My last Ben's List for the year. With 12 articles, 1 book, and a special message for 2020, I noticed a common thread.
Curiously enough, I now realize that there is a red thread among this week list of articles - with a few exceptions of course. It is all about understanding people.
How do venture capitalists build networks and platforms to get access to the best talent? With people.
How do you build better products? Listening to your users (people).
How do we avoid algorithm bias when coding intelligent machines? Keeping people in mind.
Doing a newsletter? Ask your readers.
What about podcast growth? Well, the human voice is so... human.
And how do you become a better person? Listening to yourself, better.
You see, it's all about the people. Tech is still a people business.
We're also checking some key trends in social media, venture investment and climate change (TL;DR: it's bad).
So let's dive in those 12 articles, 1 book and a special message for 2020.
PYTHAGORAS' TROUSERS | Kirkus Reviews
"The role of women in mathematics and physics through the ages, starting with the Pythagoreans. ... the stories of the females who tackled physics, astronomy, and mathematics (and the men who encouraged them)".
If at first you don't succeed, try, try, again. Perhaps even more relevant today.
Paths into Venture Capital: Decoding the VC Platform role
A Platform role (or roles) vary by title but responsibilities typically fall into these six buckets:
- Business Development
- Content, Marketing & Communications
- Community & Network
- Link: medium.com/lerer-hippeau-ventures/paths-into-venture-capital-decoding-the-vc-platform-role-d5c510225866
- Author: Lerer Hippeau
Building A Network In VC: Random Acts Of Kindness
One of the most important assets a venture capitalist can have is their network. A strong network can be the source of deal flow and intel about live rounds, a value-add to your portfolio companies, knowledge about market dynamics, and much more. As much as data science and technology is permeating the industry, nothing trumps the power of a strong network.
The Capital Behind Venture: 2020 (Report)
Nice, consolidated report covering the European VC ecosystem. Post-Christmas day reading!
The Environmental Impact of 2020: Nature is not healing
"The Mona Loa Observatory reported a seasonal peak of 417.1 parts per million in May 2020, compared to 408 ppm in 2019. It is the highest monthly reading ever recorded, in millions of years."
- Link: plana.earth/academy/environmental-impact-2020-pandemic-covid19-nature-is-not-healing
- Author: Tara Bernoville
The coming war on the hidden algorithms that trap people in poverty
[Our Clients are] enmeshed in so many different algorithms that are barring them from basic services. And the clients may not be aware of that, because a lot of these systems are invisible.
- Link: www.technologyreview.com/2020/12/04/1013068/algorithms-create-a-poverty-trap-lawyers-fight-back
- Author: Karen Hao
Curiosity and consistency: thoughts on growing a newsletter
In the early days, all that matters is to build the habit and to be consistent so you can find your voice and define your value. Making mistakes is one of the best ways to grow. Try to only look up information on a “need-to-learn” basis.
Read This Before Joining as Employee 1 to 20 at a Startup
When I say it’s a trial by fire for first employees, it’s also in a way you may not consider. The first person they fire will have an outsized impact on that team’s future.
- Link: firstround.com/review/read-this-before-joining-as-employee-1-to-20-at-a-startup
- Author: First Round Review
The Founder’s Guide to Actually Understanding Users
- Generative user research
- eVALUEative user testing
- Usability testing
- Continuous discovery
The Next Phase of Social? Listen Closely
Because when Andreessen Horowitz calls it, it's usually worth a listen.
We anticipate that the audio innovation of the next decade will rival what we’ve seen in video apps over the past few years.
Pinterest Predicts 2021 (report)
THIS! All of this! Trust me.
How To Think For Yourself
Paul Graham. Need I say more?
Oh behalf of the entire world, Canadian social impact agency Public Inc. absolutely nails it. I mean, when even the known-for-their-politeness Canadians are producing a message like this, well ... yeah. Fuck 2020.