Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Shamitabh: Amitabh

Monday, December 29, 2014

Alexander Gerst’s Earth timelapses

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Air Quality In NYC: Thoroughly Bad

Not as bad as in Beijing, I will give you that, but it is pretty bad. And there is no escaping it. Where will you go? How far will you go?


I have been thinking about this a lot these past few days. I just found my first big gripe about NYC.  Well, not just. But I am choosing to get vocal about it. The only solution is 100% electric cars.

Look closer.






I was on Rockaway Beach earlier today. And I am thinking, am I breathing the cleanest air known to a New Yorker? It is a great place. You are so close to the JFK airport. Would be a great location to my world travel phase of life, to be launched in a few years.

Manhattan is the least attractive part of NYC when it comes to air quality. All those yellow cabs can be blamed.

Is New Jersey cleaner than most parts of NYC?



Rockaway Beach also would be a great place to go jogging. You would not hurt your knees. Hard surfaces are not great. The beach is better than any park. Awesome view, clean air, soft ground.

I took the Q53 bus.


10 Tips For Home Indoor Air Quality
Indoor Air Quality

Went For A Walk Yesterday

Album







Dennis Crowley Spotted At NYU ITP Winter Show

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Entrepreneur, Serial Entrepreneur, SuperEntrepreneur

I think being an entrepreneur is like being gay. Scientists say one out of 100 people are born gay. I think it is a similar ratio for entrepreneurs. Only one out of 100 people are entrepreneurs. You can not convince someone to become an entrepreneur, you can not train someone to become an entrepreneur, you can only discover them, help them, support them, aid them, nurture them, nourish them.

We all know New York City is part of the United States. But I think of New York City as a separate country altogether, it is so different from the rest of America, it is so different from even the other big cities in America. There is nothing quite like it.

Entrepreneurs are Homo Sapiens, we know that. But I think of them as a separate species. Entrepreneurs are so different from other people. You can feel it when you interact with them.

There are entrepreneurs, there are serial entrepreneurs and there are SuperEntrepreneurs. A SuperEntrepreneur not only builds a great company, or a set of great, big companies, but also builds a constellation of entrepreneurs around him/her.

It is like there are stars in the universe and then there are SuperStars.

The market value of a company is a good measure of the entrepreneur behind that company.




Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Collateral: Soundtrack


Vivek Wadhwa: The Smartest Dude In Silicon Valley

(reprinted without permission)

If I am an optimist, it is because Vivek is looking into his crystal ball. I want this guy on my company's Board so bad!



"New trillion-dollar industries will come out of nowhere and wipe out existing trillion-dollar industries."






2014 is ending, but this wave of technology disruptions is just beginning

Dec 22, 2014 23,004 Views 732 Likes 153 Comments

Changes in technology are happening at a scale which was unimaginable before and will cause disruption in industry after industry. This has really begun to worry me, because we are not ready for this change and most of our leading companies won’t exist 15–20 years from now. Here are five sectors to keep an eye on:

1. Let’s start with manufacturing.

Robotics and 3-D printing have made it cheaper to manufacture in the United States and Europe than in China. Robots such as Baxter, from Rethink Robotics, and UR10, from Universal Robots, have arms; screens which show you their emotions; and sensors that detect what is happening around them. The cost of operating these is less than the cost of human labor. We can now have robots working 24×7 and doing some of the work of humans. Over time, these robots will become ever more sophisticated and do most human jobs. The manufacturing industry is surely going to be disrupted in a very big way. This is good news for America, Europe, and parts of Asia, because it will become a local industry. But this will be bad for the Chinese economy — which is largely dependent on manufacturing jobs.

In the next decade, robots will likely go on strike, because we won’t need them anymore. They will be replaced by 3D printers. Within 15 to 20 years, we will even be able to 3D print electronics. Imagine being able to design your own iPhone and print it at home. This is what will become possible.

2. The reinvention of finance.

We are already witnessing a controversy over Bitcoin. Many technology and retail companies are supporting it. Crowdfunding is shaking up the venture-capital industry and making it less relevant because it provides start-ups with an alternative for raising seed capital. We will soon be able to crowdfund loans for houses, cars, and other goods. With cardless transactions for purchasing goods, we won’t need the types of physical banks and financial institutions that we presently have. Banks in the United States seem to be complacent because they have laws protecting them from competition. But our laws don’t apply in other countries. We will see innovations happening abroad which disrupt industries in the United States.

3. Health care.

Apple recently announced Healthkit, its platform for health information. It wants to store data from the wearable sensors that will soon be monitoring our blood pressure, blood oxygenation, heart rhythms, temperature, activity levels, and other symptoms. Google, Microsoft, and Samsung will surely not be left behind and will all compete to provide the best health-data platforms. With these data, they will be able to warn us when we are about to get sick. AI-based physicians will advise us on what we need to do to get healthy.

Medical-test data, especially in fields such as oncology, is often so complex that human doctors cannot understand it. This will become even more difficult when they have genomics data to correlate. Over the last 15 years, the cost of human genome sequencing has dropped from the billions to about a thousand dollars. At the rate at which prices are dropping, the cost of sequencing will be close to zero in a few years and we will all have our genomes sequenced. When you combine these data with the medical-sensor data that the tech companies are collecting on their cloud platforms, we will have a medical revolution. We won’t need doctors for day-to-day medical advice any more. Robotic surgeons will also do the most sophisticated surgeries. We’re going to disrupt the entire health-care system.

4. Now take the energy industry.

Five years ago, we were worried about America running out of oil; today we’re talking about Saudi America — because of fracking. Yes, fracking is a harmful technology; nevertheless it has allowed America to become energy independent and will soon make it an energy exporter. And then there is solar energy, which some people have become negative about. But it is a fact solar prices have dropped about 97 percent over the past 35 years, and, at the rate at which solar is advancing, by the end of this decade we will achieve grid parity across the United States. Grid parity means it’s cheaper to produce energy at home on your solar cells than to buy it from utilities. Move forward another 10 or 20 years, and it will costs a fraction as much to produce your own energy as to buy it from the grid. This means that the utility companies will be in serious trouble. This is why they are beginning to fight the introduction of solar. If solar keeps advancing in the way it is, it will eclipse the fossil-fuel industry. Solar is only one of maybe a hundred advancing technologies that could disrupt the energy industry.

When we have unlimited energy, we can have unlimited clean water, because we can simply boil as much ocean water as we want. We can afford to grow food locally in vertical farms. This can be 100 percent organic, because we won’t need insecticides in the sealed farm buildings. Imagine also being able to 3D print meat and not having to slaughter animals. This will transform and disrupt agriculture and the entire food-production industry.

5. Communications.

Yes, even this industry will be disrupted. Note how AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint have seen their landline businesses disappear. These were replaced by mobile—which is now being replaced by data. When I travel abroad, I don’t make long-distance calls any more, because I just call over Skype. Soon we will have WiFi everywhere, thanks to the competition between companies such as AT&T and Google to provide superfast Internet access. We will be able to make free calls over open WiFi networks.

***

In practically every industry that I look at, I see a major disruption happening. I know the world will be very different 15 to 20 years from now. The vast majority of companies who are presently the leaders in their industries will likely not even exist. That is because industry executives either are not aware of the changes that are coming, are reluctant to invest the type of money that is be required for them to reinvent themselves, or are protecting legacy businesses. Most are focused on short-term performance.

New trillion-dollar industries will come out of nowhere and wipe out existing trillion-dollar industries. This is the future we’re headed into, for better or for worse.




Collateral: Music

Monday, December 22, 2014

Le Web 2014: Fred Wilson

Betting On Jack Ma: Jerry Yang's Master Stroke

Jack Ma, Founder of Alibaba Group
Jack Ma, Founder of Alibaba Group (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Entrepreneurs can be great investors. They are out there making moves. Some times they spot opportunities that they themselves can not execute on. There is a reason VCs listen to entrepreneurs they respect when it comes to investment decisions, like whne Peter Thiel listened to Sean Parker and invested 500K in Facebook very early on.

Finding Alibaba: How Jerry Yang Made The Most Lucrative Bet In Silicon Valley History
Yahoo’s board agreed to sell 523 million Alibaba shares, half of its stake, back to Alibaba at $13 apiece. Yang hadn’t been so keen to sell. They did anyway. By then he’d quit the board. Sure enough, Alibaba’s IPO last month rocked global markets. Shares of the Chinese e-commerce giant are now worth around $90. Yahoo still has a 16% stake worth $36 billion, but it left almost as much money on the table–some $35.5 billion–as its entire current market capitalization. ....... When the official history of Silicon Valley is (re)written, it will be hard to judge which of Yang’s achievements is bigger: starting Yahoo or betting early on Jack Ma, chairman and CEO of Alibaba. ....... Nine years ago, before Yang was CEO of Yahoo, he spent $1 billion of Yahoo’s money for 30% of Ma’s company. He knew the asset would be hugely valuable someday and refused to sell Yahoo to Microsoft when Steve Ballmer came calling in 2008, a decision that cost him his CEO job. Yahoo’s current CEO, Marissa Mayer, can do whatever she wants to put a better face on things, but Wall Street has marked her business down to zero. It’s now a proxy for Alibaba, and that was all Yang’s doing. ...... guess who’s getting a seat on Alibaba’s board post-IPO: nobody affiliated with Yahoo except Yang. His clear-eyed and early confidence in Alibaba has brought a whole new appreciation to his role as Silicon Valley’s new East-West power broker..... Yang has deep ties in Asian tech circles and will be there to point Jack Ma and the others in the right direction. ..... Earlier this year Tango, a messaging-app firm in Mountain View, Calif., took on $215 million from Alibaba at a $1 billion valuation, a deal that Yang helped along through his connections to Jack Ma’s deputy. ..... His new role of superangel offers a chance to shed his reputation as a bounced-out business mogul. Under his watch Yahoo steadily lost search and advertising share to Google. It also let Facebook slip through its fingers in 2006 by dithering over a $1 billion price tag. .... “I wanted to get back to being close to entrepreneurs,” says Yang, sipping Taiwanese green tea and ignoring his smartphone for an hour straight. ..... Yahoo’s fortuitous connection with Alibaba would never have happened if a Japanese telecom billionaire named Masayoshi Son hadn’t made a detour to Mountain View in 1995 to sit down with the young Yang and Filo. ..... The next day Son went to Mountain View and had take-out pizza and sodas with the young Yahoo founders. SoftBank invested $2 million for a 5% stake in Yahoo, putting in another $105 million in 1996 and then another $250 million in 1998 to take as much as 37% of the company at one point. ...... While Yahoo Japan began gaining millions of customers, Yang took his first trip to China in 1997. A junior staffer in the economic ministry was assigned to take Yang on a tour of the Great Wall of China. His name was Jack Ma, a former English teacher who had tried and failed to start a Chinese version of the Yellow Pages. ..... “Jack was one of the first people I ever met [in China],” Yang says. ........ Along the hike the two hit it off and talked about the growth of the Web. “He was very curious about what it’s like on the Internet and what the future might be.” Several months later Ma began building another startup based on grand and rather vague plans to connect Chinese companies with the rest of the world. He called it Alibaba. ...... BY THE SPRING OF 1999, the height of the dot-com bubble, Yahoo had bloomed into one of the most popular websites on Earth, and Son was briefly almost as rich as Bill Gates. Ma’s Alibaba outfit was piddling by comparison, just a handful of people working out of his apartment in Hangzhou. ........ But Son found him during his periodic hunts for new investments. After visiting Ma for the first time, Son recalled that he liked “the look in [Ma's] eye” and his “animal smell. It was the same when we invested in Yahoo, when they were still only five or six people.” Son put $20 million into Alibaba, before eventually amassing a 37% stake in the company, even as the dot-com crash wiped 99% off of SoftBank’s market cap and close to 90% of his net worth. ............ The star attraction at the event: Robin Li, CEO of search giant Baidu. Though Ma’s startup had swelled to 2,400 employees and $50 million in sales, Alibaba’s future looked uncertain. EBay had bought Ma’s auction-site rival EachNet two years prior and was dominating the market. Ma needed funding and hoped to get it from talking to Li, according to people who attended the summit. ........ Ma stood on the sidelines while bankers, keen to underwrite Baidu’s IPO, scrambled to tee off with Li. As a nongolfer Ma even found himself the subject of a teasing, $100 bet by other delegates: Which newbie could drive the golf ball the farthest–the slight Ma or the brawnier founder of SoftBank-backed UTStarcom, Ying Wu? ....... At the cocktail reception later that day Yang started talking to Ma, his old tour guide from eight years before. ...... Soon they slipped out through the patio doors ahead of a steak-and-seafood dinner and headed for the beach, a five-minute walk away. Within 30 minutes they had talked–mostly in Mandarin–about a partnership that would change the fortunes of both their companies. ....... Ma later told venture capitalist Deng that he had never expected to negotiate with Jerry at Pebble Beach. “Somehow they just chatted and then found out it was a good idea,” Deng remembers. “They made the decision quickly.” ...... “The Chinese ecosystem was not really Jerry’s natural habitat,” says Carmen Chang, a lawyer who helped lead Google’s 2005 investment in Baidu. “It meant he had to work harder.” ....... The deal was exceedingly complex, and both Yahoo and Ma almost walked away a few times. At a CEO conference last March, Ma recalled that Yang eventually sat him down for dinner at a small Japanese restaurant and convinced him over a glass of sake. ........ THE ALIBABA DEAL ALWAYS looked a bit risky. Even Yang had to be talked into doing it initially. Half of Alibaba’s value was attributed to Alipay, an online payment service, and Taobao, the e-commerce site that was up against eBay’s EachNet. Both were losing money. But Yang says he was captivated by the founder. ... “Once you meet an entrepreneur like Jack Ma, you just want to make sure you bet on him,” he says. “It’s not a hard decision.” .......... EachNet, the rival that looked like it might kill Alibaba, was doing just as badly as the brawny golfer who’d hacked at the ball at Pebble Beach. EBay’s management insisted on controlling the Chinese firm from San Jose, demanding a 3% charge for listings and a standardization based on eBay’s technology, slowing the site down. Ma watched and learned. ...... With its $1 billion investment from Yahoo, Alibaba held off on charging for listings, prompting merchants to flee EachNet for cheaper, faster Taobao. By spring 2007 Taobao had taken 82% of the online auction market, leaving EachNet with just 7%. ...... Activist investor Dan Loeb won a proxy skirmish and grabbed three board seats. He called for Yang’s head and got it in January 2012, when Yang finally stepped down from the boards of Yahoo, Yahoo Japan and Alibaba. ..... Yahoo sold half its stake in September 2012 for $7.1 billion before tax, or $13 a share. (Alibaba would close at $94 exactly two years later.) ..... “In some ways the Americans got played,” says hedge funder and Yahoo investor Eric Jackson. “Yahoo panicked while Masayoshi Son kept his head down. If Jerry had been around, he would have had the long-term view as well.” ....... Yang brokered one of the first successful Asian investments in the messaging sector earlier this year when he introduced Alibaba to one of his investments, Tango, which has more than 200 million registered users. While Alibaba had its own Chinese messaging service, Laiwang, it wanted a presence outside the country and in March invested $215 million, valuing Tango at $1 billion.