Weather, Crime, and Traffic

Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Here’s a fun exercise:

Think of the Kardashian clan and name as many members as you can.

Now think of astronauts and name as many who have walked on the moon.

The New Yorker took a look at how global private companies are challenging governments in this era’s space race so I was reminded that the latter group has only twelve members:

Only twelve people have walked on the moon, all of them between the summer of 1969 and Christmas, 1972. All the moonwalkers were men, all were American, all but one were Boy Scouts, and almost all listened to country-and-Western music on their way to the moon; they earned eight dollars a day, minus a fee for a bed on the spacecraft. Since the last moonwalk, humans have launched crafts that have orbited the moon, crashed probes into it, and taken increasingly detailed photos of it. But no one has been back.

Back on Earth, more and more people are embracing Google’s ($GOOGL) Nest and Amazon’s ($AMZN) Ring smart cameras to secure their homes.

But luckily, for most across the United States, crime statistics have been historically low despite news coverage to the contrary:

Local news has even convinced people that day-to-day crime stories — the vast majority of which have no impact on the viewer and which should occasion exactly zero changes in their behavior — important to their day-to-day lives.

A report from Pew last month asked people about various topics in local news and asked both if they thought they were important or interesting and, if so, why. Did they consume news about a topic because it was important to their daily lives, because it was important but not to their daily lives, or just because they found it interesting?

Those surveyed overwhelmingly said crime news was important. But more striking is that so many of them said it was important to their daily lives. To put that in context, the top 3 ‘important to their daily lives’ topics were: weather, crime, and traffic. Weather and traffic really are important to your daily life! Figuring out what to wear or which route to take to work are very useful services local news can provide. But local TV news has convinced Americans that stories of violence are news-you-can-use at the same sort of level. (Only 9 percent said they followed local crime news because it was ‘interesting.’)

Coincidentally, listening to Bradley Horowitz, Google VP of Product Management, was a good reminder tonight of how siloed the teams at Google function: Nest vs. YouTube vs. Maps vs. search vs. X, etc.

The conversation at Bloomberg also featuring former Etsy ($ETSY) CEO Chad Dickerson was on the topic of innovation at large companies.

The Novel Investor blog had an excellent post on survival, recounting the international banana business of the 19th century, which is fascinating:

A corporation ages like a person. As the years go by and the founders die off, making way for the bureaucrats of the second and third generations, the ecstatic, risk-taking, just-for-the-hell-of-it spirit that built the company gives way to a comfortable middle age. Where the firm had been forward-looking and creative, it becomes self-conscious in the way of a man, pestering itself with dozens of questions before it can act. How will it look? What will they say? If the business is wealthy and strong, the executives who come to power in these later generations will be characterized by the worst kind of self-confidence: they think the money will always be there because it always has been.

Meanwhile, as Andreessen Horowitz attracts more outside money as Silicon Valley’s best venture capital firm, it knows it has to make bets on tomorrow even when it doesn’t fully understand today:

As the industry evolves, so do we. What will not change is our working together as a single team to partner with the best entrepreneurs and software-based startups across industries. All of these companies — regardless of the domain, and regardless of the stage — will continue to draw on our network of experts and expertise across the entire spectrum of company building, in executive and technical talent, go to market, corporate development, and brand/marketing, to help achieve their goals. Here’s to the next 10 years!