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27 Aug, 2016

Kavanagh wants Alvarez fight next

Kavanagh writes an article for The 42, where he talks about UFC 200 and what he would like McGregor to do next.

A lot of Conor’s fights have been short and relatively straightforward — which is great, because those wins are also to be enjoyed — but to see him go 25 minutes and face adversity, especially when so many people expected him to lose, it doesn’t get much better than that when you face those odds and come out with a victory…Where do we go from here? Well, we’re taking a short while to enjoy this victory, first of all, because it’s something we invested a lot in…I think it’s important to enjoy each victory, at least to a certain extent. Conor was actually back doing cardio work less than 48 hours after last weekend’s fight, so the training has continued…From a personal point of view, my own preference would be a lightweight title bout against reigning champion Eddie Alvarez next. Conor can make 145lbs to defend his featherweight belt, absolutely, but I just think 155lbs suits him best. Ultimately that’s Conor’s decision, not mine…If and when that fight is announced, I would be leaning towards a second-round knockout in Conor’s favour.

Kavanagh also says he welcomes the idea of a fight at Croke Park, in Dublin, and that non-US fights should be scheduled for Irish local time.

11 Aug, 2016

Earn money or answer key question of life – why?

Duffy writes an opinion piece for The Scotsman, titled, Earn money or answer key question of life – why? He talks about the purpose of life.

It’s very straightforward and simple, yet for so many of us we do not do enough thinking on our own “why”. I meet so many people in the role I am in across the country. Many think they want to run a big business or create a brilliant new disruptive technology that will transform the world. But, after some direct questioning and a tough conversation, more is revealed. Many people think they have to do something that is different. However, they are doing it for the wrong reasons. Starting a business to become a millionaire is a recipe for disaster. Starting a business because you are passionate about it, believe in it and get excited getting out of bed in the morning is far better; if you can create a profitable model along the way, then even better.

8 Aug, 2016

Details McGregor training

In an article for The 42, Kavanagh details his approach to McGregor’s training.

We’ve been following that pattern now for what feels like a long time — about 19 weeks in total come fight night. Although it seems like it has been a long process, we’re definitely seeing the fruits of our labour. There are certain fitness tests that we have numbers on, and the improvements from when Conor began to where he is now have been dramatic. There’s no comparing this training camp to any we have done previously. I can’t stress enough how different this has been. As many of you will probably already know, routine hasn’t been something you would have associated with Conor’s preparations in the past. But this has been like nothing we’ve done before and it’s going to be a massive help for his next number of fights, not just this one…We’re learning about this art as we go along…I strongly believe that will manifest itself in Las Vegas in 12 days’ time…I’ve often spoken of how drastically Conor improves with each training camp, and while there’s certainly no denying that he gets better for every fight, this has undoubtedly been his biggest leap forward yet…Patience will be essential for Conor in this fight. I’m veering towards a fourth-round finish in his favour, following an opening three rounds which I expect him to dominate in the same manner he did in the first frame of the previous fight.

30 Nov, 2015

Davi: Trump is John Wayne

Political Endorsement

In an editorial on, Davi compares Trump to actor John Wayne.

I cannot sit back and listen to the media continually outright defame Donald Trump. I will not remain silent any longer. I am watching the pundits and media hosts continually bash Donald Trump and call him a liar over his claim that Muslims in New Jersey were cheering and celebrating over the Towers coming down…Trump is the only one who has continually challenged the media, and that now has rubbed off on other candidates. He has empowered others. The difference is in authenticity. Trump leads the pack and sets the agenda. The others follow…If Ronald Reagan was the Gary Cooper of politics, Trump is the John Wayne. So, pilgrim, I’d rather have a President Trump who tells it like it is than a deceiver who feeds us sugarcoated poison at bedtime, only to have us wake up dead.

18 Nov, 2015

THR Uber editorial

Carter writes a guest editorial for The Hollywood Reporter, about his investment in Uber.

I don’t think anyone could have predicted that Uber would now be worth close to $100 billion, but I believe it could become one of the most important companies in the world. As an investor, I initially had questions about Uber’s long-term potential given the pushback the company was getting from the San Francisco taxi industry, but CEO Travis Kalanick explained that someday Uber wouldn’t just move people, it would become a global log­is­tics platform with the ability to move things.

16 Nov, 2015

Graham praises YC role

Graham writes an article about Livingston’s’ role in Y Combinator, saying she should have more credit.

So although Jessica more than anyone made YC unique, the very qualities that enabled her to do it mean she tends to get written out of YC’s history. Everyone buys this story that PG started YC and his wife just kind of helped. Even YC’s haters buy it. A couple years ago when people were attacking us for not funding more female founders (than exist), they all treated YC as identical with PG. It would have spoiled the narrative to acknowledge Jessica’s central role at YC…Jessica knows more about the qualities of startup founders than anyone else ever has. Her immense data set and x-ray vision are the perfect storm in that respect. The qualities of the founders are the best predictor of how a startup will do. And startups are in turn the most important source of growth in mature economies.

11 Nov, 2015

Responds to love scene critics

Sidibe responds to critics of an Empire love scene with her on-screen boyfriend, in an EW blog post:

I, a plus sized, dark-skinned woman, had a love scene on primetime television. I had the most fun ever filming that scene even though I was nervous. But I felt sexy and beautiful and I felt like I was doing a good job. I’m very proud of the work we all did to make that scene a great opening for the episode. I keep hearing that people are “hating” on it. I’m not sure how anyone could hate on love but that’s okay. You may have your memes. Honestly, I’m at work too busy to check Twitter anyway. #Booked. Hope you enjoy next week’s show!

2 Nov, 2015

Carson ‘more authentically’ black than Obama

In a column titled, If You’re Black, Lead The Pack, Goldberg writes about the perception of Carson’s race:

Here’s something you may not know: Dr. Ben Carson is black. Of course, I’m being a little cute here…One could argue that he’s even more authentically African-American than Barack Obama, given that Obama’s mother was white and he was raised in part by his white grandparents. In his autobiography, Obama writes at length about how he grew up outside the traditional African-American experience — in Hawaii and Indonesia — and how he consciously chose to adopt a black identity when he was in college.

13 Oct, 2015

Why Do I Make Less Than My Male Co-Stars?

In an article for Dunham’s Lenny newsletter, titled Why Do I Make Less Than My Male Co-Stars? Lawrence talks about her experiences.

It’s hard for me to speak about my experience as a working woman because I can safely say my problems aren’t exactly relatable. When the Sony hack happened and I found out how much less I was being paid than the lucky people with dicks, I didn’t get mad at Sony. I got mad at myself. I failed as a negotiator because I gave up early…But if I’m honest with myself, I would be lying if I didn’t say there was an element of wanting to be liked that influenced my decision to close the deal without a real fight. I didn’t want to seem “difficult” or “spoiled.” At the time, that seemed like a fine idea, until I saw the payroll on the Internet and realized every man I was working with definitely didn’t worry about being “difficult” or “spoiled.” I’m over trying to find the ‘adorable’ way to state my opinion and still be likable! F*ck that. I don’t think I’ve ever worked for a man in charge who spent time contemplating what angle he should use to have his voice heard. It’s just heard

4 Oct, 2015

Daily Mail article

Brennan writes an article about her life with Jobs in The Daily Mail:

I’ve truly hated Steve at times, but never for very long. Sharing a daughter with him has forced me to think about things more deeply. Steve the saint, the alien, the despot, the punishing masculine god, the liar, the obsessed narcissist, the cult hero, the ID of the iEverything, the genius and the motherless boy. It is only because of Lisa that I have felt obligated to comprehend the many broken shards of Steve’s glittering brilliance. For all the sparkling, spacious beauty of the Apple Stores, Steve was a haunted house whose brokenness was managed and orchestrated by Apple’s PR team in an extremely masterful way. He told me once that he would lose his humanity in the business world. Though he came to lose sight of what was human and ethical all too often, the fact that he at one time knew the difference between who he was and the role he would play deepens my appreciation and love for him.

15 Sep, 2015

Is Monogamy Over?

Miss Piggy writes about her breakup with Kermit the Frog in a Time magazine section called “Is Monogamy Over?”

I know why you’re asking moi this question. It’s because Kermit and I recently ended our fabulous, torrid, world famous romance—the longest-running interspecies love affair in the history of Hollywood. You naturally assume that I will say monogamy is obsolete. That when a frog breaks your heart and stomps on your dreams, you stop believing a committed relationship is possible. That in an era of “hook-ups” where even non-famous people can have fabulous, torrid romances via apparently unsecured internet computer services, monogamy is passé, over, done, kaput…pffft!…But I’m a strong woman with a ridiculously successful career and a hit primetime television series, so I never give up on my dreams. And my dream is to once again be part of a monogamous relationship with a strong, handsome, supportive and preferably wealthy man.

11 Sep, 2015

‘Cyber war more dangerous than nuclear devastation’

In an editorial for International Business Times McAfee outlines the “vector of his foreign policy.

The United States government, like much of the Western developed world governments, has lost touch with the technology upon which the power, as well as the threats to national security within our government, rests. That technology is the science of cyber engineering, and the cyber-security aspects of this science have been developed into the weapons that will be used as the main offensive means of destruction in the upcoming new age of warfare. The next major war will not be fought with guns, ships and missiles. It will a cyber war with far more devastation than could possibly be achieved by our combined nuclear arsenals. Or if conventional weapons are used, they are likely to be our own turned against ourselves…we must also see cyber attacks from foreign governments for what they are – acts of war – and respond accordingly.

4 Sep, 2015

‘Let Uber operate in Sarasota’

Biter writes an editorial in the Sarasota Herald Tribune, advocating for Uber to be allowed to operate in Sarasota.

I’m disappointed when an innovative company like Uber begins operations in Sarasota and it has been met by a regulatory battle with the city government…Now is the time for Sarasota officials to prevent our city from falling behind. Modern regulation for ride-sharing is being passed across the country. There will not be a better opportunity for our city’s commissioners to show they are serious about innovation in practice , not just on the campaign trail. Seeing our elected officials embrace modern regulations will signal the sort of forward thinking that can transform our city for the better.

28 Aug, 2015

Martin: Trump ‘makes my blood boil’

In a Univision op-ed Martin criticizes Trump’s treatment of Jose Ramos.

The fact that an individual like Donald Trump, a candidate for the presidency of the United States for the Republican party, has the audacity to continue to gratuitously harass the Latin community makes my blood boil. When did this character assume he could make comments that are racist, absurd, and above all incoherent and ignorant about us Latinos?..Jorge Ramos was doing HIS JOB as a journalist at a press conference in which he appeared freely and democratically, representing one of the most important Latin television networks in the world. But this new character in American politics verbally attacks him and ejects him from the press conference.

Let’s show that our Latin race is to be respected, let’s not allow a political hopeful to plant his campaign in insult and humiliation. Let’s demand respect for those first generations of Latinos who came to the United States and opened a path for us. We have fought for every right that we have today…Xenophobia as a political strategy is the lowest you can go in search of political power.

15 Aug, 2015

NYT details Amazon working conditions

The New York Times publishes an article titled, Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace, that talks about difficult working conditions at Amazon.

At Amazon, workers are encouraged to tear apart one another’s ideas in meetings, toil long and late (emails arrive past midnight, followed by text messages asking why they were not answered), and held to standards that the company boasts are “unreasonably high.” The internal phone directory instructs colleagues on how to send secret feedback to one another’s bosses. Employees say it is frequently used to sabotage others. (The tool offers sample texts, including this: “I felt concerned about his inflexibility and openly complaining about minor tasks.”)

12 Aug, 2015

Voting rights defense

President Obama writes letter to New York Times saying voting rights must be vigorously defended. The Times published the letter in response to an article in its Sunday magazine last month describing efforts to undercut or dismantle the protections of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Obama:

These efforts are not a sign that we have moved past the shameful history that led to the Voting Rights Act. Too often, they are rooted in that history. They remind us that progress does not come easy, but that it must be vigorously defended and built upon for ourselves and future generations.

28 Jul, 2015

Exploitative nature of filmmaking

Fukunaga comments on need to protect the people he has worked with:

Films of this nature have the potential to affect not only the lives of the viewers, but also the lives of the participants of the production. As a filmmaker, I am aware that I am not in the public service; my first job is to be a storyteller. However, the subjects of some of my films have blurred the lines between this tenet and the intrinsic responsibility to protect the people I have worked with and come to care for, a responsibility born from the inherently exploitative nature of filmmaking. Both Sin Nombre and Beasts of No Nation tread on real and current sociopolitical subject matters. In order to tell the stories authentically, I had to cast real people, street kids, often without parental support or guidance, as well as former combatants and a whole cadre of non-professionals.

The result is far more impactful, but the participants have very little concept about how their lives are about to be changed by the production and the attention that comes following a film’s release. A film can be an incredible opportunity for a young actor, but it can also be a once in a lifetime anomaly. The concentrated focus of attention and, sometimes, modest monetary gain are short-lived and often leave the subjects awash in confusion and depressed once it’s over. I don’t think any filmmaker is responsible for every person who took part in their stories—no more than journalists are—but they should be as giving as possible and paternal and accessible once everything is over. There is an ethical obligation to give back, sometimes in time, sometimes in money, but more than anything, in preparation.

19 Jul, 2015

‘I don’t need to be lectured’

In an article for USA Today, Trump says that his words on McCain have been distorted by the media, and criticizes McCain and Sanders for “covering up” the Veterans Affairs Scandal:

Thanks to McCain and his Senate colleague Bernie Sanders, their legislation to cover up the VA scandal, in which 1,000+ veterans died waiting for medical care, made sure no one has been punished, charged, jailed, fined or held responsible. McCain has abandoned our veterans. I will fight for them. The reality is that John McCain the politician has made America less safe, sent our brave soldiers into wrong-headed foreign adventures, covered up for President Obama with the VA scandal and has spent most of his time in the Senate pushing amnesty. He would rather protect the Iraqi border than Arizona’s. He even voted for the Iran Nuclear Review Act of 2015, which allows Obama, who McCain lost to in a record defeat, to push his dangerous Iran nuclear agreement through the Senate without a supermajority of votes.

A number of my competitors for the Republican nomination have no business running for president. I do not need to be lectured by any of them. Many are failed politicians or people who would be unable to succeed in the private sector. Some, however, I have great respect for.

He also says that he was as co-chairman of the New York Vietnam Veterans Memorial Commission, which built a Veterans memorial, and that he financed and served as the grand marshal of the 1995 Nation’s Day Parade, which honored over 25,000 veterans.

16 Jul, 2015

‘The trolls are winning the battle’

In an article for The Washington Post, Pao says trolls are winning the “battle for the internet”. She says that, while at Reddit, she and several colleagues, were targeted with harassing messages, attempts to post her private information online and death threats.

I have just endured one of the largest trolling attacks in history. And I have just been blessed with the most astonishing human responses to that attack…Balancing free expression with privacy and the protection of participants has always been a challenge for open-content platforms on the Internet. But that balancing act is getting harder. The trolls are winning.

The foundations of the Internet were laid on free expression, but the founders just did not understand how effective their creation would be for the coordination and amplification of harassing behavior. Or that the users who were the biggest bullies would be rewarded with attention for their behavior. Or that young people would come to see this bullying as the norm — as something to emulate in an effort to one-up each other…

No one has figured out the best place to draw the line between bad and ugly — or whether that line can support a viable business model. So it’s left to all of us to figure it out, to call out abuse when we see it. As the trolls on Reddit grew louder and more harassing in recent weeks, another group of users became more vocal. First a few sent positive messages. Then a few more. Soon, I was receiving hundreds of messages a day, and at one point thousands. These messages were thoughtful, well-written and heartfelt…As the threats became really violent, people ended their messages with “stay safe.” Eventually, users started responding on Reddit itself, using accurate information and supportive messages to fight back against the trolls. In the battle for the Internet, the power of humanity to overcome hate gives me hope. I’m rooting for the humans over the trolls. I know we can win.

13 Jul, 2015

Writes two blog posts

Abdulazeez writes two Islam-themes blog posts, the only posts on his blog. In the first, A Prison Called Dunya, Abdulazeez uses the hypothetical example of a prisoner who is told he would be given a test that would either take him out of his earthly prison—or send him into a more restrictive environment.

I would imagine that any sane person would devote their time to mastering the information on the study guide and stay patient with their studies, only giving time for the other things around to keep themselves focused on passing the exam. They would do this because they know and have been told that they will be rewarded with pleasures that they have never seen. [This life is a test] designed to separate the inhabitants of Paradise from the inhabitants of Hellfire.

The second, Understanding Islam: The Story of the Three Blind Men, uses the example of blind men who feel an elephant but can’t quite tell what the creature is. He says Muslims have a similar understanding of the earliest companions of the Prophet Muhammad, who he says were not like priests living in monasteries is not true, but were actually a mayor of a town, governor of a state, or leader of an army at the frontlines.

We ask Allah to make us follow their path. To give us a complete understanding of the message of Islam, and the strength the live by this knowledge, and to know what role we need to play to establish Islam in the world.

3 Jul, 2015

Financial Times Greek crisis op-ed

Ferguson writes an editorial about the Greek financial crisis in The Financial Times.

Yes, it is quite possible that, in this weekend’s theatre-of-the-absurd referendum, the Greek people may vote “No” to a programme that is no longer available, and that this (despite their prime minister’s protestations to the contrary) may ultimately lead to their departure from the European monetary union. But as recently as the 1970s we would have had to worry about much nastier scenarios. There would have been a real communist left, poised to proclaim the dictatorship of the proletariat. And there would have been a real military right, ready to crush the left by imposing martial law. Neither of these things is now conceivable.

Politically, most of the world has never been more boring. Instead of the alarms and excursions of the past, we now have technocrats versus populists. Any violence is verbal and the technocrats nearly always win. Even in the US, despite what you might glean from television news, the real story of our time is the decline of violence. With their cities far safer than they were in the 1970s and 1980s, Americans can peacefully ponder such questions as: “Can a man become a woman?” (Yes.) And “Can a white woman become a black woman?” (No.) Will a civil war ever be fought over same-sex marriage? It seems unlikely. Does a president risk assassination by reforming healthcare? I think not.

4 Jun, 2015

NYT op-ed

Snowden writes an op-ed for the New York Times on the second anniversary of the release of his disclosures:

Two years on, the difference is profound. In a single month, the N.S.A.’s invasive call-tracking program was declared unlawful by the courts and disowned by Congress. After a White House-appointed oversight board investigation found that this program had not stopped a single terrorist attack, even the president who once defended its propriety and criticized its disclosure has now ordered it terminated. This is the power of an informed public.

At the turning of the millennium, few imagined that citizens of developed democracies would soon be required to defend the concept of an open society against their own leaders…Yet the balance of power is beginning to shift. We are witnessing the emergence of a post-terror generation, one that rejects a worldview defined by a singular tragedy. For the first time since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, we see the outline of a politics that turns away from reaction and fear in favor of resilience and reason. With each court victory, with every change in the law, we demonstrate facts are more convincing than fear. As a society, we rediscover that the value of a right is not in what it hides, but in what it protects.

21 May, 2015

Josie: I Am Not a ‘Pretty Little Liar’

In an anonymous posting to Jezebel, one of Nungesser’s alleged victims tells more about her case and defends herself:

When I filed the complaint against Paul, I didn’t know it would turn into a national event. It was over a year before Emma started carrying that weight, months before what happened at Columbia helped sparked a national dialogue about rape on college campus. I was just trying to do the right thing.

The incident happened my junior year at Columbia, when Paul followed me upstairs at a party, came into a room with me uninvited, closed the door behind us, and grabbed me. I politely said, “Hey, no, come on, let’s go back downstairs.” He didn’t listen. He held me close to him as I said no, and continued to pull me against him. I pushed him off and left the room quickly. I told a few friends and my boyfriend at the time how creepy and weird it was. I tried to find excuses for his behavior. I did a decent job of pushing it out of my mind.

The anonymous student says that when Nungesser was given an appeal, she—having already graduated—withdrew from the process because she felt frustrated with “Columbia’s incompetence’ as the appeals process began.

10 May, 2015

Defends NSA’s snooping program

Rubio writes an article in USA Today defending NSA’s phone-snooping program. He claims that there has not been a not a single documented case of abuse of NSA’s program.

The government is not listening to your phone calls or recording them unless you are a terrorist or talking to a terrorist outside the United States…There is not a single documented case of abuse of this program. Internet search providers, Internet-based email accounts, credit card companies and membership discount cards used at the grocery store all collect far more personal information on Americans than the bulk metadata program.

23 Apr, 2015

‘We will not be silenced’

Oz hits back at his critics and vows to continue exploring alternative routes to healing.

I have spent my entire career searching for ways to lessen the suffering of my patients. The best and safest paths have generally been the traditions of conventional medicine. They are tried and true, well funded, and fast. But there are other routes to healing that offer wisdom as well, so I have been willing to explore alternative routes to healing and share any wisdom that can be gathered.

My exploration of alternative medicine has never been intended to take the place of conventional medicine, but rather as additive. Critics often imply that any exploration of alternative methods means abandoning conventional approaches. It does not. In fact, many institutions like mine use the names “complementary” or “integrative” medicine, which is also appropriate.

I know I have irritated some potential allies, No matter our disagreements, freedom of speech is the most fundamental right we have as Americans… We will not be silenced. We’re not going anywhere.

Apr 2015

Fails $29 food stamp challenge

Paltrow writes that her perspective on hunger is forever changed after trying to live on $29 worth of SNAP benefits (food stamps) for a week. She grades her effort with a C-.

As I suspected, we only made it through about four days, when I personally broke and had some chicken and fresh vegetables (and in full transparency, half a bag of black licorice). My perspective has been forever altered by how difficult it was to eat wholesome, nutritious food on that budget, even for just a few days—a challenge that 47 million Americans face every day, week, and year. A few takeaways from the week were that vegetarian staples liked dried beans and rice go a long way—and we were able to come up with a few recipes on a super tight budget.

8 Apr, 2015

The best lesson I learned from joining a board

In an article for Fortune, De Baubigny talks about the personal impact of becoming a board member of Bono and Bobby Shriver’s Product RED initiative:

Joining a board also shaped me as a professional in more ways than I could imagine. It tested first-hand everything that I was advising our entrepreneurs to do as they built their companies: achieve the impossible on a limited budget, hire the best (one of the best hires I have ever made was bringing in Deborah Dugan to run RED), navigate choppy regulatory waters, reshape the business model against a changing economy, and develop long-term partners. At the same time, I had the privilege of watching a team and board come together to do something truly impactful: get medicine to those who need it and, ultimately, save lives. This “night job” taught me passion, tested my skills, and pushed me to grow–all skills from which KPCB was able to benefit tremendously. Joining a board (profit or not for profit) develops all the skills above, plus time management in order not to detract from your day job. It has been an incredible learning experience and has truly inspired me.

29 Mar, 2015

Religious freedom laws ‘dangerous’

In an op-ed for The Washington Post, Cook says recent ‘religious freedom’ laws are pro discrimination:

There’s something very dangerous happening in states across the country. A wave of legislation, introduced in more than two dozen states, would allow people to discriminate against their neighbors. Some, such as the bill enacted in Indiana last week that drew a national outcry and one passed in Arkansas, say individuals can cite their personal religious beliefs to refuse service to a customer or resist a state nondiscrimination law…

Our message, to people around the country and around the world, is this: Apple is open. Open to everyone, regardless of where they come from, what they look like, how they worship or who they love. Regardless of what the law might allow in Indiana or Arkansas, we will never tolerate discrimination…

This isn’t a political issue. It isn’t a religious issue. This is about how we treat each other as human beings. Opposing discrimination takes courage. With the lives and dignity of so many people at stake, it’s time for all of us to be courageous.

27 Mar, 2015

Dog or Jewish Boyfriend? A Quiz

In a New Yorker article Dunham posts a 35-point quiz:

Do the following statements refer to (a) my dog or (b) my Jewish boyfriend?

1. The first thing I noticed about him was his eyes

2. We love to spend hours in bed together on Sunday mornings.

3. He’s crazy for cream cheese.

4. It hasn’t always been easy, but we currently live together and it’s going O.K.

24 Mar, 2015

Bubble Talk bet

Altman discusses recent talk of a bubble in Silicon Valley valuations:

I’m tired of reading about investors and journalists claiming there’s a bubble in tech.  I understand that it’s fun to do and easy press, but it’s boring reading.  I also understand that it might scare newer investors away and bring down valuations, but there’s got to be a better way to win than that…Investors that think companies are overpriced are always free not to invest.  Eventually, the market will find its clearing price.

He then opens a bet saying that, to win, he must be right on all three counts by Jan 1, 2020: 1) the value of the top six “unicorns” will rise from $100 billion to $200 billion 2) Some mid-stage YC companies will rise in value from $9 billion to $27 billion and 3) the Winter 2015 batch to rise in value from $0 to $3 billion.

This bet is open to the first VC who would like to take it (though it is not clear to me anyone who wants to take the other side should be investing in startups.)  The loser donates $100,000 to a charity of the winner’s choice.


Ovaries removed


Jolie undergoes a laparoscopic bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy to have her ovaries removed, after her doctor warns her that she could have cancer. She is entering early menopause and can no longer have children. Describing the process:

Your CA-125 is normal,” he said. I breathed a sigh of relief. That test measures the amount of the protein CA-125 in the blood, and is used to monitor ovarian cancer. I have it every year because of my family history. But that wasn’t all. He went on. “There are a number of inflammatory markers that are elevated, and taken together they could be a sign of early cancer.” I took a pause. “CA-125 has a 50 to 75 percent chance of missing ovarian cancer at early stages,” he said. He wanted me to see the surgeon immediately to check my ovaries.

I went through what I imagine thousands of other women have felt. I told myself to stay calm, to be strong, and that I had no reason to think I wouldn’t live to see my children grow up and to meet my grandchildren. I called my husband in France, who was on a plane within hours. The beautiful thing about such moments in life is that there is so much clarity. You know what you live for and what matters. It is polarizing, and it is peaceful. That same day I went to see the surgeon, who had treated my mother. I last saw her the day my mother passed away, and she teared up when she saw me: “You look just like her.” I broke down. But we smiled at each other and agreed we were there to deal with any problem, so “let’s get on with it.

Regardless of the hormone replacements I’m taking, I am now in menopause. I will not be able to have any more children, and I expect some physical changes. But I feel at ease with whatever will come, not because I am strong but because this is a part of life. It is nothing to be feared.

21 Mar, 2015

Warns supporters

In his column in The Sun, Clarkson warns his supporters that protests never work

The simple truth of the matters is this: Protest never works. Because we are all plankton. And the world is run by whales. Oh, you can be a big and important plankton but that doesn’t make a jot of difference if a whale has decided to eat you up.

2 Mar, 2015

Wants AI regulation

Altman warns that superhuman machine intelligence (SMI) is a danger to humans and should be regulated (original blog post here):

The U.S. government, and all other governments, should regulate the development of SMI. In an ideal world, regulation would slow down the bad guys and speed up the good guys — it seems like what happens with the first SMI to be developed will be very important. I think it’s definitely a good thing when the survival of humanity is in question.

Altman wants regulations to have a system for measuring the benefit of use or training of machine intelligence as well as external review of its capabilities:

For example, beyond a certain checkpoint, we could require development [to] happen only on airgapped computers, require that self-improving software require human intervention to move forward on each iteration, require that certain parts of the software be subject to third-party code reviews, etc.

6 Feb, 2015

BBC’s future of news ‘misguided’

Highfields writes an editorial for The Yorkshire Post, about the BBC’s moves into regional news.

When I first read the BBC’s Future of News report last week I’m not sure what depressed me most – the inflammatory language used, the misguided sentiment behind it, or the fact that the BBC intends parking a tank on every local lawn and offering its version of hyper local news controlled from London W1A…Ithe BBC needs to focus on what it’s brilliant at – creating world-class content – and stop trying to be all things to all people. The BBC sets the standard for national and international news. They simply don’t have the resources to be brilliant at everything..I do still dare to believe that we can actually create a genuinely collaborative partnership – one which allows the BBC to play its role in the provision of local news but which still allows local media to thrive in the communities they have been serving for hundreds of years…Fast forward to a digital world where there is not supply from a television and radio broadcaster to a print publisher, but a flow of digital content to and from a national media brand to hyper local titles.

24 Nov, 2014

What I’m Thankful For

In an article written for Time, Sulkowicz talks about what she is thankful for, including her family, boyfriend, and supporters:

My education. I learned about performance art in high school, whereas so many people will never know what it is. And, although Columbia betrayed me, I am thankful for how I’ve learned to think clearly and critically about my situation, and for the opportunity to collaborate with inspiring student activists and a wonderful art faculty and community there. Everyone who has believed in me. Everyone who has helped carry the mattress. Everyone who has carried mattresses in support around the world. Everyone who has stood up for themselves and spoken out. Everyone who has worked to end the silence. These are the people who make real change.

3 Nov, 2014

Why Silicon Valley Works

In an op-ed for the Financial Times, Altman describes how Silicon Valley supports startups.

Silicon Valley works because there is such a high density of people working on start-ups and they are inclined to help each other. Other tech hubs have this as well but this is a case of Metcalfe’s law – the utility of a network is proportional to the square of the number of nodes on the network. Silicon Valley has far more nodes in the network than anywhere else.

He also says that Silicon Valley can be replicated elsewhere and is “probably doable with a few thousand people and a reasonable amount of capital.” He says would-be Silicon Valleys should focus on two things: an area where the majority of people care most about start-ups and technology, and on long-term compensation.

A focus on making a lot of money in the long term at the expense of short-term opportunities is essential to building companies that have a huge impact – they take a long time.

17 Sep, 2014

Lesnar editorial

Ross pens editorial on Lesnar’s career from the first day he signed him to WWE to his current status in the company for Fox Sports.

The South Dakota native is arguably the most naturally gifted athlete to compete in the genre. The former NCAA and UFC heavyweight champion has the physique of a Greek god, moves like a large cat, does what he says and has a legit, animalistic intensity seldom seen in his profession.

16 Sep, 2014

Manning: Focus on containment

Manning writes a commentary in The Guardian stating that military strikes play to ISIS’s strengths, and recommending four areas that a containment strategy could focus on. She suggests countering ISIS’s online presence to curb recruitment. The coalition should then set clear, temporary borders in the region to discourage ISIS taking territory where humanitarian issues could result. It should place a moratorium on ransom payments for hostages and cut off other sources of ISIS funding such as oil trade and artefact theft. Finally, it should allow ISIS to succeed in setting up a failed ‘state’ – in a contained area and over a long enough period of time to prove itself unpopular and unable to govern.

Eventually, if they are properly contained, I believe that Isis will not be able to sustain itself on rapid growth alone, and will begin to fracture internally. The organization will begin to disintegrate into several smaller, uncoordinated entities – ultimately failing in their objective of creating a strong state.

30 Aug, 2014

New York Times commentary

Kerry calls for a global coalition against ISIS in a New York Times op-ed:

No decent country can support the horrors perpetrated by ISIS, and no civilized country should shirk its responsibility to help stamp out this disease. Coalition building is hard work, but it is the best way to tackle a common enemy.

The group’s foreign recruits pose an international threat:

ISIS’ cadre of foreign fighters are a rising threat not just in the region, but anywhere they could manage to travel undetected — including to America […] They have already demonstrated the ability to seize and hold more territory than any other terrorist organization, in a strategic region that borders Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey and is perilously close to Israel.

The U.S., which takes over the UN Security Council presidency in September, should lead the coalition but its contributions – including airstrikes – are not enough on their own:

In this battle, there is a role for almost every country. Some will provide military assistance, direct and indirect. Some will provide desperately needed humanitarian assistance for the millions who have been displaced and victimized across the region. Others will help restore not just shattered economies but broken trust among neighbors. This effort is underway in Iraq, where other countries have joined us in providing humanitarian aid, military assistance and support for an inclusive government.

29 Aug, 2014

New York Times op-ed

McCain and Graham criticize Barack Obama’s approach to the conflict:

The president clearly wants to move deliberately and consult with allies and Congress as he considers what to do about ISIS. No one disputes that goal. But the threat ISIS poses only grows over time. It cannot be contained. It must be confronted. This requires a comprehensive strategy, presidential leadership and a far greater sense of urgency.

A comprehensive approach would include military actions in Syria:

But ultimately, ISIS is a military force, and it must be confronted militarily. Mr. Obama has begun to take military actions against ISIS in Iraq, but they have been tactical and reactive half-measures. Continuing to confront ISIS in Iraq, but not in Syria, would be fighting with one hand tied behind our back. We need a military plan to defeat ISIS, wherever it is.

The U.S. must support Kurdish peshmerga, Sunni tribes, moderate forces in Syria and effective units of the Iraqi security forces with arms, intelligence and military assistance, but avoid supporting Iranian troops. Supplying more assets, troops, resources and time could involve revising the Authorization for Use of Military Force, and employing an Afghanistan-like approach. They say other presidents successfully changed their tactics in response to the Soviet Union, Balkans and Iraq:

ISIS presents Mr. Obama with a similar challenge, and it has already forced him to begin changing course, albeit grudgingly. He should accept the necessity of further change and adopt a strategy to defeat this threat. If he does, he deserves bipartisan support. If he does not, ISIS will continue to grow into an even graver danger to our allies and to us.

1 Aug, 2014

Nashville preservation editorial

Urban writes a 368 word editorial that encourages the historic preservation of country music landmarks:

The past, present and the future are ALL still here — but the Row is currently under threat from developers. Nashville has exploded as a music town, and not just country music. Musicians from all genres, all over the world are making the pilgrimage here to immerse themselves in the kind of creative center that so many other cities have lost but that Nashville still maintains

Nashville’s growth is exciting, but not at the risk of losing the creative epicenter that is Music Row and that truly makes Nashville Music City.

I sincerely hope that those who have made Nashville their home over the years, and those who have recently discovered our fair city, will come together as a united front and continue to be vocal about preserving and fortifying our beloved Music Row.

9 Jul, 2014

Daily Mail op-ed: No conflict with mother-in-law

After The Daily Mail reports George Clooney’s future mother-in-law does want Clooney to marry her daughter, Amal, because of religious differences, and the actor responds in an op-ed:

First of all, factually none of the story is true. Amal’s mother is not Druze. She has not been to Beirut since Amal and I have been dating, and she is in no way against the marriage, but none of that is the issue…The irresponsibility, in this day and age, to exploit religious differences where none exist, is at the very least negligent and more appropriately dangerous.

After the op-ed was published, The Daily Mail removed the article from its website, The Mail Online, and issued a statement:

The MailOnline story was not a fabrication but supplied in good faith by a reputable and trusted freelance journalist. She based her story on conversations with a long standing contact who has strong connections with senior members of the Lebanese community in the UK and the Druze in Beirut. We only became aware of Mr. Clooney’s concerns this morning and have launched a full investigation. However, we accept Mr. Clooney’s assurance that the story is inaccurate and we apologize to him, Miss Amal Alamuddin and her mother, Baria, for any distress caused.

7 Jul, 2014

WSJ op-ed

Swift writes opinion editorial piece for the Wall Street Journal. Swift covers her opinion on where the music industry be decades from now, album sales and the power of fans. Swift says she is very optimistic about the industry overall.

There are many (many) people who predict the downfall of music sales and the irrelevancy of the album as an economic entity. I am not one of them. In my opinion, the value of an album is, and will continue to be, based on the amount of heart and soul an artist has bled into a body of work, and the financial value that artists (and their labels) place on their music when it goes out into the marketplace.

15 Jun, 2014

‘Detroit Drone Valley’ innovation strategy

Andreessen publishes a column in Politico outlining a method for expanding “innovation clusters” beyond California’s tech industry:

…policymakers shouldn’t be trying to copy Silicon Valley. Instead, they should be figuring out what domain is (or could be) specific to their region—and then removing the regulatory hurdles for that particular domain. Because we don’t want 50 Silicon Valleys; we want 50 different variations of Silicon Valley, all unique from each other and all focusing on different domains.

Imagine a Bitcoin Valley, for instance, where some country fully legalizes cryptocurrencies for all financial functions. Or a Drone Valley, where a particular region removes all legal barriers to flying unmanned aerial vehicles locally. A Driverless Car Valley in a city that allows experimentation with different autonomous car designs, redesigned roadways and safety laws. A Stem Cell Valley. And so on.

14 May, 2014

‘My Rapist is Still on Campus’

In an article written for Time, Sulkowicz talks habout the alleged rape, the circumstances of the hearing, and her criticisms of Columbia’s processes:

Every day, I am afraid to leave my room. Even seeing people who look remotely like my rapist scares me. Last semester I was working in the dark room in the photography department. Though my rapist wasn’t in my class, he asked permission from his teacher to come and work in the dark room during my class time. I started crying and hyperventilating. As long as he’s on campus with me, he can continue to harass me.

I’ve lost friends because some people just don’t understand what it means to be raped. One friend asked me if I thought that my rapist would be expelled from school. I said, “I really hope so.” And he said, “Poor guy” because I think many men see rape as kinky sex that went wrong. They say girls are confusing and it’s hard to tell when you’re supposed to stop. When I was raped, I was screaming “no” and struggling against him. It was obviously not consensual, but he was turned on by my distress.

I think the school is pressured to find him not guilty because up until now Columbia could just push these things under the rug and no one would know. But that means the Columbia administration is harboring serial rapists on campus. They’re more concerned about their public image than keeping people safe.

12 May, 2014

‘The Tech Sector Needs More Women’

In an article in Forbes, de Baubigny discusses the challenges faced by working women, especially those who would like to maintain a career while starting a  family. She notes the “Scissor effect:” a graph where the percentage of male tech workers at a particular job level increases, while the percentage of female workers falls. She offers advice, and urges women to break past the gap:

I tell the young women in my life, for example, that if you are thinking through the questions about income, day-care costs and whether you can be a mother and a career star, just try to make it work for a couple of months. You’ve come this far. And we need you. Chances are you’ll be able to be both a great mom and a great career woman. The rewards are immense, and not just in terms of professional success.

6 May, 2014

Vanity Fair article

monica-lewinsky-vanity-fairLewinsky writes an essay for Vanity Fair, detailing her personal feelings about her affair with former president Bill Clinton. This is the first time Lewinsky has addressed the affair in detail in a public forum. Lewinsky claims the broken silence is a form of “taking back my narrative” to “give a purpose to my past.” The piece describes the way the Clinton administration branded Lewinsky as a perpetrator, claiming she “was made a scapegoat in order to protect his [Clinton’s] powerful position.” 

That was one of the worst days of my life. I was a virgin to humiliation of that level until that day. To be in the vortex of this media maelstrom was quite alarming, and frightening and confusing. I think a lot, too, had to do with the fact that I was a woman. To be called stupid, and a slut, and a bimbo, and ditzy, and to be taken out of context…it was excruciating.

She details the difficulty she had in finding employment, as well as the moral conflict she felt over lucrative offers to share her story with the media. Her goal moving forward, she writes, is to help victims of online harassment, claiming that she was “possibly the first person whose global humiliation was driven by the Internet.”

19 Feb, 2014

Beyond Affirmative Action

In an article for, Carson says he believes that affirmative action helped provide him with opportunities he otherwise would miss.

I believe that I benefited from affirmative action. When I applied to Yale University, I thought my chances of being accepted were favorable only because I was somewhat naive about admissions requirements for a high-powered Ivy League institution. In my mind, I was pretty hot stuff. Only after I got to Yale and became cognizant of my classmates’ many accomplishments did I realize that the admissions committee had taken a substantial risk on me and that I had been extended special consideration. My early academic experiences were traumatic, and but for the grace of God, I would have flunked out.

And calls for “compassionate action” to account for difficulties that college applicants have faced in their upbringing:

Such a strategy demonstrates sensitivity and compassion, as well as recognition of substantial achievement in the face of difficult obstacles. The groups who benefit from compassionate action will probably change over time, depending on which ones have the greatest number of obstacles to overcome. The point is, it’s time to be more concerned about the content of character than the color of skin when extending extra consideration.

31 Jan, 2014

‘Most companies’ talk about transparency is BS’

moz_logo-1Feld, who is on the board of Moz, a Seattle-based provider of search-engine and social-media optimization software, writes about the company’s commitment to openness:

Lots of people talk about being transparent. Lots of companies espouse principles of transparency. Lots of statements start out with “I like to be transparent” or “I’m being transparent when I say …” And several years ago the notion of transparency became the new in thing, especially around the VC and startup worlds. Most of it is bullshit.

Feld points to Moz’s Moz’s 2013 Year in Review, which gives insider-level numbers of the company’s operations, despite the company managment’s disappointment with their results.

…when you talk about being transparent, it’s often useful to have a standard of ‘real transparency’ to compare yourself too. I’d put Moz at the top of that list in my book.

30 Jan, 2014

WSJ defends “Perkinsnacht’

Describing Perkins’ statements as “unfortunate, albeit provocative”.  The Wall Street Journal says:

While claiming to be outraged at the Nazi reference, the critics seem more incensed that Mr. Perkins dared to question the politics of economic class warfare.  Maybe the critics are afraid that Mr. Perkins is onto something about the left’s political method. Consider the recent record of liberals in power. They’re the ones obsessed with the Koch brothers and other billionaires contributing to conservative causes, siccing journalists to trash them and federal agencies to shut them down.

Citing Andrew Cuomo and Bill de Blasio’s comments that extreme conservatives have “no place in the state of New York”  they add:

The liberals aren’t encouraging violence, but they are promoting personal vilification and the abuse of government power to punish political opponents.