I like neologisms. We need new words because we have new ideas, and ideas are the only things that break the law of the conservation of energy. Where once there was nothing there now is something, and the history of the neologism is a history of those moments of pure creation. ‘Gamification’, that said, can go take […]

Zuckerberg on Social

One thing that I think is really important — that I think is context for this, is that I generally think that most other companies now are undervaluing how important social integration is. So even the companies that are starting to come around to thinking, ‘oh maybe we should do some social stuff’, I still […]

Sync Privacy

Sync took a different tack, and started off with “what if we didn’t want the data? What if even having that data was a failure state?” That led us to cryptography. Sync uses strong crypto to encode your data before it is uploaded. The secret phrase is the key to this encryption, and we never […]

Grand Unified Theory

If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of every one, […]

Facts Backfire

“In reality, we often base our opinions on our beliefs, which can have an uneasy relationship with facts. And rather than facts driving beliefs, our beliefs can dictate the facts we chose to accept. They can cause us to twist facts so they fit better with our preconceived notions. Worst of all, they can lead […]

Proustian Telephone

From Alain de Botton’s book How Proust Can Change Your Life, highly recommended: Take the unemotive example of the telephone. Bell invented it in 1876. By 1900, there were thirty thousand phones in France. Proust rapidly acquired one (tel. 29205) and particularly liked a service called the “theater-phone,” which allowed him to listen to live […]


“The difference between a vision and a hallucination is that other people can see the vision.” — Marc Andreessen from a talk at Stanford a few days ago. Hat tip: Niall.

Beyond Consumer Culture

[P]sychological evidence suggests that is is close relationships, a meaningful life, economic security, and health that contribute most to well-being. While there are marked improvements in happiness when people at low levels of income earn more (as their economic security improves and their range of opportunities grows), as incomes increase this extra earning power converts […]

Irrational Finance

Two excerpts from Rational Irrationality: The real reason that capitalism is so crash-prone. What boosts a firm’s stock price, and the boss’s standing, is a rapid expansion in revenues and market share. Privately, he may harbor reservations about a particular business line, such as subprime securitization. But, once his peers have entered the field, and […]

Optimism Tax

Around 1:00 am on Halloween, I hailed a cab with a friend. “Drive around to the front of this building. Can ya leave the meter running while I go inside to tell our friends that we’ve left? Thanks, man… I appreciate it.” A few minutes later, the cabbie told my friend to run inside and […]