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What's Next for the Internet?

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How can we evolve the web for a better future? Has the web become a mature platform — or are we still in the early days of knowing what it can do and what role it might have in our lives? Just as “social/local/mobile” once did, what are the new trends — like crypto and blockchain networks and commerce everywhere — that might converge into new products and experiences?

Chris Dixon (general partner at a16z and co-lead of the a16z crypto fund) discusses all things internet with Jonah Peretti (founder and CEO of BuzzFeed). Their conversation ranges from the early days of the web to the way innovation happens (what Chris calls “outside-in vs inside-out”) to the promise of a community-owned and operated internet, and more.

Together they explore the possibilities that could co-evolve and converge are we enter into the next era of the web, and they share how we might not be quite as far removed from the “wild west days” of the internet as we imagined.

SHOW NOTES

The pioneering spirit of the early internet [5:10]

Predictions about what we can expect from the internet as it continues to evolve [6:31]

Outside-in vs. Inside-out technology adoption patterns [8:11]

Why big innovations often happen outside of regular business hours [9:38]

Why the Internet is a constantly evolving organism [11:33]

Definition and examples of first order and second order effects of the Internet [12:37]

Definition of Fourth and Fifth Estate [14:14]

Discussion on Decentralized networks [15:37]

The possible future of Internet governance [18:30]

Blockchain as an extension of open source [20:11]

A brief history of RSS and the innovations it lead to [22:05]

Chris breaks down the next phase of technological convergence [27:50]

The expansion of transactional media [37:30]

***

The views expressed here are those of the individual AH Capital Management, L.L.C. (“a16z”) personnel quoted and are not the views of a16z or its affiliates. Certain information contained in here has been obtained from third-party sources, including from portfolio companies of funds managed by a16z. While taken from sources believed to be reliable, a16z has not independently verified such information and makes no representations about the enduring accuracy of the information or its appropriateness for a given situation.

This content is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. You should consult your own advisers as to those matters. References to any securities or digital assets are for illustrative purposes only, and do not constitute an investment recommendation or offer to provide investment advisory services. Furthermore, this content is not directed at nor intended for use by any investors or prospective investors, and may not under any circumstances be relied upon when making a decision to invest in any fund managed by a16z. (An offering to invest in an a16z fund will be made only by the private placement memorandum, subscription agreement, and other relevant documentation of any such fund and should be read in their entirety.) Any investments or portfolio companies mentioned, referred to, or described are not representative of all investments in vehicles managed by a16z, and there can be no assurance that the investments will be profitable or that other investments made in the future will have similar characteristics or results. A list of investments made by funds managed by Andreessen Horowitz (excluding investments for which the issuer has not provided permission for a16z to disclose publicly as well as unannounced investments in publicly traded digital assets) is available at https://a16z.com/investments/.

Charts and graphs provided within are for informational purposes solely and should not be relied upon when making any investment decision. Past performance is not indicative of future results. The content speaks only as of the date indicated. Any projections, estimates, forecasts, targets, prospects, and/or opinions expressed in these materials are subject to change without notice and may differ or be contrary to opinions expressed by others. Please see https://a16z.com/disclosures for additional important information.

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samuel
7 days ago
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This is a great video/podcast. 40 minutes spent talking about the trajectory for the web, where it came from (mobile/cloud/social) and where it's going (ai/mi, new things/iot, crypto/integrated payments).

Everything is of course stuff you've heard before, but that's how all good predictions are. It's the frequency that you hear then and in this case, the clarity of the examples.
Cambridge, Massachusetts
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March 17th, 2020 : Bison

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♫ Oh, give me a home where the Bison do roam
and munch on green roughage all day.
♫ I can’t afford digs in the hood of the herd
it’s so unlikely I’ll get there some way.

That’s because these five young ladies live in San Francisco, and not some jive-ass semi-suburb industrial zone.
Oh no, it’s on seven acres of lush Bermuda grass in Golden Gate Park. Pretty posh digs, methinks they’re living large.



Quote:

Bison were first introduced to the park in the 1890s, and these big buddies are the first new faces in the herd since 2012. Since they raced out of the trailer that carried them from a northern California ranch, the yearlings have been eagerly getting to know their new digs, as well as the five old-timers who got there first.
The youngsters will spend 30 days separated from their wizened peers by a chain-link fence, but they can scope each other out from their neighboring pastures in the paddock. As soon as the new arrivals barreled out of the trailer, they scampered right over to the barrier to say hi. “Both sides regarded each other with curiosity,” wrote the Recreation & Parks Department in a news release. (The zoo tends to the bison themselves, while Recreation & Parks maintains the enclosure.)


I noticed meeting at the wall, the two of the old guard that we can see their back end have their tails up.
Marking their territory? So happy they could just shit?
Quote:

But some group dynamics will be smoother than others. “Females and young males will be much more likely to group up with the current herd,” Merkle says. Merkle hasn’t studied the Golden Gate Park herd in particular, but based on his knowledge of dynamics in Yellowstone, Prince Albert, and Banff National Parks, as well as the scientific literature, he says, “adult males tend to spend most of the year on their own or in small bachelor groups.” The males typically only mingle with the rest of the herd during mating season, he adds—and then they’re likely to cozy up to several ladies.


As often happen when youngsters from the sticks hit the big city they gravitate toward the hip trendy practices. Here we see
one of the young ladies, who has maintained a svelte 550 lbs, tanning where the Sun don’t shine... a recent rage.

link
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samuel
22 days ago
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Bison are majestic animals. Loved seeing them on the regular in SF.
Cambridge, Massachusetts
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Catch the news in a glimpse with the new NewsBlur Today View widget on iOS

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Most of the time when we release a new feature, it finds immediate use. But every so often a new feature comes along that changes how NewsBlur gets used. I consider offline stories part of this exclusive club. Same with the Text view, which shows you the full text of a story. And push notifications are right up there.

Today, I’m pleased to announce the launch of our new Today View widget on iOS.

Instead of having to open up the app to see what’s new, the stories come to you in the Today View, adjacent to the notification center. Personally I find myself checking this Today View widget a dozen times more than I open the NewsBlur app. It’s so incredibly useful to have NewsBlur come to me.

Additionally, in version 10.0 of the iOS app, we have a bunch of new features:

  • A new iOS widget shows the latest stories in your Notification Center and on your iPad dashboard
  • Statistics visualization for every site
  • Automatic downloading of the original story full text for offline reading
  • Unsubscribe from a feed directly from a story
  • Preferences import & export

And tons of bugs were fixed along with other small improvements:

  • Fixed crash on start for a few users
  • Fixed highlighting issue
  • Fixed settings with stories on bottom
  • Tweaked dark theme colors to be darker
  • Fixed wonky behavior on iPad
  • Clearing offline now clears the cached stories, text, and images from the database
  • Manually changing the theme now turns off the preference to follow the system appearance
  • Turning on following the system appearance immediately updates the theme appropriately
  • Fixed crash on feed load list
  • Fixed crash on start

And if you’re an Android user, I just want you to know that we intended to ship this feature first on Android (and in fact, it is 90% built) but then our Android developer bailed. I’ll be hiring for another Android devleoper soon, but if that interests you, please reach out!

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samuel
37 days ago
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Love, love, love this feature.
Cambridge, Massachusetts
tingham
36 days ago
Looks great! Would be nice for the web app to get some love too :)
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How to Be a Smart Coronavirus Prepper

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On Friday, at a Target store in Sacramento, Calif., hand sanitizer was nearly sold out, and face masks had been sold out for days.

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samuel
39 days ago
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We should always be ready. The soylent in my cabinet has expired but it’s time to cycle it out.
Cambridge, Massachusetts
vl
39 days ago
“Nearly sold out”? In Seattle hand sanitizer is sold out for days in all stores.
cosmotic
39 days ago
I've had year-past-date soylent, it's just as good as new.
kazriko
39 days ago
By which you mean mildly gross, but drinkable? :) I actually have about 20 bottles of soylent sitting in the fridge at work, and it's hard to bring myself to drink them sometimes.
satadru
29 days ago
CalorieMate to the rescue!
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The Truth About Alligators in the Sewers of New York

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Sightings over the decades have lent an air of legitimacy to the century-old urban myth. Here’s how it all started.
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samuel
43 days ago
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Yesterday I was talking to people about urban legends and the one I brought up was the widely believed myth about how Facebook is listening to us to serve us ads.

Then I brought up the old myth about alligators in the sewer. Is the NYTimes listening to me to serve articles?
Cambridge, Massachusetts
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I Did Trail Work Once and Felt Smug for a Lifetime

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When I lived in Brooklyn I used to frequent an Italian restaurant. The proprietor was quite proud of his neighborhood bona fides and lifelong tenure, and he’d always make sure new customers understood that he’d been there long before the yuppies arrived. One day, as I dined, I listened to him regale a table with the tale of how he’d contributed to the charming character of the neighborhood. “You know those hedges around the corner?,” he asked rhetorically, as his indifferent customers attempted to eat their antipasto. “I planted those hedges!” 

The diners were not impressed. Brooklyn is a place of many world-famous landmarks, including the Brooklyn Bridge, Prospect Park, and the Coney Island boardwalk. The hedges around the corner from the Italian joint are not among them, and are of interest to virtually nobody, with the possible exception of the neighborhood dogs. Nevertheless, I can now relate to his wildly overblown sense of pride, because recently, I helped to do some trail work.

If you’re new to mountain biking—or even worse, a roadie—it may surprise you to learn that trails don’t just magically appear in the forest like fairies and toadstools. Rather, they are generally the work of indefatigable volunteers who tend to them in their spare time. When a tree falls, or a storm washes away a section of trail, or some high school kids have a beer-fueled pukefest on prom night and don’t clean up after themselves, it’s your local trail stewards who deal with it all. As the busboy clears your table well before you’ve even had a chance to sit down, so do your local volunteers see to it that the trails are tidy and rideable for your weekend hammerfest.

When riding off-road, I strive to be scrupulous and considerate, and I’m well aware of the consequences of poor deportment. I try to stay off the trails when they’re muddy, I yield to both hikers and their ill-behaved dogs, and I refrain from blasting butt rock from my handlebar speakers at all times. However, I’d be lying if I said I go the extra mile of, you know, helping to build or maintain trails. In this sense, I’m like a responsible high school student who went home after prom instead of joining the puke party, and got a brand-new Mercedes for graduation: sure, I may be getting good grades and stopping at all the red lights, and I suppose that counts for something, but deep down I’m troubled by the knowledge that I haven’t paid my dues.

Nevertheless, despite this faint sense of self-awareness, I’d probably have cruised on in luxurious leather-swaddled comfort indefinitely if it weren’t for my son. See, he’s recently become involved in scouting, which means he’s got to find lots of ways to be helpful. (I was never a scout, which could explain why my helping muscle is woefully underdeveloped.) He also likes to ride bikes. Thinking about potential volunteer opportunities to feed his relentless hunger for patches, it occurred to me that helping with some trail work would be a great way to teach him about mountain biking, earn him some new embroidery, and, most importantly, assuage my nagging guilt. So we joined the monthly trail maintenance party at Highbridge Park in Washington Heights.

Highbridge Park is tiny and contains just a few miles of trails, but I’ve long marveled at its sheer improbability and the huge amount of work it took to create Manhattan’s only legal mountain bike spot. And while I’ve ridden there, and written about it, I’d never actually done anything to help physically sustain it. This is a considerable failure on my part, because Highbridge Park feels like it’s constantly on the verge of being subsumed by the urban environment that surrounds it. The trails themselves are etched into a cliffside that sits below street level, which means that not only does rainwater inundate them with natural debris, but people also dump all manner of trash onto them. Auto parts and sundries comprise the majority of the refuse—imagine the aftermath of a Pep Boys explosion and you’ve got the idea—but building supplies, clothing, sporting goods, and spent intoxicant containers also account for a fair share of it. In two hours of combing the trails, along with a group of schoolkids who had also signed up to help, we filled enough garbage bags to put up a roadblock on the Harlem River Drive.

After the ride, my son and I got on our bikes, and for the first time I rode the Highbridge trails with the knowledge that I’d actually played a tiny role in nurturing them. The pride I felt was grossly disproportionate to my miniscule contribution, but I basked in the afterglow for the rest of the day. Even better was my son’s declaration—“I like mountain biking”—and the knowledge that he was learning the rudiments of trail maintenance and riding technique simultaneously, meaning his mountain bike foundations will potentially be much more sound than my own.

Trail maintenance is a lot like bike maintenance: when the sun is shining and you have a few hours to spare you’d much rather ride than work. However, once you roll up your sleeves and get to it, it can be just as engaging as a ride itself, and the swelled head you’ll have afterwards is just as rewarding as a pair of sore legs. As my son and I left Highbridge that day, I took a parting glance at the contractor bags lining the curb on Fort George Avenue: See that trash? I thought to myself. I bagged that trash.

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samuel
43 days ago
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Cambridge, Massachusetts
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