Top articles of the week | December 8th

December 8, 2018

Every week, we put together a list of our top 5 articles of the past week. Happy reading!

The Digital Maginot Line Venkatesh Rao, RibbonFarm

I highly recommend this article if you’re interested in the information wars that are playing out globally. Venkatesh argues eloquently that we are running the danger of building a digital maginot line. A quick reminder, the maginot line was the line of defense the French built against the Germans and proved ineffective when the Wehrmacht bypassed it entirely. The author argues that we are now in an information world war and that the human mind is the territory. We cannot win this war if we hold assumptions of the past one. He also explains how democracies, which are uniquely vulnerable, can fight back.

The Poker Aces Playing a Key Hand in the $5 Trillion ETF Market Bloomberg

This piece in Bloomberg covers the secretive ETF trading company Susquehanna (SIG). Susquehanna built its empire on poker and game theory. It has also adapted to technological change with aplomb to become a global leader and has even invested heavily in Bitcoin.

Centralization vs Decentralization Fred Wilson, Union Square Ventures

Just as generals are always fighting the last war, regulators are using an old world paradigm to look at tech incumbents. Fred Wilson argues that more decentralization is needed to wrestle power away from large technology companies. He provides a few interesting examples on how this can look like for Twitter. He’s also looking at it through the lense of blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

Marketplace Lessons from a Seat on the Uber Rocketship iNovia Capital

Despite its recent woes, Uber is operating on a fantastic scale globally. It also happens to be a marketplace, where drivers and riders meet. Ramit Kar from iNovia Capital witnessed its meteoric rise first hand. He provides a few fascinating insights on what it takes to build a successful marketplace business; being the first to scale against the competition, maximizing underutilized supply, etc. He also provides a neat scoring framework for marketplaces.

The Friendship That Made Google Huge New Yorker

One friend forged a company that has reshaped the technology space. Jeff Dean and Sanjay Ghemawat joined Google in its mythical early days. Their collaboration saved the company during an intense scale up phase and also redefined software engineers’ hierarchy. They seem to be the living proof that 10X engineers exist.