Hallway Chat

Yesterday I hung out (virtually) with Bijan and Nabeel at Spark Capital and joined them in their podcast they call Hallway Chat.

Here’s what we talked about:

-questions from Twitter, including how Fred started investing in social media, & YC’s recent move to recommend exercising options from 90 days to 10 years

-Fred’s post, “The New Entertainment Bundlers

-Chris Dixon’s, “What’s Next In Computing?

-Why haven’t we seen a new breakout consumer app


-Steph Curry vs Michael Jordan

So, here’s our “hallway chat”

#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. jason wright

    bugger, i just finished my run. i could have listened to this.

    1. Jess Bachman

      Get back out there. Just do it.

  2. Jess Bachman

    “65% of smartphone users haven’t downloaded an app in the past month”.Long live the mobile web!

    1. LE

      Here is the last app that I downloaded a few weeks ago and the reason was because I did some work for the person who started it:http://www.knowme.comOther than that maybe 1 app or so in the past month (probably the Schwab app.)

    2. jason wright

      and a lot of the 35% are using phones with inadequate storage memory capacity and have to endlessly shuffle apps on and off, off and on…

      1. creative group

        jason wright:The issue is that 90% (Unscientific guess) of mobile users who use mobile providers in the United States have their devices locked by those providers. The locked phones internal storage only allows 20% of what is remaining as active storage. Horrible!All phones should be unlocked and not loaded with bloatware.

        1. jason wright

          Thanks for the insight.I avoid locked phones.

    3. Dan Moore

      Apps are for the few functions that I need regularly and securely (banking, email, notes, etc) and mobile websites are fro the far more common use case of information gathering. I don’t know if I am the typical user, but that number doesn’t surprise me at all.

      1. sigmaalgebra

        Thanks, I’ve been guessing just that, but good to have your confirmation.My startup is a Web app only, just a Web site, needs only a Web browser up to date as of maybe 10 years ago, for the user’s Web browser is just dirt simple — nearly no use of JavaScript, no pull-downs, pop-ups, or roll-overs, no acronyms, no check boxes or radio buttons, input via just single line text boxes and where mostly users will just paste from their system clipboard, and screens all exactly just 800 pixels wide, large fonts, high contrast, nothing tricky. A screen window as narrow as 300 pixels should still work. Simple enough for someone who doesn’t know English. We’re talking just dirt simple. And the goal is just what you mentioned, information. Thanks.This week got some good initial data into the database and tried out the site — worked just as intended!Now for some more initial data, a critical reading of the code of one of the crucial back end servers, and some tweaks to the user interface, … and go live ASAP!Sure, with an app and/or with a lot of JavaScript, can put up a much, much more complicated user interface, unique in all the world, so complicated it could take weeks to get good with it. And, since I’m trying to please users by giving them information they will like and, thus, make money, just why would I want to give users a complicated, tricky, unique in all the world user interface that would take them days to learn to use at all and weeks to learn to use well? Why?I never saw just why; it looked like a mistake to me; and I passed up the opportunity! Gee, I’m not the Lone Ranger here after all!

        1. Dan Moore

          I think people are in love with apps in particular because they are more sticky. It’s a lot easier to open up an app on the phone than it is to type in a search term or a url.But I agree that there’s money to be made in simple web pages that deliver information and value. With just CSS you can make a web page pretty good looking.Now, if you are talking about an interactive web application, then things get more complex.

          1. sigmaalgebra

            AFAIK, CSS is just a convenience, say, to permit factoring out common code. The CSS attributes are honored by the HTML elements, and there can just type in the attributes one HTML element at a time. Also, even if want to factor out, don’t have to have an external CSS file — instead can put the CSS definitions directly in the relevant HTML files. So, save on downloading a separate file and get a faster Web site.For using URLs, just have your own dirt simple HTML file and tell your Web browser to start with that file. Net, I nearly never actually type a URL. I didn’t know that anyone did. E.g., for nearly all the data I work with, it is in flat ASCII text files that I manipulate with my favorite programmable editor. Well, in such a file, if there is a phone number on a line, even embedded in a line of alphabetic characters, one keystroke and my computer dials the phone. So, yes, there is an editor macro of just a few lines that grabs the line of the file, deletes alphabetic characters, and sends the rest with an AT (attention) prefix to a COM port of a FAX modem card that dials the number on my old touch tone desk set.If the line has the file system tree name or URL of a picture, audio clip, video clip, HTML file, etc., then my editor passes the name to the appropriate program — Web browser, RealPlayer, Media Player, etc. — and does the right thing.To find content, say, URLs, phone numbers, mailing addresses, e-mail addresses, dates, lots of other little stuff, I have a file I call FACTS.DAT that is just a simple, flat ASCII text file with a dirt simple syntax of ‘entries’ with some key words and then some text. An entry is delimited by a line of 72 equal signs. The line of key words starts with :key. All the rest is free form. There is a simple editor macro to look for the key words. One file of only a few million bytes works great for a few entries a day for years until a lot of the entries are too old!E.g., that’s how I found again the HTML of the YouTube video clip of the opera aria I included today. Simple.E.g., I don’t type URLs.For an “interactive Web page”, no, mostly I believe it is smart to stay with just vanilla HTML with a minimum of JavaScript. Why? (A) The HTML user interface design was very well thought out, based on a lot of really good history way back to IBM’s 3270 and much more, highly polished, actually quite capable, and now thoroughly understood by 2+ billion people in the world. So, stay with it. That’s what I’ve done with my startup. Just dirt simple HTML. And, no pop-ups, pull-downs, roll-overs, check boxes, radio buttons. Instead, just some simple, single line text boxes and where mostly users will give input by doing a paste operation from their system clipboard.That Disqus has been able to do so well with their complicated stuff is good for Disqus but too much for my startup. Besides, as well as Disqus has done. commonly they cause my Web browser to lose the keyboard focus — bummer. I’m willing to put up with such unique behavior from Disqus but not for Web sites in general. Indeed, for a lot of Web sites, with their gone crazy with their unique user interface with a lot of JavaScript, I just leave.If first cut simple HTML does not provide a way to implement a desired user interface, then don’t rush off into some complicated JavaScript with AJAX, etc. and instead just think again and try to make HTML do well anyway.

    4. Kirsten Lambertsen

      The Death of Mobile.

    5. JamesHRH

      Well, markets become full.

    6. Lawrence Brass

      I guess that there is some sort of convergence but most of this is wishful thinking in my opinion, apps won’t go away. It is true that mobile browsers are better than they were a few years ago and that more mobile sites are being designed and built properly.

    7. ShanaC

      where does that number come from

      1. Jess Bachman

        It was mentioned in the podcast. Comscore I believe.

        1. ShanaC

          that makes a bit more sense

    8. creative group

      Jess Bachman:Do you think the lack of downloading new apps is attributed to the lack of quality?We see nothing innovative or easier to use than existing apps. The hype is always motivated by the King Makers (VC’s, Angels)

  3. JoeK

    Fred, there was a moment during the republican debate last night when Mr Trump exactly repeated your point from earlier this week.About himself, “…You know, it’s amazing. When I do something on Twitter, everybody picks it up, goes all over the place. But, when I did this one nobody ever picks it up. Take a look at my Twitter account.” (copied from Washington Post debate transcript).And then about his opponent Rubio, ” …and by the way, I know he’s going to spend $25 million on ads. Without that he wouldn’t have a chance. He’s 20 points south.”It kind of captures the Twitter paradox. He’s loving the free platform they give him, while those millions of dollars of potential ad revenues from his competitors flow to other platforms, to respond to his tweets.

    1. jason wright

      i think Donald has Twitter stock

      1. JLM

        .Not correct. They gave him stock options. For free.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    2. pointsnfigures

      Can we use Trump as a proxy? I think the data is messy since he gets most of the coverage on every single news channel.

      1. JoeK

        Tweets go global, while the highest rating primetime cable news show has less than 2 million viewers on average. He cottoned on to that fact really early.

        1. pointsnfigures

          Who votes?

      2. JLM

        .Think about that statement — “he gets most of the coveage on every single news channel”.One of the most powerful utterances ever made in the history of politics.The earned media implications are the most powerful example ever.GOPe, “Leaving on track #6 is the Republican base, a large number of self-described centrists, a lot of discontents, the throttle-voiced, the angry, the malcontents, and a few Democrats who gag at their alternaitves. All aboard for Valley Forge to rebuild the army to be led by Donald Trump.”Without taking sides, it is all the EARNED media. They guy is spending next to nothing, is being outspent 1:10, and is still kicking everybody’s ass.Is this a great country or what?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredcarDisclaimer: Jeff Carter and Aaron Klein educated me at breakfast yesterday morning at Tx French Bread in the ATX and a good time was had by all.

        1. pointsnfigures

          Yup. Was nice weather in Austin, Texas yesterday. Even better today.

          1. Rohan

            Niiiice. 🙂

          2. Lizzie Dermott

            who’s who here ?

          3. pointsnfigures

            JLM and Aaron are the handsome ones. I am bald.

          4. Lizzie Dermott

            Nice,, where’s the beer ? 🙂

          5. pointsnfigures

            Breakfast. We have to work for a living.

          6. JLM

            .Well, actually Aaron and I were headed to meet with Jeff after meeting with the Governor and we only drank a little tequila in our coffee.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          7. LE

            Sure. Met with the governor in shorts and boat shoes. Of course you did. You of all people.

          8. JLM

            .Governor lives a half swing pitching wedge from me. It is a step up from a bathing suit actually.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          9. Lizzie Dermott

            I expected JLM to sport a big moustache and a cowboy hat. This seemed to be a ‘lite’ version of himself

          10. LE

            JLM is very formal. Notice how his hands are held in a “pose for the photographer” stance. v. Jeff who is just sitting there very relaxed as if he was on the way back from the gym. JLM, where is your wedding band? I thought you were married (feel free to ignore this question..)

          11. JLM

            .A paratrooper never wears a ring. Might get caught on the edge of the plane when exiting. A habit that never died plus my wife of 37 years never bought me one.Notice the great looking vintage WWII Army watch?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          12. LE

            Great series on Netflix about guys in BC Canada who do trucking. Same deal no jewelry.https://www.youtube.com/cha…Owner’s [1] spoiled 16 year old son wanted to wear a diamond stud earring. Dad freaked out. No jewelry on the job![1] A true entrepreneur that guy. The problems he faces are intense especially considering the lack of labor in such a sparsely populated area of Canada.

          13. LE

            Need blowup photo of the watch was wondering about that actually.

          14. LIzzie Dermott

            You have a convincing reply for every question. Did you ever apply for a job at Google ? you should.when you face adversity for the first time, how would you react ?

          15. Lizzie Dermott

            That was a sample interview question for a Chef’s assistant job at Google, by the way.Imagine, JLM, if you were applying for a leadership role !!

          16. JLM

            .One does not receive power, one takes power.Did I get the job?Just for the record, I am the least employable commenter on this blog and can prove it.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          17. Lizzie Dermott

            your offer in the mail 🙂 , sorry, search for it visiting our website google.com. if your search result exceeds more than 0.03 seconds, please call google

          18. JLM

            .I have never had sex with that woman ………………………………… Adversity. Though she does look like a good one, no?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          19. Lizzie Dermott

            speaking of wedding band, i don’t see jeff wearing one too 😉

          20. pointsnfigures

            I have worn mine since May 23, 1987.

          21. JLM

            .Worse still, boat shoes and shorts. We did discuss where to get some custom made boots. Small reprieve.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          22. pointsnfigures

            Ostrich leg, ox blood. Already shipped north of the border. Hope I don’t have to pay a tariff.

          23. Vasudev Ram

            Can’t you see that Texas-sized grin?

          24. William Mougayar

            That’s 1/2 of the AVC commenting power, right there!

          25. ShanaC

            I like that picture. I’m also sure I would look super tiny if I snuck into that picture Hehehe

        2. LE

          Party bosses don’t control things anymore. Elections can’t be bought by Joe Kennedy.It’s amazing how in a fit white people in control are about a man like Trump potentially winning because he is not like they are. All well mannered and somewhat polite and PC on the surface. You know with no faults and good Christian Judaeo bullshit values that they preach but do not follow themselves.

    3. fredwilson

      twitter is making around $3bn a year in revenue and had almost $400mm in cash flow from operations in Q4 2015. sure they could make more money, but i don’t think the issues surrounding twitter are its financial performance

      1. JoeK

        It’s interesting that you mention that. I had always assumed (incorrectly it appears), that increasing revenue (and hopefully profitability) was a definite panacea for any business with question marks over it.

  4. William Mougayar

    I liked the part discussing “business model innovations”, around 30:00. Good point contrasting Transformative vs. Evolutionary, and that it took a few years before we saw entirely new business models after the Internet came along. [maybe with the exception of Amazon and eBay that emerged early]Yes, Blockchain is about new business models, but we’re not going to see them fully develop so early yet. A lot of base technology has to be deployed, and mature first.

    1. Simone

      New business model http://uk.businessinsider.c…And the big banks took over in terms of transacting, as expectedhttp://uk.businessinsider.c…

    2. JLM

      .Time to report blockchain to its doctor for having an erection that has lasted more than 4 hours and still shooting blanks?JKJLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      1. LE

        You know I have always wondered about that 4 hour number. What is the portal to portal time calculation? In other words in those ads they say “lasting more than 4 hours”. So the actual time to damage is probably nominally 6 or 7 hours and perhaps even longer. After all someone has to get alarmed and notice that there is a problem. Then get to a hospital (what if you are in the middle of nowhere?) and there has to be a specialist that is called in from home and so on to get rid of the Priapism.Wikipedia claims that not everyone even thinks 4 hours is a problem that the number is actually 6 hours. I guess that’s obvious that they are being conservative.https://en.wikipedia.org/wi

        1. Lawrence Brass

          “This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill—the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe.”

          1. Drew Meyers


        2. sigmaalgebra

          You’ll know there’s a real problem when it falls off!

      2. William Mougayar

        Lots of good work going on. Here’s a “real” one for you: blockchain-based microgrid with peer to peer payments between neighbors, in New York! https://www.newscientist.co

      3. William Mougayar

        Actually, if you have 25 mins to spare, I just did a podcast with Nick Moran covering blockchain innovation and models. was just published today.https://soundcloud.com/full

      4. sigmaalgebra

        A riot! Have to borrow that one for AI!

  5. Dan Robertson

    The dynamics of basketball is changing. It is Steph curry who is going to carry it forward. Jordan will be forgotten soon.I only pray curry is injury-free for the next few years otherwise the old style of basketball will continue to thrive. Look at Steve Nash ,, he introduced a new style of playing but it did not last long owing to injuries

    1. pointsnfigures

      Jordan will never be forgotten. Babe Ruth hasn’t been forgotten. Curry is a tremendous player. I loved watching him in college and he has been a great pro. But, he isn’t one of the top 10 ever to play the game. Until he has longevity, it’s even hard to say he is one of the top 50 but I am confident he can get there. By the way, if you run the stats of every US pro sports league (baseball, hockey, basketball, football) there is only one player in all of sport that is 4 standard deviations away from the mean. Neither Jordan or Ruth are that player (they are 3 standard deviations away) By the way, Jordan was heavily recruited. He was a McDonald’s High School All America in 1981. https://en.wikipedia.org/wi…. I played against the ones that were from Chicago and they were playing a different game of basketball than I was playing : )

      1. Dan Robertson

        Jordan is a great player, no doubt. But the legacy left by Jordan did not pan out , unfortunately, resulting in a superstar culture, getting paid huge and no championships. Vince carter, AI, TMac , KG and now Carmelo, Lebron etc. yes ,lebron ,, even he needed a big 3 t get a ring.The modalities are changing and Steph is the change. You don’t need a big 3 to win a championship . Sweet shooting and 3 point range in a 10 -11 million range is all what the basketball is going to be about. Not the African American with the ball bullying up in the crowd , trying to go for a shot that is not there but ends up getting a foul and makes the free throw .. and chest bumping with the entire roster. Those days are all gone for good

        1. pointsnfigures

          I don’t see that as Jordan’s legacy. But we can agree to disagree. The game changes over time. Jordan and the Bulls would beat Curry’s team 9 out of 10 times. He not only had physical gifts, but an amazing mental toughness rarely seen on ANY player. Jordan would school Lebron. If Golden State has any blueprint, it’s the Bulls. They were an amazing team. People focus on the Bulls offense-but no one in the NBA played better defense over the period of time the Bulls dominated. Best teams in the NBA play great defense. Jordan not only was MVP and dominated the scoring charts, but was All NBA defensive player many times.

          1. Dan Robertson

            Lebron is a sucker. He is the Donald Trump of the NBA.

  6. pointsnfigures

    Great discussion. I think the discussion of how to deal with options in startups is highly provocative. Big impact on culture.

    1. Jess Bachman

      And confusing. I pity the startup employee that has to understand the “cocktail” of financial and accounting concepts going on here. Feels like I would need a degree to understand my compensation.

      1. pointsnfigures

        A good VC or CEO will explain that to them.

        1. Jess Bachman

          Well certainly creates some information asymmetry. “It’s really complicated, so let me explain it to you” is ripe for abuse.

          1. nabeel

            Any CEO who is optimizing for short term bilking of employees is not going to do a great job building a lasting company, so I think this is less of an issue. However, you are definitely right that any new model is going to cause nervousness on the part of some new employees even if it is being done to benefit them. That impact shouldn’t be understated.

  7. William Mougayar

    You didn’t talk about Tech bubbles, but I’m waiting for the Trump bubble to burst.Anything that is hyped eventually bursts.

    1. pointsnfigures

      We can only hope it bursts before he is the candidate.

      1. LE

        Your sensibilities are bothered by what he says or how he acts I am guessing. And not recognizing that the other choices are not only not particularly strong in any special way and aren’t forceful, full of shit, or anywhere near creative enough to actually make any changes that are meaningful. Trump has the best chance of bending people to his will because he is outrageous and off the wall, that is the opportunity not a problem. He is the crazy driver that others will look out for.My wife was at her liberal, well educated, book club meeting a few night ago. All professionals (Doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs and a few moms). She was shocked to find out that almost all of them appeared to support Trump. They see the bluster as just a means to an end. My feeling is that there is a large group of people out there that support Trump simply because he is being attacked by the cool kids (the traditional Republican party) and see his behavior as almost appropriate given the circumstances. Nobody likes the Romney-esq white man telling them what is good for them anymore is a large part of the appeal.[1] An age group that runs from 30 to 60’s.

        1. pointsnfigures

          There are others echoing your sentiments about Trump. He is such an enigma for me it’s hard to believe anything he says. Although, I looked at his healthcare ideas and they made sense. However, the devil is in the details. I was glad to see him soften his immigration stance last night-saying we needed to keep educated people here. Obviously, he was talking to someone from Silicon Valley.I am less worried about people that are bemoaning the breakdown of the Republican Party. The corporate/regulatory fatcats needed to be gored. But, I think Cruz is the only one with the balls to do it. He campaigned against ethanol in Iowa and won.

          1. LE

            Sure but Cruz is one of those “bend at no point with what he believes” in his core values.Let me ask you this. If you were in a courtroom would you rather have Trump as the judge or Cruz as the judge? You’d want someone who would be willing to listen to the facts and come up with a fair decision based on the facts. Not someone who was so rigid in their beliefs that they were not willing to bend at any cost. Not someone who is a know it all champion debater (not representative of real life).Trump has a tons more real life experience than either Cruz or Rubio in terms of dealing and manipulating people and actually doing things. I can fully see him cutting deals with people and scratching backs in order to get things done. He has a method and a strategy that was honed over many years.Also, and this is important, he is not a lawyer and doesn’t think like a lawyer.As far as his business failures I always thought Trump U was a scam when he started it. I was actually surprised when he did that I thought back then that he had lost it. [1] I just think he let his greed get in the way of either knowledge of that industry (real estate seminars) or he simply didn’t care. So he is even with the Clintons as far as that goes. I don’t really fault someone who tries to make money as long as they don’t break any laws. If I had those balls I’d be living on that Island that you want to live on.[1] I learned that from my Dad when I was in elementary school about how those seminars worked. I guess it was one of the things that Fred Trump didn’t teach Donald but fortunately he taught him many more valuable lessons.

          2. pointsnfigures

            We will see. No matter who the Republicans nominate, they have to get past Hillary. Election comes down to 7 states. Who is Hillary’s VP pick, and assuming Trump gets the nomination, who does he pick?

          3. LE

            Word is it could possibly be Kasich. Makes sense given what happened in the debate last night. It will be someone with government experience. Someone who the public already knows and trusts as a number two that balances the ticket in that way.Trump being a strategist is timing all of this. And he is leaving his best material against Hillary for when it matters. He will put the train back on course when he needs to (tone down his behavior). So by way of the contrast principle (often used in negotiating in one form or another) he will seem better than he was and that will keep people from defecting or attract new people to vote for him as in “he’s not that bad I kind of like him actually”.Anyone who thinks it won’t work just has to look at people who are in abusive relationships and why they stay rather than leave many times. They hang on the last smile or good moment.Trump is a master professor of human behavior and emotions. He may consult with others but in the end it’s his brain that comes up with and is the decider of all of this strategy and what he says and does. Given the scale of this that is quite a big accomplishment.

          4. JLM

            .Kasich is good for a number of reasons not the least of which is he will deliver Ohio. Big time.Every Trump weakness is shored up by a Kasich strength. He would not wrestle Trump for the spotlight.Trump could put NY in play given that HRC has no real NY roots and that Trump would be a Long Island Favorite Son.You get Ohio and NY — Florida — election is over before it starts.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          5. Salt Shaker

            The voters in NYC and its environs will not be strong Trump advocates, although he could do well upstate. He is not looked upon all that favorably in his home town. Kasich is impressive but he’s drowning in all the noise. He’s pragmatic and understands both DC and gov’t at the state level. Strong combination. With respect again to Trump, voters listen but they just don’t want to hear (or believe) the noise, that’s how amazingly fed up the nation is with the status quo and old guard Washington. There’s certainly enough out there to bring Trump down, but the public–at least so far–just doesn’t seem to care. Trump will make the requisite gestures and outreach to Ryan, McConnell, etc., to quell any concerns about a palace coup in Philadelphia, which would only undermine a relatively fragile core. Trump’s the new kid in the sandbox but he still needs their shovels and pails.

          6. LE

            He is not looked up all that favorably in his home town.That is because of NYC strong social liberal bias which of course led to the bankrupt social democratic policies that made it a shithole in the 70’s. The Ford to NYC “Drop Dead” days.There are several good documentaries about this. Anyone who is young and living in Brooklyn or Manhattan may not realize what a shithole the city was back then.http://www.avclub.com/artic……

          7. Salt Shaker

            Trump’s stature in NYC has less to do with his politics than his clownish, egotistical, brash behavior. His reputation here is quite entrenched. Most of America’s exposure to Trump (sadly) has been through “Celebrity Apprentice,” while anyone residing in NYC in the past 20+ years has been exposed to him many, many times. There is deep rooted disdain here for Trump, as a loud mouthed biz man (not the politician). I’ll give him props for re-building the Wollman Skating Rink in Central Park and pioneering development of housing on the west side waterfront. That said, his biz ethics are questionable. His NYC based company is notorious for either not paying and/or re-negotiating its bills. Was talking to a friend last night who has 1st hand experience w/ this on several occasions. (And this isn’t about leverage, it’s about ethics.)

          8. LE

            His NYC based company is notorious for either not paying and/or re-negotiating its bills.What? In construction? You are making as if he is dealing with rubes and taking advantage of them.You know what? When I sold my first company I got a quote from both a new lawyer (who had left a big firm) and my longer term accountant on what the transaction would cost. After the close I got the invoices. Both were close to three times the estimate they gave me! So I told them “what’s the deal with this shit” and they said “well it took longer than we expected”. So in so many words I said “what’s the point of the fucking quote then?”.You know what happened in the end? Both stuck to the original quote. The lawyer had just started a new practice and hadn’t dealt with entrepreneurs before. To wit “you taught me a valuable lesson”. He then proceeded to hire me to do something for him. (Made $5000 so he must have felt I was right, eh? )The accountant? Lowered invoice to original quote. You know what happened to that firm? I am still with them today (they were merged with BDO this isn’t a dinky firm either). So you see they did the right thing in the end and knew they needed to not assume anything when giving a price. So the way I looked at it, I help them in their loose business practices.So the devil is in the details. If Trump screwed everyone the way it is presented nobody would want to work with him. Which is clearly not the case. Contractors are notorious nobody has to feel sorry for them. Just like banks (which Trump also dealt with).

          9. LE

            There is deep rooted disdain here for Trump, as a loud mouthed biz manWhy does that matter? Who cares if he is brash and loud mouthed? Would you rather deal with a grin fucker? Or someone like Spitzer who is hiding things and lacks total judgement and is weak personally in a big and fucking stupid way? It’s easy to put on the right appearance.

          10. JLM

            .Add in rescuing the Veterans Day parade a few million dollars worth.http://themusingsofthebigrehttp://themusingsofthebigre…Much of what is said about Trump is old, old, old wine in cracked bottles. Mind you, I am not saying a bit of it isn’t true. It’s just oldish.My favorite Trump utterance is still that he will give the Chinese Prime Minister a Big Mac and only a Big Mac.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          11. Salt Shaker

            Nothing exemplifies IMO the dumbing down of America more than Donald Trump for President. The man has no filter and lacks a fundamental understanding of policy and issues. He’s already perceived as a joke in the international community but, of course, The Donald is gonna show them all how the game is played. He’s in way over his head, and you know something, I think deep down he knows it.

          12. JLM

            .First, the smart guys have not really done much to make the case that their “smarts” are very valuable. They have managed to make a shambles of the economy, domestic policy, foreign policy, and the world writ large.I would suggest that we need a bit of the wisdom that comes from the first kick of a horse. The simple shit.There is NO wisdom in the second kick of a horse. It just hurts.Pres Obama was supposed to be as smart as a whip. He isn’t. He isn’t even close or his grades would have leaked.Building 92-story buildings is not an easy undertaking. I have built tall buildings — none that tall — and I can tell you there is a reason why engineers have to master calculus.His kids, his most important legacy, seem solid though he only gets credit for half of the gene pool there.One is always tempted to be the smartest guy in the room when, always, the smartest guy in the room is not the guy you think.I doubt there is very much that intimidates Donald Trump.Every man who has ever run for President has jumped into the deep end of the ocean and then you have to swim. Nobody is ever ready.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          13. Salt Shaker

            Well, building tall buildings and leaping them in a single bound (prerequisite for Presidents and The Man of Steel) are two different things. I’d vote for you JLM before I’d ever vote for Trump. Come to think of it, you have similar characteristics: successful, a builder of buildings, a family man, brash, not always PC, though I won’t venture a guess on whether your hands are large or small 🙂

          14. LE

            Well in accomplishment, life experience and overcoming adversity wise Trump certainly blew Obama out of the water, eh? And he did it all without the help of a smart woman at his side as well on on his own. Not to mention being able to take an absolute world class barrage of hate against him by the traditional powers and the media. The man doesn’t succumb to peer pressure and has world class self esteem.Unlike the people who are venting to their therapists their fears about Trump featured in this article in Wapo:https://www.washingtonpost….Mary Libbey, a psychologist on Central Park West, isn’t hearing about Trump from her patients. But she finds herself expressing her own anxiety about him to friends and colleagues. “It helps me to talk about it,” she said. “I’m terrified that he could win. His impulsivity, his incomplete sentences, his strange, squinty eyes to mymind, he’s a loosely held together person.”

          15. LE

            He’s already perceived as a joke in the international communityWell forgetting what they think of Obama for a second, could you please explain why that matters at all? Europeans often think Americans just aren’t as good as they are. Anyone who thinks Europe is better off is free to relocate to that country and live there to pursue a better life (where vacations are numerous and they leach off of our discoveries and military power).

          16. Salt Shaker

            One word: Respect, which admittedly is earned, not given. With the exception of maybe Putin, Trump’s already operating at a deficit among world leaders.

          17. LE

            Foreign leaders will end up liking or not liking him on whether he is able to deliver on promises that he makes or not and deliver “the goods”. That remains to be seen of course. But the fact that they don’t respect him at the outset is meaningless. If anything they will be presently surprised since they have such a low opinion of him is the way I see it.

          18. LE

            Much of what is said about Trump is old, old, old wine in cracked bottles. Mind you, I am not saying a bit of it isn’t true. It’s just oldish.I am just absolutely flummoxed by ordinary people who think that deals get done and change happens because two nice people get together and one says “hey he’s a nice guy I will go along with what he wants because I am nice and agreeable!”. The naivete is scary. It’s Pope level. It’s John Lennon level. It’s Obama level “just sit down with both sides and…”.When the stakes are large enough the actors are working all sorts of angles to their benefit. You have ordinary people chiming in (pundits, reporters, man on the street) who can’t even fucking negotiate a car purchase from a car dealer without getting taken advantage of. [1] Not even coming close to understanding what happens behind the scenes on a world stage or in a high level process where leverage and strategy is king.These are the same people that cry (in NYC) because some small local store is pushed out because rents have risen and the landlord takes advantage of that opportunity. God I wish I was that lucky! The profit isn’t coming out of their pocket so they cry “this sucks small guy gets forced out”. Same way they don’t care about those illegals coming across the Texas border (many who end up cleaning up the kitchens of NY restaurants). Ok I’ve drifted a bit here.[1] Like the schmucks who actually paid $30,000 for Trump U courses. There are actually people that stupid in this world.

          19. Salt Shaker

            The “schmucks” paid $30K allegedly cause Trump was gonna impart his skills and expertise. If you paid more, you allegedly were gonna get more. This was classic bait and switch. The “schmucks” may have been naive, no denying that, but that doesn’t alleviate Trump from culpability in this scam.

          20. LE

            Oh I agree and I have said that when he did this, not now ,but when it started I was totally amazed and thought that he lost it. I am serious. I knew it was a scam right from the get go. Back then. Just watching the promos and seeing him talk about it. It was very clear to me.

          21. Lawrence Brass

            … and they vote too.

          22. ShanaC

            I’m more ok with the koch brothers in NYC, and that says something.

          23. JLM

            .You live there and I will genuflect to your local knowledge but I do point out that Hillary is a carpetbagger who has very tenuous roots in NY and none whatsoever in NYC or Long Island.Trump will own the upstate as a given. He only has to win 10% of NYC to win the state.The fight will be in the NYC environs and I am not as pessimistic as you given the lack of HRC roots.As to McConnell and Ryan, Trump gains nothing by playing nice with them. They delivered an untouched Obama budget to him. That serves Trump’s intellectual goals. Nobody in DC is looking after the country.”We gave the Republicans the Senate, the House in 2014 and what have they done?”Given the bodies Trump has buried — Bush, Christie, Carson, Fiorina, Santorum, Paul, Huckabee, Gilmore, Graham, Pataki, Jindal, Perry, Walker — why does he care about McConnell and Ryan?BTW, those looking for a Trump “bubble” to burst are cautioned to look at that list of folks.Ryan, in particular, having been the VP with Romney, who Trump will trumpet as having blown it in 2012, has to watch his own flanks.The Eric Cantor experience, which tees itself up every 2 years, is not a lost lesson on Ryan. He could just as easily be on the outside looking in and it doesn’t take much to shuck a single Congressman. It is cheap.Trump is not just untethering the Republican base, he is letting anger cross party affiliations and governing philosophies. Why does anyone think he was ever a “conservative”? The conservatives who have rallied to his cause, don’t.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          24. ShanaC

            but she did extremely well for the state overall.

          25. JLM

            .Haha, what was her signature piece of legislation while a Senator?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredcar.colm

          26. ShanaC

            All the money behind the 9/11 memorialTruthfully she had a problem as a junior democratic senator, even if she is a clinton. The senior delegate from NY is Sen. Chuck Schumer. He’s one of the most Senior Democrats in the Senate, period (he currently ranks #3). Plus, when she was Senator, he was in charge of Policy for all democrats in the chamber, so any bill she would have passed would have to have been cosponsored by him.What happened instead was she became 2 things1) Foreign policy person, which usually doesn’t involve a ton of bills, but does involve a lot of budgets and military touchpoints2)Figure out how to do lean pork, particularly upstate. I should probably mention here that Upstate is really Republican. This was primarily engineered with a lot of republicans in state and in the senate.What she would do is put in riders and amendments in other bills that were very practical that stimulated the economy and fixed basic infrastructure problems, especially in places upstate, like broadband access in rural communities, and funding for agin public schools in places like Buffalo., or Leed Status for public works buildings means better bonds.Almost all of the efforts, barring one or two, were interestingly enough, not-NY state specific in language, but specific in NY interests. Other states benefited, in some cases as much or more than NY, but when something was chosen, it was chosen because it was considered a priority interest for this state in a way that was not zero sum for other states.While she was doing this, we would all look around and be like “the state is getting better, that is so weird” because there is no hard core legislation being passed that directly goes to NY outside of funding towards the 9/11 site.I get why people love Bernie. But the truth is Clinton really grew by being a Senator and then again as Secretary. Historically she’s not always the easiest person to get along with by reputation; and yet she made a serious effort and succeeded at getting a bunch of economically important stuff done for all Americans through the needs of her state. And then she went on to learning a lot more grace as a Secretary of State, on behalf of the country, which again, never struck me as her native self. And she did it while working with people who she may not have liked (Chuck voted for impeachment!)Also, I have to say, she was frugal about her choices for pork. Fixing up public schools that need to be fixed up anyway on an amendment to someone else’s bill? That’s how she sends money back to the state? why not do something more showy with your name on it? it is a bit bizarre by reputation for a democrat to do that. And I have to say, I respect that a lot. There are more important things in life (especially in governmenting) than getting bills with your name on it. Namely, getting stuff done. And she did that.So yes, she’s very popular – something like over 70% of the state likes her, more than how many people like Chuck Schumer!

          27. JLM

            .Hillary Clinton’s performance as Sec of State was a disaster. She has left the Middle East in a flaming shambles. It still is a disaster of galactic proportions.What amendments are you speaking of? Please be specific.The reason her name does NOT appear on any significant legislation is not because she was humble but because she has none.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        2. Amar

          “They see the bluster as just a means to an end.”I think this is the scariest part to me. I don’t know what the “end” is. The only “end” that has ever mattered to him thus far has been “Trump” the brand – now we want to hand over the keys of one of the most powerful nations in the world to one of the world’s most (in?)famous narcissist. He is the Kim Kardashian of the business world and I am not clear on why people think that qualifies him to be a great candidate for being the president of the united states.What do you think “the end” is for Donald Trump here. He is incredibly proficient at managing business laws to ensure that a) he survives and b) his brand always stays in the limelight. But leading a country requires a very different decision making matrix – doesn’t it? Can our country survive a Trump term if that ends with the equivalent of a legislative bankruptcy but the Trump brand comes out smelling like roses?His momentum is undeniable. This is not a trump bashing post — this is more of a “what do you and JLM see as the `end` if Trump wins it all?”

          1. LE

            He is the Kim Kardashian of the business worldThe Kardashians haven’t built or accomplished anything. They are famous for being famous. Trump has actually done something. Not an even remotely close comparison. And his buildings are nice and people with money pay to live in them. They aren’t all stupid you know.As far as the rest of your question this is not about his brand. This is a challenge for a guy who has already achieved his other goals and doesn’t see any fun in building another hotel or resort or golf course or having another TV show. Nothing wrong with that. It’s not like the other guys are running for any better reason.Why is Hillary running? Because she has nothing better to do and it’s a natural career path for her to at least try. Same as why Jeb ran.

          2. Amar

            This is a challenge for a guy who has already achieved his other goals and doesn’t see any fun in building another hotel or resort or golf course or having another TV show. That is an interesting perspective, that thought never crossed my mind. Hrmm… I don’t buy it completely but I concede that since no one knows why he is doing it, your explanation is just as likely. In fact I hope it is 😉 it is a better motivation than growing the Trump brand.and +1 on the Hillary, Jeb comment – I agree.

          3. Drew Meyers

            I think he genuinely believes the country is on a bad course. I just don’t happen to believe the course he’d set is the right one. I believe the course he’d set would be a disaster. If capitalism & maximizing money was all that matters in the world, sure…vote for Donald. But it’s not. The fact of the matter is most people in the world have far, far less money/opportunity than those living in the US…and live their lives completely different as a result.

      2. jason wright

        or he bursts. with that much bile it’s almost inevitable.

        1. pointsnfigures

          There is plenty of bile on the other side too! Bernie and Hillary are all spewing bile. Cruz spews bile in a different way. Rubio doesn’t when he talks about what he wants to do. He does when he takes on Trump. Only way to beat a bully is punch back twice as hard.

          1. JLM

            .It is not enough to punch, one must land punches on vital pain points.The electorate is not going to be swayed by derisive utterances about spray tans or the size of one’s hands.The fat lady is warming up come 15 March and she is practicing her scales: Trump, Trump, Trump.Every accusation leveled at the guy may be true and still America is so disappointed and angry at totally ineffective career politicians, it will make no difference.This guy is running against a couple of 44/45 year old Senators who cannot land a knockout punch.I like Kasich more and more but the math is just not there.Start practicing: President Trump.Just being provocative — it is a century until the election. Me, I might be voting for the First Lady.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      3. sigmaalgebra

        Yes, I’m trying to get the Grail Knight in shining armor with a big sword in a small boat being pulled by a gold chain by a big swan to run and beat Trump, but so far I’m having no luck. But, Cruz, Rubio, and Kasich are not the one in that small boat. So, maybe we won’t get the best candidate and will have to put up with a flawed candidate who, considering the alternatives, is only the least bad. But I’ll let you know as soon as I hear back from the Grail Knight.

    2. JLM

      .Yeah, well, get in line and pick which bubble you’re talking about.Like him or hate him, he is real.Watch the GOPe squirm in the person of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan — who, coincidentally, delivered the White House to President Obama the last time around.No, Donald Trump may not win but he isn’t going to self-destruct or burst. Someone will have to BEAT him and, thus far, that person has not emerged.Go read this:http://themusingsofthebigre…It is too late. It is almost over.When Trump owns Florida on 15 March, the game is essentially over. All that remains is mopping up the battlefield, bayoneting the wounded.The GOPe’s hand picked, dressed up, funded, re-funded proxy — Jeb Bush — got beaten like a red headed stepchild. Like a rented mule.Who did this?Donald Trump.Just as he eliminated Christie, Gilmore, Perry, Jindahl, Santorum, Graham, Fiorina, Walker, Paul, Huckabee, Carson, Pataki.What is his secret sauce?EARNED MEDIA and the best political counterpuncher in the history of American politics. No sooner does Mitt Romney strike out than Trump is up with his endorsement ceremony.Did you know that Mormons practice circumcision? Now you know cause Trump did it in public.I am not endorsing Trump but I am paying pretty damn close attention to the reality of it all. Trump is a killer.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      1. Jess Bachman

        “I am not endorsing Trump”mmhmmmm….

        1. JLM

          .If it would make you personally more comfortable then I will ENDORSE a winner and that winner today looks like Trump.I am not a Mitt Romney type guy who talks shit and then says but I refuse to pick a horse. Romney picked Cruz in Texas, Rubio in Florida, and Kasich in Ohio. WTF?OK, I ENDORSE TRUMP.But, then I am very flexible.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          1. LE

            Romney picked Cruz in Texas, Rubio in Florida, and Kasich in Ohio. WTF?The idea behind that is a divide and “hope” to conquer. The allies (CRK) each win in an important state. Later on they meet at Yalta and decide which of them gets all of the delegates so that they can win over Trump at the convention. That is the theory behind what Romney was doing.Nixon used to say something like “whenever there is a Stop X movement, bet on X”. As such your endorsement makes sense.

          2. JamesHRH

            No one ever said Tricky Dicky was stupid.Bet on X makes total sense.

          3. LE

            He wasn’t any trickier than any of the others. He just got caught. And with something that the press was against him on. As opposed to Kennedy and Clinton (both democrats). Or Regan.

          4. JamesHRH

            That’s the power of a good label though.Tricky Dicky – it still makes me smile when I say it!

          5. Lawrence Brass

            I saw the Fox debate yesterday, his ‘flexibility’ explanation was incredible. I still don’t like the guy but he truly manages the stage. I am beginning to see the halo that his supporters see around him, but it is absolutely designed and fake.JLM, show me your hands. 🙂

          6. sigmaalgebra

            He corrected his “flexibility”. Sounds like maybe he heard from some people who have read some of Prof. Norman Matloff at UC Davis.So Trump said that he will go with “hire US citizens first”. That will mostly solve the problem. That was fast work by The Donald.Now, if there is a guy from, say, Taiwan or India, from the past, the usual suspects, who wants a Harvard Ph.D. and clearly is on his way to a Fields Medal, Nobel Prize, Abel Prize, etc., sure, let Harvard use some NSF money to give him a scholarship. Maybe he will be another A. Gleason — as a student, knocked off one of the David Hilbert problems, was made a Harvard Fellow, didn’t bother with a Ph.D., and was a star at Harvard for the rest of his career. Gave an astounding, crown jewel of civilization, short lecture on high school plane geometry — clear as a bell, easy going, deep, profound, gorgeous, brilliant — crown jewel. Yes, a guess, and after I study some of the theory of Lie groups, maybe what he was doing was a free sample of Lie group theory.But: The problem was that at one time some decades ago, a lot of people in DC saw that US citizen STEM majors were almost making money enough to buy a house. Bummer! Gotta stop that nonsense! So, with some urging from some political forces (the current GOPe is giving some hints how), the NSF (read some Norm Matloff) had a group to do some econometrics to show how many MS and Ph.D. degrees would lower STEM salaries below what was needed to buy a house. Then the NSF wrote into their research grant contracts that that many grad students had to be supported and, hint, hint, could get those from Taiwan and India. And those students from Taiwan and India — they could pay full tuition and R&B at a high end US research university? From Saudi Arabia, sure. Taiwan and India? Nearly never.So, US taxpayers struggling to pay tuition for their own children were being taxed to pay tuition, R&B for students from Taiwan and India deliberately intended to cut off at the knees the careers of US citizens — and they did.Soon enough, a lot of capable US citizens on their first day in STEM field grad school looked at the other students in class, noticed that none of them had good command of English or good ugrad backgrounds, walked out, and went for an MBA, LLB, MD, etc.That NSF stuff was dirty business.Well, Trump’s “hire US citizens first” will help a lot.But, WTF are US taxpayers doing paying for foreign students to get the research crown jewels of the best US research universities and carry those outside of the US to compete with the US? No company would give internships to students to learn the secret sauce, intellectual property of the company just to take that knowledge outside the company to compete with the company.So, slowly we begin to see: Since WWII, some US foreign policy global strategists have had what they thought was a great idea: Engineer world peace, or some version of US hegemony, by selectively giving economic advantage to countries willing to be secondary, subordinate, submissive, subservient (S^4), etc. to the US State Department.Of course, I never saw that US sabotage on a referendum. More of this secret, backroom, power elite, hand shake deal stuff to sabotage US workers such as agreeing not to enforce US immigration laws — just neglect to enforce them. Thus, create a new version of slave labor. Import too many products. Export too few products. Import too many worker slaves. Sabotage the careers and lives of much of the US middle class. Capital attacking labor.Sure, maybe Bernie would call this a labor-capital dispute. I call it ripping off US taxpayers and sabotaging US workers.So, with Trump’s statement about “hiring US citizens first”, I suspect he will stop this NSF rip off stuff, too.More generally, Trump seems on the way to stopping a lot of this back room, secret handshake, power elite rip off nonsense, e.g., that gave us Gulf War II, Akrapistan, etc.A lot of US citizens are “angry”, not going to take it anymore. “Pissed off? I’m not pissed off. You’ve seen me pissed off. This is way beyond pissed off.”.Since Trump is getting ballpark 10,000 screaming supporters per speech a day, all across the country, keeping the RR engines of his Boeing 757 hot, I’m not nearly the only one who sees this ripoff stuff.Fast correction by Trump. Maybe that was planned by him? Old selling tactic?

      2. William Mougayar

        I know I shouldn’t be meddling in US politics, but I make that sin every once in a while. But I keep hearing many Americans will jump to Canada if he is elected.

        1. JLM

          .I am available to help many of them pack.Just another reason to merge — US, Canada, Mexico, and Bermuda?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          1. William Mougayar

            All for that, but you know, our conditions have now changed:- free healthcare for all, no guns + our PM governs, but we’ll adopt your dollar. fair, no?

          2. JLM

            .Can live with everything but the “no guns” biz. Let’s negotiate. We get the Molson’s. Y’all get the barbecue and TexMex?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          3. sigmaalgebra

            Texas BBQ? Sure. But, even with a Hudson’s Bay full of Molson’s, William should be careful about Texas chili:For those of you who have lived in Texas, you know how they have a Chili Cook-off about the time Halloween comes around. It takes up a major portion of the parking lot at the city park. The notes are from an inexperienced Chili taster named Frank, who was visiting from Canada.Frank: “Recently, I was honored to be selected as a judge at a chili cook-off. The original person called in sick at the last moment and I happened to be standing there at the judge’s table asking for directions to the Coors Light truck, when the call came in. I was assured by the other two judges (Native Texans) that the chili wouldn’t be all that spicy and, besides, they told me I could have free beer during the tasting, so I accepted”.Here are the scorecards from the event:~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Chili # 1 Mike’s Maniac Mobster Monster Chili~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Judge # 1 — A little too heavy on the tomato. Amusing kick.Judge # 2 — Nice, smooth tomato flavor. Very mild.Judge # 3 — (Frank) Holy shit, what the hell is this stuff? You could remove dried paint from your driveway. Took me two beers to put the flames out. I hope that’s the worst one. These Texans are crazy.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Chili # 2 Arthur’s Afterburner Chili~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Judge # 1 — Smoky, with a hint of pork. Slight jalapeno tang.Judge # 2 — Exciting BBQ flavor, needs more peppers to be taken seriously.Judge # 3 — Keep this out of the reach of children. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to taste besides pain. I had to wave off two people who wanted to give me the Heimlich maneuver. They had to rush in more beer when they saw the look on my face.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Chili # 3 Fred’s Famous Burn Down the Barn Chili ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Judge # 1 — Excellent firehouse chili. Great kick. Needs more beans.Judge # 2 — A beanless chili, a bit salty, good use of peppers.Judge # 3 — Call the EPA. I’ve located a uranium spill. My nose feels like I have been snorting Drano. Everyone knows the routine by now. Get me more beer before I ignite. Barmaid pounded me on the back, now my backbone is in the front part of my chest. I’m getting shit-faced from all of the beer.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Chili # 4 Bubba’s Black Magic~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Judge # 1 — Black bean chili with almost no spice. Disappointing.Judge # 2 — Hint of lime in the black beans. Good side dish for fish or other mild foods, not much of a chili.Judge # 3 — I felt something scraping across my tongue, but was unable to taste it. Is it possible to burn out tastebuds? Sally, the barmaid, was standing behind me with fresh refills. That 300-lb. bitch is starting to look HOT…just like this nuclear waste I’m eating! Is chili an aphrodisiac?~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Chili # 5 Linda’s Legal Lip Remover~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Judge # 1 — Meaty, strong chili. Cayenne peppers freshly ground, adding considerable kick. Very impressive.Judge # 2 — Chili using shredded beef, could use more tomato. Must admit the cayenne peppers make a strong statement.Judge # 3 — My ears are ringing, sweat is pouring off my forehead and I can no longer focus my eyes. I farted and four people behind me needed paramedics. The contestant seemed offended when I told her that her chili had given me brain damage. Sally saved my tongue from bleeding by pouring beer directly on it from the pitcher. I wonder if I’m burning my lips off.It really pisses me off that the other judges asked me to stop screaming. Screw those rednecks.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Chili # 6 Vera’s Very Vegetarian Variety~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Judge # 1 — Thin yet bold vegetarian variety chili. Good balance of spices and peppers.Judge # 2 — The best yet. Aggressive use of peppers, onions, and garlic. Superb.Judge # 3 — My intestines are now a straight pipe filled with gaseous, sulfuric flames. I shit myself when I farted and I’m worried it will eat through the chair. No one seems inclined to stand behind me except that slut Sally. She must be kinkier than I thought. Can’t feel my lips anymore. I need to wipe my ass with a snow cone.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Chili # 7 Susan’s Screaming Sensation Chili~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Judge # 1 — A mediocre chili with too much reliance on canned peppers.Judge # 2 — Ho hum, tastes as if the chef literally threw in a can of chili peppers at the last moment. **I should take note that I am worried about Judge # 3. He appears to be in a bit of distress as he is cursing uncontrollably.Judge # 3 — You could put a grenade in my mouth, pull the pin, and I wouldn’t feel a thing. I’ve lost sight in one eye, and the world sounds like it is made of rushing water. My shirt is covered with chili which slid unnoticed out of my mouth. My pants are full of lava like shit to match my shirt. At least during the autopsy, they’ll know what killed me. I’ve decided to stop breathing, it’s too painful. Screw it; I’m not getting any oxygen anyway. If I need air, I’ll just suck it in through the 4-inch hole in my stomach.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Chili # 8 Tommy’s Toe-Nail Curling Chili~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Judge # 1 — The perfect ending, this is a nice blend chili. Not too bold but spicy enough to declare its existence.Judge # 2 — This final entry is a good, balance chili. Neither mild nor hot. Sorry to see that most of it was lost when Judge # 3 farted, passed out, fell over and pulled the chili pot down on top of himself. Not sure if he’s going to make it. Poor fella, wonder how he’d have reacted to really hot chili. —

        2. Kirsten Lambertsen

          A whole bunch of us got our first passports when Dubya was relected. Ha! Now they’re all up for renewal and the Passport authority is swamped. Easy to get a passport. Hard to actually up sticks.

        3. Lawrence Brass

          Jump? I heard you are building a wall too, saw the video. 😉

      3. awaldstein

        I am happy to see that it is a much higher scale of achievement to be a ‘real’ ass and bigot than a fake one.How far we stoop to redefine praise.

        1. JLM

          .Snark meter going off in the ATX.All that Trump is accused of being true, the US is still starving for leadership which leans forward in its saddle, is prepared to speak truth to bullshit, and has a life force that cannot be intimidated.It is actually not a very high standard but it dwarfs the other dwarfs.He is a man for his times in much the same way that Churchill was a man for his times. Led England through WWII and was canned the next election.We need a dose of house cleaning.Not my idea, the idea of the millions who are jumping on the bandwagon including the “poorly educated” my personal favorite slice of Americana and the only one that can cure itself.The bigness. The brashness. The New Yorkness of the man. I love the drama.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          1. LE

            Exactly. Because what America is starving for is someone with good table manners and that is polite and a good dinner guest.

          2. Jess Bachman

            Indeed, the pendulum is always swinging in one direction or another.

          3. awaldstein

            Articulate you are my friend.There is never an answer to anything that requires a racist or bigoted leader.Damn–historically it is understandable why Hitler was elected. But then….

          4. LE

            Bring Hitler into the discussion? You’re right it’s very similar.Oh boy.I must be missing the overt racism and bigotry that is so crystal clear to you.

          5. ShanaC


          6. JLM

            .The Hitler reference is worthy of a bit of exploratory surgery as it very apropos of the current situation.Hitler was elected Chancellor contrary to the well loved German fiction that he somehow seized power. He was elected and then seized power. The Germans put him on the launching pad at the ballot box.Had the Brits and French been leaning forward in their saddles at the Alsace Lorraine, Sudetenland, Czeck incidents, they would have killed Hitler.Hitler, Hussein, Gaddafi, Osama bin Laden — all good guys to kill.All that Hitler ever did was foreshadowed in his book, Mein Kampf. The Brits, save Churchill, wanted to ignore it as it was not “tidy” given how expensive WWI was in terms of British blood.Today, we see the same problem with Iran. We have no firm defense and they are violating UN sanctions against arms purchases with the money we unfroze for them in the faux nuclear deal.Offensive weapons from Russia and an alliance with Russia, Syria, Iraq — against whom will they ultimately use those OFFENSIVE weapons?Hint: ISRAEL.Bonus — Bashar al Assad wins and retains his despotic control over Syria with Russian assistance thereby reintroducing Russian perfidy into the Middle East but also entrenching evil yet again.Note the assassination of the head of the Russian GRU in Beirut by forces thought to be Turkish.The Middle East is a tinder box getting ready to explode not because of the constancy of evil but because of the arbitrary and ineffective opposition to evil just as Neville Chamberlain espoused returning from Munich with “peace for our time.”The world was enmeshed in WWII six months later.There is a time for bastards. There is a time for vicious leadership.I do not concede that Trump’s utterances on immigration are even remotely racist as they are fact based. In Texas, we are literally being killed by criminals coming across our non-existent border with Mexico.With inbound revenue from illegals working in the US second only to petro dollars in Mexico, one can easily see why the country of Mexico doesn’t want a wall. That wall will cut off more than 25% of their national income.I think Donald Trump will build the wall and ………….. wait for it …………I even think Mexico will pay for it.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          7. awaldstein

            Not worthwhile to argue about our definitions of bigotry and racism, but you are very astute and get immediately what I was saying about the context of history pushing certain types of individual into control that speak to an overriding ennui.The trick is to not be a madman.

          8. JamesHRH

            I don’t agree.Trump’s solutions can be seen as infantile, simplistic overreactions (walls, deportations, travel bans). But, he does not define the problem as ‘those people’.He defines the problem as a porous border.Look at how he speaks about Chinese and Mexican politicians smoking US politicians on trade.Its an easy default: he’s a bigot and a racist.But, its not true: he is a crass boor.

          9. awaldstein

            Very nicely said.I’m not trying to convince you or anyone but I just don’t agree.He’s a supersmart, calculating, brilliant politician who appeals to a drive for power that crosses many populations.He’s really scary, with a moral compass that points nowhere.

          10. JamesHRH

            I am not trying to convince you either.I would be keen to have you lay out HRC’s moral compass for me though…

          11. LE

            I would be keen to have you lay out HRC’s moral compass for me though…Exactly.

          12. Salt Shaker

            I actually don’t view Trump as brilliant…far from it. I think he’s somewhat pedestrian and has had the good fortune to tap into a timely mindset (disdain for the status quo). Calculating or coincidence? I’ll let you decide. I think he initially went into this venture as a bit of a lark, something to do to stroke his enormous ego. Only once he gained some traction did he go full bore. There’s a part of me, a big part actually, that continues to believe he views this as some sort of game, attempting to put another notch in his narcissistic belt, without fully appreciating (and respecting) the challenges in front of him.

          13. LE

            I think he’s somewhat pedestrianHe is anything but pedestrian. What he has accomplished is quite remarkable. People also forget that he practically lost it all and pulled himself back up to the point he is at now.You know he is smarter then when he built Trump Tower (simply because he is older and more experienced). Building that building in NYC at that time and navigating that process is quite remarkable in itself. Having a successful entertainment career is also quite remarkable. Honestly you don’t get to that place without being brilliant by any stretch.something to do to stroke his enormous egoThat reminds me of why Philly sucks compared to NYC. It’s that entire Quaker mentality of being humble and not bragging. [1] I had that at my Quaker high school as well. They aren’t able to toot their own horn like some of the other privates schools (non quaker) manage to do.[1] In Philly there was an unwritten rule for many years not to build past Billy Penn’s hat on city hall. As a result the city was not able to expand like it would have been able to do if there was not unwritten height restriction (enforced by the legacy city operatives.)

          14. JLM

            .We can agree that the man is not a gentleman but the manner in which he has vanquished experienced, seasoned and tough politicians is anything but pedestrian.Tell that to Jeb, Carly, Lindsay, George, Chris, Rick, Scott, Bobby, Ben, Paul, Jim,. Rick, Rand, Mike, Lindsey and Jimmy (Jimmy McMilian of the Rent Is Too Damn High Party.)Trump dispatched the GOPe’s boy, Jeb, like a rented mule. Like a redheaded orphan with a lisp.The Bush boy had the sponsorship, the money, the pedigree and George HW, George W, and Barbara on the campaign hustlings — and he whipped them all, no?Trump may even be a jerk but pedestrian? No, he is not pedestrian.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          15. JamesHRH

            I agree on the wall.The rest of this is above my pay grade.

          16. LE

            I do not concede that Trump’s utterances on immigration are even remotely racist as they are fact based. In Texas, we are literally being killed by criminals coming across our non-existent border with Mexico.That’s not a problem for liberal New Yorkers. Many of them consume the drugs that come across that border.With creative accounting Mexico will pay for that wall.Most of that country appears to be a total shithole in one way or another. Mostly as a result of the consumption in the US of illegal drugs.

          17. sigmaalgebra

            It seems to be neglected but at least at one time Trump had on his Web site a statement for how he might get Mexico to pay for the wall — basically increased fees and tariffs.For Saddam, yup, a monster. But W’s idea that we should dump him was a disaster in that case, and I have to suspect a disaster for some quite solid reasons: (A) We didn’t understand Iraq. (B) The way Saddam kept Iraq together we weren’t willing to do. (C) Can’t build a shining city on a hill on a shitpit — our goals for Iraq were fundamentally just too darned high. W, Cheney, the neocons, The New American Century guys, and to whatever extent the US international strategy since WWII to ensure peace in the world, flopped. Sorry ’bout that.We can debate and consider, e.g., what to do now in the South China Sea, what to do about the wacko in North Korea, Ukraine, Iran, Akrapistan, Libya, Assad, ISIS, etc., but blowing huge amounts of precious US blood and treasure on unpromising, apparently absurd, foreign adventures, where our track record and also principles suck, is over, kaput, out’a here for now.I’m sorry about G. Marshall, the G. Keenan Long Telegram, J. F. Dulles, W. W. Rostow, Dean Rusk, … all knowing if not just for them the whole world would go spinning off out of the galaxy, but we’re not going there anymore.Or, if enough people in Syria kill each other, then there will be peace there.If we turn our back on the Mideast, then we will no longer suffer from the stench of that oily toilet.From reading too much history, slowly I’ve come to a radical view: (A) In 1940, Japan was having trouble feeding itself and just wanted an empire much like England, France, Spain, and Holland had. Due to unique Asian approaches to conquest, the Rape of Nanking offended the US but was by itself no threat to the US. If Japan wanted lumber and rubber from SE Asia, oil from Indonesia, coal and iron ore from Manchuria, and maybe even rice from the Philippines, then maybe the US should have cut them a deal — stay out of the Philippines and just pay for their rice. That’s just what I read in history.Then sit down for this one: From all the history I studied about WWII in Europe, Hitler actually didn’t want England, didn’t really want France, but did very much want a, call it a triangle, from Berlin to Leningrad to Stalingrad with tacked on the oil of Baku. Why should the US not let him have it?Okay, I’ll give a reason: Tojo and Hitler wanted to take over the whole world, including the US, and if the US had let them have their way as I outlined above then they would have been much stronger and much more difficult to stop from taking over the whole world including the US.So, Hitler and Tojo were monsters who wanted to take over the US, and that is why the US pissed off Tojo and Tojo responded with Pearl Harbor and why the US helped Churchill bomb Germany even after Hitler had given up on invading England.So, here’s the secret hidden in the deepest parts of the WH: The map of the world after WWII, especially after the fall of the USSR, is never to be altered. Instead, first, the US will use foreign trade to keep countries in line. Second, should any country try to alter this map, then the US will stop them, e,g., Gulf War I. That’s the secret protocol? That’s a handshake deal with some secret Yale thingy? I’m just looking at the outside of the black box and trying to guess at what is inside to explain the data.Or, when in WWII, Russia lost, what, 20 million Russians to Hitler, at the end of the war Stalin wanted a buffer zone all the way to the Brandenburg Gate, not too tough to understand. So, Warsaw Pact — keep Central Europe peaceful, i.e., unable to kill another prince in Sarajevo. NATO, keep the rest of Europe peaceful, i.e., unable to do another Hitler. I.e., Russia should like NATO: Maybe NATO is way to defend Europe from Russia, but maybe more importantly it is a way for the US to keep Europe from attacking Russia again. That is, Europe has too many tiny countries and arguments that go back 2000+ years. So, need to keep a lid on it. So, the US had NATO, and Russia had the Warsaw Pact.

        2. JamesHRH

          I am with JLM.Everyone runs Trump down on style or perceived inability.If he is such a doofus, why is he the only GOP candidate to tap into the widespread anger at Washington insiders (smokin’ Cruz on his home turf of being an outsider)?If he is such a doofus, how did he manage to hijack the GOP and destroy more experienced, smarter opponents?If your answer is ‘by sinking to a new low’ or playing dirty, you are being wildly naive.The answer is a three-fold forking:- he called everyone out on the money front (no response)- he never, ever allowed himself to be scripted / inauthentic in public- he never, ever takes a punch without throwing one backEvery other candidate loses: they are bought, they are fake and they are politically correct. And, when they switch to his strategy, they look like they will do anything to win.Despite what people think, the candidate who has not compromised his principles to date is The Donald. His principles are deal principles (before people start making ‘what principles? jokes):- life is about negotiation- negotiation is about positioning & leverage- doing deals is worthless unless you executeThese remaining GOP candidates have no chance. As Brad from AVC says, “once you have the strategy, the execution gets a lot easier”.They will try to attack him on his business failures and they will lose (it makes them look like fools….Lord, knows the AVC audience knows what the ratio of wins to losses looks like in the real world0>They will try to attack him on his style and they will lose (he is not trying to be someone he is not, just to get ahead, which is what people hate about politicians).They will try to attack him on his lack of pedigree or knowledge. This is their only hope….but the only person with substantially more pedigree or knowledge that is still in the race is HRC (if only Kasich had someone who was strategic on his team).The average “God I can not STAND Hillary’ GOPer must be sweating with glee at the prospect of letting him loose on HRC….as he said in the debate last night, he hasn’t even started on her.He knows he’s a garish ass and he likely knows that Joe & Jane Lunchbucket do too. But, it is who he is and it has worked for him for 40 years. Why change now?It appears that 30-40% of Republicans agree with him.

          1. William Mougayar

            1/3 of what Trump says is really true, 1/3 is garbage/lies, 1/3 is exaggerated. The challenge is to know which is which.

          2. JamesHRH

            Yep.I think the second 1/3 is more accurately labelled uninformed.Compare that to HRC…most people think she actively says things she knows to be untrue. Saying things you think are true or you know to be an exaggeration, somehow, seems better.

          3. sigmaalgebra

            doofus?Okay, maybe, let’s see: He’s smarter than all the pundits, Nate Silver, all the best paid GOP campaign strategists, and all the other GOP candidates. So, each of them must be an even worse doofus.So, we have it: Trump is a doofus but is by a wide margin the least bad, that is the smartest, doofus in 2016 politics. Okay.

        3. sigmaalgebra

          > bigotI see a LOT of such claims in much of the mainstream press and Trump opponents, but after some fairly careful attention to what the media likes to avoid, what in high school term paper standards were called primary references, e.g., Trump’s Web site, position papers, interviews, speeches, and actions, I can’t support that claim. Indeed, quite the opposite.Actually, the open borders people — the GOPe who wants illegal immigrants to work but not vote and the Dems who assume the illegals will be dependent and vote but not work while generally blocking highly qualified legal immigrants — are pushing a new form of slavery which is by far the worst case of bigotry.McCain called the US citizens concerned about illegal immigration “crazies” — that sounds bigoted. The far right so eager to cut back on entitlements, disproportionately important for racial minorities, sounds bigoted.I might be wrong and am eager to learn. Have some good, primary references? Those 22 writers in The National Review who soiled themselves in public aren’t primary references. Neither are the NYT, WaPo, CNN commentators, George Will, Mitt Romney, Hillary Clinton.

      4. Jim Peterson

        No comment on Trump.Earned media is a force to be reckoned with- maybe more so than even the biggest advocates know.The walls are down if you are good- go right to your audience directly.

    3. sigmaalgebra

      The Trump hype bubble would burst, but Trump is going to keep pumping hot air into it. Although his basic message hardly changes, about each week he finds slightly new ways to pump in hot air.The bubble can burst if someone can burst it. But as of now, we know some people who can’t: Bush, Rubio, Cruz, Kasich.I know; I know; I know; Trump’s chances of winning are low, low, low. Right. A year ago, right, maybe 10%.But, ballpark, either Trump wins or someone beats him. Then, to estimate Trump’s chances, we have to look at who might beat him.A year ago, the potential list was really large. E.g., there could be a candidate for whom truly The Force was strong with them! Nate Silver certainly seemed to think so.Now the list is just Rubio, Cruz, Kasich, and Clinton. That’s all, Folks! All she wrote. Fat lady’s singing scales warming up!Dream candidate None of the Above is not in the race. Neither is a Grail Knight on a white horse, in a suit of shining armor with a big sword in a small boat pulled by a white swan with a gold chain, descending by parachute, or slowly ascending from a new hole in the ground on a bronze platform in a cloud of fog. The one of who will bring balance to The Force as in the prophecies is a no show. And The Force seems not to have awakened yet. Sorry, Nate.Instead, the candidates are just Trump and the other four. So, may I have the envelope, please. Drum roll, please? And the winner is …. You get to guess.Maybe Trump is the best candidate. Maybe he is the least bad candidate. But for who is going to win, those two are about the same.Then his bubble will burst once he is in office? I don’t know: Maybe the economy is about ready to get back to work. Cutting taxes, bringing back $3-5 trillion in US earnings parked overseas, getting trade balance with China, Japan, and Mexico, stopping the efforts of the EPA and the Greenies to sabotage the US economy, with a lot of stimulus from the Fed and the US Treasury, 25% unemployment rate, 95 million US citizens not working but eager to work, some stimulus spending on the military and infrastructure, tweak SarBox, get the small bankers loaning again, get rid of ObamaCare and how it has hurt small business, tweak other regulations hurting small business, do common sense stuff where obvious — that should be plenty of caffeine to wake up the US economy. Then with the US awake, the rest of the world can start to wake up, and that can provide more for the US economy. Maybe with just that, Trump is in line to be “the greatest jobs President God ever created.”.E.g., with new manufacturing, we have a lot of infrastructure to let the economy grow really quickly, e.g., transportation, logistics, the Internet, the IoT for automation, etc.Maybe Trump’s bubble won’t burst for a while.

    4. Drew Meyers

      Me too

    5. creative group

      William Mougayar:I realize you may not want to mention a particular company but can you provide a sector? Data, Service (Zenefits), etc. that will be effected.Examples of the Startup Cemetery:Wasabe ArsDigitaRiotVineNouncerBricaBoxBoompa.comXMarksYouCastr

      1. William Mougayar

        I haven’t been spending time listing them, but others have. I think Techcrunch has such a list.

    6. creative group

      William Maugayar:there are those who don’t want it to burst. The motive is to expose both the supporters who are average people without secondary education and the establishment who actually have picked winners and losers. (The failings of the politically motivated Citizens United decision by the pseudo constitionalists)

      1. William Mougayar

        it’s bursting slowing. more like deflationary adjustment than a burst actually.

  8. jason wright

    *’successful VCs are not the use case demographic’ – cue up the knowing nodding dog cartoon character gif and press play and repeat endlessly.*a good in-house company motto for USV, to go on the cereal box.

  9. jason wright

    on Steph Curry (not that i know anything about basketball).so he’s better at scoring the further back from the basket he is. the further back he shoots from equates to less ‘in your face’ defensive pressure i assume. is there such a strategy as ‘man marking’ in the NBA to neutralise a dangerous opponent?

    1. pointsnfigures

      He is pretty quick and uses bodies to get open. He is in tremendous physical shape, and rarely is standing still on the court. Plus, he is pretty darn good driving and dishing the ball. Really hard to stick someone like that.

      1. JLM

        .He is playing a lot of minutes and can get away with this now but it will grind him down over the long run.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        1. pointsnfigures

          At the same time I agree with Charles Barkley. Today’s players are not as fundamentally strong as players from earlier eras. They are more athletically gifted. They also have better nutrition, strength programs etc. Few players play great defense today. Would love to see Joe Dumars guard Curry.

          1. JLM

            .Scottie Pippin?The “shut down” defender able to take the other team’s star out of their game is gone now.The Tarheels used to have a guy who could shut down the other team’s top scorer and now they have opposing guards getting 25-30 every night.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          2. JLM

            .I always thought he was key to the Bulls’ program with MJ to score and SP to take away the other team’s highest scorer,JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          3. Drew Meyers

            I wish I could watch Scottie Pippen play in today’s game. I don’t think there’s a single forward playing today he couldn’t completely shut down.

  10. Richard

    Looking for fish in the wrong pond?

    1. Simone

      I have a feeling that millennials and the generation after them think that being an entrepreneur is a job, so they go after this ‘job’ in the same way other generations went after the big corporations jobs at their graduation

      1. Vasudev Ram

        Can you elaborate?

        1. Simone

          it takes time to understand the working life, I am tempted to say perhaps about 10 years – to get some solid experience, make some mistakes, get some solid lessons. In the last years, entrepreneurship has been glorified, and it should, but this new entrepreneurship has some marks of the time. it is a bit like tv shows, where people become ‘famous’ and make millions in a few months. And I think, as a fresh graduate or as a teenager, hearing all day about companies built in 2-5 years, with 20 people who become millionaires, is the story that many young people have in mind so they think this is cool and also seems easy, when compared with what their parents did. I think to be an entrepreneur is a bit of a calling and it is not for everyone, perhaps worth the try very early in life, but for the right reasons – not because it is easy (only a perception) or cool or to avoid authority (management). One of the best ways to build a healthy company is to avoid the mistakes of old, big companies, but those mistakes need to be known/understood first

          1. Vasudev Ram

            Pretty good points.

    1. sigmaalgebra

      > AI/machine learning not my expertiseand that means that you know nearly as much about it as anyone else.To get caught up, look up in, say, documentation for Excel, fitting straight lines to data. Okay, generalize that to fitting linear algebraic expressions with several variables. E.g., for numeric variables x, y, z and for numeric constants a, b, c, the simple algebraic expressiona x + b y + c zis linear in x, y, and z. Linearity brings with it a lot of powerful properties, and linearity is shockingly common in practice. In both pure and applied math, various cases of linearity are very important. Indeed, it’s fair to say that the two pillars of analysis in math are linearity and continuity.In fittinga x + b y + c zwe have lots of values of variables w, x, y, z and want to find constants a, b, c so thatw = a x + b y + c zas accurately as we can. There is a LOT that can be said about that fitting — then much more, then still more. Some that I’ve derived about such fitting is understood by nearly no one else and, indeed, solves what a lot of people have long regarded as a severe, unsolvable problem.Call such fitting regression analysis. It’s a huge part of both pure and applied statistics. A special case is analysis of variance for experimental design and alone an enormously important subject. Moreover, the whole subject generalizes off into infinitely many variables and there enormously important in practice.Generalize that fitting to fitting data after partitioning the data into parts where get a good fit in each part although maybe not from some one fit of the data as a whole. Keeping dividing this way and get a regression tree.Can also do classification this way, say, classify sick or well, rich or poor, small, medium, or large.Then have the subject classification and regression trees or CART. Yes, there is is a book and software.For more, and the 900 pound gorilla in this subject, read Leo Breiman, one darned good pure mathematician, student of M. Loeve at Berkeley, co-student of Loeve with J. Neveu, applied statistician, and prof at Berkeley. Breiman wrote a book; Neveu did too; they are two of my all time favorite books, but they need a good Master’s in pure math and are not taught very often in the US.Now you have much of the best of machine learning. Right, it was done by Breiman, not computer scientists.But continue with Breiman’s random forests where he does still more general fitting to get good fits to complicated data. Then generalize to some nonlinear fitting using, say, the logistic curve to get predicted values to be probabilities or to switch between 0 and 1. Do some such fitting with nonlinear functions as in the nodes of neural networks. Surprise: With enough data and neural network nodes, can recognize kitty cats. Now you are nearly fully up to date.It’s fitting algebraic expressions to data. Intelligence? Not for anyone who has any! It has a lot that is new and good however the new is not very good and the good, not very new.

      1. Simone

        Maths makes me nervous, which reminds me I didn’t agree with your comments on the previous blog entry. Thank you for taking the time to explain, I have done my best to follow. I had my opinion on what AI can’t do (in terms of coming alive and thinking) via reading on neuroscience. I have also recently discovered Jerry Kaplan and really enjoy his latest book and talks on youtube. I also read the sort of article that I have linked here, did you have a look, does the guy have a chance to stun the world? I hope he does, it is a nice story and I envy his state of mind 🙂 (again reminds me of some thoughts I had about the previous blog entry).About CS and the initiative to bring CS in schools, you were not very happy. I think your understanding of this initiative is very different to mine – you were not optimistic about the possibility to advance CS via this initiative, I think it’s only about access to CS or no access. Perhaps you don’t think this is possible, but I had some random discussions last year and turns out that some parents and students are still treating computers and anything related like PE or music – fun but may be skipped. Not to mention students who don’t afford hardware and CS education. The way I think about it, CS is the new English language. with internet, it became a must for non-native speakers to have a very good command of English to access everything that www has to offer, plus to be able to work and leave abroad. CS today is the same and much more. with English there was still an option to ignore it, life would be less fun, but in Europe there are still plenty of people who don’t speak English. With computers/CS, I just can’t imagine what job/career/education is feasible for students who don’t have access starting from school.And now back to maths and your disapproval of business interfering with students career counselling. You are saying that every effort is already made to assist students within schools by professional staff and everyone else should stay away. I disagree for two reasons. First is that there is no method available to accurately measure/identify an individual’s best talent and passion, so that everyone can make the exact life altering decision regarding what education and career to pursue. I am not talking about skills and IQ, my belief is that every single person could be the kid in that article, but most of us take years of trials and jobs to get to the bottom of our passion and best talent and so many never engage in this exercise, because life takes over after college. I think that you were one of the not too many people who knew early in life what field to pursue and you do it with all your heart, but most people, me included, have a more diverse, vague set of interests and talents and that is confusing. And unfortunately, even the most loving parents and best intended teachers can’t help, for the reason I have mentioned – there is no tool/methodology/science to correctly identify early in life someone’s top talent. What you end up with is a recipe from school or society based on some semi-informed appraisal of someone’s skills. I bet you could do many other things very different to what you are doing now, at a mediocre level. perhaps you would still earn a decent salary, but you wouldn’t be fulfilled. It is the case for the large majority of people and the shortcomings of education and testing are well documented. So any effort from outside the schools is more than welcome, It may do no good or it may change lives, but it can’t damage in any way. And where I really disagree is keeping the real world/work life away from students. Because the first few years after school are traditionally spent trying to reconcile education with the real world.

        1. sigmaalgebra

          For math, good examples are high school Euclidean geometry and college calculus.For more, about 100 years ago, math was given a good foundation: Start with just simple symbolic logic, follow axiomatic set theory, define sets, and then based on sets make more definitions and state and prove theorems. The proofs can all be just manipulations in symbolic logic. Last I checked, it was solidly believed that all of math could be done this way.For more, consult the books of N. Bourbaki.For more, just see what pure and applied math have done and do now.A major fraction of math now is analysis, and there two pillars are linearity and continuity. I touched on linearity. For continuity, intuitively that is when something changes continually without breaks or jumps, like bending something without breaking it. As far as we know, down to the even the smallest scales, all physical objects move with continuity.I just watched the Bloomberg story about George Hotz athttp://www.bloomberg.com/fe…and looked up Jerry Kaplan at Wikipedia and watched most of hishttps://www.youtube.com/wat…IMHO:Hotz is a bright guy and, thus, has some good potential.For self driving cars, my view is that that is mostly hype and will go away fairly soon. Really, there are too many driving situations where we have no substitute for a human in control, and in such a situation a self-driving car, at all reasonable to expect now or soon, will either (A) keep going and cause an accident or (B) stop and cause a traffic jam.The situation of either of (A) or (B) will be seen as unacceptable, and insurance companies and legislatures will push back.In the future, it might be possible to re-engineer roads so that for some quite routine cases of driving self-driving vehicles could work.If there is no human in the vehicle or in remote control of it, then when the vehicle is in doubt on what to do have it pull to one of some provided rest stops and call for help.Such self-driving might be effective for, say, some long haul trucks on long, open roads with additional engineering for such self-driving.Could have a lot of Internet of things sensors on the re-engineered roads to alert the self-driving vehicles when just to pull over, stop, and call for help.It may be that DARPA got something from their self-driving contests that they can deploy, say, for supply vehicles in some cases in war, say, in some dangerous situations when want to avoid risking a human life and the vehicle can likely get the work done. For that, maybe see what DARPA does.Hotz might do better looking at something other than self-driving cars.In the Bloomberg article, Hotz is quoted For the first time in my life, I’m like, ‘I know everything there is to know’? With that statement and from his time at Carnegie-Mellon University (CMU), apparently he worked only with people doing relatively simple things. I’ve seen what appear to be some such examples at CMU.But there at CMU, Hotz might have looked more deeply.E.g., just in computer science, Hotz could try to solve the question of P v NP. The problem is of enormous importance, even for civilization, and is plenty challenging.Really, a lot of computer science (CS) largely ground to a halt when it encountered the problem of P v NP.Stopping like that was unfortunate was like saying because I don’t know how to go faster than the speed of light, or even half the speed of light, I won’t try to build a Mach 5 airplane.Indeed, on nearly all the practical problems that led to the question of P v NP, we can still get a lot, much more than we have now.Or at CMU, Hotz might have looked up, say, Steven E. Shreve, Orion Hock Professor of Mathematical Sciences.For a student to know “everything there is to know” about what Shreve works on would be an accomplishment of unique, world-class brilliance.Of what I saw about what Kaplan thinks about artificial intelligence (AI), that’s fine.But, then, why have the new name AI when we have plenty of academic departments with just the right stuff — applied mathematics, statistics, operations research, mathematical sciences, high end work in electronic engineering, mechanical engineering, etc.About CS in schools:Sure, teaching computer literacy is okay. E.g., students will likely need to use computers for the 3Rs for a long time.For enticing students into careers in computing, there are risks:In simple terms, from the hype about Silicon Valley, Zuck, AI, etc., it stands that some students will get really devoted and determined, charge forward without good guidance or education, neglect much of the rest of growing up, fail at the dream of being another Zuck, become discouraged, and give up on computing and more. Bummer.E.g., Hotz is misled.I would not want to encourage naive K-12 students to charge forward in computing, start on a long journey on a short pier, fall in, get wet, and get hurt. This danger is quite real.Moreover, I don’t see a student of, say, 10, starting to learn HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and Python as getting much help for a career when they are 30, that is, 20 years later.It’s like pushing a students to to be a brick layer instead of an architect, general contractor, mechanical engineer, or civil engineer, and for those careers and more it is better if the students in high school just have what has long been regarded as a good high school education concentrating on the 3Rs, more in reading and writing, and the usual STEM subjects.Indeed, working on his socialization would likely be a better aid to a career in computing than learning Python.There is a middle ground: Teach an elective course with some introductory material. The basics haven’t changed much since Algol and Knuth’s The Art of Computer Programming. So, in programming, teach data types, simple data structures, if-then-else and do-while. A simple program:(1) Read input data.(2) Manipulate the data.(3) Write output data.Exceptional condition handling is extra!Then teach some standard, important algorithms.Teach some of this in some easy to use programming language, maybe Python.From Knuth, the high points are in the volume on sorting and searching, and there the biggies are arrays, heap sort, other uses of the heap data structure, lists, AVL trees and/or red-black trees, and, if one insists, B-trees. Can do it all in one lecture. If there is no such lecture already available in video, then someone should do one.Fred, go to NYU or Columbia and get someone to do such a lecture and put it on YouTube with a PDF for notes, exercises, and references?For more, explain the basics of machine language, virtual memory, and security and privilege approaches, e.g., rings and gate segments — one fast lecture. Another good video would help.For more, do memory allocation and, then, approaches to garbage collection.Fill out with some other topics, and call it a semester.I agree that the professional counseling is not very good, but at least the counselors have some training and certification. Also they likely know the rule “First, do no harm”. And they likely have some professional ethics.If let business people do too much of the counseling, then there are big questions about objectivity, competence, doing harm, and ethics.I fully agree that there needs to be closer contact between academics and the economy. For that, in part, have some well prepared video lectures by some people in business, everything from running a pizza shop to running Facebook. Maybe put a lot of this in a high school course with an overview of the real economy.But curriculum design has been seriously considered for a very long time. Throwing much of that task, especially in the context of a Fair, over to people in business would promise a mess and harm.

          1. Simone

            ‘Hotz is misled.’ He should be, he is in his early 20’s :). And now, without being judgemental of his lack of experience, we are all misled, at any age, regardless of what we are doing. what does it mean not to be mislead? to be happy? to discover the meaning of life? there is only mislead, and his I see as a good mislead, that will take him to the next ‘good mislead’ (translation fails me, hope it makes sense). Specific on his statement, I agree, he must have referred at a very limited area of knowledge, I think he was specifically referring to driving cars technology. he seems like a healthy, ambitious and driven young guy, so it was a nice story and being able to pursue his passion is the ultimate luck and privilege in life.’I would not want to encourage naive K-12 students to charge forward in computing, start on a long journey on a short pier, fall in, get wet, and get hurt. This danger is quite real.Moreover, I don’t see a student of, say, 10, starting to learn HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and Python as getting much help for a career when they are 30, that is, 20 years later.’You are always 10 steps ahead! I don’t read this initiative as forcing students to become engineers, just giving them a start IF they choose to go that path and more generally, just making them conversant in cs. it doesn’t matter if the programming languages from today are not going to be around in 10 years, what matters is that they are not going to be afraid of computers as I am now of maths because i had this teacher who thought the world is made of people like you and the rest (not native maths geniuses), can feel free to get lost in the space, because we are a waste of time anyway. I don’t understand the difference between solving an issue and verifying an issue. how to verify an issue without solving it first (so isn’t the same thing?)I would not want to encourage naive K-12 students to charge forward in computing, start on a long journey on a short pier, fall in, get wet, and get hurt. This danger is quite real.Everyone will fall in, get wet and get hurt. it is called life :). There is no way around it. Or maybe it is, when children will stop being sold all sorts of idealistic stories about work, love, people etc by parents and teachers and movies etc. And when they get wet, I think CS is a nice warm towel to dry the hair and move on.

  11. Kirsten Lambertsen

    I always get a kick out of telling people about how Mark Pincus built my first startup’s cms (because out of the box cms’s didn’t exist then)… OK, Mark *himself* didn’t build it, but his shop, Goat Hill, did. They did a *great* job. That software never broke once in 10 years.He sat in on our initial meeting and never said a single word. Guess beauty makeover apps weren’t his ‘thing’, ha.

    1. Lawrence Brass

      Lucky you. Is quality work connected with success?My granddaughter was chasing me with her iPad and this app. If beauty makeover apps is your thing, I guess you will love this one, give it a try. :-)http://tocaboca.com/app/toc…

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        Ha! My 6 yo daughter loves that app too :)I built mine in 2000, when there were no web apps. We used Shockwave to make it happen.I think what the quality of that work may have demonstrated was that he knew good developers when he saw them. I worked with a few people who had been with him at Freeloader and (i) they were all rock solid and good people, and (ii) they really respected Mark.I’m into “deeper” projects now 😉 But it was great fun at the time.

        1. Lawrence Brass

          So you were a pioneer, that is awesome. I recall working with multimedia in 2000 and there was barely none bandwidth available for it, at least here. All went into CDs.Teambuilding and leadership skills, seems to be a pattern.

        2. creative group

          Kirsten Lambertsen:are you able to share? (Deeper projects)….AI or VR?

          1. Kirsten Lambertsen

            Oh, heh. Not *that* deep 😉 I meant more meaningful (at least from my perspective). My experience with being acquired soured that industry for me (beauty, celebrity) a bit, convinced me I wanted to go in a more grounded direction in general.

          2. creative group

            Kirsten Lambertsen:thanks

  12. bijan

    So great to have you on the podcast. Thanks, Fred!

    1. fredwilson

      It was a lot of fun

  13. Tom Labus

    TWTR over 20

  14. sigmaalgebra

    A lot of looking for good, new things (1) in the rear view mirror or (2) from noise not better than patterns in tea leaves. But (1) is no place to find things that are new, and (2) is no place to find things that are good.So, (1) and (2) are as in the first movie Indiana Jones, “digging in the wrong place”. And as in that movie, to find where to dig, need some advantages, e.g., in basic understanding.The VCs are still just in the audience; that’s nothing like being one of the best performers on the stage; and that is still nothing like being Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Rossini, Verdi, Wagner, Tchaikovsky, etc.The audiences at Lincoln Center are content to observe, enjoy, and appreciate greatness without trying to pretend to have anything important to say on what the next case of greatness will be. Or, NBA fans can observe, enjoy, and appreciate Steph Curry without trying to pretend to have anything important to say about how to be Steph Curry or how to coach him.VCs are still in the audience, not on the court or the stage; they can buy a season ticket to the Met Opera but are not qualified to be the general manager. VCs might enjoy the music but are not qualified to conduct the orchestra and likely wouldn’t even know if the whole cello section played the wrong note. VCs can buy a season ticket to the Cavs but are not qualified to be the coach or general manager .In computer science, nearly no VC in the country is qualified to pass junior level courses in a computer science major, pass Ph.D. qualifying exams, read recent, good, peer-reviewed papers, publish peer-reviewed papers of original research, teach university courses, get tenure in a research university. get an NSF research grant, write a Ph.D. dissertation, direct a Ph.D. dissertation, review peer-reviewed papers, serve as an editor or editor in chief of a journal, serve as a problem sponsor at the NSF.In music, nearly no VC is qualified to play violin in the NY Philharmonic. Similarly for playing basketball in the NBA.Instead, VCs are in the audience. And for the good, new things in the future of computing, VCs, only in the audience, are limited to looking in the rear view mirror where there is nothing new and at tea leaves where there is nothing good.Next, the academic keys to powerful, valuable new applications of computing are not in computer science but in pure and applied math.VCs are really opportunistic food gatherers, not food cultivators. If VCs want more good, new results, then in part they will have to be qualified and effective participants, cultivators and not just gathers. Or civilization took off only when it moved from food gathering to agriculture. Then, with cultivation, there will less incompetent mumbling about AI and more new, exciting, valuable new companies exploiting powerful, valuable technology.Thankfully for US national security, in the STEM fields, for powerful, valuable, new technology, the US DoD knows where to dig and how to cultivate, evaluate, direct, fund, test, and deploy. So, good examples do exist.Yes, somehow for some years, some opportunistic food gatherers made some money. But food gathering has a severe ceiling, and for more there needs to be at least evaluation, and better, still, cultivation, etc.

    1. Simone

      Mozart needs the orchestra, and both need the audience, and the audience… there is place for everyone and Mozart can’t be Mozart on a planet of Mozart’s. If your theory was correct, every single PhD would be a rich person, which is not the case. The set of skills – VC vs PhD is vastly different. I wish the world was as you want it to be. Making money is such a non-discriminating skill, it is strange indeed.Being a PhD and not capable of making lots of money must be very frustrating, but for the sake of rca, I don’t think VCs are to blame. There’s still time for better funding models to be created

      1. sigmaalgebra

        My remark was aimed at VCs trying to see the future of technology and the next big thing. They don’t have the qualifications for that.As in Fred’s post, the VC community has been waiting a long time for another big success in social media or, really, anything. So, I was trying to address that situation: My analogy was that VCs have been doing food gathering, but now the woods are low on nice, fresh, red raspberries or anything else good just to gather. So, VCs might do what civilization did, move from food gathering to food cultivation. It’s their call.For Ph.D. degree holders, only a tiny fraction seek wealth.But, for the really good progress in, and applications of, technology, especially those by the US DoD (and NIH if consider biomedical), e.g., GPS, Ph.D. degrees are just crucial.For my “frustration”, it’s true that all the VCs in the country who could give a good technical review of my work could fit in a phone booth — right, since we have no more of those, an airplane rest room. Yes, maybe this is a surprise, but the flip side of this situation is an advantage for me.The point is not my work but, really, the VCs don’t do such reviews. The NSF, DARPA, DoD, grad school committees, peer-reviewed journals do and would, but VCs don’t (information technology (IT) VCs don’t; some biomedical VCs might). Instead the IT VCs have other ways of evaluation, apparently mostly based on traction. Okay. That’s food gathering again, waiting until the bushes have put out delicious fruit, and not food cultivation. In terms of the Mother Goose “The Little Red Hen”, they are like everyone else, for any interest at all, waiting until the hen has hot, fragrant loaves ready to sell and customers lining up to buy. They are not being the hen and are not helping the hen get to the loaves. Okay. It’s a very old story — it’s in Mother Goose for crying out loud.In the past, waiting that long could be seen as smart business — the founders have the software ready but now need big bucks for a Sun Web server. Now could make a useful Web server out of a $159 Intel compute stick — literally. Keeping such a server on average half busy 24 x 7 might yield $50,000 in revenue per month, and then could buy a rack with several fully serious servers. Keep those on average half busy 24 x 7 and get $1 million a month in revenue. Now, presto, bingo, may have a unicorn. Now, well past a Series A. So, VCs are no longer needed for the big bucks of capex for expensive Sun Web servers.Net, now the issue is no longer the cost of the server but just how much people like the Web site.What are Series A IT VCs needed for now? My guess: The traction is good and growing quickly, still there is no revenue, but there are five founders, each with a pregnant wife due in about three months. The founders need salaries.At one time, I was very “frustrated” with VCs: As a highly determined person, I kept trying, and kept at it until finally I began to understand what the heck was going on.Part of the frustration, really the anger, was that commonly VC Web sites claimed to be interested in new, disruptive technology. They commonly explained technology applications they claimed to be interested in.So, I took some technology I had done. It had good credentials: I’d done the work to improve on our efforts on the problem, server farm and network monitoring, via AI. My work totally blew the doors off the AI work. I had original math, some good, real data, running prototype code that did execute the actual math, some really nice results, an original algorithm for making the computations fast, lots of pretty graphs of the nice results, had given a talk at a high end site, and had been invited to give a talk at a high end conference. And I had a peer-reviewed paper of some of the work accepted at a high end journal. For that important problem, I had by a wide margin the best background in the world.VCs? For VCs, all that and a dime wouldn’t cover a 10 cent cup of coffee. They wouldn’t even look at the work. That they were interested in new, disruptive technology for important problem? Nope, those claims were just marketing hype. Some might call the claims lies. Whatever the claims were, they cost me a lot of wasted time.Eventually, if only by process of elimination, I concluded what the VCs were really interested in — traction, significant and growing rapidly. For the crucial, core, powerful technology, they would never review it — they didn’t care. The situation was so uniform that I had to conclude that the origin was really LP mandates. Given who the LPs are, easy enough to understand.Why go for VC funding? Because I’d need a polished product sold to high end sites, and for that I had a lot of software development to, routine but a lot of it. Eventually I discovered that there is a rule: VCs don’t fund software development, at least not before traction.For what I was bringing to the table, lots of other parts of our society and economy will take such things seriously. And plenty of VCs claimed to do much the same.For the frustration and anger, I just needed to be told the darned truth about VCs. Then I wouldn’t bother them anymore, and that’s essentially what I did.So, I found another project, one that wouldn’t need VC funding: As soon as I could get traction enough to interest a VC, I would have revenue enough not to want a VC. And now, for that project, I’ve got the software running, quite nicely. And, if the usage starts to grow, for part of the work, the new solid state disks and a little, simple direct access file I/O should do wonders for performance. So, for nearly all the on-line work, totally cut out SQL Server and get much, much better performance. Or, for an intermediate approach, just keep using SQL Server but have a lot of main memory and let SQL Server do its caching thingys.And there’s another recommendation for getting a Series A: VCs do watch new companies, and when on the Internet they see something like, then they will make the first call. I’ll take out a little time and talk to them, but unless I hit some hidden chuckhole in the road we won’t have anything serious to talk about.This situation is getting more common: E.g., there is the example of Plenty of Fish, and A16Z has written about the possibility of a one person company unicorn.If VCs want to move beyond food gathering, food cultivation is a possibility, but then they will need more technical expertise.As it is, for VCs to talk about the future of technology and the next big thing is as silly as in my examples about classical music and sports. The VCs know no more about the next big thing than they do about how to help Steph Curry.

        1. Simone

          I really understand the points you are making and i don’t disagree too much :). I just wouldn’t apply my (your) life frame to ‘measure’ other people. They are not peers, when you get the PhD+VC combo, you get google.. VCs wouldn’t need PhDs if they were PhDs peers, they would build their own businesses, don’t you think? I also don’t think they need to be this academic/technical competent, would be nice if they could understand you 80%, but this is not their job really and you are just patronizing like every smart guy out-there :). to give an example, all engineers hate project managers and think they are useless because they are not so technically competent, but then engineers don’t really like to go speak to other teams or to customers or to testers or any other ‘mundane’ activities like this.. there is a place for everyone, when you meet a vc, he needs to be convinced that your business will create revenue, it is Not about technology.another thing is you have 1 business that made a huge innovation, then you have 5000 other companies building on that innovation, so it doesn’t always have to be a huge technological advancement. So I agree with you the most are not equipped to see the future, but I am adding – they don’t have to. Totally agree there is a circus out there, with silly business being listed and valued at billions, it will pass. And technology is more and more on the side of the entrepreneur, as you explained about servers. If you add some CS education early in life ;), in 5-10 years, there may be no need of a vc

          1. sigmaalgebra

            I wasn’t clear enough:US Business Startups 101All over the US, from cross roads to the largest cities, people start businesses by the millions — millions of businesses, maybe millions a year. Call these Main Street businesses, e.g., fast food, buying some things with a big truck (direct from the source or wholesale) and selling them with little trucks (wholesale or retail), services (hair cuts, nails, dental, family medical), auto repair, kitchen-bath remodeling, landscape architecture, furniture, rental property, insurance agency, …, etc. Here there’s no role for venture capital; sometimes there is a role for a commercial bank loan; and failure rates, compared with those of venture capital (VC), are low.Lesson 1: Lots of US Main Street businesses start and grow and do fine without equity funding; in fact, by far that is the usual situation. Moreover, lots of VCs readily say that VC is not for all startups. Moreover, there is lots of credible advice that a startup should try not to take equity funding and, instead, remain 100% owner.Example — Financial Planning of My ProjectFor my work, I look at my startup as an example of a Main Street business, e.g., a pizza shop: If my startup gets to be a lifestyle business, that will be good success for me. If the project grows to much more, still better.YC ViewRight, there is the group Y Combinator (YC) with Paul Graham and, now, Sam Altman, and their essays explain that to them one necessary part of a successful startup is growth as fast as possible.But Paul and Sam are assuming that, for the businesses they are thinking about, the basic technology and software are relatively easy to copy.So, as in nearly all Silicon Valley examples, the technology unique to the startup is just routine software. So, to develop such software, get a CIO to draw the architecture and describe and divide the work, recruit programmers with experience in the usual tools, C, C++, Objective C, Python, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, SQL, and GitHub, get a room with a lot of folding tables and comfortable chairs, string some A/C power lines and some Ethernet cables, let each programmer have their own Apple Mac laptop, have lots of soda, fruit, cookies, and Chinese carryout for lunch and pizza for dinner, and go for it.So, for letting such a business get big, need a barrier to entry, and what Paul and Sam have in mind is some version of a brand name, a coveted position on the screens of millions of mobile users, loyal users, a network effect, high switching costs, etc.As I discuss below, I want some such barriers to entry also but also one more — powerful, valuable technology difficult to duplicate or equal.Me v YCSo Sam and Paul insist on growth ASAP, and I am comfortable with slower growth, funded by free cash flow (cash in the checking account after current bills have been paid) and what accountants call retained earnings, that is, after-tax earnings used to buy equipment that is to be depreciated over time. Such growth is commonly called organic; commonly such a business is said to be bootstrapped.Or, Sam and Paul want growth ASAP to get to barriers to entry before any competitors can, and I believe I already have a good barrier to entry that will keep out competitors.Or, the problem I’m solving has been sitting there plenty obvious enough but essentially totally unsolved for years; my view of why there is no solution is that the Silicon Valley entrepreneurs don’t know how to solve it; the main reason for that is that the solution needs more than routine software or what is in computer science departments; and my starting to get revenue won’t change what the would be competitors would be able to do. Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and VCs have never really seen such technology; if they saw it, they wouldn’t understand it; net, they don’t anticipate and would not believe that any such technology could exist.Those Silicon Valley people are like airplane designers in 1930 who would not anticipate, understand, or believe that in 30 years we would have an airplanehttp://iliketowastemytime.c…They are like navigation experts in 1930 who would not anticipate, understand, or believe that we could navigate in real time to within 1 inch in three dimensions all over the earth, with a hand held device for a few hundred dollars.Not everyone was so short sighted: Before WWII, Bell knew in very clear terms that they needed an amplifier better than vacuum tubes, had a solid state rectifier, and guessed that they might also have a solid state amplifier, started a project, and, after the interruption of WWII, soon had what they wanted, the transistor.Growth PotentialFor growth, the service of my project is supposed to be of roughly the same interest to nearly everyone on the Internet, certainly the US and likely the world. So, if the service catches on at all, then it should become a big thing, worth at least $1 billion. But, again due to the nature of the business, once it’s a lifestyle business, there should be plenty of free cash flow for growth; that is, there should be no need for equity funding for growth; that is, the growth should be just organic.A rough example of such organic growth and success is the Canadian romantic matchmaking Web site Plenty of Fish: Long just one guy, two old Dell servers, and $10 million a year in revenue from running ads all just from Google. He was 100% owner. Recently he sold out for $500+ million. Right, details: As inhttp://www.businessinsider….founded in 2003 by Markus Frind and sold in July, 2015 for $524 million.So, for my project, how might the growth, in equipment I need to buy, services I need to use, and revenue I should get, go? For this arithmetic, I assume that basically people do like the Web site and the service and that there is enough in publicity and virality, etc. for the growth.Right, without happy users, the whole project flops. And getting happy users is a serious subject. But here we are concentrating on finance. So assume happy users. Or, without happy users the financial arithmetic is really simple — $0.00. We know that. Now, suppose there are happy users:First Server Going LiveHere’s a back of the envelope estimate of revenue from the first effort to go live:Suppose on average 24 x 7 users arrive at a rate of 1 a second, see 10 Web pages with 5 ads per page, one banner ad and four down the right side, and I get paid (data from Mary Meeker, KPCB) $2 per 1000 ads I display. Then the monthly revenue would be2 * 10 * 5 * 3600 * 24 * 30 / 1000 = 259,200dollars. Users can come via a PC, laptop, tablet, or mobile device — my service is just a Web site with simple pages only 800 pixels wide and still usable on a window as narrow as 300 pixels.Margin of error: My expenses are so low that my business would still have plenty of cash to grow at only 10% of that $259,200, that is $25,920 a month.But from my software timings, I should be able to serve users arriving at 1 a second and get that revenue — the $259,200 a month — from just one server, in just a midtower case, at my left knee with the server connected to the Internet with just Ethernet to a simple IP (internet protocol) router to coaxial cable to my cable TV ISP (Internet service provider). The server should cost less than $2000 (in parts, say, based around an 8 core AMD processor, and I will plug it together myself as I have easily enough before) and the Internet connection (right, static IP address) ballpark $100 a month.Really, just start with one server, and if it starts to get too busy, then from the $259,200 revenue a month there will be plenty of revenue for more servers.But, for using several servers instead of just one, I’d have to rewrite the software? Nope: The software architecture and the current software are written to permit exploiting a lot of parallel hardware.So, assuming users like the site, just one server for $2000 and $100 a month for the ISP and get $259,200 revenue a month. Better than a local pizza carryout shop.So, that’s a lifestyle business. One server for $2000, just at my left knee, and a lifestyle business.Beyond Just Lifestyle — A Small UnicornFor more, via a spare bedroom, a 100 Ampere circuit breaker box, a window A/C unit, some routine uninterruptible power supplies for the electronics, an emergency generator in a hut on a concrete pad out back, some wire rack shelf units, a suitable router, more servers in midtower cases, and the server farm architecture and software I have (that can exploit a lot of parallel hardware) should permit growth to 10 times the $259,200 a month, that is, $2.5 million a month. And that would be nearly all pretax earnings.So, one spare bedroom, and well on the way to unicorn land. Or, annual revenue would be259,200 * 12 = 3,110,400dollars, call it $3 million pretax earnings, some people would call that a business worth $1 billion, a unicorn and not from post-money equity funding valuation but directly from pre-tax earnings. Right: Maybe set up a company in Ireland and let it license the software to the US operating company for, right $3 million a year or some such — let’s set that aside.A Herd of UnicornsFor much more in Internet bandwidth, there is a high end colo facility not far away that can give me dual 10 GbE (gigabit Ethernet) connections to the Internet. Let’s see: My Web pages are simple, send for 400,000 bits per page. So, on average 24 x 7 half fill a 10 GbE connection and send10 * 10**9 / ( 2 * 400,000 ) = 12,500Web pages a second.[Ah, do I like such arithmetic, all courtesy of a simple macro I wrote for my favorite text editor, but everyone does this right? Wrong?]With the assumptions above, that would be12,500 * 2 * 5 * 3600 * 24 * 30 / 1000 = 324,000,000dollars a month in revenue. So, do that 12 months a year and get12 * 324,000,000 = 3,888,000,000revenue a year. That’s a major new business for the world, a herd of plump unicorns.Sure, by then I will have hired some people.A Pizza ShopSo, I look at my startup as a pizza shop, sole proprietor, except my startup takes much less money to start than a pizza shop and, if people like it, should generate much higher growth rates, margins, revenues, and earnings.Pizza shops don’t need or get venture capital, and I shouldn’t either. Or, as I’ve explained in this thread, sure, for the first project I proposed to venture capital, I would have needed the funding for the software development. But when I concluded that VCs don’t fund software development, I cooked up my present project — “Look, Ma! Cheaper to start than a pizza shop!”.Lesson 2:Lots of business success and no role for venture capital.Predicting the Next Big ThingFred’s post in this thread was heavily (A) asking why there have been no recent big wins in social media and (B) how to predict the next big things. Moreover, several of Fred’s recent posts have considered the future.But, look at the history of the next, big things: The list is short. That is, we got only a few such companies each decade. That is, progress has been slow, sloow, sloooooow.So, for the list, may I have the envelope please [drum roll, please]:Yes, and the candidates are: Fairchild Semiconductor, Intel, Microsoft, Seagate, Western Digital, AMD, HP, Apple, Sun, Oracle, Cisco, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, WhatsApp, the cloud services (Amazon, Google, Microsoft, IBM).So, we’re talking ballpark 16 next big things in the 60 years from 1955 to 2015, that is16 / 6 = 2 2/3rdsHeck, maybe my list is too short; right, I left out Twitter; maybe I am off by a factor of 3; maybe the real number is 3 times larger, 8 per decade. Okay. Still:Did I mention we got only a few such companies each decade? Did I mention sloooooow?And for the crucial point the return on investment (ROI): As in Fred’s post at AVC athttp://www.avc.com/a_vc/201…and as at Kauffman athttp://www.kauffman.org/new…on average the ROI has been poor.Take Facebook: Before Zuck did “Hot or Not” at Harvard, who predicted Facebook? Well, there was MySpace. Still, no one or nearly no one saw the potential of Facebook.Instead, everyone was looking at Facebook like primitive human food gathers looked at some new, possibly nutritious fruit on a tree in the forest. It was opportunistic, food gathering, wandering the forest looking for something good to eat, maybe new and good to eat, without any specific information that there was anything to be gathered. It was living off the land; if the land provided, fine; otherwise, not so fine and maybe move to new lands or just starve. And the population that can be supported with just food gathering is sparse, meager, tiny, and on average no one has a weight problem.Net, food gathering and the Silicon Valley approach to predicting the next big thing worked poorly.Bummer. Big time bummer.The PatternsLooking at the 16 next big things in the list I gave, what is the useful pattern illustrated? Right, there isn’t one. Keep looking all you want, but at least at this level of the discussion, there is no such pattern.Biggie Point — Being ExceptionalWe need to keep in mind, for a next big thing, we are looking for something exceptional, very exceptional, something so far that is very rare.We can do food gathering looking for rare plants good for food, but, as we have seen, the business version of that yields low average ROI. Bummer.So, necessarily, what is usual, is visible in the rear view mirror, obvious to nearly everyone, is routine to do are all highly suspect.Again, once again, over again, yet again, one more time, necessarily we are looking for some things that are, in a word, EXCEPTIONAL. Call it rare. We’ve got to keep that in mind — EXCEPTIONAL. Did I mention EXCEPTIONAL? It’s just gotta be EXCEPTIONAL. Sorry ’bout that.Yes, exceptional is not sufficient, but it is necessary. So, in looking for success, we can’t stop because we are considering some things that are new, unusual, not the standard, not like other successes, not visible in the rear view mirror.A Better ApproachIt has been said, the best way to predict the future is to create it.A huge step up in the ascent of man was agriculture. So, to predict what will be eating in the fall, plant crops in the spring. Then for eating for the next 12 months, store the result of the crops.This approach, yes, is a pattern, but was not visible to the earlier humans crawling around, hungry, on the forest floor, looking for something good and new to eat. The exceptional part then was to move to something quite different, agriculture.Humans were slow to do that. It was easier to follow herds. Or to discover that could eat shell fish gathered in shallow waters and, when had depleted one area, then just move along the shore to some more shallow waters. Then, in this way, once out of Africa, in shockingly short time move along the shorelines all the way to Australia. Or, once across the land bridge to the Americas, very quickly follow the shoreline all the way south to Patagonia.So, quit relying on food gathering and, instead, proceed with food cultivation, but the step to cultivation came slowly.Of course, cultivation was a much more productive approach to food and, thus, quickly produced a labor surplus that permitted domesticated animals, with much more surplus, ocean trading for much more surplus, etc. To the present: In the last 100 years or so, the US has gone from ballpark 90% of the population generating food to about 1% with the other 99% … the Internet.So, here’s a better approach, a way to predict the future by creating it:(1) Problem.Want a suitable problem:(1.1) Look around at civilization, the economy, the Internet, and see an unmet need, a problem to be solved with, say, a product or a service.Here we want no doubt. We want a need that is a must have and not just a nice to have.But, sure, for this need, we have to have some insight. E.g., there is the famous quote Henry Ford — If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses. His car was not a faster horse but soon was a must have, good enough to slow and later end passenger train service; people already had a car, and given that they did, for most trips they just wanted to take their car.(1.2) Want a lot of revenue potential. So want to get a little money from each of a billion people or much more money from each of some thousands of companies. Or, want the number of customers times the revenue per customer to be large.(1.3) Want customer acquisition cost to be low. With, say, cases of viral growth, low customer/user acquisition cost can be the case serving 1 billion people on the Internet, but for many high end enterprise sales efforts customer acquisition cost can be high.(1.4) Want operating margins to be high, that is, want the cost of providing the product/service to be only a small fraction of revenue.(1.5) Want some high barriers to entry to keep out competition.All of (1.1)-(1.5), along with a lot of refinements, are just standard and obvious and not progress.Now for the progress:(2) Solution.Back to (1.1) and the problem:(2.1) Pick a problem that nearly no one else knows how to solve. Indeed, commonly people will refuse even to recognize the problem because they sense there is no solution. And usually, they are right — there is no solution!So, keep looking for a suitable problem.(2.2) Now, we’re making progress: The collection of problems that are suitable because we have a good chance to get a solution can be enormously increased if we have, and drum roll, please, much more powerful solution techniques.(2.3) So, really, we want to pick a pair: We want list A of the candidate problems and list B of the candidate solution techniques and then pick a problem from list A and a solution technique from list B so that we can solve the problem.(2.4) Next, for an advantage in the market, we want a better solution, maybe even the/an optimal solution, one that is the best possible and, for our stated problem, can never be improved on.(2.5) And for a barrier to entry, we want a solution that is so advanced and powerful that no would be competitor will be able to duplicate or equal our solution.How to Do ThatThere are several broad approaches to doing (2.1)-(2.5).E.g., might proceed with marketing, brand names, franchising, style or fashion fads, new approach to advertising, new selling channels, cheap production in a distant land, new components, e.g., cheap, low power microprocessors, a rollup of competitors in one geographic region to get essentially a local monopoly with a geographical barrier to entry. Lots of ways, some in some circumstances better than others.But here’s one more way: Research. The pharmaceutical industry understands this point in very strong terms. So does US national security. And there are other examples in agriculture, materials, microelectronics, etc.Education for ResearchThere is education for research, a Ph.D. degree in a research university.The usual standards are that the student produce an “original contribution to knowledge worth of publication”, and for publication the usual standards are that the work be “new, correct, and significant”.History shows that such a Ph.D. is difficult to get. A significant fraction of students do not finish, and of those who do not a significant fraction are seriously injured psychologically for life and/or have their lives shortened.History shows that without such a Ph.D. program, such research is much more difficult to do.Special Case of ResearchThere is a special case of research that stands to be especially important now for information technology projects for the Internet:Broadly we take in data, manipulate it, and put out results of the manipulations.Well, better manipulations stand to result in better results.For better manipulations, by far the best approach is some pure/applied math, possibly original, right, complete with theorems and proofs.Such math is by a wide margin the highest quality knowledge in our civilization and it is especially appropriate for exploiting the Internet now.Reducing Project RiskThe history of venture funded information technology startups shows that there is a lot of risk, e.g., a large fraction of the efforts fail.We want to avoid such risk. Instead of risk, we want to be fairly sure.Actually, that is possible. E.g., GPS by the USAF is astounding, and so was the earlier version by the US Navy, but, still, both systems worked as planned.So, it really is possible to go with high reliability from initial conception through successful, major deployment.Sure, good engineering has done really well in lowering risk.But with math, there is another, related, way: Exploit the high quality of mathematical proof. So, (A) start with what can be assumed about the real problem. (B) Use those assumptions as hypotheses in the theorems of the math. (C) Use the conclusions of the math theorems to say what to do, i.e., how to manipulate the data.A big advantage is that, with appropriate expertise, the math can be checked with high reliability just at a desk.Then can argue about the assumptions and just how to apply the conclusions. And can be sure about the correctness of any related computer software.Then, if clearly have the first good or much better solution to the problem, a solution that is a must have instead of just a nice to have, risk should be nicely low. Higher ROI If VCs want to get more next big things and higher ROI by carefully cultivating and not just opportunistically gathering, then the points above should help.But following those points would take more technical expertise than is common in the VC community now. I.e., VCs rarely have the ability to evaluate or even direct an evaluation of projects as above, but NSF and DoD problem sponsors and many appropriate people in the research community usually do.E.g., it was a total shock that to me that VCs were not ready, willing, or able to evaluate projects based on original research. That is, for VCs, good research and a dime won’t cover a 10 cent cup of coffee.Such projects can be formulated, evaluated, and executed, but VCs are not trying to do that.You were suggesting that VCs can concentrate on just the finance part and not be so technical. Yes, if they continue doing what they are doing now. But for what I outlined here, no; instead VCs must be able to evaluate project internals at least a little themselves and definitely be able to do well directing high quality evaluations.Computer Fairs for High School StudentsFor strongly stimulating high school students to pursue computing seriously, again, once again, over again, yet again, one more time, there are dangers there, serious dangers; students can get hurt, seriously hurt psychologically, for life, in ways that are life threatening or life ending. I am being fully serious, literal, and realistic.The situation is real and serious. Generally, getting someone to bet all they have — time, money, energy, all their psychological strength, everything else they might have done — on a long walk on a short pier is ugly dangerous, business.Again, once again, over again, yet again, one more time, such pushing is DANGEROUS as in can KILL people DEAD or ruin them for LIFE. And the risk is not small. Am I being clear yet?

          2. Simone

            What quantity or quality of my reply would match your comment?! So I am going to reply anyway, considering it is better to say something at least. Just to confirm something – I hope your repetitions have to do with me not getting your points and it is not a sign of you being annoyed. I am not annoyed and I don’t mind the bold and capital letters, just wanted to make sure you are not annoyed.I will take the first part of your reply and make a plan for an easy business so I can move to Australia and forget all about Europe. Second, my point is not that it wouldn’t be ideal if vc’s could intellectually wrestle PhDs, You have to accept that most people will go for the easiest and fastest solution for revenues, they can make lots of money without understanding PhD research, you just have to come to terms with human nature. I guess you can say the quality of vc’s by the type of business that make billions these days – a taxi platform, image txting etc. Perhaps the fault is in the other camp, the scientists camp, for not generating billions valued and public traded companies; or maybe they do but it is not all over the press. I can promise you, there’s a lot for you to gain when you are ready to try see things from more angles (including this angle that you hold now). For the last part of your comment, as much as you got very serious, I am surprised you are advocating keeping students away from computers. only people hurt other people.While I am not going to bold the text, i will repeat – it is people who hurt people. when people die or ruin their life in front of a machine, I think finding the machine responsible equals to the work of food gatherers. it is an incomplete and incorrect root cause analysis.

          3. Simone

            So I know/agree it is happening, at any age; I just think it happens for other reasons and the catalyst could be the machine, but could be anything else.

        2. Simone

          As annoying as this is, you can’t expect someone to invest if they don’t understand. You could reply something like – they should take the time to check with someone who knows.. but then it’s just like job interviews, or work permits.. why bother to understand your beautiful mind, when there is another start up building text messaging or selfies that will return millions before dying in 5 years. In all my comments I am trying to make the point that reality is much more nuanced and so much less ambitious than you or I would like it to be. It is disappointing, I agree and I don’t even begin to have the expectations that you have (or I have adjusted them)

        3. Simone

          about your own story, you must be intimidating in real life. people feel when they are judged or patronized or considered inferior, not mentioning the cases when they themselves are not comfortable when assessing a situation as to making them feel vulnerable or a fraud. I have been looking for years at how i come across due to cultural differences. I am not at all surprised by your experience. I just hope you didn’t need to pass many job interviews, because I had to and it can be difficult. regardless of how smart or not people are, you can’t really full them on what you think about them, they feel it. if you can nuance/turn volume down on your appraisal system, e.g. if you can accept that a vc doesn’t have to be a PhD, you will genuinely be more accepting of them next time you meet. it is only an example, you can extrapolate to anything. because there is no getting around the fact that people feel when you don’t like/respect them and they will simply refuse to play.

  15. george

    This post really underscores the value of communicating through podcasts. Just spent the last hour driving across LA, listening to this casual chat with a fun cast, loved it!Hope you incorporate more podcasts into the avc format; made the drive back to the beach more enjoyable…

  16. ShanaC

    I missed this, damn.

  17. Francois Royer Mireault

    p.s. just noting that it would be great for Soundcloud to have an “offline” mode à-la Spotify. I’d load that episode at home and play it in my car! 😉

  18. nabeel

    It’s not perfect, but it’s the simplest to set up right now and has integration into iTunes which is a bonus. Still plenty of opportunity in that space though.

  19. fredwilson


  20. jason wright

    no. my mother was born in Liverpool, but i was not.my club plays in red and white and has won UEFA’s premier competition.

  21. jason wright

    that’s quite an exclusive club your mum is in.