A Friday series exploring Startups and the people who make them go. Read allIf the Shoe Fits posts here.
I have some great links for you today.
Yes, I realize I’m preaching to the choir and that those who really need to see this won’t.
Unless, of course, you forward it to where it’s most needed.
I’m sure you are tired of my griping (ranting?) about the bro culture, but maybe you’ll feel better knowing that bro culture dates back to ancient Greece, although knowing doesn’t make it any more palatable.
Philosophers are the original, archetypal “brilliant jerks.” And hundreds of years have done little to change that.
So what does a life of true brilliance, genius, if you prefer, look like?
It looks like Robert W. Taylor (died 4/2017) who, in 1968 said, “In a few years,” he wrote, “men will be able to communicate more effectively through a machine than face to face,” and then proceeded to make sure it happened.
In 1946, a 23-year-old Army veteran named John Goodenough headed to the University of Chicago with a dream of studying physics. When he arrived, a professor warned him that he was already too old to succeed in the field.
Recently, Dr. Goodenough recounted that story for me and then laughed uproariously. He ignored the professor’s advice and today, at 94, has just set the tech industry abuzz with his blazing creativity. He and his team at the University of Texas at Austin filed a patent application on a new kind of battery that, if it works as promised, would be so cheap, lightweight and safe that it would revolutionize electric cars and kill off petroleum-fueled vehicles. His announcement has caused a stir, in part, because Dr. Goodenough has done it before. In 1980, at age 57, he coinvented the lithium-ion battery that shrank power into a tiny package.
Stupid professor, along with as all those who believe that creativity is an act reserved for the young.
How many times have you heard founders say similar things?
Yup, it reads like a generic laundry list of the reasons “why startups fail.”
And they end the post with a fervent Valley paean to failure.
At Cards Against Humanity, we believe that you can only become a master by trying and failing. In this way, failure is life’s greatest teacher; failure is actually success. At Cards Against Humanity, we fail all the time. We are veterans of failure. And constant failure, plus unlimited capital, is what led us to greatness.
Now you know why this post is called “if the shoe fits”…
In the 20th century we measured work done by the number of hours each employee logged. (…) This was perpetuated by managers and CEOs who had no other norms and never considered that managing this way was actually less effective than the alternatives.
Blank recommends three actions to start building a better measurement system than hours.
Define the output you want for the company getting input from each department/division
Define the output you want for each department
Ensure that the system does not create unintended consequences
I’m not a fan of a lot of AI, especially chatbots.
Most have speech patterns similar to human speech, lousy diction and rapid speech, which leaves most people with poor hearing our in the cold
And I find them relatively dumb.
Most of us have had run-ins with unhelpful customer service chatbots; the ones that are unable to respond to any but the most mundane quarries — which is why I usually just start by saying ‘representative’ until I get to a human.
I have no understanding why it is better to talk to your TV, rather than use the remote.
The first thing many of my friends and family do on a new iPhone is turn off Siri,
I know that many people love them, which is fine with me; whatever floats your boat.
An artificial-intelligence lawyer chatbot has successfully contested 160,000 parking tickets across London and New York for free, showing that chatbots can actually be useful.
That’s useful. And free.
Still more interesting is the fact that its creator is a 19 year old, with a history of using his skills creating tools for nonprofits, since he was 13.
I may be a digital dinosaur, but I’m not to old to learn and change.
Hopefully, this kind of usefulness is the future of bots.
And who knows. Perhaps by the time I need assistance the young developers will take into account the millions of hearing-challenged people who will be their biggest market, especially in healthcare and daily living.
Arcade City Austin / Request a Ride is a Facebook group that has grown rapidly in the weeks following Uber’s and Lyft’s departures. The group, which requires approval to join, is currently populated by more than 33,000 members who use the group to find rides to and from their destinations.
Beyond that effort, there is Zipcar, getme, Fare, Fasten, Wingz, zTrip, RideAustin and InstaRyde riding into town (if not already there) and all willingly complying with the required fingerprint background check.
“So I say we are going to IPO as late as humanly possible. It’ll be one day before my employees and significant others come to my office with pitchforks and torches. We will IPO the day before that. Do you get it?”
Graham discounts the world, the people in it and innovation itself.
Kalanick plans Uber’s IPO with no consideration of the economy, competitors or the speed at which things change.
Graham’s words have already come back to bite him; Kalanick’s probably will, too.