Notes and Quotes

Social bookmarking, or maybe replaced by ugly stuff like Reddit. The former category was optimized for the bookmarker, they are meant for you to save links, categorize them and find them later. Finding links shared by others was secondary. The latter, i.e. Reddit, is optimized for the readers not the bookmarkers. Thus, I decided to keep my bookmarks and quotes here. Let's see whether they will become too messy too soon, then I'll find another way to keep them.

Software Company Strategic

You don't build a company in the void

Strategy operates at many levels. It starts with defining your firm’s unique value proposition, market position, and competitive advantage. This is basic strategic thinking, lesson number one. But, in order to become a true master of strategy, managers need to think much more expansively. Building a competitive advantage that can last for years often requires influencing the world beyond the boundaries of a single firm. David Yoffie and Michael Cusumano - Strategy Rules: Five Timeless Lessons from Bill Gates, Andy Grove, and Steve Jobs

Smart companies try to commoditize their products’ complements

Every product in the marketplace has substitutes and complements .. All else being equal, demand for a product increases when the prices of its complements decrease. [Needless to say, it decreases when the prices of its substitutes decrease] .. Smart companies try to commoditize their products’ complements .. [Some products are harder to commoditize, usually due to their brand]. You’re not going to go to the movie theatre to see Star Wars: Attack of the Clones and decide instead that you would be satisfied with a Woody Allen movie. Joel Spolsky - Strategy Letter V

Data and Compute trump Algorithms

The biggest lesson that can be read from 70 years of AI research is that general methods that leverage computation are ultimately the most effective, and by a large margin. The ultimate reason for this is Moore's law, or rather its generalization of continued exponentially falling cost per unit of computation .. Seeking an improvement that makes a difference in the shorter term, researchers seek to leverage their human knowledge of the domain, but the only thing that matters in the long run is the leveraging of computation. [This goes well with what Joel Spolsky wrote in Strategy Letter VI. This also means that, if roughly speaking compute progresses exponentially, and algorithms progress linearly, you should always bet on the former not the latter] .. The two methods that seem to scale arbitrarily in this way are search and learning. Rich Sutton - The Bitter Lesson

From the beginning of time until about, say, 1989, programmers were extremely concerned with efficiency .. In the late 90s a couple of companies, including Microsoft and Apple, noticed (just a little bit sooner than anyone else) that Moore’s Law meant that they shouldn’t think too hard about performance and memory usage… just build cool stuff, and wait for the hardware to catch up. Joel Spolsky - Strategy Letter VI

Career Advices

Follow the emerging business cycles

Market cycles are what people normally think of when they think of boom and bust. Every 10 years or so, there’s a recession and a new market cycle is born. Business cycles are completely different. Business cycles are simply the industries that are booming in the current market. These industries represent the transcendent/transformative new technology that has the most runway for growth and the most potential to drive the future. They’re generally way larger and way more important than market cycles for this reason. These are nascent industries with abnormally high returns. Once the industry fully matures, the growth and returns normalize (in today’s world, a ~15% return or so) and the business cycle is ended. Market cycles can occur within a business cycle, but rarely the other way around. Business cycles represent life-changing opportunities to get rich, even if you’re a complete idiot .. The idea is to join the “business area” in which even the idiots are getting rich .. A telltale sign you’re in the right line of business is that the work should feel like the wild west. The Real Estate God + Michael Wade - The Roadmap For The Future

Create your personal brand

The only way to become forever employable is to build a platform for yourself, and that starts with creating a personal brand. [This means that you have to find a niche, unexplored land, with future of course, and pland a flag there]. And what do I mean by “plant a flag”? A flag is a topic, an expertise, or a point of view that you’re going to own, and then go all in on. Jeff Gothelf - Forever Employable

Remote Work

The pool of labor you compete against used to be smaller. Now it’s quite simply massive. “Work from home” massively exacerbated this dynamic as well. What are the implications of this? It’s a simple supply/demand equation. Larger pool of labor, same pool of jobs. Not good for the people on the labor side of that equation ... People in the [Rich countries] don’t take jobs in [Poor Countries] (because they pay so much less). People in [Poor Countries], however, do take jobs in the [Rich countries] (because they pay more). So the flow of labor is completely one-sided, meaning that the number of jobs in the US has remained relatively static but the number of available workers for those jobs has increased dramatically. The Real Estate God + Michael Wade - The Roadmap For The Future