Good On Ya, Zuck

NEW YORK (AP) — Another 17 of America's richest people, including Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, junk bond pioneer Michael Milken and AOL co-founder Steve Case, have pledged to give away most of their wealth.

They are the latest to join the Giving Pledge, an effort led by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and investor Warren Buffett to commit the country's wealthiest people to step up their charitable donations.

They've now signed up 57 people and their families. The list also includes New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, CNN founder Ted Turner and film director George Lucas.

Though not a formal contract, those who pledge are committing to give away at least half of their wealth to philanthropic causes either before or after they die.

I love seeing more and more of the world's richest take this pledge. This also puts his donation to NJ schools in a different light, since the timing of it seemed a little too convient with the opening of The Social Network. Well done, Mark.

Small [...] truly is beautiful now.

Small—and relentlessly experimental, quick-footed, and determined—truly is beautiful now. “In the ’20s and ’30s, there was a turn toward big national companies—U.S. Steel and others,” he says. “‘Small’ meant Uncle Joe’s shoe store. Small meant lame.” But it’s clear to Graham that brilliant technologists who work small are anything but lame. Instead, they are the rocket ships everyone is clamoring to board.

Whether the angel-touched companies of the Twitter age will endure, produce something of true value, and propel us all forward remains to be seen. That was the gold standard that the former Silicon Valley—including its VCs—judged itself by. Though Graham won’t say that his entrepreneurs and the angels who watch over them will go down in the history books alongside the giants who created the Valley’s iconic companies, he does speak of working at the center of a shift on the scale of the industrial revolution. Then he checks himself: “Not even the participants know how this is going to end up.”


The Blessing/Curse of OpenTable for Restaurants (and how is an example of how a new system could fix that)

Nonetheless, Pastore believes that a nonmonopolistic reservation system would be better for business owners, since it would cost less. He and I agree that it could also be better for diners since it would encourage competing reservations systems. In the travel business one can see the effect of competition in consumer-facing reservation systems: look at Hipmunk, for example, to see a new spin on airline data visualization and booking.

We see innovation in travel sites not because airline data is open or free--live airfare information comes from a few private sources and is expensive to license--but rather because the revenues to be made from travel bookings are so high that the economics of buying the data work in an entrepreneur's favor. Google, by the way, is attempting to get into this game by buying airline data company ITA.

I'm hoping Grubhub is on its way to finally creating the platform we envisioned with our original Y Combinator application all those years ago. Steve's Sheetz-inspired vision for more efficient food ordering is long overdue. We weren't the guys to do it, but someone will be.