Blog Post Test Number 7

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Aenean convallis eu purus et vestibulum. Sed sit amet libero vitae dolor iaculis mollis. Phasellus malesuada ornare dapibus. Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia Curae; Vestibulum id dolor et enim sagittis vehicula id vel urna. Aliquam et lorem pulvinar, imperdiet ex nec, tempus nulla. Praesent lobortis elit at nulla iaculis, vel auctor mauris vestibulum. Duis dictum, magna sit amet consectetur dignissim, mi tellus eleifend enim, id tristique ex dolor eu orci. Pellentesque placerat hendrerit mi eu cursus. Donec molestie enim sed maximus mattis. Nunc dictum, metus ac luctus efficitur, dui quam commodo libero, eget bibendum tellus lacus non justo.

Aenean sit amet metus ut neque euismod aliquet elementum a odio. Fusce arcu ipsum, volutpat vel est ac, consectetur euismod mauris. Phasellus id suscipit urna, vitae suscipit leo. Pellentesque nisi dui, tincidunt ut sollicitudin a, mattis non lectus. Integer vulputate eu elit sed rhoncus. Sed in metus imperdiet quam tempor vestibulum sed interdum odio. Curabitur aliquam nulla vel lectus blandit suscipit. Duis ut sagittis lectus. Suspendisse vitae sem euismod sapien lacinia posuere a non massa. Praesent ac mi arcu.

Fusce ullamcorper ligula at massa dictum mollis. Curabitur viverra sodales venenatis. Quisque laoreet, risus in pellentesque condimentum, libero sem consectetur nulla, eget maximus metus ante et mi. Vivamus efficitur vitae erat id fringilla. Sed aliquet, magna quis rhoncus tincidunt, urna velit varius mauris, eget dictum metus erat id tellus. Aliquam aliquet turpis sit amet tempus consequat. Sed nec ipsum vel velit dapibus dignissim eget ac elit. Duis maximus enim vel urna tincidunt tempus. Quisque ac erat tincidunt, venenatis dui et, congue dui. Mauris tincidunt sagittis ornare. Donec posuere mi vitae sem ornare, ut fringilla eros dignissim. Etiam a urna sed purus mollis vehicula.

Cras eu risus id massa rutrum porta ac non diam. Integer eget tortor tempus, interdum sapien ut, vestibulum lorem. Vestibulum porttitor nisl risus, sed ornare orci laoreet at. Sed ac dapibus purus, sed porttitor mauris. Proin pellentesque nulla quis sapien vestibulum facilisis. Maecenas lacinia tristique sem, vitae ultrices nisi vestibulum vel. In faucibus dolor vitae vehicula tincidunt. Cras eget turpis ornare, hendrerit ipsum ac, congue diam. Cras volutpat laoreet quam, eget malesuada lorem mattis ut. Vivamus a viverra nunc. Donec dapibus pretium vestibulum. Donec laoreet magna non viverra mollis. Vestibulum tristique vulputate odio, in congue odio facilisis commodo.

Blog Post Test Number 8

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Aenean convallis eu purus et vestibulum. Sed sit amet libero vitae dolor iaculis mollis. Phasellus malesuada ornare dapibus. Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia Curae; Vestibulum id dolor et enim sagittis vehicula id vel urna. Aliquam et lorem pulvinar, imperdiet ex nec, tempus nulla. Praesent lobortis elit at nulla iaculis, vel auctor mauris vestibulum. Duis dictum, magna sit amet consectetur dignissim, mi tellus eleifend enim, id tristique ex dolor eu orci. Pellentesque placerat hendrerit mi eu cursus. Donec molestie enim sed maximus mattis. Nunc dictum, metus ac luctus efficitur, dui quam commodo libero, eget bibendum tellus lacus non justo.

Aenean sit amet metus ut neque euismod aliquet elementum a odio. Fusce arcu ipsum, volutpat vel est ac, consectetur euismod mauris. Phasellus id suscipit urna, vitae suscipit leo. Pellentesque nisi dui, tincidunt ut sollicitudin a, mattis non lectus. Integer vulputate eu elit sed rhoncus. Sed in metus imperdiet quam tempor vestibulum sed interdum odio. Curabitur aliquam nulla vel lectus blandit suscipit. Duis ut sagittis lectus. Suspendisse vitae sem euismod sapien lacinia posuere a non massa. Praesent ac mi arcu.

Fusce ullamcorper ligula at massa dictum mollis. Curabitur viverra sodales venenatis. Quisque laoreet, risus in pellentesque condimentum, libero sem consectetur nulla, eget maximus metus ante et mi. Vivamus efficitur vitae erat id fringilla. Sed aliquet, magna quis rhoncus tincidunt, urna velit varius mauris, eget dictum metus erat id tellus. Aliquam aliquet turpis sit amet tempus consequat. Sed nec ipsum vel velit dapibus dignissim eget ac elit. Duis maximus enim vel urna tincidunt tempus. Quisque ac erat tincidunt, venenatis dui et, congue dui. Mauris tincidunt sagittis ornare. Donec posuere mi vitae sem ornare, ut fringilla eros dignissim. Etiam a urna sed purus mollis vehicula.

Cras eu risus id massa rutrum porta ac non diam. Integer eget tortor tempus, interdum sapien ut, vestibulum lorem. Vestibulum porttitor nisl risus, sed ornare orci laoreet at. Sed ac dapibus purus, sed porttitor mauris. Proin pellentesque nulla quis sapien vestibulum facilisis. Maecenas lacinia tristique sem, vitae ultrices nisi vestibulum vel. In faucibus dolor vitae vehicula tincidunt. Cras eget turpis ornare, hendrerit ipsum ac, congue diam. Cras volutpat laoreet quam, eget malesuada lorem mattis ut. Vivamus a viverra nunc. Donec dapibus pretium vestibulum. Donec laoreet magna non viverra mollis. Vestibulum tristique vulputate odio, in congue odio facilisis commodo.

Spaced Repetition

Twitter’s great for random rabbit holes just lying in wait for the permanently curious. And one of the more interesting discoveries for me in recent weeks has been the thread that introduced me to the concept of spaced repetition:-

Put simply, the concept is that you learn more effectively by creating a bunch of flashcards that you then test yourself on regularly. If you remember easily, you don’t need to test your memory about it for while. But if you struggle, however, you are forced to revisit that card much more quickly, and more frequently – until it ends up in the first category.

So it’s a dynamic system that has a number of solutions out there to create digital, as opposed to physical, flashcards. Which brings the benefit that you can carry them with you wherever you are – plus you can check analytics directly in order to see how you’re progressing.

I’ll caveat this by saying that I have no evidence as yet as to how effective it is for my brain in particular. But I’ve started experimenting with Anki (although there are a few different options out there).  And I’ve not spent any real time diving into the science, but this method seem to be  more suitable for our human brains which store memories in an emergent, as opposed to planned way.

It seems that memories are not kept in a nice tidy database in your head by your brain. Instead, each one is stored where the brain sees fit, in an emergent manner. The memory itself gets stronger if the brain encounters it regularly and frequently.

So spaced repetition seems to me to fall into that category of deliberate practice. It appears to work more effectively because you are forced to work hard at remembering things throughout the process.

I haven’t yet worked out how I’m going to test this in practice but I’m up for giving it a try for a while and check out the results.

(Provided I don’t forget that I was planning to do this in the first place….)

 

The Inevitable Craziness of Surveillance, AI and Social Credit

Jaywalking is a funny thing. It doesn’t exist in the UK – in this country, pedestrians are expected to make their own judgements about whether or not it’s safe to cross a road. That’s pretty different to the US where in some cities, you can end up getting fined or detained for the heinous crime of, er, trying to cross a road on foot.

China has a similar approach to such blatant evildoing in public. Although the response is slightly different – hose down the miscreant to teach him or her a lesson….

Whilst amusing, it pales into insignificance when placed alongside the general direction of travel across China as it continues its journey deeper into a far darker dystopian and authoritarian future. It’s estimated that the country now has in excess of 200 million surveillance cameras tracking every move of its citizens.

It’s not simply the death of privacy and the chilling effect that such a burgeoning all-seeing infrastructure has on the freedom of individuals that’s the concern here.  It’s that this is far from being simply an ideological battleground. Instead, it’s reality today – as China has already introduced the Social Credit System which means that people with low scores can be prevented from travelling on planes and trains.

In other words, we’re seeing technology being used for totally different reasons. Instead of helping individuals in the pursuit of freedom, technology is being deployed as a system of control.

It’s turning into a one-sided battle as the Chinese government strives to manage society in a completely new way by pursuing a form of algorithmic governance.

For a taster, read this from the New York Times:-

“Last summer, the police put up cameras linked to facial recognition technology and a big, outdoor screen. Photos of lawbreakers were displayed alongside their names and government I.D. numbers. People were initially excited to see their faces on the board, said Guan Yue, a spokeswoman, until propaganda outlets told them it was punishment.

“If you are captured by the system and you don’t see it, your neighbours or colleagues will, and they will gossip about it,” she said. “That’s too embarrassing for people to take.”

Now if that doesn’t remind you of 1984, then I don’t know what will. Just watch this video – is this a system that you would live in out of choice?

I originally started this post to talk about one story in particular – the fact that cameras in Ningbo incorrectly captured the face of a famous successful CEO pictured on the side of a passing bus and interpreted it as an act of illegal jaywalking by her.

Cue much hilarity.  Until you start to consider the consequences. AI is still a long way from being reliable when it comes to these type of tasks. And the potential damage caused by such mistakes accelerates with every day that passes .

It’s rare to find an issue where you honestly can’t see both sides. Where even if you can’t agree with the other point of view as such, you can still find some form of merit in the opposing position. But I’m afraid this issue is one of those for me. It’s going to be fascinating to watch how this develops over the next 5 to 10 years. But for all the wrong reasons.

 

 

The Personal Runway Metric

When I was out speaking at an event tonight, one of the questions posed to us as panellists was what advice we’d give to students who are currently thinking of moving into the crypto/blockchain/startup world.

It reminded me of something I heard Coinbase CTO Balaji Srinivasan say recently. It doesn’t answer the question as such but I do think it is relevant.

Balaji believes that arguably the single most important metric for life is something he calls your personal runway. As you can probably guess if you’ve spent any time in business, your personal runway is defined simply as the size of your savings divided by your burn rate (how fast your spend the money you earn).

Maybe it doesn’t sound that noteworthy. But it is – because it’s far easier today to reduce your burn rate by 5x than it is to increase your salary/net worth by 5x.

Reducing your burn rate is deterministic (i.e. it’s within your power and choice to do it immediately). Really want to reduce the money you spend by a factor of 5? Take that chance – and go move to a different country with a far cheaper standard of living.

So the combination of cryptocurrency and digital technology combined mean that it’s now becoming much easier to continue earning very high sums of money for your work despite basing yourself in a remote location that doesn’t require you to spend as much. The results? You can now do any or all of: save more money; start companies with less funds; and continue to work on the most interesting opportunities out there today.

Of course, human behaviour being as it is, many/most people won’t take that leap. But some will. And they’re the ones that will likely make the most of the opportunities that are out there.

SAFE Network Hits the Mainstream

A few months ago, we were able to announce that MaidSafe had been acting as official advisors to the hit HBO show ‘Silicon Valley‘. The fifth season revolved around the startup trying to build a new decentralised peer-to-peer internet – sound familiar to anyone?

 

Cory Doctorow interviews Mike Judge (creator of HBO’s Silicon Valley) at the Decentralized Web Summit 2018

And now today, thanks to the eagle eyes of our global community, we’ve just found out that the SAFE Network also gets a mention in Disney’s new US Number 1 hit film ‘Wreck It Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks the Internet’. Check out the hugely familiar blue snowflake at the top of the screen below:-

Pretty cool, huh? As I wrote on the MaidSafe blog back in March of this year, my view is that these kind of things are much more important than simply being a ‘claim to fame’ and something to boast about down the pub with your mates. No, they are powerful precisely because they are ideas embedded deep within the well-worn but understood clothing of stories:-

“Significant changes in society are the culmination of many different factors. And it’s important to remember that every great societal change is preceded by the stories that first get created, shared and adopted by individuals. Stories bring people together, creating natural networks of individuals. They create the foundations that allow networks to grow and ultimately enable us to pursue goals collectively that are far greater than any one person can achieve alone. The pattern has been repeated time and again throughout history. And it’s a sign of the times that we live in that the focus of our obsession with the SAFE Network has now become the subject of a top-ranked TV show.”

So it’s nice to hear that story continue to grow arms and legs – this time round from Disney (traditionally the finest of all story tellers), in the form of the second highest-grossing US Thanksgiving film release to boot.

Plus it gives me kudos with the real bosses: the kids. I joined MaidSafe originally to improve the world that they grow into. We’re not at the destination quite yet – but we’re now driving through some pretty neat scenery… 😉

Different Twitter Uses

It’s been ten years since I first started using Twitter. It remains one of the most useful platforms for information discovery that I’ve ever used. And it’s been fascinating over the last decade to watch how different people approach it – before either loving or leaving Twitter for good.

I really like this tweetstorm from Michael Nielsen about his approach to using Twitter:-

It’s worth reading through. But in short, given the fact that you have total freedom of choice of who you follow and engage with, you only really have yourself to blame if Twitter isn’t one of the most fascinating places on the web for you. Of course, you’re not necessarily going to get into the depths of a discussion whilst restricted to 280 characters (an issue that’s definitely been alleviated by tweetstorms).

As Nielsen puts it:

“Intellectually, it feels collectively like having Nobel laureates in all disciplines hanging out in the tea room just down the hall. I can pop in whenever I like, hear them noodling, occasionally contribute myself”

“99% of our cities are dark matter: we know almost nothing of what is happening. Most of the people, conversations, and events that I would most enjoy I will never even hear about. Twitter changes this, in a significant way.”

“There’s definitely a place in life for good argument, a favourite pastime of mine. But with rare exceptions, Twitter isn’t it!”

“Many people I follow are unapologetically optimistic and idealistic, always working to make the world better. I find that infectious and buoying.”

I couldn’t agree more.

More Opinions, Fewer Facts

Social media opens up a world of communication and enables collaboration, as we all know. I’ve been thinking about this point from a recent Robin Hanson blog post in which he talks about how we tend to use social platforms these days:

“We more often forward what others have said rather than saying things ourselves, the things we forward are more opinionated and less well vetted, and are more about politics, conflict, culture, and personalities.”

Does that sound like a world that’s using technology to improve?

Pivot or Head Shot?

Last week, I finally got around to reading Nick Bilton’s ‘Hatching Twitter‘. The book explores the history of Twitter, including its  early incarnation as Odeo, a directory and search destination website for RSS-syndicated video and audio.  When it gradually soon became clear that the prospects for the business were limited, the search was on for a new idea…and Twitter was born.

Now, anyone who’s spent time around startups during the last decade or so knows about the cult of the pivot. As Tyson (Mike, not Fury) once said “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth”. And often it’s just a simple fact that the amazing idea that you dreamed up with your buddies just doesn’t cut it when you finally ask people to pay hard cash to use it and find out things aren’t as you dreamed they might be.

But, contrary to startup mythology, maybe that rush to find a new, viable alternative for the business isn’t actually sensible. Quite the opposite. A couple of days ago, Fred Wilson raised the idea that perhaps a hard pivot is one of the worst things you can do – not only for yourself as an entrepreneur, but also for the investor for whom you are probably striving to save the business out of a sense of loyalty.

If that resonates with you, think very carefully. Using money you already have and a ready-assembled team is tempting. It’s easier than starting a new business from zero.  But you’ve now strayed into territory where people don’t care or worse, aren’t interested but content to tread water.

  • Your investors originally chose a different company to invest their money in than the one you now want to build.
  • Hopefully your current employees were hired because they were the best for Idea A. Can you honestly say they have the perfect expertise to drive the success of Idea B?
  • As an entrepreneur, you may have money in the bank to build the business – but you also own less of the equity. This is a problem because if you do manage to achieve success by knocking your guts out working hard over the years, you now have a smaller proportion of the spoils to look forward to – with the rest of the rewards going to those employees and investors who are unlikely to be the best for Idea B, as we’ve just seen.

At the end of the day, startup investors expect to lose money most of the time. Their rewards come from the fact that they invest in a couple of very successful ideas that provide a disproportionate return that dwarves that more than cover those losses.

So why persist if the mutual interest and enthusiasm has disappeared? Life is short – and zombie companies serve nobody in the long run. The head shot’s the way forward.

Blog Post Test Number Three

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Aenean convallis eu purus et vestibulum. Sed sit amet libero vitae dolor iaculis mollis. Phasellus malesuada ornare dapibus. Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia Curae; Vestibulum id dolor et enim sagittis vehicula id vel urna. Aliquam et lorem pulvinar, imperdiet ex nec, tempus nulla. Praesent lobortis elit at nulla iaculis, vel auctor mauris vestibulum. Duis dictum, magna sit amet consectetur dignissim, mi tellus eleifend enim, id tristique ex dolor eu orci. Pellentesque placerat hendrerit mi eu cursus. Donec molestie enim sed maximus mattis. Nunc dictum, metus ac luctus efficitur, dui quam commodo libero, eget bibendum tellus lacus non justo.

Aenean sit amet metus ut neque euismod aliquet elementum a odio. Fusce arcu ipsum, volutpat vel est ac, consectetur euismod mauris. Phasellus id suscipit urna, vitae suscipit leo. Pellentesque nisi dui, tincidunt ut sollicitudin a, mattis non lectus. Integer vulputate eu elit sed rhoncus. Sed in metus imperdiet quam tempor vestibulum sed interdum odio. Curabitur aliquam nulla vel lectus blandit suscipit. Duis ut sagittis lectus. Suspendisse vitae sem euismod sapien lacinia posuere a non massa. Praesent ac mi arcu.

Fusce ullamcorper ligula at massa dictum mollis. Curabitur viverra sodales venenatis. Quisque laoreet, risus in pellentesque condimentum, libero sem consectetur nulla, eget maximus metus ante et mi. Vivamus efficitur vitae erat id fringilla. Sed aliquet, magna quis rhoncus tincidunt, urna velit varius mauris, eget dictum metus erat id tellus. Aliquam aliquet turpis sit amet tempus consequat. Sed nec ipsum vel velit dapibus dignissim eget ac elit. Duis maximus enim vel urna tincidunt tempus. Quisque ac erat tincidunt, venenatis dui et, congue dui. Mauris tincidunt sagittis ornare. Donec posuere mi vitae sem ornare, ut fringilla eros dignissim. Etiam a urna sed purus mollis vehicula.

Cras eu risus id massa rutrum porta ac non diam. Integer eget tortor tempus, interdum sapien ut, vestibulum lorem. Vestibulum porttitor nisl risus, sed ornare orci laoreet at. Sed ac dapibus purus, sed porttitor mauris. Proin pellentesque nulla quis sapien vestibulum facilisis. Maecenas lacinia tristique sem, vitae ultrices nisi vestibulum vel. In faucibus dolor vitae vehicula tincidunt. Cras eget turpis ornare, hendrerit ipsum ac, congue diam. Cras volutpat laoreet quam, eget malesuada lorem mattis ut. Vivamus a viverra nunc. Donec dapibus pretium vestibulum. Donec laoreet magna non viverra mollis. Vestibulum tristique vulputate odio, in congue odio facilisis commodo.