Me

I'm a life-long technology and gadget afficiando, with penchants for business, investing, and photography. I work at Microsoft, where I am a Program Manager on HoloLens. Everything posted here is of my own opinion, although, like everyone else, I am influenced by the people and technologies that surround me.

Welcome to randomprocess. This is my digital playground.

Blog

Market Forces Also Apply to Unicorns (it just takes time)

While the unicorn club of startups were doing amazingly, insanely well, they commanded an endless stream of press coverage. Stories of overnight riches appeal to the populace. Jealously often begets just as much attention to overnight implosions and associated schadenfreude, so I expect many stories of the fall of these unicorns, too. A particularly interesting article popped up at Techmeme today, one that I thought balanced the typical pomp and glamour of unicorn stories with rational arguments.

TL;DR? Yes, all will eventually be subject to, whether in private or public, market forces, supply and demand, and capitalistic gauges of success (value). It’s really beginning to show up now.

Perhaps it was just a phase. Over the past 3-4 years, you weren’t trying if your startup wasn’t pitched as the disrupter of a trillion dollar industry and your goal wasn’t to become a complete monopoly. You didn’t “win”, unless you’d ground your competitors under the heel of your boot, on the way to at least 1 BILLION users.

There are still a couple of those, whose visions of such grand proportions are not yet over (perhaps Uber and Airbnb?). For most, though, they’re simply also-rans that haven’t undergone the level of scrutiny publicly traded companies do. And with mutual funds openly adjusting their book values down, even the private markets look less like the way to avoid the spotlight. (Okay, some are still fighting this – “Some venture capitalists anticipate further markdowns by mutual funds. That could make some startups more reluctant to seek mutual-fund money, since public disclosure of their valuations is watched so closely.“)

The revaluations are good and fair. This is the system returning to a period of normalcy, before the cycle repeats itself. It’s starting to sound a bit like the early part of 2007, when the MBS and CDO bagholders were only beginning to mark down the absolutely toxic investments on their books, all the while offloading them as fast as they could and getting on the opposite side of the trade. I just watched The Big Short.

 

Byte Size

# 

It’s getting to the end of the year and the last couple months to make changes to impact this fiscal tax year. In particular, knowing critical tax thresholds is important to making some of those financial choices (e.g. investments to divest), so here’s a handy brief from PWC for 2014.

# 

The first major update to the Windows 10 Tech Preview was delivered on October 21, and with it came a fix to two-finger scrolling in Internet Explorer (and other Trident-based canvases, I believe) on my HP Spectre 13t’s touchpad. Things are still in pretty good shape on both my laptop and desktop, with the Technical Preview. No deal-breakers to daily use, thus far.

# 

Lisa Bettany takes a comprehensive look at the iPhone’s rear-facing camera image quality comparison across scenarios, through the years. The first iPhone was average at the time, but Apple made significant improvements through the iPhone 5. Looks like the 6 brings some additional detail and noise performance enhancements.

# 

Maxwell – GM204 incarnation – is darned impressive, from a power, performance, and pricing perspective, all while being stuck on 28nm process, still. Been eying one of those 34″ 21:9 displays. A GTX 970 might go nicely with that!