The bubble

The irrational exuberance in technology investing reaches a new high. Here’s a founder talking about his new pile of millions:

“We are not trying to generate return on that raised capital,” said Mr. Tolia of Nextdoor. Instead, he said, his company’s latest venture funds would be invested in money market accounts and left all but untouched.

And here’s the perspective from VCs:

For venture capitalists, allowing portfolio companies to take on more funding means their existing stakes can be diluted. But since these big rounds often lead to much higher valuations, many investors don’t mind.

Oh, I get it—tech company prices always go up. Just like house prices.

(Source: The New York Times)

The hypocrisy of Brendan Eich’s critics

Some things really rub me the wrong way, particularly when it involves ‘progressive’ and ‘open-minded’ thinkers who can’t see past their own biases.

Critics of Brendan Eich brand themselves as progressive and open-minded thinkers. Some of these critics are now asking for Eich to step down as CEO of Mozilla.

They’re doing this because their new leader has an opinion they don’t like.

What?

Is that how we’re going to roll now? You’ve got to have progressive perspectives on social issues in order to be the CEO of a multinational company?

This entire discussion is taking society backward.

Bullying people into thinking what goes on in your head is superior is not progressive, regardless of the position and issue.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Theodore Roosevelt, Citizenship in a Republic

(Source: damniwish.com)

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

Robert A. Heinlein

(Source: jacquesmattheij.com)

This car deserves much more attention and sales than it gets.
It’s so sad how the best cars are pushed out of the market by posers who don’t know anything.
Elise gone, S2000 gone, WRX screwed up, FR-S probably going the same way soon, on and on and on to be replaced by chunky-ass Mustangs, G37s, etc.
RIP the golden age of cars.

This car deserves much more attention and sales than it gets.

It’s so sad how the best cars are pushed out of the market by posers who don’t know anything.

Elise gone, S2000 gone, WRX screwed up, FR-S probably going the same way soon, on and on and on to be replaced by chunky-ass Mustangs, G37s, etc.

RIP the golden age of cars.

(Source: seriouswheels.com)

Will Durant’s Table of Character Elements

I’ve become enamored with Will Durant’s series Story of Civilization.

Okay, I’m window-shopping at the moment, because I’m nowhere close to getting through the 10,000-page beast of a series that it is.

But I am 30 pages into the summary, The Lessons of History, written by Durant himself. It summarizes all that he learned in writing the incredible series. And the summary is actually starting to make me think that reading through 10,000 pages of history may actually be a goal I should set for myself.

Case-in point: the Table of Character Elements:

image

I won’t comment on this, but I think it’s worth gazing at it. Taking it in. Thinking about it. And then really being introspective.

Keep in mind that Durant was a very holistic, human historian. Most historians focus on a single domain like politics or economics, or a single time period like the Holocaust or the French Revolution. Durant went WAY past that: he intended to cover virtually all of recorded human history from all angles. He wrote eleven thousand-page volumes and passed away before making it very far into the 1800s.

That’s insane. Can you imagine ever even thinking that you might want to consider doing something so substantial? Durant himself calls any endeavor to holistically summarize a history of the world a ‘brave stupidity’ and even wrote an entire chapter called Hesitations that humbly explains that his work is probably not sufficient.

Yet, the sheer depth and breadth of his work is mind-boggling. The amount of exposure this man had to human nature is probably among the highest of any human being ever. It’s also worth noting that he had this exposure as a historian, so presumably he wasn’t expecting extraordinary profit or power from his observations.

It’s well worth considering what he has to say.

Nothing is clearer in history than the adoption by successful rebels of the methods they were accustomed to condemn in the forces they deposed.

Will Durant, The Lessons of History

For me, the most memorable part of the tour was when the guide mentioned that many of the employees were newly minted PhDs. The experienced guys often think some task is impossible, but the recent graduates try anyway — and usually succeed — because they don’t know any better. This seems like a distillation of most Silicon Valley startups.

Leo Polovets, discussing a tour of SpaceX headquarters

(Source: leopolovets.com)

Until the hour the U.S. pulls its forces from Iraq and Afghanistan, and stops the drone strikes in Somalia and Yemen and in Pakistan, and stops the occupation of Muslim lands, and stops killing the Muslims, and stops reporting the Muslims to its government, we will be attacking U.S.

Faisal Shahzad, Times Square bomber

(Source: The Huffington Post)

Hunter Lewis on the Mises blog, commenting on the skyrocketing cost of college:

Whenever government subsidizes demand without increasing supply, prices inevitably rise, and this was no exception.

Makes sense to me.

(Source: mises.org)

One of the human brain’s fondest tricks is enabling you to recall every word of the Fresh Prince theme 10 years after you last heard it, but to utterly reject the name of a person you’ve met in the last 30 seconds.

Sam Parker on Buzzfeed

(Source: BuzzFeed)

The production of money

Frank Schaeffler of the Finance Committee from the German parliament:

We should have competition in the production of money. I have long been a proponent of Friedrich August von Hayek scheme to denationalize money. Bitcoins are a first step in this direction.

And if a US politician said this, you better believe he’d be shot. Or, at least shunned from the media politics forever.

(Source: zerohedge.com)

Lupe Fiasco is out of Control.

Via Linny on Rap Genius:

1:05-1:12 he is doing B.O.B.’s style

1:13-1:27 he is doing T.I.’s style

1:45 to 1:57 he is doing Jay-Z’s style

1:57-2:20 he is doing Drake’s style

2:20-2:40 he is doing 2 Chainz style

2:40-2:55 he is doing Lil Wayne’s style

Apparently, this took Lupe just 2 hours to make.

(Source: rapgenius.com)

I had a client come in and say that he bought a Tesla car – but he had also bought shares in the company. And he told us that he made enough profit on the shares to cover the cost of the car.

Rich Hogan, wealth advisor, Merrill Lynch

(Source: business.financialpost.com)