Securities

Napa Nights

Photo by Bilal Zuberi

The Lux team headed to Napa for our leaders summit

It was all gorgeous weather and sumptuous wines over here in Napa this week as I type up a quick recap from SFO. No column this week, but we do have Lux Recommends below.

The whole Lux team got together to host dozens of our company leaders for three days of company and community building (space constraints, unfortunately, prevented us from inviting every leader who wanted to come).

Photo by Chris Gates
Photo by Chris Gates

Kicking us off were Peter Hébert and Josh Wolfe as well as Scott Rubin.

Photo by Chris Gates
Photo by Chris Gates
Photo by Chris Gates
Photo by Chris Gates

The primary focus was a series of loose, unconference-style breakout sessions, offering Lux’s leaders the chance to strategize and plan with their peers across the Lux portfolio. Below Shahin Farshchi, Jonathan Wolfson of Ingenuity Foods and Brandon Reeves talk about their experiences.

Photo by Chris Gates
Photo by Chris Gates
Photo by Chris Gates
Photo by Chris Gates
Photo by Chris Gates
Photo by Chris Gates

Bringing out the shades was everyone from Deena Shakir and Saunaz Moradi to Roger Perlmutter of Eikon in the sun-drenched vineyards of wine country.

Photo by Chris Gates
Photo by Chris Gates
Photo by Chris Gates
Photo by Chris Gates
Photo by Chris Gates
Photo by Chris Gates

After business was done, there were all of the activities of course. Bilal Zuberi and Steve Carpenter of Thematic joined dozens of others for a sip and cycle through the rolling hills of California. Others blended wine, made cheese and played Hampton at the Cross-Roads, our first riskgaming scenario now published on the Lux website.

Photo by Bilal Zuberi
Photo by Bilal Zuberi

Meanwhile, Lan Jiang and Tess van Stekelenburg drank wine as part of our hilltop get-together…

Photo by Chris Gates
Photo by Chris Gates

Grace Isford looked into the fires of the future…

Photo by Chris Gates
Photo by Chris Gates

… and David Yang struck the pins with a killer bowling move.

Photo by Chris Gates
Photo by Chris Gates

Finally, it was all about goat yoga for those who woke up early enough. Sam Arbesman, Shaq Vayda and Tracie Rotter struck poses while goats jumped on and over them (I wasn’t there, so that’s what I imagine at least).

Photo by Chris Gates
Photo by Chris Gates
Photo by Chris Gates
Photo by Chris Gates
Photo by Chris Gates
Photo by Chris Gates

I’ll say this: I can comprehend the machinations of nation-states and design intricately plotted riskgaming scenarios, but I seriously struggle with this goat yoga thing.

In short, a stimulating week with so many company leaders building so many new futures for humanity writ large. Now, time to catch a flight.

Lux Recommends

  • Sam recommends an article from Rina Diane Caballar looking at how “AI Copilots Are Changing How Coding Is Taught.” “Most introductory computer science courses focus on code syntax and getting programs to run, and while knowing how to read and write code is still essential, testing and debugging—which aren’t commonly part of the syllabus—now need to be taught more explicitly.”
  • Nobel laureate Angus Deaton is an icon in economics, but even at the advanced age of 78, he’s updating his priors and pushing his field to new questions and approaches. In a short post for the International Monetary Fund, Deaton says that “Like many others, I have recently found myself changing my mind, a discomfiting process for someone who has been a practicing economist for more than half a century.” What’s he changing his mind on? Even the most fundamental concepts of economics like efficiency.
  • Timothy B. Lee writes a reasonable (if sometimes wrong) piece on "Debugging Tech Journalism.” “Reporters pitching these stories to their editors have an obvious incentive to exaggerate the importance of the technology or company they are writing about. And once they’ve started work on a story, they have a strong incentive not to ask too many skeptical questions. After all, if they learn that the technology isn’t actually a big deal, they might have to kill the story and be left with nothing to show for their work.”
  • Anna Weiner has an absolutely exceptional piece in The New Yorker on the rise of photogrammetry and its influence on Hollywood, culture and more. Plus, she scores a rare interview with Epic Games head Tim Sweeney. “‘If I chop down a tree in a forest, there’s a chance that it hits another tree and knocks over another tree, and that splinters and breaks,’ Kim Libreri, Epic’s chief technology officer, said. ‘Getting that level of simulation is very, very hard right now.’ Even the smallest human gestures can be headaches. ‘Putting your hand through your hair—that’s an unbelievably complicated problem to solve,’ Libreri said. ‘We have physics simulation to make it wobble and stuff, but it’s almost at the molecular level.’ (In some games, hair is simulated by using cloth sheets with hairlike texture.)”
  • Finally, Kevin Williams has a prophetic piece with "I Went To China And Drove A Dozen Electric Cars. Western Automakers Are Cooked.” “Within five seconds of sitting behind the wheel of the [Buick] Velite 6, I understood why. [Will Sundin] picked up on my disappointment. “It’s a bit shit, innit?” he said. He was right. I couldn’t ignore what I was seeing. The Velite 6 felt like an electric version of a generation-old Chevy Malibu. The delta of quality, connectedness, and value between the Velite 6 and any of the equivalent of the mid-tier Chinese EV vehicles I had experienced that day, was startling. By comparison, the Velite 6’s small screens and grey plastic interior were downright depressing to the full-width, super brilliant screens in any given Chinese EV.”

That’s it, folks. Have questions, comments, or ideas? This newsletter is sent from my email, so you can just click reply.

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