There are some days when I wake up in a state where my mind is in overdrive. I jump from one thought to another, mostly due to some weird logic, and by the time it is noon, the whole thought process has become incoherent. Today was one of those days — I was contemplating the unified theory of post-social chaos and lost the thread.
I have learned not to fight my own internal coherence and instead try and do busywork — zoom, emails, and phone calls. I am highly efficient with work from home as I have done this most of my life.
Here is a tip — no call should be longer than 30 minutes and send or ask for agenda and points to be discussed beforehand. I am all about two or three-line replies. A few months ago, a friend taught me how to reply with answers as bullet points. The torrent of replies ends pretty fast. Phone calls— okay, they are my favorite waste of time as I love chatting with people on the phone. It allows me to visualize them in my mind, and that makes me smile.
With my work done, I decided to waste some time. I took out two old fountain pens, bathed them, cleaned the converters, and inked them up with season-appropriate Pilot inks — orange and Burnt Red. If nothing, it is fun to write letters with lively colors.
And then I started to do some research. I have to try to figure out how to add a smart home dash into my apartment. Stacey, who writes and lives a connected IOT life, said that I should listen to my own advice and buy some smart power plugs — WeMo and iDevices are good and work with Homekit. I have a new Nest coming — and thankfully, there is a $120 rebate from PG&E — and I am looking forward to installing it. Finally!
Beyond that, I am really confused by the whole smart home thing. So I need smart lights, I need wifi and a dedicated hub. If I want to smartify the whole home, I should consider Brilliant or Lutron. However, I can’t seem to find out how many Brilliants or Lutrons do I need? Do I need one per room, or do I have to replace all of them? Do I need a hub? Where do I need to place the hub? I wonder the key to a smart home is turning buyers into dumb.
I am sure the answer is out there somewhere, but it is hard to find. Why because the Internet has become a cesspool of mediocre content that has risen to the top. It is not the fault of the search engines — it is us who are to blame. Bryan Braun, on his website, notes:
A link, on the open internet, is a vote. It’s your way of saying, “this is great, and more people should know about it.” We talk about how much power the search engines have, but if you think about it, the search engines listen to us. They see what we link to, what we click, and how long we stay.* At the end of the day, we are the curators of what gets surfaced on the internet.
Search engines only take cues from us. Since everyone is trying to game the system via search engine optimization and pushing out mediocre stuff, and everyone is reading, linking, and sharing mediocrity, we end up with a search that feels, well, mediocre. And perhaps that explains why Google continues to make money hand over fist by surfacing usable links as advertisements. Something to think about.
Before I go, congrats to Tim Young who was just named president of Dropbox. Tim was a young founder when I was in the first innings of my VC life. We at True funded his company, Socialcast that was acquired by VMWare. It is always good to see those you met early in their career doing well among the way.
My recommended read for the day
What the hell happened to Best Made? I was one of the early customers of this company. It has quality, style, and a story. It was hot and for all the right reasons. Bolt Threads, which was making artificial silk, bought them. It didn’t make sense. It has turned into a tragedy.
October 29, 2020. San Francisco