Equity value

Warren Buffet once said:

Buy into a business that’s doing so well an idiot could run it, because sooner or later, one will.

This is a useful way to understand the meaning of “equity value”. You learn in finance that equity value is the overall value of a the stock (i.e. equity) of a business, which in turn is the present value of all future profits. Of course with startups the future is extremely uncertain, leading to a huge variance in valuations.

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next in the new series of “killer” YA novels

The ghosts that bang pots are just trying to warn us to bring weapons when we die!

The Statute of Limitations on Regret

This post is from GRS staff writer Donna Freedman. Donna writes the Frugal Cool blog for MSN Money, and writes about frugality and intentional living at Surviving And Thriving.

Recently I read a blog post so glum I wondered how I might do a well-being check on its anonymous author. “The vacation high wears off” at The Quest for $85,000 describes the aftermath of a trip to visit aging family members. Now the writer’s own life feels “shorter” and the three years until her husband’s retirement seem unbearably long.

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museum of endangered sounds

I GIVE YOU: the comic with the highest “fart” count per panel ever

Quote of the Day – Career Inspiration

I like this:

Here’s a mystery: If you expect praise and recognition, it will seldom come. I really don’t know why, but life has demonstrated repeatedly that if your motive for doing something is to receive thanks or praise, you’ll often be disappointed. If, however, you go about doing the right thing, knowing that the doing is its own reward, you’ll be fulfilled whether or not you get recognition from others. When reward or recognition comes, it will be icing on the cake.” – Mark Sanborn The Fred Factor: How Passion in Your Work and Life Can Turn the Ordinary into the Extraordinary*

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Mathias Rust: the teenager who flew to Red Square – video | World news | guardian.co.uk

The Goal

Guy English has a new blog post up, called “The Technology is not the Goal". Guy's blog is on my short list of must-reads and, if you're not a regular reader, you should be. The post is short and sweet, like all the best writing, and it drives home a point made by one of Guy's hero's, Ed Catmull.
Ed also happens to be a hero of mine. He’s somebody that I’d love the opportunity to meet, in person, just so I could say “thank you” in real life. When I watch Ed speak, I feel like he’s talking to me as an individual. He’s that rare brilliant but quiet person who moves the world forward in ways that most people will never realize. Yet, he seems to be amazingly modest and down-to-earth; the kind of person you’d enjoy having a meal or a drink with.
And I don’t disagree with anything Guy says except… well… I guess I sort of disagree with the main point of his post. Or, at least, the title of his post.
Sort of.
In a big picture, philosophical, write-it-down-for-posterity sense, Guy and Ed are absolutely 100% right. For sure. Without a doubt. Focusing on a specific technology is a sucker’s game. We have a name for those people in our industry: the future unemployed.
But getting to the point where you even have the option of moving technology forward is a very long and trying road. Hell… getting to the point where you have a good enough grasp on what’s already been achieved to start building new things is more than daunting by itself. Getting to that point where others can build on your work is, frankly, something that relatively few of us ever really achieve.

I mean, think about this: it took 23 years to go from Ed’s digitized hand to the first Toy Story movie. I  can guarantee you that not every moment of that time was spent by Ed contemplating the impact of and potential for greater good of computer graphics.

When you’re learning, and especially when you’re figuring out the boundaries of some technology well enough that you can push it forward… well, sometimes… sometimes you’re just doing it for the fun of it, without any further motivation or thoughts about where your efforts might lead. A lot of times, you don’t care about the “commercial viability” of the technology. Sometimes you’re pursuing things for no greater reason than Sir Edmund Hillary had for climbing Everest. Sometimes you’re just exploring because you’re curious. Because you want to know. Because something is in front of you, and you have the option to tinker with it.
And that’s not a bad thing.
“Because it’s there” is a perfectly acceptable reason for figuring out something new (even if it’s just new to you). Hell, that very notion is the seed crystal around which spectacular gem formations of ideas can grow. Not every thought or experiment or idea metamorphoses into a precious one, but every one has the potential¹. We can hope and dream that our efforts will be the basis of future creative works, and it’s incredibly, amazingly rewarding when that happens. Even being the tiniest spark of inspiration for something greater than what we, ourselves, have achieved is an incredible thing. And it doesn’t have to be your goal at the time you do it. I’m not entirely sure that it should ever be your goal.
It’s true that you will see further by standing on the shoulders of somebody else’s achievements. There’s also no doubt that you should spend some time standing there. But it’s also true that it feels darn good being somebody else’s giant to stand on (no matter how small of a giant you might think you are).
And both roles are vital to moving things forward.
Progress is a messy, imprecise, meandering road. Ed Catmull couldn’t have known what the long-term impact of digitizing his hand would be back in 1972. I don’t pretend to know his reasons for doing it at the time, but I think betting on natural curiosity is a fairly safe bet.
And there’s nothing wrong with that.

1– Geologists should just shut up here, it’s a lay metaphor. And it’s fun, so don’t ruin it with your scientific knowledge, okay?
©2008-2010 Jeff LaMarche.
http://iphonedevelopment.blogspot.com

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Fixing PNGs

One of my hobbies is poking around in the application bundles of software that I did not write. The extent of my curiosity ranges from aiming to find the identify of an uncredited developer, to disassembling and examining the technical approaches that were taken in the code. But usually I just like to take a quick survey and see if anything catches my interest.

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