About / Albert Wenger

Albert Wenger is a partner at Union Square Ventures. Before joining USV, Albert was the president of del.icio.us through the company’s sale to Yahoo and an angel investor (Etsy, Tumblr). He previously founded or co-founded several companies, including a management consulting firm and an early hosted data analytics company. Albert graduated from Harvard College in economics and computer science and holds a Ph.D. in Information Technology from MIT.



Albert's posts

Homo Deus by Yuval Harari (Book Review)

I previously wrote a review of Yuval Harari’s Sapiens , which I highly recommended, despite fundamentally disagreeing with one of its central arguments. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same about Homo Deus . While the book asks incredibly important questions about the future of humanity, it not only comes up short on answers, but, more disappointingly, it presents caricature versions of other philosophical positions. I nonetheless finished Homo Deus because it is highly relevant to my own writing in World After Capital . Based on some fairly positive reviews , I expected a profound insight until the end, but it never came.

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Uncertainty Wednesday: Continuous Random Variables (Cont’d)

Last time in Uncertainty Wednesdays , I introduced continuous random variables and gave an example of a bunch of random variables following a Normal Distribution .

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Be Careful of What You Wish For: Token/ICO Edition

I have written several posts on token sales and ICOs already, including some “Thoughts on Regulating ICOs ” and  “Optimal Token Sales .” With the continued fundraising success of new projects, here are some observations on investment terms and their potential implications for achieving successful outcomes.

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Uncertainty Wednesday: Continuous Random Variables

So far in Uncertainty Wednesdays we have only dealt with models and random variables that had a discrete probability distribution . Often in fact we had only two possible states or signal values . There are lots of real world problems though in which the variable of interest can take on a great many values. For example the time between two events taking place. We could try to break this down into discrete small intervals (say seconds) and have a probability per second. Or we could define a continuous random variable where the wait time can be any real number from some continuous range.

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Assessment of Trump Presidency?

We are rapidly approaching the first half year of Trump’s Presidency. I am genuinely curious whether there is anyone attempting a cogent defense of the record so far. If you have read something you think qualifies, please link to it in the comments. I would also love to see someone go back and ask people, like Peter Thiel, who supported Trump’s candidacy about their assessment of his performance to date.

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Individual Courage and Lasting Change in Tech

The women who have come forward in tech in the last few weeks, including Susan Fowler , Niniane Wang and Sarah Kunst have shown great courage. Their courage will be the catalyst for lasting change, provided all of us turn this into a sustained effort.

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Uncertainty Wednesday: Variance

In last week’s Uncertainty Wednesday , I introduced the expected value EV of a random variable X. We saw that EV(X) is not a measure of uncertainty. The hypothetical investments I had described all had the same expected value of 0. It is trivial, given a random variable with EV(X) = μ  to construct X’ so that EV(X’) = 0. That’s in fact how I constructed the first investment. I started with $0 with 99% probability and $100 with 1% probability, which has an EV of

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Happy 4th of July: Celebrating Truths

I am spending this 4th of July in Germany, having visited my parents and friends from growing-up near Nuremberg for the last few days. It is late here now and I am seeing all the Happy 4th wishes from the US in my Twitter timeline. That made me think about what I feel like celebrating on this day. And as I wrote last year , it is not so much independence we need in the modern world, but rather interdependence .

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ChangeX: Impact As A Service

Susan and I have been longtime supporters of the wonderful ChangeX platform : ChangeX helps spread social innovation across communities . This week ChangeX introduced a new model for donors, which they are calling Impact as a Service  (IaaS). This is a bit of a tongue-in-cheek reference to Infrastructure as a Service (also IaaS). It is spot on though as the two share important characteristics:

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Uncertainty Wednesday: Expected Value

In today’s Uncertainty Wednesday we start to explore the properties of random variables .  The first one we will look at is the so-called “expected value ” or EV for short. The EV is simply the probability weighted average of a random variable X, i.e.

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Scifi Book Recommendations: Seveneves and Three Body Problem Trilogy

I love reading science fiction for two reasons: first, because of what I learn about the possible future and second, because of what it says about the present. For instance, I read a lot of William Gibson and Bruce Sterling and they correctly predicted the current rise of China, global Megacorps and crypto currencies (and we are making headway on AR and VR). I have just finished works by Neal Stephenson and Cixin Liu that give me a lot of pause about the present. I recommend them highly, but they are not for the faint of heart and may throw you into an existential funk.

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Health Insurance and the R Word (Redistribution)

There are a lot of outright lies (at worst) / profound misunderstandings (at best) on all sides circulating around health insurance at the moment. Today’s post is about the most fundamental one: the relationship between health insurance and redistribution and what it means for social consensus.

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