No. 100: 5 Tuesday PM Reads and Views

  1. Alice Walker wrote a beautiful poem about Julian Bond.
  2. Nas continues to make waves with the launch of the Opportunity Fund, a General Assembly scholarship program focused on getting more women, veterans, African-Americans, and Latinos into programming and engineering.
  3. Here’s an interview with Justin Gatlin after he won silver at this year’s World Track and Field Championships. Notice the emotion. After serving a four-year ban for steroids that he maintains he did not take knowingly, nearly the entire track and field world has berated him constantly in the three or four years he has been back in the sport. It’s sickening to be honest. A BBC commentator said that Usain Bolt may have saved the sport after winning the 100m dash. Come off it.
  4. Teju Cole wrote an intriguing essay, I assume based on a carving he saw at a museum. He does a beautiful job weaving past and present together. 
  5. Great Jeune Afrique piece on Aliko Dangote and his business empire.(Translate to English) 

No. 96: 5 Thursday AM Reads

1. Fascinating piece on Sam’s Cafe in Tehran. I look forward to reading more about life in Iran as business opens up with the rest of the world. 

2. One of the benefits of the Internet is the transparency it enables. Here’s an interesting post from Zirtual CEO Maren Kate on why Zirtual failed and how the company was saved. 

3. Helpful piece on how Ghana’s fiscal troubles have clouded the pretty good management of its oil revenue.

4.  Interesting perspective on how social media encourages performance bias. 

5. Really good piece on the bias built into some mobile apps. 

No. 93: 7 Tuesday PM Reads

1. Bree Newsome penned good words on the moral duty of disruption when oppression is the status quo. 

2. Deray McKesson wrote a good reflection on the significance of social media in pursuing justice.

3. Tolu Ogunlesi discusses the impact social media has had on governance in Nigeria. Similar to what Deray wrote, social media mitigates the censuring of voices in Nigeria.

Let me pause here for a bit. I am frustrated to see things heating up again in Ferguson. I’m still wrestling with the words Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote to his son. The racist system we live in is not a mirage. Note in Bree Newsome’s excerpt from Dr. King’s letter that he mentions the white power structure. We still have that today and I don’t want that to be the case when Anna Olivia is my age.

What Deray and Bree are doing is critical to this not being my daughter’s reality.We need folks disrupting from the outside and the inside. Being part of the power structure and holding the power structure accountable.

Regarding being part of the power structure, I would just love to see more black people running platforms like Twitter and Instagram in the US like 2go does in Nigeria. The impact of black people on platforms like Twitter and Instagram is tangible, so when an Instagram account like that of the Dream Defenders is deleted for a short period, I feel anxious. A feeling of being “allowed” exists, and that feels like a cap on the struggle we see going on in America.

The work of folks like Mellody Hobson and John Thompson is critical in getting to those and shaping decisions that impact millions.

Alright.

4. Google, Inc is now a subsidiary of Alphabet, Inc. I closed the post before I realized that this was huge. I look forward to hearing what Clayton Christensen has to say about what this means for disruptive innovation.

5. I’m nervous about governments and developers pumping hundreds of millions of dollars in developing Silicon Savannahs. Some are already being called potential white elephants. Two things come to mind. One. This is a long game. Silicon Valley came together over decades, the foundation of which arguably traces back nearly a century. The developments need to have a long term outlook. 100-years long. Which leads me to the second point. What crazy projects are African governments working on that don’t make sense today but could be commonplace fifty years from now? Silicon. Wi-Fi. GPS. Etc. If not at the governmental level, who’s doing this kind of work at the private sector level? That is a huge part of the foundation for a thriving future for the tech industry on the continent. 

6. This is a good piece on the danger of the big-man syndrome in the tech space and how there needs to be greater acknowledgement of the role government has played in technology. 

7. My face dropped when I saw the news or Berkshire Hathaway buying Precision Castparts for $37.2 billion. One of my uncles owns a company that makes parts for the federal government. We need to see about getting Buffett on the team!

No. 92: Thursday Lunch Views and Reads

1. Clint Smith shares his experience teaching a creative writing course at a prison and coming to terms with his socialized view of people who are incarcerated. (via Clint Smith)

2. I wish I was in Ghana to check out this cool looking art exhibition. (via Bessie Akuba Winn-Afeku)

3. Sometimes, these assurances that we have nothing to worry about when it comes to artificial intelligence feels like my back is being rubbed with the flat side of a freshly sharpened sword. (via Marc Andreessen)

4. Ryan Leslie has done the music business differently for a long time. I like the way he thinks minus the 20-hour days. (via Ryan Leslie)

5. The controversy surrounding Justin Gatlin being the fastest person in the world after serving two doping bans frustrates me. He paid his dues, yet people continue to demonize him. (via Track and Field News)

No. 90: Thursday AM Reads and Listens

No. A little over a year ago, Jehiel was telling me about this idea he had for smart tractors. A few days ago, he talked about what Hello Tractor is doing while moderating a panel with President Obama. Amazing.

It is so frustrating to read story after story on America’s failing infrastructure.

Great post by Mark Suster on startup failure.

Barry Ritholtz’s Masters in Business podcast is quickly becoming one of my favorites. Here’s a great one with Dambisa Moyo, though he interrupted her a lot.

Mind boggling graphics on China’s investment around the world.

Nice rundown of the latest in the startup scene across Africa.

First Round Capital looked at ten years worth of data from its time investing in startups at the seed stage. The findings are interesting, though I don’t feel comfortable with the “Where You Went to School Matters” finding. I think that propagates some of the diversity issues in the US technology startup scene.

I highly recommend you read Ta-Nehisi Coates’ new book, Between the World and Me. I’ve been struggling with writing a post on it, so I’m just going to sit with it for a while. Perhaps I’ll have something of substance to say later.

No. 89: Tuesday AM Reads

It’s looking like a $3B effort to put broadband in rural America hasn’t gone well. 

Good list of African multi-nationals with sights on other parts of the continent.

Worth taking another look at a report BCG put out in 2010 on African multinationals pushing to compete in the global economy.

Critique of a new documentary on the Black Panther Party. I’d be interested in hearing Ta-Nehisi Coates’ response to this. 

Video: Hearing on Dodd-Frank Act Five Years Later

No. 88: Thursday Morning ReadsĀ 

Tidjane Thiam gets off to a nice start at Credit Suisse

Silicon Valley’s Political End Game

Rocket Internet’s portfolio value has grown $2.5 billion in nine months 

Wistia founder shares how not being fake helped them close an account with a big customer 

Not sure I buy the analysis that Eurobond issuances among African countries with increase in the second half of this year 

Interesting points on what DC needs to do to prepare for population growth to 800k

Ethiopia centralizes coffee regulation; Nigeria rice industry dealing with Dangote’s push to eliminate imports; Ghana giving sugar another shot

New York fast food workers get their salary doubled