How Music Influences Google

As Google CEO Larry Page looks backward, he’s realizing how much his musical education inspired critical elements of Google—especially his impatience and obsession with speed.“In some sense I feel like music training lead to the high-speed legacy of Google for me,” Page said during a recent interview with Fortune. “In music you’re very cognizant of time. Time is like the primary thing.”

“I do think there is an important artistic component in what we do,” he said. “As a technology company I’ve tried to really stress that.” Page says he learned to appreciate that “artistic component,” in part through music.

Now, Page’s interest in music has taken a new turn. How it will impact Google, if at all, remains to be seen. “The last couple of years I’ve been trying to learn percussion a bit, which has been challenging,” he said.

Source: How music education influenced Google CEO Larry Page |


Looking Up Helps

These days when it seems like humanity isn’t up to dealing with the problems of police shootings, politics, terrorism and numerous other challenges, remembering the big challenges we have overcome can be useful. The Abundance book has plenty of examples of the progress being made to raise the quality of life for more and more people, but that takesa good bit of time and thought and just doesn’t feel big enough. There’s a quick and easy way to be reminded of how people of all races, genders, political parties and countries can work together to tackle enormous problems successfully – look up in the sky. Tonight(7/7/2016) and for the next few nights, one can see Jupiter near the moon in the western sky where the sun has just set.


3 days ago, a basketball court sized spacecraft completed a 5 year journey and successfully entered orbit around Jupiter. This has been described as “the hardest thing NASA has done” – comparable to hitting a golf ball in New York into a hole in Los Angeles! Jupiter is 540 million miles away and as wide as 11 Earths! One could fit all of the planets in our solar system inside Jupiter.


Another benefit of looking up and seeing a place humans have sent equipment to is that it reminds us there is an abundance of material resource available to us. It’s awesome and anyone can choose to go outside, look up and be inspired.

Baltimore and The Permanent Underclass Problem

It was good to see conservatives and liberals agreeing on Morning Joe  and elsewhere that decades of systemic economic failure are creating a permanent underclass in Baltimore and throughout America.  At the same time there’s a need to recognize that people have been not only saying this for some time, but also acting to prevent the present crisis. One participant in CNN’s Black In America Part 4 Silicon Valley documentary in  2011 noted:

As I said in the documentary, not fixing this problem ultimately leads to a permanent underclass. And if you think Occupy Wall Street is a troubling signal regarding dissatisfaction around wealth distribution, you ain’t seen nothing yet. I fear the growing wealth disparity, particularly along racial and ethnic lines, will be catalyst for significant civil unrest.
 Hank Williams

Commenting in 1982 on the 1965 Watts riots, the late community pioneer and founder of the Watts Labor Community Action Committee Ted Watkins said:

If we continue in the direction that we are heading in cutting out all of the support a community like this is getting. Not only Watts but New York, Washington D.C. and Detroit MI, possibly, people will be at war.

A Practical Man

Perhaps what’s needed most is a sense of urgency and the will to move beyond relying primarily on protests and government programs. We don’t have all of the science, technology, engineering and math resources we need but we have enough to start making an impact right now today. We can’t “buy black” if there’s no  black company making the product, but we can choose how we spend our money so that we can invest in ourselves, our past and present knowledge of how to make products.

Bold Entrepreneurship and Social Consciousness


As technology advances, it becomes cheaper and more powerful. Companies such as Google and Facebook become worth billions by reaching billions. That is the key point that Bold makes: “the best way to become a billionaire is to solve a billion person problem.”

Entrepreneurs can, I am certain, make all of these advances happen and profoundly affect billions. We just need an exponential advance in humanity’s social consciousness so that technologies find roles in bettering humankind, not just in creating wealth for their founders and owners in the way that some Silicon Valley technologies do.

Washington Post review of Bold(emphasis mine)



Black History Month 2015 Theme: Making History In Space


Martin Luther King Jr. and Nichelle Nichols had a very fortuitous encounter at an NAACP fund raising event in Beverly Hills after the first year of the Star Trek television show which changed not only her life but countless others.  MLK was a very expansive thinker, well aware of the benefits of space exploration even at a time when African-Americans made up only a percent or two of U.S. engineering workforce. Earlier that week Nichelle had decided to leave the show and return to her roots in musical theatre. When she mentioned that to Dr. King, she says he insisted that she stay, that her role was of historical importance(see other accounts by Wall Street Journal and CNN). He convinced her to stay and millions of people of all ethnicities were exposed to the notion that a woman of color could be fourth in command of an intergalactic starship. He understood that it was more than a television show. I suppose we can speculate how clearly he envisioned from the mountain top that Nichelle would inspire people like former astronauts Mae Jemison and Charles Bolden, that Dr. Jemison would bring Star Trek into space:

A quarter of a century after Lt. Uhura boldly went where no African American had gone before, her protegee returned the favor. Before blasting into orbit aboard the Endeavour in 1992, Jemison, the first woman of color in space, called actress Nichelle Nichols to thank her for the inspiration. And then she made a promise: Despite NASA’s rigid protocol, Jemison would begin each shift with a salute that only a Trekkie could appreciate. “Hailing frequencies open,

Stanford Today

and appear in an episode of the Star Trek The Next Generation tv show,


that Charles Bolden would become the director of NASA. However, one thing we know for certain is that for just about two more years, the Director of NASA and his boss are African-American. During this time every historic accomplishment at NASA happens under their our watch. During Black History Month this year, I’ll be tracking those historical events along with other aspects of African-American historical endeavors in both physical and virtual space.

See also:

Why Travel Restrictions Cannot Contain Ebola

It is impossible to absolutely seal every border and as long as there’s a growing number of ebola infected people the virus will spread. Stopping the outbreak where it is and improving healthcare infrastructure everywhere else is the answer.

Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone are already economically isolated because this epidemic has spread far wider and lasted much longer than any other Ebola outbreak in history. What those countries need most now is assistance from the world.

More flight restrictions will only make it more difficult for life-saving aid and medical professionals to reach West Africa. The restrictions already in place have proved so problematic that U.S. military forces are building an “air bridge” to get health workers and medical supplies to affected areas.

“Any discontinuation of transport will affect humanitarian aid, doctors, nurses and human resources entering the country, the transfer of biological sampling and equipment for hospitals,” Daniel Menucci, a representative for the World Health Organization Travel and Transport Task Force, said in August. “All of this needs international transporting, international airlines. This will create more problems in helping the countries most affected.”

Washington Post





Takeaways From YCombinator’s Free Startup Class

Videos posted 4pm every Tues & Thurs here

…  selective loosely transcribed points with my notes emphasized

  1. first time on the record
  2. 720 companies funded
  3. every speaker has been involved in creating a $1B+ company – not theory
  4. ALL advice geared toward businesses seeking hypergrowth and building a large company
  5. startups different from
  6. 4 key areas you need to excel
  7. luck is a random number between 1 and 10000
  8. even playing field – young and old alike
  9. weaknesses can be strength
  10. why – easier ways to get rich
  11. compelled by a problem – passion first, startup second
  12. great ideas matter – too much emphasis on pivoting today
  13. altman is a recent convert
  14. if it works it will be a 10 year effort LONG TERM PLANNING MATTERS
  15. plans are worthless – the exercise of planning is valuable
  16. someday you need to build a business that’s difficult to replicate – this is an important part of a good idea
    1. important for hypergrowth but is that what your village needs
  17. you have to believe in the mission
  18. it’s easier to start a hard startup than to start an easy one
  19. be mission driven
  20. best ideas often look terrible at the beginning
  21. you want an idea that turns into a monopoly but you can’t get a monopoly in a big market right away – need to get a monopoly in a small market and expand
  22. fine line between right and crazy – early on most people will think it’s a bad idea
  23. seeming like a bad idea shields from theft
  24. have to think about the growth rate of the market not just the company
  25. why now
  26. don’t clone existing ideas
  27. quoting 50 Cent
  28. student oriented
  29. product s/b the focus
  30. build something a small number of people love – having lots of people like it won’t get you far and if a lot of people love it now Google or another big entity else will do it … hmmm maybe not, maybe they have blinders or conflicts with existing revenue streams
  31. early growth by word of mouth is really important
  32. most startups don’t fail from competition
  33. start with a small subset of the problem – even if you see a bigger set of problems to solve
  34. don’t needs lots of early users, but ones that provide regular feedback
  35. Dustin Moskovitz on why
  36. realize it will be stressful – very stressful
  37. financial rewards for employee #100 slide
  38. if you really, really have a very big idea and are really, really prepared you shouldn’t be in this class – just go do it!
  39. don’t need to start a company to have a big impact on the world
  40. passion vs aptitude