Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Good monopoly and bad monopoly


In a previous post I quoted from Peter Theil's book Zero to One the definition of a good monopoly. I repeat it here for easy reference:
Whereas a competitive firm must sell at the market price, a monopoly owns its market, so it can set its own prices. Since it has no competition, it produces at the quantity and price combination that maximizes its profits. To an economist , every monopoly looks the same, whether it deviously eliminates rivals, secures a license from the state, or innovates its way to the top.
In this book, we’re not interested in illegal bullies or government favorites: by “monopoly,” we mean the kind of company that’s so good at what it does that no other firm can offer a close substitute.
Good monopoly is a useful abstraction, but there is rarely in pure state. For example Briggs Myers tests are also an abstraction. One can not reduce the planet earth human population to 16 personality types only.

The "good' monopoly concept is not new

Perhaps Peter Theil got the inspiration from a grocer turned author,  Leonard E. Read (1898-1983) who described the concept in 1960 article  Good and Bad Monopoly
There are two ways to attain an exclusive position in the market, that is to say, there are two ways to achieve monopoly. One way is not only harmless—indeed, it is beneficial; the other is bad. The beneficial way is to become su­perior to everyone else in provid­ing some good or service. The bad way is to use coercive force to keep others from competing effectively and also from challenging one’s position. Rise above others by excellence, or hold others down by coercive force!
This visionary article was written 54 years before From Zero to One publication.

Here are a few examples of good monopolies which turned out to be a mixture with bad monopolies

Lyft and Uber

Thiel writes on page 103 of his book:
Lyft and Uber. Few people imagined that it was possible to build a billion-dollar business by simply connecting people who want to go places with people willing to drive them there.
We read in New York Times today:
 Uber tried to eviscerate its rival, Lyft, by aggressively poaching drivers, sabotaging its fund-raising and ordering and canceling more than 5,000 fake rides.
Then last week, a media storm was set off when an Uber executive revealed that the company had spied and tried to dig up dirt on journalists who wrote negative things about it.
And, the cherry on top, the company admitted it could geo-track any Uber consumer with an internal tool called “God View.”
Peter Theil is an investor in Lyft and declared that Uber is “the most ethically challenged company in Silicon Valley,”

So we distinguish two Peter Theils: (1) Peter Theil the thinker and insightful author and (2) Peter Theil the businessman and entrepreneur who must defend his business and do whatever it takes to succeed.

The others

The book says:
As you craft a plan to expand to adjacent markets, don’t disrupt: avoid competition as much as possible.
This not always possible, and we read today. Mike Kail left Netflix in August, and  took a position as CIO in Yahoo reporting directly to CEO Marissa Mayer. Immediately Netflix sued him for fraud.

Facebook
... revealed that it had manipulated the news feeds of over half a million randomly selected users to change the number of positive and negative posts they saw. It was part of a psychological study to examine how emotions can be spread on social media.
Why not. Facebook has 1.3 billions guinea pigs, you and I, which is 20% of the world population

The bad monopolies would not stop in using confidential information against individuals who cross their interests - like investigative journalists, bloggers, or executives from rival companies. In a blog in New Times
The idea of a showing up to a meeting with a JPMorgan executive and hearing, “I notice you were late on your mortgage payment last month,” is just unfathomable, so great are the protections in the financial industry between access to consumer data and the executives and public relations people who tend to deal with reporters. The same could be said for any number of other industries where big companies have access to private data. 
The good monopoly concept from Zero-to-One book still stands. Before Peter Theil's, we were fighting to neuter monopolies. Now we watch every excess monopolistic practice and try to perform a kabbalistic repair (Tikun Olam, the repair of the world)  and keep the goodness without destroying the good monopolies.

Theil's monopoly



Sunday, November 23, 2014

What does 10x mean in Peter Thiel book?

We want to offer a service, an R processing service when many compute resources beyond the laptop are needed. This service must be a 0 to 1 product, something that at the beginning will gain a monopoly, simply by being needed and new. Peter Thiel who wrote the 0 to 1 book, says the service product must be 10x better than the competition. However there is no definition of 10x or a methodology of how to calculate it. Simply, Peter Theil recommends we should think by ourselves, and NOT parroting what a book, any book,  says 
What not 10x means


What 10x  better means? 

It means being easier to use than other product / service on the market, by far. From Quora social network, this is a reply to the question : "How do you know if your startup idea already exists?

The founder of Dropbox was pitching in front of an investor one day, and the investor asked him: "there are similar companies out there doing the same as dropbox, why should I invest in just another similar company?"
His reply: "Yes. There are similar companies out there doing the same as dropbox. But do you use any of them?"
"No."
"Why?"
"Because they are bad."
"Ok. That's what Dropbox wants to solve."
So bottom line: Ask your potential customers.
This is what our R user said when we developed  the open sourcepaper
I have a huge set of data, which I have to split into pieces to be handled by each node. This is something I can do with the ”grid.apply” function (main component of BoscoR). This reduces the submit time from several hours, to several seconds... it is a phenomenal improvement.
This will greatly increase my use of grid computing,  as right now, I only use grid computing when I have no other choice.

So,   here is deal. Currently, if I want to do something in super-computing high throughput, I use the classical resource manager and I have a several hours barrier. There is something I want to run right now and I have been postponing it.

Days go by and I don't do anything.

Now I am able to do with "grid apply" BoscoR the exact  same thing I am doing with the classical resource manager currently,  I will use BoscoR all the time, every single day.

So here is what 10x "easier-to-do" means: new habits, pleasure, less tedious work, more creativity, more satisfaction, more joy and feeling more power to do things I, the user has never been able to do before.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Money Making HPC


There is an acute need to transform the classical high performance computing (HPC)  skill set. Adrian Cockroft, from Battery Ventures says in a recent interview with InsideHPC
The biggest skill shortage in IT today is related to big data and data scientists. Most people in HPC have the analysis and math skills needed to meet this need, but you may need to retool from being an MPI programmer to learning R or Hadoop or Spark.
From Supercomputing 2014 , Nicole Hemsoth reports yesterday morning (November 18, 2014)  in HPCwire:
As many are aware, the market has actually turned out to be something of a purgatory—with major technology shifts in processor, memory, accelerator, and storage still off on the horizon.... (the HPC)  market has ground to a halt. ... The global Top 500 list of the world’s fastest supercomputers remained almost entirely unchanged at the high end.
Readers of this blog have read warning signs that this will come. In my 2012 blog Why HPC TOP500 never made any money and never will in its' present shape I said HPC never catered to real markets. They just believed so.

The BoscoR project which started almost two years ago, showed the importance of learning R.

The BigData TechCon in Boston April 2015 advertises itself:
Why not enhance your career skills and increase your future value by becoming a Big Data Expert? More than 40 expert speakers and instructors will teach you how to master Hadoop, Spark, NoSQL, Hive, R, Pig, MongoDB, Cassandra, and other Big Data technologies and put them to work in your company!
Today every organization has to collect data to stay competitive. They understand how to store it, retrieve it and slice it.
The idea now is to understand the data itself, to detect patterns and trends that will help the organization get new customers or members.

Opportunity for HPC is in Big Data

High performance engineers are trained to solve complex data problems, of an order of magnitude higher than everything imaginable. This is a quote from an interview with Dr. Frank Wuerthwein, an expert in particle physics new phenomena at the high energy frontier with the CMS detector at the LHC (Large Hadron Collider) at CERN.
 To my knowledge, there are only two other places on the planet that have our volume of data.  The National Security Agency (NSA) and Google. I am just guessing, as I don't know exactly how Google manages its data.
Dr. Wuerthwein is one of the nearly six thousands scientists working for nearly twenty years to detect the legendary Higgs particle. The work lead to the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2013

However no real life company analyzing big data has the means and the patience to pay 6,000 scientists for 20 years to get an extraordinary result.

Some of technologies used at CERN will reach the mainstream. Hadoop was born from the internal needs of Google and Yahoo. This is how Cloudera, Hortonworks and MapR were born.

But seeing top engineers in HPC start companies is not easy. I noticed this first hand myself. I can give many explanations, but none match my utter disbelief in a community  of people who believe that life can not happier outside research and universities.

From Big Data to Executive Decision - marketing approach

This is the metric that depends on the level of confidence of the people who are not statisticians, not data scientists, yet they take all important decision in corporations and government. At the top, we have all elite CEOs in the world. They must believe us in spite of the punch line "If you torture big data long enough, it will confess"

The Economist Intelligence Unit surveyed over 600 business leaders, across the globe and industry sectors about the use of Big Data in their organizations. In other words, non-technical interviewers ask mostly non-technical C level executives questions about how Big Data  will affect them. The final result is an infographic like this;
Courtesy of Capgemini link is here
I look at this picture. It is nice, it has many beautiful colors but it says absolutely nothing to increase the credibility of a  Big Data analysis. It lacks substance.

From Big Data to Executive Decision - engineering approach

I discovered an article from the blog of Evo Eftimov, a big data hands-on consultant, from London, U.K.  Big Data and Systems Explained in Simple Practical Terms.

This is his opening paragraph:
This is a conceptual level overview intended to map and explain key concepts  and thus facilitate the decision making process of senior executives, architects, business analysts and developers. Big Data stripped from hype and magic.

Then I read things that I guess most interviewers from The Economist Intelligence unit did not know as clearly:
What is Big Data?
Think about your current data sets (and/or new data sets you would like to start using) and the following possibilities:
Each of your current data sets can get much longer. The implications are that they will contain many more historical patterns about the behavior of your business or physical processes. More patterns equates to more predictive analytics power. Longer data sets also equate to better situational awareness (different from predictive analytics), because they contain more information about broader set of events in the environment of interest.
You can join each of your current data sets with other / additional data sets and thus obtain data sets with more variables / dimensions (conducive to more powerful models) as well as more opportunities for event correlations (cause-effect chains) across the different data sets.
Only then start thinking about MBs, GBs, TBs, PBs, etc and whether it can be stored on one or more computers in terms of how big, your big data really is.
Aha! So even before being amazed by PBs, just have a logic to organize the data sets for maximum predictability and situational awareness. The following is the clearest, shortest description of how many big data types we have and what "unstructured data" is::
Big Data Types
  • Big Data at rest / in storage
  • Streaming Big Data (the key difference with the above is that often it is processed as a sequence of segments aka sliding window or even discrete data points)
As the content of each of the above can be (1) Structured (e.g. market data), (2) Semi-structured  and (3) Unstructured (created without specific format in mind e.g. the content of tweets, blogs, forums / chat rooms and some types of documents such as web pages)
Evo has a startling statement : When it comes to big data algorithms, there is nothing new under the sun. These algorithms have been around for ages and used for “small data” His article describes those algorithms and then states:
So for those wondering what exactly a “Data Scientist” is supposed to mean and provide, the answer is these are usually Ph.D. level people specializing in e.g. Statistical Analysis, Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing. Like the category 3 algorithms, they have been around for ages. The new glamour of big data  have pulled them into the limelight and have given them a new title
 The article concludes
How do you Apply the Big Data Algorithms to Big Data for Maximum Performance?
Well, by applying the well known principle of parallel processing / algorithms. If you want something done faster, especially if it is also associated with the processing of large amount of data, then divide the processing and the data into chunks and then execute them in parallel. 

HPC offers on in Big Data processing at a scale never attempted before

If there is no news about algorithms in processing data, if data scientists always existed, but used different names, what HPC brings new to Big Data? 
  • Parallel processing
  • Scale and size of the data
In BoscoR project R researchers stated "that distributed or parallel processing was the least common solution to their big data needs. This could be attributed to the difficulty of processing data with the R language on distributed resources, a challenge we set out to solve with BoscoR."

For this it is a need of a new breed of HPC engineer, the one who masters all the new tools for Big Data used today. We also need startup companies well financed to deliver services of Big Data processing and  analytics, the same way Amazons offers cloud services today. 

The government and academia can not lead this movement towards a new financially independent HPC.  If I had the power, I would hand a copy of From Zero to One to every participant, visitor or passerby at SC'14, ISC'15 and others

Related Posts



Thursday, November 13, 2014

Sam Altman "Employee Equity" blog and Ben Horowitz critique

In my blog post Romanticizing the startup in San Francisco   I describe the darker side of the startups.
As you start or join an existing startup, you don't know yet what the future is, ... But as the failure rates in a startup are hovering around 80%, your chances are far  greater to join a "bad" startup. This is how you recognize one:
Many times the founders are mini-tyrants who sell themselves short. 
Tyrant boss photo from MAP
 The company offers “The vision thing”,  a pitch that is used to convince you to work for 50 percent of what you’d earn at a more established company, plus some laughable token equity offering. 
If you’re taking substantial financial risk to work at the company, you’re a Founder. Expect to be treated like one. Most startups refuse.

Sam Altman breakthrough blog 

There is a breakthrough blog from Sam Altman on a new way to treat employee equity. The blog was written April 18, 2014. It describes four major problems today

  1. Employees usually don’t get enough stock
  2. If an employee leaves the company, he or she often can’t afford to exercise and pay taxes on their options. 
  3. Employee options sometimes get unfavorable tax treatment.
  4. Employees usually don’t have enough information about the stock or options. 

and four suggested solutions.

  1. Startups should give employees more stock.  Value is created over many, many years. Founders certainly deserve a huge premium for starting the earliest, but probably not 100 or 200x what employee number 5 gets.
  2. Most employees only have 90 days after they leave a job to exercise their options.  Unfortunately, this requires money to cover the strike price and the tax bill due for the year of exercise.  This is often more cash than an employee has.
    The best solution Sam  has heard is from Adam D’Angelo at Quora. The idea is to grant options that are exercisable for 10 years from the grant date, which should cover nearly all cases (i.e. the company will probably either go public, get acquired, or die in that time frame, and so either the employee will have the liquidity to exercise or it won’t matter.)  ...I think this is a policy all startups should adopt.
  3. Tax optimization is a second-order issue, and for an immediate solution, I think extending exercise windows to 10 years is the most important thing to do.  But longer-term, we should figure out a way for employees to be taxed on their stock compensation the same way as founders... There are various ways to do this, see original blog for details
  4. At a minimum, any startup should tell a prospective employee what percentage of the company the equity grant represents (number of shares is meaningless).  Some startups are very hesitant to do this—they don’t want to disclose the number of shares outstanding.  Employees should demand to know what percentage of the fully-diluted shares their stock options represent, and be very suspect of any startup that won’t tell them.

Sam's article show a superior mind. Startups assume people and employees, particularly the early employees, are key to the success. Ideally a startup must radiate happiness and energize people to overcome tough beginnings. One way to do that is through a fair employee equity distribution.
Unbelievable that Sam Altman is only 29

Ben Horowitz lecture at Stanford, following Sam Altman invitation

Ben Horowitz book The Hard Thing about Hard Things I reviewed in a different entry to this blog. Actually, more that a review, it was the emotional impact of this book.

 In his lecture How To Manage at Stanford University,  the most important point is:
When you're making a critical decision, you have to understand how it's going to be interpreted from all points of view... It's a hard thing to do because at the point when you are making a decision, you're often under a great deal of pressure.
 He then takes four examples to illustrate How To Manage a company

  1. Demotions, which are very emotional
  2. Raises, which are also emotional
  3. Sam Altman's  Employee Equity blog (see below)
  4. The Story of François-Dominique Toussaint Louverture, Toussaint the founder of Haiti, who won a revolution by recruiting his bitterest enemies 
Ben describes in his book the "courage development process" Here are some samples sub-titles of chapters to see what Ben means by courage development process things like the right way to lay people off, preparing to fire an executive, demoting a loyal friend, how to deal with old people and so on.

I will talk here about the bullet #3.  Ben uses his own advise to analyse Sam's blog proposal of granting employee's options that are exercisable for 10 years from the grant date.

Here are his arguments. against. The 90 days vesting after being laid off has been around for 30 years. Why change? There was law, called APB Opinion Number 25;  if you gave somebody 10 years to exercise their options, you would never have been able to go public and you would never have been able to be acquired because you were taking an expense that was tied to your stock price. But this law has been abolished now, eight years ago. 

Ben counter-proposal is: " I would offer two Alternative Cultural Statements."

 One is, we treat employees with straight forwardness. We're going to be fair and therefore you get 10 years to exercise your stock. What we said we're going to give you, you’re going to get regardless of how rich or poor you are. That's just a done deal.
 The second way to handle it - no companies do this, which is why I actually really like this post that he wrote - is you can say up front, " Look you are guaranteed to get your salary but for your stock to be meaningful, these are the things that have to happened. You have to have vested. Two, you have to stay until we get to an exit. Until the company makes it. You've got other money." Finally, the company actually has to be worth something. Because 10 percent of nothing is nothing. The reason we set the policy this way is we really value people who stay. So don't join this company if you are going to join another one in 18 months because you're going to get screwed. Our policy guarantees you're going to get screwed.
How can Ben says he likes the Sam Altman  post when his body language obviously shows reservations?

My view

Metaphorical image of a new hire in "classic" start up with 90 days vesting


Russian Roulette 

  1. We can not divide the employees in those who stay or those who leave. Any employee without exception can be in both situations. All work in a company that has a long and short term risk, working with the 90 days vesting threat, or being laid off before 18 month.
  2. The insecurity of older employees, whose families will not benefit in case of death or illness. Ben's caution in hiring older people as a last resort (see chapter 6, page 176 of his book)
  3. A startup is not a Russian Roulette. Culture is not achieved only with a ping-pong table and free snacks

From Zero to One

Peter Thiel book talks about new startups doing what it was never done before. Silicon Valley will finance startups that no one elsewhere will do. It is not a question of risks. It is a question of culture. As we engineer new businesses, we need to modernize the start-up structure, equity sharing and democratize. 

 Sam Altman's exceptional, noble, altruistic, fresh blog from seven month ago anticipated the Zero to One era







Monday, November 10, 2014

Our BoscoR paper is officially on line

Our paper BoscoR: Extending R from the desktop to the Grid is now on line

It has been accepted to 7th Workshop on Many-Task Computing on Clouds, Grids, and Supercomputers (MTAGS) 2014 to be held at SC'14 in New Orleans, November 16 to 21, 2014 at 2:30 p.m. The event is co-located with Supercomputing SC_2014.

I am one of six authors, - Derek Weitzel is the lead.  Dan Fraser, Marco Mambelli, Jaime Frey and David Swanson are the others.



Sunday, November 09, 2014

Peter Thiel 4 - What does it mean being a rich lawyer?

In 1830, Russia had the highest GDP in Europe, followed by France, UK, Germany, Austria-Hungary. At the middle we have Italy Spain and Portugal   At the bottom of the list we have Finland, Denmark. Switzerland was poorest country in Western Europe.

How things change. And if they changed before why not now?

Thomas Piketty and Balzac

Thomas Piketty's Capital book brings testimonials from novel's, like Balzac in France and Jane Austen in England, The book resorts to 1830 novelists to see their judgement about being rich.

This is what Pere Goriot, a spaghetti maker who is very well off and a simple man tells Eugene de Rastignac a penniless nobleman, about becoming rich by studying  law;
By the age of 30, you will be a judge making 1,200 francs a year. When you reach 40, you marry a miller's daughter with an income of 6,000 livres...  Maybe, if you are willing to do a little political dirty work, you may be a prosecutor general by the age of forty. However there only 20 prosecutor general in France, while 20,000 of you aspire to this position.
Maybe you want to be lawyer? ... Name five lawyers in Paris who make more than 50,000 francs per year by the age of fifty?
Balzac in real life worked at a lawyer office, There no way to make a living and escalate social layers simply by studying a profession; the law degree is only useful if one marries into the inherited wealth.

The tone of the story shows the importance of a constant income. The notion "net worth" is hidden. In 1819 the concept of present value, future value and loan calculators were not yet used. Financial math really started after 1900

An 1812 Treasure note.  On many issues the interest rate was chosen to make interest
calculations particularly easy, paying either 1, 1½, or 2 cents per day on a $100 note.

Peter Theil  about lawyer's prospects in 21st century US

And after a conventionally successful undergraduate career, I enrolled at Stanford Law School, where I competed even harder for the standard badges of success.
"I enrolled" is a modest statement.  Acceptance rate at Stanford Law was  10% in 2013 (versus Harvard 15.6%)
The highest prize in a law student’s world is unambiguous: out of tens of thousands of graduates each year, only a few dozen get a Supreme Court clerkship. After clerking on a federal appeals court for a year, I was invited to interview for clerkships with Justices Kennedy and Scalia. My meetings with the Justices went well. I was so close to winning this last competition. If only I got the clerkship, I thought, I would be set for life. But I didn’t. At the time, I was devastated.
That  would have had meant the final failure for Rastignac attempt to be a prosecutor general by the age of forty. Fortunately US has other options. After Pay Pal success a friend asks Peter:
So, Peter, aren’t you glad you didn’t get that clerkship?” With the benefit of hindsight, we both knew that winning that ultimate competition would have changed my life for the worse. Had I actually clerked on the Supreme Court, I probably would have spent my entire career taking depositions or drafting other people’s business deals instead of creating anything new. It’s hard to say how much would be different, but the opportunity costs were enormous. 
In a recent New Times interview  Peter Thiel says it more clearly
We’ve built a country in which people are tracked, from kindergarten to graduate school, and everyone who is “successful” acts the same way. That is overrated. It distorts things and hurts growth.
This is the cathartic moment  when Peter Thiel realized that he is not part of the pack
Between the ages of 18 and 28 I came to believe less and less in the tracked things I’d been doing all my life. The cathartic moment was when I got to the law firm. From the outside, everyone was trying to get in. From the inside, everyone was trying to get out. Emotionally I wanted to work with friends and compete externally. At the law firm you competed with the guy next to you to get ahead.
In the start-up there was a sense of being unique, doing something no one had ever done. If you didn’t do it, it never would be done. It should be generally understood – every moment is unique, you are a unique person.
There was no one in the entire Europe who thought like this in 1830 . And even in California, we needed Peter Thiel's book  to make us see.

At the end of the interview with New York Times we have this correction:

Correction: September 15, 2014 An earlier version of a photo caption associated with this blog post misspelled the surname of the PayPal co-founder. He is Peter Thiel, not Theil.
I am sure this will be  the last time that NYT will misspell Peter's name


Thursday, November 06, 2014

ISC High Performance 2015

Nages Sieslack
I received this announcement from  Nages Sieslack, an executive with ISC conference organizers. In 2012 I interviewed the founder of ISC, Dr. Hans Meuer a legend and a pleasure to have a conversation with. He is remembered as the father of European supercomputing

He passed away in January 2014. His life long achievement, the International Super-computing Conference will continue to thrive, as we read below.

ISC 2015 Program to Offer Greater Diversity

Frankfurt, Germany, November 6, 2014 – Celebrating their 30th conference anniversary, the organizers of ISC High Performance are pleased to announce that the 2015 technical content will be strikingly broad in subject matter, differentiated and timely.

Over 2,600 attendees will gather in Frankfurt, from July 12 – 16, to discuss their organizational needs and the industry’s challenges, as well as learn about the latest research, products and solutions. The conference will be supported by a comprehensive exhibition, hosting over 160 vendors and international research organizations covering all areas of HPC.

Topics for the technical content have been selected under the direction of the ISC 2015 Program Chair, Prof Dr. Arndt Bode, along with a dedicated team of 39 experts serving as the conference’s steering committee. These individuals bring their own research interests and areas of focus into the program, thus opening up the 2015 invited talks to a range of unique topics and speakers. ISC High Performance is the only yearly international HPC forum that introduces over 300 hand-picked speakers to their attendees.

The full program details will be available when the registration opens next March. For the time being, here are the 2015 focus topics:

  • Future Design Concepts of HPC Systems
  • Highly Scalable Operating Systems (including runtime systems)
  • From Big Data to Smart Data
  • Life Sciences: The Next Challenge for HPC
  • HPC Cloud Services in the Financial Sector
  • Highlights from Europe’s Horizon 2020 ICT
  • HPC Trends in the Chip Market
  • HPC in the Public Health Sector
  • Chip and Node Interconnects
  • Human Brain Research Worldwide
  • Global Exascale Status Report
  • Top 10 Exascale Research Topics
  • Memory Systems for HPC and Big Data
  • Quantum Computing
  • HPC in Latin America
ISC Website

The names of the steering committee members as well as the other committees are now listed on ISC High Performance’s brand new website. Please visit it regularly as the organizers will continue updating the site with new information.

It is also worth mentioning here that Prof. Yutong Lu of NUDT (National University of Defense Technology, China) will be serving as the co-chair of the HPC in Asia Session. She will be the first female scientist to lead the program committee, along with its chair, Prof. Dr. Taisuke Boku. This session is dedicated specifically to the development and deployment of high performance computing in Asia and Australia.

ISC Calls

Various calls are now open to scientists, researchers and engineers. Please visit the program page for the description and submission guidelines. The organizers would like to emphasize that it is the active involvement of the HPC community members through the research paper, poster and BoF sessions, as well as tutorials and the newly introduced workshops that will allow them to provide a diversified research program in 2015.

In addition, the conference will also offer a comprehensive industry program for users interested in commercial HPC applications. Details will be available later.

Special Deals

If you already know for sure that you will be attending the next ISC High Performance conference, it is not too early to plan your trip. The organizers will be cooperating with Star Alliance™ as the exclusive official airline network for the event, Deutsche Bahn, and the Marriott Hotel in Frankfurt, to offer the attendees discounted travel and hotel rates. All information is currently available on the website’s Travel & Stay section.

About ISC High Performance

Moving into its 30th year, ISC High Performance is the world’s oldest and Europe’s most important conference and networking event for the HPC community. It offers a strong five-day technical program focusing on HPC technological development and its application in scientific fields, as well as its adoption in commercial environments.

Over 300 hand-picked expert speakers and 160 exhibitors, consisting of leading research centers and vendors, will greet attendees at ISC High Performance. A number of events complement the technical program including Tutorials, the TOP500 Announcement, Research Paper Sessions, Birds-of-a-Feather (BoF) Sessions, the Research Poster Session, Exhibitor Forums, and Workshops.

ISC High Performance is open to engineers, IT specialists, systems developers, vendors, end users, scientists, researchers, students and other members of the HPC global community. The exhibition attracts decision-makers from automotive, defense, aeronautical, gas & oil, banking and other industries, as well as analysts, solution providers, data storage suppliers, distributors, hardware manufacturers, software providers, the media, scientists, and academicians. By attending, they will to learn firsthand about new products and applications, in addition to the latest technological advances in the HPC industry.

Check out the ISC High Performance trailer today!

---

Nages Sieslack (Ms)

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Peter Thiel part 3. Good Monopoly and Bad Competition

I was born in a communist country and the secular communist "religion"  - officially called ideology (the world "ideology" has been invented by Karl Marx) - stated that monopolies are evil, private properties are evil. We were not allowed to state anything in the compulsory classes of Marxism - Leninism, except using the exact words and sentences from the official textbook approved by the Party.

One of the first thing I did after escaping the iron curtain was to read the Macroeconomics textbook from MIT written by Rudiger Dornbusch and Stanley Fischer . The second thing I did was to buy and read a book about the real person named Karl Marx - A life  by Francis Wheen.

After all dust settled, I learned almost everyone agrees today "communism" is bad, "capitalism" is good. This is a gross over simplification. Because some of Marx "badness-es" are today accepted in our capitalist United States. For example Marx studies of monopolies are considered a valid scientific discovery in political economy, and Marx inspired the Anti-Trust laws. Quoting Wikipedia:
United States antitrust law is a collection of federal and state government laws, which regulates the conduct and organization of business corporations, generally to promote fair competition for the benefit of consumers. The main statutes are the Sherman Act 1890, the Clayton Act 1914 and the Federal Trade Commission Act 1914. These Acts, first, restrict the formation of cartels and prohibit other collusive practices regarded as being in restraint of trade. Second, they restrict the mergers and acquisitions of organizations which could substantially lessen competition. Third, they prohibit the creation of a monopoly and the abuse of monopoly power.
I read this paragraph, scratching my head. These laws are very old. Sherman act is 7 years after Karl Marx passed away in 1883. And Clayton Act is from 1914, before the first world war, long before the 1929 stock crash.  Silicon Valley 1990 wasn't even a science fiction concept, Because high-tech boom no economist has predicted a century ago.

Economic books are written 99% by academics, politicians and  / or inflated bohemian revolutionaries who never had any business venture experience before, They lived times  when a startup was not an option

Peter Thiel book has a powerful new concept to help not only entrepreneurs, but statesmen and governments in their theory on how to get widespread society abundance. He takes a fresh look at Competition and Monopoly.

Competition is not good: it's bad

“Perfect competition” is considered both the ideal and the default state in Economics 101. So-called perfectly competitive markets achieve equilibrium when producer supply meets consumer demand. Every firm in a competitive market is undifferentiated and sells the same homogeneous products . Since no firm has any market power, they must all sell at whatever price the market determines. If there is money to be made, new firms will enter the market, increase supply, drive prices down, and thereby eliminate the profits that attracted them in the first place. If too many firms enter the market, they’ll suffer losses, some will fold, and prices will rise back to sustainable levels. Under perfect competition, in the long run no company makes an economic profit.
Thiel, Peter; Masters, Blake (2014-09-16). Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future (Kindle Locations 275-280). Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 
Yes! It's true.  The so called perfect competition is what Italian call a dolce far niente which Webster dictionary  explains as "sweet doing nothing.. pleasant relaxation in carefree idleness"
Americans mythologize competition and credit it with saving us from socialist bread lines. Actually, capitalism and competition are opposites. Capitalism is premised on the accumulation of capital, but under perfect competition all profits get competed away. The lesson for entrepreneurs is clear: if you want to create and capture lasting value, don’t build an undifferentiated commodity business.

Thiel's Monopoly definition is good

The opposite of perfect competition is monopoly. Whereas a competitive firm must sell at the market price, a monopoly owns its market, so it can set its own prices. Since it has no competition, it produces at the quantity and price combination that maximizes its profits. To an economist , every monopoly looks the same, whether it deviously eliminates rivals, secures a license from the state, or innovates its way to the top.
In this book, we’re not interested in illegal bullies or government favorites: by “monopoly,” we mean the kind of company that’s so good at what it does that no other firm can offer a close substitute.

This is the Zero to One company is needed to be successful.
In 2001, my co-workers at PayPal and I would often get lunch on Castro Street in Mountain View. We had our pick of restaurants, starting with obvious categories like Indian, sushi, and burgers. There were more options once we settled on a type: North Indian or South Indian, cheaper or fancier, and so on. In contrast to the competitive local restaurant market, PayPal was at that time the only email -based payments company in the world. We employed fewer people than the restaurants on Castro Street did, but our business was much more valuable than all of those restaurants combined. Starting a new South Indian restaurant is a really hard way to make money. If you lose sight of competitive reality and focus on trivial differentiating factors— maybe you think your naan is superior because of your great-grandmother’s recipe— your business is unlikely to survive.
This made me curious and I looked for listings of restaurants for sale in Mountain View . Most  are sold for around $200,000. However I assume 2.5x this average price, as $500,000.

Pay Pal was sold to eBay for $1.5 billion. It means the value of Pay Pal was equivalent to 3,000 restaurants on Castro street.

Here is another example, relevant to the profit per employee. It's about WhatsApp and I need some more research to see whether WhatsApp was a zero-to-one company, or a company that we need to wait until a book is written about them.
Safeway  supermarket chain was sold for $9.4 billions. They have 180,000 employees.  They have 1,335 stores in the United States and 195 in Mexico with its partnership with Casa Ley. This means the Safeway's selling price is $52,000 or $0.05 million per employee.
WhatsApp was sold to Facebook for $16 billions ($19B everyone reports includes performance bonuses payable later). They had one location and 55 employees. This means the WhatsApp's selling price is $291 millions per employee.  WhatsApp made the human beings it hired 5,820 times more productive than the same human beings working as Safeway employees.

Example of 1 to n failures

"Competition can make people hallucinate opportunities where none exist."

With this back insight, we can see clearly how very successful super entrepreneurs like Richard Branson failed each time they tried 1 to n (me-too) venture.
Virgin Cola, introduced by Richard Branson in 1994 as the rival to Coca-Cola, has practically disappeared. Virgin Clothes, launched on the stock exchange in 1996, folded with losses to shareholders, after debuting with promising new trends in providing more edgy wardrobe to the young. Virgin Money was launched with a viral and somewhat controversial advertising campaign, panned by critics with Richard Branson emerging naked from the sea, but did not deliver the expected big financial rewards to its shareholders. Then came Virgin Vie, Virgin Vision, Virgin Vodka, Virgin Wine, Virgin Jeans, Virgin Brides, Virgin Cosmetics and Virgin Cars – All the major brands who wanted to compete and earn a huge market share from established brands in those areas, failed to live up towards expectations.
Amazon Web Services was a monopoly, because it was always ahead of of all other players in Cloud IaaS. The myriad of companies trying to compete are 1 to n companies Even Microsoft is a now a 1 to n because it tries to better than others who are already the best  - tablets, laptops, cloud services.

Building a "happy" monopoly

If even the most successful entrepreneurs failed to see in the past the distinction Zero to One versus 1 to n. probably the  entrepreneurs will be the fist to act differently from now on. Thus we can divide entrepreneurs and venture capitalists in two groups. Note that mostly the same people will belong to the two groups

  1. Before the Zero to One book - September 2014
  2. After the Zero to One book - September 2014
Group 2 is made out of people who opened the eyes and said "Aha!" 

Because success means building a monopoly as per Peter's definition, that will endure over time.
Simply stated, the value of a business today is the sum of all the money it will make in the future.  Comparing discounted cash flows shows the difference between low-growth businesses and high-growth startups at its starkest . Most of the value of low-growth businesses is in the near term.
Image 1 
 But although it is counter-intuitive, high growth businesses loose money for a years before showing a profit
Technology companies follow the opposite trajectory. They often lose money for the first few years: it takes time to build valuable things, and that means delayed revenue. Most of a tech company’s value will come at least 10 to 15 years
Image 2: Cash Flows LinkedIn 2014 to 2026
The overwhelming importance of future profits is counterintuitive even in Silicon Valley. For a company to be valuable it must grow and endure, but many entrepreneurs focus only on short-term growth. They have an excuse: growth is easy to measure, but durability isn’t . Those who succumb to measurement mania obsess about weekly active user statistics, monthly revenue targets, and quarterly earnings reports. However, you can hit those numbers and still overlook deeper, harder-to-measure problems that threaten the durability of your business.
Durability is a new beautiful word. The company that lasts longer will be the most profitable for the investors .

European versus American 

Thomas Piketty, a professor at Paris School of Economics, wrote the book "Capital in the Twenty-First Century"  - a 700-page tome about inequality that has become a blockbuster hit on Amazon.

Using wealth data and tax data in France and other countries stables enough to keep such records, he stated the privately owned capital growth R exceeds the economic overall growth G

His equation which alarms everybody is
R  >  G

What does it mean?  Paul Krugman says in his blurb promoting the book
"if this inequality persists, we are on the way back to patrimonial capitalism, in which the commanding heights of the economy  are dominated, not just by wealth, but also by inherited wealth, in which birth matters more than effort and talent"
I look at Piketty's versus Thiel's book. In Piketty book, the word entrepreneurship, does not exists, or, if it exists is so well hidden that a casual reader like me missed it. Not only that. If we are worried about this R is bigger than G, what is the solution? All we read are recommendation for some unified tax  policies, fiscal policies, new laws in an Europe fragmented by so many governments. He also proposes a Global Tax on Wealth, which brought shivers in US and Europe equally.

According to the Tax Foundation special report in August 2014, "Thomas Piketty’s False Depiction of Wealth in America"
In his book, Capital in the 21st Century, Thomas Piketty portrays the rich as heirs with privileged access to high rates of return, stating “it is almost inevitable that inherited wealth will dominate wealth amassed from a lifetime’s labor.” He points to the Forbes wealth rankings for support.
In fact, the Forbes 400—an annual ranking of the richest Americans—indicates wealth is much more fleeting than Piketty suggests and is characterized more by entrepreneurship than by inheritance.

Key Findings

Of the Forbes 400 from 1987, 327 people have dropped off the list. Of the remaining 73 people, those with the highest annual rates of return are generally self-made entrepreneurs and investors—not heirs—with an average annual real rate of return of 5.6 percent over the last 26 years.
The rate of return for the Forbes 400 as a whole, 2.4 percent, is roughly equal to Piketty’s estimated returns for the entire population.
Wealth today is largely generated by entrepreneurial skill, with the number of entrepreneurs on the Forbes 400 list rising from 40 percent in 1982 to 69 percent in 2011.
The role of inheritance has diminished over the last generation; the share of the Forbes 400 that grew up wealthy has fallen from 60 percent in 1982 to 32 percent today.
If we read Zero to One, - after browsing through Piketty's book - it offers a practical ideas on how to solve the wealth inequality.

Because on way to solve the inequality, rather cut R, let's elevate G. This is the implicit answer of Peter Theil to Pikkety's dilemma.

To me, Peter Thiel Zero to One book solves in great part all the issues Thomas Piketty exposes in his book.

In an interview with Rebecca Jarvis on ABC News, 9 Things You Never Knew About PayPal's Peter Thiel, here is the last question:
9. Last thing Thiel bought online?
Hard-cover book from Amazon. “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” by Thomas Piketty.
It looks like Peter Thiel  only bought the Capital  book about a week ago (November 1, 2014) . I expect Peter and also Thomas will make some further comments discoveries which I am very curious to read.

More ABC US news | ABC Health News

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Peter Thiel, the PayPal Mafia and the Beatnik poets

Image : PayPal Mafia, one of the most influential entrepreneurial creativity and intellectuals
This is part 2 of  Rescale, a textbook Zero to One startup, the previous blog entry. What Peter Thiel says in Zero to One goes beyond entrepreneurship
Unless they invest in the difficult task of creating new things, American companies will fail in the future no matter how big their profits remain today. What happens when we’ve gained everything to be had from fine-tuning the old lines of business that we’ve inherited? Unlikely as it sounds , the answer threatens to be far worse than the crisis of 2008. Today’s “best practices” lead to dead ends; the best paths are new and untried. In a world of gigantic administrative bureaucracies both public and private, searching for a new path might seem like hoping for a miracle. Actually, if American business is going to succeed, we are going to need hundreds, or even thousands, of miracles. This would be depressing but for one crucial fact: humans are distinguished from other species by our ability to work miracles. We call these miracles technology.
Thiel, Peter; Masters, Blake (2014-09-16). Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future (Kindle Locations 49-55). Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 
The book is was  #1 best seller in New York Times list in September.Now it moved to slot#2.  This book impressed Robert Murdoch. which I did not expect
Blake Masters, Peter Thiel's student at Stanford, took accurate notes on a course on entrepreneurship.  and he is the co-author; a stroke of luck for him.

Image 2: Chabad emissaries meeting in a Brooklyn warehouse

The Kabbalistic Nuance in Zero to One

You may ask: what the two photos  above - Image 1 and Image 2 - have in common? It is something called Kabbalah. Or maybe Sufism, but what I know better is Jewish thought, who outsiders unjustly call it mystical. In Jewish thought , the observant or secular equally believe , the divine is just part of our  day to day life.

Peter Thiel wrote the book from notes of one of his disciple at Stanford.  This is the tradition among greatest Rabbis. Isaac Luria used to deliver his lectures extemporaneously and did not write much, The real exponent of his kabbalistic system was his devout follower Rabbi Hayyim Vital. He collected all the notes of the lectures which Luria's disciples had made

The concept of zero-to-one is not easily understood. Only a minority can really use this - in essence this abstract concept - without trivializing the idea. In fact it will be a disaster  if everyone starts 0 to 1 companies, in which we "don't care" when we will make a profit or if we make profit at all. This is why the kabbalists did not accept anyone except their hand picked students among their ranks. They refer to their discoveries as "secrets",  hidden behind their visible appearance

The Pay Pal mafia are accomplished famous entrepreneurs who are not me-too (or 1 to n, in the definition of Peter Thiel's book). They understand and complement each other and their success is way, way above the median

Other  similarity to Kabbalists is the use of the word "miracles'. Let me copy from above for convenience:
...  if American business is going to succeed, we are going to need hundreds, or even thousands, of miracles. This would be depressing but for one crucial fact: humans are distinguished from other species by our ability to work miracles. We call these miracles technology.
In my humble opinion, we don't call these miracles, technology.  The miracles are inside the people who create this technology, and one wonders who placed this ability in some, very few of us. The technology doesn't create itself. What Peter Thiel's book  tells us is that we have inside  a potential to release miracles we don't know that exist. The miracles are there, in a latent state inside people who are similar to Holy Man

What is a Holy Man?

"Life as we see it is not all there is. There is more to existence than our physical and material concerns. When we reach above the mundane and seek to connect with a Transcendent Being – that is an act of holiness. Some of us are more holy than others, to be sure. The holy person may be an exalted figure or someone simple – possibly your grocer – but you may feel that he is connected with something “other,” that he is constantly thinking, feeling and experiencing a connection to something beyond our ordinary comprehension. knowledge."
This quote is from a book by Adin Steinsaltz , the greatest Talmud Scholar alive today.
There are people who write important books, others who do great deeds and still others who produce pearls of wisdom – all possibly great people, each on his or her own level. But a tzaddik, (A holy man)  specifically one who is “the foundation of the world,”  is likely to have been born a tzaddik?  In secular terms, the same is true of the genius. Geniuses are born that way, but they nonetheless have to develop their talent. Not everyone born with this potential actually develops into an acclaimed genius. One may have an affinity for beauty and a gift for words, yet remain unrecognized, his contribution merely a stillbirth.
So, we need to help the miracles with a rational work. Let take Rescale, a typical zero to one start op. The founders knew they had a great idea, never done before. But justly because it wasn't done before, it needs work to see who really are the customers versus the customers founders believed they will have. If we want to pivot the product,  pivot for whom? Here is a Minimum Viable Product self-explanatory graphic circulating on LinkedIn. It is from Aarron Walter

Image 3, courtesy of Aarron Walter
The 0-to-1 products, just because are zero-to-one products, are not going to succeed automatically by dabbling with functionality. We need to convey emotion and create habits. But emotion for whom, if we do not know yet who are the the people who will become users? We to do some customer development, outside and inside the group of users the founders thought are the market.

In the case of Pay Pal, the original ideas was to use palm pilot to transfer and make money payments. It did not work. Surely the skeptics, the non-kabbalists, felt a Schadenfreude . How can one compete with banks? How can one compete with credit cards? This was the 1 to n thinking. Pay Pal started using email, and the whole thing exploded. I don't think it was so much technology, as the idea to switch. Bingo! Is this called luck? No it is called a miracle. But the customers were not flocking to embrace Pay Pal. Peter decided to pay each user $10, and yes, they got users, but the method was unsustainable.

The Poets

The idea of zero-to-one meets poetry. Poetry is something one reads over and over with the same pleasure as if it were the first time, Our feelings make us dream and act
“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
This is the most quoted words from Maya Angelou  the African American great poet.
Image 4: Allen Ginsberg, Peter Orlovsky, Barbara Rubin, Bob Dylan, and Daniel Kramer backstage at McCarter Theater, in Princeton, New Jersey,1975
The people in the photo above are the American beatnik  poets. They made possible  books like Zero to One today and in a way they anticipated Silicon Valley

Bob Dylan's song The Times They Are A-Changin' ends with these words
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin'
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin'.
Peter Thiel words are similar:
"No one can predict the future exactly, but we know two things: it’s going to be different, and it must be rooted in today’s world. Most answers to the contrarian question are different ways of seeing the present; good answers are as close as we can come to looking into the future."
Here is a practical response to from the book Zero-to-One to Bob Dylan song, whose emotional impact among Americans is enormous. So here are the action items:
 "Startups operate on the principle that you need to work with other people to get the work done, but you also need to stay small enough so that you actually can. Positively defined, a startup is the largest group of people you can convince of a plan to build a different future"
This is the best definition of the Pay Pal Mafia in the first photo above. The irony is the majority of them are born outside USA. Many of them are born in old communist countries, (like me). Peter Thiel  himself is born in Frankfurt and  his parents moved to California when he was one year old.

The Facebook experience

This the voice over in the movie "The Social Network" before a character named Peter Thiel appears first time:
INT. THIEL’S OUTER OFFICE - DAY
We’re in the offices of a guy who’s hero is Gordon Gekko. MARK
and SEAN are waiting--seated side by side--for a verdict.
SEAN’s wearing his best Prada, MARK’s wearing his hoodie and
Adidas flip-flops.
 Gordon Gekko is a fictional character in the 1987 film Wall Street by Oliver Stone. Wikipedia says:  "Gekko has become a symbol in popular culture for unrestrained greed (with the signature line, "Greed, for lack of a better word, is good")"

Where did  the scriptwriter Aaron Sorkin get this analogy? Incredible what "I-don't-care" maliciousness  film scriptwriters ad,  hoping to sell a picture better.

Image 5: Actor Wallace Langham as Peter Thiel in the The Social Network, versus the real Thiel
The movie is based on a book by Ben Mezrich, "The accidental billionaires. The Founding of Facebook: A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal ". This is how the same scene is described by Ben Mezrich, based on interviews with Sean Parker and Eduardo Saverin.
"Peter's going to love you" Sean told Mark and Eduardo
 Why? Because.
Peter Thiel—the founding force behind the incredibly successful company PayPal, head of the multibillion-dollar venture fund Clarium Capital, former chess maşter, and one of the richest men in the country—was intimidating, fast-talking, and a true genius—but he was also exactly the sort of angel investor who had the guts and the foresight to understand how important—how groundbreaking—the facebook had the potential to be. Because Thiel, like Sean Parker and Mark Zuckerberg, was more than just an entrepreneur: he saw himself as a revolutionary.
Yes! Ben Mezrich nagged it down. Facebook got $500,000  seed, but "it wasn't life-changing money, it wasn't empire making money, it was wasn't fuck-you money... Seed money... enough to get them through the next few month.

In exchange, Thiel would get 7% shares  and would become a member of the five directors board, but Thiel becomes the guiding force leading facebook - together with Sean and Mark. Mark will keep the lion share of the company.

Musings: Peter Thiel, Ben Horowitz, Linda Rottenberg, Karl Marx, Chabad, and  Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

This book, Zero-to-One announced itself in Peter's Thiel mind in those Facebook moments. The three of them: Peter, Sean and Mark are revolutionaries. American Revolutionaries who are fabulously rich, not from inheriting money.  And not like Karl Marx struggling to make the ends meet in London at the end of his life and died in poverty.

I imagine, as a useless thought, what would have had happen if Karl Marx had an opportunity to work and teach at an American university. He would have had an agent to represent him, suggesting how to modify the "Das Kapital" for a local audience, so he sell more copies. He would demand $100,000 plus for every invitation to speak. But most important his thoughts would have had been altered by a new reality.

The Peter Thiel style of revolutionary is a permanent "being born" state and he's inspired by Bob Dylan, again:
Bob Dylan has said that he who is not busy being born is busy dying. If he’s right, being born doesn’t happen at just one moment— you might even continue to do it somehow, poetically at least. The founding moment of a company, however, really does happen just once: only at the very start do you have the opportunity to set the rules that will align people toward the creation of value in the future. The most valuable kind of company maintains an openness to invention that is most characteristic of beginnings .
This leads to a second, less obvious understanding of the founding: it lasts as long as a company is creating new things, and it ends when creation stops. If you get the founding moment right, you can do more than create a valuable company: you can steer its distant future toward the creation of new things instead of the stewardship of inherited success. You might even extend its founding indefinitely.
I have read and reviewed recently books by Ben Horowitz "The Hard Thing about the Hard Things" where miracles occur all the time (for example, how Andreeseen, 22 hired Ben in Netscape, after his recruiters dismissed him because did not come from Harvard or Stanford;  in a nutshell,  how  Marc, changed Ben's life).

But for Ben these are coincidences, trivia. The main idea of the book is this discovery:
"it is easier to make a CEO from a technical founder, rather than bringing  in the so called "professional CEO". When Adreeseen Horowitz started the great majority of VCs "were better designed to replace the founder, rather than help the founder grow and succeed"
Ben does not talk of replicable miracles - a miracle I might hope to happen to me as it happened to you. Unlike Peter Thiel, he does not spell out with clarity what Andreeseeen Horowitz know also does very well: investments that appeared crazy and which later proved mind boggling successful. Zero-to-One made me understand better Ben Horowitz book.

I also read and internalized Linda Rottenberg's Crazy Is a Compliment: The Power of Zigging When Everyone Else Zags Linda studied law at Yale University and Peter Thiel is a J.D. from Stanford Law School.  Both gave up being lawyers with very well paid jobs. Linda knows the most influential people in the world.  Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn founder and Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook wrote blurbs for her book. Linda lists her achievements as a founder of Endeavor
The heartbeat of Endeavor is the thousands of individuals in more than twenty countries who devote themselves to spreading the spirit of entrepreneurship. Led by an amazing squad of managing directors, these trailblazers serve on our boards, sit on our selection panels, spend countless hours mentoring entrepreneurs, and fervidly commit themselves to the idea that business can be a force for good. 
This made me think, while writing here, about an analogy to Chabad movement emissaries (shlichim) in Image 2 above. They are tens of thousands worldwide. Endeavor spreads entrepreneurship in an evangelical way. Quoting Washington Post, very similar to Chabad.
 Jewish tradition tells us, God willing, there will be a time when there will be a redeemer, messiach [messiah] The Rebbe (Menachem Schneerson)  said. God willing, that it will happen soon. And the world will be a peaceful world. “Don’t focus on the who of the redeemer but on the how we reach it.”
If we replace the word "Jewish Tradition" with "Entrepreneurship". Linda Rothenberg's Endeavor is telling people outside that there is a messiah.

Peter Thiel's book Zero to One uses subconsciously the great Rabbi wisdom. He teaches us how to reach abundance in the future, starting from present. He does not care about Messiah's identity. This is why a company like Pay Pal or Facebook with world wide coverage will very unlikely come from organizations like Endeavor.

Last night I saw a family movie: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
The character of Steve Carell, named Ben, a middle aged father of four tries desperately to get a job in a startup with founders half his age. He has to fight the terrible danger of age diversity which Ben Horowitz in his book defined like this:
... hiring your first senior people into your company, may feel like selling your soul, and if you are not careful, you may well end up selling the soul of your company. You take risks and you have to win your race against time. This means acquiring your best talent, knowledge and experience even if it requires dealing with some serious age diversity.

Do you recognize in me?

One of the reasons I write this blog is because I am an entrepreneur and all my life I was crazy enough to aspire to things few other did. We sold a company, Gridware to Sun Mycrosystems in 2000, at the peak of the bubble, Peter draws these picture

Image 6: End 2000 is the end of dot.com boom

Image 7: End 2000 is the beginning of the dot.com bust
We thought we made it. We didn't. We thought this was a miracle. It wasn't.

But this is looking at the past. I am looking for people to share a future. And every day, without exception, there are miracles and wonders. Actually wonders happen every day to you, to them and to me.

And you read this blog, is because you also look at the same dream. If we share the future - not the present or the past - this could be a good start.

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