It’s May 1st, and we are well on our way to summer.
As you may be aware, India is currently in the throes of a terrible second wave of Covid-19. Cases are climbing exponentially every day, the hospital system has collapsed, many large cities have reinstated lock downs and oxygen has run out. How did it get so bad, when just a few weeks ago things seemed to be under control? Premature relaxation, lack of preparedness, and a glacial pace of vaccinations.
Thank you to those who checked in on me and my family; if you would like to help, I suggest donating via the Give India website.
It was very jarring to hear the initial U.S. response harken back to the Trump America First era; after two days of negative coverage, there was backtracking and this statement issued from the office of Vice President Harris, herself of Indian origin.
The Five Best Things
President Biden spoke to Congress and painted the broad strokes of his policy agenda for the next 4 years. Ray Dalio succinctly makes the case for analogizing between FDR and Biden, and Noah Smith explains that the key tenets of the economic vision are 1. Cash benefits for those who need them 2. Stimulating the market for caregiving jobs, which are least likely to be shipped overseas 3. Government as an Investment Bank.
River’s Educational Channel: OpenAI-powered Linux shell uses AI to Do What You Mean
Backed by Open AI’s GPT natural language Machine Learning models, someone developed a Unix shell with a wrapper that interprets natural language commands and turns them into actual unix commands. The demo below is really cool, including the bit where they send a rickroll to Jeff Bezos..
Of course the shell prompt is “aish” for AI Shell, which means I have become one with Skynet.
Everett Randle: Playing Different Games
Tiger Global, a venture capital firm has been in the news of late for their fast and aggressive investing style. This piece makes the case that while institutionalist venture capitalists might pooh-pooh Tiger’s approach today, they will soon find themselves disrupted by the capital velocity moat that Tiger is building.
On the contrary, we are seeing the emergence of a new velocity-focused strategy in the venture/growth asset class that will fundamentally change the way that venture capital is raised. By breaking many long-held but outdated rules & norms of venture/growth investing, Tiger has developed a flywheel that enables them to offer a better/faster/cheaper product to founders while generating more $ gains than their competitors. Tiger is eating VC, and with the right context, I think it’s clear why.
Texas Monthly: Fifty Years Ago a Texan Changed Happy Hour Forever
A lovely article recounting how Mariano Martinez, proprietor of Mariano’s Mexican Cuisine restaurant in Dallas, invented the world’s first frozen margarita machine.
Growing up in Texas, being bullied for his skin color and forced to assimilate into the Anglo community, Martinez dropped out of high school and got into the restaurant business. The popularity of margaritas wore out the wait staff, prompting Martinez to look for alternatives. A chance encounter with a Slushee machine at 7-11, and the rest is history.
The machine is now hosted in the National Museum of American History, in Washington, D.C.
Chris Paik: Frameworks v0.2
A great set of mental models and frameworks for making decisions in the midst of ambiguity. There are several concepts synthesized from economics, math, physics and psychology in this short but dense document. It took me a while to get through, because at every section I paused to map back to analogous situations in my life and career. I think this is a document I will refer back to for many years going forward.
Visual Capitalist: The State of Small Business Recovery in America; a tale of two graphs showcasing heartache and resiliency. Nationwide, 34% of small businesses that closed during Covid-19 remain closed; new business formations have more than doubled in the same period.
NYTimes: Daniel Kaminsky, Internet Security Savior, Dies at 42 Dan Kaminsky was a child prodigy who discovered and patched a major security flaw in the internet’s website registry system (or DNS). He eschewed big tech salaries, opting instead to work at his own consulting firm and mentoring upcoming generations of white hats.
Hollywood Reporter: 'Citizen Kane' Loses Perfect Rotten Tomatoes Score Thanks to Resurfaced 80-Year-Old Review Rotten Tomatoes has unearthed a 1941 review of Orson Welles' classic that single-handedly took down its decades-long perfect critics' score.
Washington Post: Harriet Tubman’s lost Maryland home found, archaeologists say A short gripping read on the archaeologist who excavated abolitionist Harriet Tubman’s father’s home, along with artifacts that prove to the pivotal role played by her father.
Vogue: Meet the Beauty Community That Just Wants You to Finish Your Makeup A spotlight on the quirky reddit community r/panporn that celebrates old and used makeup. It’s rare to see a Reddit group that is so overwhelmingly female.
Startup stock options with SecFi a good primer on how best to value and manage stock options at a startup, should you happen to work at one.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this post are my own and do not represent my employer.