Gongol.com Archives: September 2013
Brian Gongol

September 21, 2013

Computers and the Internet Comedy bordering on the profound
Louis CK's thoughts on smartphones ring all too true

News Innovation comes to hockey
Players can't take off their own helmets to fight. But players found the loophole: They can take off the other guy's helmet instead. The takeaway: People in charge of rulemaking usually think they're the smartest people in the room. But, quite often, the organic response to the rules is that just one or two people will figure out a desirable loophole, and soon everyone else jumps on board. That's the way of nature -- we spray for weeds or take antibiotics, but when corners get cut, nature finds a way to poke through, and we end up with herbicide-resistant weeds and MRSA. That's why we should always be skeptical when politicians and policymakers think they have all of the answers to the world's problems. Often, they'll just impose more costs on the public generally, while the worst offenders find the loopholes. Our best defense against the worst abuses in many sectors is often to mandate transparency and educate people to deal with the information they get. The bizarro world of investment banking wouldn't be nearly so profitable as it is if people took the time to understand money as well as they understand fantasy football, and then withheld their money from those who charge fees disproportionate to the value they create.

Science and Technology Solar power may finally have fallen to competitive prices

Computers and the Internet Microsoft frames Surface tablet as a necessary (but expensive) learning experience
Fortunately for the company, there's such a franchise built around Windows with so much ongoing earnings power behind it that they can afford to make big mistakes while finding other income streams.

Business and Finance Tech startups get funding through connections
Silicon Valley isn't quite an open meritocracy. More often than not, people went to the "right" school or already know the "right" people. Which in turn suggests that there's some real opportunity to be had funding projects by people with good ideas who are outside those existing networks. But startups are speculative by nature, anyway, so which of those risks are worth taking?

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