Y K C : The Third Wave

YKC mini-newsletter. It’s all about keeping momentum; and while the world is changing at such a rapid pace (accelerating and continuing to move even faster) my analysis from previous YKC newsletters is still very relevant today. Like my previous articles about macro trends in tech (and across the globe) but thru the lens of Jewish thought (and my newly discovered mindfulness), in this article I focus on past book reviews/articles where technology and policy meet.

On the surface technology and policy don’t seem to be easy bedfellows, I will give a personal antidote on how I went from non-profit >politics > tech. First off, I wasn’t asking anyone for permission in where I wanted to go. And I have certainly not reached where I want to go on my path; a popular idea these days, but I’m working every day to create my future. That’s a testament to the times, when are superheros are Zuck and Elon if you’re enterprising you aspire. In fact, no one knows where we are going these days, certainly not policy makers (thought that is improving); tech entrepreneurs are driving the conversation. As a purpose driven person I naturally gravitate to those creating transformational changes, and they the technologists. The one thing all these entrepreneurs and thinkers have in common however is that they’re not afraid to run towards some of the world’s biggest problems and tackle them head on. For me it was a natural progression, work with the people who are fundamentally, really, moving the dial. The crazy ones who are envisioning, and executing towards a brighter future.

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“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”

-Alvin Toffler

⚪️The Third Wave by Steve Case: The founder of AOL writes about how we entering a new paradigm called the “Third Wave” of the Internet. Just a note, the title is taken from futurist Alvin Toffler’s 1980 classic of the same name, which it itself predicted many of the trends we see today. In this recent book, Case writes that the first wave saw AOL and other companies lay the foundation for consumers to connect to the Internet. The second wave saw companies like Google and Facebook build on top of the Internet to create search and social networking capabilities, while apps like Snapchat and Instagram leveraged the smartphone revolution.

Now, Case argues, we’re entering the Third Wave: a period in which entrepreneurs will vastly transform major real-world sectors like health, education, transportation, energy, and food; and in the process change the way we live our daily lives. I’ve seen tremendous opportunities in start-ups which are looking to disrupt highly regulated industries, particularly those coming from here in Israel. Funny though because policy couldn’t be further on the list of importance in the minds of most entrepreneurs heads down building their companies (but as we’ve seen in the case of Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb) it needs to be.

A side note, a good article to read alongside this book is the Wired interview with President Obama; Barack Obama Talks AI, Robo-Cars, and the Future of the World). Similarly, I couldn’t pass up including this article given everything that is happened with Hilary Clinton’s emails; Secrets Of Silicon Valley Intrigue Revealed In Colin Powell’s Hacked Emails; very telling how the center of power has shifted to Silicon Valley. Writing this now, over a year late, how thing have changed so quickly: It’s Time To Get Real About Power in Silicon Valley.

⚪️The New New Thing: A Silicon Valley Story by Michael Lewis: Michael Lewis wrote many books on Wall St. but his portray of Silicon Valley wonder Jim Clark is still relevant close to twenty years after it was written. Given the state of current tech valuations it’s probably a good idea to understand the mood of the late 1990’s. I wrote this review before all the extreme hype around crypto. Honestly, those who don’t learn from history really are doomed to repeat it. On a similar note I’ve heard positive reviews of Lewis’s book The Undoing Project and while I did enjoy it, it was not an easy book to get thru.

⚪️Lemonade Starts Insurance Sales in N.Y. a Year After Founding: I love what this Israeli start-up is doing in the insurance industry with peer-to-peer insuring. Plus, gotta love anything Dan Ariely is involved with. Fast forward to where we are today, with an influx of cash from venture gorilla Softbank Lemonade is entering new markets (which merits a separate article). Thinking out loud now, I’ll make the case the current crop of New York soon to be unicorns and success stories (which onto itself is a loaded term in tech) have the dual American-Israeli DNA (WeWork, Compass, Via, etc.) in a future post.

⚪️Self-driven Israeli Cars Are Heading for a Crash: Interesting analysis. “What would an Israeli-designed car look like? For one thing, it would have a special gear that stops the car abruptly and opens the passenger window when it detects a friend of the driver standing on the sidewalk, so they can have a chat oblivious to the other cars stuck behind them.” ;) Looking back, while I though that idea was funny, there is a lot of truth to it. There is going to a be major humanity element as part of the design of the next generation of automated cars which all the major automakers (and tech companies) are betting on.

Right now, driverless cars are having a bad news day, and of course some fear this slow integration: The Unavoidable Folly of Making Humans Train Self-Driving Cars, bur my humble predication is that this will blow over. The future is here, and at this point we need to go along with it. As for Uber founder’s founder Travis Kalanick’s Return and the ‘Bad Boys’ Who Always Come Back; Writer F Scott Fitzgerald reflected at that moment in time 100 years ago that in America there are no second acts. No comebacks. We still love a good story about the underdog, but Travis is more like the fallen angel. In 2018 America there are not second chances, but third, four… especially when he’s also not asking anyone for permission to build a new company.

⚪️Bots aren’t the enemy: 12 bots to streamline your workflow: I was on a kick to learn as much about the bots revolution as I could, and specifically how bots could take specific tasks off my plate. Funny, one of the articles in a previous newsletter mentioned bots are given feminine names to humanize them; I’m going to be hiring Clara soon as my assistant. Writing this a year ago so much already changed, I don’t know if bots are the be all and end all, but I am definitely am humbled by how much I need to learn about artificial intelligence.

⚪️SpaceX’s Explosion Reverberates Across Space, Satellite and Telecom Industries: I was in Israel when this happened and people were hating on Elon Musk and Space X. The Amos-6 satellite, all 200 million dollars, and Mark Zuckerberg’s mission of projecting Wi-Fi from space into Africa went up in a ball of flames. Does anyone really think this was going to stop Elon Musk. Regarding space travel setbacks one does not need to far back in history; Virgin Galactic Will Recover from Tragic Crash, Richard Branson Says. Didn’t stop Richard Branson, it’s not going to stop Elon Musk. Indeed, he just landed his rocketship in Israel: Tesla denies Musk in talks with Israeli AI vision firm Cortica.

⚪️How Obama Brought About Brexit: Looking back at this article, I can’t say I agree with a lot of it, but Israeli VC Michael Eisenberg touched on some good points in his Medium post. And while there are a few points in the post I disagreed with (I believe some of the progressive agenda is incredibly important such as gay marriage, and have shaped America for the better) Michael does nails it in how he divides the world into two categories; Progressives and Culturalists, and how Brexit, and Trump election are phenomenons which reflection of the cultural (and economic) war being waged.

In general I was always at a loss watching the media be so totally wrong on Trump (hindsight is 20/20). It’s fairly obvious that they do not really understand (or want to accept) the changes happening. I’m not surprised someone in tech who be best able to best describe the changes happening globally. The media (and the elites) on both side of the aisle are just limited in their thinking (and view things in strict political terms); what is happening politically around the globe could be called to a certain degree disruption (and I dislike that term, but sometimes it works).

Finally, regarding the media I posted From the Oval Office to Investor-in-Chief: Obama considers a VC gig next on my Facebook Wall during the summer of 2016 and kind of regret it. After reading this article I thought how the writer was basically making uninformed conclusions on whether the President would join a VC after his term ended. It’s not unprecedented; former DC mayor Adrian Fenty joined the tech community after his time in office. After reading the David Samuel’s NY Times piece on Ben Rhodes some time back what struck me when I read this TechCrunch piece (and anything Vox, VICE, or Buzzfeed put out) was the (quite arrogant) statement Rhodes said when describing the media “The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns. That’s a sea change. They literally know nothing.”

Read the TechCrunch article and you’ll see how the author mistakes his own wishful thinking for fact. It’s an amazing thing that there are so many outlets to consume media, but l feel like the standard of good journalism has been going downhill. Looking back now while writing this I actually think these millennial media platforms have significantly improved in what they’re putting out there, but what do I know. I’m on a news diet these days and don’t really consume that kind of content anymore.

Jonathan ‘Yoni Frenkel