The Exponential View

I don’t have much to say today so instead of writing something, I am going to promote something.

My partner Albert turned me onto Azeem Azhar‘s weekly newsletter called The Exponential View.

I’ve been getting it for a couple months now and I really enjoy it, particularly the section called “Short morsels to appear smart at dinner parties.”

So, in summary, check out The Exponential View .


Comments (Archived):

  1. awaldstein

    Thanks–I need every advantage to appear smart!Listening to Ira Glass at the gym every morning does indeed make me smarter.

    1. JimHirshfield

      Give yourself credit. You’re a lot smarter than I look.

      1. LE

      2. Girish Mehta

        I might look like an idiot and talk like an idiot. But don’t let that fool you. I really am an idiot.H/T Groucho Marx.

        1. Vasudev Ram

          Ha ha. I like this one at the end of Jeff Atwood’s blog (Coding Horror) ‘s About page, :…”Disclaimer: I have no idea what I’m talking about. “

        2. Kirsten Lambertsen

          Always makes my day to see a Groucho quote πŸ™‚

      3. Donna Brewington White

        Don’t ever leave.

  2. LE

    particularly the section called β€œShort morsels to appear smart at dinner parties.”Never attended NYC dinner parties … the only ones I know of are the ones that are featured in movies. As such I can’t tell whether this is some tongue in cheek joke or if people at dinner parties in NYC actually will listen to someone talk about some esoteric subject that they don’t understand and actually sit still long enough to actually learn something.

    1. awaldstein

      They don’t have dinner parties in NJ? Sure they do and people the the same everywhere.

      1. LE

        Sure but NYC Metro includes certain areas of North Jersey for the purposes of my comment (I am not in that part of the state).

  3. LE

    I don’t have much to say today soWould have been nice to know your thoughts about the tectonic shifts going on in elected government right now.

    1. Mario Cantin

      No one does, seemingly :)I’m personally speechless.

      1. LE

        Read this, Frank Bruni Opinion piece in the NY Times:…The tectonic shift shares similarities with startups in at least one way.The world is no longer going along with the offerings of traditional white men with traditional white man ideas of how to govern (or build a business or finance a business). And how to behave so as not to offend someone or lose votes or support. [1] The first salvo was Obama (with practically no experience) and his change you can believe in circa 2008. Now we have the support of a man like Trump (or Sanders) who, while both white men, are the antithesis of traditional white man well behaved, careful what you say, thinking. (I mean Sanders was arrested back in the 60’s he is no well groomed Mitt Romney..) Traditional media has also lost power in the equation as well. They used to have enough control to swing races. Not the case anymore.[1] We also have major corporations who are so large and powerful with their profits and their large consumer user bases that they fell they can thumb their nose and pick a fight with the US Government. (I guess Tim Cook either isn’t aware or doesn’t care what happened with Microsoft and their antitrust trials which totally distracted the company for the years it was going on..)

        1. Mario Cantin

          Good piece, thanks.Trump sure doesn’t take any prisoners. I’m apprehensive, though, that his narcissism is too pathological to make him a truly great President; but that may be too much to ask in the first place…

          1. LE

            You think that other politicians aren’t narcissists?Trump just shows his narcissism and doesn’t hide from it.I don’t see how you could run for public office and not be a narcissist. Also who cares anyway? People just want someone who they have a bit of confidence can get the job done (or stands a chance of doing it). Don’t care what he does in the bedroom or his toilet habits. Don’t care what the problems of the rest of the world are. Want to be treated like a selfish only child now. Agree that many people are turned off (especially the oh so sophisticated intellectual NYC dinner party set since we are on that subject) by his hillbilly and redneck outward appearance and extreme views. [1] It just rubs them the wrong way! Or people who believe he should have memorized some positions on things more carefully (as if what a politician says and what he does and is able to do actually is grounded in reality). They say “that is the playbook” and he is deviating from the playbook! (Isn’t that what startups do all of the time, write new rules for old things and disrupt?)By the way who needs “great” anyway? This is not a contest for landing on Mount Rushmore. I will settle for some nice changes and improvements. It’s not that I think Trump is the answer to all or most of the ills. I just think the others running will be confined by their lack of creative thinking.Lack of creative thinking is what got the Republican party to preemptively anoint Jeb Bush, and the Democrats to do the same with Hillary. That is why it’s now down to Trump and Sanders. They didn’t field a strong bench of “plan b’s”. If they had Trump wouldn’t appear so attractive. And infact they aren’t so smart. Most likely there were many plan b’s that would have run if not for the anointment of Bush and Hillary by the party and the media.[1] You know they think “people who act like that just aren’t smart like we are…”.

          2. Mario Cantin

            I’m with you on many points; not enough to resort to JML’s “I agree with you more than you do with yourself” quote. as I can’t shake off some apprehension. But he does strike a chord on several levels.To me, Trump’s most appealing trait is that he puts his money where his mouth is by being largely self-funded.I like your point about Mt. Rushmore, but I think Trump would love his face carved on there nonetheless, ha ha!

  4. William Mougayar

    Well done for both links.This caught my attention in that newsletter; Sex & Startups – Startups, like the male anatomy, are designed for liquidity events.

    1. Donna Brewington White

      Almost by-passed this. Glad I didn’t.Sorry for doubting you.Exponential View is yet another example of curation done well. Something needed now more than ever. You were one of the first I heard beat this drum.

  5. Emily Steed

    I love these kinds of tips! Thanks for sharing.

  6. Kirsten Lambertsen

    For anyone else who didn’t know who Azeem Azhar is:He’s a former journalist and Reuters executive who co-founded PeerIndex…Seems like most former journalists never truly leave their first love.Is anyone here using Revue? @wmoug:disqus ? It does indeed look slick.

    1. William Mougayar

      I just looked on mobile & it looks good. Might try something on it.

    2. Twain Twain

      I listened to Azeem at Deep Learning dinner in London.If Albert’s not already reading it, Nathan Benaich of Playfair Capital’s newsletter on Machine Intelligence is a good read:*

      1. Lawrence Brass

        Interesting indeed. I have a slightly different point of view though, I think that the measured increase in profits (15%) come from the higher intelligence that companies that pursue diversity have. So I view it as an indirect correlation. Intelligent companies are more diverse, intelligent companies are more profitable.Good links BTW.

        1. Kirsten Lambertsen

          So the question would be then, if a less intelligent company pursues diversity for the sake of ticking off the box, will profits rise or not? πŸ™‚

          1. Lawrence Brass

            Chances are, if you are just ticking and completing quotas, that people coming from diversity hires just for the sake of it won’t easily get to management or influential positions within teams. Diversity that originates naturally from openess, from meritocracy is more powerful and authentic in my opinion. So my answer is no.

          2. Kirsten Lambertsen

            Makes sense.

          3. Twain Twain

            Have you read about the BoardList yet?* http://www.businessinsider….Looking forward to meeting Sukhinder Singh Cassidy this week at Startup Grind conference!

          4. Kirsten Lambertsen

            Looks like a great project! I have a second degree of separation from her — her company, Joyus, acquired a friend’s company.

        2. Twain Twain

          Thanks :*).My views on diversity are simple: we’re intelligent because we inherit and benefit from male+female intelligence from moment of conception.We inherit X+Y genes.Moreover, during our most formative years when our intelligence accelerates, it’s because we learn from mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, male+female teachers etc.This is why it makes sense for:(1.) Female intelligence to be included in companies at highest levels to foster our learning loops; and(2.) Female intelligence, especially language knowhow, needs to be included in data+AI from moment of conception and also in whatever systems are being engineered and coded — including economic ones.Silicon Valley, Wall Street and the corporate world serve us better when it fosters XY FOR INTELLIGENCE TO IMPROVE VALUE at bottom-line, imo.

      2. Kirsten Lambertsen

        Nice to see him linking to that. I had seen it already, but it can’t get shared too much from my point of view πŸ™‚

    3. creative group

      Kristen Lambertsen:How do find the time to read all the blogs. After reviewing this blog, deciding to contribute, leave comment, there are a zillion things that will consume a day with work, (Do people on this blog even do that?), social outings (Suns vs Spurs live at 3pm). I guess it just isn’t for us to understand.

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        Oh, I don’t have the time. I’m maxed out plus with everything I have going on. Something will have to get rotated out in order for something new to be added. But, there’s usually a candidate for being rotated out.

        1. Vasudev Ram

          I do the same thing – rotating some out now and then πŸ™‚ Helps deal with the information overload. Also, I’ve developed a few (manual) heuristics for when to quickly block off some channel (blog/twitter/forum/etc.) – you can call it an early warning signal system of sorts, that I invented, to deal with noise.BTW, this led me to a related thought: it might be interesting if people here (some of whom anyway seem somewhat leading edge in these things, like keeping on top of new tech/biz stuff) shared how they find interesting new blogs / sites for reading / tweeps to follow, and also how they manage curating those themselves. Of course the bartender would have to allow, rather kick off, such a conversation. How about it, sir? :)And while I’m on the subject of bartenders, where are the happy hours? πŸ˜‰ /JKIt could be yet another possible theme idea to take up, like Fun Fridays (or even after rotating an old one out).

      2. Vasudev Ram

        I know you didn’t ask me, but a great post by Fred from some years back comes to mind. It was titled:Do you ever do any real work?(IIRC :-)The title of the post refers to the fact that people asked him how he had any time to do his ‘real’ work, what with all the blogging he did.In the post he explains, with reasons, how his blogging, far from not being real work, was among the most important and real work that he did.

        1. creative group

          vasudevram:much appreciated.But respectfully FRED continues to work or assist others in working because he can and not because he needs to.Real life worker here!Just thought about the financial and Real Estate articles we choose as required reading. Wouldn’t have time for any other social media if we wanted to continue a valuable social life.

          1. Vasudev Ram

            Thanks for the feedback.>But respectfully FRED continues to work or assist others in working because he can and not because he needs to.I guess so.>Real life worker here!Me too.>Just thought about the financial and Real Estate articles we choose as required reading. Wouldn’t have time for any other social media if we wanted to continue a valuable social life.I partly agree. But it also depends on a few things: how important that extra reading / blogging is to the person (for their personal / professional development), how many hours they have free for that, etc. IOW, whether it helps them in their (professional and personal) life or not. (And the two can be partly intertwined, depending on the person.) That could vary for people, based on their line of work, how they approach it, etc. And so some may do more of it than others. I agree also that there is information overload, and that’s one thing I mentioned in another comment in this post.Good discussion …

    4. ShanaC

      indeed it does. Do they help you build the list? Do you co-own the list with them?

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        I don’t know, honestly. I’m not immediately in the market for a newsletter solution πŸ™‚ But I always like knowing what everybody else likes using in case I can make a recommendation or come to need it myself.

    5. azeemazhar

      I was never a great journalist.But I do consider myself a student of history, a historian of technology, a tinkerer, an amateur and a product person and I love understanding the world through reading and talking to people.Hope you enjoy the newsletter πŸ˜‰

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        It looks fun, thoughtful and useful πŸ™‚ Best of luck with it!

  7. jason wright

    from abroad how do people see the prospect of the UK leaving the EU, and would it be like Texas leaving the USA?

    1. Simone

      you are asking the elephant how is the ant doing :).. or, to put it in Putin’s words ‘UK is a small island that nobody listens to’ (an ad for The Economist adorning Canary Wharf station few years ago).

      1. jason wright

        everything the British establishment has to say is for domestic consumption. it remains a feudal state in the twenty first century.

        1. Simone

          people learn to slowly, or maybe it was just me. oh, well. sunk cost.

    2. Lawrence Brass

      I see that more like Trump ending up building his wall. Isolationism.I would like to know more about the motivations of the referendum, I should because I have UK nationality by descent, however I can’t vote because I have never set residence in the UK. I read something about it but it was very little and not conclusive. Where can I learn more? Do you have good links Jason?

      1. Simone…My favourite author is Niall Ferguson, if you have access to The Sunday Times http://www.thesundaytimes.c…My advice is never listen to a word Cameron says, watching cartoons would be a better use of your time πŸ™‚

        1. jason wright

          Cameron is a PR puppet. he described Tony Blair as “the master”. The most revealing thing he’s ever said.I have yesterday’s Sunday Times on top of my bookshelf. I’ll be working my way through it this week.Did you see Ferguson at DLD Munich? He’s good, but is starting to get a little bit cocky. he needs to watch that.

          1. Simone

            I am a long time fan of Ferguson, have read as many of his books as I could and watched his videos (I only dislike that he is pro war occasionally). I can’t stand arrogant people or snobs, but in his case it is like saying you don’t like that programmers wear tshirts :).He is an academic (so his allure is a professional hazard) plus he is British, that’s how they present themselves to the world. In Niall’s case, there is huge substance behind form, others just come across as cocky as you say (perhaps you meant to say pretentious) and there is nothing to it, except for a native British accent.DLD Munich is a quick talk on network effects, if you like history or have a curiosity in the world in general, I recommend any of his history books, plus he had 2 or 3 great tv series, some would be on youtube hopefully.

        2. Lawrence Brass

          I read some more, watched some cartoons too. :)What I don’t understand is why the referendum is required.

          1. Simone

            to hear the voice of the people – do they want in our out of EU (after having being bombarded for years with anti EU and anti immigrants propaganda, touching the most sensitive buttons of former glory that most still indulge in) and cheap media drama I would have expected from e.g. a South American or South European culture. Even I don’t know what I think any more! What I know is a big concern is e.g. child benefits being transferred to other EU countries and I read that represents 0.26% from total child benefits. It saddens me that politics has not been changed by the technology we have, zero excuse for lack of information and double checking on everything that media is pouring on the masses, but I guess truth (or data) was never too much fun. Certainly not as much fun as cartoon politics. If UK votes out and then US votes Trump, that would make 2016 a memorable year!

          2. Lawrence Brass

            Most of the creation and development of the European Union has been ratified by public vote, and that is a great thing. It would a pity if by means of irresponsible manipulation of the media and people’s sentiment, all that is lost. I deeply hope that 2016 will not end that way, it would be a really bad thing in the long run.

          3. Simone

            and the short version reply – my understanding is that if they don’t get out of EU, a substantial change in the current relations is not possible due to current EU legislation that UK has to abide by. So everything we hear in terms or renegotiation/special status is just bla bla bs

          4. Lawrence Brass

            Thanks for both versions, luckily I can still read more than 132 chars at a time.And talking about reading, I haven’t read Ferguson books, thanks for the lead. I usually choose the latest from an author I don’t know.Which of his books would you recommend to read first?

          5. Simone

            He is a prolific author so I chose of his books the ones that I felt I needed first – his books on the World Wars, Empire, The ascent of money and Civilization. I haven’t read his most recent book on Kissinger yet, btw I have just checked his www and is not up to date, Amazon is e better place to see his work and choose.I will not recommend a book just in case you will find something that is more relevant to you from his writing, I will just say that instead of his book on institutions, I recommend Why nations fail by D. Acemoglu. There are a few documentaries based on his books, I think he is a great story teller, must be a joy to have him as a teacher for his students.

      2. jason wright

        i would start by reading Boris Johnson’s Wiki entry;…being born in NYC means he also has UK/US nationality. Even paid his US tax demand in 2015. claims to be intending to renounce his USness, but i’m doubting that will ever happen.

        1. Lawrence Brass

          For the record, I am not an US citizen, I am Chilean born and raised.

  8. LaVonne Reimer

    @wmoug:disqus already referenced this down below but I’m going to link again here. That Azeem declared it superb immediately wins me over to him!

    1. Donna Brewington White

      Saw the title in another comment, seemed gimmicky, but then your recommendation made me reconsider. Superb is right. The thought I had on the discussion about VCs is that there was no mention of LPs. Don’t their expectations need to change in order for VCs to change the types of returns they’re after?But there was mention of different types of investment that might promote more far-reaching priorities.

  9. Yalim K. Gerger

    I was looking for something like Revue. Many thanks!

  10. Donna Brewington White

    I admit that the part about appearing smart at dinner parties got my attention. But, sometimes it’s good just to listen and chew. Nodding, eyes wide open, at appropriate times. Like, for me, when bitcoin and blockchain are the topic of discussion on AVC.* Sometimes it’s refreshing not to have an opinion and to just listen and learn. This is a good tip on discussions about diversity as well. Sometimes, just listen.*This might change after reading William’s books. (Huge congrats on the successful Kickstarter campaign!)

    1. Kirsten Lambertsen

      “Sometimes, just listen.” You *know* I’m saying “Amen!” over here ;-)I can’t wait to get William’s books, too. Still trying to fully master an understanding of bitcoin and blockchain.

    2. Vasudev Ram

      >(Huge congrats on the successful Kickstarter campaign!)Didn’t know that it was over and worked out, though read about it here. Congrats, William.

    3. JAJones

      Listening and being fully present during a conversation. A friend just wrote a blog post on this that describes 10 rules for a better conversation.

      1. Donna Brewington White

        This is really very good. Thank you for sharing. And I only have to work on 9 of the suggestions!

  11. Michael Elling

    Bill and keep (settlement free) results in linear growth at best. Network effect (horizontal settlements) drives geometric growth. Inter-network effect (horizontal plus vertical settlements) is exponential. Think of the latter as networks stacked on networks across infinite demand curves. Just left a comment to that effect on the @sexandstartups post. Thanks for pointing out Azhar’s work.

  12. Matt Zagaja

    Where is FAKEGRIMLOCK?

    1. Kirsten Lambertsen

      Why, does he owe you money? πŸ˜›

    2. Vasudev Ram


      1. Donna Brewington White

        That’s funny.

  13. creative group

    Befuddled that spam is making it’s way into this space. All the intelligent contributors and it hasn’t been flagged to planet Saturn?

  14. JimHirshfield