The Sony Vaio Pro 13 is the best notebook on the market

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Sony has finally released a worthy successor to its series Z high end notebook which was extraordinary. The Vaio Pro 13 is amazing. It’s an incredibly light 2.34 pounds despite having a touch screen. The new MacBook Air is 3 pounds by comparison, 28% heavier, and does not have a touch screen. The screen is 1920*1080 vs. 1440*900 for the MacBook Pro. Ever since Apple got me hooked on touch screens with its iPad and iPhone I have become quite fond of them. It’s ironic that Apple does not offer them on its notebooks. On top of that the SSD hard drive is super-fast and includes a 512 Gb option. The battery lasts 7 hours under heavy usage and can be doubled to 14 hours with an extra external battery that brings the overall weight to 3 pounds. It’s by far the best 13” notebook on the market.

At this point I would actually prefer a 3 pound 15” touch notebook with a retina display and a 10 hour battery life. 1080p makes for small text on a 13” screen and my big hands and tired eyes prefer a bigger form factor. Until Samsung updates its Series 9 notebook and hopefully fulfills this need, the Sony Vaio Pro is the notebook to get!

Murder as a Fine Art is a fantastic historical thriller!

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As I reviewed Inferno I criticized Dan Brown for the poor writing and character development. The same cannot be said of David Morrell’s writing. While Inferno was merely good entertainment, Murder as a Fine Art is brilliant and extremely well written. It artfully mixes fact and fiction and is truly genre bending: part crime fiction, historical fiction, thriller and police procedural.

I love that Morrell uses Thomas De Quincy and his daughter as lead characters as the former’s renowned intellect and wit allow for fantastic dialogue. The writing is exceptional beyond the dialogue. I truly felt transposed to Victorian England and at times I would have sworn Dickens was writing the description of the English fog.

Read it!

Inferno is a good summer read

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I am a big fan of thrillers and loved The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons. Dan Brown’s books typically have poor writing and character development, but he makes up for it with fascinating plots. I also love the way he intertwines symbolism, art history and exotic locales with fast paced action; though obviously one has to suspend disbelief that a professor of symbology is the perfect person to solve these mysteries and that the Bond-esque villain just has to leave a litany of clues for Robert Langdon to unravel his evil machinations.

The book is a quick read, fast paced and fun. It does not soar to the heights of Angels and Demons, possibly because the formula he uses is no longer original. In basically every book Langdon gets himself sucked into a situation where he is called upon to provide his expert opinion; suddenly everything gets complicated and goes global and he finds himself traveling around the world looking for clues aided by an attractive woman while chased by some sort of secret organization.

Inferno follows the same formula. It is essentially a scavenger hunt set in Florence where Langdon needs to decipher clues in paintings and artefacts connected to Dante’s Inferno. However it succeeds where The Lost Symbol failed in being more interesting and engaging even if the end is a bit anti-climactic.

All in all a fun beach read!

Fun interview with The Next Women

I had the pleasure of having a fun and engaging conversation with Beth from The Next Women.

We covered a wide range of topics:

  • What I have been up to since I left OLX
  • How investing in Latin America differs from investing in other markets
  • Why Shoes4you, one of my Brazilian startup investments, failed
  • The opportunities in mobile
  • Five tips on wooing and selecting VCs
  • Three pieces of advice to those considering becoming angel investors
  • Why there are fewer female entrepreneurs than male entrepreneurs

You can read the full article at:
http://www.thenextwomen.com/2013/06/07/fabrice-grinda-investorentrepreneur-finding-vc-getting-married

Bill Gurley’s thoughts on marketplaces are a must read!

As you can probably imagine given my recent blog post, Thoughts on building successful vertical marketplaces, marketplaces have been on my mind a lot of late.

Last November Bill Gurley from Benchmark wrote a very thoughtful article on the 10 factors that make for successful marketplaces. It’s highly recommended reading for all entrepreneurs interested in marketplaces.

Much of his thinking is in line with mine though he did a better job than me of creating a list to allow you to evaluate whether your idea is worthy.

Read the full article: All Markets Are Not Created Equal: 10 Factors To Consider When Evaluating Digital Marketplaces