Francisco Dao


Francisco Dao is the founder of 50Kings, a private community for technology and media innovators. He is a former leadership columnist for Inc.com, a lifelong entrepreneur, author, and former stand-up comic. He writes every Tuesday and Thursday for PandoDaily.
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  • digital_noise

    The perfect opiate for the masses

    Most people, including me, are unhappy about the government shutdown. But unlike most people, I haven’t taken to social media to bellyache about it, or worse, make snarky remarks. Does anybody really think House Republicans willing to sabotage the government are going to cave under the pressure of tweets? As I thought about this endless stream of meaningless complaining, I realized social media is the perfect opiate for the masses. It creates an illusion of influence that serves…
  • kitten_quality

    Loving what you do is not enough

    Everywhere you turn, the advice is the same. Love your work. Love your startup. Do what you love, and you’ll never work again. In the startup world, it seems the Beatles were right, all you need is love. But when it comes to being the best you can be in work and life, there is something else that nobody talks about anymore. A few months ago, I was reading an incredible book about World War II pilots, and I…
  • real_life_final

    Why online brands don’t have lasting value

    The importance of brand building is a consistently popular topic for entrepreneurs. But when we take a closer look at what gives company marks their value, it becomes clear that online brands will never amount to much. The problem is inherent to the medium of the Internet itself, a constraint that affects all online properties equally. In a nutshell, it is almost impossible to provide a truly distinguished experience to the user. As a result, online interactions, and by extension online…
  • troll_takeover

    The trolls have won

    Contrary to popular belief, the dominant culture on the Web isn’t lolcats or even porn, it’s trolls and bullying. They’ve won the Internet, and many of us have cheered them on while they waged their war against civility. Consider why trolls do what they do. Their primary goal is to manipulate people in order to get a reaction. They either don’t know how, or know it’s more difficult, to get positive attention so they seek negative attention. If someone gets…
  • swing_girl

    Growing up fast and slow

    When we think about adolescence, most people accept that kids are growing up faster than ever. This is not a new critique leveled only at young people of today but something that has been observed for decades. The internet has accelerated this process by giving kids a range of access that has essentially removed the barriers of the adult world. When we factor in societal trends such as teen sexualization and online dangers, the idea of growing up slowly 1950’s…
  • lemons_cherry

    The market for idiocy

    In 1970, future Nobel Prize winning economist George Akerlof published a paper titled “The Market for ‘Lemons': Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism” in which he explained how markets characterized by asymmetric information between sellers and buyers commonly resulted in declining quality of products offered for sale. In order to illustrate his argument he provided the example of a used car market flooded by “lemons,” low quality vehicles that appeared to be in good condition. In a nutshell, the argument…
  • treasure_color_feature

    Blinded by our personal aspirations

    One consistent trait amongst entrepreneurs is that they’re aspirational. If they weren’t, they would have chosen a safer and more predictable path. We admire the aspirational mindset and view it as a wholly good thing, like courage or kindness. But aspiration has a downside that limits the scope of our thinking and subsequently our ability to solve important problems. In short, it makes us focus only on the wants and needs that we personally aspire to, which almost always means…
  • Breughel

    For most of human history everyone was an entrepreneur

    There’s a narrative in the tech industry of the entrepreneur as a hero that has always made me a bit uncomfortable. As an entrepreneur myself, I certainly respect the risks that entrepreneurs take, but the grandiose self talk is a little out of control. Recently, it occurred to me that not only is entrepreneurship not a sign of exceptionalism, but it’s actually our natural way of working. Until very recently, at least as measured against the span of human existence,…
  • fullmetaljacketbdcap11

    Time to replace school with boot camp?

    As most of you know, there’s been a great deal of discussion about the value, format, and long term advantage of college. But hardly anyone talks about K-12 education. Aside from superficial discussions about new testing requirements, or the occasional piece about how the set curriculum stunts the creativity of prodigies, the basic format of K-12 education is rarely questioned. Perhaps it’s time we did. I recently read an article about the rapid increase of mental illness in our…
  • FranciscoandRonJeremy

    Lessons from the porn industry

    One of my more interesting entrepreneurial adventures was a foray into porn. When I explored the business, what I found was an industry with tons of hype but where profits were actually hard to come by and mostly flowed to a handful of breakout stars and established companies. It was a lot like the Internet space is now. Recently, I was telling some friends about my time in the industry, and it occurred to me that the similarities between porn…

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