We all see that argument online where someone gives a quick history lesson to buttress their argument:

“[Palestinians / Jews] were there first! They have a right to that land!”

Interesting concept — a pillar for both sides. Who has this right to own land? What is this “right” they speak of?

Ownership of land makes little sense. How do you acquire land? You purchase it. How did that ownership acquire land? Did someone take ownership by laying claim at some point? That seems like a dubious concept. Just ask Native Americans.

Land ownership is a social contract. Nobody has…

The danger of COVID is no longer infection after someone starts coughing . It now seems to be overwhelmingly asymptomatic transmission (Source: CDC). When the pandemic started, we all hunkered down to wait for the government to fix this. They didn’t. Hopefully we will have vaccines soon, but as people start to interact more in smaller groups, we all want to do this safely.

What I realized yesterday is that each of us can protect every person we interact with from every other person we interact with. Imagine if you have the following interactions:

A > B > (X) you…

We are in the middle of a holocaust-scale event. Over 1.37MM people have died. Another 1MM to 10MM+ will die before vaccines save the day. We are racing against the clock. And the furnace can be turned off.

To stop a virus: we need to stop spreading the virus.

This can be solved by everyone adjusting their behavior appropriately. If we do this, communities and businesses will be able to reopen almost immediately.


The logic is simple:

  1. The virus is transmitted person-to-person with asymptomatic transmission.
  2. Thus, to change the rate of infection, we need to change behavior.
  3. The ideal behavior…

Until we get a vaccine, it looks like COVID-19 will continue to devastate. What I am most surprised by is:

Where is Rapid App-based Contact Tracing?!


  • Once someone is infected, everyone who is several degrees from them are notified.
  • Clusters of people take precautionary measures: stop going out, get tested, etc.
  • Infection rates go down to a point where communities clear the infection out.


Apple and Google implemented contact tracing into our phones, but it seems to have three problems:

  1. Needs government approval to be turned on. I am in Massachusetts and it’s still not on. Not sure why.
  2. Notifications…

I’ve participated and mentored at a number of hackathons. I’ve also been doing the gritty sort of early stage venture building since around 2005 (more on that below). Having seen how not to do mentorship and having successfully mentored a number of teams, here is the recipe I recommend.

Here is a companion video that I’ve put together, in case that’s your thing.

Before the Hackathon

As with other things, the better you prepare, the better the outcome:

  1. Knowledge Domain: Identify what knowledge will likely be needed for the hackathon.
  2. Set Up Network Mentors / Sherpas: select individuals who will recruit knowledge mentors

Thoughts on Healthcare Structure

Some random thoughts that have accumulated over the last few months. Apologies if they seem raw. Please feel free to discuss, write responses, and otherwise engage.

  • Emergency services should be a utility on par with fire, police, etc. Patients in emergency situations are operating in an inelastic market and should be brought to the closest, most effective facility that would stabilize them until they (or appropriate parties) are able to make decisions about their care.
  • Once a patient is stabilized, data should reside outside of hospitals and decisions should be made based on wide-scale epidemiology and…

Depression may be your best ally. It is the one force that, like no other, makes us change our context.

What Is Depression?

One fine day, I was mildly depressed. Cruising Facebook, I came across a video of an over-the-top expressive gentleman who delivered a thought that changed my life: you are never depressed; you observe yourself in a depressed state. The difference is profound. If you are depressed, you are powerless. If you are the observer, you maintain agency.

Evolution has built into us fundamental drives. These drives were optimized over the years to support the individual and societal/tribal passing forward of…

Nikita Bernstein

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