Assorted links and a reader poll!
Tippets #179: Tech No-POs, AI revolution, Federer, anxious parents, Rocky and more. Enjoy!
A warm welcome to new readers getting this for the first time. Thank you for letting me be a small part of your week. As a reminder, Tippets is where I share what's on my mind and a curated assortment of tidbits and snippets (aka. tippets!) from around the web. If you were forwarded this newsletter and would like to receive it in the future, click below!
I typically send out Tippets and the associated links on Sundays. I have gotten some feedback from subscribers saying they would rather the email was distributed on Fridays or Saturdays which leaves more of the weekend to read the articles. So, let’s take a poll!
Let me know! Now on to Tippets.
New from Me:
My reasoning for (trying to) write online consistently, and my encouragement to all of you readers to do so yourselves!
Writing, and importantly receiving feedback on my writing, allows me to expand my worldview, casting light on parts of life’s puzzle that I had previously been blind to. It offers the chance to discover insights far beyond the reach of any conversation, creating a feedback loop I can leverage on a global scale.
I recently sat down with Elizabeth Walton Egan for my newest edition of Taproom. Now the CMO at Sprig, Liz spent the last ten years helping Yext go from a team of 75 people and $10M in revenue through an IPO to 1,400 people and about $400 million.
In our conversation we cover getting into marketing, going the distance with a company, balancing parenting and work, and side hustles.
Tippets from Around the Web:
For all the open questions around the economy and the market — Are we in a recession? When will the Fed stop raising rates? When are things going to stabilize? — one thing is for certain: no one wants is trying to go public any time soon.
Wednesday [September 21st] will mark 238 days without a tech IPO worth more than $50mn, surpassing the previous records set in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis and the early 2000s dotcom crash, according to research by Morgan Stanley’s technology equity capital markets team.
US IPO volumes are down 94% year-over-year (only $7B has been raised so far in 2022 compared with $110B during the same period last year). And while there are still some companies that are looking to go out in Q4, most have already pushed into 2023. My guess is the back half of 2023 is when we’ll see a true uptick in activity.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) continue to revolutionize how we interact with technology. Everything from voice assistants like Google and Siri, to self-piloting drones, to AI-generated art tools like DALL-E, MidJourney and Stable Diffusion use AI and ML. This overview of the current state of AI by Elad Gil provides an excellent summary of the tech, types of companies set to emerge, and different applications of AI we are likely to see.
Part of the challenge of “AI” is we keep raising the bar on what it means for something to be a machine intelligence. Early machine learning models have been quite successful in terms of real world impact.
As the models scale and natural language understanding grows stronger one can expect the enterprise to be transformed. Much of the world of an enterprise is effectively pushing around bits of language - legal contracts, code, invoices and payments, email, sales follow ups - these are all forms of language. The ability of a machine to robustly interpret and act on information in documents will be one of the most transformative shifts since mobile or the cloud.
‘Tis the season of tennis greats hanging up their rackets. 20-time Grand Slam champion, and one of the greatest (if not the greatest) men’s tennis player of all time, Roger Federer, played his last professional tennis match at this week’s Laver Cup. Surrounded by rivals/friends, and paired in doubles with his ‘nemesis’ Rafael Nadal, the Laver Cup was an amazing send-off for the GOAT.
I've never seen such an outward show of emotion from competitors to a rival's retirement as was on display this week. The love and respect shown between fierce on-court foes was amazing to watch. An amazing counter example to the idea that masculinity is about not showing emotion.
Federer’s retirement is as good a time asany to bring back this essay (some excerpts below) on a younger Federer by David Foster Wallace from 2006 is an exceptional piece of writing. My favorite sports essay, it describes a Federer as he should be referred to: a religious experience. I highly recommend a read.
These are times, as you watch the young Swiss play, when the jaw drops and eyes protrude and sounds are made that bring spouses in from other rooms to see if you’re O.K.
Beauty is not the goal of competitive sports, but high-level sports are a prime venue for the expression of human beauty. The relation is roughly that of courage to war. The human beauty we’re talking about here is beauty of a particular type; it might be called kinetic beauty. Its power and appeal are universal. It has nothing to do with sex or cultural norms. What it seems to have to do with, really, is human beings’ reconciliation with the fact of having a body.
A top athlete’s beauty is next to impossible to describe directly. Or to evoke. Federer’s forehand is a great liquid whip, his backhand a one-hander that he can drive flat, load with topspin, or slice — the slice with such snap that the ball turns shapes in the air and skids on the grass to maybe ankle height. His serve has world-class pace and a degree of placement and variety no one else comes close to; the service motion is lithe and uneccentric, distinctive (on TV) only in a certain eel-like all-body snap at the moment of impact. His anticipation and court sense are otherworldly, and his footwork is the best in the game — as a child, he was also a soccer prodigy. All this is true, and yet none of it really explains anything or evokes the experience of watching this man play. Of witnessing, firsthand, the beauty and genius of his game. You more have to come at the aesthetic stuff obliquely, to talk around it, or — as Aquinas did with his own ineffable subject — to try to define it in terms of what it is not.
I was today years old when I realized that the movie, Rocky was not only written by Sylvester Stallone (who was also Oscar Nominated for Best Actor and Original Screenplay), but that it won the Oscar for Best Picture 🤯
The below interview with Stallone is an exceptional look at the creative genius, humility, and drive behind someone who I certainly vastly underestimated, choosing to think of the man more like the characters he plays than he actually is. Worth the 13 minutes if you can spare it!
I hate-read this story. It starts like this.
When my son was not quite half a year old, I received a curious telemarketing call. The person on the other end of the line was selling classes for teaching infants how to crawl. Stressing the importance of crawling early for an infant’s brain development, she proudly informed me that every child in their program — which cost 10,000 yuan ($1,400) — had learned the skill within two months of starting class.
As a parent of two young children, I know very deeply how vulnerable and insecure new parents are. We want the best for our kids. We want to make sure we are giving them every chance to develop into wonderful humans. And I hate benchmarking against others. But when I see another four-year-old who can read at a more advanced level than my son, some of my first thoughts are likely going to be, “Is my guy behind?” and “I wonder what those parents did to help their kid develop their reading ability.”
Now, the idea that people prey on the insecurities of young parents isn’t surprising. It is to be expected - find a vulnerable population of any kind and you’ll find someone trying to take advantage of them. But this article especially irked me.
Creators are everywhere. Including in the ocean.
In 2020, OCEARCH tagged a pretty dang big great white shark. Researchers plugged a tracker on the adult male, gave him a pat on the fin, and let him go. Then they sat back and watched his movements in an effort to understand more about great whites’ habits. And recently, Breton appears to have accidentally drawn a bit of a self-portrait.
Quote I'm thinking about: “A smile is a curve that sets everything straight.” - Phyllis Diller
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