Gift Guide: Leading VCs recommend their favorite reads from 2019

Welcome to TechCrunch’s 2019 Holiday Gift Guide! Need help with gift ideas? We’re here to help! We’ll be rolling out gift guides from now through the end of December. You can find our other guides right here.

As we reach the end of 2019 and approach crunch time for everyone who has procrastinated holiday gift buying, we wanted to highlight a few more great reads that might add value to your life or are just plain-old fun.

Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve asked Extra Crunch members and the TechCrunch editorial staff for their favorite books of the year. Responses covered a huge mix of genres, narrative structures and formats, with titles that would fit the interests of anyone from your techno-nerd co-founder to your craziest second-cousin that you only see around the holidays.

For our last round of book recommendations, we decided to ask the investors who control the capital in Silicon Valley, help catalyze the industry’s biggest winners and ultimately influence what our future will look like. We surveyed a select group of five leading VCs on their top book recommendations for 2019 with the only criteria being that the respondents personally read the title this year and thought it was meaningful. Among our correspondents:

The books could cover any topic, be fiction or non-fiction and could be old, new or anything in between. Here are the six books that resonated with our panel of investors, all of which they would recommend to you, a friend or a family member looking for a great holiday gift. 

This article contains links to affiliate partners where available. When you buy through these links, TechCrunch may earn an affiliate commission.

Josh Wolfe, Lux Capital

Exhalation by Ted Chiang

Knopf / 368 pages / May 2019

This year for me it was Ted Chiang’s “Exhalation”. The gap between sci-fi and sci-fact keeps shrinking. I contend either our authors are becoming less creative or our scientists more creative. Chiang disproves the former. One of the most provocative stories in this collection is The Truth of Fact, The Truth of Feeling which parallels two protagonists set in the near future and the not-too-distant past. One sub-story centers on a Black Mirror-esque technology that gives high-fidelity perfect recall and recordings of prior experience. The other story is of a tribe that lives by oral tradition that has one member encounter an outsider with the technology of writing. Together they make a provocative poignant point on the distinction between being precise and being right—and the meaning in our lives between them.

Summary: “Exhalation” is the latest composition by acclaimed sci-fi writer Ted Chiang, whose short story titled “Story of Your Life” famously acted as the inspiration for the Oscar-nominated film “Arrival.” Chiang’s newest work is a collection of science fiction short stories and novelettes that stray away from the speculative dystopian side of the genre. Using common sci-fi motifs such as aliens and AI proliferation, the selected writings instead dial-in on the characters living in these imagined universes as they examine how societal and technological evolutions impact the ethical, philosophical and cognitive aspects of the human psyche and existence. 

Price: $16 on Amazon

Theresia Gouw, aCrew Capital

Alpha Girls: The Women Upstarts Who Took on Silicon Valley’s Male Culture and Made the Deals of a Lifetime by Julian Guthrie

Currency / 304 pages / April 2019

The most interesting book to come out in 2019 that tells the story of tech and venture is “Alpha Girls: The Women Upstarts Who Took on Silicon Valley’s Male Culture and Made the Deals of a Lifetime”, by Julian Guthrie. I find it a fascinating read (even if I weren’t included) – with stories that speak to both men and women, to the deals won and lost (Skype, Imperva, F5, Trulia, Facebook, Salesforce and more) and to the history of Silicon Valley through the lens of four outsiders. Despite having to pave their own path, the women jumped in headfirst in the pursuit of their dreams. You will walk away with a different view of how it is to be a woman in this male-dominated industry, and you will get a sense of the important role of male allies. “Alpha Girls” shows that women have long been “hidden figures” behind big companies and key deals. Finally, their stories are being told.

Summary: Silicon Valley’s massive gender gap is no secret, particularly in the notorious “boys and bros” club that is the venture capital industry. In “Alpha Girls: The Women Upstarts Who Took on Silicon Valley’s Male Culture and Made the Deals of a Lifetime,” esteemed business journalist, international best-selling author and multi-time Pulitzer nominee Julian Guthrie details the career paths of four leading female VCs (disclosure: our respondent Theresia Gouw is one of them) that have played major roles in shaping today’s tech and startup landscape.

Through first-hand accounts, Guthrie explores how Theresia, Magdalena Yesil (Broadway Angels, Salesforce, US Venture Partners), Mary Jane Elmore (Broadway Angels, Institutional Venture Partners (IVP) and Sonja Hoel Perkins (Broadway Angels, Menlo Ventures) first found their way to the male-dominated world of venture capital, the strategies they used to find recurring success and how they navigated the structural disadvantages of an industry built for others.

“Alpha Girls” offers tremendous, difficult-to-find depth around the professional, personal, and familial scenarios underrepresented groups in VC encounter as they look to challenge the status quo, find personal success and redefine an entire industry.

Price: $14 on Amazon

Mamoon Hamid, Kleiner Perkins

The Coddling of the American Mind by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt

Penguin Press / 352 pages / September 2018

Our world is rapidly shifting around us – from evolving social norms, to the external stimuli that impact our well-being. It’s a new pace that is acutely felt in how we are raising and educating our kids and young adults. This book deeply explores the societal ramifications, and offers perspective about how we may be doing it all wrong.

Summary: “The Coddling of the American Mind” is a provocative sociological dive into how commonly accepted modern social and parenting practices have led to increased agitation and tension in today’s youth. Written by attorney, public advocate and First Amendment specialist Greg Lukianoff and social psychologist and NYU professor of ethical leadership Jonathan Haidt, “The Coddling of the American Mind” introduces its thesis by examining issues of censorship and free speech on college campuses, which are occurring at a more frequent clip than ever before.

As the authors debate the potential negative impacts that an overly partisan culture of “safety-ism” might have on mental health and development, they retrace the historical social trends and cultural transformations that led to today’s conditions. 

Price: $17 on Amazon

Maha Ibrahim, Canaan

The Back Channel by William Burns

Random House / 512 pages / March 2019

For the last two years, I’ve had the pleasure of serving as a Trustee for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace where Bill Burns serves as President. Bill is the consummate statesman and has been a central figure in international diplomacy for decades. The depth of his knowledge is a testament to his commitment to international order and peace. “The Back Channel” provides readers with an inside look into his career in foreign service, from the Cold War and Middle East affairs to modern-day Russia. My respect for Bill was immense before I read the book and it only grew bigger with every chapter.

Summary: Throughout his illustrious, nearly thirty-year career in foreign service, William Burns has held titles that include the US ambassador to Russia and the Deputy Secretary of State. Burns’ memoirs, “The Back Channel,” focuses on the biggest policy decisions of Burns’ tenure.

Burns uses his own notes, declassified State Department documents and primary-source, first-hand analysis to offer up some inside baseball and help readers understand the strategic rationale and key considerations behind some of the most important U.S. foreign policy decisions that have shaped the global geopolitical landscape over the last two decades.

Price: $13 on Amazon

The Education of an Idealist by Samantha Power

Dey Street Books / 592 pages / September 2019

Ambassador Power is an icon of courage, compassion and resolve. During her recent book tour, I was fortunate enough to interview her and was struck by her humanity. The stories she writes about her impressive career are both powerful and personal. Ambassador Power immigrated to the US as a child and has since dedicated her life to human rights and equality. She is my age and has accomplished so much in her life, most recently as US Ambassador to the UN under President Obama. I don’t know anyone who, at 22, would voluntarily become a war correspondent (in Bosnia). I suspect she will one day run for political office and I will be a big supporter.

Summary: “Education of an Idealist” is the memoir of former US Ambassador to the United Nations and Pulitzer-award-winning author Samantha Power, detailing her journey from a child in Ireland, to an immigrant growing up in the US, through her Ivy League undergrad and legal education, all the way through her careers in journalism and public advocacy and her time working as a senior advisor to President Barack Obama. Even from a purely narrative perspective, Power’s lengthy journey, which brought her across the globe through war zones and revolutions long before her career in politics, is incredibly compelling on its own.

But Ambassador Power’s reflection offers even more value as she recounts how she overcame personal, professional and internal struggles as she traversed different geographies, environments and stages of her career and life.

Additionally, Power’s writing also offers up valuable lessons for those in the startup world. Power’s move from an external public advocate to a government policymaker, in a roundabout way (or at least in the eyes of startup nerds like us), provides a unique look into the transition, differences and challenges one may come across when moving from an externally focused role to an operational one.

Price: $18 on Amazon 

Jennifer Fonstad, Owl Capital

The First Congress: How James Madison, George Washington, and a Group of Extraordinary Men Invented the Government by Fergus M. Bordewich

Simon & Schuster / 416 pages / February 2017

As I read about impeachment proceedings, presidential elections, and racial tensions in today’s political climate, it begged the question – how did we get here?

While not knowing exactly what I was undertaking, I recently read the book, “The First Congress.” The book was a remarkable story about how both ordinary and extraordinary people took the ‘startup’ that was the United States in 1789 and launched us on a remarkable ride.

The book takes us through the critical decisions made by the country’s very first Congress, 1789-1791. This includes establishing the Supreme Court, passing the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution (later called the Bill of Rights), establishing the country’s first revenue ‘stream,’ and picking the location of the nation’s capital (putting our country’s hero – George Washington, in a different light).

It’s hard to fathom our nation as a startup. The country was fresh off of its failure as a Confederation of States, deeply in debt, with no source of revenue yet established. Two of the states had not yet ‘signed on’ to the whole enterprise. And while the Constitution put forth certain operating principles, it fell to this group of men (yes, all men and all white) to put many of the mechanisms in place that still guide and define us today. As one always trying to do what I do better and learn from the past, this was a terrific lesson in both getting this startup off the ground as well as the intended and unintended consequences of those decisions.

Summary: Writer and historian Fergus Bordewich’s “The First Congress” puts us in the room for the First Congress in our country’s history, which saw the admission of several states into the union, the passing of the Bill of Rights and several other of the biggest decisions that shaped the United States.

The book details how the founding fathers debated the United States’ structural and operational systems, including the American legal system and national banking system. Additionally, “The First Congress” highlights an interesting yet often overlooked period of US history, where the country was essentially functioning like a startup, grinding and building from scratch, having to create mission statements, organizational hierarchies, operational systems or otherwise for the very first time.

Price: $12 on Amazon

Where top VCs are investing in digital health

The world of healthcare has notoriously been described as “broken” — plagued with high-friction workflows, sky-high costs and convoluted business models.

Over the past several years, a long list of innovative startups and salivating venture investors have pinned their focus on repairing the healthcare industry, but its digital transformation still appears to be in the very early innings. After a record-setting 2018, however, digital health investing continued to reach meteoric heights in 2019.

Mammoth pools of capital have flooded into various sub-verticals and business models, backing collections of new B2B and B2C companies focused on optimizing healthcare workflows, improving healthcare access and offering lower-cost distribution models. Over the past two years, digital health startups have raised well over $10 billion in funding across nearly 1,000 deals, according to data from Pitchbook and Crunchbase.

As we close out another strong year for innovation and venture investing in the sector, we asked nine leading VCs who work at firms spanning early to growth stages to share what’s exciting them most and where they see opportunity in the sector:

Participants discuss trends in digital therapeutics, telehealth, mental health and the latest in biotech and medical devices, while also diving into startups improving medical practitioner efficiency, evaluating the evolving regulatory environment and debating valuations and offering a ‘temp check’ on the market for digital health startups leveraging ML.

Annie Case, Kleiner Perkins

Although Kleiner Perkins has a long history of investing in iconic health companies, we believe it is still the early innings of digital health as a category today.

When I evaluate new opportunities in the space, I often start by thinking through how the company will move the needle on cost, quality, and access to care — the “iron triangle” of health care systems. Conventional wisdom has been that it’s impossible to improve all three dimensions simultaneously, but we are seeing companies leverage technology to shift this paradigm in meaningful ways.

It’s no longer just a promise. For example, Viz.ai is using artificial intelligence to detect and alert stroke teams to suspected large vessel occlusion strokes, enabling patients to get treatment faster. Their workflows improve access to life-saving care, deliver higher quality through reduced time to treatment (every minute counts as ‘time is brain’ in stroke care), and dramatically reduce the costs associated with long-term disability.

We are also seeing companies provide this type of tech-enabled care outside of the hospital setting. Modern Health is a mental health benefits platform that employers are making available to their employees. The platform triages individual employees to the right level of care, providing clinical care to those with diagnosable depression or anxiety, and making self-guided or preventative care available to everyone else. Their solution improves quality and access by offering mental health services to every employee and reduces the cost associated with untreated mental illness, lost productivity, or employee churn.

Heading into 2020, we’re eager to back digital health companies in new areas that leverage technology to impact cost, quality, and access. A few spaces that I’m excited about are behavioral health (mental health, substance abuse, addiction, etc), care navigation, digital therapeutics, and new models integrating telehealth, remote care and AI to better leverage medical professionals’ time.

Zavain Dar and Adam Goulburn, Lux Capital

Below are some thoughts and coming predictions on health tech broadly:

  1. Digital therapeutics continue to pick up steam — on the back of Pear and Akili, more companies push to FDA and enter the market. In addition, broader consumer platforms like Calm and Headspace look to broaden their offerings by investigating clinical approvals.
  2. At least one major pharma looks to expand its consumer surface area by acquiring one of the new digital, consumer-facing generics platform (ex Hims, Ro, NuRx).
  3. Venture funding for biotech continues to boom with at least three Series A’s of $100M or more in size.
  4. Drug discovery for neurodegeneration sees a renaissance. High-profile failings of Biogen and the beta-amyloid hypothesis sees a shift of innovation to early-stage biotech and venture creation.
  5. Big pharma has its DeepMind moment acquiring at least one machine-learning (AI) enabled drug discovery company.
  6. Clinical trial tech investments heat up; new companies and technologies emerge to make trials patients first and systems get smarter at finding the right patients at their point of care; large incumbents like IQVIA, LabCorp and PPD get acquisitive.
  7. At least three traditional Sand Hill Road tech venture firms open life science practices or raise dedicated funds.
  8. Machine learning targets chemistry driven by large advancements in transformer (NLP) models; has the time for computational chemistry finally come?
  9. HCIT sees a renaissance driven by increased CIO responsibility towards data interoperability. Companies either working on federated ML to allow systems to speak to each other or lightweight edge applications enabling rapid clinical deployment will see quick uptake and traction, until now impossible in HC.

Kristin Baker Spohn, Charles River Ventures (CRV)

In the last 10 years, digital health has exploded. Over $16B has been invested in the sector by VCs and we’ve seen IPOs from Livongo, Progyny and Health Catalyst, just in the last year alone. That said, there’s still a lot that mystifies people about the sector — there are spots that are overheated and models that will struggle to deliver venture scale outcomes. I’ve seen digital health evolve first hand as both an operator and investor, and I’m more excited than ever about the future of the space.

A few areas and trends that I’ve been following recently include:

Will the future of work be ethical? Founder perspectives

In June, TechCrunch Ethicist in Residence Greg M. Epstein attended EmTech Next, a conference organized by the MIT Technology Review. The conference, which took place at MIT’s famous Media Lab, examined how AI and robotics are changing the future of work.

Greg’s essay, Will the Future of Work Be Ethical? reflects on his experiences at the conference, which produced what he calls “a religious crisis, despite the fact that I am not just a confirmed atheist but a professional one as well.” In it, Greg explores themes of inequality, inclusion and what it means to work in technology ethically, within a capitalist system and market economy.

Accompanying the story for Extra Crunch are a series of in-depth interviews Greg conducted around the conference, with scholars, journalists, founders and attendees.

Below, Greg speaks to two founders of innovative startups whose work provoked much discussion at the EmTech Next conference. Moxi, the robot assistant created by Andrea Thomasz of Diligent Robotics and her team, was a constant presence in the Media Lab reception hall immediately outside the auditorium in which all the main talks took place. And Prayag Narula of LeadGenius was featured, alongside leading tech anthropologist Mary Gray, in a panel on “Ghost Work” that sparked intense discussion throughout the conference and beyond.

Andrea Thomaz is the Co-Founder and CEO of Diligent Robotics. Image via MIT Technology Review

Could you give a sketch of your background?

Andrea Thomaz: I was always doing math and science, and did electrical engineering as an Undergrad at UT Austin. Then I came to MIT to do my PhD. It really wasn’t until grad school that I started doing robotics. I went to grad school interested in doing AI and was starting to get interested in this new machine learning that people were starting to talk about. In grad school, at the MIT Media Lab, Cynthia Breazeal was my advisor, and that’s where I fell in love with social robots and making robots that people want to be around and are also useful.

Say more about your journey at the Media Lab?

My statement of purpose for the Media Lab, in 1999, was that I thought that computers that were smarter would be easier to use. I thought AI was the solution to HCI [Human-computer Interaction]. So I came to the Media Lab because I thought that was the mecca of AI plus HCI.

It wasn’t until my second year as a student there that Cynthia finished her PhD with Rod Brooks and started at the Media Lab. And then I was like, “Oh wait a second. That’s what I’m talking about.”

Who is at the Media Lab now that’s doing interesting work for you?

For me, it’s kind of the same people. Patty Maes has kind of reinvented her group since those days and is doing fluid interfaces; I always really appreciate the kind of things they’re working on. And Cynthia, her work is still very seminal in the field.

So now, you’re a CEO and Founder?

CEO and Co-Founder of Diligent Robotics. I had twelve years in academia in between those. I finished my PhD, went and I was a professor at Georgia Tech in computing, teaching AI and robotics and I had a robotics lab there.

Then I got recruited away to UT Austin in electrical and computer engineering. Again, teaching AI and having a robotics lab. Then at the end of 2017, I had a PhD student who was graduating and also interested in commercialization, my Co-Founder and CTO Vivian Chu.

Let’s talk about the purpose of the human/robot interaction. In the case of your company, the robot’s purpose is to work alongside humans in a medical setting, who are doing work that is not necessarily going to be replaced by a robot like Moxi. How does that work exactly?

One of the reasons our first target market [is] hospitals is, that’s an industry where they’re looking for ways to elevate their staff. They want their staff to be performing, “at the top of their license.” You hear hospital administrators talking about this because there’s record numbers of physician burnout, nurse burnout, and turnover.

They really are looking for ways to say, “Okay, how can we help our staff do more of what they were trained to do, and not spend 30% of their day running around fetching things, or doing things that don’t require their license?” That for us is the perfect market [for] collaborative robots.” You’re looking for ways to automate things that the people in the environment don’t need to be doing, so they can do more important stuff. They can do all the clinical care.

In a lot of the hospitals we’re working with, we’re looking at their clinical workflows and identifying places where there’s a lot of human touch, like nurses making an assessment of the patient. But then the nurse finishes making an assessment [and] has to run and fetch things. Wouldn’t it be better if as soon as that nurse’s assessment hit the electronic medical record, that triggered a task for the robot to come and bring things? Then the nurse just gets to stay with the patient.

Those are the kind of things we’re looking for: places you could augment the clinical workflow with some automation and increase the amount of time that nurses or physicians are spending with patients.

So your robots, as you said before, do need human supervision. Will they always?

We are working on autonomy. We do want the robots to be doing things autonomously in the environment. But we like to talk about care as a team effort; we’re adding the robot to the team and there’s parts of it that the robot’s doing and parts of it that the human’s doing. There may be places where the robot needs some input or assistance and because it’s part of the clinical team. That’s how we like to think about it: if the robot is designed to be a teammate, it wouldn’t be very unusual for the robot to need some help or supervision from a teammate.

That seems different than what you could call Ghost Work.

Right. In most service robots being deployed today, there is this remote supervisor that is either logged in and checking in on the robots, or at least the robots have the ability to phone home if there’s some sort of problem.

That’s where some of this Ghost Work comes in. People are monitoring and keeping track of robots in the middle of the night. Certainly that may be part of how we deploy our robots as well. But we also think that it’s perfectly fine for some of that supervision or assistance to come out into the forefront and be part of the face-to-face interaction that the robot has with some of its coworkers.

Since you could potentially envision a scenario in which your robots are monitored from off-site, in a kind of Ghost Work setting, what concerns do you have about the ways in which that work can be kind of anonymized and undercompensated?

Currently we are really interested in our own engineering staff having high-touch customer interaction that we’re really not looking to anonymize. If we had a robot in the field and it was phoning home about some problem that was happening, at our early stage of the company, that is such a valuable interaction that in our company that wouldn’t be anonymous. Maybe the CTO would be the one phoning in and saying, “What happened? I’m so interested.”

I think we’re still at a stage where all of the customer interactions and all of the information we can get from robots in the field are such valuable pieces of information.

But how are you envisioning best-case scenarios for the future? What if your robots really are so helpful that they’re very successful and people want them everywhere? Your CTO is not going to take all those calls. How could you do this in a way that could make your company very successful, but also handle these responsibilities ethically?

Will the future of work be ethical? Future leader perspectives

In June, TechCrunch Ethicist in Residence Greg M. Epstein attended EmTech Next, a conference organized by the MIT Technology Review. The conference, which took place at MIT’s famous Media Lab, examined how AI and robotics are changing the future of work.

Greg’s essay, Will the Future of Work Be Ethical? reflects on his experiences at the conference, which produced what he calls “a religious crisis, despite the fact that I am not just a confirmed atheist but a professional one as well.” In it, Greg explores themes of inequality, inclusion and what it means to work in technology ethically, within a capitalist system and market economy.

Accompanying the story for Extra Crunch are a series of in-depth interviews Greg conducted around the conference, with scholars, journalists, founders and attendees.

Below he speaks to two conference attendees who had crucial insights to share. Meili Gupta is a high school senior at Phillips Exeter Academy, an elite boarding school in New Hampshire; Gupta attended the EmTech Next conference with her mother and has attended with family in previous years as well; her voice and thoughts on privilege and inequality in education and technology are featured prominently in Greg’s essay. Walter Erike is a 31-year-old independent consultant and SAP Implementation Senior Manager. from Philadelphia. Between conference session, he and Greg talked about diversity and inclusion at tech conferences and beyond.

Meili Gupta is a senior at Phillips Exeter Academy. Image via Meili Gupta

Greg Epstein: How did you come to be at EmTech Next?

Meili Gupta: I am a rising high school senior at Phillips Exeter Academy; I’m one of the managing editors for my school’s science magazine called Matter Magazine.

I [also] attended the conference last year. My parents have come to these conferences before, and that gave me an opportunity to come. I am particularly interested in the MIT Technology Review because I’ve grown up reading it.

You are the Managing Editor of Matter, a magazine about STEM at your high school. What subjects that Matter covers are most interesting to you?

This year we published two issues. The first featured a lot of interviews from top {AI} professors like Professor Fei-Fei Li, at Stanford. We did a review for her and an interview with Professor Olga Russakovsky at Princeton. That was an AI special issue and, being at this conference you hear about how AI will transform industries.

The second issue coincided with Phillips Exeter Global Climate Action Day. We focused both on environmentalism clubs at Exeter and environmentalism efforts worldwide. I think Matter, as the only stem magazine on campus has a responsibility in doing that.

AI and climate: in a sense, you’ve already dealt with this new field people are calling the ethics of technology. When you hear that term, what comes to mind?

As a consumer of a lot of technology and as someone of the generation who has grown up with a phone in my hand, I’m aware my data is all over the internet. I’ve had conversations [with friends] about personal privacy and if I look around the classroom, most people have covers for the cameras on their computers. This generation is already aware [of] ethics whenever you’re talking about computing and the use of computers.

About AI specifically, as someone who’s interested in the field and has been privileged to be able to take courses and do research projects about that, I’m hearing a lot about ethics with algorithms, whether that’s fake news or bias or about applying algorithms for social good.

What are your biggest concerns about AI? What do you think needs to be addressed in order for us to feel more comfortable as a society with increased use of AI?

That’s not an easy answer; it’s something our society is going to be grappling with for years. From what I’ve learned at this conference, from what I’ve read and tried to understand, it’s a multidimensional solution. You’re going to need computer programmers to learn the technical skills to make their algorithms less biased. You’re going to need companies to hire those people and say, “This is our goal; we want to create an algorithm that’s fair and can do good.” You’re going to need the general society to ask for that standard. That’s my generation’s job, too. WikiLeaks, a couple of years ago, sparked the conversation about personal privacy and I think there’s going to be more sparks.

Seems like your high school is doing some interesting work in terms of incorporating both STEM and a deeper, more creative than usual focus on ethics and exploring the meaning of life. How would you say that Exeter in particular is trying to combine these issues?

I’ll give a couple of examples of my experience with that in my time at Exeter, and I’m very privileged to go to a school that has these opportunities and offerings for its students.

Don’t worry, that’s in my next question.

Absolutely. With the computer science curriculum, starting in my ninth grade they offered a computer science 590 about [introduction to] artificial intelligence. In the fall another 590 course was about self driving cars, and you saw the intersection between us working in our robotics lab and learning about computer vision algorithms. This past semester, a couple students, and I was involved, helped to set up a 999: an independent course which really dove deep into machine learning algorithms. In the fall, there’s another 590 I’ll be taking called social innovation through software engineering, which is specifically designed for each student to pick a local project and to apply software, coding or AI to a social good project.

I’ve spent 15 years working at Harvard and MIT. I’ve worked around a lot of smart and privileged people and I’ve supported them. I’m going to ask you a question about Exeter and about your experience as a privileged high school student who is getting a great education, but I don’t mean it from a perspective of it’s now me versus you.

Of course you’re not.

I’m trying to figure this out for myself as well. We live in a world where we’re becoming more prepared to talk about issues of fairness and justice. Yet by even just providing these extraordinary educational experiences to people like you and me and my students or whomever, we’re preparing some people for that world better than others. How do you feel about being so well prepared for this sort of world to come that it can actually be… I guess my question is, how do you relate to the idea that even the kinds of educational experiences that we’re talking about are themselves deepening the divide between haves and have nots?

I completely agree that the issue between haves and have nots needs to be talked about more, because inequality between the upper and the lower classes is growing every year. This morning, Mr. Isbell from Georgia Tech talk was really inspiring. For example, at Phillips Exeter, we have a social service club called ESA which houses more than 70 different social service clubs. One I’m involved with, junior computer programming, teaches programming to local middle school students. That’s the type of thing, at an individual level and smaller scale, that people can try to help out those who have not been privileged with opportunities to learn and get ahead with those skills.

What Mr. Isbell was talking about this morning was at a university level and also tying in corporations bridge that divide. I don’t think that the issue itself should necessarily scare us from pushing forward to the frontier to say, the possibility that everybody who does not have a computer science education in five years won’t have a job.

Today we had that debate about role or people’s jobs and robot taxes. That’s a very good debate to have, but it sometimes feeds a little bit into the AI hype and I think it may be a disgrace to society to try to pull back technology, which has been shown to have the power to save lives. It can be two transformations that are happening at the same time. One, that’s trying to bridge an inequality and is going to come in a lot of different and complicated solutions that happen at multiple levels and the second is allowing for a transformation in technology and AI.

What are you hoping to get out of this conference for yourself, as a student, as a journalist, or as somebody who’s going into the industry?

The theme for this conference is the future of the workforce. I’m a student. That means I’m going to be the future of the workforce. I was hoping to learn some insight about what I may want to study in college. After that, what type of jobs do I want to pursue that are going to exist and be in demand and really interesting, that have an impact on other people? Also, as a student, in particular that’s interested in majoring in computer science and artificial intelligence, I was hoping to learn about possible research projects that I could pursue in the fall with this 590 course.

Right now, I’m working on a research project with a Professor at the University of Maryland about eliminating bias in machine learning algorithms. What type of dataset do I want to apply that project to? Where is the need or the attention for correcting bias in the AI algorithms?

As a journalist, I would like to write a review summarizing what I’ve learned so other [Exeter students] can learn a little too.

What would be your biggest critique of the conference? What could be improved?

Will the future of work be ethical? Perspectives from MIT Technology Review

In June, TechCrunch Ethicist in Residence Greg M. Epstein attended EmTech Next, a conference organized by the MIT Technology Review. The conference, which took place at MIT’s famous Media Lab, examined how AI and robotics are changing the future of work.

Greg’s essay, Will the Future of Work Be Ethical? reflects on his experiences at the conference, which produced what he calls “a religious crisis, despite the fact that I am not just a confirmed atheist but a professional one as well.” In it, Greg explores themes of inequality, inclusion and what it means to work in technology ethically, within a capitalist system and market economy.

Accompanying the story for Extra Crunch are a series of in-depth interviews Greg conducted around the conference, with scholars, journalists, founders and attendees.

Below he speaks to two key organizers: Gideon Lichfield, the editor in chief of the MIT Technology Review, and Karen Hao, its artificial intelligence reporter. Lichfield led the creative process of choosing speakers and framing panels and discussions at the EmTech Next conference, and both Lichfield and Hao spoke and moderated key discussions.

Gideon Lichfield is the editor in chief at MIT Technology Review. Image via MIT Technology Review

Greg Epstein: I want to first understand how you see your job — what impact are you really looking to have?

Gideon Lichfield: I frame this as an aspiration. Most of the tech journalism, most of the tech media industry that exists, is born in some way of the era just before the dot-com boom. When there was a lot of optimism about technology. And so I saw its role as being to talk about everything that technology makes possible. Sometimes in a very negative sense. More often in a positive sense. You know, all the wonderful ways in which tech will change our lives. So there was a lot of cheerleading in those days.

In more recent years, there has been a lot of backlash, a lot of fear, a lot of dystopia, a lot of all of the ways in which tech is threatening us. The way I’ve formulated the mission for Tech Review would be to say, technology is a human activity. It’s not good or bad inherently. It’s what we make of it.

The way that we get technology that has fewer toxic effects and more beneficial ones is for the people who build it, use it, and regulate it to make well informed decisions about it, and for them to understand each other better. And I said the role of a tech publication like Tech Review, one that is under a university like MIT, probably uniquely among tech publications, we’re positioned to make that our job. To try to influence those people by informing them better and instigating conversations among them. And that’s part of the reason we do events like this. So that ultimately better decisions get taken and technology has more beneficial effects. So that’s like the high level aspiration. How do we measure that day to day? That’s an ongoing question. But that’s the goal.

Yeah, I mean, I would imagine you measure it qualitatively. In the sense that… What I see when I look at a conference like this is, I see an editorial vision, right? I mean that I’m imagining that you and your staff have a lot of sort of editorial meetings where you set, you know, what are the key themes that we really need to explore. What do we need to inform people about, right?

Yes.

What do you want people to take away from this conference then?

A lot of the people in the audience work at medium and large companies. And they’re thinking about…what effect does automation and AI going to have in their companies? How should it affect their workplace culture? How should it affect their high end decisions? How should it affect their technology investments? And I think the goal for me is, or for us is, that they come away from this conference with a rounded picture of the different factors that can play a role.

There are no clear answers. But they ought to be able to think in an informed and in a nuanced way. If we’re talking about automating some processes, or contracting out more of what we do to a gig work style platform, or different ways we might train people on our workforce or help them adapt to new job opportunities, or if we’re thinking about laying people off versus retraining them. All of the different implications that that has, and all the decisions you can take around that, we want them to think about that in a useful way so that they can take those decisions well.

You’re already speaking, as you said, to a lot of the people who are winning, and who are here getting themselves more educated and therefore more likely to just continue to win. How do you weigh where to push them to fundamentally change the way they do things, versus getting them to incrementally change?

That’s an interesting question. I don’t know that we can push people to fundamentally change. We’re not a labor movement. What we can do is put people from labor movements in front of them and have those people speak to them and say, “Hey, this is the consequences that the decisions you’re taking are having on the people we represent.” Part of the difficulty with this conversation has been that it has been taking place, up till now, mainly among the people who understand the technology and its consequences. Which with was the people building it and then a small group of scholars studying it. Over the last two or three years I’ve gone to conferences like ours and other people’s, where issues of technology ethics are being discussed. Initially it really was only the tech people and the business people who were there. And now you’re starting to see more representation. From labor, from community organizations, from minority groups. But it’s taken a while, I think, for the understanding of those issues to percolate and then people in those organizations to take on the cause and say, yeah, this is something we have to care about.

In some ways this is a tech ethics conference. If you labeled it as such, would that dramatically affect the attendance? Would you get fewer of the actual business people to come to a tech ethics conference rather than a conference that’s about tech but that happened to take on ethical issues?

Yeah, because I think they would say it’s not for them.

Right.

Business people want to know, what are the risks to me? What are the opportunities for me? What are the things I need to think about to stay ahead of the game? The case we can make is [about the] ethical considerations are part of that calculus. You have to think about what are the risks going to be to you of, you know, getting rid of all your workforce and relying on contract workers. What does that do to those workers and how does that play back in terms of a risk to you?

Yes, you’ve got Mary Gray, Charles Isbell, and others here with serious ethical messages.

What about the idea of giving back versus taking less? There was an L.A. Times op ed recently, by Joseph Menn, about how it’s time for tech to give back. It talked about how 20% of Harvard Law grads go into public service after their graduation but if you look at engineering graduates, the percentage is smaller than that. But even going beyond that perspective, Anand Giridharadas, popular author and critic of contemporary capitalism, might say that while we like to talk about “giving back,” what is really important is for big tech to take less. In other words: pay more taxes. Break up their companies so they’re not monopolies. To maybe pay taxes on robots, that sort of thing. What’s your perspective?

I don’t have a view on either of those things. I think the interesting question is really, what can motivate tech companies, what can motivate anybody who’s winning a lot in this economy, to either give back or take less? It’s about what causes people who are benefiting from the current situation to feel they need to also ensure other people are benefiting.

Maybe one way to talk about this is to raise a question I’ve seen you raise: what the hell is tech ethics anyway? I would say there isn’t a tech ethics. Not in the philosophy sense your background is from. There is a movement. There is a set of questions around it, around what should technology companies’ responsibility be? And there’s a movement to try to answer those questions.

A bunch of the technologies that have emerged in the last couple of decades were thought of as being good, as being beneficial. Mainly because they were thought of as being democratizing. And there was this very naïve Western viewpoint that said if we put technology and power in the hands of the people they will necessarily do wise and good things with it. And that will benefit everybody.

And these technologies, including the web, social media, smart phones, you could include digital cameras, you could include consumer genetic testing, all things that put a lot more power in the hands of the people, have turned out to be capable of having toxic effects as well.

That took everybody by surprise. And the reason that has raised a conversation around tech ethics is that it also happens that a lot of those technologies are ones in which the nature of the technology favors the emergence of a dominant player. Because of network effects or because they require lots of data. And so the conversation has been, what is the responsibility of that dominant player to design the technology in such a way that it has fewer of these harmful effects? And that again is partly because the forces that in the past might have constrained those effects, or imposed rules, are not moving fast enough. It’s the tech makers who understand this stuff. Policy makers, and civil society have been slower to catch up to what the effects are. They’re starting to now.

This is what you are seeing now in the election campaign: a lot of the leading candidates have platforms that are about the use of technology and about breaking up big tech. That would have been unthinkable a year or two ago.

So the discussion about tech ethics is essentially saying these companies grew too fast, too quickly. What is their responsibility to slow themselves down before everybody else catches up?

Another piece that interests me is how sometimes the “giving back,” the generosity of big tech companies or tech billionaires, or whatever it is, can end up being a smokescreen. A way to ultimately persuade people not to regulate. Not to take their own power back as a people. Is there a level of tech generosity that is actually harmful in that sense?

I suppose. It depends on the context. If all that’s happening is corporate social responsibility drives that involve dropping money into different places, but there isn’t any consideration of the consequences of the technology itself those companies are building and their other actions, then sure, it’s a problem. But it’s also hard to say giving billions of dollars to a particular cause is bad, unless what is happening is that then the government is shirking its responsibility to fund those causes because it’s coming out of the private sector. I can certainly see the U.S. being particularly susceptible to this dynamic, where government sheds responsibility. But I don’t think we’re necessarily there yet.

Will the future of work be ethical? Academic perspectives

In June, TechCrunch Ethicist in Residence Greg M. Epstein attended EmTech Next, a conference organized by the MIT Technology Review. The conference, which took place at MIT’s famous Media Lab, examined how AI and robotics are changing the future of work.

Greg’s essay, Will the Future of Work Be Ethical? reflects on his experiences at the conference, which produced what he calls “a religious crisis, despite the fact that I am not just a confirmed atheist but a professional one as well.” In it, Greg explores themes of inequality, inclusion and what it means to work in technology ethically, within a capitalist system and market economy.

Accompanying the story for Extra Crunch are a series of in-depth interviews Greg conducted around the conference, with scholars, journalists, founders and attendees.

Below, Greg speaks to two academics who were key EmTech Next speakers. First is David Autor, one of the world’s most prominent economists. Autor’s lecture, Work of the Past, Work of the Future, originally delivered as the prestigious 2019 Richard T. Ely Lecture at the Annual Meeting of the American Economic Association, formed the basis for the opening presentation at the EmTech Next conference.

Susan Winterberg, an academic who studies business and ethics, was a panelist who brought important, even stirring insights about the devastating impact automation can have on communities and how companies can succeed by protecting people against those effects.

David Autor is the Ford Professor of Economics at MIT. Image via MIT Technology Review

Greg Epstein: Who do you see as the audience for your work — is it more labor or management, and how do different audiences engage with it differently?

David Autor: My primary audience, it can be argued, is other scholars. But I am aware of and pleased that my work has reached beyond that narrow group. I’m aware that it is discussed by policymakers and others and I’m sort of driven by trying to understand what is changing, who is affected, what are the opportunities, what are the challenges.

Could you help me to get a sense to the best of your knowledge of some of the key ways your ideas about the “Work of the Past, [and the] Work of the Future” of work” have been discussed by corporations or sort of those in management and business ownership roles and also by labor organizations or unions, etc.?

I met twice with President Obama. I have spoken with many people in senior governmental policy positions. I’ve spoken to a lot of private sector audiences as well, including private sector research corporations like McKinsey and so on.

I have spoken with labor people. Labor folks were initially quite hostile to my work. I got a huge amount of pushback and have throughout my career, for example, from EPI, the Economic Policy Institute, which is sort of a union shop in DC. The guy who was their chief economist for a long time, Larry Mishel, started attacking my first papers before they were even published, and it’s never stopped.

But I mean increasingly, and I find that super irritating.

In the last couple of years, I think there’s been a lot more receptivity to this discussion from many sides. I’m increasingly of the view that organized labor needs to have a more constructive role, that it’s become too marginalized. There might have been a time in the U.S. when it was too powerful, but now it’s too powerless.

I think organized labor accepted that the world’s changed in ways that are not just because of mean bosses and politicians, but there are underlying economic forces that impact the work people do. So they find the work illuminating.

What is your relationship with some of the more socialistic folks on the Democratic side?

I’m not into that. I believe in the value of the market system. I believe that it has a lot of rough edges, but I don’t think there’s a better system available that I know of. I’m very sympathetic towards market economies like Sweden and Norway and so on. I think the U.S. should move more in that direction. But those are all just variants of market economies. And actually, I think even what’s most often called socialism in the U.S. is actually, just really asking for a different variant of the market system.

That’s why I’m curious: if somebody from the camp of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or Bernie Sanders or even Elizabeth Warren were to call your office and say, all right, we want your perspective on how right are we getting it, or where would you advise us to course correct in our economic message? What would you say?

I met with Elizabeth Warren. I think some of what she has to say is great and some of it is dumb. I’m strongly in favor of more or better antitrust regulation, more consumer protections, more transparency, of the government doing more of certain things and getting the private sector out of it.

I think her idea, on the other hand, of paying off everyone’s student loans is a terrible idea, just a huge transfer to the affluent. So you know, she’s on the spectrum. She’s not calling for the overthrow of the state. She’s just calling for another variant of a market economy.

I take very strong issue, for example, with Bernie Sanders and his condemnation of charter schools, which I think shows how totally out of touch he is, that he doesn’t realize how much good charter schools have done for poor minority inner-city kids. He’s probably never met one. And so his white liberal teacher’s union view of, you know, charter schools are harming the public school system is just utterly, utterly misguided.

Are you familiar with a guy named Nick Hanauer? Do you consider yourself to be in his camp in some way?

I don’t know if I’m in his camp. I think he’s really concerned the level of inequality is unsustainable, and I’m concerned about that too. But again, other market economies don’t have the same level of inequality as the United States. But you could have a lot less inequality and then you’d be Germany or you could have still less and then you’d be Sweden. Right? But you’d still be a market economy.

So just to be clear. I mean, I consider myself a progressive. And before I came to MIT, before I even went to grad school I spent several years working in nonprofits doing skills education for the poor. A lot of my work has been driven by that.

What kind of skills education were you doing?

I did computer skills training for the poor at a black Methodist church in San Francisco for three years, and then I did related work as a volunteer in South Africa.

Where top VCs are investing in fintech

Over the past several years, ‘fintech’ has quietly become the unsung darling of venture.

A rapidly swelling pool of new startups is taking aim at the large incumbent institutions, complex processes and outdated unfriendly interfaces that mar billion dollar financial services verticals, such as insurtech, consumer lending, personal finance, or otherwise.  

In just the past summer, the startup community saw a multitude of hundred-million dollar fintech fundraises. In 2018, fintech companies were the source of close to 1,300 venture deals worth over $15 billion in North America and Europe alone according to data from Pitchbook. Over the same period, KPMG estimates that over $52 billion in investment pour into fintech initiatives globally. 

With the non-stop stream of venture capital flowing into the never-ending list of spaces that fall under the ‘fintech’ umbrella, we asked 12 leading fintech VCs who work at firms that span early to growth stages to share where they see the most opportunity and how they see the market evolving over the long-term.

The participants touched on a number of key trends in the space, including rapid innovation in fintech infrastructure, fintech companies embedding themselves in specific verticals and platforms, rebundling and unbundling of financial services offerings, the rise of challenger banks and the state of fintech valuations into 2020.

Charles Birnbaum, Partner, Bessemer Venture Partners

The great ‘rebundling’ of fintech innovation is in full swing. The emerging consumer leaders in fintech — Chime, SoFi, Robinhood, Credit Karma, and Bessemer portfolio company Betterment — are moving quickly to increase their share of wallet with their valuable customers and become a one-stop-shop for people’s financial lives.

In 2020, we anticipate continued entrepreneurial activity and investor enthusiasm around the infrastructure and middleware layers within the fintech ecosystem that are enabling further rebundling and a rapid convergence of product themes and business models across the consumer fintech landscape.

Many players now look like potential challenger bank models more akin to what we have seen unfold in Europe the past few years. Within consumer fintech, we at Bessemer are more focused on demographically-specific product offerings that tap into underserved themes, whether that be the financial problems facing the aging population in the US or new models to serve the underbanked or underserved population of consumers and small businesses.

Ian Sigalow, Co-founder & Partner, Greycroft

What trends are you most excited in fintech from an investing perspective? 

I suspect that many enterprise software companies become fintech companies over time — collecting payments on behalf of customers and growing revenues as your customers grow. We have seen this trend in many industries over the past few years. Business owners generally prefer a model that moves IT expenditures from Operating Expenses into Cost of Goods Sold, because they can increase prices and pass their entire budget onto the customer.

On the consumer side, we have already made investments in branchless banking, insurance (auto, home, health, workers comp), cross-border payments, alternative investments, loyalty cards/services, and roboadvisor services. The companies we funded are already a few years old, and I think we will have some interesting follow-on activity there over the next few years. We have been picking spots where we think we have an unfair competitive advantage.

Our fintech portfolio is also more global than other sectors we invest in. This is because there are opportunities to achieve billion dollar outcomes in fintech, even in countries that are much smaller than the United States. That is not true in many other sectors.

We have also seen trends emerge in the US and move abroad. As an example we seeded Flutterwave, which is similar to Stripe, and they have expanded across Africa. We were also the lead investor in Yeahka, which is similar to Square in China. These products are heavily localized —tin for instance Yeahka is the largest processor of QR code payments in the world, but QR code payments are not popular in the US yet.

How much time are you spending on fintech right now? Is the market under-heated, over-heated, or just right?

Fintech is about a quarter of my time right now. We continue to see interesting new ideas and the valuations have been more or less consistent over time. The broader market doesn’t impact us very much because we tend to have a 10 year holding period.

Are there startups that you wish you would see in the industry but don’t?

Labor leaders and startup founders talk how to build a sustainable gig economy

Over the past few years, gig economy companies and the treatment of their labor force has become a hot button issue for public and private sector debate.

At our recent annual Disrupt event in San Francisco, we dug into how founders, companies and the broader community can play a positive role in the gig economy, with help from Derecka Mehrens, an executive director at Working Partnerships USA and co-founder of Silicon Valley Rising — an advocacy campaign focused on fighting for tech worker rights and creating an inclusive tech economy — and Amanda de Cadenet, founder of Girlgaze, a platform that connects advertisers with a network of 200,000 female-identifying and non-binary creatives.

Derecka and Amanda dove deep into where incumbent gig companies have fallen short, what they’re doing to right the ship, whether VC and hyper-growth mentalities fit into a sustainable gig economy, as well as thoughts on Uber’s new ‘Uber Works’ platform and CA AB-5. The following has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Where current gig companies are failing

Arman Tabatabai: What was the original promise and value proposition of the gig economy? What went wrong?

Derecka Mehrens: The gig economy exists in a larger context, which is one in which neoliberalism is failing, trickle-down economics is proven wrong, and every day working people aren’t surviving and are looking for something more.

And so you have a situation in which the system we put together to create employment, to create our communities, to build our housing, to give us jobs is dysfunctional. And within that, folks are going to come up with disruptive solutions to pieces of it with a promise in mind to solve a problem. But without a larger solution, that will end up, in our view, exacerbating existing inequalities.

Founder’s guide to the pre-IPO secondary market

The increase in activity in the pre-IPO secondary market means that founders, early employees, and investors are receiving liquidity much sooner in a company’s lifecycle than ever before. For most startups and privately-held companies, liquidity is often an issue for stockholders, as no market exists for selling shares and/or transfer restrictions can prevent their sale. Secondary stock transactions, however, are a way to work around this problem.

Here’s a quick look at how they work and what to keep in mind, especially if you’re going through the process for the first time. (If you’re not familiar, secondaries are transactions in which an existing stockholder sells their stock for cash to third parties or back to the company itself before the company undergoes an exit; traditionally, an exit refers to an M&A or an IPO.)

Offering secondary transactions to founders is a tool VCs have been using to win deals. For example, if a VC promises that the founders will receive $1,000,000 in cash through a secondary sale from a $15,000,000 venture financing round, the founders will likely prefer that VC’s term sheet to a term sheet from a VC that does not offer that deal.

Why would a founder consider a secondary sale of their equity?

Brad Feld: what founders need to know about recent changes in VC deal terms

Extra Crunch offers members the opportunity to tune into conference calls led and moderated by the TechCrunch writers you read every day. This week, TechCrunch’s Connie Loizos hopped on the line with prominent investor, entrepreneur, thought leader, and Techstars co-founder Brad Feld to discuss the latest edition of his book “Venture Deals”, his advice to founders and investors, and his take on hot button issues of the day (including dual-class shares, direct listings, and what happened at WeWork).

In their conversation, Brad and Connie discuss the need to know information when it comes to preparing for, structuring and executing venture deals, and how that information has changed over the past several decades. Feld walks through the major topics that have been added in the latest edition of the book, such as how to handle venture debt, as well as tactical attributes that aren’t currently in the book, such as secondary market trading.

Brad also gives his take on the most effective fundraising tactics for founders, and what common pieces of advice might be overblown.

Brad Feld: “I think the approach to the amount of money that you’re raising is both nuanced and evolves based on what financing round you’re at. So if you’re in an early round, some of the characteristics are different than if you’re in a later round. But I think the general truism… that I like to use when people say, “Well, how much money should I raise?”

I start with two variables and you the entrepreneur get to define those two variables. The two variables are: the amount of money you raise and what getting to the next level means. The amount of money you should raise is the amount of money that you need to get your business to the next level. There are lots of different ways to define what next level is and by forcing yourself internally to define next level and then define what you need in terms of capital to get to that next level… when you’re raising that first round of financing or even the second or third round of financing, it helps you size rationally what you need versus reactively to whatever the market characteristics are.

I actually encourage entrepreneurs to raise the least amount of money they need to get to the next level, or at least that’s the number that they go out to market with. Not a range, not a big number because you’re trying to drive some kind of valuation characteristic off a big number, but the amount of money that you actually think you need to get to the next level. Then if you can be oversubscribed, that’s an awesome situation.”

Feld and Connie dive deeper into current issues in the startup and venture landscape, including Brad’s take on the impact of the SoftBank Vision Fund, what went down at internally and externally at both WeWork and Uber, as well as how boards, executives and founders can manage cult of personality and static company cultures.

For access to the full transcription and the call audio, and for the opportunity to participate in future conference calls, become a member of Extra Crunch. Learn more and try it for free. 

Connie Loizos: I think the last time I saw you in person was out here in San Francisco at an event I was hosting and that was maybe two years ago?

Brad Feld: Yup, that’s right. That was at the Autodesk Lab if I remember correctly.

Loizos: Yes. It’s good to hear your voice, and thank you for joining us on this call. We have a lot of readers who are big fans of yours that are on the line and are eager to learn about your book “Venture Deals” and your broader thoughts about the current state of the market. And that said, I know you only have so much time, so let’s dive first into the book. So ‘Wiley’, your publisher has just put out the fourth edition of this book “Venture Deals”, and it’s really easy to appreciate why. I was looking through it and it’s so incredibly useful about how venture deals come together and possible pitfalls to avoid. And given there are always new entrepreneurs emerging, it continues to be highly relevant.

Can I ask you, so how do you go about updating a book like this, given that some things change and some things stay the same?