San Francisco – Day 1

I spent my morning walking around San Francisco, got a chance to ponder on when and why people collaborate versus dominate. Also, got a chance to dive deeper into the concept of Lex Mercatoria as an example of collaboration without state sponsorship.

I was fortunate to have lunch and a fairly long afternoon chilling session with Zaki who is doing some brilliant work at this beautiful company. Conversation became extremely targeted very quickly and some pretty awesome goodies (companies or quality content) were shared. Some I’m posting here to read up later:

  1. Starting with Zenefits (too lazy to hyper link) but this company’s product can wipe out administrative HR functions in most Pakistani companies very quickly. Along with threatening the existence of an administrative HR outsourcing firm. Rated the fastest growing company in Silicon Valley in 2015, and is valued close to 3 billion! Forget the valuation, it has raised closed to 570 million dollars since inception. Beautiful company and beautiful story. I look forward to learning more about the founders and Y Combinator. (I will revert later with hyperlinks)
  2. Paul Graham’s essays and why they are awesome (Quora has this question answered). I just finished reading an awesome post on by the same guy on The Top Idea on your Mind (need to come back to this as well). But one gem in it was “be careful what you let become critical to you” another great excerpt from his essay “I’ve found there are two types of thoughts especially worth avoiding – thoughts like the Nile Perch in the way they push out more interesting ideas. One I’ve already mentioned: thoughts about money. Getting money is almost by definition an attention sink. The other is disputes. These too are engaging in the wrong way: they have the same velcro-like shape as genuinely interesting ideas, but without the substance. So avoid disputes if you want to get real work done.”
  3. Tim Ferris’ books: 4 hour work week and 4 hour chef. Coming back to this another day
  4. Other things and people to google: Ben Thompson, Mark Suster (entrepreneur and investor for real)
  5. The 11 principles of Applied Analytics. This is a white paper written by Georgian Partners. They are pretty awesome, I was struggling to copy paste the list so will come back to this as well. But the best insight was: “Separate analytical insight from how it is consumed, inject insight into business processes at moments of highest impact and it’s not about “owning” the data”
  6. Altassian is a superemly awesome product. But we admired it because the founders are based in Australia, and have still managed to maintain high levels of ownership despite raising a ton of money globally. Need to come back to this as well. These guys are about tong public.

After a a pretty extensive session with Zaki. I took my good friend Adil’s advice and met up with Omair Hyder. Pakistani dude working on some absolutely amazing concepts related to how Urdu is taught and genuinely problem solving on the ed tech front in Pakistan! Omair told me to look into the six thinking hats. Something I plan to return to

And finally I had dinner with Hassan Ali. Guy works with RBC Capital, he says M&A and advisory teams for tech inside large banks are acting more like tech companies themselves and how much autonomy he had in his role. Very cool to see all this evolution.

Looking forward to more of this stuff tomorrow. Clearly lots to soak in and reflect on.

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