I get asked with regular frequently what I look for as an early stage investor.
For me it’s four things.
- Are the founders extraordinary
- Do I love the product
- Is the vision compelling
- If I wasn’t a VC, would I want to work for the founders at the startup
That’s basically it.
These four things have served me well. The times I’ve made mistakes in this business is when I’ve wandered from it.
Home built by Jay Nelson on Kauai, Hawaii.
For more about Jay’s work, check out this short film.
Contributed by Jess Bianchi.
…We could bear any amount of nerdiness if someone was truly smart. What we couldn’t stand were people with a lot of attitude. But most of those weren’t truly smart, so our third test was largely a restatement of the first.
When nerds are unbearable it’s usually because they’re trying too hard to seem smart. But the smarter they are, the less pressure they feel to act smart. So as a rule you can recognize genuinely smart people by their ability to say things like “I don’t know,” “Maybe you’re right,” and “I don’t understand x well enough.”
frame this last bit and put it on the wall
All Our Patent Are Belong To You | Blog | Tesla Motors
this is a big deal for the patent reform movement (via fred-wilson)
Starbucks will provide a free online college education to thousands of its workers, without requiring that they remain with the company, through an unusual arrangement with Arizona State University, the company and the university will announce on Monday.
The program is open to any of the company’s 135,000 United States employees, provided they work at least 20 hours a week and have the grades and test scores to gain admission to Arizona State. For a barista with at least two years of college credit, the company will pay full tuition; for those with fewer credits it will pay part of the cost, but even for many of them, courses will be free, with government and university aid.
“Starbucks is going where no other major corporation has gone,” said Jamie P. Merisotis, president and chief executive of the Lumina Foundation, a group focused on education. “For many of these Starbucks employees, an online university education is the only reasonable way they’re going to get a bachelor’s degree.”
Starbucks is, in effect, inviting its workers, from the day they join the company, to study whatever they like, and then leave whenever they like — knowing that many of them, degrees in hand, will leave for better-paying jobs.
More of this, corporate America.
Daily chart: GOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLL!
More than 2,200 goals have been scored at the World Cup since 1930. Our unique data set visualises all the goals, for every minute. We’ll be updating it daily as the competition progresses.
The human body is 18 percent carbon, which means that if you subject it to high enough pressures at high enough temperatures and hold it there for a long enough time, it will form diamonds. You can try this yourself, in a laboratory.
All it takes is, say, a pound of human ash, more than 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit, and 60,000 times the standard atmospheric pressure of Earth at sea level. Extract carbon, bake, compress. Check back in a few weeks. Not a DIYer? No problem. Just FedEx your burial urn to one of the many Internet-facing memorial-diamond companies that have sprung up in the last few years.
For between $2,500 and $25,000, outfits like Chicago’s LifeGem and Switzerland’s Algordanza will take the cremated remains of your loved ones and return them, presto chango, in the form of wearable jewelry. Diamonds created from human ashes often carry a blue tint.
This is because of the boron contained in bone. “I don’t know why,” the CEO of Algordanza has said, “but if the diamond is blue, and the deceased also had blue eyes, I hear almost every time that the diamond had the same color as the eyes of the deceased.”
Gems can also be synthesized from dead pets and, since the mid-2000s, from hair. Several memorial-diamond firms report revenue in the millions of dollars. In 2007, a diamond made from a lock of Beethoven’s hair sold on eBay for $202,700.
The World Cup tends to gather every thread of weirdness on the planet; as the largest human spectacle in existence, it rolls through every four years trailed by a vast peripheral freak show of psychic octopuses, celebrity witch doctors, and horse-placenta fetishists (otherwise known as soccer players).
So it’s no real surprise that the tournament’s 2014 edition is now officially the World Cup of diamonds made out of people. In late May, a Brazil-based memorial-diamond company called Brilho Infinito began selling a series of 1,283 diamonds made from the hair of Pelé, the most celebrated footballer in Brazil’s football-obsessed history, and widely regarded as the greatest soccer player of all time.
The 1,283 gemstones are one for every goal that’s claimed on Pelé’s (dubious) official record. The gemstones are selling for about $7,500 each. The proceeds will be donated to a pediatric complex in Brazil.
this is it. this is the most important gif on tumblr.com
A Jetsons home
Time: The very near future. AKA, 2015. Maybe even late 2014, you guys.
6:30am. Good morning.
I wake up to the vibrate of my Misfit Shine / Jawbone UP / smart mattress (choose your own adventure).
I get out of bed and pick up my phone. It’s already synced my sleep data to the cloud before I know what’s what (that Bluetooth LE magic). Perhaps this has happened through my iPhone. Perhaps it’s happened through my new Apple TV. It doesn’t matter; it’s so smooth. I love this combination of “that thing I’m wearing” paired with “the thing already in the room” – it makes for the richest and most meaningful interactions.
Oh, it knew when to wake me up because it knew my first event in the morning was a 7AM bike ride. It knows my calendar too, obviously.
It’s a warm summer day in New York City. So Nest has already picked up on this and woken up with me at the appropriate time with the right temperature. It’s no longer that cool night, so it turns up the aircon, as the weather is already getting a bit muggy out.
I go out for a ride on my Specialized, which is my bike that has been plugged in and syncing and downloading new training paths for me via Strava. It suggests a new route for me to hit: it knows my training plan, after all. The wheels automatically track my distance and cadence and power output and, paired with my phone, tracks GPS paths. My Apple headphones, of course, track my heart rate. I head back home, lean my bike up again the wall - of course, she syncs automatically to my “home”.
I get showered and ready and iPhone has already pulled up the weather report to show me. I’ve not been touching the phone for the last 20 minutes, so it already knows from habit that I’ve been away on the shower and shave in the morning.
As soon as I leave home, my phone automatically informs the other devices that want to know I’ve left. My Apple TV pauses music that was playing. Apple TV turns off all the lights and draws the shades. Separately, Nest knows I’m gone and goes into Away mode to conserve energy.
If anything should happen during my day at work that needs my attention, Home.app will send me a notification. Otherwise, I head home after a long day and the home system, knowing I’m there, automatically warms all systems up. When I walk in, my phone connects to WiFi and BLE, so all systems know it’s me and turn on all appropriate services.
I sit on my couch and listen to some Beats situation directly from an Apple TV app (after all these years, we have streaming music as an app right on Apple TV).
Then, I pick up a game controller and play a few circuits worth of racing on my Apple TV, which has all the games I purchased on iOS (yes!–where I finally get to race on the big screen that R8 I picked up on my iPhone).
I fall asleep on my couch.
Apple Watch already knows my heart rate’s in sleep mode and falls asleep with me (Oh wow, I love this idea of devices “falling asleep with me”).
Of course, it already knows when to wake me up the next morning, so I need not worry about setting an alarm.
On May 10, Brazilian artist Paulo Ito posted this mural on the doors of a schoolhouse in São Paulo’s Pompeia district. Less than a week later, it has become an international sensation, drawing huge attention on Facebook. It has also taken off in Brazil—a post on the popular Facebook page TV Revolta has been shared and liked more than 40,000 times.*
I first saw the image when The Nation’s Dave Zirin posted it on Twitter. The portrait of a weeping, starving Brazilian child with nothing to eat but a soccer ball is so simple and evocative that you don’t need to know much about Brazil to wrap your head around it. All you have to understand is that despite massive gains made over the past decade, poverty levels are still appallingly high, and the World Cup is costing the nation billions of dollars that could be spent elsewhere.
“People already have the feeling and that image condensed this feeling,” the São Paulo-based Ito told me in an interview today. He says he’s never created anything so popular in his 14 years as a street artist, and was surprised by the powerful response. “The truth is there is so much wrong in Brazil that it is difficult to know where to start,” he explained via Facebook chat. “I didn’t mean [to say] nobody is doing anything against poverty,” he said of the mural. “But we need to show the world or ourselves that the situation is still not good.”
Jonathan Safran Foer was sitting at a Chipotle one day, when he realized that he had nothing to do while noshing on his burrito. He had neglected to bring a book or magazine, and he didn’t yet own a smartphone. “I really just wanted to die with frustration,” Foer told VF Daily.
Suddenly, the Eating Animals author (and vegetarian) had an idea: What if there were something truly good to read on his Chipotle cup? Or the bag? A few years earlier, he had met Steve Ells, Chipotle’s C.E.O., so he decided to write the executive an e-mail.
“I said, ‘I bet a shitload of people go into your restaurants every day, and I bet some of them have very similar experiences, and even if they didn’t have that negative experience, they could have a positive experience if they had access to some kind of interesting text,’” Foer recalled. “And unlike McDonald’s, it’s not like they’re selling their surfaces to the highest bidder. They had nothing on their bags. So I said, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool to just put some interesting stuff on it? Get really high-quality writers of different kinds, creating texts of different kinds that you just give to your customers as a service.’”
Foer didn’t know what to expect, but Ells went all in. Starting Thursday, VF Daily can exclusively reveal, bags and cups in Chipotle’s stores will be adorned with original text by Foer, Malcolm Gladwell, Toni Morrison, George Saunders, and Vanity Fair contributing editor Michael Lewis.
Foer says ,” Chipotle refrained from meddling in the editorial process for the duration of the initiative, which the burrito chain has branded Cultivating Thought. “I selected the writers, and insofar as there was any editing, I did it,” Foer said. “I tried to put together a somewhat eclectic group, in terms of styles. I wanted some that were essayistic, some fiction, some things that were funny, and somewhat thought provoking.”
It’s the one you want if you bike share to the office or around town.