Some new work from me
- “The Index of Self-Destructive Acts” is about the tension between humanity and raw data — I liked this novel a lot about the future of journalism, quantification, greatness, and what it means to be human in an atomized world. A great character drama to boot.
- 3 views on the future of geographic-focused funds — exploring whether geographical-focused VC funds are going to stick around. I am decidedly negative , but my colleagues Alex and Natasha are varying levels of more positive than I am.
- In amended filing, Palantir admits it won’t have independent board governance for up to a year - perhaps the most interesting story going on today in business: how Palantir is reshaping corporate governance norms through its strange three-class share model. A bit technical, which is why no one will ever be outraged.
- Walmart-exclusive TrillerTok will run on Azure, or Oracle, or something - a somewhat ironic look at the craziness surrounding TikTok’s deal to continue operating in the United States.
- Capchase raises $4.6M to deliver fast cash to SaaS companies. - a SaaS financing startup
- Edtech is the new SaaS - our latest edition of the Equity podcast
Some interesting articles I liked
- Wirecard and me: Dan McCrum on exposing a criminal enterprise (Financial Times) — This is going to be an amazing book whenever it gets written and released. How the Financial Times and McCrum outmaneuvered Wirecard, who was hell bent on doing whatever it took to protect their fraud scheme. If you are hiring a former head of Libya’s intelligence agency, you are probably not the good guys.
- A Saudi Prince’s Attempt to Silence Critics on Twitter (Wired) — the intensity by which regimes will attempt to silence their critics, up to and including spending tens of thousands of dollars to bribe tech workers at Twitter to get an IP address. Unseemly and important.
- The Subways Are Facing a Five-Alarm Fire (NYT) and SF Muni light rail expected to stay closed through 2020 after equipment failures (SF Chronicle) — America’s struggles on public transportation continue unabated.
Upcoming and recently published books I’m excited about
The fall book season is already upon us, and there are a bunch of new books I am excited about. Among the ones from the various publisher catalogues I have combed through are:
- Ghost Flames: Life and Death in a Hidden War, Korea 1950-1953 by Charles Hanley: Billed as a more readable and human approach to understanding the Korean War. The war’s 70th anniversary was this year, and given the rising China tensions, it still remains of huge importance for understanding East Asia.
- Tomorrow, the World: The Birth of U.S. Global Supremacy by Stephen Wertheim: Wertheim and his colleagues at the Quincy Institute are pioneering a more pragmatic and peaceful U.S. foreign policy, and this is intended to be one of the guiding touchstones for that new school of thought.
- Empire and Righteous Nation: 600 Years of China-Korea Relations by Odd Arne Westad: Westad is a major historian, and this looks to cover one of the most important foreign relationships anywhere in the world.
- Mill Town: Reckoning With What Remains By Kerri Arsenault: A memoir-ish look at the environmental and health catastrophe from a paper mill in a single Maine city.
- Katrina: A History, 1915–2015 by Andy Horowitz: Placing a singular disaster — Katrina — into its larger historical and social context to show that what we think of as a “disaster” is really the buildup of policies over many decades.
- East Asia in the World: Twelve Events that Shaped the Modern International Order by Stephen Haggard and David Kang: All metaphors and stylized facts in International Relations always head back to the Greeks, but why do we apply Greek thinking to China, Singapore, Australia and others? This book is meant to be a corrective to try to push other non-Western examples into mainstream thought (good luck with that though).