We all read tons of stuff on the internet to give us a better perspective on the world we traverse. I find that the vast majority of links that fly across my streams are “pop technology”. They might be mildly interesting or even momentarily thought provoking. But most are really snowflakes in your hand – they melt pretty quick, and you move on pretty quickly too.
But every year, there are a few posts that stand out for their insightfulness. You find yourself thinking about the points that are made over and over again, and doing so actually changes the way you think and/or behave. Or, even if it isn’t so impactful, some posts are such a nice articulation of a particular topic that you find yourself continuously sharing them or referencing them when the topic comes up.
Given all this, I thought I’d close out my blog this year with a quick collection of posts that had this sort of impact on me. It’s a short list on purpose, and I’m sure I’m missing a bunch. I’m curious to hear what other posts you found really excellent from the past year – I’ll add them to my reading list as 2012 winds down.
- Roger and Mike’s Hypernet Blog: I’ve linked to this over and over again. Yes, the response I get from 90% of people I meet when I bring it up is “I’ve never read their stuff”. Trust me, read it. It’s a great analysis of where we are and where we are headed from the standpoint of foundational technology innovation on the internet.
- CS 183 – Peter Theil’s Class courtesy of Blake Masters: What can I say? It made me with that I was in school again. I would read all of the summaries. But in particular, my favorites were the lecture on SECRETS and the lecture titled “YOU ARE NOT A LOTTERY TICKET”.
- Paul Graham on Growth: Really excellent, nuanced view on what growth means for early stage companies. As a bonus, I also enjoyed Jeff Jordan’s post on Growth, which I found to be a nice summary of how to think about growth as companies scale and mature.
- Bonus: These posts came last year, but I didn’t present my “year’s best writing” list last year. These would have definitely made it, so I’m going to repost them now. They are two outstanding posts from Bill Gurley that I think are some of the best posts in recent years on strategy and building sustainable competitive advantage. First, his post on Android and second, his post on Revenue Quality.
Let me close with an excerpt from Peter Theil’s “Secrets” lecture. I think it’s a fitting point for all participants in the innovation economy to dwell on this season as we step back and prepare for the adventure ahead of us in 2013.
“Back in class one, we identified a very key question that you should continually ask yourself: what important truth do very few people agree with you on? To a first approximation, the correct answer is going to be a secret. Secrets are unpopular or unconventional truths. So if you come up with a good answer, that’s your secret….
Some secrets are small and incremental. Others are very big. Some secrets—gossip, for instance—are just silly. And of course there are esoteric secrets—the stuff of tarot cards and numerology. Silly and esoteric secrets don’t matter much. And small secrets are of small importance. The focus should be on the secrets that matter: the big secrets that are true….
Probably the biggest secret—bigger than monopoly/competition, power law, or distribution—is that there are many important secrets left. This used to be a convention forty or fifty years ago. Everyone believed that there was much more left to do. But generally speaking, we no longer believe that. It’s become a secret again….
The road isn’t infinite. It’s possible that, just around the corner, there’s a secret gate leading to a secret road. Take the hidden paths.”
Have a blessed holiday season!