Year: 2022

Gladwell gives us a reason to revisit the Grandiosity/Contribution Ratio



Andrew Gelman has an excellent take-down of a recent Malcolm Gladwell essay. I may dive in with my own criticisms of Gladwell's arguments, but for now here's some context on one passage that particularly bothered Gelman.

"It has become fashionable to deride today’s tech C.E.O.s for their grandiose ambitions: colonizing Mars, curing all human disease, digging a world-class tunnel. But shouldn’t we prefer these outsized delusions to the moral impoverishment of Welch’s era?"

The Martian stuff is too big a topic for the moment, but the Boring Company is and has always been a Theranos-style exercise in promising incredible (in both senses of the word) proposed advances with no idea how to actually achieve them. As with Holmes, Musk used this snake oil to raise hundreds of millions in funding, but the real pay-off was in maintaining Musk's reputation as a real life Tony Stark, which props up the valuation of Tesla making Musk the richest man in the world (as long as the stock price holds).

This recent WSJ expose provides a detailed overview of the scam.

As for the origin of the "curing all human disease" line...


Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The Grandiosity/Contribution Ratio

From Gizmodo [emphasis added]
Zuck and Priscilla laid out the schematics for this effort on Facebook Live. The plan will be part of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and will be called simply “Chan Zuckerberg Science.” The goal, (Read more...)

Accounting (and small business)


This post is by Seth Godin from Seth's Blog


Every small business needs a bookkeeper, but few take appropriate advantage of accounting.

Accounting is a way to turn organized books into insight. Particularly:

  1. It can help us make decisions. Any data that isn’t going to help you make a decision is worth ignoring. More granularity isn’t better granularity.
  2. It can help us understand our cash flows. In any given moment, we know very little about a business. But over time, we can see how assets and expenses flow–and that flow is insight about what we own, what it’s worth and what could improve (see #1.)
  3. It can implement systems that build trust. When we know who is spending what and when and why, it’s easier stop micromanaging and focus on #1 instead.
  4. We can get better at predicting the future. Budgets based on past experiences are more likely to be accurate than those we simply make up in the moment.

The reasons search seems to be getting worse


This post is by Seth Godin from Seth's Blog


Even with the powerful Ecosia engine, but especially with Google and Amazon, it’s getting rarer and rarer that a search feels as though it finds just the right site or product or information on the very first try. There are a few reasons for this:

  1. Our expectations are higher. Even a good search doesn’t feel the way it used to. Amaze us a few times and we get hooked on being amazed. It’s tough to top the extraordinary results that we became used to. In the last two years, I’ve done 10,000+ searches on Ecosia, so it’s easy to get jaded.
  2. The search engines are selling us out. They’ve discovered that selling ads to entities who lose at a given search is pretty profitable, so the non-organic results that are crowding out our searches are of course not as good as the ones we would have found for ‘free’.
  3. The manufacturers of products and the creators of sites are getting better and better at gaming the search engines. Not just fake books on Amazon that pretend to be what you were after, but entire product lines and industries built with winning at search as their core competency. You see it in any media ecosystem where search is profitable. Organizations built on more, want more.
  4. Lack of competition. Once a big organization wins at something, they shift their focus and work to profit from it, not improve it. Instead of fighting #3 and walking away from #2, the leaders at search (Read more...)

Associate – .406 Ventures



We are .406 Ventures, a Boston-based venture capital partnership that focuses on early-stage investing in three enterprise-focused verticals: healthcare, data & cloud, and cybersecurity. We are passionate about finding and supporting the world’s best founders as they build game-changing companies that solve critical challenges in our focus areas.

You are a self-starter with a strong work ethic who is passionate about investing in and supporting early-stage companies. You’re intellectually curious with previous experience in one or more of our verticals. You’re a team player who is also comfortable working with others, but also taking ownership over critical workstreams, and you hold yourself to the highest personal and professional standards. You’re able to work in-person in our Boston office, and you have:

  • Experience analyzing businesses for investment, ideally including previous work history in venture capital/private equity, investment banking, and/or corporate development.
  • Excellent organizational skills and exceptional attention to detail.
  • Comfort with a data-driven approach to problem solving.
  • A desire to work in a fast-paced environment.

What you’ll do.  As an Associate, you will be a critical member of the .406 investment team. Your responsibilities will include:

  • Market research and thesis development: research and identify enterprise customer needs and market discontinuities that signal opportunities for start-up innovation; find and engage startups addressing those needs, and occasionally work with .406 team to create a de novo
  • Due diligence: build financial models, size market opportunities, analyze competitive landscapes, and make reference calls. You will also craft investment memoranda and presentation materials to (Read more...)

Ranked: The World’s Largest Copper Producers


This post is by Bruno Venditti from Visual Capitalist


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Visualizing the World’s Largest Copper Producers

Visualizing the World’s Largest Copper Producers

This was originally posted on Elements. Sign up to the free mailing list to get beautiful visualizations on natural resource megatrends in your email every week.

Man has relied on copper since prehistoric times. It is a major industrial metal with many applications due to its high ductility, malleability, and electrical conductivity.

Many new technologies critical to fighting climate change, like solar panels and wind turbines, rely on the red metal.

But where does the copper we use come from? Using the U.S. Geological Survey’s data, the above infographic lists the world’s largest copper producing countries in 2021.

The Countries Producing the World’s Copper

Many everyday products depend on minerals, including mobile phones, laptops, homes, and automobiles. Incredibly, every American requires 12 pounds of copper each year to maintain their standard of living.

North, South, and Central America dominate copper production, as these regions collectively host 15 of the 20 largest copper mines.

Chile is the top copper producer in the world, with 27% of global copper production. In addition, the country is home to the two largest mines in the world, Escondida and Collahuasi.

Chile is followed by another South American country, Peru, responsible for 10% of global production.

RankCountry2021E Copper Production (Million tonnes)Share
#1🇨🇱 Chile5.627%
#2🇵🇪 Peru2.210%
#3🇨🇳 China1.88%
#4🇨🇩 DRC1.88%
#5🇺🇸 United States1.26%
#6🇦🇺 Australia (Read more...)

The Biggest Carbon Emitters, By Sector


This post is by Tessa Di Grandi from Visual Capitalist


The following content is sponsored by Northstar Clean Technologies

The Biggest Carbon Emitters, By Sector

It’s no secret that greenhouse gas emissions need to decrease drastically in order to fight the effects of climate change.

As countries across the globe ramp up efforts to reduce global warming, every industry needs to do its part. So who’s lagging and who’s leading?

Although often less discussed, the manufacturing and construction sector is a large contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions.

The above graphic from Northstar Clean Technologies takes a look at the biggest contributors by sector in relation to greenhouse gas emissions.

Breakdown Of Emissions

The manufacturing and construction sector is a growing one, and as population and infrastructure expand, it’s vital that we take all actionable paths to reduce emissions.

Manufacturing and construction contributed to 6.3 billion tonnes of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2019. Let’s look at the breakdown of greenhouse gas emissions by sector over the years from Our World In Data.

In 2019 electricity and heat were the biggest carbon emitters, while transport came in second place.

Manufacturing and construction overtook the agriculture sector in 2007 to become the third largest contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions.

Building a Solution

One solution to reducing the impact of the manufacturing and construction sector is to repurpose materials. This reduces emissions and waste (Read more...)

Goodbye Spotify


This post is by Om Malik from On my Om


Way back In 1935, genius musician Duke Ellington in an effort to placate two ladies, placed each of them on two sides of his piano, he composed and played a song — In a Sentimental Mood. Such is the magic of the song that nine decades later I can’t stop listening to it — in fact, it was the second most listened to song on my list of the 2,492 songs I listened to on Spotify in 2022, according to their annual musical data story — Wrapped 2022.

There are quite a few nuggets from the story — that are kind cool and amazing to be made aware of — for instance, the artist I listened to the most in 2022 is Eric Hilton, the one half of Thievery Corporation, which has been my most listened to bands for a few years. I guess, I know what I like. In 2022, I tuned more to jazz classics, ambient electronica and ambient classical music for nearly 30,000 minutes. In comparison, in 2019, I listened to 17,126 minutes of music on Spotify. I guess the pandemic and isolation made streaming music a bigger part of my life.

Spotify Wrapped 2022

Spotify’s Wrapped is a data story done right. It is one of the reasons why every year it arrives with much fanfare. Though, in 2022 it seems that its arrival has been superseded by the actions of a growing army of tech’s bad boys. Lars Mensel, a Berlin-based designer, writer and (Read more...)