Looking back on Barack Obama’s presidency

The next 10-15 years are going to be tumultuous, regardless of who our next presidents turn out to be. The most disruptive issues are extremely complicated and will amount to delicate balancing acts. Obama grasps them, at least. This is a great interview.

Looking back: my biggest gripes about Obama are 1.) how he perpetuated our drone war, failing to create clear rules around who gets killed and why, 2.) failed in administration transparency for his first 3-4 years, 3.) perpetuated unlawful domestic surveillance programs, and covered for a misguided intelligence community, 4.) gave blanket amnesty to Bush-era officials for their torture programs, 5.) invoked presidential executive orders that unnecessarily expanded the power of his office (not so great when tyrants come to power, ahem, Trump!) and blunted constitutional checks on power by setting new precedents (ex. #1, a US citizen was assassinated w/o any due process, mic drop), 6.) Libya, 7.) basically no response to Russian incursions in Eastern Europe that is taken seriously by Russians, 8.) failed to properly steer Clinton when she was secretary of state or reprimand her for a.) personal email system, b.) Clinton Foundation ties with Russian uranium mining interests and Haitian relief foreign aid (both reported on by the NYT and others).

That said, he was a good president, and Obamacare isn’t the cardinal sin that Republicans make it out to be. I don’t agree with most of his ideological standpoints, but I think he’s a decent person.

Kickstarter creators are crazy

All entrepreneurs are nutty to a certain extent. It’s extremely hard to create value in a world that is rapidly working to fill the void of market opportunities.

Have a great software idea? After you work tirelessly implementing it, if you finish (that’s no small feat) and launch, and if it’s validated – the lads in Silicon Valley are ripping you off already. Copying is a well-established MO from scrappy bootstrapped ventures to major internet companies, dating back to the first days of the Internet, so much so that meta strategies have been layered on top of the act of copying.

Same story for your hardware efforts, the only difference being it’s the lads in Shenzhen copying.

Kickstarter doesn’t magically change the equation, but it does tip the scales in a few key respect that remove a ton of risk.

1. Time to validation:
Kickstarter projects are meant to be on their way to completion, meaning post-prototype (still representative of months of work) but pre-product.
This is huge, as the time from prototype to store shelves is easily years on its own.
2. Financial feasibility:
If you set your goal to accurately reflect the cost of your project, you won’t you’re less likely to find yourself in a position where you can’t afford what it takes to get the product to market.
3. First customers
A great Kickstarter campaign lets the entrepreneur establish brand equity before their product even comes to market. That’s huge.

The best nugget of info I can pass along is contained in this interview: https://mixergy.com/interviews/betterback-with-katherine-krug/
Good luck finding it (and with your Kickstarter campaign).