Wednesday, February 21, 2018

It's time for Silicon Valley to adopt its cutest son: Max Cantor

If you have more than one kid, inevitably you're faced with the issue of which one is the darling-est of them. You'll have a favorite, even as you love them all. If even one of them resonates with you more, you will prefer him or her. Did I get you sad saying this stuff ?

Well, cheer up. Silicon Valley doesn't have that problem anymore.

Silicon Valley can adopt me, Max Cantor, as its favorite son !

Because Silicon Valley needs an alpha male.

Let that sink in.

Silicon Valley can benefit tremendously from the son who is a transplant from the buy-side. A son who is a cosmopolitan visionary and who drinks a gallon of gumption-aid a day.

A cute little pitbull would have made the journey from Wall Street out west on foot. Can you imagine a cute puppy treading 3,000 miles on his paws like a champ ?
If that doesn't melt your heart, I don't know what does.

Out with the old [guard], in with the new.

We've got the news that Peter Thiel is planning to leave San Francisco, although his Founders Fund I think it's still in the Presidio. Thiel struck gold with Facebook, Palantir, and other investments.

From Wall Street Journal's Peter MacMillian: "Groupthink and homogeneity is making it a worse place to live and work." -quoting Tom McInerney

Groupthink and homogeneity is exactly what I keep you away from. Safe son, safer parents.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Dealing with a boss that doesn't like you: the meeting

Reader Peter writes:

Hi Max,

I'm having a horrible situation at work. I like my job of 4 years as a Cost Management Analyst at a major corporation, and I am a competent employee. However, my boss of only 3 months, I'll call her Kira, doesn't like anything that I do.

Kira started a few weeks ago complaining about work I did on a recovery project; she lodged more than one complaint since. More recently, she said I missed the targets on our Earned Value Management System with my scheduled opportunity cost analysis. She made up a claim that we could have saved $22K more than what I laid out in my analysis. Before her, my old boss, never had an issue. Before her, we were running on full cylinders. At work Kira eschews me. When we're around, it's like I'm not visible to her. I might as well be an ornament, a plant to her.

So last week I asked to see her in private. It went like this:

Me: Kira, what are you doing ?
Her: I beg your pardon ? You said you needed to talk to me. Make it quick.
Me: You've unreasonably downgraded my work and made me into a pariah. What's your problem ?
Her: I don't have a problem. Do you have a problem ?
Me: Lastly, you've called me before our Management Committee, got me three strikes, and put me on probation. You know damn well what you said is not right.
Her: You're telling me what's right. Spare me your lecture.
Me: What you wrote on your reports, they're not right. I gave a good project on...
Her: This is not what we expected. You're off the targets. You did not deliver, or better yet, delivered sloppy.
Me: What ???
Her: Listen, pal, if you don't like, quit. Now, I need to be on my way. [Left]

Fortunately I don't have to work tomorrow, but I have to go in Tues. What would you suggest ? Thank you in anticipation.

Hi Peter,

You've taken hits you believe are unfair. The mistake you've made is expecting her to treat you fair. Bosses are not out there to protect you. They're out there looking for themselves, not you.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Key Business Aviation Market Indicators February 2018

I'm going back to the roots of this blog today with a snapshot video of the Biz Jets market -courtesy of our friends at AvBuyer. Enjoy !

Quote of the day: "Be it nationality, religion, or brand of clothes – people identify themselves with just about anything. In trying to bring stability to their lives, they only celebrate their limitations. That is not the way of life."- Sadhguru

Costs of owning an airplane

Monday, February 12, 2018

Rappers in venture capital

You know you're at a good venture capital conference when rappers steal the show.

Attendees at the Upfront Summit this year got to enjoy Chamillionaire, who's working on his new startup called Convoz (an asynchronous videos platform).

"C is a special letter... A Complete and a Circle both start with a C."-Cham

Of course, rappers have been angel and VC investors for some time.

          1. Snoop Dogg.
"Snoop Dogg's fund, Casa Verde, led a $2 million seed round in Trellis, a cannabis inventory management firm." (via Business Insider). He has other investments: Reddit, Robinhood, Philz Coffee, DOG for DOG, and Eaze.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

The Rules of Dating at Work

Some of the emails you send me concern dating at work scenarios and I thought I'll address this here.

The Wall Street Journal plug in their own Alien: Director Cut Your Heart, Your Job, and Dating a Co-Worker article authored by Yoree Koh and Rachel Feintzeig. Lawyers weight in:
WSJ: " Mr. Smith [a lawyer with Jackson, Lewis's Pittsburgh's office) is recommending that they put strict rules in place barring managers from dating anyone further down in the organization, with firing as a potential consequence. He said every company he makes the recommendation to is following suit."
What are the rules at megabrands such as Google and Facebook ?
WSJ: "One rule at Facebook and Alphabet's Google: Employees are only allowed to ask a co-worker out once. If they are turned down, they don't get to ask again. Ambiguous answers such as "I'm busy" or "I can't that night" count as a 'no', said Heidi Swartz, FB's global head of employment law. At Facebook, if 'a potential date involves a person in a more senior position than the other, the date itself doesn't necessarily need to be disclosed to the HR...But real life is never as cut and dried as the scenarios that appear in sexual-harassment training modules [of course !]..."
The article touches on the so called "love contracts" -in which a couple agree to behave professionally at work and acknowledge they weren't coerced into the relationships.

We also have University of Toronto professor Jordan B. Peterson who's got a huge following with young people. Obscure professor ? Not a chance ! Watch carefully the latter part that starts at 5:52.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Letters from work

"There are three kinds of bad habits which we use over and over again when confronted with unusual life situations. First, we may disregard what's happening or has happened and feel as if it had never occurred. That one is the biggot way. Second, we may accept everything at its face value and feel as if we know what's going on. That's the pious man's way. Third, we may become obsessed with an event because either we cannot disregard it or we cannot accept it wholeheartedly. That's the fool's way. Your way ?
There is a fourth, the correct one, the warrior's way. A warrior acts as if nothing had ever happened, because he doesn't believe in anything, yet he accepts everything at its face value. He accepts without accepting and disregards without disregarding. He never feels as if he knows, neither does he feel as if nothing has ever happened. He acts as if he is in control, even though he might be shaking in his boots. To act in such a manner dissipates obsession." -Don Juan, from Tales of Power (1974) by Carlos Castaneda

I am getting to some of your letters today. I receive so many emails detailing workplace situations you would think I'm the Dan Savage of work relationships.

Letter #1 is from Benjamin


In one of my capacities I am a Board member of a prestigious Museum in the United States. On one meeting recently I've been having two different fellow members trying to pitch me their start-ups for funding. What they have is not congruent with what I'm in. What can we do here. They keep coming back at me.

Regards, B.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Steve Wynn to join the Me Too movement

At one time years ago I was in Las Vegas. While in town, I said, let me stop by the Wynn Hotel. Let me see what this fuss's about.

I went in, looked at the red decor. I was wearing a red tie, and I thought: this is good.

I had no chaperones, no entourage, no advisors with me.

Will I see Steve Wynn today? Instead I see two German shepherds looking mean at me: they don't want this scrawny Pitbull in their house.

No red carpet for me, no bells and whistles, no feast on prawns and bavette.

Insignificant. Too lowly.

Does that describe you today ? It did me.

"I believe that as a species human beings define their reality through suffering and misery" -Agent Smith, The Matrix

This weekend the WS Journal had a piece on Steve Wynn making multi-millionaires out of women. Women know this alchemy of turning $7/hr. jobs into $7.5 Million.

I didn't turn $7 into $7.

Here's the lessons from this story:

1.Two German shepherds don't make a Pitbull.

2. If you don't listen to your Pitbull, you're one one to blame.

3. As the Pitbull goes hungry, ignored and shat at, it doesn't weaken, it strengthens !

Friday, January 26, 2018

The Top 10 Books/Movies for the Underling

The List of the Top 10 Best Books and Movies for the Underling went out to my subscribers. I need to answer some questions regarding this list. If you have additional questions for me, feel free to post them in the Comments.

1. Why are there movies (or miniseries) and not just books ?

The list consists of 7 books and 3 movies. To be sure, books are a learning experience unequal to watching movies. Watching a movie, or a movie based on a book is not a substitute for reading a book. However, since the visual imagery is so rich and video is so emphasized these days, I needed to include at least some movies.  Of course, I could have gone full force and get you two lists (10 books and 10 movies).  Due to time constraints I put them all in one short list. For sure this list is very limited, there are so many good books (and movies) I did not include. I stand ready to face your critic for missing out on great titles.  I am sure I am redundant and my list crossed your lists, after all my list came out of the most popular titles and authors. I  don't pretend to have put together a list you've never seen before. Most of you, if not all of you have heard of Friedrich Nietzsche, most of you have read The 50th Law, and most have watched Wall Street. My goal was not to surprise anyone, although I hope some of you will get a jolt by at least one book title. If you've never read that one book before, then in perspective, it's a win.

2. If I'm over 40 years old, am I just wasting my time ?

You're absolutely not wasting your time. You'll derive a benefit from perusing this list. Even if you own all of the titles, these books will set you up for another set of books. These authors are not one-time writers. You'll be able to get suggestions for new material. The underling is not just somebody that's young. The underling can be anybody that's making progress in his career, changing careers, taking on a new career, a new responsibility, a new identity. As long as you're progressing, as long as you have not plateaued, as long as you find inspiration and you're driven, you are an achiever. Even if you are a CEO or the owner of your business, you need to seize the moment. You need models of achievement when Silicon Valley puts out retarded symbols like this. You can then define your own model of success.

3. I'm a lazy bum and I didn't sign up for your mailing list. Next week I have a job interview. Give me, give me, give me.

Monday, January 22, 2018

On the Nature of Reality

A lot of kids these days believe that we are living in a simulation - kind of a "Matrix" type. That's what you get from playing too many video games. (FYI, I write for kids ages 18 to 80+).

Riz Vik, an MIT trained computer scientist and Silicon Valley video game designer in a post titled "The Simulation Hypothesis — Why Quantum Physics, AI, and Eastern Mystics Agree We Are In A Video Game" gives 10 Reasons why we are in a Video Game:

1. Pixels, Resolution, Virtual and Augmented Reality

Current VR and AR already got us amazing pixel resolution.

2. Pixels, Quanta, and Xeno’s (Zeno's) Paradox.

"in a race, the quickest runner can never overtake the slowest, since the pursuer must first reach the point whence the pursued started, so that the slower must always hold a lead.

— as recounted by Aristotle, Physics VI:9, 239b15" -Wikipedia

The guy talks about a Zeno's paradox. There are 40 paradoxes from Zeno. One of them is Zeno's Paradox of the Tortoise and Achilles. What is that ?
"In the paradox of Achilles and the tortoise, Achilles is in a footrace with the tortoise. Achilles allows the tortoise a head start of 100 meters, for example. If we suppose that each racer starts running at some constant speed (one very fast and one very slow), then after some finite time, Achilles will have run 100 meters, bringing him to the tortoise's starting point. During this time, the tortoise has run a much shorter distance, say, 10 meters. It will then take Achilles some further time to run that distance, by which time the tortoise will have advanced farther; and then more time still to reach this third point, while the tortoise moves ahead. Thus, whenever Achilles arrives somewhere the tortoise has been, he still has some distance to go before he can even reach the tortoise."

"Zeno's arguments are perhaps the first examples of a method of proof called reductio ad absurdum also known as proof by contradiction. They are also credited as a source of the dialectic method used by Socrates."
3. An Open World and the Illusion of Infinite Possibilities

4. The Collapse of the Probability Wave, Future Selves, and Parallel Universes

This is where it gets more interesting for me. "When we observe a particular possibility, then the probability wave is said to 'collapse' and we see a single particle in a particular location." I talked about the collapsed wave theory before, in this post. Zik graphs out how different "future selves" send us back information for us to make decisions. I don't follow him here, because I see it differently. I see the present like a sun that radiates out waves, both into the past and into the present.

I think that time and space compress right at the moment of death (see time-space compression). At the precise moment of death we experience a rerun of our lives, our entire lives, in a nanosecond.

5. Conditional rendering of observables in video games.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Taleb Bed of Procrustes aphorisms Part 3

The Bed of Procrustes is Prof. Taleb's third book in the Incerto series (2010). We are following up today on his aphorisms or "shortcuts" to wisdom. Read Part I and II here.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb has a new book coming out soon, Skin In The Game. I will do a review of it once I get a chance to read it. Although I don't follow Taleb any longer I remember he chose his book "endorsed" by random people on the Internet instead of the usual scholarly or reputable sources. I didn't jump in because I thought he was fishing for attention too hard, too often. I like to think that both myself and Professor Taleb agree on one thing [at least], that is, the overwhelming majority of people are dumb as fuck. That being said, why would you want your hard worked, researched book be endorsed by Joe Schmuck. That's not when you do a lottery.

This is what I picked for today:

1. "The difference between the politician and the philosopher is that, in a debate, the politician doesn’t try to convince the other side, only the audience."

2. "Distributive justice isn’t taking from a risk taker who earned honorably, it is keeping his probability of losing it very high". I guess you can call that skin in the game.

3. "The problem with the idea of 'learning from one’s mistakes' is that most of what people call mistakes aren’t mistakes."

4. "For a free person, the optimal—most opportunistic—route between two points should never be the shortest one."

5."You are free in inverse proportion to the number of people to whom you can’t say “fuck you.” But you are honorable in proportion to the number of people to whom you can say 'fuck you' with impunity but don’t.

6. "Contra the prevailing belief, 'success' isn’t being on top of a hierarchy, it is standing outside all hierarchies."

7. "The first, and hardest, step to wisdom: avert the standard assumption that people know what they want."

8. " When you cite some old wisdom-style quote and add “important truth,” “to remember,” or “something to live by,” you are not doing so because it is good, only because it is inapplicable. Had it been both good and applicable you would not have had to cite it. Wisdom that is hard to execute isn’t really wisdom." He's teaching us to avoid those terms.

9. "We viciously accept narcissism in nation-states, while repressing it in individuals: complexity exposes the system’s shaky moral foundations."

10. " Change your anchor to what did not happen rather than what did happen."