Wall Street on the Tundra — Michael Lewis’s long but fascinating glimpse into Iceland’s rise and fall as hubris-filled banker to the world. One of the many lessons is not to believe the post-hoc explanations for success: “Icelanders—or at any rate Icelandic men—had their own explanations for why, when they leapt into global finance, they broke world records: the natural superiority of Icelanders. Because they were small and isolated it had taken 1,100 years for them—and the world—to understand and exploit their natural gifts, but now that the world was flat and money flowed freely, unfair disadvantages had vanished. Iceland’s president, Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, gave speeches abroad in which he explained why Icelanders were banking prodigies.”. For more on the financial meltdown, also read The Real Cause of the Financial Crisis–it’s spot on.
Twilio — your web apps can trigger voice calls and respond to incoming calls through a simple REST and XML API. It’s wildly simple. Using it, This Line Is Secure was able to launch very quickly. I’m still not able to think in terms of phones, unable to see when a voice-drop or numeric-key interface works for an app, but I’ll bet that playing with Twilio will help me develop that sense without the cost of Asterisk hardware.
Let Startups Bail Us Out — Reid Hoffman writes in favour of ensuring an adequate supply of startups. “Consider a few start-ups from the past century: Microsoft, MTV, CNN, FedEx, Intel, Hewlett-Packard, Burger King. Each opened during a period of economic downturn. Today, these brands employ hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. We need to prepare for the next Burger King. By empowering individuals and small businesses, an innovation stimulus can help germinate stable industry players for the long term.” (via Caterina)