Listened Why Silicon Valley billionaires are prepping for the apocalypse in New Zealand – podcast by Mark O'Connell from the Guardian
How an extreme libertarian tract predicting the collapse of liberal democracies – written by Jacob Rees-Mogg’s father – inspired the likes of Peter Thiel to buy up property across the Pacific


A text version can be found here.

Liked Tesla Looked Like the Future. Now Some Ask if It Has One. (New York Times)
“There is a huge part of Tesla that is simply presentation and not substance, and Elon is a master at messaging,” said Karl Brauer, a senior analyst at Kelley Blue Book. “The problem is the reality is starting to stack up, and that’s a reality of accidents the cars have had, quality issues, and massive misses on Model 3 production numbers. You add all that up and there’s a real question about whether this company can deliver what it promises.”
Liked Theranos and Silicon Valley's 'Fake It Till You Make It' Culture (WIRED)
The scale of Theranos’ alleged fraud is unusual, but the forces behind it are not. Startup culture venerates the kind of “fake it till you make it” hustling that Holmes deployed. When Theranos was first exposed, tech industry leaders defended the company. As more reporting about its wrongdoing emerged, industry leaders characterized Theranos as an outlier, not indicative of the broader startup culture. A music video made by a venture firm even included the line, “Theranos doesn’t represent us, we are better.” But scores of minor scandals and lawsuits, combined with 2017’s series of scandals at the country’s most valuable private startup, Uber (former motto: “Always be hustlin’”), make it clear that faking it is more common than just Theranos.
via HEWN
Bookmarked How Vero became the most-loved and most hated social media app in a matter of days (The Sydney Morning Herald)
Those feeling put out by Facebook and Instagram's algorithms and ad targeting may have valid concerns. But next time a too-good-to-be-true alternative comes knocking it might be worth finding out what it is, or waiting two days to see if it pans out, before signing up.
Sadly I was not one of the million rushing for a free account. For me, if it looks like a social media site, acts like a social media site, then it probably is just another data munching social media site. I think that this thread sums it up:

I also like how Colin Walker explains it:

Although Vero promises an algorithm free feed and no ads (it will monetise using subscriptions and charges for selling via the platform) I’m not sure that jumping from the frying pan of one silo straight into the as yet unproven fire of another is what we really need right now. It all just sounds too good to be true.

Even if only half of what is true is reported, it is not good. Surely our problem is not Instagram or Facebook, but the model they are built on. At least Mastadon and Micro.blog are offering something different. A more human approach.

Bookmarked Founding a Startup, Just One More Time – Ben Werdmuller – Medium by Ben Werdmuller (Medium)
Knowing what I know now, from the founders I work with, my background in startups, and what I’ve learned from working at a values-based accelerator: if I was to do it all again, what choices would I make?
Ben Werdmuller reflects on his experiences with three different startups and provides a number of lessons he has learnt along the way. These include starting by getting your feet wet, working out how far you can go without going full-time, identifying who else might be needed for the journey, which ownership structure will work best, how you will build the solution and who will buy it.

Silicon Valley Futures

American libertarian activist Patri Friedman thinks that the future of the city-state are ‘seasteads’:

Patri is taking the Silicon Valley mindset and applying it to the nation-state. There are all these things you could now do that didn’t exist when our current system of government was invented, he told me. Constant online direct-democracy voting, building smart-cities, using crypto-currencies. And yet we still use a 19th-century model. source

Although not if French Polynesia has anything to do with it.

An alternative to the floating city maybe reclaiming reefs, such as that which is happening in the South China Sea

Building on the concept of driverless cars is the notion of driverless hotels:

In a Tesla Model S there are only 18 moving parts compared to the 1500 in an average internal combustion engine vehicle. As such it’s predicted that by 2025 all new vehicles produced will be 100% electric and cost much less than the cheapest combustion engine vehicles sold today. This opens endless possibilities to re-imagine vehicles as moving rooms able to cater to a vast array of human experiences and activities: the driverless office, the driverless boardroom, the driverless gym, the driverless bedroom, the driverless bathroom, the driverless cafe, the driverless cinema and the driverless shop. These rooms need not be used in isolation either. They can be dynamic, modular and interconnected with other driverless rooms via an ondemand request. Tap a button or speak a request, and moments later you can have a bathroom or gym module drive itself to your location and autonomously connect to the office module you’re currently working from.

Immense vertical skyscrapers can autonomously lift these driverless rooms and their passengers hundreds of meters up, where they’re slotted into position before the wall panels open to reveal other connected room modules.source

The question that such ideas pose is:

What if Silicon Valley’s core beliefs — even the benign ones — are wrong?source