This looks f-ing awesome. Imagine machine learning goodies where you can create your own API. Stephen Wolfram’s Introduction to the Wolfram Language vid is ~12 mins in length.
Traffic lights are still generally an efficient hack for reducing collisions whilst keeping traffic moving, however in some instances they slow things down too much as well as permit an unacceptable collision rate. The Hovenring clears up the congestion nicely.
Seriously awesome ‘pizza al taglio’ venture opened a few months back, Blocks. The proprietor, Eugenio, works the counter, he ‘chops’ your block of pizza. Pizza is slightly sour, however it’s not sourdough, reminds me more of a potato flour though I haven’t the slightest idea what flour they use. Great place for satisfying a carb craving in a quality manner. Also a plus, the staff are v pleasant and helpful. (Blocks occupies the old Pizza Rustica space, Eugenio nicely refitted it with his own kitchen, fixtures, staff and decor.)
I feel lucky. Throughout my life I’ve encountered folks from whom I’ve gleaned personally valuable insights, much of what I’ve learned is about myself, who I am. I’ve learned craft too, though it’s not nearly as valuable as IMHO knowing yourself. And my mentors have not always been formal, many weren’t aware how much they were influencing my development, so much can be learned by observing and or experiencing the behavior of others en passant.
I’m slightly obsessive about exploring, exposure to new ideas and perspectives keeps me energized. The meals, coffees and cocktails I’m fortunate to share with individuals designing, building, strategizing and investing always add to at least one of personal development or craft.
In my younger years I couldn’t extract the information as efficiently, each year improved my listening skills and at the same time made everything more fun. Learning is just plain fun. I’m guessing that kids who don’t enjoy learning have yet to learn how to listen. It becomes a game, gleaning information from every encounter, building upon stored data on a personal level.
I’m constantly adjusting course towards a better end state, because new information both helps better define my long term objectives and also informs better paths. I’m never bored. I’m always feeling like I’m in my 20s rolling into a new adventure. The future is bright. The magic bus, I become more openminded, assumptions that constrain solutions become visible, creative solutions bubble up seemingly out of nowhere.
Businesses, no matter whether manufacturers of widgets or investment funds, or anything between, benefit from learning in a similar manner. This is what big data is all about when you boil down the hype. It’s the magic bus for corporate entities, the a proxy for grey matter, for assisting the bubbling up creative solutions. It’s an intellectual UI for bridging the corporation and the individuals who operate it. As an aside, big data in the corporate world isn’t new. My personal experience with it started in the late 1970s, it was just not as automated as it is today.
An overlooked beneficial aspect of big data is one that informs the individuals on the user side of the UI, it teaches a valuable lesson about assumptions. This is a big deal. I remember Russ Ackoff pounding the table over and over re relaxing assumptions for solving tough problems, it might be one of the most valuable pieces of information I’ve encountered. Relaxing assumptions enables one, or a business, to look at parts of the map most folks ignore. Or build a map where none exists.
Map building is powerful, it enables you to move the action to your pitch, makes others play by your rules. How? It’s terrain you have specified, just like the spaces we encounter in games. A proprietary map enables you to not only disrupt trends, meaning solve a problem resulting from an old system, it can also contribute to strategies for obsoleting competitors. Apple did exactly this with the iPhone, it obsoleted Blackberry and did so with a product more expensive! Most folks compete on price, Apple crushed Blackberry by inventing a product comprising Blackberry’s main feature, email, and other goodies and a camera. Jobs built a map, from the features to the pricing to the buttons to push for building demand.
This relaxation of assumptions is relevant recently in the angel investing space. What @naval, @nivi and their team have accomplished is on par with Jobs’ iPhone —and perhaps more important. VCs could end up like Blackberry, though because they do not have the capex issues and the complexities of boards and employees they’re more nimble, many will comport themselves to the new landscape.
Cycles are interesting. Surviving and prospering has so much to do with the speed at which a business can adapt, what makes one strong in one phase of the cycle can cripple in the next. The TBTF banks are a good example, even with all of the bubbling up in the world they’re dysfunctional entities for the cycles of today. By definition, obsolete.
Same for pension funds, endowments, sovereign funds and other pools of wealth who traditionally invested in startups via VC funds. A sort of personal development is now kicking in amongst smart investment officers. Like everyone, it’s not easy for investors to change habit and policy quickly. But the transition is beginning, for well managed funds and a few angels anyway.
VC returns data heretofore has not been evenly shared, as transparency improves I believe we will see acceleration of learning amongst angel and wealth funds as well as by the startups themselves. Learning. Developing. Becoming more valuable as the result of the exchanges the tools have enabled thus far, during the infancy of the Internet. The meals, coffees and cocktails we all share via online. More and more bubbling up, better solutions for both investors of capital and those who borrow it to use in their value creation processes until they reach the point whey generate their value generates their own capital.
The ‘types’ of startup will evolve too. Of course investors will continue to invest in the old types because familiarity equals security for them, however the more evolved money managers will be looking for young enterprises building taller value upon more robust foundations.
Nearly anyone in the first phase of the Internet, the installation phase, could whip up and launch an app, create download popularity charts with the right slope and generate buzz for a party round. Such quick idea startups sometimes turned out at least okay, these pump-and-dump startups though hardly ever produced the big returns. And of course some deadpooled, but that’s the nature of that game.
In the Internet’s second phase, deployment, investors will discover some of their old assumptions, for example investing in quick idea startups is either no longer viable or just too low return. In this part of the cycle those startups are the TBTF banks, they can’t build sustainable ‘tall value’. Deal selection is now driven by the strategies entrepreneurs bring to the table, not quick ideas and shiny demos and celebrity.
The deployment phase is about development more than growth. Learning the difference was another valuable bit I gleaned early on from someone insightful. Developing big levers assembled from the tools created in the installation phase offers the best risk / reward at this juncture, here is where the 10x plus returns live.
I’ll conclude as I began, I feel lucky. Every step along the path of my personal life and professional career I’ve been the beneficiary of insights that have improved my bubbler-upper. As I continue to develop I remain open to exploring new ideas and methodologies for investing and creating value via individuals coming together for the purpose of improving quality of life for the many. We have the most amazing tools for building at our fingertips today, strategies for and applying them is all of our challenge in this phase of the cycle, our cooperation paves the road.