Quantopian and Steve Cohen

Quantopian has a big announcement today.  The company will manage up to $250 million of investment capital, provided by Steve Cohen. The investment capital will be allocated to members of Quantopian who create successful trading algorithms on the Quantopian platform. The algorithm authors own all their own IP and are paid a royalty if they decide they want to accept investment capital to power their algorithm. The WSJ has more details. My favorite pull quote from the article is where they describe the backgrounds of successful algorithm authors:
[T]he creators of winning algorithms include a mechanical engineer with a Ph.D. in computational fluid dynamics in Sydney, a data scientist at an internet mapping company in Denver and a consultant in Malta with a master’s degree in mineral and energy economics

If you see yourself echoed in the description of these folks and have been curious about algorithmic trading, explore Continue reading "Quantopian and Steve Cohen"

Privacy Model for Notifications

We live in a weird new era where I nearly always have full control of what information I share and whom I share it with (assuming I have an indefatigable interest in navigating permissions settings for my various social services), but I have no control over my information once it leaves me.  The consumption of my social content is entirely controlled by my followers, not me. This control model is simultaneously intuitive, correct, and disconcerting. A classic example that comes up frequently for me is location. I’m perfectly fine with sharing my location with my friends through foursquare/swarm. I update Swarm multiple times per day and derive a lot of value from doing so. But I think it’s odd that, for people who have updates from me set to always notify them, some folks are constantly being reminded of my location, buzzing away in their pocket. This problem is not Continue reading "Privacy Model for Notifications"

The Unbiased Algorithm is a Myth

The Unbiased Algorithm is a Myth:

I published another longer read over on Medium.  Syndicating here for Tumblr followers and email subscribers.  

Related lazy-web request: does anyone know a good way to mix together the RSS feeds of Tumblr and Medium so that I don’t have to do these cross posts for my Feedburner email subscribers?

The Unbiased Algorithm is a Myth

The Unbiased Algorithm is a Myth: I published another longer read over on Medium.  Syndicating here for Tumblr followers and email subscribers.   Related lazy-web request: does anyone know a good way to mix together the RSS feeds of Tumblr and Medium so that I don’t have to do these cross posts for my Feedburner email subscribers?

The Darwinism of Encryption (Or… Why It Doesn’t Matter If You Side With Apple or The FBI)

I’ve restrained my commentary on the Apple/FBI encryption debate to tweets so far, but I couldn’t find a way to say this in 140 characters, so blog post it is. Digital communication is running a multi-decade inevitable march towards end-to-end encryption. In the beginning when the first ever TCP/IP packets were scooting around the ARPANET, all communication happened in the clear, unencrypted. There were no bad actors on the network; it was just a bunch of altruistic geeks freely routing forward each others’ packets (both academics and military, but all geeks nonetheless) cooperating together. After initial attacks against the network, it quickly became clear that one could not assume the man in the middle of your network path was your friend, and encryption started to emerge as a second layer of abstraction on top of TCP/IP (the military started first).  Fast forward to today, and much of the basic Continue reading "The Darwinism of Encryption (Or… Why It Doesn’t Matter If You Side With Apple or The FBI)"

Podcast with Nick Moran

Nick Moran keeps a great podcast about VC and startups called Full Ratchet (the name is in reference to a particularly thorny term in venture deals… I hope you never need to face it).  He interviewed me a few weeks back, and Part I just went live today. Check it out. Part II coming tomorrow.

This chart from fivethirtyeight shows a histogram of movie…



This chart from fivethirtyeight shows a histogram of movie reviews from 5 different sources. The reason they made this chart is to show that aggregated reviews on Fandango are skewed too high and thus untrustworthy (which is an appropriate conclusion). But I find this chart interesting for a different reason. The disproportionate 3.5 star reviews from IMDB and Metacritic caught my attention. My partner Mo once asked my opinion of something by saying, “What’s your rating from 1 - 10 in a world of no sevens.” I didn’t quite follow at first, but then he explained that a rating of “seven” in general is like a non-answer. It’s safely positively neutral in a way that contains very little signal. If you can’t say “seven,” but you think seven is what you would say, you’re forced off the fence into either a “six” or an “eight.” It’s a Continue reading "This chart from fivethirtyeight shows a histogram of movie…"

Why Mobile-Optimized Works (pt 2)

Yesterday I wrote a post showing how companies’ mobile-optimized websites are generally better than their desktop websites when viewed from a desktop browser.  It’s a somewhat dramatic conclusion to make given that companies usually have a comparatively rag-tag team focused on mobile-optimized design (all the mobile efforts typically get aimed towards App design instead of mobile-optimized design) in comparison to the richer and more established desktop design efforts.  Why would the output of an afterthought team be better for a desktop than the hard-earned, constantly-A-B-tested, decade-long-work-of-love from the desktop web design team? I think there’s a few reasons:
  1. Constraints are good.  When you’re designing for less screen real-estate, you are forced to make tough choices.  For example, you can’t decorate the right rail of a webpage with 20 junk-drawer menu links on mobile because there isn’t enough screen real estate for a right rail at all.  When you’re forced to Continue reading "Why Mobile-Optimized Works (pt 2)"

Mobile Optimized is the New Ideal Desktop Browsing Experience

When cruising through my Twitter feed on my desktop, I click on links that sometimes drop me on mobile-optimized pages. They are so much better designed than their desktop counterparts. These clicks inspired me to spend 5 minutes exploring the design contrasts at some of the most common sites I use.

Wikipedia: Here’s the normal Wikipedia experience in my browser…

… and here’s the equivalent mobile-optimized Wikipedia entry as viewed from my desktop browser. 


NYTimes: Here’s the normal NYTimes experience in my browser…

… and here’s the equivalent mobile-optimized NYTimes story as viewed from my desktop browser.  


Amazon: Here’s the normal Amazon experience in my browser…

… and here’s the equivalent mobile-optimized Amazon product page as viewed from my desktop browser.  

For this last amazon example, I couldn’t simply rewrite my url to visit m.amazon.com (which was my methodology for the first two examples). Amazon’s Continue reading "Mobile Optimized is the New Ideal Desktop Browsing Experience"

Mobile Optimized is the New Ideal Desktop Browsing Experience

When cruising through my Twitter feed on my desktop, I click on links that sometimes drop me on mobile-optimized pages. They are so much better designed than their desktop counterparts. These clicks inspired me to spend 5 minutes exploring the design contrasts at some of the most common sites I use. Wikipedia: Here’s the normal Wikipedia experience in my browser…
… and here’s the equivalent mobile-optimized Wikipedia entry as viewed from my desktop browser. 

NYTimes: Here’s the normal NYTimes experience in my browser…
… and here’s the equivalent mobile-optimized NYTimes story as viewed from my desktop browser.  

Amazon: Here’s the normal Amazon experience in my browser…
… and here’s the equivalent mobile-optimized Amazon product page as viewed from my desktop browser.  
For this last amazon example, I couldn’t simply rewrite my url to visit m.amazon.com (which was my methodology for the first two examples). Amazon’s Continue reading "Mobile Optimized is the New Ideal Desktop Browsing Experience"

Creativity Today

Steven Johnson has an excellent long read coming up this weekend in the NYT Magazine.  It’s available online now.  Its title says exactly what it’s about: The Creative Apocalypse That Wasn’t.  In short, Napster was supposed to be a harbinger of doom for all creative talent as piracy and digital boogeymen were going to mean the end of any viable revenue streams in the creative industries. Steven explores digital implications for music, movies, books, and television in a pre-Internet context compared to today. It’s just great; I’ll refrain from stealing his thunder on conclusions (if the title didn’t already tell you everything). Reading Steven’s piece, at the very end he had a tiny throwaway line about how two musicians separated by the Atlantic can collaborate on a work today, but he never elaborates on this half-sentence at all. I was instantly reminded of a recent episode of Song Exploder (a Continue reading "Creativity Today"

Creativity Today

Steven Johnson has an excellent long read coming up this weekend in the NYT Magazine.  It’s available online now.  Its title says exactly what it’s about: The Creative Apocalypse That Wasn’t.  In short, Napster was supposed to be a harbinger of doom for all creative talent as piracy and digital boogeymen were going to mean the end of any viable revenue streams in the creative industries. Steven explores digital implications for music, movies, books, and television in a pre-Internet context compared to today. It’s just great; I’ll refrain from stealing his thunder on conclusions (if the title didn’t already tell you everything).

Reading Steven’s piece, at the very end he had a tiny throwaway line about how two musicians separated by the Atlantic can collaborate on a work today, but he never elaborates on this half-sentence at all. I was instantly reminded of a recent episode of Song Exploder (a Continue reading "Creativity Today"

Thoughts On Digital Healthcare

Jonathan Libov of USV and Angela Tran Kingyens of Version One Ventures are collaborating on a mini-series of long reads that they are calling On Digital Healthcare.  They released Part 1 today (about Mobile Endpoints) and you can subscribe to updates via email as they are released on their site. It’s terrific, and I’m delighted they’re sharing their thoughts about this meaty and tangled subject with the world. I just finished reading the first installment and found myself eager to leave a comment making a few points. But, as I started to type, my increasing disillusion with commenting took over, and I decided to migrate my thoughts to my own blog. So, If you’re interested in what I have to say here, I’d recommend pausing to go read On Digital Healthcare, and then coming back. … Welcome back :). I was struck by a few thoughts as I digested this Continue reading "Thoughts On Digital Healthcare"

Thoughts On Digital Healthcare

Jonathan Libov of USV and Angela Tran Kingyens of Version One Ventures are collaborating on a mini-series of long reads that they are calling On Digital Healthcare.  They released Part 1 today (about Mobile Endpoints) and you can subscribe to updates via email as they are released on their site. It’s terrific, and I’m delighted they’re sharing their thoughts about this meaty and tangled subject with the world.

I just finished reading the first installment and found myself eager to leave a comment making a few points. But, as I started to type, my increasing disillusion with commenting took over, and I decided to migrate my thoughts to my own blog. So, If you’re interested in what I have to say here, I’d recommend pausing to go read On Digital Healthcare, and then coming back.

Welcome back :). I was struck by a few thoughts as I digested this Continue reading "Thoughts On Digital Healthcare"

Panorama Education

Nearly all successful modern companies employ some variation of a build-measure-learn feedback cycle.  It’s a cycle that iterates as follows: you take an initial position on what your product should be and build it. Then, you measure your target audience’s response and interaction with the product. Then, you analyze your data measurements to figure out where your initial hypothesis was right or wrong and use the learnings from this analysis to inform that next iteration of the product. The cycle is now complete and begins anew. 

Because this cycle is so fundamental to offering a great experience to customers, all companies purchase analytics of one flavor or another. It’s an essential component to building anything. Lacking great analytics, a company is flying blind.

Education is no different. In the market of providing education to students, schools need to engage in a build-measure-learn feedback cycle. This is not a new Continue reading "Panorama Education"

Panorama Education

Nearly all successful modern companies employ some variation of a build-measure-learn feedback cycle.  It’s a cycle that iterates as follows: you take an initial position on what your product should be and build it. Then, you measure your target audience’s response and interaction with the product. Then, you analyze your data measurements to figure out where your initial hypothesis was right or wrong and use the learnings from this analysis to inform that next iteration of the product. The cycle is now complete and begins anew. 

Because this cycle is so fundamental to offering a great experience to customers, all companies purchase analytics of one flavor or another. It’s an essential component to building anything. Lacking great analytics, a company is flying blind.

Education is no different. In the market of providing education to students, schools need to engage in a build-measure-learn feedback cycle. This is not a new Continue reading "Panorama Education"

Panorama Education

Nearly all successful modern companies employ some variation of a build-measure-learn feedback cycle.  It’s a cycle that iterates as follows: you take an initial position on what your product should be and build it. Then, you measure your target audience’s response and interaction with the product. Then, you analyze your data measurements to figure out where your initial hypothesis was right or wrong and use the learnings from this analysis to inform that next iteration of the product. The cycle is now complete and begins anew.  Because this cycle is so fundamental to offering a great experience to customers, all companies purchase analytics of one flavor or another. It’s an essential component to building anything. Lacking great analytics, a company is flying blind. Education is no different. In the market of providing education to students, schools need to engage in a build-measure-learn feedback cycle. This is not a new Continue reading "Panorama Education"

Panorama Education

Nearly all successful modern companies employ some variation of a build-measure-learn feedback cycle.  It’s a cycle that iterates as follows: you take an initial position on what your product should be and build it. Then, you measure your target audience’s response and interaction with the product. Then, you analyze your data measurements to figure out where your initial hypothesis was right or wrong and use the learnings from this analysis to inform that next iteration of the product. The cycle is now complete and begins anew. 

Because this cycle is so fundamental to offering a great experience to customers, all companies purchase analytics of one flavor or another. It’s an essential component to building anything. Lacking great analytics, a company is flying blind.

Education is no different. In the market of providing education to students, schools need to engage in a build-measure-learn feedback cycle. This is not a new Continue reading "Panorama Education"