7 Earth-like Planets and the Non-linear Gap between the Civilizations

Last week, NASA announced that they found 7 Earth-like planets just 39 light years away, with 3 of them in the goldilocks zone. This could probably be the most exciting news of 2017 (non-work related).

The chance of meeting another civilization in the universe that happens to be in the right timeframe between the beginning and the extinction is pretty slim, but if we were to meet another, this could be both exciting and terrifying. Considering how much human civilization advanced within the past century or so, it’s hard to imagine where we will be in 100 years from now. This kind of advancement are almost always non-linear in nature. Where will we be in 1,000 years? 10,000?

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The Founders Pledge

I’ve signed up for the founders pledge inspired through Y Combinator’s blog post.

With Founders Pledge, founders can sign a pledge to donate some portion of their personal equity and then figure out the recipients for the donation later. Founders Pledge handles all the legwork. As a charity itself, pledges are eligible for tax relief at time of exit and funds can be deployed globally.

Founders Pledge (1) allows founders to decide now that charitable giving is important to them, (2) doesn’t impact other stockholders of their company and (3) requires only about 5 minutes of time and no participation costs. Founders Pledge also provides substantive post-exit support including cause area analysis, charity sourcing, deep due diligence, and impact reporting.

I’ve been keeping my donations private so far, but moving forward, I hope I can nudge someone out there just a little bit more by making my commitments more open and public.

I believe in the quote “be the change you want to see in the world.”

As a mere mortal, I’ve made lots of mistakes in the past and will continue to make more mistakes, but hopefully this will be one of those decisions that will be certain to bring good outcomes.

Order and Chaos in a Company Culture

The society today upholds diversity as an absolute virtue. Diversity across educational backgrounds, race, ethnic group, gender, age is something we all pursue vigorously. It seems almost trivial to choose diversity over conformity or homogeneity in any discussion.

However, to put things into perspective, nature having evolved through millions, if not billions of years, may provide a slightly different view to this pro-diversity world. The balance and the timing of convergence and divergence play important roles in reaching the global optimum in any search space. The selection pressure from the environment acting as a converging force, offset by mutation from perturbation balancing as a diverging force are what make organisms so durable and adaptable to the ever-changing world we’re living in.

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CO2 Level and Unit Carbonomics

This scared me. I’m open to changes, but I also think a few million years of evolution has gotten human beings to be pretty good at surviving around the nature’s balancing point we have today.

We’ve been hearing about the rise of CO2 level for some time now, but I feel like we’ve actually gotten to a point where we may end up turning our planet into an inhabitable one. Living in the bay area, it’s hard to actually experience what it’s like to live in a harsh environment, but whenever I’m on a business trip to Korea/China, I definitely feel the air quality can and is killing lives already. The pollution is wide spread over a massive area and it’s very, very real.

Above and below photos of Seoul are only a few days apart. (September, 2016)

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AlphaGo vs Lee Sedol

AlphaGo won twice against Lee Sedol, one of the greatest Go players in history. This is a significant milestone in the history of AI, because the sheer scale of the problem space Go has is one of the biggest among the games humans play.

This makes me think hard about how and what to teach our future generation to prepare for the era when people will blindly follow many decisions that have been made by AI without (or incapable of) fully comprehending their meaning and consequences.

New Jobs for VR Industry

I’m a big fan of VR. There’s a lot more things that need to be fixed before it becomes mainstream, but I can definitely see the value that will unlock for humankind in the distant future.

Here are few jobs I’d like to see for VR industry:

  • VR Schools/Teachers/Tutors: teachers that best leverage VR experience for learning
  • VR Trainers: a guided simulation of extreme sports, race cars, flight sims, martial arts for training
  • VR Real-Estate Agents: provides 3D tours of real-estates
  • VR Cafes: a place to hangout with friends supplemented with visual/aural experiences
  • VR Photographers: photographs nature and places in their real-scale through VR
  • VR Photo Studios: scans your face and body in 3D and give you a high-polygon model f yourself
  • VR Brands: creative products that you can harness in the VR that defies the limits of physics
  • VR Architects: 3D/nD space architects that also defies the limits of the real world
  • VR Pets: AI-powered pets that you can bring to any VR space
  • VR Artists: advanced form of media art that use spacial transitions

Can’t wait for the VR era to come. We’d still need to fix the display, audio, and input.

The Evening with Michael Moritz

At Y Combinator‘s Tuesday dinner event last Tuesday (2/23/2016), Michael Moritz came for a talk. It was deeply inspiring to see him in person, but it was even more energizing to see him still so ‘obsessed’ about his work at Sequoia Capital.

Here’s a brief excerpt from his talk:

That’s what, at Sequoia, we’ve always been focused on: How do we maintain a consistent level of exceptional performance? Most entities, most organizations are capable of doing it through a year, or five years, maybe ten years. Very few are able to do it over multiple decades. And I’m not saying that we’re exemplary, but we’ve worked really, really hard on trying to perform at an extremely high level.

How have we done it? It all sounds very, very mundane. You can read a book about the principles of high performance, or great leadership, and it’ll all sound very straightforward and rudimentary. The difficulty is doing it every day, doing it every week, month, quarter, year, and keeping that beat up.

Which is part of the reason we don’t have all sorts of lucite blocks commemorating this or that anniversary of some company hanging around the office at Sequoia: Because all of that is yesterday, and it’s irrelevant to the future.

Read (or listen to) the rest of the conversation here at The Macro.