Strong Signs in Weak Signals

The ceaseless flow of information and data running through most businesses now has made it easier to spot big trends, but also threatens to wash over smaller pieces of critical information. But increasingly, it is these small snippets of data that carry important insights - key pieces of information floating along in the fast-paced stream of social data. McKinsey recently…

Read More

Bitcoin of the Realm

2013 in a word? According to at least one economist it was: Bitcoin - a secure peer-to-peer payment system and digital currency created in 2009. New Bitcoins are mined by software programmers, and although users can remain anonymous, central to the system is a public database and sequential record of all transactions (as if one could track the use of…

Read More

Weedconomics

The intersection of theoretical economics and practical reality are often akin to the collisions between the Roadrunner and ACME products. Often these two forces align over time, but the blackboard simplicity of supply and demand curves rarely work out so cleanly in real life, particularly when there is transformational change.  In Colorado, the collision between theory and practice is seen…

Read More

Five Best Blogs: January 2014

If blogs aren't visual enough for you, WonkBlog has a series on the best graphs of the year, while back on the blog side, here are some thoughts from Ben Horowitz on taking the mystery out of scaling a company; Tim Harford on why there are no new ideas, only remixes; the folks at First Round suggest the best advice for entrepreneurs in 2013; a…

Read More

Who Prospers in the Age of Smart Machines?

The insightful Tyler Cowen has studied the way technology can radically change a wide variety of industries -- how smart machines might displace human beings.  But rather than focus on the typical piece predicting the future of work, Cowen penned an intriguing Op-Ed which tries to imagine what sort of characteristics people will need to prosper in a world where…

Read More

Driverless Cars

One of the potential revolutions that has most captivated the public -- especially since we are still waiting for our jetpacks -- are cars without drivers.   From the Batmobile, to Christine, to Das Hoff, the days when a self-driving vehicle answers our call are soon coming.  Indeed, Google's driverless cars have already traveled over a quarter million miles, and states…

Read More

A Cold Shower for Startup Communities?

Like many people, we are big fans of startup communities. We'd like to think that the benefits of these groups, and their economic and social impact, is self-evident. But we're even bigger fans of contrarian reasoning, and having one's beliefs challenged is thought-provoking, so this post naturally caught our eye. for it turns out that there might be a little more…

Read More

Reading List: Herbalife Shorts

Finance is rarely entertaining.  But when it is, it's a doozy.  Last year the activist hedge fund titan Bill Ackerman bet that Herbalife -- a company with 33 years of history and $3.5 billion in annual revenue -- was a souped-up pyramid scheme. Eventually Ackerman bought over 20 million shares of Herbalife short, a tremendous financial bet. Which is where…

Read More

MicroLabor, in Small Bites

Can an online microjobs market help lift up the poor?  British economist Tim Harford thinks that it is possible.  In his recent post, Harford points to an interesting new site, Slivers of Time.  Slivers is an online marketplace that aims to bring the same crowd-sourcing approach that has changed the way people fill unused space in their home (Air BnB) or fund…

Read More

The Second Act of Netflix

In 1998 Netflix was formed with a simple idea: rent DVDs by mail under a subscriber model: no late fees, and you don't have to leave your house. The company went public in 2002 with annual revenues north of $75 million.  The virtual model was one originally embraced by the marketplace: Netflix owns or leases warehouses, but did not take…

Read More