Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Monday, August 4, 2014
A director is a kind of idea and taste machine; a movie is a series of creative and technical decisions, and it’s the director’s job to make the right decisions as frequently as possible.

Stanley Kubrick (via nictate)

[continuing the series of Ways in Which Film Direction and Product Management Are Fundamentally the Same (which you can expect to be a recurring theme here).]

Friday, July 25, 2014


This! This is why I self-identify as product-obsessed when it comes to making an investment decision. Because there is only your product. The product of your labor speaks volumes more than anything you can ever say or explain.

"That’s the thing. It’s a whole thing, and it’s there and that is it."

(Source: noblette)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

I begin with a little girl’s hair. That I know is a good thing at any rate. Whatever else is evil, the pride of a good mother in the beauty of her daughter is good. It is one of those adamantine tendernesses which are the touchstones of every age and race. If other things are against it, other things must go down. If landlords and laws and sciences are against it, landlords and laws and sciences must go down. With the red hair of one she-urchin in the gutter I will set fire to all modern civilization.

Because a girl should have long hair, she should have clean hair; because she should have clean hair, she should not have an unclean home; because she should not have an unclean home, she should have a free and leisured mother; because she should have a free mother, she should not have an usurious landlord; because there should not be an usurious landlord, there should be a redistribution of property; because there should be a redistribution of property, there shall be a revolution.

That little urchin with the gold-red hair, whom I have just watched toddling past my house, she shall not be lopped and lamed and altered; her hair shall not be cut short like a convict’s; no, all the kingdoms of the earth shall be hacked about and mutilated to suit her. She is the human and sacred image; all around her the social fabric shall sway and split and fall; the pillars of society shall be shaken, and the roofs of ages come rushing down, and not one hair of her head shall be harmed.

What’s Wrong with the World, G.K. Chesterton, 1910 


Monday, July 7, 2014
The assumption in Mayer’s post — and, it seems, the assumption behind similar business models like ParkingMonkey or Sweetch — is that if something can be monetized, then it should be. It’s as though capitalism, or tech-startup life, was a game in which founders try to spot loopholes in the laws or social contracts that govern our behavior, and then figure out ways to get someone to pay to exploit them. This isn’t necessarily a recipe for disaster, but it avoids any question about whether such loopholes *should* be monetized. As Mayer puts it: “If someone does pay for it willingly, is it really unethical?” Well yes, maybe it is. It’s getting harder to tell what’s a real Silicon Valley startup and what’s a parody
Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Seizure of indigenous land, 1776-1887
Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The valley attracts some of the smartest humans on Earth, and each of those humans, being otherwise normal, probably assumed they could use their talent, brains, and hard work to achieve specific business goals, such as building product X and selling the company to Google for a billion dollars.

And then they find out that success in the start-up realm is mostly luck. They discover this by trying great ideas coupled with great execution and failing. And they further discover it by observing unexpected successes at other start-ups. Success simply can’t be predicted to any level of statistical comfort.

Smart observers in the valley look for the “tell” that an early stage start-up will be a winner, but none can be found. Oh, sure, the team needs to be smart, talented, and willing to work long hours. But nearly every start-up has that going for it. Most have great ideas as well. None of it predicts success.

So imagine if you will, some of the smartest, most rational humans the world has ever created, wallowing around in the absurdity of Silicon Valley, where success is mostly based on luck. How does one feel good about that? And what is the solution?

Scott Adams Blog: The Pivot 06/16/2014
Monday, June 9, 2014

Judy Collins - “Both Sides Now”

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

None of this is to deny that rising inequality has occurred. Nor to claim that it doesn’t matter. And by yanking mainstream discussion of inequality from the micro to the macro sphere – where it belongs as I have been arguing since the mid-1990s! – Thomas Piketty has done a service to economics.

But his goal was to turn the historical record into fundamental laws and long-range tendencies. Despite strong claims – accepted by many reviewers – it now seems clear that this project fell short.

As a matter of the empirical record, the modern inequality data do not show any inexorable tendencies.

In my view, *this* is the fundamental Piketty critique.
(Do read the whole thing.)

Unpacking the First Fundamental Law

Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Earlier I had asked Carl if those putative extraterrestrials of a billion years from now could conceivably interpret the brain waves of a meditator. Who knows? A billion years is a long, long time, was his reply. On the chance that it might be possible why don’t we give it a try?
Two days after our life-changing phone call, I entered a laboratory at Bellevue Hospital in New York City and was hooked up to a computer that turned all the data from my brain and heart into sound. I had a one-hour mental itinerary of the information I wished to convey. I began by thinking about the history of Earth and the life it sustains. To the best of my abilities I tried to think something of the history of ideas and human social organization. I thought about the predicament that our civilization finds itself in and about the violence and poverty that make this planet a hell for so many of its inhabitants. Toward the end I permitted myself a personal statement of what it was like to fall in love.
Ann Druyan