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Sarah, you make a fair point - Twitter is certainly not a bad company BECAUSE there are no female board members. There are a lot of good reasons why the board has the specific individuals that it does, after all.
Having said all that, may I make an observation? Vivek is a friend of mine, and I tend to appreciate his point of view and always look under the surface because his opinions (like all smart, experienced people) have more than one layer. When I did that during this debate, I found myself asking a question that took me back to my own mother's experience in the workforce: Is the modern workforce a genuine meritocracy? I've always felt that the answer was no, based on gut and lived experience (data). It's hard to prove though. And so even if I (like you) don't accept Vivek's logic (= the dearth of female board members means gender-based exclusion is practiced deliberately at Twitter), I do think some very talented - perhaps more talented - human beings, male/female, Asian/black/white/etc., probably got excluded from the board and from other high-level roles at the company. (I love Twitter, but is it a beautiful, dynamic product? Given that its MAUs aren't growing, is it really optimized to serve the slick, mature media companies that it surely wants to onboard as clients?) At any rate, LA_Banker (see comments) has probably the best practical observation I've seen about the board member funnel - without enough female VCs, how are tech companies supposed to have a large enough pool of female board members to pick from?
2 months ago on Twitter’s female “problem” — This is why mobs don’t appoint public company boards
Nice piece Shahram. One thought: I agree that Facebook is becoming part of the social infrastructure in a way even the founders couldn't have imagined. However, to leverage the power of this platform - for economic, social, or political ends - you must have people committed to specific ends in the first place.
Whether it's Wall Street reform, the need to jump start infrastructure development projects within the US, or helping dissidents organize against oppressive political leaders, the courage to stay the course is a necessary condition to lasting change. Facebook can't provide that essential ingredient.John
2 months, 2 weeks ago on Zuck, the Great and Powerful: Why the future of Facebook matters
Can you more clearly define the kind of hooking up you find so noxious? I think that's the key to moving this debate forward, a better definition of "bad hooking up". After all, a casual approach to dating and sex has been us since humanity emerged from the primordial goo. Perhaps the scale on which it is happening now is what worries you, or maybe you think that the stakes are higher now because well-educated folks are taking a casual approach to sex with them into their late 20s and 30s. One thing that might make this article better is some vignettes from the SF dating scene.
3 months, 3 weeks ago on Sex, love, and the hook-up generation
@Nick Bennett @MikeKazanjy Saying that Musk's execution "sucks" is childish and untrue. Tesla cars have received great reviews, they run well (I've driven them), and the company - unlike giants like Ford and BMW - hasn't been around that long. Elon's execution is just fine.
4 months ago on Now it’s not even close – Elon Musk is more important to society than Steve Jobs ever was
@ajarchibald Musk is different than Jobs in a number of ways. 1) His entrepreneurial range is wider. Electric vehicles, space exploration, and high-end land based transport all provide very different benefits to humanity than instruments of communication and entertainment delivery.2) Musk's ability to raise capital and keep very difficult projects moving - I believe - sets him apart. (Then again, perhaps Jobs would have also been able to convince the US Gov to loan him $500mm had he been in Elon's position earlier in Tesla's lifecycle.)3) Having come from the mobile world, where repeat behavior determines who wins and who loses, I'm less impressed with iPhone sales (which game the human addiction to bright shiny objects) and much more impressed with order-of-magnitude level improvements in various areas of human life (transportation, space exploration, materials science, etc.). Nutshell is this: Jobs created multiple product lines that delight the deepest, oldest human psychological drives - the need for connection, the desire for novelty, and the hunger for fantasy. Musk is trying to make products that touch some of those same psychological drives while simultaneously serving humanity's long-term interests in a cleaner, safer environment on earth and a more robust space program.
Excellent piece. Just a few reactions. First, Elon is leading by example. He's a conscientious fellow, and his products speak for themselves. Second, by putting together a general blueprint for this new transportation technology, he's further shown that true progress - technological, social, economic - cannot occur through the actions of one lone rockstar, one lone savior. Everyone who can contribute needs to do so. Third and finally, SpaceX may be the kernel that leads us to plan for the time when this planet is no longer habitable for our species. If that comes to pass, Elon Musk will be a world-historical figure, a human being far more important than any of the executives people would identify as his "peers" today. Best,John
Musk is inspiring
4 months ago on Elon Musk says Hyperloop won’t run in a vacuum, hints at what’s next
How will this platform disrupt healthcare as such?JME
4 months ago on With another $6M, Glow is Max Levchin’s Trojan Horse to remake American healthcare
Sarah,This is an important piece you've written, and I wholeheartedly agree with your main observations. I would only add that Barbara Morgan seems like the kind of person I never, ever want to be around. Mean-spirited, vindictive, and just rotten. (The fact that Ms. Nuzzi accepted Morgan's "apology" shows the kind of grace she's capable of.)John
4 months, 1 week ago on Olivia Nuzzi won’t defend herself against the latest lies, so allow me
@cliveboulton Is this true?
4 months, 2 weeks ago on Move fast, break things: The sad story of Platform, Facebook’s gigantic missed opportunity
I understand where you're coming from, and definitely agree that too many people will absorb time opportunistically without giving back much in return. But if a random catch up over coffee or beers or whatever is mutually beneficial, why the hell not? Meet with a stranger, if that stranger is high quality and can kick back some good ideas your way.
7 months, 3 weeks ago on Do you really want coffee or is this some kind of trap?
The link provided above is not correct. This is the correct link: http://blackbird.vc/
7 months, 3 weeks ago on In cash-strapped Aussie venture market, a bird flies into a vacuum
This is a very poignant piece given what's happening in SV. I think the only unanswered question is whether the engineering talent that you get from an a-hire on average exceeds that you can get on the open market. Don't misread me - I'm not saying this is the case. But some of the price points for startups that haven't been super successful would look more justifiable if this were true.
8 months, 1 week ago on The Acqui-hire Scourge: Whatever Happened to Failure in Silicon Valley?
@HealyHoops @DougLudlow How does something this silly get published? Is there an editor at Pando?
1 year, 5 months ago on What Does This Korean Messaging App Think It’s Doing With More US Users Than Path?
I swear, every time I read something on Pando there's some comment moored in ignorance, racism, or idiocy: fomented cabbage? Really? Do you know anything about the history of Korea at all? Some of the best scientists and engineers in the world.
@paulcarr @Nathan_Pensky @mchasewalker Yes Paul, it's called the movie ticket. That's where a human being, gifted with ordinary intelligence and common sense, is placed on notice that the entertainment product about to be delivered is to some degree a work of fiction.
1 year, 6 months ago on Can You Handle the Truth? Aaron Sorkin’s Steve Jobs Movie is Going to be a Disaster
@sarahlacy Sarah - Can you, in one crisp sentence, please explain what normative principle Sorkin (or anyone else in Hollywood) is breaking when a fictional interpretation of a historical personage or events is released as a big budget flick? Seriously, so we're all on the same page about what the alleged sin is here. (And incidentally, I think the fictional Zuckerberg character in The Social Network struck me as not an unrepentant jack^%$, but rather as someone with vision who was green in a number of ways. I'm sure the real Zuck is in many ways different than the fictional one. But I'm not sure the world walked away thinking that Zuck isn't a human being worth getting to know. In fact, I bet the converse is true - Sorkin humanized him for a large group of Americans in a way no amount of quick news reading on the net ever could.)
@JeffAtlee Excellent observation. It's funny that no one here would spill any ink arguing that Charlie Wilson's War isn't a fully accurate depiction of historical events. Yet the minute a Silicon Valley celebrity's life becomes the inspiration for a movie, all of the gadflies come out of the woodwork to play.
Let me play devil's advocate: Why SHOULD a biopic about Jobs necessarily tell us all we need to know about what made him successful at Apple? I'm asking because you assume this premise on without defending it, and I'm not sure that any film maker - Sorkin included - is going to be able to tell such a subtle story in a big-budget commercial film.
Farhad,How exactly will this suppress the overall market for acquisitions? Even if promising targets are more skeptical of Facebook's potential to grow, that doesn't mean anything for the appetite of other large companies looking for top tech talent via acquisitions. John
1 year, 6 months ago on The Best Thing About Facebook’s IPO: The Tech “Bubble” is Over