Short review of Peter Thiel's "Zero to One"

Finished reading Thiel’s book this weekend. Because that’s what I do while in bed, trying to get over a cold. It left me with a surprising emptiness, almost an apathy of knowing that the things said in this book will be taken for fact. It’s not that I only disagree with his world view, I actually find him to be dangerous on a similar scale to one his heroes: Ayn Rand. With the difference that Thiel knows how to package things and puts everything into a 200 page pamphlet. It’s agenda setting for the 21st century attention span.

(If this sounds a bit weird, it’s because I formulated it to be a twitter storm. If you don’t know what it is, you’re probably better off continue not knowing. But I also decided that there is no reason why this should remain only to be five tweets and can’t be one, small blog post on a neglected blog.)


A small addition to Steve Cheney's Apples vs. Google article

Steve Cheney wrote up an excellent article on how Apple vs. Google, represented through iOS vs. Android, are evolving into two, totally different paths. Here are two highlights.

Android is now the operating system of the world. It dominates any non-Apple, non-PC application. We still think of Android as a smartphone OS. But almost everything truly smart will run Android – new TVs, IoT devices, your home appliances etc.

Apple has a drastic advantage with wearables because it owns not only the OS, but also the semiconductor stack, the branding, the industrial design, the stores, and more of the direct distribution—wearables aren’t subsidized by carriers. So in a world of attaching computers to your body, the better metric is performance per watt per volume (or size).

He talks a lot about network effects and what how Apple manages to continuously secure that developers build applications first on iOS despite the fact that there are so many more Android devices out there.

A couple years ago, I made the switch from Android to iOS and I don’t see myself going back on that decisions. The most important reason: the services and features that make Android into a remarkable operating system are very tightly bound or provided by Google services. As a user, I really do not care for more of my date being exploited in a way that is not in my control. I use other – also cloud based – services. I like to distribute things a bit more.


On the narrative of Berlin and Germany being anti-surveillance

There is this narrative, mostly used by Americans, that Berliners and through them Germans are historically a) more acquainted to being surveilled and b) through that are naturally against it happening again. In some cases, like today, where Bruce Sterling was seemingly het up about the fact that Berliners didn’t seem to embrace the Snowden’s of the world to the German capital and thus doing something about surveillance.

I find that somewhat amusing, because most of the time this narrative is being used as much in front of the people who have been personally effected by the Stasi as Startups of this city hire unemployed Berliners to be part of Silicon Valley 2.0.

The core of what the narrative encompasses doesn’t live inside the Ringbahn. It got pushed aside by Generation Easyjet, who – if it comes down to it – would rename Rosa-Luxembourg Platz in to Acne Platz. It probably wouldn’t help the narrative to walk around in Berlin-Mitte and embrace the full-frontal core of the political movement that this soon-to-be-like SoHo area radiates. This is not self-righteousness, I chose for my office to be there not by pure accident. Truly, I have a hard time believing that anybody takes the effort to go to Marzahn or Hellersdorf to take their message to the address to which it may mostly apply. Than again, they would have to learn how to give speeches in the local tongue instead of expecting that everybody in the room speaks their language.

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