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A Theory of Jerks

We've all been there, perhaps. Struggling through the day to get things done -- noble things, often, for good people. Things that are necessary, important even. Positive outcomes. All that.  And yet sometimes we keep hitting unnecessary obstacles: The line of people in the post office is a mass of unimportant fools; it’s a felt injustice that you must wait while they bumble with their requests. The flight attendant is not a potentially interesting person with her own cares and…

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Five Best Blogs: June 2014

We are catching up on the venture capital scene this month, with a good profile of Sequoia Capital (the VC "It Girl" of the past, oh few decades), a primer by Bill Janeway on the future of venture capital, a piece on the changing nature of competition, some great data on the VC Power Law for exits, and the invaluable annual presentation of Internet Trends by KPCB's Mary Meeker.

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One Cool Thing: Cloze

The tension of social media is its increasing influence combined with its sheer difficulty to manage. The proliferation of information makes it harder and harder to hone in on a person or topic for signals both weak and strong.  We were fans of the former Gist and, since its demise (thanks, um, Blackberry) have been looking for a replacement. We've found something that, while not perfect, certainly helps. Cloze (iOS, Android) is an app that tries to aggregate and separate…

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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 each dollar bill by its serial number). 2013 marked Bitcoin's entry into mainstream culture.  Bitcoins are now accepted at roughly…

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Patient, Know Thyself

While political pundits might consider 2013 the year of the “no,” biotechies might think about it as the year of the “know.”  Who can know what, what knowledge is patentable, and knowing how it can be used were all issues which found a newly devoted audience, including seven people in long robes.In AMP v. Myraid, the Supreme Court ruled that some DNA can be patented, and some cannot, allowing clarity second place behind confusion.  Genes are now officially not patentable (which surprised…

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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 with an economic shift in a product that is neither new, nor particularly complex, but suddenly legal. The product is…

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Where are Wearables We Want to Wear?

Wearables -- electronic devices attached to the body in some way -- are generating some serious buzz, capturing imaginations with visions of science fiction coming to life.  Although wearables have been on the market in some form or another since a complex and miniature  abacus was attached to a ring in the Qing dynasty, dramatic improvements in sensor technology and data delivery systems are introducing a whole new universe of Geekdom and style.Wearables are cool in that techy kind of way.…

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One Cool Thing: Revolv

Device by device, homes are getting smarter.  You can now unlock your doors with Kwikset, turn on the lights and get the CrockPot started with WeMo, and adjust your thermostat with Nest.  Unfortunately though, these devices aren't so smart that they can talk to one another.  Each one requires its own app and must be adjusted individually.  Not so hard if you're just using one or two of these devices, but it starts to get complicated the more you add…

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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 compilation of start-up bite-sized postmortems; and venture capitalists Fred Wilson and Brad Feld talk about, um, their first time (Fred's, Brad's). 

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Your genes, your data?

23andMe is a high-profile startup that offers direct-to-consumer DNA testing.  Send in a little spit swab, and they provide a variety of contextual reports on inherited traits, genealogy, and possible congenital risks. Their home test - most recently priced at just $99 -- received notice within Time's Best Inventions of 2008, roughly a half-million people ordered them, the company completed a $50 million Series D round in 2012 with a number of high-profile investors.  Then the future of home gene testing…

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