Hi, this is an issue of my monthly newsletter. I’ve picked a few interesting articles on technology, startups, growth, marketing and other topics for you.
I hope you enjoy the read with your morning cup of coffee. Let me know what you think! ~Max
Technology and Startups
- The State of Artificial Intelligence in 2018: A Good Old Fashioned Report.
- Learning Dexterity (3-min video). Open AI trained a robot to manipulate physical objects. Plus, the NYT article on the same subject.
- How Old Are Successful Tech Entrepreneurs? A person who is 40 is 2.1x as likely to found a successful startup as a person who is 25. The average founder who had a successful exit through an IPO or an acquisition is 46.7 years old. (Kellogg)
- Amazon’s Facial Recognition Wrongly Identifies 28 Lawmakers, A.C.L.U. Says. ACLU used Amazon face recognition software, trained the model on a mugshot database and applied it to pictures of US congressmen. This led to some false positives — 28 members of Congress were identified as people who were arrested. The high false positive rate was mostly due to the low confidence threshold (80%) and the biased training set but the point that this technology can be misused is well taken. (NYT)
Growth and Marketing
- 19 Tactics to Solve the Chicken-or-Egg Problem and Grow Your Marketplace. A short read and practical advice.
- Intercom on growth. The new book by Intercom that provides a high-level overview of all key growth drivers — from acquisition to retention. (Intercom)
- On writing for deprecation. How to announce feature deprecation: be clear, be compassionate, communicate early and provide a path forward. (Slack)
- DAU/MAU is an important metric to measure engagement, but here’s where it fails. Andrew Chen on when to focus on daily/monthly active users and when not to.
Product Management and Design
- How to build a better product with UX writing. Understand your users, be empathetic and clear. See the visual examples in the article. (IndieHackers)
Leadership and Management
- What great listeners actually do. Create a safe environment, reduce distractions, understand the substance, pay attention to emotions and nonverbal cues, and ask clarifying questions. (HBR)
Economy and Global Development
- Memorizing these three statistics will help you understand the world. Child deaths 20M a year –> 6M since 1960. The fertility rate ↓ 50% since 1960. 137K people escaped extreme poverty every day since 1990. (Max Roser, gatesnotes.com)
- Doing Good Better. I think every high-schooler and everyone interested in making a positive impact on the world should read the book. It lays out a framework for evaluating the social impact of non-profits and individuals in a very logical yet uncommon way. Also see: effectivealtruism.org
Podcasts and Documentaries
- Vitalik Buterin on Cryptoeconomics and Markets in Everything. Vitalik and Tyler Cowen talk about cryptocurrencies, economics, decentralization, and other topics.
- How Social Media and AI Hijack Your Brain. Tristan Harris, the founder of the Center for Humane Technology, talks about building ethical tech products and the impact of social media on the world and individuals.
Cognition and Psychology
- “If You Say Something Is “Likely,” How Likely Do People Think It Is?”. This reminds me of the Strategy class at Berkeley-Haas where we talked about assigning specific numeric probabilities to various business outcomes instead of using vague words like “likely”. (HBR)
- The One Routine Common to Billionaires, Icons and World-Class Performers. Spoiler: it’s meditation. Perhaps consider picking up this habit if you haven’t yet. (Tim Ferriss)
Science and Research
- The Lifespan of a Lie. It turns out that one of the most famous psychology experiments in the history — the Stanford prison experiment — had serious methodological flaws. Plus, Philip Zimbardo’s defense.
- 10B rides were provided cumulatively by Uber.
- 8M miles is the total distance that was covered by Waymo cars.
My Blog Posts
- Best Tools For Competitive Intelligence. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could always be on top of what your competition is up to without making this your full-time job?
“Men who believe that they are accomplishing something by speaking speak in a different way from men who believe that speaking is a waste of time.”
— Neal Stephenson, Cryptonomicon
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