Friday assorted links


On 3, I'd need to look into it closely, but some of their descriptions of "high quality startups" don't seem like things that correlate with quality so much as "startups that have aspirations of hitting it big." Viewed that way, their evidence looks like a sharp decline in people with modest small business dreams, an increase in people hoping for lottery tickets, and a decline in quality in the ones with big dreams as more marginal entrants reach for the stars.

The "time to billion dollar valuation" collapsed, making it a pretty big target. Yes, it is a lottery, but like the lottery, players see winners and incorrectly deduce odds from them.

#5 actually points us to a Bloomberg View article on Britain and Europe. Was that your intent?

Oops, fixed, here it is:

OK, thank you!

@#1 - "oldest library open to the public" -bad, bad idea. In the West, a bunch of people (in different locations) were busted for smuggling old books out of such libraries and selling them. In one case the guy was cutting pages out of rare texts. And he was a 'certified scholar'. These old libraries should be closed to the public and simply digitized.

OT - game I just played: - complete domination by White since the PC (Black) was out of book by move six (it wanted to play Alekhine's Opening but I denied it, as it does well in sharp openings like the Alekhine). PC simply played bad, passively, like an amateur human would. Not my finest game but just goes to show a chess program can play just as bad as a human and be beat (I beat it half the time at this level).

Note 38. Kxh5?? leads to mate-in-two (I saw that just in time, lol)

A rare time that I might agree with you. Although the thefts are quite rare, the texts are simply irreplaceable. They are, in the complete fullness of the technical definition, unique. One. Of. A. Kind. Access to such historic works is one area where I would welcome a TSA-red level alert inspection for both incoming and outgoing readers.

On the other hand, if the conditions for restoring the library included public access - the historic works were endangered by simple atmospheric conditions. Exposed to the elements. So, lose them one way, as a certainty, or lose them another, as a risk. Which to choose? Taking the risk is obvious.

Props to Kuwait and Morocco for restoring the library. Chapeau!

@CorvusB - "Which to choose? Taking the risk is obvious" - the obvious third choice--which of course is politically impractical--is to ship the rare texts to a leading western country that can take care of them. That's why, as a Greek, I'm actually in favor of the UK keeping the Elgin Marbles 'stolen' during the Turkish occupation by Lord Elgin. The marbles are better taken care of in the UK, where they're a tourist attraction, than in security risk prone and polluted Athens. Of course I'm in the minority on this position in Greece.

This is one of the things that bothers me most about empirical minded researchers toying with statistics: trying to pick winners (or "identifying those trying") based on the past is still trying to pick winners, and susceptible to all of the well known problems of doing so. What if established companies really do start behaving more like startups used to? Or fashions about name length change (which they obviously, obviously will -- you can already hear mad men in board rooms saying "The one word thing is played out, it sounds too much like the dinosaurs at Google and Amazon"), or Texas starts competing with Delaware. It's a cute angle for research, but policy should be made under the assumption that the time period 1990-2015 might not be representative of 2015-2030 (it should as hell wasn't representative of 1975-1990!), and contingent history agnostic algorithms like "increase shots on goal" are still a way better choice.

That is unless the researchers happened to have found the underlying characteristics that really do signal ambition, but does anyone want to model the probability of a few professors and Stata's pca function (or whatever they used) nailing it?

#4) Trump's wall, like Pinocchio's nose, is growing. However, According to "Little Marco", Trump's hands, not so much.

Oh, man. #3. I have to get out the snark.
" . . .“We’re just not getting the kick that we used to from high growth young firms,” Haltiwanger said.
It isn’t clear why these companies aren’t growing the way they used to. . . ."

Uh, HELLOOOO!? Think it might be because the technology has matured? DUH! Oh, yeah, you didn't think of that!

One of the simplest things - technology makes a major advance. There are major opportunities to create new business models. It happened in the latter 19th and early 20th centuries, and again in the late 20th, and early 21st. Phuh, of course startups aren't doing as well - the time for being in the right place at the right time with the right idea is mostly over. Sure, there are still evolving areas, but now those changes are part of the game. Even the big players know to be looking for them. And so they do. And so they favor a regulatory environment and operating style that favors what they know. Sheesh. Please.

I really think that what the studies are trying to discover is worthy. I really think that the focus of the researcher's recommendations is worthy and rational. But they also created their very own elephant in the room. How otherwise intelligent people can be so . . .

Look for the next transistor level innovation. When that happens, expect massive business entrepreneurship to work. In the meantime, expect entrepreneurial enterprise to be risky.

3: "They find that ambitious startups share certain qualities. Their names, for example, tend to be shorter and are less likely to include the founder’s name."

What would Ayn Rand say?

In 800 years millions of Chinese tourists will come to North America to take pictures of themselves on Emperor Donald's Great Wall, visible from outer space no less!

1) If you can find it. The city is practically a labyrinth.

3) It seems to me than an awful lot of tax benefits presumed to create growth are in fact handouts to high earning professionals who would create more or less the same number of jobs across most plausible taxation scenarios. Sometimes, a lower tax rate for small business than large business may in fact be a subsidy to inefficiency. Meanwhile, a complicated regulatory and taxation system mean that many small players will just keep it simple, since it's too much work to grow beyond the simplest levels of organization.

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