Silicon Valley Startups: Low-risk R&D

Wired Reporting:

As the engineer and writer Alex Payne put it, these startups represent “the field offices of a large distributed workforce assembled by venture capitalists and their associate institutions,” doing low-overhead, low-risk R&D for five corporate giants. In such a system, the real disillusionment isn’t the discovery that you’re unlikely to become a billionaire; it’s the realization that your feeling of autonomy is a fantasy, and that the vast majority of you have been set up to fail by design.

The most expensive lottery ticket in the world

From Felix Salmon:

Founding a Silicon Valley startup, then, is a deeply irrational thing to do: it’s a decision to throw away a large chunk of your precious youth at a venture which is almost certain to fail. Meanwhile, the Silicon Valley ecosystem as a whole will happily eat you up, consuming your desperate and massively underpaid labor, and converting it into a few obscenely large paychecks for a handful of extraordinarily lucky individuals. On its face, the winners, here, are the people with the big successful exits. But after reading No Exit, a different conclusion presents itself. The real winners are the happy and well-paid engineers, enjoying their lives and their youth while working for great companies like Google. In the world of startups, the only winning move is not to play.

A week with my new favorite watch by @Hodinkee

NOMOS Zurich

This watch is the type of watch that should be worn by a man who travels the world and thinks nothing of it; a man who is at home in Zurich, Hong Kong, Chicago, and Santiago, and knows the best places to eat in each without having to use his iPhone. It was made for the type of person who reads Monocle Magazine not to impress people on the train, but who genuinely cares about stalwarts of sustainable design in an obscure Scandinavian city. This watch is for a man who appreciates that fact that this watch features an in-house manufacture movement with hand-finishing, but doesn’t need everyone around him to know how much he paid for it. The NOMOS is a watch for a man who knew exactly who Nick Horween was before he saw that this watch came on Horween leather.

Boeing, TPS & Outsourcing

Boeing, TPS & Outsourcing

However key elements of the Toyota outsourcing model were not
implemented at Boeing. Toyota maintains tight control over the overall
design and engineering of its vehicles and only outsources to
suppliers who have proven their ability to deliver with the required
timeliness, quality, cost reduction and continuous innovation. As
Toyota works closely with its suppliers and responds to supplier
concerns with integrity and mutual respect, it has established an
impressive level of professional trust and an overriding preoccupation
with product quality. But besides that, totally the same.

The bridge steak & other Argentinian dining tips

Maciej Cegłowski takes on Argentinean dining:

The afternoon steak is the workhorse steak, the backbone of the day. It’s the steak that gets you around the city, ensures a successful nap, steers you into the bar and (most importantly) gives you the mental clarity to choose the right cut of meat in the restaurant that night. Misorder the first steak and you will either find yourself losing steam by eight o’clock, when no restaurant is open, or scampering to find an awkward third bridge steak, to tide you over until dinner.

“Let’s take Harvard as an example…” “No, let’s not do that”

Really amazing take on the future of education by Clay Shirky. On massive open online courses:

MOOCs simply ignore a lot of those questions. The possibility MOOCs hold out isn’t replacement; anything that could replace the traditional college experience would have to work like one, and the institutions best at working like a college are already colleges. The possibility MOOCs hold out is that the educational parts of education can be unbundled. MOOCs expand the audience for education to people ill-served or completely shut out from the current system, in the same way phonographs expanded the audience for symphonies to people who couldn’t get to a concert hall, and PCs expanded the users of computing power to people who didn’t work in big companies.

And let’s not forget the absurdity of cost:

In the US, an undergraduate education used to be an option, one way to get into the middle class. Now it’s a hostage situation, required to avoid falling out of it. And if some of the hostages having trouble coming up with the ransom conclude that our current system is a completely terrible idea, then learning will come unbundled from the pursuit of a degree just as as songs came unbundled from CDs.