Author Archives: dd

Per Buster Olney at ESPN: David Price given lively ovation by the Bronx crowd when announced before tonight’s game. The Yankees owe him more than that for his game 2 performance…house? car? bonus?

I think May Mobility is one of the most interesting autonomous vehicle companies around. See my previous post for thoughts on the future of autonomous vehicles in cities, and why some will want to take more control.

I see this kind of blockchain story all of the time. They imply that the missing piece to Hard Problem #14 (tracking fresh fruit, in this case) was an anonymous, distributed ledger (e.g. blockchain). I’ll just say I tend to disagree.

Interesting thoughts on Nike, brand and (social) media, exploring how Colin K dominates an incredible new world record in the marathon.

Remember Phil Rosenzweig on 9/11.

Who Owns Tomorrow’s Autonomous City Cars?

Jump forward a bunch of years. Cities continue to get bigger and even more people need to get around. Uber/Lyft-like services have evolved and are more efficient and better than ever. Full autonomy has also been realized – there are no human drivers in the city. Autonomous vehicles of all sizes are dashing around and providing awesome, cost-effective, on-demand transportation throughout the city.

Question: who owns all of these autonomous vehicles?

Possibilities:

  1. Random people. They “rent” them out to on-demand services when they’re not in use. Seems super unlikely – why bear the cost and hassle of owning a car in the city when such great service exists?

  2. The Uber/Lyft companies of the day. Maybe? A very different business model than Uber and Lyft today, and, again, kind of a hassle to own those distributed assets.

  3. Car manufacturing companies. Also maybe. Again, pretty radical business model shift from today.

  4. Cities. The new model beats mass transit, so they outlaw private vehicles and run the fleet themselves. My bet is some city will do this.

  5. Specialized fleet management companies. Similar business models exist today, such as car rental companies, but do they transition?

I’m actually not sure – any thoughts?

The Internet-Enabled Eclipse

We saw the 2017 eclipse in Oregon. Here’s some quick thoughts, and why I think this one was a singular event.

  • I feel lucky on two accounts: 1) having the opportunity to be somewhere to see it with my family, and 2) having good weather. It would be easy to miss it for either of these reasons.
  • The eclipse was very cool, but totality was a whole different level of cool. (There have been lots of good write-ups, but I thought Jason Snell captured it well). The combination of the corona, being able to look at the sun directly (and also see Venus!), and the level of darkness were all a bigger deal then I would have guessed. If you have the opportunity to get to totality in 2024 then definitely do it!
  • The goofy eclipse glasses were totally worth it.
  • The change in temperature was noticeable where we were. Cliff Mass summarized the weather impact in the northwest.. Interesting that some of the stuff was a surprise…..
  • Cliff also mentioned the traffic. In general there were some delays, but quick to get through. HOWEVER, the state of Washington once again proved that they have the doubler whammy of bad roads and bad drivers. Serious traffic jams on I-5 in the middle of nowhere,10 hours after the eclipse and 100 miles north of totality.

This eclipse was “marketed” as the “Great American Eclipse”, but I think what really made it unique was that it was the first total US eclipse of the Internet age. Everything from websites to social media to camera phones to e-commerce played a role in this eclipse. Location selection, travel plans, weather, traffic and sharing – all of these involved the Internet. In short, the 2017 eclipse wouldn’t have been itself prior to the Internet.

Eclipse today: As we were driving away from totality my teenage daughter said “cool, one of my friends saw the eclipse from a plane and just posted the video!” (I don’t have a link to it, but here’s a similar one).

1970’s eclipses: it was interesting for me to go back through the historical list of US total eclipses. I remember being outside my grade school in Wisconsin with the paper-and-pinhole setup viewing an eclipse. From the timeline, I suspect it was in ’70 or ’72. The February of ’79 eclipse happened while I was in high school, and I can attest to the fact that it was a non-event (I actually don’t remember it at all).

In the 1970’s, how would you have known where to travel to? What time the eclipse would peak at that location? Would this info have come from a school? 6 o’clock news? Newspaper? How would you even have known to get excited about it? How would you have gotten eclipse glasses, let alone known about them? How would you have shared your experience? Would you have visited the AAA store to get a Trip-Tik so you had some maps?

As things increasingly happen at “Internet speed”, it gets harder and harder to remember what things were like before it existed. The 2017 eclipse provides a one-time opportunity to contrast the the world before and after the Internet.

Remembering Jim Canty

greatday


“… a first ballot Hall of Famer on the ice and in life.”

The quote above was from a mutual friend in reference to Jim Canty, who passed away in late April. If you’re racking your brain for memories of Jim’s professional career (“Wasn’t he on the ’84 Nordiques?”) you can stop now. Jim’s illustrious 22-year career was with Hippy Hockey, the Sunday night skate at the local rink.

It would only be partially accurate to characterize Hippy Hockey as a bunch of old guys reliving their glory days on the ice — many of us never had glory days to relive. Jim loved hockey. Like myself Jim came to Hippy Hockey via pond hockey, and enjoyed the magic of skating, the friendly competition and a beer or two in the parking lot afterward. In the summer Jim would bring fresh clams from the Cape and cook them up.

Jim and I initially connected through our kids. My two older kids were similar ages to the middle two of Jim’s four kids, and intersected in everything from play dates to confirmation to hockey games. We coached hockey together one year when the boys were young.

Jim was, at his inner core, a family man. I’d seen Jim in his husband/father role, but his family says it started early on with his parents and 8 brothers and sisters. When Jim and I saw each other we always caught up on how each other’s kids were doing. When some people talk about their kids and their accomplishments it comes across as bragging, partly about the kids, but often more about how great of a parent they are. With Jim it was different. He spoke with a sense of selfless wonderment and joy. I wish I could describe it better, but if you’d had the chance to talk to Jim you’d get it.

Professionally Jim was an lawyer and investor, so there was little overlap with my tech world. We did, however, interact about some of the energy investments he was looking at. I’d try to help out with some technical perspective, or tap into some of the science talent at work to analyze some startup’s claims. Over time I came to realize that Jim and I shared a similar optimism about human potential. Sure there’s lots of problems in the world, but there’s also a lot of smart, hard-working people, and humanity has the potential to overcome its challenges.

I wasn’t the only one who noticed this about Jim. At his memorial service a Franciscan monk made a connection between Jim’s optimism and the optimism at the core of Franciscan values. Jim had strong connections to the Franciscans, a Catholic religious order who follow the teachings of St. Francis of Assisi, with roots back to Jim’s college days at St. Bonaventure.

I’ll close with a statement from the Siena College mission/vision page, since it describes so well for me how I saw Jim live his life:

In our Franciscan community, optimism is a faith-filled affirmation of the basic goodness of life and of all men and women because, in the words of St. Francis, God our Creator is “good, all good, supremely good.” So:

  • be positive

  • be hopeful

  • be open to the future.

May God bless Jim and his family.