https://newsletter.smallbets.co/p/why-you-shouldnt-join-y-combinator, posted 15 Oct by peter in business entrepreneurship opinion
One of the bad learnings you get from YC is that there’s a formula for success, and it looks like this: First you do some brainstorming. Then you come up with a good idea that can scale to a billion dollars (otherwise what’s the point of getting out of bed in the morning?) Then you work hard until you find “product-market-fit.” And then if the noises from investors indicate you won’t be getting a next round of funding, you start looking for a “pivot.”
This so-called formula is nonsense. First, good ideas rarely come to us from a brainstorming session. They come from wandering about with an open mind until we stumble on an opportunity worth pursuing. Most of your ideas will be bad ideas, because unfortunately you’re not a genius visionary. So the best way to find good ideas is to have many ideas, try them out, take what works, and throw away the rest. But this is not what YC wants you to do. YC wants you to pick an idea that has market pull (or the potential for it), and to then dig a hole in the same spot until you reach the boiling magma. Because what if you stop digging just before you strike gold? When you’re cheap and expendable, that’s not an optimal strategy for the YC fund. You must go all in. Diversification is for your YC overlords, not for you.
Being George Orwell's thoughts on how to write well, and his formulation of six rules:
i. Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
ii. Never use a long word where a short one will do.
iii. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
iv. Never use the passive where you can use the active.
v. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
vi. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.
Ed Sheeran, Once Again, Demonstrates How Modern Copyright Is Destroying, Rather Than Helping Musicians
https://www.techdirt.com/2023/05/08/ed-sheeran-once-again-demonstrates-how-modern-copyright-is-destroying-rather-than-helping-musicians/, posted May '23 by peter in business copyright law music opinion
To hear the recording industry tell the story, copyright is the only thing protecting musicians from poverty and despair. Of course, that’s always been a myth. Copyright was designed to benefit the middlemen and gatekeepers, such as the record labels, over the artists themselves. That’s why the labels have a long history of never paying artists.
Det går därför inte att generellt hävda att en förhandlingslösning alltid är att föredra framför fortsatt krig. Det går heller inte att påstå att varje fred är att föredra framför krig. Kostnaden för freden måste vägas mot kostnaden för fortsatt krig. Det finns många exempel på historiska fall där lidandet, också kostnaden i människoliv, varit större på grund av fiendens brutalitet efter att striderna upphört än under själva kriget. Den fred som uppkommer kan råda mycket länge, och effekten av sådant som förlorad demokrati och nedtrampade mänskliga rättigheter kan då komma att påverka många generationer, vilket gör att kostnaden med en dålig fred växer när det långa tidsperspektivet beaktas.
Russian president Vladimir Putin wants you to believe that NATO is responsible for his February 24 invasion of Ukraine—that rounds of NATO enlargement made Russia insecure, forcing Putin to lash out. This argument has two key flaws. First, NATO has been a variable and not a constant source of tension between Russia and the West. Moscow has in the past acknowledged Ukraine’s right to join NATO; the Kremlin’s complaints about the alliance spike in a clear pattern after democratic breakthroughs in the post-Soviet space. This highlights a second flaw: Since Putin fears democracy and the threat that it poses to his regime, and not expanded NATO membership, taking the latter off the table will not quell his insecurity. His declared goal of the invasion, the “denazification” of Ukraine, is a code for his real aim: antidemocratic regime change.
https://www.newyorker.com/tech/annals-of-technology/chatgpt-is-a-blurry-jpeg-of-the-web, posted Feb '23 by peter in ai cognition language opinion
This analogy to lossy compression is not just a way to understand ChatGPT’s facility at repackaging information found on the Web by using different words. It’s also a way to understand the “hallucinations,” or nonsensical answers to factual questions, to which large language models such as ChatGPT are all too prone. These hallucinations are compression artifacts, but—like the incorrect labels generated by the Xerox photocopier—they are plausible enough that identifying them requires comparing them against the originals, which in this case means either the Web or our own knowledge of the world. When we think about them this way, such hallucinations are anything but surprising; if a compression algorithm is designed to reconstruct text after ninety-nine per cent of the original has been discarded, we should expect that significant portions of what it generates will be entirely fabricated.
Summing up the economic results of the year, many Russian economists say that “everything is not so bad”, referring to the usual indicators, such as GDP of the rates of unemployment, inflation or exchange of the ruble. Judging by these, “GDP has declined less than expected,” unemployment and inflation are virtually nonexistent, and the ruble has “stabilized,” but does this really mean that the country is not in economic crisis? Vladimir Milov explains why these indicators are irrelevant at a time of war, the crisis is already in full swing (even if the average citizen cannot see it yet), and the payback for Putin's military ambitions will be dire for Russians.
For the moment, both Russia and the West appear to believe that their counterpart is doomed and that time is on their side. Putin dreams about the West suffering from political upheaval, whereas the West dreams about Putin being removed, overthrown, or dropping dead from one of many diseases he is regularly rumored to be suffering. No one is right. At the end of the day, a deal between Russia and Ukraine is only possible as an extension of an agreement between Russia and the West or as a result of the collapse of Putin’s regime. And that gives you an idea of how long the war could last: years, at best.
Finland and Sweden are right to have concluded from the tragic war being waged in Ukraine that they need more security. Mr Putin is dangerous and unpredictable not because of NATO, but because of the way he has chosen to govern Russia. Their applications should rapidly be approved. As with NATO’s expansion in the past, their membership will help secure European peace.
Part of the problem is that the current leaders of Western countries have never dealt with thugs. Their experience and education relate to interactions between statesmen. The principle of these peopleâs behaviour is that both sides concede to each other in the interests of their electorate or subjects. War is evil to them, and the use of force is a last resort.
This is not the case with Vladimir Putin. He was raised in the KGB, an organisation that relied on force and disregard for the law.