyler Cowen

23andMe, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, augmented reality, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, Bretton Woods, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, correlation coefficient, creative destruction, crony capitalism, cryptocurrency, dark matter, David Brooks, David Graeber, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, employer provided health coverage, experimental economics, Filter Bubble, financial innovation, financial intermediation, global reserve currency, global supply chain, Google Glasses, income inequality, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, late fees, Mark Zuckerberg, mobile money, money market fund, mortgage debt, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, obamacare, offshore financial centre, passive investing, payday loans, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, price discrimination, profit maximization, profit motive, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, reserve currency, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Ronald Coase, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, Steve Jobs, The Nature of the Firm, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, ultimatum game, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce, World Values Survey, Y Combinator

Another very recent criticism is that Silicon Valley only specializes in the trivial. In 2017, some of the critics pointed to Juicero, a $400 Wi-Fi–enabled juicer that has been called “the absurd avatar of Silicon Valley hubris.” (The company later went under.) Scott Alexander, one of my favorite bloggers (on the internet, of course), set out to rebut this charge. Here is what he found: I looked at the latest batch of 52 startups from legendary Silicon Valley startup incubator Y Combinator. Thirteen of them had an altruistic or international development focus, including Neema, an app to help poor people without access to banks gain financial services; Kangpe, online health services for people in Africa without access to doctors; Credy, a peer-to-peer lending service in India; Clear Genetics, an automated genetic counseling tool for at-risk parents; and Dost Education, helping to teach literacy skills in India via a $1/month course.


pages: 352 words: 87,930

Space 2.0 by Rod Pyle

additive manufacturing, air freight, barriers to entry, Colonization of Mars, commoditize, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, experimental subject, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Jeff Bezos, low earth orbit, Mars Rover, mouse model, risk-adjusted returns, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, telerobotics, trade route, wikimedia commons, X Prize, Y Combinator

In 1962, Telstar was the first privately launched communication satellite, a co-venture between AT&T, Bell Laboratories, the British and French national postal services, and NASA. Many others have followed. An example of how this might evolve with regard to space infrastructure would be NASA providing the rockets to get to the moon, while private industry provides the landers and surface machinery for mining and processing resources there. This is exactly what Blue Origin is proposing with its Blue Moon lander, and Silicon Valley startup Moon Express with its lunar mining robots. The eventual expansion of such partnerships could see the mining of lunar ores and construction of structures with refined lunar material, with human occupants supported by moon-mined water and oxygen. Artist’s concept of a 3-D printed structure being fabricated from lunar soil. Image credit: NASA Since 1985, pioneering astronaut Buzz Aldrin has spoken and written widely about his ideas for space transportation infrastructure.


pages: 304 words: 82,395

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

23andMe, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, airport security, 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, Joi Ito, 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, paypal mafia, performance metric, Peter Thiel, 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, Thomas Davenport, 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: 801 words: 209,348

Americana: A 400-Year History of American Capitalism by Bhu Srinivasan

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, American ideology, Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, bank run, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, blue-collar work, Bob Noyce, Bonfire of the Vanities, British Empire, business cycle, buy and hold, California gold rush, Charles Lindbergh, collective bargaining, commoditize, corporate raider, cuban missile crisis, Deng Xiaoping, diversification, diversified portfolio, Douglas Engelbart, financial innovation, fixed income, Ford paid five dollars a day, global supply chain, Gordon Gekko, Haight Ashbury, hypertext link, income inequality, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Kickstarter, laissez-faire capitalism, Louis Pasteur, Marc Andreessen, Menlo Park, mortgage debt, mutually assured destruction, Norman Mailer, oil rush, peer-to-peer, pets.com, popular electronics, profit motive, race to the bottom, refrigerator car, risk/return, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strikebreaker, Ted Nelson, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the new new thing, The Predators' Ball, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, Upton Sinclair, Vannevar Bush, Works Progress Administration, zero-sum game

But the new investment carried a condition: Fairchild would have an option to buy all of the eight men’s and Hayden Stone’s stakes for $3 million collectively if things went well. Officially, the eight men founded Fairchild Semiconductor. Predictably, given the Fairchild connection, their first customer was IBM, servicing the military. Before long, Fairchild exercised his option to buy all of Fairchild Semiconductor. While the eight men made substantial windfalls, the investment structure lacked the unlimited-upside element now intrinsic to the idea of the Silicon Valley start-up. In 1968 two of the original eight, Bob Noyce and Gordon Moore, looked to start another company. Given the optimism of the capital markets about anything to do with electronics and computing at the time—the same conditions that valued Ross Perot’s six-year-old EDS at over $200 million—the pair were able to forgo a corporate sponsor this time in setting up their new venture. They again turned to Arthur Rock as their banker to help raise the money.

The largest profits in the computer business turned out to be in software—Microsoft made money each time a computer was sold with its operating system, which the vast majority of computers sold over the next twenty years would have—and the benefits of this natural monopoly would accrue to the man who never built computers. Yet Microsoft’s eventual rise was in many ways a stark contrast to the archetypal Silicon Valley start-up. Gates’s company was profitable from the beginning. Its headquarters moved from New Mexico not to the Bay Area, but to a Seattle suburb. Gates himself was financially conservative, preferring independence to the involvement of venture capitalists. When Microsoft finally did relent to the overtures of Silicon Valley, it raised $1 million for a meager 5 percent of the company in 1981—this at a time when the company was already on track to generate $15 million in revenues that year.


pages: 349 words: 27,507

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

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, Kickstarter, Mercator projection, Nelson Mandela, pre–internet, Richard Feynman, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Stephen Hawking, Thorstein Veblen

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: 340 words: 96,149

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

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, undersea cable, 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: 307 words: 90,634

Insane Mode: How Elon Musk's Tesla Sparked an Electric Revolution to End the Age of Oil by Hamish McKenzie

Airbnb, Albert Einstein, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Ben Horowitz, business climate, car-free, carbon footprint, Chris Urmson, Clayton Christensen, cleantech, Colonization of Mars, connected car, crony capitalism, Deng Xiaoping, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Google Glasses, Hyperloop, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, low earth orbit, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, margin call, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, Menlo Park, Nikolai Kondratiev, oil shale / tar sands, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, Shenzhen was a fishing village, short selling, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Snapchat, South China Sea, special economic zone, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, Tesla Model S, Tim Cook: Apple, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, universal basic income, urban planning, urban sprawl, Zipcar

I even hold Tesla stock. But I am also committed to serving the reader. In these pages, I strive to present a fair and clear-eyed view of what’s great about Tesla, and of the very real challenges it faces. This book, however, isn’t an insider’s tale—I will leave that work to the gossip blogs—and it’s not just about Tesla. It’s about something much bigger. It’s a story about how one determined Silicon Valley start-up changed the entire auto industry, along the way inspiring a slew of well-funded imitators from California to China. It’s a system-level view of a technological and economic transformation that will affect the lives of everyone on the planet. It is the story of a revolution that Tesla started. When I first drove the Tesla Model S, I thought of it as a computer on wheels. Its digital controls, Internet connection, software updates, and iPad-like touch screen do tend to create that impression.


pages: 317 words: 98,745

Black Code: Inside the Battle for Cyberspace by Ronald J. Deibert

4chan, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Brian Krebs, call centre, citizen journalism, cloud computing, connected car, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, data acquisition, failed state, Firefox, global supply chain, global village, Google Hangouts, Hacker Ethic, informal economy, invention of writing, Iridium satellite, jimmy wales, John Markoff, Kibera, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, low earth orbit, Marshall McLuhan, MITM: man-in-the-middle, mobile money, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, new economy, Occupy movement, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, planetary scale, rent-seeking, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart grid, South China Sea, Steven Levy, Stuxnet, Ted Kaczynski, the medium is the message, Turing test, undersea cable, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, WikiLeaks, zero day

In one spectacular piece of gumshoe work, Droemer discovered that photographs stored on the Koobface command-and-control machines contained metadata that pinpointed the geographic location of the gang right down to its St. Petersburg, Russia, headquarters. There, five Russian men between the ages of twenty and forty-five, decked out in Nike running shoes and polyester athletic gear and surrounded by iPhones and PowerBooks, led a casual work life straight out of a Silicon Valley startup. The Koobface “gang” turned out to be a group of guys in track pants living a very comfortable life in distant Russia, driving BMWs, and playing World of Warcraft while reaping millions of dollars a year. • • • As we prepared our report for publication, we debated whether and how to proceed with notification to proper authorities. Clearly a major global criminal operation was unfolding in real time before our eyes, but whom should we notify?


pages: 257 words: 90,857

Everything's Trash, but It's Okay by Phoebe Robinson

23andMe, Airbnb, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, crack epidemic, Donald Trump, double helix, Downton Abbey, Elon Musk, feminist movement, Firefox, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, Rosa Parks, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Tim Cook: Apple, uber lyft

Eventually, I started racking up debt on my other preexisting cards after maxing out the Macy’s and West Elm cards. Lol. Wut?!?! How the hell did I max out the Macy’s card? The West Elm one I understand because they’ll have a 20-percent-off sale once a decade, yet the discount is immediately erased because of their astronomical shipping costs. Seriously, one time I ordered a coffee table and a couple of vases and was like, “Am I decorating my apartment, or did I unknowingly invest in a Silicon Valley start-up?” Point is, it’s easy to max out a card with Dub Elm, but Macy’s? Not so much. They practically give everything away because they have sales all. Da. Damn. Time. They’ll go, “Hey, y’all, it’s Flag Day. Do you want this Samsonite suitcase, a couple of memory foam pillows, and the entire Tommy Hilfiger department? Oh, you don’t have any coupons? No worries! Our employees will ring up thirty coupons so that you can buy everything for forty-eight dollars.


pages: 285 words: 86,853

What Algorithms Want: Imagination in the Age of Computing by Ed Finn

Airbnb, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, bitcoin, blockchain, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, Claude Shannon: information theory, commoditize, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, disruptive innovation, Donald Knuth, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Elon Musk, factory automation, fiat currency, Filter Bubble, Flash crash, game design, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, High speed trading, hiring and firing, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Conway, John Markoff, Just-in-time delivery, Kickstarter, late fees, lifelogging, Loebner Prize, Lyft, Mother of all demos, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, PageRank, peer-to-peer, Peter Thiel, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Republic of Letters, ride hailing / ride sharing, Satoshi Nakamoto, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, social graph, software studies, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, technoutopianism, The Coming Technological Singularity, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs, traveling salesman, Turing machine, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, urban planning, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge, wage slave

If algorithms are culture machines, abstractions are one of their primary outputs. As an example, in chapter 4 I discuss Uber’s application interface, with a cartoonish map showing cars roaming the urban grid. Uber depends on abstracting away the complexities, regulations, and established conventions of hailing a cab, turning the hired car experience into a kind of videogame. That mode of abstraction has been so successful that an entire genre of Silicon Valley startups can now be categorized as “Uber for X,” where that X is actually a double abstraction. First, we adapt Uber’s simplifying, free-agent “sharing economy” business model to another economic arena. Then we make all such arenas fungible, a variable X that can stand for any corner of the marketplace where ubiquitous computing and algorithmic services have yet to disrupt the status quo. Like Turing’s original abstraction machine, these systems extend a symbolic logic into the cultural universe that reorders minds and meanings that come into contact with them.


pages: 344 words: 93,858

The Post-American World: Release 2.0 by Fareed Zakaria

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: 407 words: 90,238

Stealing Fire: How Silicon Valley, the Navy SEALs, and Maverick Scientists Are Revolutionizing the Way We Live and Work by Steven Kotler, Jamie Wheal

3D printing, Alexander Shulgin, augmented reality, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, Burning Man, Colonization of Mars, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, delayed gratification, disruptive innovation, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, high batting average, hive mind, Hyperloop, impulse control, informal economy, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, lateral thinking, Mason jar, Maui Hawaii, McMansion, means of production, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, music of the spheres, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, PIHKAL and TIHKAL, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, science of happiness, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Steve Jobs, Tony Hsieh, urban planning

More than two thousand people have tried out the device, and the majority have had some form of nonordinary experience. Already, commercial versions of the God Helmet are available online, as are stories of DIY hackers who are reproducing its basic effects with little more than some wires and a nine-volt battery. There’s talk about developing a version for virtual reality and incorporating it in video games. Other researchers are pushing neurotech even further. Palo Alto Neuroscience,17 a Silicon Valley start-up, has developed a system that can tag the biomarkers of a nonordinary state—that is, brainwaves, heart rate variability, and galvanic skin response—and then use neurofeedback to guide you back there later. Trained meditators like Tibetan monks can put themselves into a transcendental state, and the machine will record their profile. Soon, as the technology matures, a novice will be able to put on the device and use these biomarkers to steer toward the same experience.


pages: 358 words: 93,969

Climate Change by Joseph Romm

carbon footprint, Climatic Research Unit, decarbonisation, demand response, Douglas Hofstadter, Elon Musk, energy security, energy transition, failed state, hydraulic fracturing, hydrogen economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), knowledge worker, mass immigration, performance metric, renewable energy transition, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, the scientific method

From 2009 through 2014, more than 260,000 plug-in hybrids were sold globally. The world’s top-selling plug-in hybrid is the General Motors Chevrolet Volt (and similar cars sold under a different brand). Total sales exceed 88,000. The Toyota Prius plug-in is the number two seller, with more than 65,000 sold. Another game changer in the recent history of electric vehicles has been the emergence of Tesla Motors. The company was founded in 2006 as a Silicon Valley startup by Elon Musk to build a high-end electric sports car with a single-charge range of over 200 miles. By 2014, Teslas had become California’s “largest auto industry employer,” according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Its market capitalization (the total value of all its stock) was more than half that of GM’s, despite having a small fraction of GM’s sales or revenues. The DOE explains in its history of EVs, “Tesla’s announcement and subsequent success spurred many big automakers to accelerate work on their own electric vehicles.”


pages: 321 words: 92,828

Late Bloomers: The Power of Patience in a World Obsessed With Early Achievement by Rich Karlgaard

Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Web Services, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Bernie Madoff, Bob Noyce, Brownian motion, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, deliberate practice, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, experimental economics, fear of failure, financial independence, follow your passion, Frederick Winslow Taylor, hiring and firing, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, longitudinal study, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, Sand Hill Road, science of happiness, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, theory of mind, Tim Cook: Apple, Toyota Production System, unpaid internship, upwardly mobile, women in the workforce, working poor

claims there is a mismatch: Rich Karlgaard, “Atoms Versus Bits: Where to Find Innovation,” Forbes, January 23, 2013. “bits” companies: Nicholas P. Negroponte, “Products and Services for Computer Networks,” Scientific American 265, no. 3 (1991): 106–15. “The old brick-and-mortar economy”: Mark Penn and Andrew Stein, “Back to the Center, Democrats,” New York Times, July 6, 2017. “technology that could take”: John Carreyrou, Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup (New York: Knopf, 2018). See also John Carreyrou, “Hot Startup Theranos Has Struggled with Its Blood-Test Technology,” Wall Street Journal, October 21, 2015. “What I really want out of life”: From a letter Holmes wrote to her father at age nine. “The World’s Youngest Self-Made Female Billionaire,” CBS News, April 16, 2015. University graduation rates: Janelle Jones, John Schmitt, and Valerie Wilson, “50 Years After the Kerner Commission,” Economic Policy Institute, February 26, 2018, http://bit.ly/​2pivww9.


pages: 788 words: 223,004

Merchants of Truth: The Business of News and the Fight for Facts by Jill Abramson

23andMe, 4chan, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Alexander Shulgin, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Charles Lindbergh, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, cloud computing, commoditize, corporate governance, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, digital twin, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, East Village, Edward Snowden, Ferguson, Missouri, Filter Bubble, future of journalism, glass ceiling, Google Glasses, haute couture, hive mind, income inequality, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, Joseph Schumpeter, Khyber Pass, late capitalism, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, new economy, obamacare, Occupy movement, performance metric, Peter Thiel, phenotype, pre–internet, race to the bottom, recommendation engine, Robert Mercer, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Snapchat, social intelligence, social web, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, technoutopianism, telemarketer, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, WikiLeaks

As a brand, it was more of an aggregation of shows and products that shared a sensibility rather than a mission. The people who worked there had little or no idea what everyone else working around them was doing. There was almost no training. Smith hated that Vice had a reputation for being cheap and that no one gave him credit for making several hundred of Vice’s early employees millionaires, at least on paper, by giving them chunks of stock, like a Silicon Valley start-up. Gawker’s Hamilton Nolan frequently reported on the low salaries, bad working conditions, and other flaps inside the company. Many salaries hovered at $28,000 annually, until a vote to unionize pulled most of the news staff closer to $40,000, still low by industry standards. Smith attempted to impose some order by hiring Alyssa Mastromonaco as chief operating officer, but she left for A&E after two years, dashing the hopes of the women she left behind that she would tone down the bro culture and protect them from blatant workplace harassment.

The print paper, with its older readership, had more sedate headlines on the same stories that were showcased with clickbait banners on the app. The differences were most noticeable on a product designed for the young digerati, “The Post Most,” which was chock-full of BuzzFeed-like headlines. Soon online readership doubled. The new headquarters that symbolized the paper’s rebirth under Bezos looked like a Silicon Valley start-up. At the opening celebration in January 2016 Bezos was exultant, proudly showing off the entirely new newsroom design, where technologists sat alongside journalists. Wearing a windowpane suit for the occasion instead of his uniform of open collars and khakis, Bezos greeted luminaries, including Arthur Sulzberger Jr., and joyfully listened to everyone congratulating him for restoring the Post to full strength.


pages: 400 words: 94,847

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

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, Johannes Kepler, Kevin Kelly, Magellanic Cloud, means of production, medical residency, Nicholas Carr, P = NP, publish or perish, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, selection bias, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Simon Singh, Skype, slashdot, social intelligence, 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: 96,624

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

A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Berlin Wall, business cycle, 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, Joi Ito, Julian Assange, Mark Zuckerberg, Mikhail Gorbachev, MITM: man-in-the-middle, national security letter, online collectivism, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, 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

Albert Einstein, business cycle, delayed gratification, Donald Trump, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, lateral thinking, 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: 296 words: 98,018

Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World by Anand Giridharadas

"side hustle", activist lawyer, affirmative action, Airbnb, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, Burning Man, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carried interest, cognitive dissonance, collective bargaining, corporate raider, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, David Heinemeier Hansson, deindustrialization, disintermediation, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, friendly fire, global pandemic, high net worth, hiring and firing, housing crisis, Hyperloop, income inequality, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, Kibera, Kickstarter, land reform, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, new economy, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Parag Khanna, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, profit maximization, risk tolerance, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, Steven Pinker, technoutopianism, The Chicago School, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, the High Line, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, Travis Kalanick, trickle-down economics, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, Upton Sinclair, Vilfredo Pareto, working poor, zero-sum game

She had also put in time at Bridgewater, the massive hedge fund, and other such financial institutions, and had done a two-year stint as chief investment adviser to a large American city. There was Paul, who also worked in private equity, in addition to lecturing at an Ivy League management school. He was a former investment banker and management consultant. There was Aurelien, who led a boutique advisory firm that counseled corporations on strategy amid turbulent market conditions, was a venture partner in several Silicon Valley start-ups, and had earlier been a McKinsey partner. There was Albert, the head of brand and communications for Rio Tinto. There were a pair of World Bank/International Finance Corporation types who had professional knowledge of the topics at hand: One of them, Charlise, had stuck with such work; the other, Juan Pablo, had subsequently put in time with Cisco and the Boston Consulting Group. And there was Hinton, who until assuming this position had been an adviser to mining corporations, banks, and other businesses in China, Mongolia, and Africa.


Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out? by Bill McKibben

23andMe, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, American Legislative Exchange Council, Anne Wojcicki, artificial general intelligence, Bernie Sanders, Bill Joy: nanobots, Burning Man, call centre, carbon footprint, Charles Lindbergh, clean water, Colonization of Mars, computer vision, David Attenborough, Donald Trump, double helix, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, ending welfare as we know it, energy transition, Flynn Effect, Google Earth, Hyperloop, impulse control, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, life extension, light touch regulation, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, megacity, Menlo Park, moral hazard, Naomi Klein, Nelson Mandela, obamacare, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, Robert Mercer, Ronald Reagan, Sam Altman, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, smart meter, Snapchat, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, strong AI, supervolcano, technoutopianism, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, traffic fines, Travis Kalanick, urban sprawl, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Y Combinator, Y2K, yield curve

One tech journal said that he was paying forty thousand dollars every three months for the blood of eighteen-year-olds, but he told another reporter that he hadn’t “quite quite quite started yet.”3 But, intrigued? For sure. “I’m looking into parabiosis stuff, which I think is really interesting,” Thiel said. “This is where they put the young blood into older mice and they found that had a massive rejuvenating effect.” A Silicon Valley start-up called Ambrosia has at least one hundred clients who will pay eight grand a pop for the blood of young’uns.4 Thiel’s Breakout Labs invests in many other start-ups trying to conquer aging—and why not, given that he believes that “probably the most extreme form of inequality is between people who are alive and people who are dead”? (This is saying something when his own net worth exceeds the GDP of roughly thirty countries.)


pages: 340 words: 97,723

The Big Nine: How the Tech Titans and Their Thinking Machines Could Warp Humanity by Amy Webb

Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Airbnb, airport security, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, autonomous vehicles, Bayesian statistics, Bernie Sanders, bioinformatics, blockchain, Bretton Woods, business intelligence, Cass Sunstein, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, cognitive bias, complexity theory, computer vision, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Deng Xiaoping, distributed ledger, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Filter Bubble, Flynn Effect, gig economy, Google Glasses, Grace Hopper, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Inbox Zero, Internet of things, Jacques de Vaucanson, Jeff Bezos, Joan Didion, job automation, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, natural language processing, New Urbanism, one-China policy, optical character recognition, packet switching, pattern recognition, personalized medicine, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rodney Brooks, Rubik’s Cube, Sand Hill Road, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, SETI@home, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, smart cities, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, strong AI, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, theory of mind, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, Turing machine, Turing test, uber lyft, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, zero day

There is tremendous pressure for the G-MAFIA to build practical and commercial applications for AI as quickly as possible. In the digital space, investors have grown accustomed to quick wins and windfalls. Dropbox, a file-sharing platform, reached a $10 billion valuation just six years after it launched. Silicon Valley venture capital firm Sequoia Capital owned a 20% stake when Dropbox filed its IPO, making its shares worth $1.7 billion.71 In Silicon Valley, startups that are valued over $1 billion are called “unicorns,” and with a valuation ten times that amount, Dropbox is what’s known as a “decacorn.” By 2018, there were enough unicorns and decacorns to fill a Silicon Valley zoo, and several of them were partners with the G-MAFIA, including SpaceX, Coinbase, Peloton, Credit Karma, Airbnb, Palantir, and Uber. With fast money comes heightened expectations that the product or service will start earning back its investment, either through widespread adoption, acquisition, or hype in the market.


pages: 359 words: 97,415

Vanishing Frontiers: The Forces Driving Mexico and the United States Together by Andrew Selee

Berlin Wall, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Donald Trump, energy security, Gini coefficient, guest worker program, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, income per capita, informal economy, job automation, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, oil shale / tar sands, open economy, payday loans, Richard Florida, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Wozniak, Y Combinator

“And it’s not only the talented people that are there but the ones we can attract to live there,” he adds, noting that Wizeline has employees from Egypt, France, Ecuador, Colombia, China, New Zealand, and, of course, the United States working at its Guadalajara offices. Getting them work visas is easy, something that is becoming harder north of the border, and they love the quality of life in a city that is far less expensive than Silicon Valley but still has great cultural and recreational options. Lepe is so convinced by Guadalajara that he started a nonprofit, Startup GDL, to promote the city as a tech hub to other Silicon Valley start-ups. It currently has a long pipeline of US-based small and medium-sized tech companies looking at putting part or all of their operations in Guadalajara. Bismarck Lepe has no illusions that everything in Mexico is perfect. He knows that corruption and the lack of upward mobility, some of the issues that drove his parents to leave, are still a major problem. But he’s also become convinced that Mexico increasingly has spaces where creativity and innovation can thrive, and he’s willing to bet on these, especially in Guadalajara.


pages: 349 words: 95,972

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

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: 327 words: 102,322

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

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: 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, Ben Horowitz, bounce rate, business intelligence, business process, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, DevOps, disruptive innovation, Elon Musk, game design, Google Glasses, Internet of things, inventory management, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, 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, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, 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: 346 words: 97,330

Ghost Work: How to Stop Silicon Valley From Building a New Global Underclass by Mary L. Gray, Siddharth Suri

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Amazon Mechanical Turk, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, big-box store, bitcoin, blue-collar work, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, collective bargaining, computer vision, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, data is the new oil, deindustrialization, deskilling, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, employer provided health coverage, en.wikipedia.org, equal pay for equal work, Erik Brynjolfsson, financial independence, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, future of work, gig economy, glass ceiling, global supply chain, hiring and firing, ImageNet competition, industrial robot, informal economy, information asymmetry, Jeff Bezos, job automation, knowledge economy, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, market friction, Mars Rover, natural language processing, new economy, passive income, pattern recognition, post-materialism, post-work, race to the bottom, Rana Plaza, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Coase, Second Machine Age, sentiment analysis, sharing economy, Shoshana Zuboff, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, software as a service, speech recognition, spinning jenny, Stephen Hawking, The Future of Employment, The Nature of the Firm, transaction costs, two-sided market, union organizing, universal basic income, Vilfredo Pareto, women in the workforce, Works Progress Administration, Y Combinator

When businesses announce that they’re reducing employee ranks, stock listings go through the roof. But as the permatemp case illustrated, it is not uncommon for companies to swell their temporary staffing budgets within weeks of layoffs. They “buy back” the labor of former employees through temporary staffing agencies to make it easier to close out both projects and labor costs at the same time. And younger companies, including numerous Silicon Valley startups, used to relying on contractors for everything from beta testing to viral marketing, could maintain their “lean” look on paper while employing the services of an equal number of staffing-agency-contracted temp workers to do what they do. Relying on outsourcing and contracting workers through staffing agencies as the “employers of record” primed the so-called platform economy. Employment practices that convert workers into something “procured” to launch a product are baked into ghost work’s code.


pages: 349 words: 98,868

Nervous States: Democracy and the Decline of Reason by William Davies

active measures, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Amazon Web Services, bank run, banking crisis, basic income, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, citizen journalism, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, Colonization of Mars, continuation of politics by other means, creative destruction, credit crunch, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, discovery of penicillin, Dominic Cummings, Donald Trump, drone strike, Elon Musk, failed state, Filter Bubble, first-past-the-post, Frank Gehry, gig economy, housing crisis, income inequality, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Johannes Kepler, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, loss aversion, low skilled workers, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mont Pelerin Society, mutually assured destruction, Northern Rock, obamacare, Occupy movement, pattern recognition, Peace of Westphalia, Peter Thiel, Philip Mirowski, planetary scale, post-industrial society, quantitative easing, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Florida, road to serfdom, Robert Mercer, Ronald Reagan, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, smart cities, statistical model, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, Turing machine, Uber for X, universal basic income, University of East Anglia, Valery Gerasimov, We are the 99%, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

The secrecy of world-changing entrepreneurship potentially becomes enmeshed with that of the intelligence agency. In his occasional philosophical musings, Thiel has expressed a deep dislike for pacifism, with a particular disgust for Thomas Hobbes whom he accuses of valuing “cowardly life” over “heroic but meaningless death.”4 Thiel’s celebration of “disruption,” the guiding ethos of all Silicon Valley start-ups, thus takes on a more threatening geopolitical quality. Thiel represents a certain extreme of libertarian business thinking. However, his ideas and success pose some unavoidable questions about the status of knowledge and expertise in society: what kind of knowledge do we value, and why do we value it? Since the 1980s, policymakers in many countries have deliberately sought to encourage greater commercial applications of scientific knowledge, to develop a “knowledge economy.”


pages: 559 words: 155,372

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

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, disruptive innovation, 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, Kickstarter, Malcom McLean invented shipping containers, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Maui Hawaii, means of production, Menlo Park, minimum viable product, MITM: man-in-the-middle, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, Paul Graham, performance metric, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, pre–internet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, Ruby on Rails, Sam Altman, 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, undersea cable, 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: 390 words: 108,811

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

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: 459 words: 103,153

Adapt: Why Success Always Starts With Failure by Tim Harford

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, disruptive innovation, 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: 398 words: 107,788

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

activist lawyer, Benjamin Mako Hill, commoditize, crowdsourcing, Debian, Donald Knuth, dumpster diving, en.wikipedia.org, financial independence, ghettoisation, GnuPG, 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 Hackers Conference, 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: 431 words: 107,868

The Great Race: The Global Quest for the Car of the Future by Levi Tillemann

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, car-free, carbon footprint, cleantech, creative destruction, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, demand response, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, factory automation, global value chain, hydrogen economy, index card, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, manufacturing employment, market design, megacity, Nixon shock, obamacare, oil shock, Ralph Nader, RFID, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, smart cities, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, Steve Jobs, Tesla Model S, too big to fail, Unsafe at Any Speed, zero-sum game, Zipcar

And Tesla was not alone. 12 Challenging the Big Green Monster FOR BOB Lutz, Tesla was a symbol of everything wrong with America. It’s not that there was anything fundamentally wrong with Tesla’s business model. Nor were there any fundamental flaws with the technology—at least not that he could ascertain. The problem, as far as Lutz was concerned, was that the electric supercar was being pursued by a Silicon Valley startup and not Detroit—more specifically, not General Motors. In the Great Race for technology, GM was losing. In so many ways, Lutz was not your typical American auto executive. The distinctions started early. Born in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1932, Lutz came to the United States when he was only seven years old. He was no Ellis Island immigrant. Lutz’s father was vice president of Credit Suisse and his cosmopolitan upbringing showed.


The Deep Learning Revolution (The MIT Press) by Terrence J. Sejnowski

AI winter, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, Amazon Web Services, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, bioinformatics, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, complexity theory, computer vision, conceptual framework, constrained optimization, Conway's Game of Life, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, delayed gratification, discovery of DNA, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Drosophila, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Flynn Effect, Frank Gehry, future of work, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Guggenheim Bilbao, Gödel, Escher, Bach, haute couture, Henri Poincaré, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, industrial robot, informal economy, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, John Conway, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Mark Zuckerberg, Minecraft, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Norbert Wiener, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, PageRank, pattern recognition, prediction markets, randomized controlled trial, recommendation engine, Renaissance Technologies, Rodney Brooks, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Socratic dialogue, speech recognition, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, theory of mind, Thomas Bayes, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, traveling salesman, Turing machine, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, X Prize, Yogi Berra

This challenging terrain was near the end of the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge for a vehicle to drive unassisted by a human through a 132-mile off-road desert course. A truck in the distance is just beginning the climb. Courtesy of DARPA. products that its operating systems control, hoping to repeat its successful foray into the cell phone market. Seeing a business that had not changed for 100 years transformed before their eyes, automobile manufacturers are following in their tracks. General Motors paid $1 billion for Cruise Automation, a Silicon Valley start-up that is developing driverless technology, and invested an additional $600 million in 2017 in research and development.2 In 2017, Intel purchased Mobileye, a company that specializes in sensors and computer vision for self-driving cars, for $15.3 billion dollars. The stakes are high in the multitrillion-dollar transportation sector of the economy. Self-driving cars will soon disrupt the livelihoods of millions of truck and taxi drivers.


pages: 403 words: 106,707

Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance by Alex Hutchinson

airport security, animal electricity, experimental subject, Fellow of the Royal Society, Frederick Winslow Taylor, glass ceiling, Iridium satellite, medical residency, meta analysis, meta-analysis, placebo effect, randomized controlled trial, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Stanford marshmallow experiment, technoutopianism, Walter Mischel

In March 2016, James Michael McAdoo, a power forward for the Golden State Warriors, tweeted out a photo of himself in the training room, sporting a pair of slick over-the-ear headphones.12 Though you couldn’t tell from the picture, these particular headphones incorporated a miniature fakir’s bed of soft plastic spikes above each ear, pressing gently into the skull and delivering pulses of electric current to the brain. Made by a Silicon Valley start-up called Halo Neuroscience, the headphones promised to “accelerate gains in strength, explosiveness, and dexterity” through a proprietary technique called neuropriming—a slightly modified version of tDCS. “Thanks to @HaloNeuro for letting me and my teammates try these out!” McAdoo tweeted. “Looking forward to seeing the results!” As the basketball season wore on, the Warriors rolled over opponents with unprecedented ease, eventually finishing with a new regular-season record of 73 wins and just 9 losses.


pages: 385 words: 111,113

Augmented: Life in the Smart Lane by Brett King

23andMe, 3D printing, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Web Services, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Apple II, artificial general intelligence, asset allocation, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, business intelligence, business process, call centre, chief data officer, Chris Urmson, Clayton Christensen, clean water, congestion charging, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, deskilling, different worldview, disruptive innovation, distributed generation, distributed ledger, double helix, drone strike, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Fellow of the Royal Society, fiat currency, financial exclusion, Flash crash, Flynn Effect, future of work, gig economy, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Hans Lippershey, Hyperloop, income inequality, industrial robot, information asymmetry, Internet of things, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invention of the telephone, invention of the wheel, James Dyson, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job-hopping, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, Leonard Kleinrock, lifelogging, low earth orbit, low skilled workers, Lyft, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, Metcalfe’s law, Minecraft, mobile money, money market fund, more computing power than Apollo, Network effects, new economy, obamacare, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, off grid, packet switching, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Metcalfe, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), self-driving car, sharing economy, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart transportation, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, speech recognition, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, telemarketer, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tesla Model S, The Future of Employment, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, Travis Kalanick, Turing complete, Turing test, uber lyft, undersea cable, urban sprawl, V2 rocket, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, white picket fence, WikiLeaks

Think about pretty much any condition you might need to be tested for today—high cholesterol, diabetes, kidney or liver problems, iron deficiency, heart problems, sexually transmitted infections, anaemia, hepatitis, HIV and various viruses—and they are typically tested for either via blood being drawn or via urinalysis. With blood tests, it typically involves drawing a significant amount of blood to get accurate tests. Here is where technology advancements will dramatically change these tests. While facing some controversy recently, the Silicon Valley start-up Theranos was one of the first to really tackle this problem. Theranos has developed blood tests that can help detect dozens of medical conditions based on just a drop or two of blood drawn with a pinprick from your finger. At Walgreens pharmacies across the United States, you simply show a pharmacist your ID and a doctor’s note, and you can have your blood drawn right there. From that one sample, several tests can be run often at a fraction of the cost of a typical pathology test.


pages: 325 words: 110,330

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

Albert Einstein, business climate, buy low sell high, complexity theory, fear of failure, Golden Gate Park, iterative process, Johannes Kepler, 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: 370 words: 105,085

Joel on Software by Joel Spolsky

AltaVista, barriers to entry, c2.com, commoditize, George Gilder, index card, Jeff Bezos, knowledge worker, Metcalfe's law, Mitch Kapor, 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: 380 words: 109,724

Don't Be Evil: How Big Tech Betrayed Its Founding Principles--And All of US by Rana Foroohar

"side hustle", accounting loophole / creative accounting, Airbnb, AltaVista, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, call centre, cashless society, cleantech, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, Colonization of Mars, computer age, corporate governance, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, cryptocurrency, data is the new oil, death of newspapers, Deng Xiaoping, disintermediation, don't be evil, Donald Trump, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Etonian, Filter Bubble, future of work, game design, gig economy, global supply chain, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, income inequality, informal economy, information asymmetry, intangible asset, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, Kenneth Rogoff, life extension, light touch regulation, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, Menlo Park, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, PageRank, patent troll, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, pets.com, price discrimination, profit maximization, race to the bottom, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Bork, Sand Hill Road, search engine result page, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, smart cities, Snapchat, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, subscription business, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, Telecommunications Act of 1996, The Chicago School, the new new thing, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, Travis Kalanick, trickle-down economics, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, Upton Sinclair, WikiLeaks, zero-sum game

He was the first. Subsequent early stage investors would include some Silicon Valley legends, including Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who put in $250,000 in 1998. “There was no business plan,” said Bezos to journalist Ken Auletta in a New Yorker article. “I just fell in love with Larry and Sergey.”18 And so Google, the company, was born. That first year, they embodied the caricature of a young Silicon Valley start-up, complete with pilgrimages to Burning Man, fancy perks to lure top talent, and plenty of hanky-panky. “Sergey was the Google playboy,” remembers Charlie Ayers, the first company chef, whom Page and Brin hired when the company had only twelve employees.19 “He was known for getting his fingers caught in the cookie jar with employees that worked for the company, in the masseuse room. He got around.


pages: 480 words: 112,463

The Golden Thread: How Fabric Changed History by Kassia St Clair

barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, butterfly effect, Dmitri Mendeleev, Elon Musk, Francisco Pizarro, gender pay gap, ghettoisation, gravity well, Jacquard loom, James Hargreaves, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Kickstarter, out of africa, Rana Plaza, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, spinning jenny, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, Works Progress Administration

This crop – and the textiles made from it – was arguably the first global commodity.2 While we no longer pay as much attention to the sourcing and quality of the individual pieces of cloth that we interact with on a daily basis, they remain deeply personal. We use clothing, for example, to signal to those we meet who we are and how we want to be perceived. Distinct uniforms exist for those working in City hedge funds, Silicon Valley start-ups and media companies, for example, even though most of these people will actually spend the majority of their days in offices and behind desks. Subordinates often adopt the sartorial preferences of their bosses, and trends spread like wildfire within the confines of small institutions. (There was an inexplicable vogue for sleeveless sweaters in one office where I once worked; and the same professors who earnestly explained how futile it was to find meaning in the clothing choices of eighteenth-century ladies and gentlemen were usually clad in identikit tweed jackets and cord trousers, perhaps leavened with brightly coloured socks if they fancied themselves rebels.)


pages: 334 words: 102,899

That Will Never Work: The Birth of Netflix and the Amazing Life of an Idea by Marc Randolph

Airbnb, crowdsourcing, high net worth, inventory management, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, late fees, loose coupling, Mason jar, pets.com, recommendation engine, rolodex, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, Travis Kalanick

We were chasing a market, and if we wanted any chance of surviving, we had to expand with the DVD user base. That meant growth. That meant more space—a lot of it. I didn’t particularly want to leave our Scotts Valley home. I’d grown to love its money-green carpet, its humid stench of Diet Coke and Zanotto’s takeout containers. And I was deeply invested in Netflix being a “Santa Cruz company.” I’d been on the Silicon Valley startup roller coaster, and I wanted us to be different, set apart. I wanted something of Santa Cruz’s laid-back ethos to seep into our office culture. Santa Cruz felt like a respite from the boom-and-bust cycle in San Jose. I wanted to keep a mountain range between my company and the prying eyes of the VCs keeping it afloat. But in 1998, we were more dependent than ever on those VCs. And our newest one, IVP’s Tim Haley, was adamant that we move closer to the Valley.


pages: 269 words: 70,543

Tech Titans of China: How China's Tech Sector Is Challenging the World by Innovating Faster, Working Harder, and Going Global by Rebecca Fannin

Airbnb, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, blockchain, call centre, cashless society, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, cloud computing, computer vision, connected car, corporate governance, cryptocurrency, data is the new oil, Deng Xiaoping, digital map, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, El Camino Real, Elon Musk, family office, fear of failure, glass ceiling, global supply chain, income inequality, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of movable type, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, Menlo Park, money market fund, Network effects, new economy, peer-to-peer lending, personalized medicine, Peter Thiel, QR code, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, sharing economy, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, smart transportation, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, Tim Cook: Apple, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, urban planning, winner-take-all economy, Y Combinator, young professional

. $1.5 billion digital mapping 2014 * Note–Inv. is investment; Co-inv. is co-investment; Acq. is acquisition; Lead Inv. is lead investment; Lead Co-inv. is lead co-investment; Und. is undisclosed Sources: Silicon Dragon research, S&P Global Intelligence, annual reports, news releases In the United States, Alibaba has had a mixed record of M&A deals. A $100 million acquisition of eye scan security startup EyeVerify in Kansas City was well planned and executed. EyeVerify became the global center of Alipay for mobile biometrics or eye scans to verify IDs for banking, mobile payments, and security. But a series of Silicon Valley–style startup deals that Alibaba made in the run-up to its IPO in 2014 ultimately failed either because of product fit mismatches with the China market or missed milestones: TangoME in mobile messaging, Kabam in gaming, and Quixey in mobile search. The big blow to Alibaba’s US ambitions was the block on its Ant Financial deal to buy money transfer firm MoneyGram. Tencent’s Surround-Sound Strategy At Tencent, its laser focus on strategic investments in diverse companies is seen as a tool to get ahead in frontier technologies such as connected cars and internet-facilitated health care.

Now, in many measures—capital under management, investment totals, fund performance, unicorns, breakthrough portfolio companies—it does. “China’s emerging innovations and the scale of its venture capital markets are driving China’s competitiveness on the world stage,” says Gary Rieschel, founding managing partner of leading US-Chinese venture capital firm Qiming Venture Partners. Powerful indicators point to the center of gravity shifting from longtime leader Silicon Valley toward China’s startup ecosystem. Consider: •China venture spending almost reached the US level in 2018, soaring 56 percent to $105 billion compared to a 42 percent gain to $111 billion for the US.6 In the first half of 2018, China expenditures surpassed the US.7 •China VC spending was a mere $5.6 billion in 2010, overshadowed by the United States at $35.3 billion. •Of $275 billion of venture investments globally in 2018, China and the United States were just about even, but in 2010 China’s share was only 12 percent, eclipsed by the United States at 66 percent of $47 billion invested worldwide.


pages: 482 words: 117,962

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

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 pandemic, 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, longitudinal study, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, Malacca Straits, mass immigration, microcredit, Nelson Mandela, 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, 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: 309 words: 114,984

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

"Robert Solow", 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, disruptive innovation, 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, Kickstarter, 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.”


Super Thinking: The Big Book of Mental Models by Gabriel Weinberg, Lauren McCann

affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, anti-pattern, Anton Chekhov, autonomous vehicles, bank run, barriers to entry, Bayesian statistics, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Black Swan, Broken windows theory, business process, butterfly effect, Cal Newport, Clayton Christensen, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Attenborough, delayed gratification, deliberate practice, discounted cash flows, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Edward Snowden, effective altruism, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, experimental subject, fear of failure, feminist movement, Filter Bubble, framing effect, friendly fire, fundamental attribution error, Gödel, Escher, Bach, hindsight bias, housing crisis, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, illegal immigration, income inequality, information asymmetry, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, John Nash: game theory, lateral thinking, loss aversion, Louis Pasteur, Lyft, mail merge, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Metcalfe’s law, Milgram experiment, minimum viable product, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Nash equilibrium, Network effects, nuclear winter, offshore financial centre, p-value, Parkinson's law, Paul Graham, peak oil, Peter Thiel, phenotype, Pierre-Simon Laplace, placebo effect, Potemkin village, prediction markets, premature optimization, price anchoring, principal–agent problem, publication bias, recommendation engine, remote working, replication crisis, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Richard Thaler, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, school choice, Schrödinger's Cat, selection bias, Shai Danziger, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, survivorship bias, The Present Situation in Quantum Mechanics, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, transaction costs, uber lyft, ultimatum game, uranium enrichment, urban planning, Vilfredo Pareto, wikimedia commons

We all know that if you swing for the fences, you’re going to strike out a lot, but you’re also going to hit some home runs. Knowing something that is important yet mostly unknown or not yet widely believed is what investor Peter Thiel calls a secret. This has the same meaning as its colloquial use, just applied to innovation. As Thiel wrote in his 2014 book, Zero to One: Great companies can be built on open but unsuspected secrets about how the world works. Consider the Silicon Valley startups that have harnessed the spare capacity that is all around us but often ignored. Before Airbnb, travelers had little choice but to pay high prices for a hotel room, and property owners couldn’t easily and reliably rent out their unoccupied space. Airbnb saw untapped supply and unaddressed demand where others saw nothing at all. The same is true of private car services Lyft and Uber. Few people imagined that it was possible to build a billion-dollar business by simply connecting people who want to go places with people willing to drive them there.


pages: 390 words: 114,538

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

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: 390 words: 109,870