In 2008, there was a 40% reduction of venture dollars, and it took about 18 to 24 months to return to normalcy.

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Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

In the past four months — since March, the month in which coronavirus has been declared a pandemic — 70.000 startup employees have been laid-off, worldwide. Roger Lee tracks the numbers here. Uber leads the ranking with 6700 laid-off employees (in SF Bay Area), followed by Airbnb, with 1900.

This shows how vulnerable these sectors are. Travel and transportation services can only be produced when the customer is physically present. The same applies to healthcare. Here, however, the pandemic had a lesser impact, and in some cases, it only raised the demand for healthcare — or pharmaceutical — products.

In consumer discretionary categories, to which transportation and travel belong (as well as finance, or retail) changes in spending appear immediately at the till. In retail or food industries, online services served as a cushion, but they did not compensate for all the losses. …

Labeling software products as AI-capable is a common practice among companies, specifically those seeking funding.

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Photo by Adeolu Eletu on Unsplash

Artificial intelligence (AI) is the new gold rush, and many companies claim their stakes in it. The number of software products labeled as “AI-powered” is on the rise. Yet, in many cases, these products are driven by simple statistics or hidden people.

In 2016, artificial intelligence wasn’t even in the top 100 Google searches and thus not on the radar of many investors or corporate buyers. But for the last three years, its importance grew, and every software company became — at least on the surface — an AI company.

Organizations are too overwhelmed with what’s happening in and around tech space. They’re willing to take stakes in AI-powered businesses, but often lack the skills in evaluating AI startups or software products. …

WeWork was burning cash at a rate of $219k per hour.

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Photo by Freddie Collins on Unsplash

Investors were relentlessly dumping their cash into startups, and soon a new breed of companies has emerged. And then the WeWork fiasco came along.

The “unicorn” term was first coined in 2013 by Aileen Lee from Cowboy Ventures and referred to startups that have a valuation of more than $1 billion. As of today, there are more than 400 unicorn startups worldwide. The top ten unicorns are (CBInsights):

  1. Toutiao — $75B (China — Artificial Intelligence)
  2. Didi Chuxing — $56B (China — Artificial Intelligence)
  3. JUUL Labs — $50B (USA — Consumer & Retail)
  4. WeWork — $47 (USA — Other)
  5. SpaceX — $33.3B (USA —…

Use them before anything else.

A baloon smiley nearly out of air
A baloon smiley nearly out of air
My own piece of art

I grew up in a village in southwest Poland. It was the 80s — a time of Soviet dominance, social unrest, and economic hardship. My childhood was marked by austerity imposed by the Polish economy. And my parents. No internet, food rationing. Propaganda posters here and there. All ingredients for an unhappy life.

Whoa, hold on a minute, did you just say you had no internet? It must have sucked?

No, not so much.

For one, because as a child I didn’t have to worry about the adult’s stuff.

Writing produces words, editing creates stories.

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Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

Writing and editing tend to be difficult when done by the same person. There is one part in us that wants to create — writing is an act of creation — and explore whatever there is to explore. We search for ideas, thoughts, experiences and try to find the right words to recreate them on paper and share them with others.

Whereas editing is an act of perfection. Here, the focus is on beauty, on defining the right structure, the cadence, the musicality. If feels like carving marble sculptures. We rough out the raw block of material by eliminating unwanted parts and polish until perfection. …

Accomplished writers share their methods, and agony, of writing the story’s first sentences.

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Photo by Mike Tinnion on Unsplash

I wrote this sentence several times and it still feels half-done. As it turns out, many writers go through the same painful experience — no matter whether they’re writing pros or just starting out.

How do you overcome this hurdle? Here is some practical advice from some of the greatest writers and journalists on how to craft your story’s beginning

(based on interviews in the book The New New Journalism by Robert S. Boynton)

1) Study the Sentences of Great Writers

Schools in the 18th and 19th century in America taught children to write by copying the work of great writers. By doing so, students learned handwriting, proper grammar, punctuation, as well as syntax. Later, schools quit teaching these methods, as they believed mere imitation does not lead to greatness. Instead, they focused on teaching strategies of good writing. …

Take a look at how award-winning journalists organize their material for writing.

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Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash

Organizing material is both a physical and a mental process. Firstly, you mark and sort your notes by themes, subjects, or chronology. You transcribe your interviews or pay someone to do so. You print stuff out, or scan it and store it on your laptop — and if you have done a lot of reporting and researching, and there is tons of that material you’ve gathered, you will even sweat while doing so.

These activities, ideally, come first before anything else. Before you even start to think about the details of the story. Of course, while out there, talking to people or skimming through materials in a library, you likely build up your story in your mind, you have some lead that sticks with you since the beginning, you mentally compose the scenes, and you place the characters in these scenes. By organizing the material first, you make sure that you stick to the truth. …

A glimpse into the journalists’ approach for generating ideas, their research routines, and interviewing methods.

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This article is based on the book “The New New Journalism” by Robert S. Boynton, who interviewed nineteen practitioners of the literature of fact. Occasionally, I have used the wisdom found in William Zinsser’s classic “On Writing Well” and John McPhee’s “Draft №4”.

Americans always had a great need to explore and express the force and magnitude of their national experience — The American Experience. The curiosity about the cultural diversity, a fictional current that sweeps beneath its vast territories, has surfaced stories of larger-than-life characters as well as the simple, ordinary life.

The Literature of Fact in the USA

Between 1870 and 1900, the nation of seventy-five million absorbed twelve million immigrants — most of them entering the USA through the Golden Door in New York. Traditional journalism was no longer sufficient to portray the changes in American life. This cultural mosaic required journalists to apply prodigious research and diligent reporting and to use a narrative form that helped to convey the overwhelming facts in a comprehensible manner. …

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Photo by Raj Eiamworakul on Unsplash

In the midst of the discussions around artificial intelligence (AI) and automation, people begin to speculate how the jobs of the future will be like — and if there is still a reason for them to exist. AI with its machine and deep learning algorithms constantly aim at automating everything that’s in their way, spreading fear and confusion in nearly every industry. But are these fears justified?

The uncertainty about the future is amplified by the numerous predictions of it, often conflicting in their polemic. The narrative in the mass media, however, isn’t new. There is always someone who wants to sell something — a book, a product, a piece of software. And the “visionary” reports are no different, clickbaiting us by using curiosity (“Learn these 10 skills that will keep you ahead of automation”), urgency (“Learn them now, or get automated”), and more often than not, pessimism shuffled with helplessness (“You will lose your job to a robot, so stop trying”). …

Blockchain pledges to resolve issues around Digital Identities. But there are still many unanswered questions.

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Photo by Launchpresso on Unsplash

After more than a quarter-century of the commercialization of the Internet (the first email was sent in 1989), we still struggle to verify our identities in the digital world. Despite the presence of technologies that enable only one digital identity, we are forced to create and maintain many versions of us on the Web.

On July 5th, 1993 The New Yorker published an image of a dog seated at a computer telling his companion that “on the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog”. This image, authored by the artist Peter Steiner, has become a symbol of how anonymity works on the Internet. …


Piotr Domek

I don’t have any particular skills. I have a sort of vague knowledge of many areas.

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