Agree with Semil Shaw’s view of Marc Andreessen here:

Marc Andreessen, the co-creator of Netscape and the VC firm which bears his name (which invested $75m into Oculus VR about four months ago), is also very close to Zuckerberg as one of the original angel investors in Facebook and a current board member. I have never met Andreessen, but based on watching many of his interviews on YouTube, enjoying his endless Twitter stream, and the bold thesis of his firm (which has correctly predicted many things — I’ll write on this aspect soon), he strikes me as a true intellectual polymath — not just conversant or convincing on a range of complex topics, but one of the earliest people to connect the dots of high technology at the highest of levels.

His firm, a16z, has recently made huge bets across a range of industries which could present platform-esque characteristics — the software layer for drones, the software for three-dimensional printing, the software for transferring value across the Bitcoin protocol, and so forth. In Oculus, they likely envisioned yet another emergent computer science platform which could rewrite how people communicated with the Internet.

via For Facebook, An Orthogonal, Astigmatic Move Into Virtual Reality – Haywire.


Startups and Driving in India

Reasons why startups are a lot like driving in India:

    • Both require healthy disregard for established convention and rules.
    • Both require absolute fearlessness.
    • Space fills quickly — White spaces don’t stay white for long. If you identify an opportunity, you have to act fast or it will be filled by someone or something else.
    • Intense and varied competition — Constantly competing against all manner of man, beast and machine. Jumble of old and new. Shiny Audi A6s jockey for space against heavy trucks, old buses, auto-rickshaws, motorcycles, scooters, bicycles, pushcarts, pedestrians and the occasional camel.
    • Horn OK Please — Everyone is always making noise to let you know that they are disrupting and overtaking you.
    • Friends and family — Both often put friends and family at risk. Startups often risk their friends’ and family’s money. Drivers in India often risk their friends and family. Rather disconcerting seeing a family of four, including a toddler and infant clutched in Mom’s arms, atop a Hero motorcycle zipping in and out of traffic.


When I started this blog, one of my first posts addressed chess square utilization by Bobby Fischer. At the time, several people asked me how his move distribution compared to other GMs. So I finally decided to revisit the topic and do some additional exploration.  Here are the results for square utilization for 12 masters, playing as white and black. In generating these, I calculated some other interesting stats that I thought were worth a few bar charts. Who knew queenside castling was so unpopular?

Data source:


How To Think

I love this piece about Elizabeth Spiegel, chess coach of IS 318 in Brooklyn, and her approach to teaching kids how to think without coddling or sugarcoating. Having seen Brooklyn Castle and reading more of her story, it’s clear that she was a special and driving force for that team’s success.  

A few of her quotes that stood out:

“Teaching chess is really about teaching the habits that go along with thinking.  Like how to understand your mistakes and how to be more aware of your thought processes.”

Her writing on the 2010 girls’ national tournament:

“…most people won’t tell teenage girls (especially the together, articulate ones) that they are lazy and the quality of their work is unacceptable.  And sometimes kids need to hear that, or they have no reason to step up.”

How To Think


We Are All Intelligence Officers Now

Thoughtful and thought-provoking speech from Dan Geer at RSA this year. Speaks to the cyber challenges arising from our rapidly growing complexities and dependencies.  Long and well worth the read.  A few choice quotes:

But from the point of view of prediction, what matters is the ratio of skill to challenge; as far as I can estimate, we are expanding the society-wide attack surface faster than we are expanding our collection of tools, practices and colleagues…..So it is with cyber risk management: Whether in detection, control, or prevention, we are notching personal bests, but all the while the opposition is setting world records.”

Above some threshold of system complexity, it is no longer possible to test, it is only possible to react to emergent behavior.

We Are All Intelligence Officers Now