I Am a Model and I Know That Artificial Intelligence Will Eventually Take My Job

There are major issues of transparency and authenticity here because the beliefs and opinions don’t actually belong to the digital models, they belong to the models’ creators. And if the creators can’t actually identify with the experiences and groups that these models claim to belong to (i.e., person of color, LGBTQ, etc.), then do they have the right to actually speak on those issues? Or is this a new form of robot cultural appropriation, one in which digital creators are dressing up in experiences that aren’t theirs?

Wow. This instantly raised so many new and existing thoughts inside of me.

The biggest takeaway for me was that this technology will likely naturally evolve to seeing ourselves in the content and clothing we want. Maybe it's a bit narcissistic to declare publicly, but I have personally seen through my own work the march towards personalization: what's more personal than seeing yourself everywhere doing everything?

How Fitness Will Change Forever

Virtually every digital fitness experience is still a simulation of something people used to do together.

I'm really interested to see how 'digital-first' fitness experiences will look like in the next few years.

There's nothing inherently wrong with simulating traditional in-person group exercises, but what does remote fitness look like as the actual primary environment. The word 'remote' itself would need to be stripped out for it to be truly rethought.

The a16z Marketplace 100

In comparing the two categories, our theory is simple: There's a big difference between network effects that span global and continental regions, as opposed to city-by-city networks. Airbnb's global network effect spans regions, since potential guests book lodging outside their home base and hosts expect to receive visitors from all over the world […] City-by-city network effects are naturally more fragmented and suffer from more severe competition. In other words, winner-take-all-dynamics are nonexistent.

A really great insight into why there have been so many local buisness customer loyalty products launching recently in NYC.

The Fantasy of Opting Out

There is no simple solution to the problem of privacy, because privacy itself is a solution to societal challenges that are in constant flux.

Well said, I don’t even personally have a clear sense of where my boundaries are i.e. I have a currently public Instagram account but I share more personal details there than my Facebook account?

Netflix Plays New Role: Budget-Conscious

Netflix's metrics-driven approach shows up in other ways. For instance, it now routinely ends shows after their second season, even when they're still popular. Netflix has learned that the first two seasons of a show are key to bringing in subscribers--but the third and later seasons don't do much to retain or win new subscribers. Ending a show after the second season saves money, because showrunners who oversee production tend to negotiate a boost in pay after two years.

Data is magic.

The Dark Forest Theory of the Internet

The dark forests grow because they provide psychological and reputational cover. They allow us to be ourselves because we know who else is there. Compared to the free market communication style of the mass channels -- with their high risks, high rewards, and limited moderation -- dark forest spaces are more Scandinavian in their values and the social and emotional security they provide. They cap the downsides of looking bad and the upsides of our best jokes by virtue of a contained audience.

I like to think it’s always been less about risk mitigation or “looking bad” and more about all of us understanding where certain content we share is the most contextually relevant.

Minimum Viable Business Personality

HOW NOT TO BE BORING

HAVE A PERSONALITY, EASY. ANSWER THREE QUESTIONS:

  1. HOW DO YOU CHANGE CUSTOMER’S LIFE?

  2. WHAT DO YOU STAND FOR?

  3. WHO OR WHAT DO YOU HATE?

NOW HAVE A MISSION, VALUES, ENEMY. THAT’S ENOUGH FOR MINIMUM VIABLE PERSONALITY.

Enemy is a near-perfect way to describe the drive needed to change the world.

The first rule of pricing is: you do not talk about pricing

You can’t buy the first wine on the list, because you’ll feel like an ignorant cheapskate. So you look at the second wine.
 
But, as a sophisticated Medium-reader, you’re well aware that the second wine on the list is the most popular, so the restaurateur will ensure it is also the most profitable.
 
You don’t want to be suckered into buying the most profitable wine on the list, so you trick the restaurant by actually buying a more expensive wine.
 
It’s a minefield.

A beautiful piece on pricing experimentation and where a user’s mind is at.

The Rise and Fall of American Apparel

However things turn out, one thing's for sure, it's been quite a ride.

The rollercoaster of edginess and success narrative through deep v-necked tees.

Negative Gross Margins

The thing that is wrong with this strategy is that taking prices up, or using your volume to drive costs down, in order to get to positive gross margins is a lot harder than most people think. If there are other startups competing with you and offering a similar service, you aren't going to be able to take prices up without losing customers to a similar competitor, unless your service truly has "lock in." And most don't. Using volume to drive costs down can work, but if there are similar services out there, the provider who is being asked to take a cut by you might just move their supply over to another competitor offering a higher price.

A brilliant and simply explained piece on why most VC-backed companies are doomed to fail…eventually.

On the topic of “lock in”, only Apple makes iPhones but what if people don’t want iPhones anymore? It’s unlikely but something to consider.

Eve Version 0

Originally we imagined ourselves as a sort of modern day Visual Basic 6, but as we collected use cases for Eve we discovered very few people want to build applications or websites. They actually want better tools for thinking and communicating. They want to have their spreadsheets and documents always be up to date, or to set up alerts when certain things happen in the business. They want to create dashboards and models to simulate outcomes. Developers were certainly excited about the idea of creating applications, but even many of them expressed wanting to automate processes or bring a bunch of different types of information together - e.g. alert me when one of my friends is in town. Over the years, programming has become intrinsically tied to the notion of creating programs, but realistically what most people are tying to do is get the computer to do some thinking for them and then communicate the results.

Great thinking on what people want vs what they need. This direction sounds an awful lot like IFTTT but coming at it from a very different (and more complicated) angle.