Category: The Spectator

In Good Times, FOMO beats Diligence


This post is by Om Malik from On my Om


red and blue light streaks
Photo by Maxim Hopman on Unsplash

Ever since the FTX story broke, I have had two recurring thoug. This energy companyrace reminds me of Enron, the energy company that wanted to make markets in everything — especially in gullibility. I wrote about their remarkable similarities in my piece for The Spectator, which is a new outlet where I have recently become a contributor.  

In my piece, I wrote:

“Tiger Global, Sequoia Capital, Softbank, Lightspeed, Temasek, Blackrock and others invested over a billion in the company which at one time was valued at $32 billion. FTX and Alameda Research’s intermingled ownership should have raised eyebrows, but history shows greed trumps diligence.”

According to media reports, Sequoia wrote off its entire $213.5 million investment in the company. The question is not just Sequoia, but how did all these giants of risk capitalism not notice the most basic of all risks? They aren’t alone: FTX investor is a who’s who of Silicon Valley and technology investing.

And no, I don’t include SoftBank in that list. The Vision Fund might as well rename itself a “vision less” fund, for they have shown a great propensity for losing a lot of other people’s money. The other investors, however, did surprise me. Paradigm is likely going to lose its $278 million investment. And they were the crypto experts. So many of the crypto insiders I have spoken to have nothing kind to say about SBF and aren’t surprised that a strong puff of wind (Read more...)

Augmenting (our) Intelligence


This post is by Om Malik from On my Om


The popular narrative these days is that AI (aka artificial intelligence) is evil and will end the human race. To paraphrase a roman leader, the only thing to fear is the fear itself. As I have said before (on multiple occasions), AI will be a necessary co-pilot in our increasingly digitized, highly networked, and data-saturated world.

I think of AI as augmented intelligence, and I am hopeful it will help us make substantial gains in dealing with our medical needs, climate-related challenges, and everything else. I make my case over on The Spectator in my latest piece, Why we should stop worrying and learn to love AI.

Previously: The Hype and Hope of Artificial Intelligence, The New Yorker. (2016)

Apple’s Golden Noose


This post is by Om Malik from On my Om


One of the first & best lessons you get as a young business reporter: follow the money. I have never forgotten that. It is a handy lens – you can zoom in or out when trying to understand something. (1)

Using that approach, I looked at Apple’s recent moves. Especially around advertising. One can get lost in the outrage over Apple’s push to advertising — the Internet’s first original sin, but the question is why? (2)

From privacy (theater) to tussle with Facebook nee Meta to risking antagonizing its current customer base, if you zoom out, you start to see a reason behind Apple’s moves. (3)

The same reason has pushed Apple’s foray into payments, credit cards, and buy no later pay offerings. By following the money, it is easy to see that Apple has a golden noose around its neck. (4)

In my debut piece for The Spectator World, the US edition of the world’s oldest magazine, I explain Apple’s dilemma and why it has to do what it is doing. (Registration Required.)

August 24, 2022. San Francisco