“I’d like to be born on Earth and die on Mars.”
The main part on education starts around the 44:00 mark. Highly recommend the entire interview.
There’s a lot of questions about what it is that people are getting with an education […] The financial product it’s closest to is an insurance product. People are basically investing in education to buy insurance so that they don’t fall through the big cracks that exist in our society.
You have to somehow engage in the reality. People are trying to buy insurance, and/or they’re trying to win this tournament. That’s the reality you should engage in.
If we talk about education as learning, you’re just taking the weird marketing at face value, and that’s not even what’s going on. If you’re saying we’re going to help do that better, most of the time you’re not even wrong.
“1 to n” versus “0 to 1”:
Progress comes in two flavors: horizontal/extensive and vertical/intensive. Horizontal or extensive progress basically means copying things that work. In one word, it means simply “globalization.”
Vertical or intensive progress, by contrast, means doing new things. The single word for this is “technology.” Intensive progress involves going from 0 to 1 (not simply the 1 to n of globalization).
Anyone on a mission tends to want to go from 0 to 1. You can only do that if you’re surrounded by others to want to go from 0 to 1.
Blake Masters is taking Peter Thiel’s class at Stanford this quarter, and is graciously posting his notes. They’re fascinating, naturally.
John H. Cochrane neatly summarizes the root causes for many of the healthcare system’s woes. For one:
The main argument for a mandate before the Supreme Court was that people of modest means can fail to buy insurance, and then rely on charity care in emergency rooms, shifting the cost to the rest of us. But the expenses of emergency room treatment for indigent uninsured people are not health-care’s central cost problem. Costs are rising because people who do have insurance, and their doctors, overuse health services and don’t shop on price, and because regulations have salted insurance with ever more coverage for them to overuse.
If we had a deregulated, competitive market in individual catastrophic insurance, that market would be so much cheaper than what’s offered today that we would likely not even need the mandate.
This paragraph, meanwhile, sounds straight out of… well, you know. “Certificates of need”?
In my home state of Illinois, every new hospital, expansion of an existing facility or major equipment purchase must obtain a “certificate of need” from the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board. The board does a great job of insulating existing hospitals from competition if they are well connected politically. Imagine the joy United Airlines would feel if Southwest had to get a “certificate of need” before moving in to a new city – or the pleasure Sears would have if Wal-Mart had to do so – and all it took was a small contribution to a well-connected official.
Despite the fact that it was published last night, I actually hadn’t read it before posting this.
When your only goal is a conversion, as opposed to a happy life-long customer, all sorts of tricks will “help” you along your way. It’s the same line of thinking as dudes focused on getting one-night stands in nightclubs. Sure let’s swap numbers, I’d love to meet your friends, and your parents too. They’ll say anything to get what they want.
I’ve repeated a variant of this on a number of occasions, though I usually use the analogy of putting out a sign in the Marina advertising “Free trip to Napa” (when there is no free trip).
Hackers are allergic to process not because they don’t understand the value; they’re allergic to it because it violates their core values. These values are well documented in Zuckerberg’s letter: “Done is better than perfect”, “Code wins arguments”, and that “Hacker culture is extremely open and meritocratic”. The folks who create process care about control, and they use politics to shape that control and to influence communications, and if there is ever a sentence that would cause a hacker to stand up and throw his or her keyboard at the screen, it’s the first half of this one.
This is one of the better summaries of the hacker Weltanschauung, and how it contrasts with the rest of the world, that I’ve read in a while.
Code. Wins. Arguments.
I might be the only one, but there’s usually at least one quote in a Paul Graham essay that makes me laugh out loud. To wit:
Now [Google’s] results seem inspired by the Scientologist principle that what’s true is what’s true for you. And the pages don’t have the clean, sparse feel they used to. Google search results used to look like the output of a Unix utility. Now if I accidentally put the cursor in the wrong place, anything might happen.
The rest of the essay is brilliant as usual. I won’t try to distill it further.
First bookmark on the new system. Seemed appropriate.
She just does not understand why one would want to watch anything this way. It’s boring and frustrating.
The Most Interesting Obituary in the World:
At 9, he settled a dispute with a pistol. At 13, he lit out for the Amazon jungle.
At 20, he attempted suicide-by-jaguar. Afterward he was apprenticed to a pirate. To please his mother, who did not take kindly to his being a pirate, he briefly managed a mink farm, one of the few truly dull entries on his otherwise crackling resume, which lately included a career as a professional gambler.
Mr. Fairfax was among the last avatars of a centuries-old figure: the lone-wolf explorer, whose exploits are conceived to satisfy few but himself. His was a solitary, contemplative art that has been all but lost amid the contrived derring-do of adventure-based reality television.
The solo students came up with roughly twice as many solutions as the brainstorming groups, and a panel of judges deemed their solutions more “feasible” and “effective.” Brainstorming didn’t unleash the potential of the group, but rather made each individual less creative.
Osborn thought that imagination is inhibited by the merest hint of criticism, but Nemeth’s work and a number of other studies have demonstrated that it can thrive on conflict … “Maybe debate is going to be less pleasant, but it will always be more productive. True creativity requires some trade-offs.”
To pass through Grand Central Terminal, one of New York’s exalted public spaces, is an ennobling experience, a gift. To commute via the bowels of Penn Station, just a few blocks away, is a humiliation.
They traversed idea space as gingerly as a very old person traverses the physical world.
This image/analogy is incredibly apt.
PG brilliantly distills a facet of building companies – “schlep blindness”:
The most striking example I know of schlep blindness is Stripe, or rather Stripe’s idea. For over a decade, every hacker who’d ever had to process payments online knew how painful the experience was. Thousands of people must have known about this problem. And yet when they started startups, they decided to build recipe sites, or aggregators for local events. Why? Why work on problems few care much about and no one will pay for, when you could fix one of the most important components of the world’s infrastructure? Because schlep blindness prevented people from even considering the idea of fixing payments.
Probably no one who applied to Y Combinator to work on a recipe site began by asking “should we fix payments, or build a recipe site?” and chose the recipe site. Though the idea of fixing payments was right there in plain sight, they never saw it, because their unconscious mind shrank from the complications involved.
“You can also go into someone’s Path — which is a lot like a Facebook timeline, but without all the third-party junk and ads.”
Posted some thoughts on Quora after a few weeks wearing the UP. Three key flaws:
I still have to tell the UP what “mode” I’m in (normal, sleeping, or exercising).
Syncing is awkward and unreliable.
No API/data export, and no web interface.
I’m pretty excited for the Basis to arrive, as it appears to address all three.
Everyone should watch this. There isn’t a single thing he says that isn’t 100% correct.
My position on marriage is that the government ought to just stay out of it totally and completely and stop arguing about it.
“Sometimes people complain, you know, ‘the lower half don’t pay taxes, what are we going to do about it’, and I say ‘we’re halfway there!’”
“What would our main source of revenue be [if not income tax]?”
“Where it came from before 1913.”
“If the people want us to be the policemen of the world and have welfare from cradle to grave, then no, you can’t get rid of taxation and we’ll continue on until we’re totally bankrupt and our currency fails. But if you want a Constitutional government you really don’t have to have an income tax.”
On foreign aid:
How much of it should be cut?
All of it […] Foreign aid takes money from poor people in this country and gives it to rich people in other countries.
Side note: Jay Leno’s explanation of our relationship with Israel – “we don’t like to see the little guy get picked on” was unintentionally hilarious.
On Mitt Romney:
“He used to be governor of Massachusetts.”
“Right, very good, that’s like a Rick Perry answer.”
“Well maybe that’s what he should stay, is governor of Massachusetts.”
I really hope that this becomes more common, and not the exception that proves the rule. No middlemen, no signing up for something. Just a transaction between a creator and the people that want to enjoy something and will pay money to do so.
Further, from the AMA on Reddit:
It’s like that thing in the movie “Twister” where they send a bunch of little data collecting balls up into a tornado and just download the lovely results. The whole things has been like that. From the moment it went online and i saw the result of every decision i made. the last question the web guys asked me before we posted was if I wanted the mail list button defaulted to “opt in” or “opt out” and i said start it at opt out. It’s such a tiny thing but I keep hearing about it from people.
This is a really great survey of the current landscape in the health care industry. One quote from a self-insured employer jumps out:
Last year, MasterBrand, which has some 7,000 U.S. employees, started tying their insurance-premium contributions to their health-risk factors. Those who score poorly on measures such as cholesterol, blood pressure, body-mass index and tobacco use pay more each week.
Rob Mee of Pivotal Labs:
The reality is that most programmers working on their own only spend a small fraction of their day actually programming: the interruptions are legion, and dropping in and out of a state of concentrated focus takes most of their day. There is a solution, however: pair program. Two programmers, one computer. No email, no Twitter, no phone calls (at least not unscheduled; you can take breaks at regular intervals to handle these things). If you do this, what you get is a full day of pure programming. And “getting in the zone” with someone else actually takes almost no time at all. It’s a completely different way of working, and I maintain that it is far more efficient than working alone ever can be. And in fact, with the current level of device-driven distraction in the workplace, I’d suggest it is the only way that software teams can operate at peak efficiency.
A pair of Stanford freshmen came in next, with an idea for a mobile-phone application called QuadMob, which would allow you to locate your closest friends on a map in real time… “On Friday night, every single week, I go to a party, and somehow you just lose your friends — people roll out to different parties. And I always have to text people, ‘Where are you, which party are you at?’ and I have to do that for, like, ten friends, and that’s just a huge pain point.”
The QuadMob candidates did not get a Thiel Fellowship.
This may sound like hyperbole, but I’m pretty sure that in 5 years I’ll be able to say exactly when/where I first used card case.
The way to revolutionize the TV market is to cut out all of the legacy. No cable companies. No broadcast tuners. No channels. No DVRs. All internet delivery. All on-demand. No commercials.
Watch starting at 5:00. The audience reaction to the pins dropping onto the map is remarkable – in 2007 it was revolutionary that you could find nearby businesses on a mobile device.
So much MBA hate
M.B.A. graduating classes are actually a reliable contrary indicator: if they all want to go into investment banking, there’s going to be a financial crisis. If they want to go into tech, that means a bubble is forming.
Can we elect this guy?
The Internet no longer belongs to the young tech genius with a great idea and the means to execute it online. Innovation on the Internet now belongs to the world, and that is perhaps the most exciting thing about this space. It’s attracting not just the “next Mark Zuckerberg,” but also thousands of super smart innovators from every field imaginable, each of whom brings extraordinary insights and drive to play. And that’s another reason I love this industry, because, in the end, it’s not a singular business. It now encapsulates the human narrative, writ very large.
We’ve seen these office parks….and they get pretty boring pretty fast. We’d like to do something better than that."
This was more mesmerizing than the keynote the day before. Alexia nailed the short commentary – “Best ‘one more thing’ ever.”
“At the same time, something really bothered me about my work. It felt pointless.”
Jonathan Swift is alive and well in the form of Paul Carr
“I am going to find out if we can use Docracy on our next venture financing to make things more efficient.”
I really love this idea. Looking forward to seeing Docracy present on Wednesday.
“When [my daughters are] 18 years old, just hand them $200,000 to go off and have a fun time for four years? Why would I want to do that?”
“In an early sign of the evening’s significance, [PG] is actually wearing long pants.”
Right now google suggests “osama dead” and “osama bin laden” after typing a single character.
“I have a web robot which is a Java app”
Sweeping generalization? Yes. Bordering on cliche? Maybe. Inspiring? Damn straight.
“The Back-Rub team discovered that by retoggling an incorrectly set switch in the basement, it could get full access to the T3 line.”
Yeah. An “incorrectly” set switch.
“States of approval and decisions-by-committee and constant compromises are third-party interruptions of an internal dialog that needs to come to its own conclusions.”
GitHub consistently delivers features that people didn’t know they needed, and subsequently cannot live without
“He [@fredwilson] is the least suburban-golf-playing VC I know.”
From April 2005:
The most common [proposal] was some combination of a blog, a calendar, a dating site, and Friendster. Maybe there is some new killer app to be discovered here, but it seems perverse to go poking around in this fog when there are valuable, unsolved problems lying about in the open for anyone to see.
“We used to make shit in this country, build shit. Now we just put our hand in the next guy’s pocket.”
“He thinks the city ought to rip out the intrusive, noisy, balky video screens in the backseats of cabs and instead install Apple iPads equipped with a credit-card reader from Square.”
“Throughout the course of the day, Tillerson grew increasingly worried as he agonized over what could happen if the undergraduate ever posted her anti-oil views on Facebook, sources reported.”
I go for a quick run and come back to see an entire industry disrupted.
“I think there’s a degree of revisionism there with the history of Bieber.”
I’d like to apologize for Paul Carr’s hat
You had me at “Engineers Are Gods and Education Isn’t What Made Them That Way”
The idea is to test a feature from concept to implementation beginning with the simplest, lowest effort version that will give us data about user behavior with the feature or concept.
Paul B’s writing is on par with Paul G.
“Your identity is the product of how you manage your attention and others' access to that attention.”
‘Yeah, I was actively involved on that one. Our advice is what helped them target the right market, hire the right team, build the right products.’ And there are some delusional people who really believe it.
Congrats to @jasonkincaid for an epic AC/DC cover. Your prize: being the guinea pig for me to test my new bookmarklet:
Huzzah! I can scroll again
Fascinating look at ‘developer-driven culture’, not to mention a complex machine running at full speed and scale.
Very impressive. I’d bet on these guys.
“The social equivalent of liver failure”
“Before each show, Gillis swaddles his laptop in Glad plastic wrap and Scotch tape to protect it from the beer and sweat of the fans onstage with him”
RSS is merely “pining for the fjords”