Links - August 24, 2016
- The Unicorn Hedge Dave McClure - 500 Hats
As software seeps into our daily lives, everything becomes “tech”. I don’t like that word, it is too broad, and somewhat meaningless. A truck is technology. So is a self-driving truck, but the latter does much more by leveraging software. Every “traditional” company in some capacity uses “tech”, and as time goes on more and more firms depend on software for their daily operations. This is at the root of the reality that McClure describes. AirBnB is considered a “tech” company, but it should be compared against Hilton and Marriott, not against Google and Apple. That’s their actual competition. The hedge is real, and it is only a symptom of the overall trend towards a fully software enabled industry.
- Programming without Programmers? Aka Software Eating Software Development? Albert Wenger - Continuations
Software engineering, and the tools required for it, have evolved significantly over time. Barriers to entry have been lowered, making programming accessible for “normal” people, both in terms of monetary costs as well as in the amount of effort required to get started and build something significant. For better or for worse, modern programming languages are english-like enough that they can be grokked by children. Writing machine or assembly language can be seen as an esoteric exercise by today’s standards. On the shoulders of giants, we’ve climbed up several levels on the ladder of abstraction, and as Wenger implies, this is not stopping any time soon.
- Understanding VCs Fred Wilson - AVC
The “PR angle” Fred talks about is true of the blogs of VCs, startups, programmers, journalists, and pretty much any other piece of content on the web, even including this curated set of links. We should cast wide nets, and get information from every possible source before making decisions. Remember other people are driven by incentives just as much as ourselves.
- Penny Auctions - How to sell a $180 tablet for $7,264 Curious Gnu
Whether penny auctions can be classified as gambling or not, they could be a source of really interesting decision theory/behavioral economics research. If you know of any studies particularly worth looking at, please send them my way.
- Milwaukee's Divide Runs Right Through Me Bassey Etim - The New York Times
Over the last few weeks, I started watching The Wire. The longer I live in this country, the more I understand the tensions around race and class rooted in years and years of history. I want to spend more time reading about this, and exploring the narratives of the various sides. Building empathy is hard work.
- It really is the future Paul Biggar - CircleCI
A follow-up on last week’s post on Docker, and the state of distributed systems on the web. This one being the non-satirical version.
- Five Years of Tim Cook’s Apple in Charts Jan Dawson - Medium
Being on the inside, I can’t say much about this, other than: I’m still bullish.
- But What If We're Wrong Russ Roberts and Chuck Klosterman - EconTalk
Lots of interesting tid bits on culture, and how our perception of the world changes over time. What will we look back in N years and think “wow, how were we so stupid”?
- Slavery and Racism Russ Roberts and Michael Munger - EconTalk
The fact that two white economics professors at prestigious universities talk about this in public is already a big win. Not knowing the history of slavery in the US, this was quite interesting. The “us vs. them” framing, coupled with the Rawlsian ideas towards the end, was the most persuasive part. Incentives strike again.
- On Average Roman Mars - 99% Invisible
Had never thought about the fact that someone had to have introduced “average” into our culture. Another great episode from the 99pi team.
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