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Archive for August, 2007

Do We Live in a Simulation? Implications for Morality and the Beauty of Physics.

Posted in Analysis, Philosophy, Physics, Science, Transhuman Morality, Transhumanism, Uploading on August 24th, 2007 by leodirac – 3 Comments

There’s been a lot of fuss lately about Nick Bostrom’s ideas that we live in a simulation as a result of an article in the New York Times. Here I’ll provide some analysis of Bostrom’s bold claim, including a proposed mechanism to explain my grandfather’s assertion that mathematical simplicity and beauty were indicators of underlying truth. I’ll also explore the implications of this possibility to our daily lives, and show why this is another reason to follow Transhuman Morality. Simplified Simulation or Complete, Accurate Model? The simulations Bostrom describes would not be precise to the subatomic level, but rather use…

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Democratizing Product Development: Amazon, Google and Facebook

Posted in Amazon, Analysis, Business, Democratization of Information, Facebook, Google on August 23rd, 2007 by leodirac – 2 Comments

A trend in modern successful websites is the democratization of information and decision making. The so-called wisdom of the crowds is at the heart of what makes a web 2.0 company successful. I’m going to compare how three companies have democratized the process of making product development decisions. Amazon makes extensive use of so-called A/B testing to try out new UI’s and optimize the user flow. This works very well for them because their end goal is very well defined: they want people to buy stuff. They are facing a very hard optimization problem, but their objective function is clear…

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Why does smoked food taste so good? Evolution.

Posted in Cooking, Evolution, Science on August 17th, 2007 by leodirac – 1 Comment

Last night I cooked a chicken the really old-fashioned way: by roasting it over an open wood fire. My buddy Mez and I made many observations about how much of an evolutionary throwback our dinner was. Open fire cooking clearly precedes the invention of the oven. It is incredibly inefficient in its use of fuel. Most of the heat goes up into the air. The food must be balanced at an appropriate distance to get the right amount of heat without burning to a crisp. There’s an evolutionary advantage to cooking food — it kills parasites, bacteria and other food-borne…

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5 minute Primer on Venture Capital Term Sheets & Liquidation Preference

Posted in Business, Tech Industry on August 12th, 2007 by leodirac – 1 Comment

Here’s my deck from my recent Ignite/Gnomedex talk, hosted in web-viewable format by Thanks for the tip, Dave! If you’d like to read what I said to go along with the slides, download the PPT and read along in the notes section. I’m really pleased that a bunch of people seem to have found this talk useful. I’m not trying to give away any secrets, and I’m definitely not saying either side is good or bad in these situations. But by explaining how things work, I’m trying to move a little bit in the direction of openness in these…

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VC Term Sheets – Slides from Ignite Talk

Posted in Business, Tech Industry on August 9th, 2007 by leodirac – 4 Comments

Thanks to everybody who came out to Ignite last night to hear me talk. And extra thanks to everybody who voted for me. Looks like I’ll be giving my talk at Gnomedex on Saturday during the Ignite section. As promised, here is my slide deck from last night about VC Term Sheets. But I’m afraid after looking through my spreadsheets I’ve decided they’re not really ready to share yet. I put together some nice tools for visualizing waterfall charts, but they need a little work to make them user friendly. So stay tuned — I will post them. In 1996…

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I’m talking at Ignite Seattle 4

Posted in Business, Ego, Seattle on August 7th, 2007 by leodirac – Comments Off on I’m talking at Ignite Seattle 4

My talk about Venture Capital Term Sheets that I mentioned earlier has been accepted for the next Ignite Seattle which is tomorrow night at the CHAC. If just you want to come hear me talk, I’ll be speaking sometime after 9:45 PM. But the rest of the night (schedule here) looks fabulous so I plan to show up at the beginning at 6:30 PM. I’m doing my best to make this talk slower and more sane than my last talk. I hope to see you tomorrow!

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Weekend Activity: Climbing Mt. Rainier

Posted in Climbing, Ego on August 2nd, 2007 by leodirac – Comments Off on Weekend Activity: Climbing Mt. Rainier

Here’s a shout out to my friends — this weekend I’m making my third attempt to climb Mt. Rainier. (The first two were successful.) But we’re in for a challenge since the glaciers are really broken up. I’m trying to focus this blog on more technology and business issues, so I won’t be talking much about it here. If you’d like to follow along, check out my ironically named outdoors blog Safety Fourth. (Look good, act cool, have fun… Safety fourth!)

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