Best of the web: Epic fails, the origin of the universe and iPhone gets buried
If you only read one article today, make it one of these.
Published 13:21, 14 September 10
Here's my pic of the best of the web this week.
For tech startups and economic theorists:
Startup-Russia blog looks at the mechanics behind Silicon Valley failures, an environment where nine out of ten startups are likely to fail.
From the blog:
"The real machinery of Silicon Valley creation reminds a complex chemical factory. Raw ideas and visions are funneled into it, and undergo multiple transitions from one stage to another in a high pressure startup environment. 90-95% break down and fail, and their raw materials recycle right back into furnace. The rest emerges from the silo years later as winners we all know today. One of many Silicon Valley secrets is the system of managing and dealing with systematic and constant failure of individual startups, while creating almost guaranteed small percentage of winners in the end. Lets take a closer look how this refinery of massive failures into few success stories actually works."
The blog is reminiscent of Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. But while Gladwell looks at the factors behind success, the author, Max Skibinsky, looks at the biggest causes of startup failures:"One of the popular topics high tech pundits like to discuss is relative importance in startup destiny between initial idea, founding team and the market. The answer usually puts lowest priority to an idea and splits the reminder of the importance between the team and the market, often putting more emphasis on the team. Something like 55% team, 45% market and 10% original idea. Such analysis has some merits and is helpful for founders to maintain healthy state of mind while assailing huge odds stacked against them. However, after observing Valley life for 15 years this author realistic estimate would along the following figures: 70% market, 29% team, 1% original idea."
As the author is Russian, he then goes on to look at lessons that Russia can learn from the Silicon Valley model. It's a long article, but well worth your time.
For science lovers and origin of the universe boffins:
Nature Chemisty has published a report that looks at comets role in the formation of the universe. To get the full report you need to pay, but Ars Technica have published a neat analysis of this paper. The scientists used computing power to run "molecular dynamics simulations of what might happen to a typical cometary mixture as a blazing hot shockwave passed through, and was followed by a rapid decompression"."These were pretty elaborate calculations, with femtosecond time resolution, and molecular interactions that considered quantum effects. Simply modeling the decompression that followed a shockwave for 50 picoseconds involved about 80,000 CPU hours. They also reran the model to simulate different speeds and angles of impact, which produce different pressure/temperature combinations within the shockwave that passes through the comet."
For those that want a laugh:
In a confusing public relations stunt, Microsoft held a funeral for the iPhone and BlackBerry, to celebrate Windows Phone 7 reaching RTM status. Google Android somehow escaped Microsoft's bizarre burial. The parade featured hearses and black capes. Those crazy cats in Redmond then erupted into a 'Thriller' dance. Darth Vader was also there, on a motorbike. (Why?)
Words fail really. Why is it so awkward to watch Microsoft trying to do a viral marketing
campaign? It's like watching your dad dance at a wedding.