Category: Personal Thoughts

It’s Harder & More Expensive to Start a Startup & Break Through

Most people say entrepreneurship and startups are the best way for people to be useful in the age of AI and automation. If we have more entrepreneurs, they say, we can innovate our way out of our jobs crisis. Entrepreneurship is definitely the way forward for some people. But not most.

Conventional wisdom is that it’s never been easier, cheaper and faster to start a startup and break through. With advances in computing power, open source software, Amazon hosting, development frameworks and online communities, the thinking goes, it’s much cheaper, faster and easier to start a startup and break through.

I’m pretty convinced conventional wisdom is wrong. (more…)

The Developing World Will Offer Better Quality of Life than the US and Europe

The half life of a skill is 10 years and rapidly falling. AI is here. Government policies of low interest rates, threats of tariffs and burying our heads in the sand are incentivizing automation and job destruction as fast as possible. That’s the story in the developed world.

What about the developing world? In places like Latin America, most industries are unchanged. Amazon hasn’t disrupted most markets, and big, old, incumbents are still in control. Retailers see little need to compete. Banks have little online competition. Most large companies are way behind US companies in efficiency and implementation of AI/Automation technology. Business owners don’t feel threatened from competitors, so they see little need to innovate.

Many publicly traded companies’ inventory control system is still minimum wage workers taking notes on a clipboard and then calling in the numbers from the warehouse. Some companies are becoming more efficient because of the commodity bust of 2014-2016, but most are way behind. Things are changing in the developing world, but not nearly at the pace of the US. Because the pace of change is slower, it will be better to live in developing world than in the US or Europe for a higher percentage of the population. (more…)

Interesting Stuff I’ve Read, Listened to and Watched Recently

Here’s some stuff that I think is interesting. Last post in this series from August.

Documentary

Dishonesty: The Truth About Lies – Why do people lie and cheat? What makes people susceptible to lying? Netflix.

The Queen of Code – Short documentary about Grace Hopper, one of the pioneers in computer technology.

Books

Hillbilly Elegy: A memoir of a family and a culture in crisis – JD Vance. Interview with Vance. This book was eye opening. It chronicles Vance’s journey from a chaotic childhood to graduation from Yale.  One of the best books I’ve read in the past year.

Ready Player One – Ernest Cline – Novel about a near future with virtual reality technology at its core.

All the Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr – Set in WWII era Europe, this book chronicles the intersecting lives of multiple people, including a young blind girl. Not high literature, but fun reading. (more…)

Thoughts on The Militarization of Police and Black Lives Matter Movement

I’ve been following the recent police shootings in Minnesota and Louisiana and the horrific attack on police officers in Dallas. The level of violence and discord seems to be reaching a new crescendo.

The US is at a potentially dangerous point. We’re divided. People are getting their news from the sources of their choosing, so news stories reporting on the same event can have a diametrically opposite headlines. We’re living in our own realities. We’ve seen it coming to a head in politics. But the latest manifestation has been during the latest spate of gun violence. People seeing the exact same events have oposite interpretations of what really happened. Here’s some of the things I’ve been thinking about over the past week.

You can be Pro Police and Pro Black at the Same Time!

Many people, including many in the media, are painting the choices as “pro-Black Lives Matter” and “anti-police” vs. “anti-Black Lives Matter” and “pro-police.” This division isn’t right. It leads to people taking positions they can’t walk back from. It raises tensions, creates more misunderstandings and is harmful to the US.

Trevor Noah said it best, but I’ll reiterate. (more…)