Marvin’s Best Weekly Reads February 7th, 2021
“Character, in the long run, is the decisive factor in the life of an individual and of nations alike” — Theodore Roosevelt
- This is quite the inspiring story.
“This act landed the teen a potential life sentence — and he eventually served 8 years in a Virginia state prison.
During that time, Bullock decided to turn his life around.
Today, he is the founder and CEO of Flikshop, an app that allows anyone to send a personalized postcard photo or message to any incarcerated person in the United States.”
He was facing life in prison. Now, he's the CEO of the 'Instagram for the Incarcerated.'
At the age of 15, Marcus Bullock made the biggest mistake of his life. It was 1996, and he was living in Prince…
2. “Tyler Blevins — Ninja, to video-game fans — is the closest thing gaming has to a crossover mainstream star. Largely on the back of his skills playing Fortnite, as well as his puckish commentary while he plays, the 29-year-old has amassed 16.5 million followers on Twitch, 14.4 million on Instagram, 6.5 million on Twitter, 24 million subscribers on YouTube and gobs of money. (He has said he makes $500,000 a month from streaming…) All that, and Blevins is wondering what’s next, or least how to achieve more while spending less time at his desk.”
Teenagers Made Ninja a Gaming Superstar. He Has a Message for Parents.
Tyler Blevins - Ninja, to video-game fans - is the closest thing gaming has to a crossover mainstream star. Largely on…
3. A great explanation of the ongoing GameStop saga. I hope this is the new paradigm. Power to the people I say.
“It is clear that there is a sect of WallStreetBets who either previously or currently work in the financial sector who are fed up with increasing inequality, are tired of watching giant corporations repeatedly fuck over ordinary people, and are explaining how it all works to huge groups of people.”
“WallStreetBets says this is a new paradigm where the masses have the power and hedge funds are scared.”
Send This to Anyone Who Wants to Know WTF Is Up With GameStop Stock
You have been sent here because your child, partner, or friend suggested that you invest your life savings into…
4. Impressive lady.
“That thick skin, that ability to let the tough times roll off her and move on, is a skill she’s been developing since childhood. It’s a lesson her father taught her. “Adapting was something I learned very early on because my parents moved so much. Every two years, we were in a different city,” she says.”
Priyanka Chopra Jonas Pulls Back the Curtain
As city- and statewide lockdowns spread last spring following the trajectory of the COVID-19 outbreak, many of us vowed…
5. This looks really trippy and intriguing.
6. “Gill, who until recently had a day job for a life insurance company, is the force that fueled the GameStop roller coaster that thrust hedge funds billions of dollars into the red and bloated a flailing video game company, destined for Blockbuster infamy, well beyond its actual value.”
Meet the Redditor who made millions off GameStop and started a market frenzy
Keith Gill, the Redditor known as "DeepF-kingValue" who led an army of average Joes to drive up the cost of GameStop…
7. Great observation on the GameStop situation. I suspect he is right. People are just tired of being “up in arms.” GameStop is Revolution lite.
“But the really interesting thing here is the spectacle of a bunch of people rushing to try to lift the banner of the GameStoppers as a populist cause. After seven years of protest, unrest, Trump, terrorism, Nazis, pandemic, and insurrection, it gives me a profound feeling of relief to see people getting riled up over something so utterly, hilariously inconsequential to the future of the nation.
Which makes me wonder. If America’s populists are running around trying to feed off the energy of anything that smells vaguely like revolution, does that mean that their usual food supply is shrinking? After those seven long years, is a growing chunk of the American populace simply tired of being up in arms about things?”
Among the many amazing things about the GameStop episode is how various populists of both the Left and the Right have…
8. This is immensely frightening. How Covid multiplies & the issues “Weak States” are facing: leading to major political destabilization.
The Zimbabwe Event | Epsilon Theory
The South African variant virus (501.V2) is not the immediate threat to the United States as the UK variant virus…
9. The Visa deal falling apart is going to be a godsend to Plaid.
“After news of the Visa deal’s breakdown emerged, I noted that I believed Plaid was a “minimum $20B business in today’s market, with a shot to become a +$100B one.” Given the company has countenanced private financing valuing the company at $15 billion, and investors have waved off secondary sales at 4x the Visa price, it seems others may agree.
Plaid’s success doesn’t hinge on its ability to make this end run. Even without touching payments, Perret can steward the business to an outcome an order of magnitude larger than that offered by Visa. But the blueprint is there. By expanding geographically, Plaid grows its network of banks, further insinuating itself into the financial system’s heart.”
Plaid's Quiet End Run | The Generalist
This is this month's free briefing. To unlock an exclusive briefing , along with membership's other benefits, . You get…
10. This thread is gold for startup founders. Thank u Hiten!
11. Madeira: this place looks magical. Putting it on list.
Madeira to digital nomads: Come work with us
Places such as Bali, Berlin and Lisbon top lists of the best spots in the world for digital nomads to work remotely…
12. It’s sad that this all needs to be said. While the woke movement started with good intentions, it has gone too far toward cancel culture. This is a good call to action to stand against this stupidity and garbage happening online and offline.
10 ways to fight back against woke culture
I realize the faddish thing to say these days is that we live in the worst, most broken and backward country in the…
13. “I put my faith in WallStreetBets. I put my faith in Bitcoin. I put my faith in Elon Musk and Dave Portnoy, and in all Americans who understand that what was wrong with Donald Trump is the same thing that is wrong with Joe Biden, except seen through the other end of the lens. What will make change possible are the same technologies that led us into this mess — this time, putting privacy and freedom first. The New Americans will build the New America.
The American creed is as true as it always was: The system is rotten, because the foundations on which it was built are rotten. Let’s build something new.”
The New Americans
In a moment of anger, chaos, and disintegration, they gave us hope
14. Big news today at Amazon. Of note: 4 out of big 5 tech cos run by successors.
Jeff Bezos will no longer be CEO of Amazon as of later this year
Amazon founder and current CEO Jeff Bezos will be transitioning to executive chair of the company sometime in Q3 of…
15. This is why immigration is critical to the USA & why the anti-immigrant of recent years is so short sighted and STUPID.
“Instead of squeezing out home-grown science heroes, skilled immigrants complement them. Because innovation takes a village, the more foreign innovators we get, the more innovating our home-grown folks are able to get done.
Also, the more they will be inspired to become innovators in the first place.”
“So basically, everything we know about innovation suggests that it takes a village. And the United States has two choices: Either be that village, or don’t be that village.
I want us to be that village.”
Innovation: It takes a village
If you spend any time watching scientists or engineers actually do their work, you'll quickly notice how collaborative…
16. There is a lot here. Travel space, a solo capitalist who literally wrote the book on high growth startups leading a big round, investing where others do not dare.
“I thought it was wise to invest while things still looked tough for travel, because it would be much more expensive to invest when things come rushing back,” said Gil, who lives in San Francisco. “Business travel is not going to go away.”
Scientist-investor Elad Gil is making a big bet that business travel will rebound after Covid
In 13 years as a start-up investor, Elad Gil has backed some of the era's biggest tech breakouts, such as Airbnb…
17. “Another macrotrend at play is that of the increasing distribution of talent beyond traditional metropolitan strongholds like San Francisco and New York. Entrepreneurs, technologists and operational talent are lifestyle-seeking at a time in history when life feels all the more precious. Moving to cities like Nashville, Austin, Atlanta, Denver, Durham, Miami, et. al. means proximity to aging family members, affordable childcare and outdoor activities.
These simple pleasures were the tradeoffs people made when “pursuing their dreams” in coastal cities, picking up to move in pursuit of money (sometimes better weather). Seemingly overnight, capital abounds in the private markets just as talent becomes increasingly scarce and therefore valuable.”
VC meets the land of opportunity
The wave of venture capital interest in geographies other than Silicon Valley has been building momentum over the past…
18. This was a great interview done by Patrick and Chamath is insightful as always.
My guest today is Chamath Palihapitiya, the founder and CEO of Social Capital, whose mission is to advance humanity by…
19. Yah! Congrats Joanne Chen.
“Asked how she deals with competition for many of these deals, Chen says she moves fast when there’s a decision to be made. She engages with VPs of engineering and technical founders who share ideas through Slack communities and elsewhere. She also notes that Foundation provides capital to roughly 30 operators who write angel checks and help steer the firm’s attention to interesting deals.
Mostly, suggests Chen, she focuses on whatever is not landing in her inbox — a lesson learned in part from Gould years ago.
It’s easy to believe. As Gould once told this editor of the advice she gives to other VCs: “It not the calls you take. It’s the calls you make. Everyone is calling you with dumb startup ideas, and you can stay hugely busy sorting through that crap. My advice instead is to figure out who are the 10 to 20 smartest people you know and call them. One of them is always starting a company.”
Joanne Chen just became the first woman GP at Foundation Capital since founder Kathryn Gould
Joanne Chen just became the second female general partner in the history of the now 26-year-old, Silicon Valley venture…
20. “Jeff Bezos isn’t going anywhere.
Just because he’s no longer going to be the CEO of Amazon doesn’t mean he will fade as a protagonist in American life. That’s because, unlike many leaders in Corporate America, Bezos’s public profile far outstrips his role as leader of Amazon. Even if he isn’t the CEO — or maybe because he isn’t the CEO — Bezos will remain one of America’s most famous business leaders, wielding power in politics, philanthropy, and media.”
The second act of Jeff Bezos could be as big as his first
Uncovering and explaining how our digital world is changing - and changing us. Jeff Bezos isn't going anywhere. Just…
21. “Squinting back through the years, it’s hard to see the dorky guy who started Amazon in the ’90s. It’s almost as though that guy retreated into an office in Seattle sometime around Y2K and emerged a decade later with a chiseled physique, a network of mansions presumably filled with Hollywood stars, and a plan to fly tourists to the moon. And he was still running Amazon!”
The metamorphosis of Jeff Bezos is complete
Uncovering and explaining how our digital world is changing - and changing us. In a Groundhog Day surprise, Jeff Bezos…
22. A great call to action for the tech and startup industry.
“Our world of technology can, should, and must play a major role in shaping a better and more equal future. And while some ideas will require government and policy to implement, there are others that we can get going on today, and are best suited to entrepreneurship.”
A Widening Gap
It was quite a first month of 2021. Through major events such as the Georgia elections handing Democrats control of the…
23. Neat new VC Fund started by some solid experienced operators. Scribble Ventures.
Twitter Alum Elizabeth Weil's VC Firm Debuts With $42 Million To Bring Back 'Old Venture'…
When BeyondHQ founder Madhu Chamarty started raising funding for his startup that helps businesses decide how to expand…
24. This is a very exciting development. Carta is one of my top picks as the next major Decacorn.
Carta's startup liquidity service CartaX conducts first transactions on its own cap table
As startups have stayed private longer and liquidity has become harder to secure for early employees and investors…
25. Quite the thread on how Clubhouse is growing like a weed. The power of FOMO.
26. This is a worthwhile read to understand the coming conflict between the government and the crypto world.
“This is a tale of new money versus old, financial whiz kids upstaging banking’s old guard, and American authorities attempting to apply 20th-century laws to 21st-century innovation. Prosecutors allege that Hayes and his business partners violated the Bank Secrecy Act by failing to implement and maintain an adequate anti-money-laundering program — to weed out bad actors and dirty money.
Meanwhile, Hayes’s colleagues in the cryptocurrency world believe he is being punished for building an ingenious product that has baffled lawmakers, bedeviled regulators, and — once it became wildly popular — posed a threat to some of the markets’ biggest players. Adding to the chorus of voices are some high-powered legal experts who consider the case United States of America v. Arthur Hayes to be largely unprecedented.”
The Rise and Fall of Bitcoin Billionaire Arthur Hayes
The BitMEX cofounder created a cryptocurrency exchange that has traded trillions. Now he's wanted by U.S. authorities…
27. This is a strong case for Crypto India. A long but worthwhile read. Hope Indian leadership pays attention.
“This is true for India as well. Unlike the dollar or yuan, the digital rupee is not a candidate to become the reserve currency of the world. Thus, while India can be in charge of the digital rupee domestically, internationally it would prefer that no one be in charge — least of all the increasingly unpredictable US or China.
And that equates to a preference for the use of cryptocurrency in international finance. Indeed, every sovereign that isn’t the US or China will likely eventually align behind crypto for international trade because it’s an acceptable second choice, a platform where you can’t be deplatformed.”
Why India Should Buy Bitcoin
India should launch a digital rupee - and back it with digital gold. More broadly, India should champion decentralized…
28. Normally not a fan of these celebrity lead investment funds, but this one seems to make sense.
Robert Downey Jr. launches venture funds to invest in sustainable technology
Actor and producer Robert Downey Jr., who quietly has been building an umbrella organization for his environmental…
29. Interesting discussion on happiness.
The Happiness Project: 12 Culture-Shapers on Finding Joy in Tough Times
Happiness -and, at times, its absence-sits right in the center of so much that we do. We refer to it constantly in…
30. “This shift is really where community capitalism starts to take off. The investors, founders, employees, workers and users are now going to be owners. These kinds of things were simply not possible before Ethereum. A blockchain is a really great accounting mechanism for the Internet. Ethereum’s ERC-20 token standard has become the default way to express value in new kinds of systems. With this digital backbone, we are now able to include communities of people in the creation and distribution of digital capital.
Every month, a bunch of new ways to earn tokens pops up: mining, staking, liquidating, curating, slashing, contributing, securing, managing. Protocols are rewarding the participants with a share of the capital — communities of people are owning crypto-equity alongside the founders, investors, and team.”
I have spent this entire year working with founders of decentralised financial protocols and I wanted to take a moment…
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