Critical Section

Tuesday,  06/03/03  10:25 PM

Bigwig considers whether Scott Peterson should be tried for the murder of his unborn child.  This gets back to the ongoing debate about when a fetus becomes a person.  At conception?  At birth?  Or somewhere in between...SPOT Watch

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Toshiba announced a Media Center laptop, wow.  This means you can watch TV, and even "Tivo" TV, from your laptop...  Meanwhile Sony has announced a whole bunch of new desktops with multimedia capabilities.  Looks like Dell and HP don't have the market to themselves, yet.

Are you in the matrix?  Nick Bostrom proves that it is far more likely you are a simulation than that you are real.  Fascinating!  "Given that humans don't go extinct in geologically short time, eventually computer capability will allow complete simulation of the human cortex.  Consequently, there must be far more simulations running in future millennia than seconds since you were born.  Thus its astronomically more likely you are a simulation than real..."  [ via Slashdot ]

Joel Spolsky: Fixing Venture Capital.  "There are certain fundamental assumptions about doing business in the VC world that make venture capital a bad fit with entrepreneurship."  This is a great overview of what's wrong in the VC world, but the title is a little misleading, because Joel doesn't really suggest any changes.  Except maybe a generic "pick better companies to invest in".

I actually think VC strategies are 100% Darwinian.  There will be mutations in the strategies, and the successful mutations will reproduce, and eventually take over.  If the current strategy is to try to hit home runs once every ten swings, but trying to hit singles every time works better, the industry will evolve in that direction.  The key issue is that VC strategies are measured by VC success, not entrepreneur success. (Joel makes this point, too.)  Viewed in this way, maybe VC does not need fixing.  It is what it is.

Joel links an SFGate story about WebVan, which brings back a whole host of memories for me.  I lived in Los Altos, California at the time, and we loved WebVan.  It was one of the greatest consumer services ever.  On the other hand, they lost $830M.  It was one of the crummiest businesses ever.  As WebVan was dying I remember saying "I would pay more to keep them afloat".  I don't know if their model would ever have worked - they seem to have pissed away a lot of the $830M on perks, rather than burning it in operations - but there sure was a kernel of goodness to what they were doing.  They just wanted to get too big, too fast, urged on by Benchmark and their other VCs.  And this is Joel's point.

Andrew Anker considers contextual advertising: "Consumers have one of two modes when they visit websites: browse or search...  contextual advertising is extremely effective when a user is in search mode but a needless distraction in browse mode."  I think he nails it.  How would you feel if I hosted ads on this blog, eh?

I just got a tee shirt that says "I'm blogging this".  Shirley said, "I'm going to put that on your tombstone".  Now that would be cool.

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About Me

Greatest Hits
Correlation vs. Causality
The Tyranny of Email
Unnatural Selection
On Blame
Try, or Try Not
Books and Wine
Emergent Properties
God and Beauty
Moving Mount Fuji
The Nest
Rock 'n Roll
IQ and Populations
Are You a Bright?
Adding Value
The Joy of Craftsmanship
The Emperor's New Code
Toy Story
The Return of the King
Religion vs IQ
In the Wet
solving bongard problems
visiting Titan
unintelligent design
the nuclear option
estimating in meatspace
second gear
On the Persistence of Bad Design...
Texas chili cookoff
almost famous design and stochastic debugging
may I take your order?
universal healthcare
triple double
New Yorker covers
Death Rider! (da da dum)
how did I get here (Mt.Whitney)?
the Law of Significance
Holiday Inn
Daniel Jacoby's photographs
the first bird
Gödel Escher Bach: Birthday Cantatatata
Father's Day (in pictures)
your cat for my car
Jobsnotes of note
world population map
no joy in Baker
vote smart
exact nonsense
introducing eyesFinder
to space
where are the desktop apps?
still the first bird
electoral fail
progress ratches
2020 explained