Mark Zuckerberg was born and raised in Westchester County, New York. His parents, Dr. Edward Zuckerberg D.D.S. and his wife Karen, a psychiatrist, live in the same home in Dobbs Ferry they bought in 1981. So why did Mark feel the need to build Facebook in Silicon Valley and not in New York? And what policies can we implement to encourage the next Mark Zuckerberg to build her or his company in New York?
The first thing that we need to understand is that when Mark Zuckerberg was about eleven, his parents hired a computer tutor, a software developer named David Newman, who came to the house once a week to work with Mark. “He was a prodigy,” Newman told The New Yorker writer Jose Antonio Vargasme. “Sometimes it was tough to stay ahead of him.” (Newman lost track of Zuckerberg and was stunned when he learned from the interview that his former pupil had built Facebook.) Soon thereafter, Mark started taking a graduate computer course every Thursday night at nearby Mercy College.
The fact that Zuckerberg’s parents hired a computer tutor and paid for graduate computer course tells us that we need to look beyond the individual. As Malcolm Gladwell wrote in Outliers which The New York Times printed the first chapter:
[Y]ou couldn’t understand why someone was healthy if all you did was think about their individual choices or actions in isolation. You had to look beyond the individual. You had to understand what culture they were a part of, and who their friends and families were, and what town in Italy their family came from. You had to appreciate the idea that community — the values of the world we inhabit and the people we surround ourselves with — has a profound effect on who we are. The value of an outlier was that it forced you to look a little harder and dig little deeper than you normally would to make sense of the world. And if you did, you could learn something from the outlier that could use to help everyone else.
In Outliers, I want to do for our understanding of success what Stewart Wolf did for our understanding of health.
Robert Thomas Greenfield IV is a software engineer at Cisco. He is also a Certified Bitcoin Professional and the Blockchain Curriculum Lead at StreetCode Academy. He graduated from the University of Michigan with a BS in Industrial Engineering and is a director at the African American Community Services Agency. We are both members of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Visit his website at robtg4.co.
Terrance Jackson: Bitcoin which is a cryptocurrency or digital currency based on blockchain technology. It has tripled its value since the beginning of the year. What exactly are bitcoins and blockchains?
Robert Greenfield IV: “Bitcoin” is the blockchain environment and broader development community that supports the transactions of “bitcoin” or “BTC,” which is the digital currency that introduced Blockchain technology to the world and solved the problem of “double spending,” or copying digital money. The terminology is commonly mixed up in broader conversations around speculative investment and technology.
Americans are both deeply religious and profoundly ignorant about religion.
In a USA Today article, “Americans get an ‘F’ in religion,” Boston University Professor Stephen Prothero offers a remedy:
Prothero’s solution is to require middle-schoolers to take a course in world religions and high schoolers to take one on the Bible. Biblical knowledge also should be melded into history and literature courses where relevant.
From the Pew Research Center’s U.S. Religious Knowledge Quiz, we find that only 23 percent of Americans know that according to rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court that public school teachers are permitted to read from the Bible as an example of literature.
What Happened to the Future? is the title of the manifesto of the Founders Fund. The subtitle is “We Wanted Flying Cars, Instead We Got 140 Characters.” Jason Pontin in the MIT Technology Review wrote an article entitled “Why We Can’t Solve Big Problems:”
[B]ig problems that people had imagined technology would solve, such as hunger, poverty, malaria, climate change, cancer, and the diseases of old age, have come to seem intractably hard….
Max Levchin, [a] cofounder of PayPal, says, “I feel like we should be aiming higher. The founders of a number of startups I encounter have no real intent of getting anywhere huge … There’s an awful lot of effort being expended that is just never going to result in meaningful, disruptive innovation.”
The idea that “there’s an awful lot of effort being expended that is just never going to result in meaningful, disruptive innovation” is brought to life in a Guardian article by Ben Tarnoff, “America has become so anti-innovation – it’s economic suicide:”
Juicero made the perfect punchline: a celebrated startup that had received a fawning profile from the New York Times and $120m in funding from blue-chip VCs such as Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Google Ventures was selling an expensive way to automate something you could do faster for free. It was, in any meaningful sense of the word, a scam.
Juicero is hilarious. But it also reflects a deeply unfunny truth about Silicon Valley, and our economy more broadly. Juicero is not, as its apologists at Voxclaim, an anomaly in an otherwise innovative investment climate. On the contrary: it’s yet another example of how profoundly anti-innovation America has become.
Jeff Sessions ordered federal prosecutors to “charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense” — a move that marks a significant reversal of Obama-era policies on low-level drug crimes.
The two-page memo, which was publicly released Friday, May 12th, lays out a policy of strict enforcement that rolls back the comparatively lenient stance established by Eric Holder, one of Sessions’ predecessors under President Barack Obama.
“This is a disastrous move that will increase the prison population, exacerbate racial disparities in the criminal justice system, and do nothing to reduce drug use or increase public safety,” Michael Collins, deputy director at the Drug Policy Alliance, said in a statement emailed to NPR. “Sessions is taking the country back to the 1980s by escalating the failed policies of the drug war.”
The memo also drew a long, scathing rebuke from Holder himself.
“The policy announced today is not tough on crime. It is dumb on crime,” he said in a statement. “It is an ideologically motivated, cookie-cutter approach that has only been proven to generate unfairly long sentences that are often applied indiscriminately and do little to achieve long-term public safety.”
Ask, and it will be given to you;
Seek, and you will find;
Knock, and it will be opened to you.
~ Matthew 7:7
Click the image above for
A rough draft of Seven Magazine.
Steve Denning’s Forbes article, “Roger Martin: How ‘The Talent’ Turned Into Vampires” also sheds light on why we need to rethink our education paradigms:
How did America—a country dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal—become one of the most unequal countries on the planet? Why do the nation’s leaders now spend so much of their time feeding at the trough and getting ever more for themselves? Why has public-mindedness in our leaders given way in so many instances to limitless greed?
These questions are being raised, not in some anti-capitalist rag from the extreme Left, but in the staid pro-business pages of the Harvard Business Review, in a seminal article by Roger Martin, the former dean of the Rotman School of Business and the academic director of the Martin Prosperity Institute: “The Rise and (Likely) Fall of the Talent Economy.”
One key factor, argues Martin, is a fundamental shift in nature of the economy. Fifty years ago, “72% of the top 50 U.S. companies by market capitalization still owed their positions to the control and exploitation of natural resources.” But in the latter part of the 20th century, a new kind of organization began to emerge: an organization that prospered not by natural resources but through “the control and exploitation of human talent.”
“By 2013 more than half of the top 50 companies were talent-based, including three of the four biggest: Apple, Microsoft, and Google. (The other one was ExxonMobil.) Only 10 owed their position on the list to the ownership of resources. Over the past 50 years the U.S. economy has shifted from financing the exploitation of natural resources to making the most of human talent.”
This inequality is also addressed in a new book, The Vanishing Middle Class: Prejudice and Power in a Dual Economy, by Peter Temin, an economist from MIT. Temin argues that, following decades of growing inequality, America is now left with what is more or less a two-class system: One small, predominantly white upper class that wields a disproportionate share of money, power, and political influence and a much larger, minority-heavy (but still mostly white) lower class that is all too frequently subject to the first group’s whims.
I visited New Rochelle Fire Department Station 5 on Easter Sunday and spoke to Captain Andrew Sandor.
Terrance Jackson: How long have you been a firefighter in New Rochelle?
Andrew Sandor: A little over 21 years.
TJ: And how long have you been the Company Commander of Station 5?
AS: I been here since the beginning of 2016, so a little over a year.
TJ: What is the hardest thing about being a firefighter?
AS: The hardest thing about being a firefighter, I would say is that we see people at their worst. They’re having a bad day. We have really good training to try to help them with what’s going on.
The call we just came back on, that was easy, someone burnt food, not a big deal. But maybe later today, we’ll go an ambulance call or somebody whatever ailment they have. Or we’ll go a car wreck. Or someone will have water in their basement. Or they’ll have a fire. And now to what extent is the fire effecting their personal life. After a while you become a bit callous to it, because it’s job but you have to remember that you’re dealing with people not just stuff.