If we mistakenly confuse precision with accuracy, then we might be misled into thinking that an explanation expressed in precise mathematical or graphical terms is somehow more rigorous or useful than one that takes into account particulars of history, institutions or business strategy. This is not the case. Therefore, it is important not to put too much confidence in the apparent precision of supply and demand graphs. Supply and demand analysis is a useful precisely formulated conceptual tool that clever people have devised to help us gain an abstract understanding of a complex world. It does not—nor should it be expected to—give us in addition an accurate and complete description of any particular real world market.
[While staying in an AirBnb in Rome,] I was out touring the city and someone broke into the apartment and stole several hundred dollars’ worth of my jewelry … I picked this apartment because it had almost perfect reviews. Writing a review mentioning how I was burglar’ed would have completely jeopardized the renter’s business. As such, he offered me full compensation for what was stolen in exchange for me not writing a review about the incident.
To pay for property several times what it is worth, to engage in grossly unwise enterprises, are errors of which no conservative directors should be found guilty; for perhaps the most important function of directors is to test the conclusions and curb by calm counsel the excessive zeal of too ambitious managers.
"But [angel investor Ron Conway] took a turn for the serious, warning the enthusiastic crowd that “you have to be willing to work 24/7.” He then went a step further, solemnly claiming, “Dating someone or married: warn them that they’re not first in line, that you have this vocation, that your duty is to your company. It has to be that fanatical.”
Such. Utter. Horseshit.
Some people are purely financially driven and they’re going to less regulated spaces, maybe it’s tech, maybe it’s hedge funds; we wish them well. These are people that probably won’t fit into the new banking environment anyway.
Americans should be under no illusions as to the value or effect of price-cutting. It has been the most potent weapon of monopoly—a means of killing the small rival to which the great trusts have resorted most frequently. It is so simple, so effective. Far-seeing organized capital secures by this means the co-operation of the short-sighted unorganized consumer to his own undoing. Thoughtless or weak, he yields to the temptation of trifling immediate gain, and, selling his birthright for a mess of pottage, becomes himself an instrument of monopoly.
Scary “code or be coded” rhetoric haunts some of today’s learn-to-code initiatives, which is ridiculous; you shouldn’t learn to code if you don’t actually want to. You’ll not be eaten by computers any more than folks were eaten by electricity 100 years ago. More practically, learning anything new is hard, and Catholic guilt (“Oh, I really should learn it though … ”) isn’t enough. I don’t mean to be dissuasive though; writing software can be excellent, and — I feel strongly about this — you should know you can do it should you want to.
When the next downturn happens, Andreessen and friends will be eager to point back at these tweets and say “I told you so.” They’ll be in less of a hurry to point to their own work and say, “We made this happen.”
Billy Hasan, a former Spoonrocket contractor who drove for the company until June of this year, remembers the moment that the company switched from paying drivers hourly wages to paying them on a commission basis. Under the old system, Hasan says, he often made between $50 and $60 working a six-hour shift. Under the new one, it took him eight or nine hours to make the same amount. “Before they made the switch, it felt like one big team working together,” he says. “After, it kind of felt like, ‘We don’t really care about you guys, we only care about the money coming in.’”
On the one hand, the existing stock of purpose-built infrastructure naturally favours particular technologies: in particular, those which run on fossil fuels. And on the other, government hasn’t been involved in anything like the kind of demand-boosting infrastructure binge we saw in the middle of the last century. In other words, the rich world’s innovation problem may not have anything much to do with innovation. The rich world’s innovation problem may simply be the mistaken and ahistorical assumption that rapid productivity growth occurs in a vacuum.