Saturday, April 21, 2018

The apple of knowledge and customs

Today Aff told me about a woman flying from France to Denver. She was served an apple on her flight, and put it in her luggage to eat later. 

At customs, she was searched and received a $500 fine due to the apple.

I said that compared to all the other issues that happen during customs and immigration, this was quite minor. She has to sign a form that she is not bringing fruits, so she should have known.

I wonder how I will think about this situation in 5 years or 10 years. Will I think that even though there are larger immigration struggles, this small issue is still an injustice? 

Friday, April 20, 2018

A good speech on narcissism

I heard a great talk at SXSW about narcissism. The speaker commented on how society attributes moral virtue to successful people. A new friend who is perfectly coiffed and lives in a mansion is given more of the benefit of the doubt than an "average Joe".

She said: "I do the opposite. If someone pulls up in the latest Tesla and lives in a mansion, I am more on guard. I am more skeptical of them until I get to know them."

I liked the talk.

Saturday, February 10, 2018


It's amazing to see the lengths that some trolls will go to. There's a person who's addicted to checking my blog, and writing negative comments. This person (from the New Jersey area) will sometimes check my blog several times per day, and then write nasty comments. They've been doing this for years.

Shall I feel honored that they're obsessed enough to devote a big part of their mental energy to doing this?

Strange that they don't just pick a different hobby, especially after years.

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Bay Area dilemma

I am frustrated by the Bay Area. The housing market is pricing out non-tech workers. Many people in tech lack empathy for these displaced residents. California state tax is so high and yet the city has rampant homelessness and crime, and poor public transit. Many of the influential figures in this area are actually sociopaths.

But I really love the actual day-to-day work in my field, and the Bay Area is the epicenter of the most interesting work.

I don’t have any solution. It just bothers me off and on continually. 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

How VCs get inadvertently biased

At dinner recently with a VC friend.

VC: I think VCs only judge companies based on how lucrative they are likely to be.  I don't think any VCs actually discount a pitch because it is coming from a woman or minority.  When you were pitching, did you think anyone judged you on anything other than your business?

Me: Several VCs said to me, "This is the first time I'm meeting you, so it will be very tough for me to feel comfortable writing a check for someone I have never met before." 

VC: Ok, that happens.

Me: How many black or Hispanic entrepreneurs are those VCs regularly spending time with?  Probably very few.  So the people they have known for years and feel comfortable backing are going to be other men in their circle.  That is how the bias plays out, even when the VC is trying to stay unbiased.