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July 25 2014

Why the Structural Changes to the VC Industry Matter | Andreessen Horowitz

The biggest transformation of all is in who can be reached. With potentially 5.9 billion users coming online — largely due to the developing world — we have the ability to reach global markets at a scale never before witnessed. Already more people have more access to mobile telephones than they do toilets.

At the same time, the number of international markets that were once off limits due to geopolitical issues or high costs of entry is significantly smaller. The widespread penetration of mobile devices — and therefore applications — has also leveled the playing field. For example: 80% of Twitter users are international, and Facebook arguably has more international than domestic users if you include its reach through WhatsApp. The direction of innovation is starting to turn, too: Spotify successfully entered the U.S. market after having starting outside the U.S., and Alibaba, Baidu, and Tencent are likely to do so as well over the coming years.

Finally, we are seeing the rise of what my partner Chris Dixon has metaphorically described as the “full-stack” startup, where entrepreneurs want to own more of the full customer experience and are therefore building out expertise in areas beyond just tech. For instance, in a non-full stack world, AirBnB would have been a software company that developed a better customer matching and booking engine and then licensed that to multiple hospitality purveyors who would then own the customer relationship. Instead, the “full-stack” AirBnB owns the customer relationship end-to-end, and thus must build expertise in customer service, global operations, regulatory affairs, and so on. Perhaps more significantly, in a full-stack world, software companies can compete with their physical-world counterparts and build new and unexpected platforms that others can then build on.

July 23 2014

How Smartphones Have Unleashed Humanity’s Creative Potential | Gadget Lab | WIRED

It’s a cliché in the tech and business realms to say that the world is going mobile. Mobile first! Mobile only! Mobile native! We accept that this is happening, but we seldom explore what it means to us as people. Our phones, always connected and always with us, have become incredibly personal. They belong to us, to an extent that no previous device ever achieved. Because of that we belong to them too, and it’s a bond that shapes us at the deepest level—in how we express ourselves, in what we hold out as beautiful and compelling, in how we try to emotionally connect, in ways abstract and literal, with our friends and muses.

July 22 2014

Brighton

July 21 2014

Love People, Not Pleasure - NYTimes.com

That impulse to fame by everyday people has generated some astonishing innovations. One is the advent of reality television, in which ordinary people become actors in their day-to-day lives for others to watch. Why? “To be noticed, to be wanted, to be loved, to walk into a place and have others care about what you’re doing, even what you had for lunch that day: that’s what people want, in my opinion,”

Even an insurmountable tide of customer goodwill cannot stop one of the most sacred laws of the free market: that unprofitable products, even if they happen to be one-of-a-kind repositories of digital human culture, eventually meet their end at the hands of a corporation that needs to make money to survive.
Where Online Services Go When They Die - Benj Edwards - The Atlantic

July 18 2014

July 14 2014

July 10 2014

“In the 16th century, melancholia was the elective illness of the exceptional man, of he who had nothing above him. During the Romantic period, it stood at the crossroads of creative genius and madness. Today, it is the situation of every individual in Western society.

Depression is a pathology of time (the depressed person has no future) and a pathology of motivation (the depressed person has no energy, his movement is slowed, his words slurred). The depressed person has trouble forming projects; he or she lacks energy and the minimum motivation to carry them out. Inhibited, impulsive or compulsive, she has trouble communicating with herself and others. With no project, motivation or communication, the depressed person stands in exact opposition to our social norms.

Depression and addiction are names given to the uncontrollable, which we encounter when we stop talking about winning our freedom and start working on becoming ourselves and taking the initiative for action. They remind us that the unknown is part of every person – and that it always has been. It can change but never disappear: that is why we never leave the human realm. That is depression’s lesson.”

— Alain Ehrenberg, The Weariness of the Self: Diagnosing the History of Depression in the Contemporary Age

July 07 2014

Fireside chat with Google co-founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin

LP I totally believe we should be living in a time of abundance, like Peter Diamandis’ book. If you really think about the things that you need to make yourself happy - housing, security, opportunities for your kids - anthropologists have been identifying these things. It’s not that hard for us to provide those things. The amount of resources we need to do that, the amount of work that actually needs to go into that is pretty small. I’m guessing less than 1-percent at the moment. So the idea that everyone needs to work frantically to meet people’s needs is just not true. I do think there’s a problem that we don’t recognize that. I think there’s also a social problem that a lot of people aren’t happy if they don’t have anything to do. So we need to give people things to do. We need to feel like you’re needed, wanted and have something productive to do. But I think the mix with that and the industries we actually need and so on are— there’s not a good correspondence. That’s why we’re busy destroying the environment and other things, maybe we don’t need to be doing. So I’m pretty worried. Until we figure that out, we’re not going to have a good outcome. One thing, I was talking to Richard Branson about this. They don’t have enough jobs in the UK. He’s been trying to get people to hire two part-time people instead of one full-time. So at least, the young people can have a half-time job rather than no job. And it’s a slightly greater cost for employers. I was thinking, the extension of that is you have global unemployment or widespread unemployment. You just reduce work time. Everyone I’ve asked— I’ve asked a lot of people about this. Maybe not you guys. But most people, if I ask them, ‘Would you like an extra week of vacation?’ They raise their hands, 100-percent of the people. ‘Two weeks vacation, or a four-day work week?’ Everyone will raise their hand. Most people like working, but they’d also like to have more time with their family or to pursue their own interests. So that would be one way to deal with the problem, is if you had a coordinated way to just reduce the workweek. And then, if you add slightly less employment, you can adjust and people will still have jobs.

SB I will quibble a little bit. I don’t think that in the near term, the need for labor is going away. It gets shifted from one place to another, but people always want more stuff or more entertainment or more creativity or more something.

Fireside chat with Google co-founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin | Khosla Ventures

"it’s really interesting when you look at search. It’s really trying to understand everything in the world and make sense of it, organize it for people. We said, "Well, We’re doing that. A lot of queries are actually about places, so we need to understand places." Then we said, "A lot of the queries are about content we can’t find. We did books, and so on." So, we’ve been gradually expanding that. If you look at things like Google Now also— well, maybe you don’t want to ask a question. Maybe you want to just have it answered for you before you ask it."

July 01 2014

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(via Research)

June 30 2014

Should Universities Be Built In Silicon Valley’s Image?

The cows may not be disrupted, but everyone else is watching Florida Polytechnic closely as it opens in August, as Florida’s first and only university entirely focused on preparing students for careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Florida Poly will launch in August with 50 full-time and adjunct faculty members and an inaugural class of 500 students, all of whom received four-year scholarships covering the more than $20,000 in-state tuition. In an atypical move, the university will not offer tenure to its professors, but rather multi-year contracts that administrators say will help it remain nimble.

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(via FastCo)

You probably want the government to do something about people who rob or assault each other. The question is whether that something has to be prison.
Prisons are terrible, and there’s finally a way to get rid of them - Vox

June 28 2014

Autistic Boy Thrives After Using Customized Medical Marijuana: How ‘Joey’s Strain’ Saved His Life

“Winemakers spend their whole lives trying to create one new variety of wine they can be proud of. Cannabis is so special that every seed that comes off of a cannabis plant is unique and has a slightly different cannabinoid profile.”

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