Weekly reads, week of May 23 2016

Data and Tech

Ethereum is the Forefront of Digital Currency by Fred Ehrsam
// Bitcoin proved the concepts behind blockchain and decentralized transactional networks, but Ethereum may be a better path forward.

Accelerated Mobile Pages Project
// One of the ways Google aims to circumvent Facebook and Apple’s app ecosystem. Mobile-optimized, for high speed and exploration.

Strategy and business

Google’s Go-To Market Gap by Ben Thompson
// Hypothesis is that Google is the rare company that succeeded (immensely) almost purely from having superior technology, rather than business development, operational execution, marketing, product strategy, etc. Moving forward, this may present challenges to the company’s ability to compete with superior businesses, in spite of better tech.

A clever tweak to how apples are sold is making everyone eat more of them by Roberto A Ferdman
// Selling apples pre-sliced had a massive impact on fresh apple consumption. By pre-slicing, children were much more willing to eat apples for lunch, as this reduced seemingly miniscule challenges to eating apples.

The Leading Predictor Of Series A Valuation For SaaS Companies by Tomasz Tunguz
// ‘The data underscores why building a great product is the first order of business for a startup and why developing great customer success should be the second order of business. Many founders do this instinctively, and develop a cadre of reference customers.’


This cartoon explains how the rich got rich and the poor got poor by Alvin Chang
// Strong hypothesis that wealth inequality is influenced by source of income (investment for upper classes, paychecks for lower classes), and regulatory impacts (i.e. tax policy) on those income sources.

Are You Successful? If So, You’ve Already Won the Lottery by Robert H Frank
// Grit, effort, and ingenuity are rarely undervalued when assigning credit for success, but humans tend to grossly underestimate the impact of luck. Reflecting on one’s good fortune tends to generate a greater willingness to contribute to others’ success.

The Evolution of Anxiety: Why We Worry and What to Do About It by James Clear
// Although humans have evolved for a Immediate Return Environment, most of us must operate within a Delayed Return Environment, which in turn generates anxiety. Converting anxiety-induxing long-term issues into measurable (and smaller) tasks can significantly alleviate anxiety.

Mongol hordes gave up on conquering Europe due to wet weather by Conor Gearin
// Mongol hordes, which innovated upon war through the integration of cavalry, may have retreated from central Europe primarily because of a swamp-like environment in Hungary in the mid 1200s. Because the army was unable to provide pasture for horses in Hungary, much of the disruptive advantage they had come to rely upon disappeared. Not dissimilar to Napoleon’s army in wintertime Russia.

  1. 1. Data and Tech
  2. 2. Strategy and business
  3. 3. Perspectives