Happy Saturday! Here are your 5 things from the mind of Miles for this week.
Create Venture Studio. A few weeks ago I wrote about how I was exploring venture studios. Now I invested in one and am spending time with the team. Create is a NY-based venture studio that builds companies from the ground up. I’m focused on ideation right now. Fun to use different ways of having startup ideas. I have a longer list. Let me know if I should publish them, too.
A Thousand Brains. The best book I’ve found on how the neocortex works is A Thousand Brains. The neocortex has many different columns that are running the same algorithm of mental models. Then the columns vote to create a consensus view of reality. There is much more to the theory. The book also covers existential threats (like his skepticism about the AI alignment problem or any intelligence explosion) and space exploration. For example, he argues if you build an artificial neocortex without the “old brain” you will get intelligence without primal drives that would create alignment problems. Intelligence still has to interact with reality in order to build a new version or learn and that takes time. Therefore there can’t be an intelligence exploitation or “hard takeoff”. The book has a few surprising detours like birth control and religion but still worth the read. Pair the book with Superintelligence, How to Create a Mind or Mind Children.
Types of Investing Edge. Many say there are three sources of edge in investing: Analytic, Informational or Behavioral Edge. (Anything missing? Structural or brand?) In The Most Important Thing Marks seems to focus on analytic and some behavioral. Many VC pitches to LPs emphasize informational and maybe brand. (On Venture Patterns, I’ve also cataloged many other tactical ways to win.) Buffett/Munger outperform because of behavioral AND analytic edge. In The Psychology of Money which focuses more on personal finance, Housel recommends accepting that you will be less than perfect behaviorally. Once you accept that you will not behave optimally, you choose a path where you are likely to follow through. For example, completing the second best strategy is better than starting the best strategy but stopping part way through.
Codebreaker List. When I started Codebreaker I thought it was a biography of Nobel prize winner Jennifer Doudna. In addition it includes more recent history of genetic engineering and a summary of related moral considerations. For a flavor, I wanted to share some of the moral dimensions mentioned in the book:
Positional vs Absolute
Somatic vs. Germline
Treatment vs. Enhancements vs. Preventions vs Super Enhancements (abilities that no human has had before)
Project Hail Mary. For fans of Andy Weir’s The Martian comes the book we’ve been waiting for: Project Hail Mary. What a fun read! Like The Martian, the book includes plenty of high-stakes otherworldly engineering. You could call it “hard science fiction” because it includes physics concepts and formulas. But the character seems to be enjoying the science so much it doesn’t seem “hard”.
Until next week,