Marvin’s Best Weekly Reads Jan 16th, 2022

Marvin Liao
11 min readJan 16, 2022


“And suddenly you just know it’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings” — Meister Eckhart

  1. Zero Covid as policy seems like insanity in 2022 unless you are an island. Even then it seems anti-data & stupid.

2. Spot on analysis here. Must read if you don’t want to get burned.

3. Same principle applies to Taiwan too. Arm them & Ukraine to teeth. The porcupine strategy works.

“Ukraine is a civilized European nation comprising people of talent and good will who wish to, and deserve to, become part of the free world. They are also a people that the United States has pledged its solemn word to protect.”

“This can only be accomplished by arming Ukraine to the teeth. Russian forces won’t be in position to invade for several more weeks. We can and must take advantage of this time to ship the Ukrainians massive caches of weapons, especially the anti-aircraft missiles that will be so critical in neutralizing Russia’s air superiority. Unless Russia’s aerial advantage can be offset, the Ukrainians will stand no chance of holding their own on the ground. So Ukraine needs these weapons, and it needs them now, not after the Ukrainian army is destroyed by Russian air attacks. Once the invasion begins it will be too late. Ukraine is a country of 44 million people; if properly armed, it could repel an invasion by the 175,000-man expeditionary force Putin has assembled. Overcoming a well-armed Ukraine would cost far more resource-wise than Putin is currently willing to spend. By arming the Ukrainians, we can prevent a war.

Good fences make good neighbors; deterrence is much better than war.”

4. This is a man I admire. He makes hard decisions and shares the learnings from his growth. Worth a read.

“Going forward, if I don’t have a “whole body yes” then it’s a “simple no” until I can decide for myself. No questions asked.

Finally, I came to the conclusion that sometimes we just need to burn everything down to the ground and start over. Fuck sunk costs. Fuck what people think. Clear it all out. Start with a blank slate. As Tom Cruise says in Risky Business, “Sometimes you gotta say, ‘What the fuck?’ Make your move.” I embraced that elegant notion.”

5. “Ultimately, given how crypto ties belief systems, product dedication, and financial investment together, disputes about it will inevitably get more heated than in other ages of the internet. Dorsey taking on Andreessen Horowitz is just the highest-profile dust-up we’ve seen to date. The meme wars among tech’s most respected names won’t stop here.”

6. “One of the most destructive mental constructs to the health of your financial portfolio is measuring yearly arithmetic returns. The goal, as always, is to maintain or increase the purchasing power of your assets relative to the cost of energy. Human civilisation essentially converts the potential energy of the Sun and Earth into kinetic energy that supports our bodily functions and modern lifestyle.

Making money is not the goal, because money is just an energy abstraction. The correct — and admittedly difficult to track — means of measuring your financial success is determining how many barrels of oil your lifestyle costs now and how many it will cost in the future. Then you must ensure the value of your financial savings increases faster than your expected energy consumption.”

7. “We now reside in a world in which we value things at what they could become, not what they are. A belief system centered on exponential outcomes, both good and bad, dictates the future. The alternative is an apocalypse of hyperinflation, pandemics, high rates and wars.”

8. Not sure this accusation is fair. Norway is actually pretty far ahead of the curve when it comes to ESG stuff & pushing ethical investing.

9. Love this.

“Founders and artists should be aware of where the technology is today. If you can help it, don’t play yesterday’s game. Let your intellectual curiosity guide you toward your joy and also the new edge of the fractal. Not looking backward.

Having a network effects product and community is now even more critical. Founders need to think of their startup as a network, to think of their goal as “bonding” the nodes to their network: employees, investors, customers, and partners. This will look and feel a lot like community building, and network bonding theory brings in the math, giving you the tools to bond high-value nodes to your network.

NFTs, tokens, in-game purchases, tiered access, and many other new forms of value are now revealing themselves. These are occurring just as network formation tools are also blossoming — DAOs, Discord, Twitter, Reddit, Telegram, etc.”

10. Good discussion on unlocks.

“A cornerstone of sustained prosperity is the unlock: unleashing a leap forward with a new approach. Thinking different, if you will. An external shock compels us to leverage existing resources in fresh ways. In these moments, it’s less about new or more than it is about rearranging the materials we have at hand.

Unlocks are often inspired by new technology.”

11. Good primer on Hydrogen power. The future?

“I do pay attention, though, when the Japanese are onto something. Few remember it nowadays, but the Japanese played a pivotal role in creating the Liquid Natural Gas industry in the 1970s. When Japan focusses its national attention on a task that it considers a national priority, it’s worth keeping an eye on. Japan has the know-how and the capital to make things happen on a large scale.

The subsequent outcomes will probably sit somewhere in between the opposing predictions. Maybe Volkswagen boss Herbert Diess was right when he said: “Green hydrogen should not end up in cars. It is needed for steel, chemical, aero.” This could still leave room for hydrogen to grow into a significant new industry, because of the sheer amount of energy required in these sectors.”

12. “Dedicated crypto platforms like Coinbase or even Paypal, Venmo and Stripe, which recently added abilities to use crypto for payments, could evolve into the U.S. versions of super apps, assuming crypto issuers can work with regulators to find a middle ground between protecting the consumer and creating new financial and investment opportunities. If consumers see crypto as secure and legitimate — and easy to use — it could become the base of super apps.

Expanding these crypto and payment apps to integrate with other apps and services would make many diverse tasks more convenient. The bottom line is that people are thinking about finance not just when they go to the bank — if they even have access to a bank — but when they shop, vacation or pay for a medical visit, and such apps would help deliver the financial services they need in a personalized manner.

Integrating crypto payments into other tasks would also go a long way in democratizing the world of finance and money, giving underserved communities and those with no credit histories who struggle to open credit cards or get loans more access to financial services.”

13. All young founders who have not been through a down cycle need to watch this episode. The depth of solid business and investing experience really shines through.

14. “We shouldn’t compare the asset ownership percentages today as a snapshot in time. We should instead look at how the trend is evolving. The legacy Web2 companies are becoming more and more concentrated in ownership. Bitcoin has shown to become more decentralized in ownership over time. Web3 tokens are still up in the air. Will they become more centralized or more decentralized over time? No one knows yet, but that is going to be the most important question when it comes to answering “who owns Web3?”

15. A super interesting and insightful perspective on Web 3. Worth a read especially in light of all the hype.

16. Worth listening to Zeihan re: geopolitical landscape. De-Globalization, A baby bust and populism.

17. What a nutty time and many people are learning the hard way about the importance of cheap energy on everything in our globalized world.

18. More evidence that much of the western developed world is run by incompetent, arrogant, complacent people. It’s gonna be a rough ride.

“Europe has been doing its level best to hammer its domestic power producers and erode its industrial base for years. What stops foreign adversaries from helping them along by bidding up the price of these carbon credits to create economic advantage for themselves? How much money would it really take to double or triple the price of carbon in the EU from here? Whatever happens, this is one of the most fascinating stories we’ve come across in quite some time.”

19. San Francisco is a disaster zone and much of this is due to the progressive idiot politicians in charge and many of us tech people’s disinterest. But things are changing fast. You can only take a blind eye to malicious incompetence for so long. Thank goodness for people like Garry, David Sacks and many others.

20. “But the thing is, whatever the pros and cons, we are already on an inexorable march toward the metaverse. We are increasingly living virtual lives. What web3 enables is a richer experience in that virtual existence. One that will hopefully feel a little less hollow, a little more human.

I look forward to a future where NFTs, along with all the other promises of web3, help us create a virtual reality where human interaction is, once again, fun.”

21. This thread on why building wealth is important. It’s not shallow, it’s a matter of both survival & freedom.

22. This is a good set of 2022 tech biz predictions.

23. Kazakhstan is a very important geopolitical player & the recent events show how important the country is to Russia, China and the USA.

I’m personally a fan of the wonderful people there and hope it all ends peacefully although with some reforms that make their lives better.

24. The Chinese are playing a way better geopolitical and supply chain game than America. And we let them because of our arrogance and complacency. We better wake the F — k up soon.

“Through its vast network of trade deals, subsidiaries and suppliers COFCO has assembled a supply chain for every foodstuff available. They are fully responsible for China’s food supply. Yet the magnitude of this company cannot be understated. They are the modern East India Trading Company.

This is all part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

A new Silk Road. A Chinese Global order from countries belittled, forgotten, or shunned by the American Empire. One of those places was South America.

Post Cold War South America and Africa were tossed aside like the used toys they were. Pawns in a Global war against the USSR. Now broken and downtrodden, they seek aid from China the only Global Power willing to given them any; but their pawn status has only transferred players.

China is extracting them for as much raw materials as their boats can carry.”

25. “Today’s weapons are tools and objects that blend in today with everyday life. It is the intent of the user that matters more, for every device is now capable. The DJI drone used to make movies, is one for surveillance. The AirTags for finding your keys, are a tracking device to the amateur sleuth. The Computer is perhaps the paramount tableau of this; capable of doing only what the user inputs. Cat videos, million dollar businesses, TPS reports, or turning off the Nation’s power.

This fact is further compounded by the production of weapons. Nuclear weapons the pinnacle of 3GW weaponry can easily be monitored by the facilities that produce them. Specialized facilities with only two purposes. A semiconductor fabrication plant can producing the brains for televisions and within weeks be outfitted for missiles.

Thus the move of banning DJI hinders China, and the DJI Corporation; it also affects the Terrorist, the Rebel and the everyday consumer. For it is a tool, just as much as it is a weapon.

DJI is the latest pawn and target in an ongoing Unrestricted Warfare of today.”

26. “With few exceptions, Covid policy was never about reason. Covid policy was a demonstration of power. It was the North Korean military parade of public health, an elaborate performance that existed chiefly to sooth the concerns of a scared nation with the illusion of competent governance. To challenge the logic of authority was to challenge the existence of authority, which is never a popular thing among authoritarians, and especially not in a time of chaos.

But with Virginia exit polls festering in the frightened minds of the Lockdown Forever Squad in Washington, and good news surrounding Omicron too impossible to ignore, it’s starting to seem, to the panicked dismay of neurotics across the country, that pandemic theater is finally close to curtains.”

27. Totally random but for anyone who likes a good Viking movie, this short is pretty good.

28. Good overview thread on what’s happening in Kazakhstan. This is a big deal geopolitically.

29. Good list. Vietnam and Singapore totally make sense.

“You might have noticed that the countries on this list share a few similarities. Generally, all the best countries to invest in 2022 have strong demographic trends. A growing population and rising middle class helps each of their long-term economic prospects.”



Marvin Liao

Ever curious: Tsundoku, Reader, Aspiring Shokunin, World traveller, Investor & Tech/Media exec interested in almost everything!