I just wanted to share these two very well-done and informative primers on AI and quantum computing by A16z. The latter one made a bit less ignorant about the topic. The former one is rather basic but still interesting.
Free, open to everyone and highly educational Stanford class “How to Start a Startup” has just ended. But all the materials, including talks by star speakers, such as Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, Ben Horowitz, Sam Altman, Brian Chesky and others are going to be available online. For quick reference, here is the complete collection of all course materials:
|9/23/14||Sam Altman, President, Y Combinator
Dustin Moskovitz, Cofounder, Facebook, Cofounder, Asana, Cofounder, Good Ventures
|Welcome, and Ideas, Products, Teams and Execution Part I
Why to Start a Startup
|9/25/14||Sam Altman, President, Y Combinator||Ideas, Products, Teams and Execution Part II|
|9/30/14||Paul Graham, Founder, Y Combinator||Before the Startup|
|10/2/14||Adora Cheung, Founder, Homejoy||Building Product, Talking to Users, and Growing|
|10/7/14||Peter Thiel, Founder, Paypal, Founder, Palantir, and Founder, Founders Fund||Competition is For Losers|
I devoted some of my time to self-education in September-December using the opportunity provided by Stanford University Venture Lab‘s online courses. In this post I would like to briefly describe my impressions and share some useful materials from the courses. Venture Lab courses are somewhat different from other online courses in that they take place during a specific time with specific deadlines, and you need to enroll in order to participate.
I tried three courses: Technology Entrepreneurship, Crash Course on Creativity, and Finance. As they are very different, I will tell you about each one separately.
This is probably the best one. Although, there are multiple opinions on whether entrepreneurship can be taught, there are a lot of useful materials.
If it is too late for you to participate, you might still benefit from these materials:
- Stanford University “Technology Entrepreneurship” playlist on Youtube: video lectures;
- Chuck Easley’s blog post “Resources and Tools”: a lot of links to useful websites and tools;
- Chuck Easley’s blog post “Recommended Reading”: recommended books and blogs to read;
- Facebook page;
- Facebook group.
I think it takes about an hour a week or so to keep up with the lectures. But if you want to do more, for example communicate on forum, read recommended books, and actually try to apply ideas to some project, it will take longer, of course.
By the way, if you are interested in this topic, I highly recommend you these recent notes from Peter Thiel’s lectures. They also happen to be in Stanford. Computer Science dep. It will save another hundred thousand dollars. 😉
“You’re sitting in a chair… In the SKY!”
Louis C.K. makes you laugh while expressing his view that the world is as awesome as never before but over demanding generation is still annoyingly dissatisfied:
I recently spent some time thinking what ad campaigns I would call my favorite. I think it would be Nike, Intel & Apple. See yourself.
Nike probably create the most motivational and vital commercials. Not only they motivate you to engage in sport but to to act and compete life in general. One of the best ones: “Nike Courage“.
Intel’s snobbish humor is awesome. I think the favorite one is: “Intel jokes“.
Actually, there are few places where you can find some edutainment videos for you dinner watching. Here are the main alternatives to TED I stumbled upon and some introductory videos that I personally liked that can help you get started.
According to the website:
PopTech is a unique innovation network – a global community of cutting-edge leaders, thinkers, and doers from many different disciplines, who come together to explore the social impact of new technologies, the forces of change shaping our future, and new approaches to solving the world’s most significant challenges. We are known for our thriving community of thought-leaders, breakthrough innovation programs, visionary annual conferences and deep media and storytelling capabilities.
A good video to start from: Sebastian Seung’s Connectome.
2. Learning Without Frontiers
According to the website:
Learning Without Frontiers is a global platform for disruptive thinkers and practitioners from the education, digital media, technology and entertainment sectors who come together to explore how new disruptive technologies can drive radical efficiencies and improvements in learning whilst providing equality of access.
A good video to start from: Gordon Brown’s Pirate’s Dilemma.
One of the best short movies I know, Validation:
Do you know of any similar short films?
Not a long time ago I wrote a post about My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor. And during last couple of months I listened to and read 2 more: Brain Rules by John Medina and Your Brain at Work by David Rock. Unlike Jill, they don’t tell their own stories but try to give real life recommendations based on neuroscience research.
John focuses on general principles rules of brain functioning which he covers relatively briefly. David on the other hand provides more of a deep dive in various situations that we face daily, mostly at work but views them through the prism of our brain and its biochemistry. Social concepts, such as status, reward and others are explained through things like oxitocin, dopamin & epinephrin.
Those who find such topics interesting can find my notes below. Plus, a couple of great videos of authors’ talks and one fun Slideshare presentation.
1. Brain Rules by John Medina
EXERCISE | Rule #1: Exercise boosts brain power.
John recommends various kind of physical activity, especially aerobic one, including long walks. He states that if participants of business meetings walked on treadmills with 1.8 mile/hr speed, they would come up with much more creative ideas, not to mention increased memory and overall well-being. By the way, John takes his own medicine. It took him 15 minutes to adapt to replying to emails while walking.
Finished listening to My Stroke of Insight by neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor today. It appeared to be as interesting as I expected, so I’d like to share it with you.
Jill is a Harvard PhD who built a highly successful career in science. Everything went just perfect till the moment when she got a stroke on one of her mornings. As a result, she lost almost all of her cognitive and physical skills, but survived. Moreover, eventually she finally recovered which took more than 8 years. Step be step she learned everything: from speech recognition, to walking and reading.
The Book tells her personal story and gives a basic understanding of our brain. According to author our brain functions can be separated by hemispheres: left and right. Right one lives in a present moment and is responsible for our sensory feelings, intuition, and perception of universe as a whole. Left one in turn is our rational mind, future planning, past evaluation, speech, critical thinking, etc.
After the stroke Jill lost functions of left hemisphere. The most interesting part is that despite the loss of cognitive functions, she describes her experience with sincere rapture. She emotionally tells us about feeling of “deep inner piece and bliss” and expresses ideas that I highly connected with a topic of mindful meditation that kind of follows me last month. BTW, here are two awesome Google Talks about it: first, second. I even decided to listen to book of the latter one, but that’s a separate story.
Why even think of educational online courses?
In my opinion, full freedom implies self-improvement and the ability to learn new things every day. And you know what? I don’t really think that joining the university is absolutely the best way to do it.
I guess I’m not the only one here who has a feeling that education in the traditional meaning of this word is dying in the 21st Century. Sounds like a bold statement, but it’s true. Even now, in 2010 amount of the information available for free is unbelievable. And it’s increasing exponentially. If you still have doubts I recommend you to watch this truly amazing video:
I’m not sure about you, but it definitely made me think a lot. Old traditional universities with big names won’t disappear overnight, of course not. Degree is still the best available indicator of credibility, top universities still have an opportunity to provide their students with the wide range of various subjects and classes. The point is if you worry about practical knowledge more than about degree and credits there are some alternatives available for you. Probably, you just don’t have that much time to spend on educating yourself in a traditional way or probably you don’t want to settle down in one place for a few years?