TheSunnyMag: No More Michael Dell Bashing; Feudal Internet & Zombie VCs


TheSunnyMag: No More Michael Dell Bashing; Feudal Internet & Zombie VCs

Welcome to the latest edition of TheSunnyMag, your weekly magazine of beautiful stories curated from around the web. We didn’t have an edition last week, because of the holidays. In this edition, you’ll read about the man who teaches machines to teach, Amazon’s profitless business model narrative and other strikingly insightful pieces. Don’t forget to read the typical story of a 20 something IT guy. It’s funny. Have fun reading!



Amazon and the “profitless business model” fallacy: Amazon is a classic fixed cost business model, it uses the internet to get maximum leverage out of its fixed assets, and once it achieves enough volume of sales, the sum total of profits from all those sales exceed its fixed cost base, and it turns a profit. It already has exceeded this hurdle in its past. More here.

How Automattic Grew Into A Startup Worth $1 Billion With No Email And No Office Workers: Automattic is so unusual, it’s the subject of a new book “The Year Without Pants” by its employee Scott Berkun. Berkun is a former Microsoft employee who documented how Automattic grew into a 190-employee company with a $1 billion valuation, while nearly all employees work from home. More here.

Dell Officially Goes Private: Inside The Nastiest Tech Buyout Ever: Eight months is a long time to stay mum, especially for a tech industry wunderkind, as Michael Dell was, and one of the world’s richest men, as Michael Dell is, while enduring daily bombs from Carl Icahn about his leadership and ethics. More here.

New New World

The Man Who Would Teach Machines to Think: Douglas Hofstadter, the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Gödel, Escher, Bach, thinks we’ve lost sight of what artificial intelligence really means. His stubborn quest to replicate the human mind. Read the full story here.

Power in the Age of the Feudal Internet: We’re in the middle of an epic battle for power in cyberspace. On one side are the nimble, unorganized, distributed powers such as dissident groups, criminals, and hackers. On the other side are the traditional, organized, institutional powers such as governments and large multinational corporations. Renowned security technologist Bruce Schneir writes. Read more here.

Nate Silver: What I need from statisticians: Methods can be abused and that is true with any approach, including Bayesian but it offers a more coherent, philosophical way in which to look at the world and…would be useful for journalists to use as well. More here.

I challenged hackers to investigate me and what they found out is chilling: It’s my first class of the semester at New York University. I’m discussing the evils of plagiarism and falsifying sources with 11 graduate journalism students when, without warning, my computer freezes. I fruitlessly tap on the keyboard as my laptop takes on a life of its own and reboots. Seconds later the screen flashes a message. To receive the four-digit code I need to unlock it I’ll have to dial a number with a 312 area code. Then my iPhone, set on vibrate and sitting idly on the table, beeps madly. I’m being hacked — and only have myself to blame. More here.


Gandhi’s master biographer uncovers an unlikely friendship with an English couple: From a friendship formed over vegetarianism, to living with anti-establishment ex-pats in Johannesburg, the great ‘Enemy of the British’ actually had many key links with Brits, says Ramachandra Guha. Read the essay here.

Typical story of a 20-something IT-guy: A saying goes, “Throw a stone in the streets of Bangalore, it will most probably land on a Software Engineer”. As a 20-something, South Bangalorean, who has other 20-something Bangalorean friends, there are many behavioural patterns which I have observed(many of it applicable to your’s truly and some completely fictional). Read more here.


Top 10 Thinking Traps Exposed — How to Foolproof Your Mind: “Is the population of Turkey greater than 35 million? What’s your best estimate?” Researchers asked this question to a group of people, and the estimates were seldom too far off 35 million. The same question was posed to a second group, but this time using 100 million as the starting point. Although both figures were arbitrary, the estimates from the ’100 million’ group were, without fail, concomitantly higher than those in the ’35 million’ group. Read more here.

How to Stop Procrastinating on Your Goals by Using the “Seinfeld Strategy”: By almost any measure of wealth, popularity, and critical acclaim, Jerry Seinfeld is among the most successful comedians, writers, and actors of his generation. Let’s talk about that what he does and how you can use the “Seinfeld Strategy” to eliminate procrastination and actually achieve your goals. Read here.

This week” – the secret to managing your time well: Early in our marriage there were often fireworks due to such seemingly innocuous conversations between my wife and I. It took me a while to figure that my wife meant, “Can you get the insurance paid NOW!” And it galled her no end, that my response meant, that I’d get it done one of these days. More here.

What Long Hours Really Mean: In the tech and design sectors there’s a lot of folks working long hours, like 70+ hours a week. There’s a certain badge-of-honor-martyr-complex-thing that comes along with it. But let’s set the record straight. Here’s what long hours really mean. More here.


6 Tips for Managing Millennials: Millennials have a reputation for being entitled, lazy and – worst of all in the workplace – difficult to manage. While these Gen Y stereotypes are getting tired, a lack of understanding between employees of certain age groups can turn the office into a generational battlefield. Read here.

Zombie VC Firms Can Be an Entrepreneur’s Nightmare: Picture this: The group that invested $2 million in your startup notifies you that it’s shutting down. You may think you’re off the hook in terms of providing a return on their investment, but in fact, the opposite is true. After all is said and done, the defunct firm’s investors still expect to see a return on their investment. Read more here.

Out of the picture: why the world’s best photo startup is going out of business: One day last month, the seven employees of Everpix gathered at their co-working space in San Francisco to discuss the company’s impending shutdown. Wayne Fan, one of the co-founders, opened a mock-up of the screen that the photo storage service’s customers would see once the company announced the news. The screen described the refunds that would be offered to the company’s 6,800 paid subscribers, assuming Everpix could come up with the money. No one knew if they would. More here.


Developing For iOS 7: The Good, The Bad, The Flat, And The Ugly: With iOS 7 developers see the greatest changes to the OS since its inception. To meet those changes some developers are risking their whole business on the upgrade. Here’s what seven of them said about the good and the bad of transitioning their popular apps to iOS 7. Read here.

Big Picture

An exclusive interview with Bill Gates: The internet is not going to save the world, says the Microsoft co-founder, whatever Mark Zuckerberg and Silicon Valley’s tech billionaires believe. But eradicating disease just might. More here.

Dr. Arjun Srinivasan: We’ve Reached “The End of Antibiotics, Period”: So with the discovery of this new class of drugs, we overnight had an ability to care for people and offer them not just a treatment but a cure for an illness that previously would have taken their lives in a rapid manner. More here.

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