Video Of The Week: Reasons For Optimism

My partner Albert gave this talk at DLD 2019 a couple weeks ago.

#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. William Mougayar

    I like the premise of this talk, as Albert days, ā€œIā€™m a VC, so I have to be an optimist.ā€

  2. jason wright

    I saw the matinee performance. Charts, graphs, numbers and statistics, they can all be shaped to produce a pleasing jigsaw puzzle picture. Reasons For Pessimism? End of the business cycle. The Fed has no clue what it is doing (according to Stanley Druckenmiller). Ethereum is a disaster. War is coming. All of this is an opportunity if you have the optimism to work your way through it.… be pessimistic about the things you can’t control, and optimistic about the things you can?

  3. awaldstein

    Enjoyed this.If you can’t find reasons for optimism you can’t act.Nothing to do with being a VC or a shop keeper or factory worker, just healthy human nature.Being depressed and negative is unattractive, boring and non productive.

    1. jason wright

      depression is a serious mental health condition/ illness that needs to be viewed with a little more consideration and compassion. calling it “unattractive, boring” is to trivialise it. for the sufferer it is an affliction. where’s your empathy?

      1. awaldstein

        you need to lighten up…or at least understand the difference between a light aphorism and stigmatizing stereotyping before becoming the moral word police.

        1. Adam Sher

          It wasn’t a stretch for me read that sentence similarly to Jason’s interpretation. Maybe my background biased me to interpret it that way. It’s a phrase that is used quite a bit in the context of depression, and it is unhelpful and hurtful (again, in that context, which is not how you’re speaking).I read that sentence as one that was out of place with your point on personal optimism as a motivation for action. Maybe there’s a better aphorism.

        2. jason wright

          I’m pleased that you clarified your original comment. It needed it. Your “police” is off course.

    2. Adam Sher

      Why wouldn’t you be able to act? For example, I can perform fundamental research on the Russell 2000 and find the companies that are most fragile to adverse events. Knowing many of those companies will fail or suffer a large decline in value, I can bet against them. Do I bet against these companies because am I pessimistic about the futures of these companies? Or do I bet against these companies because I am optimistic about the conclusions of my analysis?More broadly, the world of hedge funds exists because of the belief that on average market participants act irrationally and their aggregate behavior leads to a large amount of public assets being mispriced. I think that mindset is fundamentally pessimistic.In the research I’ve read, people who suffer from depression typically have a more realistic and/or objective view of their surroundings. It’s interesting that facing the facts, as it were, is associated with, or contributes to, depression. Flip that around, your optimism , or anti-realism, is a pro-social delusion.In your experience, has your practice of mindfulness and meditation enabled you to see yourself, or your surroundings more truthfully or objectively? Maybe you’re getting the ‘benefit’ without the drawback of depression.

      1. awaldstein

        in no way is my statement or implication even speaking about clinical depression.get a grip pls.we are talking about personal optimism as a motivation for action.

        1. Adam Sher

          I supported your statement that optimism is healthy and natural. I think pessimism about people is also an impetus for action, which is why I provided the examples I did.

          1. awaldstein

            i would have never gotten that from your comment. and read it big deal. i’ll ignore your comments if I can’t understand them moving forward.

  4. sigmaalgebra

    I’m optimistic:First, let’s see a little on how the heck we got here: Look back over the last 220 years, that is, to about 1800. For each decade, 22 decades, list the progress, e.g., roughly in chronological order,(1) hot air balloons; (2) pianos; (3) Beethoven’s music; (4) the end of Napoleon; (5) the growth of the new USA; (6) progress in steel; (7) the cotton gin; (8) steam power for pumping water, for sailing ships, for railroads; (9) thermodynamics; (10) vitamins; (11) Darwin; (12) Maxwell’s equations; (13) the periodic table; (14) biochemistry; (15) the microbe theory of disease; (16) chemical engineering; (17) Lebesgue’s measure theory; (18) relativity; (19) quantum mechanics; (20) the chemical bond; (21) Kolmogorov’s 1933 paper; (22) molecular spectroscopy; (23) surgery with general anesthetics; (24) radio; (25) the telephone; (26) electric power; (27) electric lights; (28) the automobile; (29) the oil industry; (30) Diesel engines; (31) the airplane; (32) electronics; (33) the cotton picker; (34) vaccines; (35) X-ray medical diagnosis; (36) electronic vacuum tubes and much better radio; (37) the US railroad industry; (38) movies with sound and color; (39) synthetic rubber; (40) plastics; (41) cheap stainless steel; (42) cheap aluminum; (43) radar; (44) long distance telephone; (45) magnetic voice recording; (46) spectral theory in Hilbert space; (47) turbojet and jet engines for airplanes, electric power generation; (48) antibiotics; (49) nuclear energy; (50) nucleosynthesis and the origins of the periodic table; (51) magnetic video recording; (52) digital computers using vacuum tubes; (53) the fast Fourier transform; (54) the simplex algorithm of linear programming; (55) dynamic programming; (56) seismic methods for oil prospecting; (57) magnetic disk data recording; (58) computer aided tomography for medical diagnosis; (59) acoustic imaging for medical diagnosis; (60) high bypass turbo-fan jet engines; (61) the expanding universe; (62) the transistor; (63) fiber glass; (64) lasers; (65) DNA as the source of genetics; (66) digital computers based on transistors; (67) computer numerical control for machining; (68) computer aided design; (69) satellites; (70) Kevlar; (71) GPS; (72) the 3 K background radiation; (73) the big bang; (74) the US Interstate highway system; (75) microelectronics; (76) digital computers based on microelectronics; (77) relational database and SQL; (78) the standard model of physics; (79) the history of the universe since the big bang 13.5 billion years ago; (80) electronic fuel and ignition controls for internal combustion auto engines; (81) Moore’s Law; (82) carbon fiber parts for airplanes and cars; (83) the improvements in magnetic digital recording (e.g. 2 TB in a 3.5″ form factor for $55); (84) DRAM computer memory; (85) solid state lasers lighting long distance optical fibers; (86) the Hubble telescope; (87) the polymerase chain reaction; (88) the Internet; (89) Google; (90) quasars; (91) super nova; (92) neutron stars; (93) black holes; (94) DVDs; (95) universal serial bus; (96) the accelerating expansion of the universe; (97) dark matter; (98) dark energy; (99) the LHC; (100) fast, cheap sequencing of DNA; (101) the Higgs boson; (102) HTTP/HTML and Web browsers; (103) CRISPR-Cas9; (104) flash memories; (105) liquid crystal displays; (106) gravitational waves; (107) fracking; (108) light emitting diodes; (109) 7 nm microelectronic line width; (110) 64 bit 8 core processors with a 4.0 GHz clock for $100;So, that’s 110 big steps forward, one each 2 years, 5 each decade.”Look, Ma, ‘ats uh lot’s uh fast progress!”So, there’s lots of progress!We don’t expect that it’s about to stop now.Second, we need to be warned, nearly always, the progress took a LOT of hard work, bright ideas, luck, etc.So, if we want more such progress, then we will have to expect we will need more hard work, bright ideas, luck, etc. That is the progress IS possible, WILL happen, but will NOT all be easy, will not be done uniformly by everyone, and will be done by only a tiny fraction of the whole population.So, net, we CAN be very optimistic, but we WILL have to work.Back to it.By the way, for global warming,http://www.energyadvocate.c…shows that the best of the alarmist predictions were nearly all wildly wrong which in science means that we need to junk the work and f’get about the claims.A lot more, really devastating, debunking of the alarmists is in…and…For climate change we do not have meaningful definitions, measures, or criteria.

  5. kenberger

    There was that HBS professor in the early ’00s who published “Why tech doesn’t matter”. (Riling people up because it seemed so blatant he mostly wanted publicity, even at the industry’s expense.)Albert is the opposite of him.

  6. Eddie DaRoza

    Great video. Thanks for posting Fred.