The Five Best Things: April 17, 2021

Value and Worth

A mix of long and short reads today.

I’m likely to post every other week going forward, as work has ramped up a bit. When work is so much fun, you work with amazing people, who are firing on all cylinders, you don’t realize the hours you’re putting in! ☺

Come join us! There has never been a better time to be in our industry 👇

The Five Best Things

  1. Nvidia’s investor day 2021 presentation

  2. Cade Metz, Wired.com: The Secret Auction That Set Off the Race for AI Supremacy

    • Byline: How the shape of deep learning—and the fate of the tech industry—went up for sale in Harrah's Room 731, on the shores of Lake Tahoe.

    • A short, gripping read about the genesis of the arms race (for data, ML model sizes, money, talent - however you like to think about it) in deep learning. Geoff Hinton, Professor at the University of Toronto and his student Alex Krizhevsky showed how promising deep learning techniques can be in 2012 by winning the ImageNet competition (using Nvidia GPUs). This kicked off a bidding war among the usual suspects of the tech industry to hire him, and allowed Baidu to emerge as a serious contender in ML.

  3. Sam Altman, Moore’s Law For Everything

    • Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI and previous CEO of venerated tech industry incubator YCombinator penned this essay a few weeks ago, putting forth his views on the socioeconomic changes about to be unleashed by large scale machine learning, how society is unprepared for this, and ideas on how we can adapt quickly.

      • The crux of his proposal for prosperity is below.

        We could do something called the American Equity Fund. The American Equity Fund would be capitalized by taxing companies above a certain valuation 2.5% of their market value each year, payable in shares transferred to the fund, and by taxing 2.5% of the value of all privately-held land, payable in dollars.

        All citizens over 18 would get an annual distribution, in dollars and company shares, into their accounts. People would be entrusted to use the money however they needed or wanted—for better education, healthcare, housing, starting a company, whatever. Rising costs in government-funded industries would face real pressure as more people chose their own services in a competitive marketplace.

      • Sam thinks, by his math, every American adult would get an yearly $13,500 “AI dividend” in a decade. Personally, I think his proposal which involves taxing company equity, ignores inflation, legislative hurdles, lobbying, demographic trends, immigration and the fact that most companies today have significant international presence. But the spirit of creative solutioning should be applauded.

  4. Jamin Ball: A Look Back at Q4 '20 Public Cloud Earnings

  5. WSJ: Betsy Cohen Has Launched Nine SPACs and Is Still Going

    • A great spotlight on Betsy Cohen, a 79-year old banker, and one of the earliest investors to understand the potential of SPACs in 2015. The 50-year baking, law and real estate titan, and grandmother of 9, has launched 9 SPACs so far. Amazing!

Honorable Mentions

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this post are my own and do not represent my employer.