I live in San Francisco. Yes, that city that’s called the epicenter of the tech revolution and has, arguably, one of the most unaffordable yet competitive real estate markets. The median price of a house in SF, as of early 2020, is a whopping $1,392,859. You can read more about what that means for wage-earners here and here.

If you were intending to buy a house in San Francisco, or most parts of the Bay Area, you would need a cool $300K as a downpayment. Even for a high paying tech worker, this would take a 3–4 years of savings to get to. And all the while you end up paying anywhere from $2,000 to $4500 a month for rent. Over 3 years that translates to $120,000 — $260,000 pre-tax money that you pay to the landlord. Let that sink in for a moment. …

I had been following the Theranos episode for quite a while and recently managed to complete John Carreyrou’s book Bad Blood, his work on Theranos’ rise and fall. My intention of reading this book was to understand what Theranos got right to make it big and what it could have done to prevent its downfall. Here are a few lessons budding startups can learn from Theranos’ journey.

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The Product — You cannot sell a lie, not for long anyway.
Your product is a testament to the companies value, ethics, and presence. It draws inspiration from the change a founder envisions, the familiarity that the market prefers and the profitability that the investor values. So you would assume that the product needs to be complete in some form and show tangible value for a company to make headway. While this has always applied to traditional markets, the tech industry remains an exception. This is partly because many tech companies in Silicon Valley, the Mecca of the computer revolution, have been able to establish themselves by simply promising to deliver the far-fetched future. This is so common that when a budding company from the valley, with a barebones product, describes itself as a disruptor nobody bats an eye and instead compete to contribute to the fund train. …

Do you remember the time in your life when you knew bits and pieces of how the world worked but never understood how they all fit into the bigger picture of the cosmos in a cohesive manner? This was exactly the state I was in before starting the Sapiens series. Growing up I was made aware of different religions, ideologies and how humans in different countries had a different outlook toward traditions, customs, society and scientific improvements. What I did not know was if any single one of them was better or had a bigger impact on human history and progression than the others. Was there an ideology that satisfied my faith in science? Why is it that democracy is hailed as the best form of governance? Why do some countries focus on the individual whereas others place a greater emphasis on a cohort? Sapiens series answered a lot of these questions, but the real beauty of the Sapiens series was to put all of the seemingly disparate important philosophical, lifestyle, societal critical events into one continuum creating an effective story that humans are always fond of. Not everything that Harari says makes sense (or backed by data), but the narrative is compelling and coherent enough to carry the content through. …


Jareehd Arrob

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