Links to Consider, 1/20
Ben Horowitz on Crypto and AI; Steven Pinker on rationality; Gerard Baker on political inversion; David Strom on business meetings
Crypto provides technology that enables a much better social and economic system through things like native Internet money, native Internet property rights, real privacy, strong authentication . . .I cannot speak for other VCs, but we 100% believe not only in Crypto, but in its importance in the future of humanity.
And about artificial intelligence, he says,
AI, on the other hand, is a fundamental breakthrough in solving a class of problems that we could not solve with conventional programming (due to their combinatorially explosive nature). This is every bit as exciting as the invention of the computer itself.
I wish that these software tools were not branded as artificial intelligence. That term leads people to anthropomorphize the software, creating a set of expectations to which it cannot measure up. You compare it to a human, and you say “Look what it can’t do. See how messed up it is.” Instead, treat ChatGPT like the World Wide Web in the early days, when it, too, was primitive and buggy, and a lot of people dismissed it. I can recall that when I set up my web site, another Internet entrepreneur said scornfully that I should have used Gopher, a text-based Internet tool that turned out to be obsolete within months of when he gave me that advice.
ForSteven Pinker writes,
people also hold beliefs in spheres of existence that are far from their everyday experience: the distant past, the unknowable future, faraway peoples and places, remote corridors of power, the microscopic, the cosmic, the counterfactual, the metaphysical.
Until modern times—the scientific revolution, the Enlightenment, systematic historiography and journalism, public records and datasets—the truth about these remote realms really was unknowable, and mythology was as good a kind of belief as any. This, I suggest, is the default human intuition when it comes to beliefs about these recondite matters.
I like the essay much better than his book from a few years ago. I particularly like this sentence:
Experts such as public health officials should be prepared to show their work rather than deliver pronouncements ex cathedra.
For the WSJ, Gerard Baker writes about the Democrats and Republicans having switched places in many respects.
Liberals used to be passionate defenders of free speech; now progressives seek to shut down dissent wherever they find it. The left once regarded domestic intelligence agencies as a threat to democracy and individual freedom; now they embrace them as essential weapons against their domestic adversaries, whom they accuse of “misinformation” and “sedition.”
Back in the 1970s, when Democrats wanted to do something about abuses by intelligence agencies, Republicans allowed them to do so. But my guess is that when the new Republican House tries to address such abuses today, the Democrats will go all-out to de-legitimize and block the effort. Maybe this reflects's observation that the Left cares more about politics than the Right.
you have to change the culture. Entrepreneur.com has these important takeaways here, including promoting small talk for cementing personal connections, having someone be in charge of the agenda and then keeping things on track, and setting expectations up front. Some other recommendations come from an HR consulting firm and include:
Figure out in advance the meeting type (stand-up daily huddle, weekly tactical session, longer strategy session) and make sure everyone’s expectations line up accordingly.
Keep in mind one goal is to have a passionate meeting with some healthy conflict to air differences. The meeting leader should be deliberate about eliciting different speakers.
Dig deep for any buried conflicts and try to resolve them during the meeting.
Scheduling a meeting in order to bring people into a room to listen is abuse. But it happens. Once a corporate culture leads middle managers to believe that in order to get others’ engagement you have to call a meeting, this becomes self-fulfilling. People’s schedules become so taken up with meetings that they lose bandwidth for other forms of communication—so you need to call a meeting to get their attention.
Some say that the key to a good meeting is a having a polished PowerPoint. Perhaps where you work, your colleagues appreciate watching slide shows. In that case, I feel sorry for you for having such mediocre, passive dullards for co-workers.
If you’re my type of manager, then you bring people into a meeting room in order to constructively complain, argue, and brainstorm. To feed off of one another, not to be fed a presentation or an update.
Substacks mentioned above: