// NOTE: this post serves as an open request for feedback as I try to articulate the edges of a thesis I find compelling. I need to pressure test it, so please send me your thoughts!
As an investor, I am focused on what I think of as ‘technical tools.’ That is, tools that either help developers build or deploy code, or tools that help pseudo-technical users do developer-like things. There are some edges for this where it’s hard to delineate what is/isn’t a tool for a technical user, especially in the collaboration space. In fact, much of my thinking here stems from the question, “so does this include stuff like Slack?,” which comes up a surprising amount in conversation.
For the third successive year, I’m doing a quick digest of what tools I used for the first time in the past year. I subscribe to the idea that your capacity to be productive (as an individual, team, firm, or society) will asymptote relative to your ability to utilize (and build) specialized tools. And I think software is a microcosm of this; each layer of the stack has different components that are good at different tasks, and by composing a mesh of these tools, you can build high-quality applications.
Over the past year, I have spent a lot of time digging into cloud infrastructure and technical tools as a space for investing. One of the emergent behaviors of technology trends is the accelerating advantage of being a winner, played out with network effects or scale effects (or both!). Since its mid-2000’s launch, AWS has obviously become a juggernaut, growing so quickly and throwing off so much cash that even Amazon can’t put it to work fast enough (!). Getting a new software product to market has never been as cheap or fast as it is today, despite the fact that the surface area of in-depth knowledge required to build high-performing software has never been higher.
I have learned only a minuscule amount about machine learning; just enough to get under the hood and to build something very rudimentary. As I was learning some of the underlying concepts and methods, a couple of things really struck a chord in my brain–with how applicable they are to, well, everything.