Monday, March 31, 2008

The MySpaceation of Facebook

Myspace has long been parodied as the Jersey Shore of social networking: full of emo kids, aspiring "models" and generally everybody on the internet who has bad taste.

Facebook, in contrast, was born in the Ivy League. The pages were clean and streamlined (if for no other reason than the user had less control than the MySpace user). However, a series of changes took place, starting with the decision to News Feed. To wit, Facebook got a lot more cluttered. News Feeds OK, gaming apps OK, credit card ads - well, they're annoying, but every other website has them. In the past few months Singles adds have started popping up.

A website is a lot like a professional athlete or a Nascar coat of paint - the quality of the sponsors are reflection of the quality of the brand. So, LeBron and Nike (good for him), and credit card adds (...ehh), -- Facebook and Hot, Local Singles?!

This from a company that is reportedly worth ~USD 15b?

Facebook can try to squeeze every last drop of ad money it can, but if it does it must come up with a new social networking strategy - it can no longer be the clean-cut Myspace

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Controlling the weather

Monday, March 24, 2008

How to save money running a start up

Fortune's List of Top Entrepeneurs

A Summit guy is ranked high.

Friday, March 21, 2008

A Useful Undergraduate Class

Thursday, March 20, 2008

"Technology" as a sector of the economy

Magazines, newspapers, business entities, etc. typically classify "technology" as a sector of the economy.

Is this appropriate?

By technology, they typically mean companies/firms involved in computing, electronics, genetics, etc. However, this is not the true definition of technology:

1.the branch of knowledge that deals with the creation and use of technical means and their interrelation with life, society, and the environment, drawing upon such subjects as industrial arts, engineering, applied science, and pure science.
2.the terminology of an art, science, etc.; technical nomenclature.
3.a technological process, invention, method, or the like.
4.the sum of the ways in which social groups provide themselves with the material objects of their civilization.

So why not include the newest tractors or cranes next to the newest operating system?

Instead of saying "technology" is a sector of the economy, would it not be more appropriate to rather say that technology is the cutting edge of *every* industry? Or better yet, to replace the word "technology" with "cutting edge"?

Vernalization and Human Resources

A conservative hirer will hire someone whose previous experience matches what the job requires:

i-banking --> PE
or, even better (?)
PE --> PE

Although this is more-or-less riskless, is it the best way to get the best people?

Are there some theater majors that would make great private equity analysts, and if so, could they be taught in a short enough period of time to make their hiring useful?

If so, how do you find these people?

On the other hand, one might ask whether it is in the hirer's best interest to hire the best -- the best person might make them look bad.

If a hirer hires someone incompetent they are in trouble
If they hire someone competent they aren't rewarded
If they hire someone extraordinary they aren't rewarded

In this case, in most cases, it pays to bunt rather than try for the home run

A reoccurring theme: just b/c someone does not have a formal background in a discipline, does not mean they cannot be successful at it.

Cf. Neil Young and Peter Thiel

p.s. if anybody knows how Peter Thiel decided to ditch law/derivatives trading to become an entrepeneur, I'd love to hear it

Deisseroth is a cool name

Karl Deisseroth's genetically engineered "light switch," which lets scientists turn selected parts of the brain on and off, may help improve treatments for depression and other disorders.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Speechless Conversation

Just "think" about saying something and the cell phone can understand it

Sunday, March 16, 2008


There are a lot of things that are unclear about how warfare of the future will develop.

but as technology and the internet become more important,
it follows that LANdroids will fill an important niche.

Every bullet spent on taking these out is one less spent on shooting soldiers. However, it will be interesting to find out how these can be neutralized -- something like chafe?

Peter Thiel:

<> Founded Stanford Review as an undergraduate
<> Stanford Law
<> Sullivan & Cromwell
<> Founded First Hedge Fund
<> Founded PayPal
<> Second Hedge Fund
<> Founders Fund (VC)

He has done everything. Most employers lack imagination and only higher "the sure thing." Someone who had a similar job beforehand. This reflex becomes even stronger during a recession. However, the variety and diversity of Thiel's success suggest that this is not always an intelligent course of action.

Foster Miller Talon

Perkins of Kleiner-Perkins

Real Art

Jonathan Ive

"Not by strength, by guile."