Marvin’s Best Weekly Reads Jan 23rd, 2022
“The beginning is the most important part of the work” — Plato
- Very interesting perspective and parallels.
“Looking back, it is easy to see the results of moving my body to America and brain to Ethereum. Both offer a frontier. America has always been the catalyst of liberal democracy, decentralised governance, and hyper-competitive capitalism. Ethereum is becoming a credibly neutral digital substrate that lives above countries’ jurisdictions on the Internet.
What has become much clearer to me over the years is that The American Dream and The Etherean Dream are very much the same.”
💠 The Etherean & American Dream 🇺🇸
Etherean : AmericanEthereum : AmericaEther : DollarNode : CourtCode : LawGas : TaxETH : USDDAO : LLCNFT : MP3POS …
2. Ironically two of the most important countries to me personally: Taiwan and Ukraine.
“The parallel between Ukraine and Taiwan suffers from three main pitfalls. First, Taiwan is becoming a far more important geopolitical asset to the United States in the Indo-Pacific. Second, Russia and China’s motivations for initiating conflict differ more than many believe, which will impact how both states are likely to act. Third, Taiwan is more deeply integrated into key supply chains and trade networks than Ukraine is. In other words, the Ukraine-Taiwan analogy obscures as much as it illuminates.”
A Tale of Two Crises: Why US Strategy in Ukraine Has Few Implications for Taiwan
Advertisement Over the past few weeks, Russia's deployment of approximately 100,000 troops, as well as tanks and…
3. What a crazy story. Just started reading the book.
“So began a craze akin to the dot-com bubble: Investors who knew basically nothing about the inner workings of South American countries went on a buying spree, inflating the value of the bonds and creating an intense resale market.”
The con artist who sold rich investors a fake country
Nearly 200 years ago, Gregor MacGregor pulled off one of the most brazen real estate scams in history.
4. “Filmmaker, influencer, content creator, chef — Rea has an abundance of titles, but he also fits within a new and growing breed of influencer-entrepreneurs. “Influpreneurs”, if you will, are online stars who build their own businesses that disrupt the establishment in their field. They launch products that sell out in hours, produce media for millions of loyal fans and collaborate with high-profile companies.
They offer their platform to new talent by hiring hosts and create media empires by launching numerous shows. Legacy media respect influpreneurs for their expertise, whether the star in question is a chef, fitness guru or engineer”
Meet the 'Influpreneurs': The new breed of YouTube influencers staffing up and building business…
Ever heard of Andrew Rea, James Hobson or Linus Sebastian? The people behind YouTube sensations Binging With Babish…
5. “Officially, Gymshark produces “conditioning” clothing. The brand is most often compared to transatlantic fitness labels such as Lululemon or Under Armour, despite being younger than both by more than a decade. What powers Gymshark is its astonishing digital reach. On its official channels alone there are more than 32m views on YouTube, 5.4m followers on Instagram and 3.3m on TikTok, to say nothing of the influencers with whom it partners. Gymshark creates workout gear designed to look good on TikTok.”
Ben Francis: 'Having a level of transparency makes people realise you don't have to be perfect all…
By successfully leveraging influencers and social media, Gymshark's CEO Ben Francis has gone from sewing T-shirts in…
6. Doomberg interview. Lots of good discussion on the energy business and policy and the emerging gig economy for brains.
7. “Crypto and web3 promise to increase my freedom to switch between the platforms I rely on and my likelihood to survive a hostile action by one of them. This promise is only partly fulfilled at this point, and it might never materialize in full.
Unlike some, I do not believe that web3 will be more just or equitable or even more free by default. But I do believe it offers the possibility of increasing our freedom and agency. And, in light of general and personal history, this possibility is enough to pique my curiosity and garner my support.
To most users, the freedom to pack up and move your digital assets and identity does not matter. But it might matter one day, and when it does, it will matter a lot.”
Unpacking the Web3 Sausage
🧠 The February cohort of Hype-Free Crypto is filling up. for a fun and impartial exploration of crypto's good, bad…
8. These are some solid gaming industry predictions. Always worth reading.
The DeanBeat: Predictions for gaming in 2022
Join gaming leaders, alongside GamesBeat and Facebook Gaming, for their 2nd Annual GamesBeat & Facebook Gaming Summit |…
9. This is good. I think the best investors, board members and leaders do this.
“Most people think of demanding and supportive as opposite ends of a spectrum. You can either be tough or you can be nice. But the best leaders don’t choose. They are both highly demanding and highly supportive. They push you to new heights and they also have your back.”
Demanding and Supportive
My first Instacart board meeting was in November 2015. I had joined a month earlier as CFO. Our financials were ugly…
10. Fascinated by this evolution of warfare: drones and motorcycles.
11. Good list. I’d go to Serbia, Armenia, Mexico & Colombia.
12. Late to this as it’s 1 year old but this is an awesome interview. Still super relevant.
13. I’m on a Doomberg kick. You need to understand the physical economy & what’s going on. Remember energy is life and L1. Tech is really L3 so we all better wake up.
14. This is a big deal. Consolidation happening fast in gaming industry.
Take-Two buys Zynga for $12.7B enterprise value
Join gaming leaders, alongside GamesBeat and Facebook Gaming, for their 2nd Annual GamesBeat & Facebook Gaming Summit |…
15. “Define how you want your life to be different, and then start heading in that direction. You’ll make progress as you gradually build up your relationships, connections, skills, resources, and portfolio.”
Working harder doesn't make you more successful
I often see successful entrepreneurs tout "hard work" as the secret to their fortune. I don't believe it. "Working…
16. A very worthwhile interview here.
“Tyler is a highly eclectic thinker, drawing his ideas from a vast array of inspirations and stubbornly refusing to allow any particular ideology or school of thought to limit the scope of his theses. This is how I’ve also tried to be, though I think he still does it better. And of course, he manages his role as a public intellectual while maintaining a career in academia and the nonprofit world, and even a foray into venture capital. “Impressive” is an understatement!”
“The complacent are ever more complacent. The entrepreneurial and independent-minded are all the more so. We even saw this in the pandemic. Many people retreated in fear, or had mental health problems, or simply shut down. Others responded with great efforts and energy, for instance the people and companies behind the vaccines.
Do we really have a general “spirit of the age” right now. I am skeptical. A major impact of the internet seems to be to increase variance. Arguably the same is true for racism, sexism, and many others isms, both good and bad. The variance is going up. The good get better, the bad get worse.”
Interview: Tyler Cowen, economist and public intellectual
Tyler Cowen is one of the reasons I'm blogging today. His blog with Alex Tabarrok, Marginal Revolution, is one of the…
17. “Basically, we play games all the time. We are speculative creatures, like to make bets, search for social cohesion and community. We also like cheat codes — and in a life where the world feels increasingly tilted towards “rich get richer”, you have to find other cheat codes in order to make the game work. And those cheat codes right now are $FAST MONEY$.
One of the reasons that the Stonks and Crypto Go Brrr narrative has stuck around for all this time (I think) is because people felt like they were playing a massive RPG. Gather your battalions, plan a bank run, maybe become millionaires, even billionaires. What the RPG fails to teach you is that there is no alpha in copy-paste, BUT you do get a little glimmer of hope.”
On Narrative, Reflexivity, and Energy Markets
On narratives, the Federal Reserve and web3, and Market Go Down. I know there is a LOT around web3 - this is a broader…
18. I guess we will find out soon enough whether Microstrategy BTC strategy works. Whether Saylor is crazy or crazy like the fox.
A Drunken Saylor
"Once you know how it all ends, the only use of time is...how do I buy more bitcoin? But take all your money and buy…
19. We are run by unserious, corrupt, ignorant idiots in the western world.
“American-made amino acids being sent at the lowest profitable cost possible to feed the swine, beef, and poultry industries of Mexico, Canada, and Brazil, all of whom are much friendlier to China with regard to finished meat exports than the United States is. It’s a canny strategic maneuver, and as is unfortunately typical of our political leadership, the short-term promise of profits, fundraising, and (perhaps) future jobs is a leash with which Chinese companies manipulate their American running dogs.
Here, then, is the new Chinese modus operandi: externalize their energy consumption into the US and exploit more readily-available raw materials for China’s benefit. Such a model drives the local prices of energy up long-term, another indirect subsidy paid by North Dakota’s taxpayers, while ensuring that China’s foreign partners have access to exported feed ingredients at the expense of the United States’ meat producers.
Even more, the location of Fufeng’s intended site is at best an extremely worrisome coincidence, given many viable alternatives that make more sense from a supply chain standpoint. Taken together, this absolutely follows the playbook of China’s ongoing expansions of the Belt and Road Initiative, and perhaps for the first time, represents a stealth implementation of the project on the United States’ own soil.”
Belt and Road Comes to the Heartland
The onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic in 2019 has exposed numerous structural weaknesses in how the nations of the…
20. Big fan of the OG global macro investor Jim Rogers. He inspired my global career.
21. “Take an honest look at all the problems we face in society today. Racial disputes, increased mental illness, poverty, growing income inequality, infighting, the list goes on and on.
These are complex issues with many reasons, yet all of these problems are fundamentally rooted in, and exacerbated by, the rotting economic system.
This is in no way a grand conspiracy, and there is no Illuminati. These policies were made by people like you and me, and people who generally do care about improving their country. However, they got lost along the way. They traded ivy league educations for thinking that they could control a complex, chaotic system.
If you look at any complex system, the weather, for example. We can make as many models as we want. Use all the supercomputers in the world and still will not accurately predict the weather even a few days in the future. It’s the same with the economy.
The value of honor and truth are losing their hold. Ye, that doesn’t mean you have to sink down. Find other people to build long-term relationships with. Protect yourself from short-sighted people. Be aggressive and cut out the toxicity from your life. Be a lighthouse in the dark sea that the world is devolving into. Your light will save the few who choose to listen and help themselves. Your light will allow you to find other lighthouses. “
Free LOOKS Token and The Greatest Rug Pull - Trad Fi.
Welcome Avatar! Now that everyone is in full panic mode (again) with little data science to back it up, the good news…
22. Josh Wolfe and his team are some of the best Deeptech VCs on the planet.
“After all, the Covid-19 pandemic has put a torrent of cash in the wallets of investors and has pushed scientific breakthroughs to the forefront of their brains, leading to an incredible run at Lux, a relatively small player in the world of venture capital. In the past two years, its assets have doubled to $4 billion, with 25 of its portfolio companies creating almost $30 billion in value through mergers, acquisitions, or IPOs — including deals with 11 special-purpose acquisition companies.”
The Renaissance Man of Venture Capital
Josh Wolfe, co-founder of venture-capital firm Lux Capital, is not a person one might expect to pen a dystopian vision…
23. “Fed Coin would provide a fresh and transformative influx of dovishness at a time when the Fed is experiencing diminished returns on quantitative easing, tepid bank lending inhibits the velocity of money, and Congress is still a major barrier to full implementation of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT).
In essence, Fed Coin creates money from nothing (as opposed to bank reserves) and directs it to where it is “most needed” in the economy. The recipients can be induced to spend it or save it at the whim of the issuer. It circumvents the banks and even Congress itself. In short, it is the forest of free money trees progressives have dreamed about planting for decades. Gammon believes (and I tend to agree) that it will lead to massive inflation in short order, and not the transitory type.”
"In every revolution, there are winners and losers. Every dystopia is a utopia for somebody else. It just depends where…
24. “However, there was one factor unnoticed that had a global impact but affected the Middle East the most.
Food Prices, more specifically the rising price of grain
Food, of course, is never the sole driver of instability or uprising. Corruption, a lack of democracy, ethnic tension are all known factors that may be critical, but food is often the difference between an unhappy but quiet population and one in revolt.”
25. I’ve come around to this view.
“ESG poses as a moral and financially savvy movement. In reality it is an immoral and financially ruinous movement that is destroying the free world’s ability to produce low-cost, reliable energy. This prevents poor countries from developing and threatens America’s security.”
The ESG movement is anti-energy, anti-development, and anti-America
ESG poses as a moral and financially savvy movement. In reality it is an immoral and financially ruinous movement that…
26. “But this is a new era of Warriors basketball. As of now, Curry and the Warriors have the best record in the NBA, and they’ve made it look both easy and fun. A youthful energy has been infused into the core of reliable stars.
The team’s location in the Bay has provided some opportunities for Curry to build a life away from basketball. He’s used his company SC30 Inc. to invest in tech startups like the travel platform Snaptravel. This entry into tech, he says, was first orchestrated by Andre Iguodala, during his first run with the Warriors.
Now Curry has his own media company, Unanimous, which, among other things, is responsible for producing the miniature-golf show Holey Moley. “There’s so much opportunity [in Hollywood] because doors are open,” he says. “There’s so much talent that can step into those rooms and deserve to be there, stay there, and have successful careers. And you can’t really quantify it right now, but you can obviously have those checkpoints like, ‘Are we making a true impact?’ And, ‘How is that going to weave into everything that I do?’”
The Second Coming of Stephen Curry
The unstoppable guard helmed one of the best offensive teams in NBA history. Two years after that dynasty fell apart…
27. This is the reason so many people hate the rich in America, rules for thee but not for me. This is also how revolutions begin.
“In a country with true equal protection under the law, Kaplan would have been fired from his job and his activity referred to the authorities for further investigation. Instead, he was allowed to resign while defiantly claiming no wrongdoing. In accepting Kaplan’s resignation, Fed Chair Jerome Powell heaped praised on him, thereby tipping future investigations in Kaplan’s favor.
There are approximately 1.8 million people sitting in prison in America — don’t hold your breath waiting for Kaplan to join them. Prison is for the peasants, and Kaplan is no peasant.
Nor will they be joined by Nancy Pelosi, whose husband routinely speculates in companies that are impacted by her legislative decisions.
Not satisfied with mere good fortune, America’s elite are indulging in an orgy of staggering self-enrichment, the scale of which would make even Bacchus blush. As the embers of disgust take hold, one wonders how long until a full-on fire rages from below to spoil the party.”
Let Them Eat Pizza
"Corruption, embezzlement, fraud, these are all characteristics which exist everywhere. It is regrettably the way human…
28. Lots of great nuggets here. Future of work and the Sovereign individual.
“Parents will adapt and relocate. And a byproduct of this type of jurisdictional arbitrage is that the housing market will stay hot.
But more broadly speaking — 2022 will mark a new wave of personal development. More alternative types of personal development with an emphasis on less standardization and more specialization.
People understand that they need to take personal responsibility for educating themselves to take advantage of changing times. The “guru” industry will have a renewed wave of products, courses, and information based products along the long tail of niche ideas, topics, and lifestyles. Expect a wave of solo entrepreneurs to emerge to fill this market need.
The bottom line is that people will pick and choose new skills to learn and incorporate into their lives in order to adapt and thrive in the digital age.
This will mark an educational renaissance.”
2022 Predictions: What Comes Next? - The Sovereign Individual Weekly
2022 Predictions. This is not a new year's resolution. And it's not a year in review. It's a look ahead at what might…
29. This book is worth reading. The Fourth Turning. But if you are lazy, listen to this interview.
30. Good reminder for tech & young people that there is a very physical part of technology you can’t escape from.
As Kazakhstan Descends Into Chaos, Crypto Miners Are at a Loss
When Denis Rusinovich set up cryptocurrency mining company Maveric Group in Kazakhstan in 2017, he thought he had hit…
31. “Animoca has been on an impressive tear since. Operating as both a publisher and, increasingly, a buyer of blockchain assets and tokens, its ballooning portfolio includes Sky Mavis, the developer of global sensation “Axie Infinity,” which closed on roughly $150 million in funding back in October at a $3 billion valuation, and the popular metaverse startup The Sandbox, a game where players can create and monetize in-game assets and that closed on $93 million in Series B funding back in November led by SoftBank.”