On Identity, via Kwame Appiah

Issues of identity are front and center in our time. Old certainties are, for some, antique; and for others, they represent the one thing to hold on to for dear life as essences become contingent or fragmented. Reading Kwame Appiah’s “Lies that Bind”, earlier this week, served as a catalyst to reflect on how my own sense of identity has evolved.

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Amasia and the Climate Crisis 2/3: A Sector Map

In an earlier essay we laid out the facts around the climate crisis. In this second installment, we provide a sector map to better understand innovations under way now to counteract the crisis.

Some sectors are self-evident. Others such as remote work and remote learning technologies are not — but these in fact have giant (positive) effects on the climate, especially at scale.

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Skillshare and Getting Global

Skillshare’s geographic footprint has expanded dramatically during the period of our involvement. The company has grown revenues close to 10x while being highly capital efficient, and now has 8 million users in almost every country in the world. 50% of new users are outside the United States — but what I find even more interesting is that 60% of all *teachers*are outside the US. What is bringing these teachers to the Skillshare platform?

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A Secret Weapon for Startups -- Functional Programming?

I was admitted to Penn for computer science, and while I got two undergraduate degrees, computer science remained my first love all along. My favorite CS course of all was CSE 121, the second semester of freshman year, which was an introduction to functional programming via the LISP language. Why was it my favorite? It was elegant, mathematical, and introduced me to the delights of recursion. To me this was the essence of computer science.

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Saying No

The VC business, for a fund manager, is an orgy of rejection. During the course of a year, we will touch 1,000 companies at Amasia; we'll invest in three (maybe four, sometimes two). What this means is that on 997 occasions, we're saying no.

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