25
Mar 19

Cyber Thoughts March

Here is the latest Cyber Thoughts Newsletter.

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14
Feb 19

Cyber Thoughts February

Happy V day. Here is the Cyber Thoughts Newsletter I wrote for February.

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23
Jan 19

January Cyber Thoughts

As part of communicating with investors and friends of our new fund, I’m writing periodic newsletters about what we find interesting in cybersecurity. Below is the one I wrote for January.

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21
Jan 19

Lytical Ventures

Wow, time flies.

About a year ago I launched a new fund with a great group of partners. I’m not going to write to much about it here at this time but it’s an early stage venture initiative, targeting the cyber and corporate intelligence landscape. You can look up more about it on LinkedIn.

Suffice to say that I’m really excited about it. Hopefully, now that we are well on our way I’ll have more time to write posts here.

 

 


06
Dec 17

NYC Mesh


Given that it looks like Net Neutrality is going to be killed shortly I decided to look into find a non-censored Internet Connection. NYC Mesh is a pretty interesting volunteer project doing just that.

I signed up and one of their team came out and did a site survey. It looks like I’m a bit too far from the Brooklyn Supernode for a direct connection, but hopefully we can find a 1 hop solution in the coming weeks. If you’re interested in having a net connection not controlled by a media conglomerate I suggest you check them out and get involved.


04
Dec 17

I Had a Kid

This really isn’t a personal blog, but this is pretty life changing so here goes.
Milo Young Nelson was born around 12 weeks ago.

I’m finally getting back to a somewhat normal sleep schedule and I’m digging into some fun ideas. More soon.


15
Jun 17

Golem – The Blockchain Supercomputer

tpsdave / Pixabay

Today’s rabbit hole for me is Golem, a group trying to monetize unused processor cycles. Again, this is a throwback to the ideas of, among others, MojoNation. Their alpha will allow Blender users to render CGI in a distributed manner.

The problem with distributing computation across a high latency network like the Internet is that you need problems to be extremely parallel, since almost any amount of communication between nodes is uneconomical. This is fine for things like SETI@home but isn’t great modeling that requires the previous output as input. Two major questions I have: are there enough use cases where someone has the ability to pay for this type of computation where they aren’t worried about have someone see the work they are doing and will the security model be strong enough to get people to run unknown code on their machines.


14
Jun 17

Pitched on Facebook

So this just happened:

What you’re seeing is a Facebook ad for a company looking for investors. I admit, I clicked on it because I was intrigued. Clearly these folks are scrappy and trying something new. 

Have any other investors out there seen anything like this before?


07
Jun 17

Summer Funding: Why It’s Hard To Close A Round During Burning Man

Years ago I went to Burning Man, this is my favorite memory.

The standard joke is that VCs take the entire summer off.  It isn’t true, but there is a good reason for the myth: it’s almost impossible to close a funding round over the summer.

The reason for this is quite simple, most deals require consensus of the partnership, and while no individual partner takes the entire summer off, at any time at least one decision maker is out of town with their kids. Or off on the Playa for Burning Man.

This means that the longer or more complex a funding is, the less likely it will happen over the summer.  Raising a seed round from a single micro VC? Sure, that is likely to get done. I even know of one micro VC that loves to close summer deals since they’re “the only game in town.” But if you’re raising a $50M Series C from a new lead that includes follow on investments by two other VCS? That’s probably not happening until after Labor Day!

If you need sign off from multiple investors, plan ahead so that you aren’t caught in the situation where there is always someone out of town.


06
Jun 17

Decentralized VPN – Zero Knowledge Systems v2.0

Before there was TOR there was Zero Knowledge Systems, they were a privacy network that let you set the number of hops you’d like to make before exiting as well as a simple system to manage multiple online identities. Sadly, they were not a commercial success, but they were an early cypherpunk company.

There is a now an open source project that hopes to bring a privacy VPN to the market using cryptocurrencies to pay for the solution. Mysterium just did an ICO (initial coin offering) arnd raised over $14M USD for development.

This is interesting for a couple of reasons. First, it is a direct throwback to a late 90’s failed cypherpunk idea. The question is are there now enough privacy conscious people out there willing to pay for such a service? If there are then maybe this time will be different.

The second is that they are going head-to-head with a free service that is trying to provide the same benefits. From their competitive matrix it seems their belief is that by putting an economy behind this they will be able to provide a faster service that TOR.

It is certainly true that TOR is slow, but the question is will be people willing to pay for privacy, especially if it is on metered usage instead of a flat fee. I’d be skeptical since I think the cognitive overhead of micropayments is why they haven’t been adopted and this feels similar to me. Anytime I have to think about whether or not to use a service it creates barriers, this is why most VPN providers have some sort of fixed pricing model, at least for “normal” usage.

This is one of those time I hope to be proven wrong. I’d really love a decentralized VPN to get wide scale adoption. Once I get my new high speed FIOS connection this month I may even try to run a node for a while to get a better feel for the project.