Water Shortages Arise from a Failure to Do Strategic Planning – They Are Not an Excuse Not to Do It

Water Shortages Arise from a Failure to Do Strategic Planning – They Are Not an Excuse Not to Do It

NAO 25th March Tackling water resource issues is one of the five priority risks the Committee on climate Change identified in its 2017 climate change risk assessment. If more concerted action is not taken now, parts of the south and south-east of England will run out of water within the next 20 years. This will of course lead to ever more Coronanimby moaning that we don’t have the resources to build the houses we need. Or as bad that we should force people to move to places where they will be rained on more and be greatful for it. We have absolutely no shortage of water in the UK. Rather we let most of it flow into the sea without being used. Most countries have long ago solved the technical problem of getting water from where it is to where it is needed. Some solutions date back to the origins of civilisation. In the era of privitisation there was a reaction against large scale interegional water transfer solutions as ‘white elephants’ such...
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The Coronimbys – Lets Quarantine them Forever

A new breed has come forth on twitter in recent days. The coronimbys. They never really liked human beings anyway, seeing them as a resource consuming, pollution creating blight (except for them of course), with this misanthropy used to resist housing, HS2, new airports, new anything all in a pseudo environmental anti development brand of eco-fascism why denies all hope of human ingenuity to fix, mend and restore the environment. Oh how they now welcome Covid, it gives them the perfect excuse to say aha we now no longer need the housing. It has all gone away because of recession. Hang on I havnt noticed a mortality rate, like the Black Death, of 30% (which byu the way led to the biggest wave of new settlement building in history in the 14th Century as the economy recovered.) Of course if we can create trillions at teh stroke of a bankers pen to keep the economy going we can do so for housing. And if every major currency...
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Teaching Online

Teaching Online

I have been teaching in one form or another since college. I helped pay for graduate school by teaching other grad students. For most of my life, teaching has meant standing up in front of a group of people and explaining things to them in a large group setting. But, like many things, that is quickly changing right now. I mentioned that we have a new group of analysts at USV. And we are doing an onboarding program for them where the various partners at USV take turns teaching them things they will need to know during their time at USV. When we planned this onboarding program, we thought those classes would take place in person. But now they are taking place online. This week, I am going to teach a three-hour class on cap tables and liquidation waterfalls. These are the spreadsheets we use to track everyone’s ownership in a company and how much money each shareholder gets in a sale transaction. While much of this is straightforward, there are edge cases that can be pretty...
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Sychronous Entertainment

Sychronous Entertainment

It’s kind of sad that HQ Trivia, a mobile live game show, is no longer running. This should be its moment. Much of the world has spent the last week quarantined in their homes and are unable to watch live sports as every league has suspended play. Currently, the news is the only live event we are experiencing together – and though necessary, that’s not been a fun experience. The synchronous lighthearted entertainment that HQ provided would be a welcome respite from the day-to-day boredom of quarantined life. While there will always be a place for asynchronous entertainment like Netflix & HBO, it’s already become clear to me that live events satiate a different need. Over the last week of quarantine, I’ve used live products more than I ever have before. This weekend, me and 150k others participated in #ClubQuarantine hosted by DJ D-Nice on Instagram Live. A friend had to cancel his in-person birthday party, so we all hopped on a hangout to toast drinks. Rumble, the gym I frequent in real life, began...
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Firefox Better Web (with Scroll)

Firefox Better Web (with Scroll)

Ad blockers are hugely popular. Close to 800mm people around the world use them to avoid intrusive ads and data collection. I do not use an ad-blocker but I completely understand why one would choose to do so. And yet much of the media business is supported by advertising. There are a growing number of subscription-based media services, but many people cannot or won’t pay for content and the vast majority of content consumed on the web is advertising supported. So USV has long felt that a subscription-based ad blocker would make a lot of sense. Ad-supported publications could opt-in to get a piece of the subscription revenue and agree to block ads to the subscribers who have the ad blocker. And that is why we invested in our portfolio company Scroll which makes exactly that. And today, Scroll and Firefox are launching Firefox Better Web, which is a service inside of Firefox ($2.50 a month to start and $5 a month in time). I downloaded the latest version of Firefox this morning and signed up. It...
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Post-COVID: Which Behaviors Will Stick?

Post-COVID: Which Behaviors Will Stick?

It’s an overwhelming time right now. Everyone in the world is focused on COVID-19, and to varying degrees, is changing the way they live. From an economic perspective — beyond the obvious massive damage due to a halting of large swaths of the economy, which will need to be addressed with some form of government bailout — there will also be some amount of permanent restructuring. Many people are experiencing, for the first time, how many activities — work, learning, healthcare, and socializing — can be done remotely and in new ways using digital tools. For sure, when the dust settles, we will largely go back to doing things how we’ve always done them, but I suspect that certain new behaviors will stick, and will result in longer-term behavioral and economic changes. The most obvious one is business travel and remote work. Everyone who can is learning how to do this now — including companies/teams/individuals that may have resisted it mightily in the past. Moving forward, it’s going to be much harder to justify an in-person-only culture. Virtual...
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Introducing Everyday Experts: A New Podcast

Introducing Everyday Experts: A New Podcast

For the past six months, I’ve been working on a new podcast called Everyday Experts , where I profile people from a variety of jobs and industries about the people and systems behind the work they do. I know a lot of business podcasts already exist. But I wanted this to be different. Rather than look to people we might traditionally perceive as de-facto experts (that’s to say, CEOs, renowned entrepreneurs, or celebrity figures), I wanted to help uncover great leaders in unexpected places. That’s to say, people you might come across in your day-to-day life, but not necessarily recognize as experts. Bus operators. Physical therapists. Beauticians. The local bar owner who’s always there to take a shot with you when you need one. The veterinarian who sees you only when you’re at your worst and worried sick about the health of your favorite pet. To kick things off, I rounded up a group of people I’ve gotten to know personally — all of whom work face-to-face with their customers or clients — and I asked them:...
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Legal Capsule by LexCounsel

FORCE MAJEURE AND CORONAVIRUS: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS Part 1: Force Majeure and Suspension/Termination of Contracts Coronavirus (COVID-19) is turning out to be a twin fold pandemic – that started with affecting public health and soon spread throughout the economy. Sudden global shutdown and travel restrictions have brought the economy to a screeching halt, before most of us could...
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Why Companies May Benefit from More Transparency about Product Drawbacks

Why Companies May Benefit from More Transparency about Product Drawbacks

Source: Pixabay Most companies, quite expectedly, focus intensely on the positive attributes of their products and services when communicating with customers. They market all the benefits, and typically, they minimize any discussion of the limitations or drawbacks of the product. After all, who would want to shine a spotlight on negative attributes of your products? Well, Harvard Business School scholars Ryan Buell and MoonSoo Choi decided to challene the conventional wisdom. They sought to examine whether a bit more honesty and transparency might actually be beneficial for companies. Buell and MoonSoo Choi published their findings in a paper titled, "Improving Customer Compatibilitywith Operational Transparency." The scholars worked with Commonwealth Bank, a large Australian financial services company, to conduct a randomized field experiment. On the bank's website, potential new customers received one of two offers: one highlighted the best attributes of the company's credit card, while the other also mentioned key drawbacks that firms often tend to place in the fine print only. In short, the company made explicit...
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