Month: March 2014

Twitter’s 3 Keys to Success

Twitter’s founder Jack Dorsey had a talk  a few years back that helps you step into the mind of a great entrepreneur. The talk is about 15 minutes long, but it’s an interesting talk that is straight-forward, but dwells on some great insight.

His three keys to success:

1) Draw: get your idea out of your head and share it,

2) Luck: assess when the time (and the market) is right to execute your idea,

3) Iterate: take in the feedback, be a rigorous editor, and refine your idea.

4) Then indirectly I would add a fourth, time and experience. The combination of the two will help you identify opportunities and see the world in a new light.


Why I Started Blogging

Besides forcing myself to blog each day of March for “March Madness”, I’ve found blogging somewhat therapeutic. It forces me to articulate and see my point from multiple angles that I may not think about initially. I highly recommend start one your own, even if it is just about politics, or surfboards, or goats. Having a history of what was happening in your life, what you were interested in, and what your view on the state of the world was will be euphoric to look back on.

I may just post funny YouTube videos, but that’s mainly so I’m not “overbearing” or “too much” on Facebook/Twitter/Wordpress. No one wants to be that guy/girl, and we all know a good handful of those people.

So to keep this short, I hope you’re enjoying it as much as I am. Feel free to comment, give me ideas for new posts on what’s intriguing to you, or follow me on the Twitters (@kohl_in_one) or WordPress.

The Second Industrial Revolution (Part 2 of 2)

Continuing from an earlier post, the effects of this second Industrial Revolution won’t appear overnight, and when the shift is in full swing, new jobs will be created to “manage and maintain the machines.” In this post, we’ll take a quick look at what the possible economic effects could be.

In a world of machines doing entry level quality work, economic inequality could soar in such a world, but unemployment would not necessarily spike. If governments refuse to allow jobless workers to fall too far below the average standard of living, then you’d hope the minimum wage would rise steadily, and ever more workers may find work unattractive. On the other hand, the higher the minimum wage rises, the greater the incentive to invest in capital that replaces labor. Any new jobs that would be created would require skills and education that many mid-wage workers lack and this could contribute to a growing economic inequality.

So while technology might eliminate jobs in some older industries, as long as new technologies generate major new demand meeting new needs, the net effect does not mean permanent unemployment. Clearly some new technologies such as the driverless car will, indeed, address major unmet needs. In this process, specific jobs and specific occupations will be eliminated. This may increase economic inequality for a time. And the new opportunities will require new skills and new business models; these might be difficult and slow to develop. Nevertheless, this view of the future differs sharply from the predictions of a dystopia with permanent mass unemployment and ever-widening economic inequality. Yet the data show that the first wave of computer technology has displaced workers, not replaced them.

As long as technology continues to address major unmet needs, machines do not determine our fate. Just because machines take over some human tasks, that does not mean the end of jobs. We do, however, need to figure out how workers can develop new skills and how entrepreneurs can create new business models to generate the new demand that will provide growing employment.

P.S. – Learn how to code (for the hundredth time)

The Second Industrial Revolution (Part 1 of 2)

Much like machinery replaced people’s jobs in factories, or at the very least, changed their job, computers and software will do the same for the services industry (think of desk jobs, or anything not in farming or manufacturing) . Companies are constantly testing/experimenting with new technologies and how they integrate into current production processes. Over time, best practices are broken down into smaller steps which technology can handle. Then it becomes easier to automate each of those components, much like machinery altered how manufacturing plants produced products. Think about it, in the industrial revolution, machines were bought and people’s jobs were changed to accommodate the new machinery, then as time goes by, you start to productionize tasks around the machines, to scale and make the machines as efficient as possible.

It’s interesting to note that the share of American employment in manufacturing has declined sharply since the 1950s, from almost 30% to less than 10%. At the same time, jobs in the Services industry soared, from less than 50% of employment to almost 70%. It’s inevitable, therefore, that firms would start to apply the same experimentation and reorganization to service industries.

The “machines” (computers and software), are not only becoming smarter, but they also have access to far more data than any human could sift through. The combination of big data and smart machines will take over some occupations wholesale; in others it will allow firms to do more with fewer workers. Some examples of jobs that could be replaced. Accountants may follow travel agents and tellers into the unemployment line as tax software improves. Machines are already turning basic sports results and financial data into good-enough news stories. And legal services is slowly being codified and productionized.  A taxi driver will be a rarity in many places by the 2030s or 2040s.

The productivity gains from future automation will be real, even if they mostly accrue to the owners of the machines…. On my next post I’ll post my thoughts on what these effects will have on the economy going forward.

Technology Blurring the Difference Between Connections and Personal Bonds

Below is a great excerpt from the site, which covers 30 things to learn by the age of the 30, overall I highly recommend spending 30 minutes reading all 30.

But my favorite is #14 (seen below). For how accessible technology has made people and “friendships”, the next generation of apps need to foster “bonds”, not “connections” (Facebook, Twitter, etc.). Because “bonds” count for far more in the end, as I imagine less than 1% of my Twitter followers and Facebook friends will show up at my funeral.

Connections vs. Bonds

Modern communications technology, social media in particular, has given us connectivity like no other generation has ever known. Science is just now starting to tell us what this does to our brains, and for the most part, we’re making up the rules as we go, typically assuming that more connectivity is better.

I won’t join the chorus of crabasses that want everything the way it used to be (these people exist in every generation, and are usually just afraid of change). At the same time, there must be something unhealthy about this new age of constant accessibility and personal disclosure. Here’s a theory: We’re slowly losing our grip on the difference between a connection and a bond.

I’m sure most people still understand the difference in theory, but it’s getting increasingly harder to tell one from the other in practice. Facebook and Twitter are the first widely-used tools in history to provide a real time running count of the number of your “friendships.” That’s pretty sick, when you think about it. (If you knew someone that kept an analog tally of friends — like some creepy diary tucked under the bed — you’d tell him to see a therapist.) The more “friends” we acquire, the more our feelings of connectivity are bolstered and the more active our little social networks become. Status updates and tweets rush down our live feeds with greater frequency as our follower headcounts get higher and higher. It’s an amazing way to become and stay connected. So amazing, in fact, that if you do it right you hardly have to talk to anyone.

I don’t know how my obituary will read, or yours, but my money says it won’t mention how many Facebook friends I had when I finally bought the farm. And I bet the majority of those friends, and I mean this in the nicest way, will probably have just a passing interest in my demise. That’s because life boils down to a pretty small number of relationships — maybe a couple dozen. These are the ones that count: bonds. You know these people well beyond that overconfident, happy front we all put up on the internet. These people are ready and willing to sacrifice a great deal for you, and vice versa, because you know each other’s dirty secrets and still recognize the other as unique and valuable. You have their phone numbers, and occasionally call them for no particular reason. Such bonds are rare, much harder to forge than connections, and are infinitely more fulfilling. We’d be better off spending a whole lot more energy taking care of these people, and a lot less time dicking around on the internet.