Microsoft university penetration strategy

Tools of the trade

  • content marketing like documentation and tutorials on how to use tools
  • Speaking at events as first point of contact for lecturers and TAs
  • Sponsorship through hackathons
  • direct outreach to educational TAs
  • support for student mentorship programs

Acquisition

  • Reach to TAs to try out tools for free
  • Setup booths at hackathons and conducting workshops
  • Train student on the use of MS tools so that they can become successful mentors – GitHub strategy
  • Provide budget for student groups who want to organize learning sessions involving how to use the tools

Feedback mechanism /

  • track the conversion rate of documentations visit to corresponding sign up levels
  • track time on documentation
  • listen for feedbacks when interacting with students during hackathons to figure out portions of the documentation that are confusing

Metrics

  • track YoY student traffic usage during lull periods to determine if baseline is improving.

Bloomberg is a laggard for trend reporting

It’s been observed there is an average time lag of around one to three months before obvious trends observed to insider becomes apparent to mainstream media.

Examples

New Blow to Hedge Funds as Software Darlings Start to Crumble
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-10-19/fresh-blow-to-hedge-funds-as-software-darlings-start-to-crumble

 

https://www.bloomberg.com/amp/news/articles/2019-08-07/home-prices-decline-in-some-of-the-costliest-markets-in-the-u-s

 

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-01-24/san-francisco-s-sky-high-office-rents-to-slip-as-building-peaks

 

 

 

 

General thoughts on Mark Zuckerberg’s warning of the internet’s role in Authoritarianism displacing Democracy

  • The polarization between democratic systems and authoritarian systems is becoming more apparent as China leverages its growing middle class to project it’s influence on the world stage a strategy that US has been utilizing for the past decades.
  • Facebook is a vehicle for projecting American values overseas.
  • The African continent remains a land grab for the two different regime types. Thus far, China has won out on the physical infrastructure and government level while FaceBook has won out on the community grassroots levels.
  • For the C Suite especially CMOs to execute their jobs well they need to be focused on what’s happening out there in the world as opposed to what’s happening within their own functional organization. It’s the VP of marketing’s job to handle what is within their own marketing organization.
  • Its a time when US companies will need to navigate the international markets while managing the challenges to their American values.
  • The Chinese government has done a better execution on that front with their One Belt Road initiative by clearing the path at the government level to facilitate the unhindered expansion at the commercial level by its enterprises.
  • Western media is working at full Rev to control the narrative frames that drives public opinions.
  • Mark Zuckerberg has masterfully leverage recent trends to reframe Libra as a champion of democratic ideals as opposed to a disintermediation force on central banks around the world.

Related references

Zuckerberg Warns China’s Censored Internet Could Still Win Out
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-10-17/zuckerberg-warns-china-s-censored-internet-could-still-win-out

Apple bows to China by removing Taiwanese emoji

https://qz.com/1723334/apple-removes-taiwan-flag-emoji-in-hong-kong-macau-in-ios-13-1-1/

Christian Dior apologizes for omitting Taiwan from Chinese map

https://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2019/10/17/china-bullies-christian-dior-apologizing-omitting-taiwan-map/

China exerts pressure on NBA to fire key executive for tweet on Hong Kong unrest

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/17/sports/basketball/nba-china-adam-silver.amp.html

Solomon island switches relationship to China from Taiwan

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/16/world/asia/solomon-islands-taiwan-china.amp.html

Kiribati switches relationship to China from Taiwan

https://amp.theguardian.com/world/2019/sep/20/taiwan-loses-second-ally-in-a-week-as-kiribati-switches-to-china

Southeast Asia balances between Chinese Markets and US defense

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/03/09/world/asia/china-us-asia-rivalry.html

Facebook Warns Washington That Beijing Wins If Libra Plan Fails
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-10-17/facebook-warns-washington-that-beijing-wins-if-libra-plan-fails

 

 

Constrains on world GDP levels

Absolute constrains

  • Break throughs in fundamental science
  • Level of human population
  • Size of geographical mass under occupation – currently Earth

Transient constrains

  • monetary and credit supply levels
    • inflation
    • deflation
  • proliferation of scientific techniques
    • full proliferation results in zero or negative ROI when further credit is employed
  • ease of population, trade and credit/money flows around the world

Related references

Simultaneous inflation and deflation pressures in China

China simultaneously experiences imported deflation and inflation. 

Drop in global demand for exports causes credit to unwind within the manufacturing sector. 

Swine flu and depleting foreign reserves causes price pig to increase. 

This will be a useful case study to observe the monetary and fiscal policy China implements to deal with simultaneous inflationary and deflationary pressures. 

China Factory Deflation Worsens as Pork Drives Consumer Prices  https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-10-15/china-factory-deflation-worsens-as-pork-drives-consumer-prices

Bloomberg does AB testing

Fascinating AB testing observed on the entire world’s population by major news networks. 

Barely 72 hours after the announcement of phase 1 trade deal, its accompanying mass euphoria and surge in world markets, the almost same exact photo with some slight changes in copyrighting and background color is released into production. 

It will be fascinating to observe the world’s reaction to this new AB year variant that just got released and the corresponding market price levels. 

Observed unwinding of credit in the market

Priori

  • Federal reserve starts reducing debt bought and brought onto their balance sheet during 2008
  • Federal reserve went on a series of interest rate hike from the period of 2016 to 2018
  • Trump starts Trade war in 2017 resulting in reduced global demand for American exports

Liquidity concerns experienced in sections of the markets around the world

Riots and unrest

Related readings

 

Chat with Punit

Private one on one chats over dinner and generally more insightful than listening to talks in conferences.

Areas of focus

Core areas of focus

  • enterprise
  • cloud
  • security
  • SaaS

Exploratory areas for growth

  • healthcare technology
  • fintech
  • gaming

Process

Starts building a model about a space before diving in. After diving in with investments further build out the model. Coefficients for the model include areas:

  • Team processes
  • Product performance metric
  • Market growth

Thoughts on FinTech

Betting on consumerization of the space as opposed to enterprise. Recent move by Charles Schwarb will not likely impact revenue of consumer apps.

Looking for startups focused on the vector that will get them into consumer wallets as well as grow to occupy a much larger portion of the consumer wallet.

When baby happens, need to get baby insurance. Then next would be Will. And then next…

Hedge funds are not suitable for VC investments. Hedge fund managers should look for other types of investors.

On security

CEOs has not much time. Prefer to high a company that is specialized in acquiring security solutions and delegate the problem to them instead. If shit hits the fan, gets to delegate blame. Companies do not remove security solutions but keep on adding on new ones. Its like a bandaid approach. Removing solutions runs the risk of causing bleeding, very dangerous. The recurring revenue is very lucrative.

When it comes to security is not a question of ability to deeply penetrate a system. Its a question of willingness to pay to penetrate the said system.

On machine learning

On public web data, building model based that is based around proven correlations – CxOs tend to leave a company before shit happens.

On offline data, putting in boxes in data centers to track traffic volume in and out of data centers to approximate demands on another company’s servers

Words on the street

VCs are increasingly concerned about governance. WeWork’s founder have basically offload USD500million dollars on the secondary market to other hedge fund managers.

On funding

If the core economic of the business does not work before funding, it will only get worst after funding. This is because the company will need to clear an even higher valuation before new investors will be profitable.

On board operations

Having a lot of big brand name VCs does not necessarily mean that you will have a good board. The board needs to be well round.  The founder needs to be able to align all the members of the board.

Expectation of the fund

Calibrate the needs of the needs of the corporate and the needs of the founders.

Expect governance to be intact. For the founders to truly execute upon what they sold when they raised the money.

Would be happy to even just double their money.

 

Book summary: The perfect weapon by David Sanger

Nuclear bombs are deterrents and weapons of last resort. Cyber attacks are tools are massively disruptive tools that could be used with plausible deniability.

White house open the pandora box when they disrupted Iran’s nuclear program with cyber attacks. They now faces challenge of cyber attacks from China, Russia and North Korea.

Types of attacks

  • Intellectual property theft
  • Infrastructure disruption – banks, power plants road, nuclear plants
  • Commercial sector disruption
  • Intelligence leakage leading to compromised safety of field agents
  • Compromised voting process through fake news
  • ransomware
  • venture capital investments to acquire foreign assets

After observing Obama successfully utilizing social media to win the elections and the Arab springs uprising, the west was lead to believe a web that promoted open communications will lead to the spread of democracy around the world . However, it was not long before authoritarian states realized it’s potential use for big brother surveillance.

North Korea

North Korea has the largest and most sophisticated hacker networks. And they have an asymmetrical advantage because most of their systems are not modernized and not probes to hacking. US embraced technology in both the private and public sector. Each wave of technology adoption leads to exposure of new vulnerable loops holes.

North Korea hacked Sony to prevent the release of “The interview”. It fell under the grey area where the US government did not respond.

China

Chinese hacks were initially targeted at acquiring intellect property to further their own technological advancement. Chinese government hack knowledge and pass them to Chinese companies.

This was the chief reason for Google’s exit from China.

China has recently positioned itself to be a source of venture capital funding to acquire Silicon Valley technology knowhow. By not outright acquiring these companies they were able to fly under the radar.

Russia

Hacked into US government system to figure out the agenda of each future presidential candidate.

Bought Facebook and Twitter ads to influence 2016 US elections. It also used Fake News to muddle facts from the truth.

It’s agenda is to ensure former USSR territories do not join Europe.

It’s team disrupted Ukrainian elections by causing critical systems to shut down.

White house challenges

White house struggles between determining if a hack should be considered a attack to the state or simply an act of vandalism that should be handled by the courts.

Exposing a hack without an accompanying comprehensive solution will only alert hackers to alter their approach while causing public hysteria.

It is hypocritical to condemn another country for cyber attacks if your own country is undertaking the same type of hacks. HuaWei is a classic example. If the entire world switches over to HuaWei, US intelligence’s ability to do surveillance will be compromised in favor of China’s ability to do surveillance.

Silicon Valley giants are reluctant to acknowledge their platform can be a vector for compromising democratic process.

General thoughts

Technology is value agnostic. The way its applied is predicated by the value system of the user.

Mentioned companies

  • Crowd strike
  • Google
  • Facebook
  • Twitter