Category Archives: .

The VC Gap

Baby Internet businesses that need investment can only raise it from venture capitalists. VCs only lend to potential unicorns. There are many fine businesses that are not unicorns. Therefore there are fine businesses not being created.


What if we said “European-American” instead of “White?”

This thought occurred to me while I was doing some background reading on talking to my sons about race and racism. I have to stop saying nothing about it. “For white people, talking about race is uncomfortable. For people of color, it’s a necessity.

“European-American” is value-neutral. White is the color of virtue. Europe is just a place, on par with Asia, Africa, and so on.

“European-American” is factual. You either do or don’t have genetic roots in Europe.

“European-American” escapes the one-drop rule. You must buy into the one-drop rule to think in terms of Whiteness. A White person cannot be mixed-race. But a European-American can be mixed race.

“European-American” is awkward to say. Which, for a White person, suggests sharing the linguistic burden of terms like “African-American,” “person of color,” or “black and brown.”

I talk more about race and racism more than most people who identify as White. This is probably abrasive sometimes.

Drones vs trucks

Air Traffic Controller For Drones

Drone deliveries could considerably reduce the energy (and therefore cost) required to deliver small packages from delivery distribution centers to the consumer’s home. These last few miles of the delivery process are most often done by ground based internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. Drones would reduce energy expenditure by virtue of the fact that most of the energy consumed in ground based delivery is for purposes of propelling the heavy ICE vehicle itself.

Are drones really more energy efficient for package delivery than trucks, given that (1) trucks amortize energy cost across many packages and (2) trucks don’t spend energy to stay up in the air?

Sustenance vs art

A nutrient slurry like Soylent is an act of engineering. It costs $X, has Y nutritional impact, requires Z effort. It is not unpleasant to consume, or shouldn’t be, but that is not its purpose.

The nutrient slurry in my bag.
80% of my lunch today.

That doesn’t mean sensory pleasure is absent from life, it just means it doesn’t come from the slurry. You are drawing a line between nourishment and sensory pleasure.

For fun you add a side dish or dessert. A bit of melon. A piece of chocolate. A small serving of sashimi. Not a lot – this isn’t to fill you up.

It’s a new template for your meal. The main course is neutral and functional. The side dish is interesting and frivolous.

100% Food nutrient slurry

100% Food nutrient slurry

I’m trying out a new soylent-ish powdered nutrient slurry, 100% Food. I got the low-carb chocolate mix.

It comes in single serving bottles. The bottle is half-full with powder. You add water on your own. I love this approach, since the bottles are super light without water. OTOH it’s ugly and wasteful from an environmental point of view.

Compared to Soylent, it is a bit less filling. I could get to prefer that, I think. The serving size is 670 calories instead of 500, which makes a 2000 calorie daily intake harder to figure out.

100% Food mixes up faster than Soylent, in that it doesn’t need to sit in the fridge for a while. However the texture is rough and grainy. I’ll try mixing it in the blender to smooth out the texture.

Three 80/20 rules for music streaming

Most streaming listeners will not subscribe, now or ever. The 80/20 rule is that the 80% will never subscribe.

Most streaming listeners prefer minimal engagement. Having to engage is a problem. Non-interactive apps like Pandora provide more value than interactive ones like Spotify. The 80/20 rule is that 80% prefer passive options.

Out of the 20% who might subscribe, what are they paying for? Engagement reduction:

  • Recommendations to free them from having to manually find their daily listening
  • Time saving on the labor of Bittorrenting, buying, ripping, etc
  • Storage of saved finds and playlists, to reduce the need to find these again
  • Social information about what peers are listening to.

I want to be wrong about music podcasts

There’s no path to legalization for (most) music in podcasts.

A podcast breaks every rule legalizing music in webcasts. A song in a podcast is entirely interactive, skippable, replayable, seekable, playlistable, saveable.

Labels and  bands have their hands full. Figuring out how to legalize (most) music in podcasts would be a lot of work, money, struggle, and time. There isn’t a lot to be gained.

Rights holders would probably say: if you want to do a music podcast, use an existing licensed platform like Spotify, YouTube, or Soundcloud. It’s true that this is not MP3, and that it doesn’t work on an iPod. But it works.

Podcast listeners want talk, not music.

That’s good, because pure-music podcasts are really hard to navigate in podcasting apps. The UX for finding the right thing is not there.

This is not to overlook killer music-oriented shows like Song Exploder or Afropop Worldwide,  which are talk about music.

Podcasters who want to focus on music are going to have tough sledding getting music licensed and finding an audience. A wise one will use YouTube, Spotify/Deezer/Apple Music/etc, or Soundcloud.

The one place where there is traction is in dance music, especially for  working out. But this is so unusual that it is the exception that proves the rule. And I’d guess these exist as one distribution platform among many; because the DJs have already created the sets for posting to Soundcloud, Mixcloud and YouTube.

So I am skeptical about music-oriented podcasts, though I’d prefer to be optimistic. I hope to be proven wrong.


Nutrient Rich Slurry News

I have been living on Soylent for the past couple weeks. This is to diet.

My thinking is that this makes it practical for me to count and ultimately limit calories, since the calories in Soylent are measured in advance. One cup is 500 calories. If I eat four meals, I get exactly 2000 calories.

As it turns out, that has produced a 6.5 lb weight drop.

I push the calories up a bit because I like to make smoothies or even soupies:

  • With banana and cinnamon, like a muffin, to go with coffee
  • With cucumber, carrot, and flax, like a salad, for lunch time
  • With salt, pepper, chicken stock, and steamed broccoli, like a soup, for dinner.

For the sake for variety, I am starting to explore the smaller brands. I just ordered 100%FOOD.

AR music today

Something like Google Glass would be great for Pokemon Go. They should rebrand as Pokemon Glass.

MusicAlly profiled prior art for music AR, an app called Landmrk. Landmrk framed this as a promotional campaign for a couple different album releases, creating visibility by motivating fans to engage with new releases.

“When someone enters one of these locations, the content can then be unlocked on their mobile device. When they leave, the content becomes inaccessible again,” explains the company’s website.

Account director Tom Nield explained to Music Ally that the team was originally part of music group PIAS, where it worked with artists including Alt-J. After striking out on its own, the band came calling.

“They were releasing their new album, and wanted to create a unique first-listen experience around the release. They had some ideas around placing park benches where fans could plug in their headphones and listen, but it would have cost an absolute fortune,” said Nield.

“So we had the idea of creating an app that would allow them to highlight the locations where they wanted to place the album, which would populate the map within the app.”

Should be an AR layer

A photo posted by Lucas Gonze (@lucasgonze) on

I came across a dongle for iOS devices that allows you to look at the real world using infrared. It struck me as something like augmented reality layer. You could write messages that were only visible with infrared.

Which reminds me of Boris Smus’ idea to emit ultrasonic audio using the web audio API.

connecting devices is a pain and we have been squarely at stage 2 since the release of the iPhone. There are many competing approaches to do this: Bluetooth, Bluetooth LE, WiFi direct, discovery over the same local WiFi network, and many many others. This post is dedicated to attacking this problem from an unexpected angle: using ultrasound to broadcast and receive data between nearby devices. Best of all, the approach uses the Web Audio API, making it viable for pure web applications

It strikes me that you could also use that for music, so that the music was available as an AR layer, discoverable using ultrasonic listening.