Saturday, April 27, 2019

City Of The Future: Singapore

Is Elon Musk Just Getting Started?

When Elon Musk open-sourced the hardware specifications for the Tesla a few years ago, people were like, what a nice guy, out to save the planet! I don't doubt he is a nice guy. This is a guy who suffered in South Africa, in an apartheid era where white was brutal over black, braun was brutal over brain, Elon was brain. I don't doubt his passion to combat climate change.

But it also was a good business move. Great, actually. He wants to do what Microsoft did. He wants to do the work on the hardware, but scaling hardware is not fast enough. He wants everyone to build the hardware part. He just wants Tesla to be a software company. And he wants Tesla software running all or most electric cars. He wants to do Windows, he wants the Dells of the world to make the cars. 

It would be hard, if not hard then definitely slow, for Tesla to manufacture a billion cars. That part is best outsourced. Completely outsourced. But putting software into those cars and regularly updating the software; now that's scaling. Also, the supercharger stations network. 

The numbers are mind-boggling. You buy a Tesla, and then there is no oil change. You don't have to buy gas. The charging is free on the network. Just the money you save on gas will pay for the car in a few years. But wait, you can buy your car and for the 23 hours that you don't need it, you can let it join a Uber type network. So you actually make money. 

Dirty cars could disappear so so fast. A pure software play powering a few billion cars manufactured by others makes Tesla a trillion dollar company, the fastest company to hit that mark in world history. 

Detroit could make a comeback just making cars whose design Elon Musk has open-sourced. You are good at hardware, keep doing hardware. Let Elon worry about software. Let a thousand flowers bloom. Let cars be manufactured locally on every continent. 


Elon Musk: Any other car than a Tesla in 3 years will be like ‘owning a horse’

Elon Musk Was Right: Cheap Cameras Could Replace Lidar on Self-Driving Cars, Researchers Find

Crazy Aviators: The Eerie Similarities Between Billionaire Howard Hughes And Elon Musk

Elon Musk is taunting Jeff Bezos with cat emoji now

Bezos vs. Musk 2.0

Elon Musk says Tesla is “vastly ahead” on self-driving

Elon Musk says Tesla will have ‘robotaxis’ on the road by 2020

Tesla Robotaxi Plan: How It Would Work

Tesla Declares War on Waymo's Lidar Technology

Russia says it’s going to beat Elon Musk and SpaceX’s ‘old tech’ with a nuclear rocket

Tesla CEO and the SEC Settle Legal Battle. Musk's 'Twitter Sitter' Will Remain on Call

Friday, April 26, 2019

Kara Swisher: Journalista

What Should Facebook Do (2009)
Facebook's Ad Space Is Different (2009)
Discovering LinkedIn In 2019
In Defence Of Facebook (November 2018)

Friday, April 19, 2019

Elizabeth Holmes: Fraud? Failure? Non-Technical Visionary? First Attempt?

Elon Musk hit speed bumps with the SEC, and Elon Musk fans think he is a hero.

I never really read much about Elizabeth Holmes during the decade when she was ascendant, although I meant to. It was interesting a woman was doing it. Also, this was not some photo sharing app. She was marrying bio with infotech. I thought that was really something.

There's a picture of Holmes sharing stage with Bill Clinton and Jack Ma. If that is not social acceptance, what is? She put Henry Kissinger on her Board. She raised money from Larry Ellison, not my idea of a gullible guy. Tim Draper still defends her as a visionary who got wronged and got bullied by white men in black suits.

What happened? I don't know. I am not in a position to know.

But think about it. There is as much information in one drop of blood as in 100 drops of blood. And it should be possible to extract all information from that one drop of blood and to digitize it. And once you have digitized it, you should be able to scale it. Whether you look for cholesterol one time, or next time you look for another needle in that haystack, there is no difference. You can do it.

The basic premise feels doable to me. Somebody should be able to do it in less than 10 years from now. Too bad it was not Elizabeth Holmes.

Otherwise she attempted something Marissa Mayer did not, Sheryl Sandberg did not.

She was not the scientist who built what needed to be built. She started with a vision. She raised a lot of money. She hired the best of the best. She did all that an entrepreneur is expected to do.

If she is a fraud, she is a really good fraud. The movie on her should beat Catch Me If You Can at the ratings.

But then Steve Jobs, her hero, could not have put together the PC. It was the engineer Steve Wozniak who did that. On the other hand, there was no way Woz could have built a company. And very soon Apple did hire a ton of engineers such that when Woz left to teach elementary school, Apple did not exactly suffer.

So not being a scientist is not a fraud.

Bill Gates came up with something like an iPad in the late 90s. But the product did not take off. Was he a fraud? Was he ahead of the times?

This is not me defending Holmes. This is me asking some questions.

You could not have built YouTube in 1995. Maybe this Theranos experiment was a decade too early.

Being in stealth mode is not fraud either. The iPhone was built in super stealth mode. Theranos being in stealth mode for 10 years, is that too long though? I don't know. The iPhone unit stayed undercover for something like two years, maybe more.

The media did a remarkable job of building her up for over a decade. Then it spent a few years tearing apart her image. So the media reports are not reliable gauges.

Was this failure? Was this fraud? Was this an attempt too early? Like trying to build YouTube in 1995? 10 years too early?

Holmes did manage to articulate a valid vision. She did manage to raise money from people like Larry Ellison, who does not strike me as gullible. She did manage to put Henry Kissinger on her Board. That guy dealt with Chairman Mao. She did manage to hire the best of the best in the field.

Google has had hundreds of failures many of which you don't know about.

Granted a photo-sharing app is different from a blood testing tool.

Maybe a PhD is not such a bad idea after all.

Or, more likely, the scientists that would bring the valid vision to fruition simply have not existed. You can't find those PhDs that you need. They don't exist.

Monday, April 08, 2019

Anywhere Competes With Silicon Valley, Bangalore, Beijing And London

The next tech hub? Anywhere

This is an interesting development. The trend should only grow larger. The thing about casual clothes is if you wear them like a uniform, that defeats the purpose. Remote work and distributed teams have not made the office obsolete. I believe there is a tremendous value to face time. But distributed teams make sense at many levels. Cost is tops.

Office space costs money. Also, if you are not limited by geography, the team you will build will be more capable. There will be associated cost savings.

Commuting costs time. Instead of commuting for two hours (or more), why not work a few hours extra?

The downside is accountability might be compromised. But they will be compromised on site as well. If you do it right, productivity can go up instead.

If your team is active on various social media platforms, they can hope to get to know each other pretty well.

It is not either or. If I were to build a primarily distributed team, I would want them to meet in person often, at least once a year, preferably more than that.

Remote Workers And Nomads Represent The Next Tech Hub
Amid calls for a dozen different global cities to replace Silicon Valley — Austin, Beijing, London, New York — nobody has yet nominated “nowhere.” But it’s now a possibility. ...... startups that are fully, or almost fully, remote, with employees distributed around the world ..... Automattic, Buffer, GitLab, Invision, Toptal and Zapier all have from 100 to nearly 1,000 remote employees ..... nomadic founders with no fixed location

Google Spent 2 Years Researching What Makes a Great Remote Team. It Came Up With These 3 Things
Google ... has nearly 100,000 workers spread over 150 cities in more than 50 countries (on five continents). ..... "We were happy to find no difference in the effectiveness, performance ratings, or promotions for individuals and teams whose work requires collaboration with colleagues around the world versus Googlers who spend most of their day to day working with colleagues in the same office" ..... remote work has the potential to greatly lower costs for your business, while keeping workers happier. .... Get to know your people. .... Set clear boundaries. ..... Forge connections. ......... arrange opportunities to bring the full team together in one location as often as you can. Make these meetings special, celebrating the team and its hard work.

Five Ways To Create A Culture Of Trust And Productivity In Distributed Teams
workers demanding greater flexibility about when, where and how they work. ....... 70% of global professionals spend at least one day a week working remotely. With geography and time zones no longer a barrier, remote or distributed work is becoming what we simply call “work.” ...... Transitioning to a remote workforce, whether fully or partially distributed, gives you access to a larger pool of talent and has been linked to increased productivity and improved employee satisfaction ....... 1. Invest in onboarding. ...... 2. Set clear objectives. ....... Our team creates a transparent document each quarter to decide each department's objectives and key results (OKRs) aligning with the company’s overall OKRs, a process modeled off of GitLab’s transparent management style. ......... 3. Use the right tools. .... Slack .. Zoom .. Google Docs ... Trello .. Asana .... Meeting Owl ....... 4. Provide consistent feedback. .... Weekly one-on-one check-ins are one critical tool to develop trust through regular informal conversations with your direct reports. ..... 5. Include the element of fun. ..... Consider organizing a company retreat once or twice a year for employees to join together for team bonding activities. ..... Partially remote and fully distributed teams will soon become the norm as technology continues to merge our virtual and real worlds. ... the shift to remote working can mean teams are more diverse, productive and satisfied