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    • Tim O'Reilly is considered to the long-time sage of the tech industry, the founder of O'Reilly Media, which publishes the best computer books and does conferences.

      There is a new book out by venture capitalist Reid Hoffman, who worked at PayPal and founded LinkedIn, called Blitzscaling. It lays out a scary proposition of raising billions and risking everything to get monopoly status fast.

      Tim says the pursuit of monopoly is what has led Silicon Valley astray. What do you think?

    • Tim is, as usual, right. Scaling should be a conscious choice, and headlong rush to corner the market might be good for VCs and early investors, but for most companies, is a rush to suicide.

      Also worth watching in this space is the team behind Basecamp, who have a very healthy and sane outlook on work, company building and doing business. They have a couple of books spelling it all out, in detail. Well worth your time if you're a founder or entrepreneur.

    • There has been a big shift of public opinion in tech over the last few years, the attitude changing from genius hero scientists to evil billionaires. There are still heroes like Elon Musk, but Facebook, Theranos, maybe Google, Uber and possibly Twitter have mucked things up.

      Behind all of those seems to be the newfound attitude among investors that we only focus on companies that can grow so fast they give us 1000x returns, hyper growth at any cost, invading people's privacy or whatever.

      I don't think it's tech being evil as much as finance being evil. Tech bros were not responsible for the 2000 crash, that was the finance industry who changed their mind for awhile about the Internet.

    • It's not only about the inevitable crash. It's the whole philosophy of 'Move fast and break things' which can be fine if hyper-growth is the only relevant parameter, but for society as a whole can be incredibly damaging. Move fast and break things is bad if the thing you broke is everybody's privacy. Or ended up discriminating against people of color. Or enabled tyrants to crack down on dissenters. Or...

    • I forgot about this thread. Tim was at the MIT conference I attended and we got to talk about this for quite awhile. I’ve known Tim forever. He tried to stay friendly with Reed after he wrote the piece, but I guess it was awkward. Reed was at the conference and did a keynote debate with Joi Itoh there. Ironically, they are both caught up in the Jeffrey Epstein funding scandal and Joi had to resign as head of the Media lab.

      It wasn’t exactly blitzscaling related, but the idea of taking money from almost any source to scale the Media Lab the way they did feels related, at least to me.

    • Yeah, with the way things are now (much more money sloshing around than it's feasible to be deployed smartly) it must be really tempting for startups to take on too much, too fast and in the process lose sight of their initial goals and visions. For institutions that need to constantly rely on outside funding (education institutions and NGOs) it must be that much harder. But, hey, morals are the reason to make hard choices. Also, it makes it easier to look in the mirror without anxiety.

    • When we started Cake, we were told something I had trouble believing: there is money, really big money, but it’s funneled to what investors perceive to be the really big plays. In the meantime, there are more startups than ever competing to get table scraps.