Thinks 445

Sebastian Mallaby: “A really good venture capitalist combines technical knowledge of what he or she is investing in — whether that’s biotechnology or computer science — plus business feeling, plus the skill of networking with people and putting teams together. And a phenomenal energy, because you’ve got to be out there getting up in the morning for one breakfast with one potential person you might invest in, and then doing 14 cups of coffee before you go to bed, and being that wired, you still sleep.” And: “Fewer than 1 percent of companies that get formed every year receive venture capital backing, but if you look at the years since 1995, half of all the companies that go public got venture backing, and three-quarters of the market cap from those companies derived from venture-backed companies. Tiny share get the money — less than 1 percent — but three-quarters of the market cap is the result.”

Wired: “In the world of social media, Telegram is a distinct oddity. Often rounding out lists of the world’s 10 largest platforms, it has just around 30 core employees, had no source of ongoing revenue until very recently, and—in an era when tech firms face increasing pressure to quash hate speech and misinformation—exercises virtually no content moderation, except to take down illegal pornography and calls for violence. At Telegram it is an article of faith, and a marketing pitch, that the company’s platform should be available to all, regardless of politics or ideology. “For us, Telegram is an idea,” Pavel Durov, Telegram’s Russian founder, has said. “It is the idea that everyone on this planet has a right to be free.”…[Telegram] has proven particularly well suited to activism. Its blend of private messaging and public channels makes it a perfect organizing tool: ideal for evangelizing in public and then plotting in secret. “I call it the one-two punch,” says Megan Squire, a computer science professor at Elon University in North Carolina who studies Telegram. “You can do both propaganda and planning on the same app.””

Frederick Douglass in 1860: “No right was deemed by the fathers of the Government more sacred than the right of speech. It was in their eyes, as in the eyes of all thoughtful men, the great moral renovator of society and government. Daniel Webster called it a homebred right, a fireside privilege. Liberty is meaningless where the right to utter one’s thoughts and opinions has ceased to exist. That, of all rights, is the dread of tyrants. It is the right which they first of all strike down. They know its power. Thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers, founded in injustice and wrong, are sure to tremble, if men are allowed to reason of righteousness, temperance, and of a judgment to come in their presence.” [via Arnold Kling]

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.