Thursday, June 08, 2017

Comey's Shining Moment

James Comey was amazing to watch today - Joe Friday, through and through. However, I feel, that his best moment, and there were many, was in the short clip below. This isn't about scoring political points. This isn't about Republicans protecting their elected leader. This is about a foreign government undermining the rules of the game and the trust in the system.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

US Leaving Paris - MIT and System Dynamics

So, many people have asked me what the effects will be if the US leaves the Paris Accord (as Trump has said that he will do). Right at the same time I sat in on a fantastic lecture from MIT's Professor John Sterman. It is a *tremendous* watch, and well worth the time.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Investment Thesis

Fred Wilson gave a really great talk at my alma mater, MIT.  I'm going to link the relevant bit below:

As someone who has lived through the "Cleantech" collapse since 2009, this is really enlightening and encouraging.  It's hard to believe, but yes, there was a time when a solid investment thesis in internet investing got laughed at.  I feel, by analogy, this now applies to energy/food/water investing (see, we can't even call it cleantech anymore - note the blog title).

I think the premise is brilliant - "The best time to invest in something is when nobody believes in it but you [snip], but you have to know why".

We're seeing the investment blues of energy investing starting to thaw now.  DBL, 1955, Obvious, Evok, and others are getting funds off the ground.  The fundamentals haven't changed (in fact, they've gotten stronger) and people better understand how not to repeat the excesses of 2004-2008. 

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Refugees vs Immigrants vs Illegal Immigrants

President Trump doesn't seem to know the different between refugees, illegal immigrants, or just plain immigrants.

My friend Dorrian Porter made this video, which I think really highlights the America we would want, vs the one we have.

And, as far as refugees go, here's a song that I loved as a kid, which I think will always be relevant:

This is the tale of a little boy
Wandering far from his home
Most of his family were with him then
And nothing but life did they own
Tortured by war in their native land
Their only recourse was to flight
Tracing the path of the sun by day
And led by the north star at night
Onward they pressed to the promised land
Not knowing if that was the way
And none of the children could understand
And this little boy used to say
Hey, hey, hey

Mama , where do we go from here
Mamma, why can' t we stay
Mamma, is daddy very near
Mamma, why do you pray

Down came the winter, the food was scarce
The people were falling like flies
Disease helped starvation make matters worse
And parents resorted to lies
Hush, your mamma will soon be well
Though all they can do is to wait
And one little boy hears the doctor tell
The others he thinks it' s too late
It' s too late

Mamma, he whispers quietly
Mamma, you' re looking old
Mamma, why don' t you answer me
Mamma, your hands feel cold

He rushes out into the chilly night
He can' t beleive what he has been told
The tears in his eyes start to blur his sight
And freeze on his face with the cold
But in the next camp, ther is a mother mild
Who' s mourning a son passed away
And fate brings the cries of the little child
To her just as he starts to say
Hey, hey, hey

Mamma, she knows what she must do
mamma, she thinks of her
Mamma, I must take the place of you
And take him into my care

Mamma, oh oh...


Monday, February 06, 2017

How Obamacare is good for entrepreneurship

This post, from Reid Hoffman, is worth reading:

The basic idea is that, by coupling employment and healthcare, most people cannot afford the risk of leaving their job (even if sub-optimal) to start a company.  I know that I have often done the COBRA dance before the ACA came out when starting a new company.  With the ACA, people aren't tethered to their jobs, allowing them to start new companies.

This is good for entrepreneurship, which is good for businesses, which is good for America.  Full stop.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Trump and Immigration

As someone who went through the US immigration system, I'm dismayed at Trump's mishandling of immigration.  As appalling as it is to shut the door on refugees (who certainly aren't here trying to "take-yer-jobs!") I think the more disastrous part has been shutting the door on *legal* green-card and visa holders.

There is a certain contract - you, the immigrant, will pay thousands in fees, be subjected to all sorts of paperwork and background checks, and will suffer with a life on hold (and possibly be trapped working in a company you don't like, but can't leave) and in exchange for that necessary evil, the US will process your application as quickly as it can and either accept or reject your stay.

However, to then take people who have gone through that process and to lock them out is a complete violation of that contract.

I'm pleased that the outrage has been this acute, and I'm pleased that the White House has backtracked on the green-card restriction.

Oh, and, not for nothing, I'm not at all surprised that Trump made sure the ban doesn't touch any countries that he does business with (from the left-wing rag Bloomberg).

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Make America Great Again

This is an open letter to President-Elect Trump:

Mr. Trump,

You speak of making America great again.  In your campaigning, you've captured the frustrations and concerns of many members of American society who have been left behind by globalization and technological advances.

It is difficult to make America great by simply turning back the clock, closing the borders and pretending that it's 1955 again.  In many ways I thought your slogan was hollow.  After the last eight years of job growth and rebuilding America's image in the world, who's to say we aren't great now?

However, there is one area that I feel that America excelled at, back in the 1940s, 50s and 60s.  There is something that has been lost.  If you truly want to make America great again, you can start with this one thing.

We used to celebrate intelligence and science.  Remember that?  Remember when we sent rockets to space and landed on the moon?  Remember when Disneyland unveiled the promise of Tomorrowland?  Remember when the American future would be built by American ingenuity?

Remember when people watched the news?  People like Cronkite were revered for telling it "the way it is" - I imagine that you would have liked him.  People watched the news to learn and be informed - not to bicker and be entertained.  Citizenship mattered.  Contributing to the national discourse mattered.  Being ill-informed was not celebrated.

When I see that you've appointed climate change deniers to the EPA and the DOE I can't help but contrast that decision against our previous head of the DOE who held a Nobel Prize.  Climate change due to greenhouse gases is real and it will permanently ruin life on this planet for your kids, their kids, and the rest of this world unless we reverse it.  This is the type of moonshot thinking that America excels at - and yet we're timid, cowardly, and unprepared to show leadership.  We should demand the world reduce carbon emissions - we should lead the way - and then we can reap the economic gains of being the market leader - just as we have done time and time again in industries such as automotive, aerospace, computers, telecommunications and medicine.

Now, it isn't just the right wing that has embraced ignorance with regards to climate change.  The left has it's own shame in the anti-vaxxer movement, or the concerns about GMOs.  These concerns are also not founded in science, and should likewise be addressed.

America is great.  America has been great.  But if you really want to make America great again.  If you really want to turn the clock by 60 years - then I implore you to make leadership in science, and leadership in forward thinking in addressing climate change central to your position as President.


Aaron Fyke