About life in the last third

Preview of coming attractions


It has been more than seven weeks since I have written a blog post. I have several draft posts but haven’t been able to devote the time and energy to complete them. I miss the time I spend writing this blog, but I have been very busy. The transition from living in Tel Aviv – which I think is the most exciting city in the world – to our home in the wine country of Sonoma is really a shock to the system.

Please forgive the unstructured nature of this post it is just my way of saying hello to you, and to give you a preview of posts to come.

Time for myself
The time difference between Tel Aviv and the USA (7-10 hours) worked well for me. When I got up in the morning, it was night on the east coast and late evening on the west coast. This made it easier for me to devote dedicated time to my music and writing. I have to regain this balance now that I am back in the USA. I continue to work with my life coach, it has been a very good process. I like to joke that retirement is when you no longer enjoy doing the things you are good at doing and you are not good at the things you enjoy. While there is truth to this, my struggle to find balance has more to do with the weak voice of my own needs. It is very hard for me not to help someone who has a problem that I can solve in order to devote time to writing a piece of music that may never be performed.

Apple Watch Review will have to wait
Many of my friends have been asking me to give my take on the Apple Watch – which I have been wearing for more than a month. I would like to do that, but I am taking my time to slowly explore its capabilities. I can say that I am pretty positive about it and have worn it every day since I had the wonderful experience of unboxing it.

Steve Jobs
Some of you have complimented me on my last post which dealt with my personal reaction to Steve Jobs over some 35 years. The comments I have gotten have encouraged me to write more “from the heart” as they say.

Intel Founders
I just read the biography of Gordon Moore. Now that I have read the bio of Bob Noyce, Andy Grove, and Gordon Moore, I am considering writing my own take on these three remarkable men whom I had the privilege of knowing at Intel and the company they created. It was interesting – but in retrospect not so surprising to see that each biographer positioned their subject as the most important member of this triplet.

Middle East
I continue to think about the situation in the Middle East and, of course, Israel, the country that I love so much. My head spins when I think about all the possible scenarios for the region. It saddens me to see such a lack of leadership in the world and to see so many people suffer. I may have a solution.

The End of the Human Race as we know it
The world is about to go through some big changes. There are two major technical waves that will change everything. The first is driven by our understanding of genetics and our ability to engineer genes. The second is artificial intelligence (hate that phrase) and the development of robots. What I am thinking about these days is the convergence of these two powerful capabilities. Ray Kurzweil discussed this in his book ‘The Singularity is Near.’ I am not a big Kurzweil fan (maybe it is all the self-promotion or perhaps I am just jealous) but I think he is correct in general. Kurzweil seems to be driven by his desire to achieve immortality which is the greatest expression of hubris I can imagine. In my opinion, the human race as we now know it will not survive in its current form more than 100 years and maybe less. This century is the last century and there are people now alive that will make the transition into whatever the next phase of consciousness becomes. However, I should also acknowledge that we might not survive in any form.

The Current Tech Bubble
This is the fourth tech bubble I have experienced. My good friend Bill Janeway, (the former Vice Chair of Warburg Pincus and head of their technology practice) and I recently had a discussion about good bubbles and bad bubbles. Bill explained  the difference which was very interesting. In good bubbles, Value is created even though many investors experience great losses. Tech bubbles are the good kind because these bubbles fund innovations that would normally not be funded by rational investors. An example of a bad bubble is the real estate bubble that lead to the 2008 meltdown. As someone that is still engaged in early-stage tech investing (both money and effort), I don’t want to be the ‘greater fool.’ Fortunately, I am not that involved but it will be a painful car wreck to observe and I don’t think we have more than twelve months left in the current cycle. You might be interested to know that I sold all my tech stock back in March of 2000 (the height of the dot-com bubble). Forbes even put me as number 8 in the Midas list of the top venture investors because of this.

Ok, I better stop so I can start writing some of the blog posts I just promised.

8 thoughts on “Preview of coming attractions

  1. As usual a good and thoughtful post. I too worry over a depressing bot driven world in which my grandkids may inhabit. If as you suggest the planet is still intact. Hopefully I ( we ? ) am just a crotchety citizen of hyper advanced middle age ( my self denial characterization ).

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    • I’m always interesting your your tech talk, but your hint at a Middle East solution is nearer and dearer to my heart and soul, and far more urgent to so many lives. Do tell here… or happy to meet for coffee.

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  2. Avram I always enjoy your posts. Thank you. Surprisingly, I’d conclude your exact view of “next big changes” – gene innovation and AI – both will markedly changes our present ways of doing things and soon we will look back and find “quaint” our present way of living. At Innovega we continue to make good progress on the product (Glasses and disposable lenses) – hope to release our next gen Prototypes by end of Aug. In the meantime Discovery Channel supplied a brief video from a show they recently ran .. only two minutes or so .. Link is below .. thought you might like it … I’ll be in Santa Clara on Jun 9th updating the AR industry on our progress. I heard from Nick last week that he has a potential “partner” he would like to discuss with me ..

    Meanwhile our team will just keep plugging along in our creation of our awesome new Glasses .. Stay well! Steve

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/pfkykrkqsddvkq4/iOptik%20Media%20Coverage%2C%20Discovery%20Channel%202014.mp4?dl=0

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  3. “The first is driven by our understanding of genetics and our ability to engineer genes”
    Hmmm, I seem to recall one scenario written by Aldous Huxley. Brave New World was one of the few books I was forced to read in high school that I enjoyed.

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  4. Middle East solution? Reminds me of an old joke. You’ve probably heard it.

    A man is walking along the beach and he trips on a magic lamp, he polishes it off and a genie comes out. “I will grant you one wish” says the genie. The man thinks for a while and he finally says, “You know, I’ve always wanted to go to Hawaii, but I’ve been too scared to fly on a plane, and boats always make me seasick, so I want you to make a bridge to Hawaii.”

    The genie laughed and said, “That’s impossible!!! Think of the logistics of that! How would the supports ever reach the bottom of the Pacific? Think of how much concrete — how much steel!! No, think of another wish.”

    The guys thinks again and then he says, “I’d like to see a lasting peace in the Middle East within my lifetime.”

    The genie looks at him dumbfounded and finally says, “Do you want that bridge two lanes or four?”

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