Welcome to 2022! Here are your 5 things from the mind of Miles for this week.
Y Startup Index. We’ve created the Y Startup Index with the goal of strengthening the Yale entrepreneurship ecosystem. We want to invest in the early round of every startup founded by Yale alumni, faculty or students. With short, mechanical criteria, we want to write quick $25,000 checks and build a large portfolio. We want to connect the successful Yale alum investors that we have in the fund with the startups to make magic happen. That much you might have already known. I’m pleased to share that we’ve made three investments already and plan to make at least five in Q1. With more investors, we want to increase the pace and scale. Please get in touch if you know a startup that qualifies or if you’d like to be involved otherwise. More on the website and in our recorded fireside chat with Accelerate Yale.
Jet Fuel. Founder Collective, a venture capital firm, continues their campaign against companies raising too much venture capital. Their analysis of how companies that raise less VC have better return profiles is persuasive. Why would a VC go to the effort of arguing against VC? As an early investor, they are closer to founder-type incentives. Also, you may wonder if companies that take less VC have a similar survival rate of those that do not. I don’t think they address that question.
Expert vs Actuarial Judgment. I’m interested in improving decision-making. Do you know the research on how even simple actuarial models can outperform experts in predictions like diagnosis or predicting legal case outcomes? What are the best ways to combine humans and artificial decision systems to make the best decisions? I’ve read about this area in Pinker and Tetlock. I’m looking for more good reads.
After Disaster. Another theme around here is long-term thinking. I recently read The Precipice about existential risk. It’s a good introduction to the topic. If you wonder what happens after a large-scale disaster, The Knowledge offers a thought experiment on how to rediscover the material infrastructure of society. And the folks at Allfed have thought a lot about how to feed ourselves after a global food supply disruption. Apparently we only have ~6 months of food stored globally.
Favorite Books of the Year. What’s your favorite book of 2021? Here are some of mine. I won’t bother with repeats from recent newsletters.
The Paper Palace - a masterfully woven story of a day of decision and the historical context. Adultery, incest, and worse that thrives in deceit. Themes of the meaning of marriage, friendship and family. Once you read it, we can debate what happens in the end.
Until next week,