Govind’s Digest #1
This post is the first of my “digests”, collections of memorable articles that I’ve come across, tagged with my thoughts on the subject matter. For many months now, I’ve been a regular reader of Mattermark Daily and Benedict Evans’ newsletter, among others; this idea is inspired by these well-curated collections. I haven’t yet settled on a theme for my digests, so for now, I’m going to cover tech, world affairs, sport and pretty much anything that piques my interest.
President Obama announced plans to reduce carbon pollution from power plans by 30% from 2005 levels by 2030. This is massive for a few reasons:
a. Power plants contribute ~40% of the emissions that cause climate change, so this is not just a token gesture. This ruling will have significant tangible impact.
b. China and India have often pointed to the US’s inaction to justify the limited measures that they’ve taken themselves; this ruling could spur these future behemoths into action.
It’s heartening to see Obama take such measures, even if they may come at a political cost in the near-term.
Shashi Tharoor, ex-minister and prominent opposition party member in India, penned words of praise for prime minister Narendra Modi. This is another another indication of a shift from ideological bias to rational discourse in Indian politics. Onwards.
Zenefits raised a $66.5MM Series B round at a valuation of $500MM, just months after the announcement of its Series A raise. A little over a year back, Parker and Laks were, just like us, plotting world conquering plans from the halls of YCombinator; the breakneck speed of their growth since then is quite something. They’ve done the basics so well – found the right recipe, confirmed that a large market exists for their product, and gone for growth all guns blazing.
Apple introduces Swift, a new language of development to supplant Objective C. Apple’s promised compatibility with Objective C, but an app born of two programming languages doesn’t sound ideal. Early reviews are not too negative, but its too soon to call how this changes the ecosystem. A lot of developers set in their ways will have to learn a new language now, so this will send waves.
Uber raises $1.2 billion from Fidelity Investments and others at a valuation of $17 billion. 20,000 jobs, average income of $90K/driver (NYC), 128 cities and 37 countries in 4 years. While these numbers may have seemed inconceivable to me a couple of years ago, having since moved to Silicon Valley, I now get how this possible; the standard ingredients: a) find product-market fit, b) make sure the market is big enough, and c) use capital as a tool to launch your rocket. I’ve had a few people ask me how running a startup in Asia differs from running one in the Valley … in the Valley, “b” and “c” are very much part of the plan.
Luis Suarez. That name inspires mixed emotions in a lot of football fans. He’s not just one of the best football players in the world (just behind Messi and Ronaldo in my opinion), he has a very interesting story to boot. A loving family man, who occasionally bites opponents and might just be racist. This article explores the human side of Luis Suarez. Stories explored include how Suarez might indirectly have been responsible for an attempted murder.
The football world cup is just around the corner. Can’t wait, but I’m concerned that some of its charm will be reduced by the (potential) absence of top players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Luis Suarez, Radamel Falcao, Franck Ribery, Marco Reus, Diego Costa, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Samir Nasri and Gareth Bale, due to injury / non-selection / non-qualification.
Psy’s Gangnam style Youtube video crossed 2 billion views!
Women are biologically wired to outlive men. Perhaps its time to reconsider Asian/Indian cultural norms which dictate that the wife be younger.
In India, wearing seatbelts is laughed at, at times frowned upon. Perhaps the preventable death of Gopinath Munde, a prominent BJP leader, will stir some change.