Spoon woman (at Nasher Sculpture Center)

Large Horse (at Nasher Sculpture Center)

Plenty of us have an intuition that cab drivers would want to be on the road when there’s money to be made. But this isn’t the case: a number of studies have shown that there’s considerable variety in how they decide when to drive. Also, the reality is that the times when people most want a ride are also the times when it’s most annoying and, often, most risky to drive. Rush hour, New Year’s Eve, 2 a.m. on a Saturday night, snowstorms: generally speaking, these are exactly the times when a driver doesn’t want to be on the road. But if driving at those times pays considerably better, then they are more likely to be willing.

What this means is that in the case of Uber, surge pricing doesn’t just make rides more expensive (as is the case with airline tickets or hotel rooms at times of high demand). It also expands the number of people who are actually able to get a ride. Customers pay more, but they also get a ride that they otherwise would not have gotten. This is exactly how a market is supposed to work: higher demand induces more supply.

“The speed with which von Neumann could think was awe-inspiring. G. Polya admitted that “Johnny was the only student I was ever afraid of. If in the course of a lecture I stated an unsolved problem, the chances were he’d come to me as soon as the lecture was over, with the complete solution in a few scribbles on a slip of paper.” Abstract proofs or numerical calculations - he was equally quick with both, but he was especially pleased with and proud of his facility with numbers When his electronic computer was ready for its first preliminary test, someone suggested a relatively simple problem involving powers of 2. (It was something of this kind: what is the smallest power of 2 with the property that its decimal digit fourth from the right is 7? This is a completely trivial problem for a present-day computer: it takes only a fraction of a second of machine time.) The machine and Johnny started at the same time, and Johnny finished first.”

Praise the Lord I was Born to Drive Boat.

“This story is designed to illustrate the fact that software alone is a commodity. There is nothing stopping anyone from copying the feature set, making it better, cheaper, and faster. And they will do that. This is the reality that Brad and I stared at in 2003 as we were developing our initial investment thesis for USV. We saw the cloud coming but did not want to invest in commodity software delivered in the cloud. So we asked ourselves, “what will provide defensibility” and the answer we came to was networks of users, transactions, or data inside the software. We felt that if an entrepreneur could include something other than features and functions in their software, something that was not a commodity, then their software would be more defensible. That led us to social media, to Delicious, Tumblr, and Twitter. And marketplaces like Etsy, Lending Club, and Kickstarter. And enterprise oriented networks like Workmarket, C2FO, and SiftScience.”

I leapt onto the wearables bandwagon this weekend. #data

continuations:

Economic growth as measured by GDP is an increasingly bad measure of progress. First, it doesn’t speak at all about people and how we live our lives. Hypothetically all of us working and shopping frantically will make GDP great even if we were all exhausted and tired all the time (come to think of it, that is pretty close to what we are doing). Second, it has no notion of sustainability built into it or put differently it doesn’t capture negative externalities. Selling a product that pollutes the air increases GDP even if it results in more asthma. To make matter worse, selling Asthma medication to those affected then further increases GDP. And third, it doesn’t do well with non-rival information goods. For instance, as we have something like Wikipedia replacing Encarta and Encyclopedia Britannica GDP actually shrinks. So at a time when we have taken good care of basic needs around clothing, food, transportation, housing GDP is becoming increasingly the wrong measure of progress.

Maximus. Decimus. Meridius.

Finally, someone(thing) believes in me! (at Bop House - Asian Fusion Kitchen)