An exploration of generating venture capital firm names using Markov chains

Venture capitalists are not very creative with naming, so I decided to try using a Markov chain to generate some names. (I’m a helper.)

First, I tried the fairly vanilla Markov chain described in Towards Data Science. Basically, I take my data set of investor names and turn it into a list of pairs. So if we have:

Sequoia Capital
Union Square Ventures
GV (Google Ventures)

We’d end up with:

('Sequoia', 'Capital')
('Union', 'Square')
('Square', 'Ventures')
('GV', '(Google')
('(Google', 'Ventures)')

Then we group by the first word to find all of the likely transitions. For example, from my unabridged dataset:


I like to think of the entire process of networking as a scientific experiment. Basically, I come up with a hypothesis (“People will do X if I do Y”), test, and evaluate the results. Then I adjust my hypothesis.

This lowers the stress of standing in the corner of a crowded party where I don’t know anyone. If I try to talk to someone and it doesn’t work out, it’s just a data point, not a judgement.

So: there you are in your party corner. My advice is to start by setting a goal of three interactions. …


There’s a crazy variety of dog breeds there are out there and it’s amazing that people have created them all. However, as my dog gets older, what I’d really like is a dog that would live longer.

My dog, looking extremely dignified with a grey mustache.

This is kind of a tricky thing to breed for: by the time you know a dog is going to live a long time, it’s too old to breed. However, with technology, you could freeze the sperm & eggs of some dogs you’re optimistic about, enjoy their all-to-brief lives, and “breed” the longest-lived in a test tube. Repeat.

At a completely naive approach…


If you look at the human-made structures that have survived the longest, they basically look like a pile of rocks because it’s hard to knock over a pile of rocks. As I approach such lofty ages, I find my body has a tendency to look more and more like a pile of rocks.

To fight this natural inclination, I’ve been doing boxing a couple times a week. Today I went sparing and it was brutal. I was standing there, gloves on, helmet on, mouthguard in, facing a woman 6" taller than me, when I realized: I had a hair in…


In the light of the moon, two friends came up with a little idea.

On Sunday, they went to a coffeeshop. They founded their company and POP! got their first customer.

Kristina Chodorow

Engineering Partner at GV. New Yorker.

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