50 not 500

Facebook, is finally getting the scrutiny it should have received a decade ago, and unfortunately it has become a game of personalities, attention seeking and to some extent media one-up man ship. Whether it is veiled attacks on Sheryl Sandberg or shirking of responsibility for its dirty tricks by Mark Zuckerberg, all of it is just a distraction from what is really a much larger, deeper and societal problem. A problem that can’t be addressed by Facebook, it’s team and particularly by its founder.

A letter from Om

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December 4: What I am reading today

Here are some of the stories that caught my attention today. Some of them are about technology, but not all of them. Updated all through the day, and shared via email newsletter in the evening. You like the links, sign-up for the email newsletter.

“The value proposition of (Amazon) Alexa is not an advertising platform — it is a voice assistant that provides utility on how brands engage with consumers.” Gela Fridman, managing director of technology, Huge.

  • The Friendship that made Google huge is the kind of story that makes me miss being a journalist. A great story about Jeff Dean and Sanjay Ghemawat, Google engineering legends. It is the most wonderful story about a Silicon Valley that was about technology, and not the spectacle of it. And it is the kind of story only the New Yorker can do. Stop everything and read this. Read on The New Yorker.
  • Startups and the No Politics Rule is an excellent essay by early-stage venture fund NFX co-founder James Currier, who argues that good companies have robust data systems and dominant data cultures. He is right, except good companies also need a good moral compass to reign in the blinding belief in data, as we see with Facebook. Read on NFX.
  • Access is everything, writes Vanity Fair in this brutal takedown of Sheryl Sandberg, but it is less about her and more about her alma mater. I am not sure how I feel about this piece. You can decide for yourself. Read on Vanity Fair.
  • Tehran is sinking literally, much like Jakarta and San Joaquin Valley in California. Read on Nature.
  • Beneath the surface of Bruce Springsteen is an old-fashioned rock profile, in the Esquire magazine no less. Read on.
  • How to travel like the late Anthony Bourdain. Some really good tips on Cool Material.