The Cyber Why: What We Read This Week...
... and why you should too! (10/25/23)
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This week, The Cyber Why dives into the debate brewing between Wired author Steven Levy and VC Marc Andreessen about Techno-Optimism, we resurrect old Zombiecorn articles as we navigate the 2023 VC landscape, we discuss a case for the shrinking of the global cybersecurity market, and we get scarred over the business of haunted houses. Oh, and Taylor Swift makes yet another appearance in the TCW newsletter - we love you Tay-Tay!
Also, don’t miss our quick hits and hidden gems - there is a BUNCH of them this week. Happy reading, and we hope you enjoy this edition of The Cyber Why!
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WIRED vs. PMarca - Royal Rumble Style
In response to last week’s release of Marc Andreessen’s Techno-Optimist manifesto, WIRED author Steven Levy goes on a rant of his own, calling out the former Netscape executive turned billionaire venture capitalist for all sorts of hypocrisies and inaccurate messages in the manifesto. I read through both the original manifesto and this aggressive response. Both authors are people I have followed for nearly two decades, and they have put out amazing future-trend tech content that has inspired and pushed the boundaries of the future. The interesting thing about this debate is that I think they are BOTH in the right, and I believe neither one of them is doing a great job of articulating what the future will look like. I suggest you read both pieces and leave me some comments down below. I’d love to hear what you have to say about it!
Next Phase Of The Zombiecorn - Growth or Death?
Which is it - venture is in hibernation, and we won’t see meaningful investment in startups anytime soon, or venture is just beginning a brand new renaissance cycle where investment and the startups that get picked will flourish? I love this article because it doesn’t pick a side. Instead, it lays out the bull and the bear case, leaving it to the reader to make up their own mind on what they think will happen in the future. It’s not quite that cut and dry because the author is a venture investor with a recently raised fund of $1.1B, but overall, I think they did a fairly objective discussion on the topic. Personally, while I agree with the bear case and believe that a vast majority of startups are in Zombiecorn status and will never find the antidote to the infection they have contracted, the best of the best will emerge victorious and start a brand new startup community that will grow and give birth to the next wave of innovation. I guess you could say I’m part bull and part bear.
Should The Cybersecurity Market Shrink?
Forbes Council author Jason Hard, CTO at Rapid7, penned a brief but interesting article asking the question, “Is cybersecurity entering a balance sheet recession?” The term balance sheet recession spiked my interest here - I had no idea what it meant. In traditional economics, a balance sheet recession occurs when businesses focus on paying down debt rather than investing in growth. Given that definition, I fully believe that Jason is right - cybersecurity leaders are completely in a balance sheet recession and are focused on finding ways to pay down the accumulated cybersecurity debt that came with the last few years of free money exuberance. This is causing headwinds in every cybersecurity market except for those that can articulate cybersecurity debt-saving capabilities. The end result will be severe consolidation and the death of many young startups - good luck out there!
The Haunted House Business is SCARY as HELL!
The frightening economics of haunted houses (the Hustle)
Who doesn’t love a good haunted house? Halloween is my favorite holiday, and just this week alone, I jumped out and scared my daughter three times. Her angry response and my maniacal laughter go hand in hand. I love October! Even with my love for the holiday, I couldn’t imagine trying to create a professional-level haunted house. The business side of the equation seems way too daunting to make it worthwhile, and according to this article, I’m not wrong. Here are a few scary statistics about haunted house (HH) businesses.
An average HH costs ~$250K to start and requires new reserves every year.
To turn a profit, a HH needs to accommodate 500-1k people PER HOUR!
The majority of HH see between 7.5 and 10K customers each season.
The end result is putting your entire business life on the line every single fall, hoping that you don’t screw something up and not meet your quota of visitors. I’m sorry, but that sounds like the scariest thing about haunted houses to me!
Could The NFL Get Any More LAME?
Taylor & Brittany’s Handshake is Evolving (Youtube)
Wow. When you think the NFL couldn’t get any more ridiculous, the great Tay-Tay takes it to a whole new level. Now, she’s not just eating with Travis Kelce’s mother and watching a game, but this time, she demonstrates the most ludicrous chest-bumping handshake with none other than Brittany Mahomes (wife of KC Chiefs Patrick Mahomes). I don’t know what the worst thing about this video is… the lameness of the handshake or the awkward look on Patrick’s brother, Jackson Mahomes, face as he’s giving Taylor the side eye trying to see how he can get involved. CREEEEEEPER!
Quick Hits and Hidden Gems
Exclusive: Tech billionaire Peter Thiel was an FBI informant (Insider) - Not sure if this is bullshit or not, but it was an interesting read nonetheless.
Pure Upside: Understanding Stock Options and Restricted Stock for Angels (Seraf) - Interesting read for angel investors on board seat compensation and tax implications.
How to Stop Taking Work So Personally (HBR) - Some great knowledge in this piece that I had to learn by trial over the last two decades. Good read!
5 Tactics to Combat a Culture of False Urgency at Work (HBR) - Make use of this! You don’t want to burn your people out.
How MrBeast Broke the Economy (Kyla’s Newsletter) - This one was a tough read but thought-provoking in many ways. If the spectacle of the spectacle isn’t real, then what is?! Also, the title is clickbait - it’s better than that.
AI Is Becoming More Powerful—but Also More Secretive (WIRED) - Shine a spotlight on the dirty spots and watch the roaches run. AI needs a spotlight.
Scientists Intercept Signal That Took 8 Billion Years to Reach Earth (Futurism) - That’s a LONG ASS TIME!
Guinness World Records crowns new hottest pepper (BBC) - As a self-proclaimed pepperhead, pepper grower, and sauce bottler, I LOVE THIS STORY!
If you’ve made it this far, you either found our musings at least semi-entertaining, OR you enjoyed the pain and kept going regardless. No matter how you made it to this point, you should know that we appreciate you. Please do us a solid and share The Cyber Why with your friends. We would love to reach a bigger audience, and referrals are how we do it. Help us out, and we’ll see you next week!