Tuesday, March 24, 2015

There is “a complete absence of fear” in Silicon Valley right now, and more people than ever before are employed by companies losing money.

Bill Gurley

Said : Bill Gurley, General Partner, Benchmark Capital and the prominent investor behind Uber and Snapchat. He said this at the 22nd annual South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive festival (held in Austin, Texas, held from Friday, March 13 through Tuesday, March 17.) during an interview, on March 15. The interview was conducted by award-winning journalist and author Malcolm Gladwell on the SXSW stage.  

"There is no fear in Silicon Valley right now," Gurley said. "A complete absence of fear." Clarifying his stand on the bubble threat, he said : "We are in a risk bubble, not a tech bubble. We are taking on a level of risk never seen before in the history of Silicon Valley." Observing that more and more companies are today becoming dependent on venture dollars, Gurley cautioned that good companies need to be mindful of irrational venture capital funding to support competitors.
According to Steve Tay (@iamstevetay), who tweeted the entire interview live, Gurley opined that driverless cars must be virtually perfect to be acceptable to consumers. "It's shifting from drinking and driving to texting and driving. Let's just have less people drive," he said. Commenting on car sharing services like Uber, he said : "A product like Uber is absolutely transformational in any country or region it goes into." According to Gurley, Uber was the largest job creator in the San Francisco area accounting for over 300,000 drivers on the road. Another point, Gurley said, was that millennials now view cars as utility and not a social statement. This makes Uber a much better way to utilize the resource as 97% of cars are estimated to be idle.
Acknowledging the role of risk in success of a venture, Gurley said : "The further you get away from risk, the more people forget about it." At the same time he observed that "We've reduced number of casual risks in exchange for more catastrophic risks."
According to Southwest Interactive, Gurley and his partners at Benchmark led the early venture investments in GrubHub, Nextdoor, OpenTable, Snapchat, Stitch Fix, Twitter, Uber, Yelp and more. He writes a blog on the evolution and economics of high technology businesses called Above the Crowd. Gladwell, a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1996, is the author of five New York Times Best Sellers, including David and Goliath, The Tipping Point, What The Dog Saw, Blink and Outliers.
Bill Gurley is interviewed by 
award-winning journalist and author 
Malcolm Gladwell on the SXSW stage.

Friday, March 6, 2015

“Flight 370 showed that in today’s very connected world, the idea that we cannot know where every airplane is at any given moment has become unacceptable”

Rémi Jouty (Picture source)

Said : Rémi Jouty, the director of the French Bureau of Investigations and Analysis (FBIA), commenting on the ongoing search operations for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 (a Boeing 777), which took off from Kuala Lumpur Airport and vanished en route to Beijing on March 8, 2014 with 239 people aboard. The FBIA has been advising investigators on the case.

According to a news report by Michael Forsythe and Keith Bradsher in The New York Times of March 5, 2015, the investigators are also considering, what they call, “rogue pilot theory,” as the most plausible explanation among several because some of the investigators and experts feel that deliberate human intervention, most likely by someone in the cockpit, may have caused the aircraft. A retired chief pilot of Malaysia Airlines, Nik Huzlan, is reported to be one of them. 

Incidentally, Huzlan has been a close friend of Zaharie Ahmad Shah, the pilot who flew the plane that fateful day, since last 30 years.

Picture source
Huzlan, while clarifying that he had never seen anything in more than 30 years of friendship that would suggest that Mr. Zaharie was capable of such a deed, said : “Based on logic, when you throw emotion away, it seems to point a certain direction which you can’t ignore.” “Your best friend can harbor the darkest secrets,” he reportedly added. The co-pilot, Fariq Abdul Hamid, is also being seen as the likely culprit.
Picture source
Four ships under contract by the Australian and Malaysian governments are searching the likely site spread over an area of 23,000-square miles in the Indian Ocean. Nearly half the area has been scoured so far but no trace of the missing plane has been found and the mystery over its disappearance continues. The job is expected to be completed by May.
Picture source
In an era where a missing mobile phone can be located in moments, it is hard to believe that a wide-body jetliner can simply vanish like the Flight 370. The need for closer flight tracking measures, including real-time streaming of flight data, is again being discussed within the aviation industry. It is reported that the International Civil Aviation Organization, a United Nations body, wants that "all airliners should be equipped to have the ability, by November 2016, to automatically report their position at least every 15 minutes, twice as often as the current average of around 30 minutes."