Let’s start with this week’s Tweet of the Week
. It seems that I am about to become a Doctor. My University - Kent University in the UK - has announced that it is honoring me at a ceremony to be held in Canterbury on April 1st (ominous I know). I am assured it is not an April fools trick. But I am kinda surprised, while very grateful.
My focus on change was fuelled at Kent. I studied British Constitution and Politics with Sociology. I did minors in Social and Economic History and Economics including Statistics.
When I arrived in Kent as a 19-year old I was already a rebel focused on change. The atmosphere in 1973 was full of Vietnam, Ireland, Immigration and Racism, Nationalism and the collapse of the Eastern Bloc soon followed.
My classes provided ample opportunity to develop ideas and debate them. I loved every minute. I never completed my Ph.D. because I became focused on being an activist (Workers Against Racism and the Irish Freedom Movement) and started writing, speaking, and being active on issues. Kent always encouraged my critical thinking, questioning, and problem solving against the world’s biggest problems. I learned to code in the first year of my Ph.D. and never looked back.
When I published Under Siege
(using the nom de plume Keith Tompson) in 1988 and then The Easy Net Book
in 1995 I was in transition from politics to technology as the primary focus for helping create change.
in 1994 EasyNet was the first consumer ISP in Europe and CYBERIA the world’s first Internet Café. After EasyNet’s IPO I moved to Palo Alto in 1997 and RealNames was the first attempt to allow keyword navigation on the Internet, including keywords using Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Hebrew, Arabic, Cyrillic, and other non-Latin characters as web addresses.
Being part of the founding of TechCrunch, and now the CEO of SignalRank, my whole life so far has been about making change.
I owe a lot to Kent University for making that possible. Thank you for that. And being honored with a Doctorate is really a testimony to the institutions’ impact on me.
This week we look at some big themes. The Internet and War is a section that covers the role of Big Tech in the Ukraine invasion. In the video this week we will talk a lot about how these companies have chosen sides and impacted the perception we have of it.
Another big week in Venture Capital also. Homebrew announced it will not raise the 4th fund but will invest the principal’s own money (permanent capital). SV Angel announcing its first-ever growth fund Ali Partovi launching Neo as a challenge to the new Y Combinator, describing it as closer to the original YC vision. All of these things amplify some of the themes we have previously spoken about on That Was The Week. This week’s Essay of the Week is a video essay from Chicago University. If we are to get full context on Ukraine it is really important to watch, even if you disagree with it. The first casualty of War is the Truth. This is a contribution to seeing through the fog to the real causes.
More in the video.