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17 February 2017

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No Mercy No Malice

Musings on the week from @profgalloway

Virtuous Reality

I’m in Dallas for a board meeting. Something wonderful, and unexpected, happened at Dallas Forth Worth airport. (When’s the last time you heard “wonderful” and “DFW airport” in the same sentence?) I was turned away from the American Airlines Admirals Lounge (tip: having a Bank of America debit card doesn’t get you access), so I decided to kick it at McDonald’s and enjoy a Big Mac meal deal. Best. Meal. Ever. A little girl with black curls, a Star Wars Rey backpack, and thick purple glasses walked by, and began puking. The mother, befuddled, tightened her grip (likely late for her flight) and kept the child moving, rendering our young Padawan a mobile puking hose. A 14-foot stripe of vomit was painted parallel to the McDonald’s.

Over the next five minutes, shit got real:

— There was the pilot with his wheely bag who kicked up splashes of puke on the flight attendants walking with him. I’m guessing they now think Captain Miller just sucks, really sucks.

— The fabulous millennial in Louboutins (I know shoes) who, mid-stride, stopped to register the material on her shoes, paused, clutched her handbag as if she was being attacked by an invisible force, and looked skyward in rage and disbelief.

It just got better and better. I didn’t want to overdose on joy and left right after a guy in a 10-gallon hat and cowboy boots almost slipped and broke a hip on the puke. It was all glorious.

There’s a magic, grittiness, and emotion to non-virtual reality.

The reality of VR is we are officially at the beginning of the end. Nobody gets it right 100% of the time. I avoid investing in entrepreneurs after a big exit, as they were, in addition to very talented, extremely lucky, and there’s usually a reversion to the mean on the whole luck thing and their follow-on venture. The same is true of people who supposedly can see the future. They can’t. Mark Zuckerberg said VR would “unlock new worlds.” After being so right on how to connect the world, he got this one wrong. But not before Samsung, Sony, and hundreds of other firms spent billions trusting that the Zuck was more Jesus than human. The most valuable unicorn in my home state, Florida, is Magic Leap — a firm founded in 2010 that has raised $1.4B to design and manufacture head-mounted virtual retinal displays. The firm hasn’t released a product yet, and is valued more than AMC, the world’s largest movie theater company. What could go wrong?

Best Buy just shuttered 200 Oculus pop-up stores, as many weren’t getting a single demo. Tech firms are terrible at developing wearables, as they underestimate the complexity of emotions that go along with deciding what you’d look fly in. One thing is for certain: you look ridiculous with an Oculus around your neck. It’s not a wearable, but a prophylactic.

Genius vs. Common Sense

Dr. Michael Woodley of Menie, from the Free University of Brussels, believes individuals who can be classified as geniuses have brains that are wired differently and are programmed to be unable to deal with small details. Einstein reportedly got lost near his home campus of Princeton, wandered into a bookstore and said, “Hi, I’m Einstein, can you take me home please?” He couldn’t drive, and some of the small stuff people take for granted was totally beyond his capabilities. Geniuses lack common sense around mundane issues.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey purchased 7 million worth of Twitter shares earlier this week. This makes no sense for Jack financially, as he needs to diversify. Note: He gave $125M of his shares to employees, so it’s clear he is generous. He purchased the shares, as it sends a signal to the market that he’s confident in the prospects of the firm he runs. However, the purchase has sent a much clearer signal to the market: that nobody is interested in acquiring Twitter (he couldn’t purchase shares otherwise), removing a floor on the stock present since they announced they were courting suitors last year. Mr. Dorsey may be a genius, and he’s certainly generous, but likely gets lost a lot.

Life is so rich,
Scott

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