Also Capital's Thanksgiving Reading List
Some things I'm reading this long weekend
I hope everyone’s getting ready for a fun long weekend with family and friends. Here’s some of what we’re reading this weekend. Hope you enjoy!
Startups and Uncertainty - “Uncertainty can be seen everywhere in the startup process: in the people, in the technology, in the product, and in the market. This analysis shows something more interesting though: uncertainty is not just a nuisance startup founders can’t avoid, it is an integral part of what allows startups to be successful. Startups that aim to create value can’t have a moat when they begin, uncertainty is what protects them from competition until a proper moat can be built. Uncertainty becomes their moat.”
The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation - “From its beginnings in the 1920s until its demise in the 1980s, Bell Labs-officially, the research and development wing of AT&T-was the biggest, and arguably the best, laboratory for new ideas in the world. From the transistor to the laser, from digital communications to cellular telephony, it's hard to find an aspect of modern life that hasn't been touched by Bell Labs. In The Idea Factory, Jon Gertner traces the origins of some of the twentieth century's most important inventions and delivers a riveting and heretofore untold chapter of American history.'"
You are Richer than John D. Rockefeller - “Honestly, I wouldn’t be remotely tempted to quit the 2016 me so that I could be a one-billion-dollar-richer me in 1916. This fact means that, by 1916 standards, I am today more than a billionaire. It means, at least given my preferences, I am today materially richer than was John D. Rockefeller in 1916. And if, as I think is true, my preferences here are not unusual, then nearly every middle-class American today is richer than was America’s richest man a mere 100 years ago.”
Betting on Deep Tech by our dear friend Leo Polovets at Humba Ventures - “Building a deep tech company is hard. Really hard. You typically need a multidisciplinary team that’s exceptional in multiple areas, and that’s a very high barrier to entry. But if you can assemble such a team then you will have much less competition than most startups and a higher chance of a good outcome.”
How to Talk on Zoom - “But loudness, it turns out, isn’t as good a metric as intensity — maybe because intensity is more subtle, a combination of the frequencies and sibilance of speech and the emotion conveyed by everything from tone to body language.”
Promotion Cultures - “Having a promotion culture gives you two critical edges in hiring. First of all, if you know that you’re a company that biases towards promotions, you have to be especially careful in the hiring process to filter for slope over experience, which turns out to almost always be more important for startup employees. The second hiring advantage is that it’s much easier to attract people when your company has a strong history of promotions. Having lots of examples of great career arcs at your company goes a long way towards attracting ambitious candidates.”
What will it take for humans to colonize the Moon and Mars? - “The revelation that the moon holds a cache of water — which can be used to both quenchslake an astronaut’s thirst and power their rocket — could set off a resource grab the likes of which we haven’t seen since the days of the forty-niner…”