Y K C : May
Welcome to YKC. Finally spring. Do people still celebrate International Workers Day? Soon we’ll have a day for International AI Day.
Check out my latest article Why everyone should have a newsletter here on Medium.
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“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”
New Power: How Power Works in Our Hyperconnected World–and How to Make It Work for You by Jeremy Heimans: I believe it was an opportune time for a book like this to be written. Enough has happened over the past few years, most importantly the current US political system’s radical change from the top down (and judging from the questions asked during Zuck’s Congressional hearing, not much has been learned in DC) and big tech finally being open about how much power they actually possess (an incredible amount). I can’t say the book was useful in how to make power “work for you” but Heimans offers a very clear view of where we are circa 2018, and some clues on what the next few years might look like.
Heimans covers Obama’s 2008 and 2012 digital strategies (particularly his team’s testing of email subject lines) in the use of new power in engaging then rising millennial voters to raise money for his campaign. Heimans observes that once Obama was in office he reverted to old power — acting like many Presidents do, as the consummate politician. Compare that to Trump’s chaotic 2016 presidential campaign, which was just as decentralized as other social movements such as #blacklivesmatter, or most infamously, ISIS, in pushing a narrative forward and energizing a base. Trump’s campaign was different as he was the central (provocative) figure various group rallied around (Tea Party, alt-right, etc.), as opposed to the other fairly leadless movements. This decentralized campaign co-opted other narratives on the Internet (including racist and anti-Semitic ones) through the use of tools such as memes as part of what Heimans calls an intensity machine. The more offensive the statements Trump made — the more the intensity ratcheted up, the (social) media responded, and he rode the chaos. These decentralized movements are not easy to co-opt, as we saw with the embarrassingly bad (and out of touch) Pepsi commercial which attempted to parrot the momentum of the #blacklivesmatter movement. ’Nevertheless, she Pepsisted’: Kendall Jenner made a Pepsi ad. The Internet made glorious memes; new power trolled old power.
Silicon Valley is home to the largest legal creation of wealth in human history in the fewest hands. Comparing it to an empire it’s similar to ancient Rome; the tributary in this age are the companies and platforms (ex, Uber) who benefit financially while upending traditional industries across the globe. Never has there been such uneven distribution of wealth. Heimans writes extensively about the old power paradigm masquerading as new power; he focuses on Facebook and Uber (but could have swapped Amazon and Google in their place). That despite Silicon Valley’s ethos to improve humanity’s situation (though tech advancement is a net positive) “power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely”. Shots fired as Zuck took the offensive (The Zuckerberg Hearings were Silicon Valleys Ultimate Debut), and did prove as the article states that “big time politicos are no match for Silicon Valley”.
A good opinion piece on this by book by David Brooks of the NY Times and in the Guardian. Ryan Holiday’s piece It’s Time to Get Real About Power in Silicon Valley is a very relevant piece to compliment this as well.
⚪️Power corrupts: It’s not just boys will be boys anymore as power corrupts anyone in control of it. Evolutionary forces are probably driving us more then we’d like to admit but as we see with big tech that given a chance to accumulate power it’s more “move fast and break things” then “don’t be evil”.
⚪️Tech = superpower: Kylie Jenner’s Cosmetics Brand Is on Track to Become a $1 Billion Company; thanks mostly to marketing on platforms like Instagram and Snap. This was just not possible a few years ago; some context, it took legacy brand Lancome 80 years to reach that sales figure. There is a reason you’re probably tired of the Kardashians; they understand marketing on every relevant platform, as Kris Jenner is utilizing popular dating Bumble app to find the next reality show extra, Why Kris Jenner is using the dating app Bumble to find a new assistant.
⚪️Things will never the same again: I feel that some people I speak with are waiting for the other shoe to drop, like what is happening now is a passing fad. It’s not a passing fad, and with AI empowering an even smaller subset of people, power is going to get even more focused in the hands of even fewer people. Best to assume your job is going to be replaced by an algorithm in the not so distance future.
⚪️Venture University: Love what VU is doing in learning by doing (and quoting Jay-Z on their landing page, “They’ve read a bunch of words, I’ve lived a bunch of life”). Reminds me of the Tim Ferriss concept of a Real World MBA. I believe we’re going to see a lot more of these targeted education programs spring up in the coming years. At Venture University you “learn by doing” by investing the capital of a VC/PE fund and sharing in the profits from the investments made during the program, which has the potential to return some, all, or significantly more than the cost of tuition. For more info click here.
⚪️Aleph: Aleph is a venture capital fund whose focus is on serving Israeli entrepreneurs who want to build meaningful global businesses and are hiring a Network Knowledge Researcher. They are looking for an independent thinker and a data buff who will run our data processes and use their platform to provide value to their portfolio companies. More details and application can be found here.
⚪️Civic Hall: Civic Hall is committed to building a strong, diverse, and mission-driven team to better serve the community we know and love. They are actively seeking applicants from many backgrounds, as well as those who have worked closely with historically marginalized groups, including but not limited to people with disabilities, people of color, LGBTQ people, first- or second-generation immigrants, and people from low-income families. They’re hiring for Development and Director of Marketing & Development positions here.
⚪️Israel-Asia Director of Programs & Strategic Partnerships: The Israel-Asia Center is seeking a dynamic go-getter and compelling communicator to join their team as Director of Programs & Strategic Partnerships, helping to grow — and grow with — the organization, in this high-profile and exciting position, strengthening Israel’s relations with Asia. For a detailed job description click here.
⚪️LAVAN Executive Director: Do you know someone who is passionate about impact investing and the Jewish world? A hands-on entrepreneurial leader who geeks out about living a values-led life and Jewish education? Strong preference for NYC-based. Please send a resume and brief cover letter to email@example.com
⚪️TechHub: TechHub is the global community for tech entrepreneurs and startups. They support the growth of over 750 companies across the world, whether they’re founders getting started, or fast-scaling 50 to 100-person teams. TechHub exists thanks to an awesome team that keeps supporting their startups on a daily basis. They’re hiring for — Ecosystem Development Manager and Commercial Community Manager.
80/20 Rule: This is not just The Pareto principle which states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. It’s the idea that an optimized mindset is 80% gratitude/20% chip-on-your-shoulder (like remembering something negative someone said to you to light that fire). Sometimes that anger can be the spark you need to focus and execute on the hard task, but as Star Wars taught us; beware of the Dark Side. So know yourself and tread lightly.
I credit serial entrepreneur/motivation guru Tom Bilyeu for this idea. Andy Firsella from the MFCEO Project has also spoken about past pain and failure as a driver for his success. I know this idea might not be popular in our culture which champions positive emotions above all else (even if it’s delusional), but as humans, we feel fear/anger as part of our condition on this planet. Best to not ignore those feelings and leverage them towards something constructive.
Substack: Love that there are more newsletter platforms out there and what these guys are doing. This Y Combinator startup believes that newsletters are still the most effective way to get someone’s mindshare (and that people will pay for good content). With the deafening noise and altered reality on social media (as well as the proliferation of social platforms), people are going to naturally revert to what they know and trust. Email.
I put this in Process because I believe creating a newsletter is one of the most effective ways to build and communicate with a community. Also, I believe that more niche media sites will continue to spring up as the current political discourse continues to move from our Facebook feed to other aspects of our lives. Best to get in front of this trend (as we’re not getting any closer to agreeing on anything) and get your thoughts out in the world with a newsletter. Newsletter > personal media channel.:
Trading Dive: Trading Dive is a stock-analysis platform that helps traders make informed investment decisions. The tool analyzes the strength of stocks through a simple trading bot, stock indicators, market sentiment and more. You can even customize text alerts when to buy/sell a particular stock. Traders often know when they gain or lose money, but Trading Dive solves for why and how to think ahead of market movement.
“The market isn’t just for hedge funds and corporate big-wigs. We want to help people trade with more confidence — whether you’re brand new or a seasoned retail trader. That means bringing industry-leading indicators, portfolio tracking and data in a way that is easy to digest,” said Co-Founder, Cait Harte. For more info, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter/IG: @tradingdive
⚪️Smart to Future Cities I People’s Choice Awards: They’re an organization focusing on practical, scalable applications of smart city initiatives to improve infrastructure and quality of life. My friend Rhonda Binda who serves as Executive Director of the Regional Smart Cities Initiatives (a nonprofit that educates and aligns interdisciplinary groups of leaders around available tools) was nominated for their People’s Choice Award because of her impactful work. Please vote for her here.
⚪️Ethical Algorithms: Bias and Explainability in Machine Learning Systems: Over the past year, discourse about the ethical risks of machine learning has largely shifted from speculative fear about rogue superintelligent systems to critical examination of machine learning’s propensity to exacerbate patterns of discrimination in society. This talk explains how bias creeps into supervised machine learning systems and proposes a framework businesses can apply to hold algorithmic systems accountable in a way that is meaningful. Tuesday, May 1st, 6:00 PM Capital One Labs, 114 5th Ave, 6th Fl. Tickets here.
⚪️Entrepreneurs & Investors by Paradigm Talks: They’re holding a networking event for entrepreneurs, private investors, and corporate finance professionals. Startup companies will pitch for funding and will be followed by networking over drinks. The pitches typically cover a wide range of industries including fashion, Fintech, and VR. Wednesday, May 2nd 6:30 PM. Americas Tower (Seventh Floor) 1177 Avenue of the Americas. Register here.
⚪️Sonic Humanism — Constructing New Realities Through Sound: Music and sound allow us to construct new realities, giving us the superpowers to make our lives richer and simpler. The sonic experts at Man Made Music call this Sonic Humanism. Join Man Made Music and Digital Storytelling Lab for a night of discovering the invisible power of sound and how it can transform your everyday life. Very cool event in line with what I’m exploring with voice (Alexa Skills). Wednesday, May 02 at 07:00 PM. Film Society at Lincoln Center, 144 W 65th St. Register here.
⚪️Startup Weekend Impact Ventures: Learn how to take ideas from concept to creation in a matter of days! It doesn’t matter what you do or where you come from, Startup Weekend is designed as an inclusive event and program that brings everyone together. Friday, May 4th — May 6th, 2018. TechHub, 158 W 27th St. Tickets here.
⚪️SOS Investor Breakfast: They’ll be hosting Ayesha Kiani, Managing Director, Republic Crypto, Venture Partner, NextGen VC. Republic Crypto is a trusted presale token fundraising platform for all types of investors. FYI: Ayesha also sources deals for NextGen VC, so it’s a good idea to come and hear what she has to say and what she’s looking for. Thursday, May 3, 8:30 AM. KettleSpace Nomad @The Cannibal 111 East 29th St. Register here.
⚪️An Evening with TED 2018 Speaker Vishann Chakrabarti: When thinking of old, beautiful cities, you may remember the pedestrian bridges in Venice, the winding alleys of Hong Kong, or the intricate buildings in Paris. We’ve been mass producing materials like concrete, steel, asphalt, and drywall, creating cities that are mundane and look the same. Vishaan argues this must change. Join GCT to hear him expand on his 2018 TEDTalk to discuss the importance of building cities of difference. Wed- 5/09. 6:00 PM @GCT, 4th floor. 335 Madison Ave. RSVP here.
⚪️Investor Coffee Morning with Rubicon Venture Capital: Join TechHub for an informal chat over coffee where they will be welcoming Joshua Seigel from Rubicon Ventures. Their Investor Coffee Mornings are a great opportunity to navigate the investment landscape, understand different funding options, build relationships and engage relevant investors to successfully raise external capital. TechHub, 158 W 27th St. May 10th, 9:00 AM. Register here.
⚪️TechDay: The largest startup event in the US! They know startups are looking for a few main resources to help propel their growth, and that’s exactly who they invite to join as attendees. TechDay offers a unique opportunity to showcase your brand and connect with their 20,000+ attendees! May 10, 2018 | 10am-5pm. Pier 94 | 711 12th Ave. Register here.