Even if multiple views are presented, Elon’s perspective gets most airtime and the final word; which makes the book read like a hagiography.
Fascinating in the thorough treatment of technical details of architecture and construction.
A brave attempt to put up a framework for assessing technological innovations, that is rich of ideas, which are in many cases [in 2023] still relevant (e.g. Cognifying in the light of GenAI), but sometimes feel out-dated (e.g. Sharing is a post-truth world).
Some fair nuggets of socio-economical diagnosis mixed with personal pet-peeves and drained in a techno-utopian rant.
The ‘cookbook’ approach does a lot to demystify Strategy and Architecture, while the digressions into philosophy make the relatively basic content also palatable for the advanced reader.
Nov. 2017: Interesting exploration of the implications of AGI, faulted by the typical preference of Analytical Philosophy for construction of intricate, highly theoretical scenario’s, under-emphasizing basic challenges (in the case of AGI: lack of robustness / antifragility).
Jun. 2023: The writer has leveraged the recent rise of LLMs like ChatGPT to further fuel fear about an AGI break-out – even though other AI-related risks require more imminent attention.
The vocabulary of ‘sims’, and ‘VR’ makes for entertaining examples of traditional philosophical concepts; but the author’s core arguments about simulation and physical reality seem to implicitly assume a suspicious form of Cartesian dualism.
Nice historical overview, very topical in an era where technology significantly affects the Ukraine war and the power play between the USA and China around Taiwan.
In capable hands, data governance can actually be made into a sexy topic.
Tony Fadell – Build
Shamelessly self-aggrandizing autobiography dressed-up as self-help book for entrepreneurs.
The book proves that those A16Z folks are very good at marketing sauce on not-so-ground-breaking ideas (as described by Sebastian Mallaby)
In hindsight, the early internet was shockingly primitive.
Highly entertaining book, providing entertaining facts and refreshing perspectives.
Story on repeat: X had a frustration, X is so privileged that she can raise at least a couple of $100k from friends and family, and X starts an amazing company to solve the problem – at least in theory – for herself and the rest of the world.
Surprisingly readable for a text of this sort of technical depth
Funny enough, the polemic narrative applies all the trick of typical innovation literature to promote a maintenance mindset.
The book is exactly what it tries to avoid: being just another entertaining founder story (in this case about Square).
The book’s set-up with multiple scenarios for the future works surprisingly well and is especiall concerning for European readers: Europe is almost completely irrelevant in all of Webb’s scenarios.
The best quote is not from the author: “Quality is the best business plan” (John Lasseter, director of Toy Story).