1) Most of the anecdotal stories of trading failure in this book stem from people that thought they were making very safe, relatively small, repeatable profits… and doing so millions of times, unaware of the actual small probability of a catastrophic downside event. This was interesting food for thought in the context of my job. As a VC, the worst I can do in an investment is lose 100% of my investment, and unfortunately (with much emotional pain) this happens with reasonable frequency. In exchange for this risk, I am (hopefully) making investments with uncapped upside. In both upside and downside scenarios, my business of investing is contrary to many of Nassim’s fools.
However, I could still easily be fooled by randomness because I am only describing the possible end states of a given investment (1X loss, unlimited upside), and without a probability distribution to map against it. The distribution of these outcomes means *everything* to returns.
2) Nassim is a trader himself, analyzing his trading peers in a world of traders. He doesn’t believe in the value of technical innovation (he said something like (paraphrased) “for every innovation like the Automobile or Internet, there are thousands of failed technologies that waste our time.”) In trading Nassim is focused on reliably making money over the long run, without embracing underlying innovation or growth in production.
By contrast VC investing is different. VC is a much longer time horizon than most trading, and will only be successful if there is material growth in innovation and productivity in the startups being funded.
I’d love to see Nassim take his (highly skeptical) probabilistic lens and apply it to the world of investing as opposed to trading… perhaps he has already done that in a subsequent book I have not read.
3) Every time you hear mention of an average or expected outcome, this should trigger your Spidy senses that there is an implied probability distribution around this average and the shape of that distribution is far more informative than the average itself. Often times, the shape of this distribution will be Normal (aka Gaussian)… But when it isn’t, your assumption can bite back.
4) Nassim regularly gets up in front of his boutique investment firm and states quite simply (paraphrased): “We are idiots and know nothing. But we are blessed with the self-awareness of our limited knowledge, which makes us better than most other investment shops out there.”
I love this approach of perpetual humility as a “first principle” foundation to intellectual curiosity. I strive to be this humble when speaking of my own positions and ideas (and would not be so brash as to assume I hit my goals of humility all the time… I’m sure overconfidence slips past me on occasion).
5) Lastly, I took the whole book with a grain of salt because it must be exhausting to be a perpetual skeptic. Here’s Nassim on his own weakness in the face of an emotional response to randomness: “My humanity will try to foil me; I have to stay on my guard. I was born to be fooled by randomness.”
The #1 way iOS mobile applications reactivate their userbase is through push notifications. But not all users are willing to turn push notifications on. Does anyone have best practices or examples of applications that do a *great* job of getting their users to allow push notifications?
I’ve seen a few examples of apps that use a page during the sign up flow to justify to a user why accepting push notifications is a good idea, and only once this page is completed does the app launch the “accept push notif?” modal dialogue box.
Anyone have tips or tricks beyond this smart (but simple) low hanging fruit?
The hardest part of getting your users to accept push notifs is that you only get one shot. If the user declines notifs initially, you cannot reprint the user later. You need to use copy to beg them to go into iOS Settings and manually enable notifs. It’s an incredible high hurdle of activation energy to clear and I imagine once a user initially declines notifs it much be nearly impossible to get them to activate later.
I don’t use Mozilla products anymore and have not for awhile. On a Mac my primary browser is Chrome and my secondary browser is Safari (for when I need new cookies, primarily). I know that Mozilla has done a lot to contribute to the open standards I use on the web, and they are a great voice for open source culture. But that said, the boycott of their products last week (such as OKCupid encouraging its users to drop Firefox), was a surprisingly impactful (from a media perspective) move given that Firefox seems to be ceding market share naturally anyway.
There is no shortage of political conservatives in the Valley, and the attention on this one conservative (Brendan) in particular is interesting to me, especially given that the larger problem at Mozilla is its waning influence. The focus landed on Brendan more than most Valley conservatives because he was trying to lead a company where his personal politics contrasted the politics of most of the employees, Board, and open source community he was trying to lead.
If Brendan were trying to build a company from scratch, there were be a natural process of selection where he would end up recruiting people that were ready to follow his lead. But, taking charge of an organization that has been infused from the start with a more liberal ethos proved too difficult.
This is instructive to any management change, and it’s not limited to issues of personal politics. A Founder infuses a company with his or her own DNA. Any future leader of the company has to make a similar impression upon the company (read “impression” as a molding of wet clay). The new leader must take the prior DNA, carry it forward, and simultaneously infuse some new piece to make the company reinvigorated and new.
The inheriting company leader can’t use just a partial piece of him or her to make the impression… it has to be 100%. There is little work/personal separation in leadership; what a leader does outside of a job is just as instructive to his or her employees as what happens in the workplace.
I have never worked at Mozilla and have no interaction with their employees, so I can’t really *know* anything about this situation, but observing from the outside, this feels like a failure to carry forward the company DNA.
The Mozilla I nostalgically like to remember is the one that pulled off the David and Goliath impossibility of dethroning Internet Explorer’s dominance in a completely scorched-earth market, battling uphill against monopolistic lock-in. The NYT two page ad was a high-water mark for me in this impossible mission. This is the Mozilla I’m rooting for, and I hope they can find a leader that can embrace this core founding DNA while also adding a bit of his or her own in the right direction.
This link is an entertaining step-by-step walkthrough of how a hacker took over another hacker’s computer, via the combination of a security hole in a router and also a bit of social engineering. I don’t pretend to have ever been a hacker, but the read certainly has some verisimilitude that resonates with my (modest) technical background.
I’ll definitely think twice before clicking on another LinkedIn invite in my inbox.
It feels like information today is *less* secure than the days when Nixon’s henchmen had to rummage through a DC office in the middle of the night with flashlights. Securing a physical document is far more intuitive than securing a digital document, mainly because people carry physical security analogies into the digital domain, when they don’t necessarily apply.
The most poignant and accurate criticism of Bitcoin today is very simple: how has it made the world a better place?*
It really hasn’t. Payment transactions are not cheaper nor easier (from a cost perspective nor a UX perspective). This new form of currency is not more egalitarian, on the contrary, 75% of it is in the hands of 2000 people, so welcome to the new 1%, or more accurate: .0001%. It’s an energy hog as mining requires more and more power with no side benefit. The level of thievery means that in practice it’s not more secure (despite theoretical security innovations). The dark web usages of the currency are a bummer that taints legitimacy.
All that said, the single best way to be wrong on the Internet is to assume that it doesn’t get better. There is perpetual progress, from multiple parties, both collaborating on GitHub and competing in opposing startups, constantly pushing the rock up the collective hill. That’s just how the Internet has always moved, and Bitcoin, born on the Internet, will be no different.
It gets better.
* (That ultimate Bitcoin bear statement is not my insight (though I wish it was). Happy to quote the source, if he/she desires.)
Congrats to the team on this great outcome, but I want to add to my congrats that I strongly believe this is just the beginning for the company. Whenever I have a causal coffee meeting with an industry friend or reporter, invariably the question comes up of “what do you think is interesting these days.” Every time, without fail, the first thing out of my mouth is Oculus. Every major CE manfacturer, game developer, and large media company is going to need to come up with a VR strategy in the coming years, and it’s because of the key breakthroughs in presence that Oculus made. Excitment is mounting. And creative use cases are emerging.
I said the word “presence” in the last paragraph. “Presence” is a very loaded term in the VR world, one that is well defined in this document on what VR could and should be within the next two years. Remember how we were promised Jetpacks as kids, among other things? Well one of those promises was immersive VR, and we finally have our Apple II model of VR thanks to Oculus (though I doubt you’ll believe me until you try an Oculus Rift for yourself… and I don’t blame you for your skepticism… I was a skeptic until I first tried it too).
Congrats to Palmer Luckey, Brendan Iribe and the rest of the Oculus team on an amazing year, and more importantly, I can’t wait to live in the future they have peeled back for all of us to glimpse.
I liked John Lilly’s blog post today about where he lives online. I very much agree… i feel like my “Home” online is dispersed; whereas, historically it was highly concentrated (first AOL chatrooms… then Usenet… then Quake CTF, and so on until social media).
Despite not have a core “Home” today, I feel like that sense of Home is more digital for me now than it has ever been. Maybe it’s because I travel a lot for my job (regularly rotating through 4 US cities), but I don’t feel a deep sense of Boston pride, nor did I feel New York pride when I lived there. I have Internet pride more than Boston pride. Stories of net neutrality bad actors make me more angry than stories of corrupt Boston politicians.
I always find it a bit quirky and either intentionally or unintentionally ironic when I see a website or app emblazon their about page with a “Made in X” logo. For Runkeeper it’s Boston, for Wattpad it’s Canada, for Foursquare it’s NY and SF. The ironic part is the way they recall the tag you’d find in a pair of jeans that would say “Made in Bangladesh.” One the one hand, Made in X feels like a mark denoting pride of authorship. But on the other hand, the Internet is so flat, that the location of the makers feels irrelevant. I feel like more than anything else, these products are Made on the Internet, more so than their respective geographies.
Some companies in our portfolio take this a step further: the distributed teams. Upworthy is a distributed team, the team lives in Google Hangouts. Although the Wikimedia Foundation is headquartered in SF, I think there too, Wikipedia is far more a product of the Internet than of any one geography. I wonder if Internet companies will start to embrace the pride in their Internet origins as the novelty of existing online starts to fade.
What It Means to Offer Internet Connectivity to an End-Consumer
The argument over net neutrality is being muddled by semantic definition arguments. I have a very simple fix as a proposal.
When a service provider markets to an end-consumer unlimited Internet access for a monthly fee, the ISP has an obligation to take all commercially reasonable action to maximize the bandwidth of all traffic towards the cap of the subscription. To be explicitly specific: If Comcast offers John Smith in Iowa a 20mb/s connection to the Internet for $39.99/mo, Comcast must take all commercially reasonable steps to ensure that John gets 20mb/s access at all times to all services. Comcast is only responsible for it’s own network and its end of the interconnection to other networks.
If Comcast does anything to degrade John’s internet access to certain services on the Internet, it is misleading to claim they are offering “Internet” access at all. It’s an abuse of marketing, a misrepresentation of the service offered, and in my opinion solid ground for a class-action lawsuit.
If Comcast wants to market an Internet-alternative service, lets call it Smuckynet, they are totally free to do so. Smuckynet access could be a subset of the Internet, and could require non-net-neutral tolls to content providers. We live in an open, free market, and if there is consumer demand for Smuckynet, then I wish Comcast the best of luck with their new product and congratulate them in advance on their future success. I for one would never pay for Smuckynet. I might use it for free if offered, the same way I used Facebook and Google for free, knowing that ultimately, I am the product.
Offering unlimited Internet access to end-consumers at a premium price, while subversively and deliberately gating traffic to popular web services in order to extract business ransom has to stop. It is misleading to claim this is Internet access; in practice is a different product from Internet access, one that turns the end-consumer into a product to be sold to the content providers.
I do not trust the ISPs to self-regulate on their offering of “Internet” access due to the natural monopoly created by running cables to homes. The possible conclusion as to whether government regulation is the correction solution is left as an exercise for the reader, based on your personal politics.
This Charlie Rose / Larry Page conversation summary hits on a theme that I struggle with regularly in my personal philosophy.
Charities have clear and unequivocal noble missions. But they are rarely self-sustaining and the efficacy of a non-self-sustaining cause is questionable on a long-term horizon. By contrast businesses are primarily profit-focused (to a fault), but they are sustainable, and can often be more effective in accomplishing their goals (goals that are unfortunately primarily profit).
In the context of this dichotomy, Page went as far to say that he would rather leave his fortune to Elon Musk, than to a non-profit cause. Saying of Musk’s aspiration to send humans to Mars, “That’s a company, and that’s philanthropical.”
I don’t entirely agree with Page’s exact comments (is a man on Mars the best goal?), but I agree wholeheartedly with his broad point: if you want to give money to make an impact, the most effective direction for that money is a mission-driven entrepreneur that will use profit to achieve sustainability, but only in the pursuit of a massive, audacious, revolutionary goal. This approach informs my day-to-day business as a VC.
Increasingly this approach is affecting my philosophy. But, I still see a clear role for philanthropy irrespective of sustainability. I could never doubt the worthiness of something like Doctors without Borders, regardless of the org’s ability to be self-sustaining. So, it’s a struggle, as I said in my opening sentence.
“The only form of moderation that scales with the community is the community itself. We became quite skilled at building systems for self governance of online communities, and one of the things I’m proudest of is that – if we did our jobs well – decades from now Stack Exchange will still be a network of viable, functioning, entirely self-governing communities.”—Jeff Atwood
Upworthy co-founder Eli Pariser sat with David Carr at SXSW for fireside chat format conversation. The Guardian has a great summary of the talk. There are so many good nuggets in here that help illuminate why Spark made its investment in Upworthy. Here’s an excerpts, but it’s worth reading the whole piece.
[Eli] suggested that because important, high-quality but not necessarily engaging stuff has “had a leg up for so long” it hasn’t had to compete on being compelling.
“It gets on the front page anyway. Now we have this real challenge where the story about Afghanistan or new policing methods or whatever has to compete in the same pool with Kim Kardashian or Candy Crush or everything else that’s begging for attention from the algorithms,” he said.
“Unless we figure out how to make the important stuff really engaging, I don’t know that it reaches a broad audience.”
Pariser said we’re moving into a period with a power curve where “news junkies have never had it better… but for most people who don’t seek out content about important stuff, and expect to just have it surfaced in their media environment may be having that happen less. And to me that’s worrisome.”
Not all “distributed” is made the same. Like any good internet geek, when I first learned how DNS lookup works, I was in awe.
The beauty is in the design: DNS is a distributed database in which anyone can add a name server to participate and store knowledge. It naturally routes around any failures in the network by design, so it is resilient. With only very minor exceptions, there is no single point of failure, no choke point.*
By comparison the Bitcoin protocol is also a distributed database (a specific subset of database to be exact: a ledger). Anyone can operate a bitcoin client to participate and store knowledge. It naturally routes around any failures in the network by design, so it is resilient. With only very minor exceptions, there is no single point of failure, no choke point.
But the differences are even more interesting:
1) DNS is a network of trust and altruism, whereas Bitcoin is a network of distrust, specifically architected assuming all participants are both A) greedy and B) malicious if possible.
2) DNS is a hierarchical network structure, whereas Bitcoin is peer-to-peer network structure.
3) In DNS, no single node on the network has perfect knowledge of the entire contents of the distributed database, whereas in Bitcoin, every node on the network has a complete copy of the entire database.
The design decisions in (2) and (3) help enable the consequence of (1). It’s wild to see how Internet-inspired distributed design has evolved from DNS’s invention in 1983 to Bitcoin’s invention in 2008. Their respective stances on both trust and hierarchy reflect a maturation of the internet, that sadly leads one to pessimistic conclusions about human nature.
* The resiliency by design and lack of choke points are why I’ve long been disappointed by the rise of URL shorteners in the last 7 years. They take such an elegant system and shove it through a crude single point of failure.
I was delighted to discover this morning that there is a new StackExchange site dedicated to helping users find open data sets for their projects.
In 2005 Tim O’Reilly said that “Data is the next Intel Inside.” It was a prescient statement, and in that context, one could argue that a strong open data movement will be even more impactful than the already tremendous open source software movement has been.
We are all standing on the shoulders of giants from a algorithms and architecture perspective thanks to OSS. I’d love to see open data become the big openness beachhead for the next ten years.
In 2002 Eric Schmidt (then, CEO of Google) made a bet with Craig Mundie (then, Chief Strategy Officer of Microsoft). The bet was:
"By 2030, commercial passengers will routinely fly in pilotless planes."
Doesn’t sound too surprising of a bet, right? Except, Schmidt took the negative side of the bet! He doubts this outcome, and put his money behind his doubts. Google is pioneering self-driving cars, acquiring robot companies, and experimenting with drones, and yet Schmidt doesn’t believe in the prospect of automated, commercial flights.
I wonder if 2014 version of Schmidt would change his position on this bet today, given the progress we have seen in autonomous navigation of all kinds.
I’m also generally surprised that Schmidt would take any form of pessimistic view on technology in general. I guess, it’s really more of a pessimistic view on the FAA and government regulation to be fair, when you read the rationale for his bet.
I feel very torn writing this blog post, and thought hard about deleting it a couple times. But, in the end, I’ll just put it out in the ether… because this blog is little more than me thinking out loud, and this is what I’m been thinking about for most of the day.
Satoshi Nakamoto’s (Creator of Bitcoin) identity has been revealed in an article by Newsweek. The article feels very voyeuristic, as the reader takes on the role of the author, stalking Satoshi and trying to piece together circumstantial evidence in a painful, stretched way. Despite no clear proof that the author has correctly identified Satoshi… it feels quite conclusive when you look at all the small pieces and connections through a holistic lens.
I’m not linking to the article in this post because, in the end, I don’t like the ethical lines the author crossed. She acquired Satoshi’s email address through social hacking a model railroad retailer. She stalked Satoshi to the point he had to call the police. She seemingly mislead friends and family in interviews. Worst of all, as a result of this piece, I’m certain both Satoshi and the Newsweek author will need 24-hour protection (Satoshi needing protection from weirdo Bitcoin criminals that want access to his $400MM in private keys… and the author needing protection from libertarian Anonymous-esque weirdos that hate the methodology of her exposure of Satoshi… or just hate that the mystery is over).
But all that crap didn’t stop me from reading the article with perversely piqued interested. Cue self-loathing.
The real story here that has been rattling around my brain the most is the story of innovation at the fringes beyond normalcy. Chris Dixon said when he made the investment in Coinbase that Bitcoin, “is one of the 5 best computer science ideas from the last forty years.” I agree. And, the idea that this brilliance came largely from one guy, acting in isolation, motivated largely by paranoia and distaste for existing financial infrastructure, is just wild. In this light the profile of Satoshi is the profile of an artist, or better yet, a maker. And like all makers, he is quirky, weird, one of the crazy ones.
More so than any of the circumstantial facts provided by the author, this is what makes the Satoshi identification story so believable. He looks and feels like other edge people that have made dents in the universe. Watching the ripples from a sole savant’s splash build into global tidal waves is mesmerizing.
Facebook is potentially buying Titan Aerospace. The purpose of the acquisition is to help bring Internet connectivity to emerging markets by flying Internet-bearing drones repeatedly back and forth over developing nations. Facebook’s master plan regarding free Internet connective in third-world countries is called Internet.org. Similarly, Google is working on their own third-world-country-connectivity project, called Project Loon which would distribute Internet via hot air balloons.
These both are interesting initiatives. I’m in favor of anything that helps make the Internet more widely accessible. I applaud both Facebook and Google for their altruistic efforts, even if the primary goal is just to get more people to use Facebook and Google at the end of the day.
However, I don’t quite understand why emerging market Internet penetration isn’t just going to get better naturally?
Given global Internet adoption curves and nearly ubiquitous accessibility in developed nations, why do these projects assume it won’t be better over time in emerging markets through private business competition? Is there something fundamentally wrong or difficult about building a wireless Internet carrier that serves emerging markets? If so, I feel like that would be the more important issue to fix first. I’d love to hear from people that actually know a thing or two about wireless Internet infrastructure.
I first met Katie Bolin about a year and a half ago. One of our portfolio companies at Spark was actively recruiting her for an analytical role, and unfortunately in the end, lost out to Google in pulling her onboard. My colleague Alex was incredibly impressed with her in the process of helping the company recruit her, so he recommended I meet with her, despite the fact she was already committed to Google. “She’s someone we should keep close to,” I believe were his words. We met, and our conversation exceeded the high expectations Alex had set.
Fast forward to today: I’m thrilled to announce a new addition to the team at Spark Capital. Katie Bolin is joining Spark as an Associate. As a member of our investment team, Katie is going to be involved with portfolio companies as well as researching new markets, meeting new startups and evaluating new investment opportunities. She will be based in our Boston office.
Katie has spent much of her career focused on media planning analysis, across both Google and Digitas. And, in an interesting counter-balance Katie spent the first two years of her career in the education world, between Teach for America and tutoring. Katie’s currently on a mission to visit all 50 states (“doesn’t count if you don’t stay overnight”) and is an active Marathoner.
Katie’s arrival is mirrored in David Haber's departure. David was our most recent Associate at Spark, and he really broke the mold for how we think about this job. He went incredibly deep into the intersection of the internet and finance, sourced a few deals in his exploration of the space, and ultimately decided to leave to pursue his own startup, Bond Street. We owe a debt of gratitude to David for his contributions to Spark over the past few years, and we eagerly anticipate the big things to come as he builds Bond Street.
We took a long time to find someone for this role. It’s not easy to find someone with the passion for startups, intelligence, and chemistry that we look for as a member of our small team. We want to surround ourselves with the best people at Spark. I’m delighted to be working with Katie. Please join me in welcoming her, and Katie has posted her introduction on her blog.
“A Goldman spokesman, after being told that @GSElevator had been unmasked, said in a statement, “We are pleased to report that the official ban on talking in elevators will be lifted effective immediately.””—
They say, “The Internet Never Forgets.” Meaning: when you post something online, it will be there forever.
But it’s not really true.
Digital data rot is a real issue. I removed 2.5 years of blog posts from the web when I moved from Wordpress.org to Tumblr for blogging, and they are all pretty much lost for good (a deliberate decision on my part). I still have the Wordpress SQL table backed up, but I doubt I’ll ever open it.
Recently I’ve been exploring whether or not it would be possible to blog into the Bitcoin blockchain. There is a comments field in a transaction that can be used to write a note. These notes are most easily explored via blockchain.info. So essentially blockchain.info would become the blog host, but the underlying database would be the blockchain itself.
The more data a given transaction contains (measured in bits) the higher the fee required to process the transaction. This is a deliberate design decision to discourage people from junking up the blockchain with miscellaneous crap or overly lengthy transactions that involve too many transactions. So, blogging via the blockchain could get expensive. But perhaps the fees are worth the permanence…
It feels like the digital equivalent of writing in wet cement.
At a USV Annual Meeting of their Limited Partners (LPs) many years ago, Biz Stone asked a question during Q&A at the end of the meeting. He asked the partners (then Fred, Brad, and newly minted Albert), do you specifically seek to fund companies that also have a social mission in addition to a profit motive.
It’s not an easy question in front of a room full of LPs because the point of a VC fund is to maximize cash return for LPs and GPs alike. At the same time, you don’t want to just say “we maximize return” because that’s cold and callous. Brad nailed the question by saying (paraphrased): We invest in large networks of engaged users, and when a company lacks a social mission it is nearly impossible for the company to attract the interest of users. So, we don’t specifically seek out companies with a social mission. But if there isn’t a social mission, it’s very unlikely to be successful long term.
The capitalist in me feels this is exactly right, and that moment many years ago is a North Star for me in venture investing.
The lefty in me wonders what a venture firm would look like if it went a step further. What if a VC firm by its very definition sought out companies that had a clear social mission as a part of its long term goals. And the firm measured and regularly reported on the progress of this mission. KP (for better or for worse) tried this when they leaned heavily into cleantech for much of the last decade. As a priority, I’m sure the partners at that firm thought cleantech could be profitable investments, but I am also sure they wanted to save the world.
As a VC with a double priority of both profit motive and social consciousness, I feel an easy trap to fall into would be failing to identify that the next big thing starts out looking like a toy. In seeking socially beneficial investments, it would be easy to discard seed stage media companies as too trivial or not meaningful enough. How could 140 character about sandwich choices save the world? And that trap would have been lethal to returns in both profit and social impact over the past 4+ years: some of the most originally-toyish companies have gone on to make the largest impacts.
Upworthy is doing a wonderful job of taking the data insights from their large traffic and condensing them into easily consummable lessons on their blog. If you’re curious about how Upworthy measures their own success and how different traffic in their distribution engine performs, I high recommend following them on Tumblr. The lasttwo posts specifically about attention minutes are just great. Here’s a nice pull quote as a parting shot:
So what have we learned from Attention Minutes so far? Whether your content is short or long, whether your audience comes from Facebook or Google, whether lots of people have seen your content before or it’s brand new, quality is what counts.
Publish great stuff, and people will stick with it and share it with their friends. Hardly a revolutionary idea, but it’s good to confirm it with data.
“Edgeio is all about edge publishing. It is our belief that services that try to restrict how users create and consume information cannot ultimately be successful. Users own their data, and services exist not to silo that data, but rather to add value to it.”—
Mike Arrington co-founded Edgeio and launched the initial blog post on the company 8 years ago today. This quote is the pull quote from the Techmeme from 8 years ago. I can’t get the rest of the post because Edgeio’s blog has fallen victim to digital data rot.
Forget about Edgeio and all its star-founder-caused baggage… this quote is great on it’s own, and yet ended up being so wrong (from a pragmatic perspective) at the same time.
Who can disagree with the ethos that users should own their own data?
And yet all the juggernauts of the social web today largely disregard this ethos. They don’t disregard this ethos out of disagreement… I suspect most founders of the largest social web services would say they believe that users deserve to own their own data.
Instead, they disregard this ethos out of a prioritization for optimizing the end user experience, and end users would far rather have a beautiful, vertically-integrated, simple experience, often at the expense of things like data ownership.
If you ask any given user, I’m sure they’d say “Yes, I want to own my data.” and yet, they flock to Instagram (where the ToS gives Instagram unfettered republishing rights of user data), and leave behind more ethos-favorable startups like Flickr, and their complicated layer of respectful data rights management and proper attributions.
Edgeio didn’t fail on this one line (FAR from it), but it felt like a prescient echo from the past: a plea for idealism, never realized.