Thought Experiment

Potential gap” equals delta between every person in the world fulfilling full potential in whatever way most suited, vs. today. Think about if every person had access to education, training, nutrition, health care and has the full ability to make maximum contribution in their chosen field.

No coercion. In fact, the opposite to excel at whatever one feels more suited to do. Science, tech, arts, teaching, business, etc. What’s the best way to measure “potential gap” delta in metrics like economic growth, standard of living, rate of advance of science and arts?

These are the stakes we are playing for. This is the big opportunity for the future. This matters more than almost anything else. This is why I reject claims today’s tech industry is not tackling big problems. This is the biggest problem. We are trying to tackle it head on.

How many people on the planet today are in position now to be able to fulfill full potential in chosen fields?

What are the big advances in tech, business, education, health care, other areas, most needed for the next 10, 20, or 30 years?

Bear in mind the great lesson of civilization: Higher economic growth equals more cash available for non-financial-incented activities. So 10-100 times current economy equals at least 10-100 times current funding for nonprofits, arts, social safety net, and everything else we want.

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

Exponential Decay Curve


photo credit: Jezlyn26cc

It is so interesting to tweet on the NSA/Snowden affair and disagree with Glenn Greenwald’s ideological positions even a little bit. If he picks it up and retweets it, there’s immediately this massive flying squirrel onslaught tweet attack by hundreds of his followers. Very few of whom have original thought but lots of curse words, ad hominem attacks, and spelling and grammar mistakes. Attack tweet volume follows perfect exponential decay curve, unless Glenn fires them up again, then starts over.

This does not happen for any public Twitter figure or any other topic that I have seen. It is specific to Glenn and his cult following. But it kept nagging at me, I’ve seen this before, and then I figured it out. Rush Limbaugh and his dittoheads! The inescapable conclusion is clear: Glenn Greenwald is Rush Limbaugh for our time. Strap in, it’s going to be quite a ride.

Source: Tweets – 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10

Red Queen Hypothesis

Organisms adapt/evolve not only to gain advantage, also to survive vs evolving opposing organisms in changing context. – Red Queen Hypothesis

In many populations, the probability of extinction does not depend on the lifetime of the population. In addition, the probability of extinction is constant over millions of years for a given population. An adaptation of one species may change the selection pressure on another species, giving rise to an antagonistic co-evolution.

Rough Skinned Newt

Rough Skinned Newt

The metaphor of an evolutionary arms race — the description of biological processes with dynamics similar to arms races. The ability of a family of organisms to survive does not improve over time — surprising lack of correlation between age and extinction.

Citation for biological extinction is Leigh Van Valen, 1973.

The Allee Effect On Startups

photo credit: Simon Blackley - cc

photo credit: Simon Blackleycc

The Allee effect is a biological phenomenon that shows a positive correlation between population size/density and mean individual fitness within population.

Allee’s experiments demonstrated that goldfish grow more rapidly when there are more individuals within the tank.
Classical view: Due to competition for resources, population has a lower growth rate at a higher density and a higher growth rate at lower density.

The Allee effect indicates positive density dependence as well as a positive correlation between population density and individual fitness, resulting in “undercrowding.”

Is there a corollary in startups? Does the number of tech startups targeting an established industry mean higher odds of success for each? Even if they are competing for scarce capital/talent, will they make each other more competitive by sharing a playbook against a common enemy?

It would seem that the Allee effect for startups is deeply counterintuitive and directly opposed to Thiel/Musk theory of “one startup can monopolize the talent.”

Source: Andreessen’s tweets on the Allee effect and startups: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8