The Cyber Why: What We Read This Week...
... and why you should too! (10/18/23)
What exactly is Techno-Optimism? Am I a Techno-Optimist? I want to think that I am, but my wife and kids keep telling me I’m a Luddite and generally a pessimistic person. After reading the latest manifesto fromI’m still not sure. All I know is that I didn’t make the cut to be included in the top cyber angels list, and my ego is absolutely wrecked </sarcasm>. In addition to these two great stories, this week’s TWC covers interesting research on modern job hunting, the law of attach rates for technical partnerships, and highlights from the State of AI Report 2023. Finally, please welcome our new TCW sponsor, Nudge Security. We appreciate them, and you should too. Please go check them out via the link below. With that… we hope you enjoy this latest edition of The Cyber Why!
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Is Now The Time For Techno-Optimism?
The Techno-Optimist Manifesto (Marc Andreessen)
Marc Andreessen just dropped a ‘Techno-Optimist Manifesto’… (Fortune)
Is the world doomed to be flushed down a death spiral of technology-induced reduction and stagnation, or will the future hold an ever-climbing spiral of abundance, growth, and material creation? The latest manifesto by the greatdelves in depth into the concept of Techno-Optimisim and the ability of technology to not only lower the human race’s risk of extinction but to be the driving factor behind solving all of the issues of both today and tomorrow. Techno-Optimism can and will lead us to the promised land as we literally “level-up” every human being in the world, making Earth (and eventually the solar system) a better place to live. This article is very inspiring, even if pieces of it may challenge the cultural and ethical values you hold as truth today. Get a good glass of wine, set aside your cynicism, and take twenty minutes to allow yourself to fall into the rosy-painted future of technology-driven utopia.
The Who’s Who List of Cyber Angel Investing
30 Top Angel Investors in Cyber (The Security Industry)
Oh boy, my commentary on this article is perfectly set up to be full of snark and cynicism… I .. must… resist! For those who don’t know my background, I spent some time as a cybersecurity-focused angel investor. I have invested in a handful of companies over the years, and just like every other investor out there, I cross my fingers and hope that the companies I invest in return more than I put into them. I mean hell.. if Justin Timberlake, Ryan Reynolds, Scarlett Johansson, Ashton Kutcher, Robert Downey Jr., and Matthew McConaughey can do it, why can’t I? This article by Richard Stiennon lists some of the most prolific angel investors in cyber security, measuring them on portfolio company counts and using headcount growth on LinkedIn as a proxy to valuation growth. The problem is none of those metrics matter in the least. The only thing that matters to the success of angel investing is your returned multiple on invested capital - and until an exit occurs and you get liquidity, there is no way of really knowing how well you are doing. Try buying a new car with paper markups. I promise you it doesn’t work. Let’s redo this list in twenty years when we really know who the best cyber angels are based on cash-on-cash returns. By the way.. the list isn’t complete… I’m not on it! (/SARCASM)
Find A Warm Connection - It’s The Best Way
Over the course of five long months, software engineer Shikhar Sachdev spent 11 hours of effort applying to over 250 different open positions. The time required per application ranged from 17 seconds for Hedge Fund Renaissance Technologies to a whopping 10 minutes and 12 seconds for an application to the United States Postal Service. Government, aerospace, and crypto companies took the longest to complete, while AI and crypto-based companies were the quickest. I don’t understand why hiring must be such a shitty and laborious process for the prospective employee. We have the technology to ease the pain, but from what I can tell, vendor products that manage the process are primarily incentivized to ease the burden of the hiring company and not the employee because that’s where the revenue comes from. There has to be a better way!
The Law of Attach Rates For Partner Success
I’ve been involved in several startups over the years, and every single one of them struggled with the issue of spending significant time and energy with partnerships only to find out that there really wasn’t as much money to be made there as they thought there was. I’m not talking about channel partners, that’s a different discussion, but specifically, I’m speaking about technical partnerships and integrations where the two companies firmly believe that the connection will result in outside returns. It never really occurred to me WHY these companies failed to realize their original intent until I read this article and learned about attach rates and what it means to work with a partner for revenue generation. If you are a founder or executive trying to decide on your next partnership move, this is an excellent read - the key take is that anything more than a Barney Partnership (I Love You, You Love Me) probably won’t return real value.
The State of AI Report 2023 Is Available NOW!
An annual research piece dating back over half a decade, the State of AI Report 2023, launched this week. It covers the current state of AI with regard to research, industry, politics, and safety. With 163 slides, the content is robust, deep, and engaging. If you have time to deep dive the full report slide deck, I highly advise you to do so. Otherwise, check out Nathan’s tl;dr director’s cut at the link above. Here are a few top takeaways that I found interesting:
2023 was the year of the LLM and ChatGPT, which crushed every other AI offering in the market.
A battle of open source LLM and AI systems is underway, with no clear-cut winner to date.
NVidia is winning all over the place when it comes to picks and shovels applications for AI.
Developers love AI co-pilots! Stack overflow pays the price when it bans AI answers.
Gen AI DAU and MAU numbers are not showing enough stickiness (YET)
Quick Hits and Hidden Gems
Cisco warns of new IOS XE zero-day actively exploited in attacks (Bleeping Computer) - More details HERE as well (Source VulnCheck)
The “great CISO resignation” isn’t what it looks like: a hype-free, data-driven, in-depth look at the evolution and challenges of security leaders (Venture In Security) - A data-driven look at CISO retention rates. Not just a survey.
What Loom & Klaviyo Indicate about Exit Valuations (Tomasz Tunguz) - TT breaks down additional details on multiples in the two latest massive IPO and acquisition plays.
Israeli tech leaders to boycott Web Summit after CEO tweet (Globes) - Ouch. He really stepped into it with this one. Many companies pull out of Web Summit after disturbing comments by the event founder.
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