Udacity Is Opening Up Higher Education To Far More People

We are very proud of portfolio company for going straight after opening up higher education to far more people.

For $200 a month, teach anyone basic programming skills for entry-level position at AT&T as a data analyst, iOS applications designer, etc. Harnessing the web to provide effective schooling to the many young Americans for whom college has become a distant, unaffordable dream. We are trying to widen the pipeline,’ said AT&T’s Charlene Lake. ‘This is designed by business for specific skills needed in business.


Education still offers children from disadvantaged families their best chance at climbing the ladder of success. One reason for enormous payoff from college degree (2x payoff vs 1979) is that too few young Americans ever earn one. Peter Lubbers, who runs MOOC developer training for Google says, ‘We want all the techniques we know about to get out to the market. The ‘NanoDegree’ offers a set of skills that can be clearly applied to a job–a chunk of knowledge and immediate motivation to acquire it.


Could offer a plausible path to young men/women who may not have time, money or skill to make it through 4-year or even 2-year degree. US students in bottom quarter of income distribution: college graduation rates only 9%, from 5% 20 years ago.” Not *nearly* high enough.

[tweet https://twitter.com/TheLejait/status/480464613180321792 align=”center”] [tweet https://twitter.com/rdoddala/status/480464919826280448 align=”center”] [tweet https://twitter.com/ValaAfshar/status/480465350564532225 align=”center”] [tweet https://twitter.com/DAllison24/status/480465936395169792 align=”center”] [tweet https://twitter.com/johndodds/status/480466845355745280 align=”center”]

Source Tweets: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10

All Viral Content Headlines Are Simply Lies

Posit: All viral content headlines are simply lies.

You WILL believe what happened next.

Six things about X that you ACTUALLY DON’T need to know.

This will NOT change your life.

Something someone said that will NOT leave you speechless.

A person did this thing and it’s NOT weirdly mesmerizing.

The happiest people in the world do NOT actually do this.

However, that playful kitten really is quite cute.

Source Tweets: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8


Two Quick Brendan Eich Stories

Brendan was one of the very first Netscape engineers, joined from Microunity, a famous venture-backed chip startup fiasco at that time. We decided we needed a scripting language for web browsers and web servers. We investigated every option. Brendan said, I can build one.

He single-handedly wrote Livescript (the first version) in three months. He built it into the browser. He created modern web programming and borrowed Java syntax. Sun asked us to embed their new Java into browser; in return we forced them to accept the name “Javascript” for Livescript. They hated that!

At the time, I thought Java would dominate client and Javascript would dominate server; it turned out the reverse happened for 10+ years. Javascript in the browser became BY FAR the most widely used programming language in human history. This is a breathtaking achievement. Beyond amazing.

Years later, after Netscape/AOL and AOL/TimeWarner mergers, Brendan called me to see if I could help free Mozilla into a nonprofit. I called Jim Barksdale who was on the AOL-TW board. With Jim’s help, Mitchell Baker and Brendan successfully established the Mozilla Foundation. This was an unnatural act for a big company and could have easily not happened. Mitchell and Brendan made it happen and redefined the web again.

So, if you like your browser, your Firefox, and/or your Javascript, whatever your political beliefs, you owe Brendan a debt of gratitude. The web would be a sparse and barren place without Brendan’s work. I can’t argue with his decision, but I can’t wait to see what he does next.

Source: Tweets – 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12

It’s Time to Evolve Beyond Credit Cards

photo credit: Anthrocopy - cc

photo credit: Anthrocopycc

A California DMV credit-card breach was confirmed.

In the old days (20 yrs ago) there was massive paranoia that packet sniffing hackers would steal credit card numbers passing over the wire.

As it turns out, the use of credit cards for online payments is insane for a different reason: E-commerce system databases themselves are vulnerable. Credit cards were never built for this. Better systems exist: Paypal, Dwolla, Bitcoin.

The universe is sending us a message: it’s time to evolve.

Corollary: Giving your credit card info to an online merchant in 2014 is the data equivalent of unprotected sex. For the love of God, please stop.

Source: Tweets – 1,2,3,4,5


Venice May Elect To Secede From Italy

From the National Post’s recent article – More sovereignty votes: Referendum may see Venice elect to secede from Italy:

“Sunday referendum may see Venice elect to secede from Italy…La Serenissima ‘Most Serene Republic of Venice’ was an independent trading power for 1,000 years before the last leader was deposed by Napoleon in 1797…Campaigners have been inspired by the example of Scotland, which will hold its referendum on independence in September, and Catalonia…Activists say that the latest polling shows that 65% of voters in the region are in favour of cutting ties with Rome… For decades, there has been a deep-seated dissatisfaction in the rich northern regions of Italy with [perceived] inefficient and venal rule from Rome… If it passes, [the region may] start taking steps to withhold taxes, in what would effectively be a unilateral declaration of independence.”

Source: Andreessen’s tweets – 1,2,3,4,5,6

Bridging The Divide Between Techies and Non-Techies

Friends in the press are asking me why the Newsweek story has so many techies so upset. I will attempt to explain a generalized view…

  • First, the perpetuation of nerd stereotypes (wording in article, NOT Dorian himself): weird, loner, maladjusted, libertarian, odd hobbies.
  • Second, it transforms what many techies think of as an important tech breakthrough into a human interest freak sideshow devoid of substance.
  • Third, the story attempts to deliberately out the real Satoshi against his/her will, when he/she has done nothing wrong or harmful at all.
  • Fourth, the reporter evidently made little effort to learn anything about Bitcoin or cryptocurrencies, or cryptography or math or programming.
  • Fifth, assuming this story is right, this so-called forensic analysis behind the story is a complete joke.

Each of these would still be offensive to techies *even if the Satoshi story were right*. But if story turns out to be wrong, doubly so. If story is wrong (not saying it is, but if), then even worse: An innocent man was falsely outed, exposed, made vulnerable, and his life was changed forever.

The broader reason this all matters? There’s a growing CP Snow-style divide between techies and non-techies. We must bridge it, not expand it. We must build communication, build rapport, build trust. Many great reporters do this every day and are heroes. More of that, less of this.

Source: @pmarca tweets1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10


Questionable Forensic Analysis of Nakamoto’s Identity

I don’t know who Satoshi is, but I do know this “forensic analyst” simply does not know what she is talking about. First, modern systems designers talk about disk space all the time. It comes up constantly for engineers building large scale systems.

Second, modern systems designers talk about Moore’s Law all the time. It’s one of the key drivers for thinking about scalability over time. In our office at A16Z, there are probably 20 conversations a day about disk space and/or Moore’s Law. And they’re not getting less frequent.

Odd: “Moore’s Law is an old maxim that computing power will double. We’ve gone exponentially away from Moore’s law, [since] that interim period.” You don’t go “exponentially away from” the law that says that what you are dealing with grows exponentially. Who is this person?

Source: @pmarca tweets1,2,3,4,5,6