Marvin’s Best Weekly Reads June 13th, 2021

“Discipline is choosing between what you want now, and what you want most.” — Abraham Lincoln

  1. “In software development, there is a concept called “technical debt.” It describes the costs companies pay when they choose to build software the easy (or fast) way instead of the right way, cobbling together temporary solutions to satisfy a short-term need. Over time, as teams struggle to maintain a patchwork of poorly architectured applications, tech debt accrues in the form of lost productivity or poor customer experience.

Our nation’s cybersecurity defenses are laboring under the burden of a similar debt. Only the scale is far greater, the stakes are higher and the interest is compounding. The true cost of this “cybersecurity debt” is difficult to quantify.”

2. There is very much to take in here. But these trends are the future. Worth a reading the whole thing.

“The methods of government and societal organization of the late industrial and early information age are failing in the digital age. And the fallouts from this narrative erosion are leading to conflict and a sense of future shock. The people and jobs that rely on past societal structures create a populist push for nationalism. While digital age workers push for neomedieval and globalist institutions. The needs of these two divergent classes of people coming into increasing conflict with one another.

As this conflict grows — we can expect to see more us versus them narratives.”

3. It is noisy in Micro-VC land these days. But ultimately this is good for founders & the larger ecosystem in long run.

“So while micro VC funds may not be as prolific as they seem, if anything, many in the venture industry would welcome more. In a way startups themselves, they take advantage of many of the same tactics as the companies they’re backing to make a splash. While being the noisiest fund in the market isn’t the best investment strategy on its own, no one seems eager to turn the volume down.”

4. This is quite insightful of why the USA has become such a scary place in last few years. I’ve definitely felt it change since 2016 for sure.

“So America has created artificial scarcities of tangible goods like housing, education, and access to the country, and intangibles like a sense of belonging. Not all of our scarcities are artificial, of course — high-paying jobs at top companies like Google are limited due to the superstar firm phenomenon. But for the most part, the things Americans are scrabbling to take from each other are things whose supply we have chosen to limit.

I’m not saying that this artificial scarcity is the only reason America has shifted toward survival values like personal violence, ethnocentrism, and distrust. But I think it’s a contributing factor. We’re taking a country that should be a land of plenty, the ultimate positive-sum game, and we’re turning it into a zero-sum


5. I love Mexico too just like Rock: it holds a special place in my heart. Can’t wait to go back soon.

6. There is so much good advice here for young people. Wish I had this when I was in my twenties. Whole thing is a Must read.

“nothing prevents you from starting a basic online business that makes even $30–50K US Token per year. You could do something low risk like reselling products or becoming a copy writer. You could even attempt to scale out something on Fiverr.

In the end, you should become more optimistic. In your 20s and even 30s, you have a ton of energy. There is no need to take your foot off the gas as you can use it to build a bigger base/foundation. The future is brighter than it has ever been before and you can de-risk your future while simultaneously increasing your income. It is a no brainer!”

7. Not sure why people are surprised. This is the way the US tax system is supposed to work. It favors business owners & investors, NOT employees. Not saying this is good or bad, its just way it was designed. This should be a wake up call to everyone in America, that being “YOU, INC” is critical.

“America’s billionaires avail themselves of tax-avoidance strategies beyond the reach of ordinary people. Their wealth derives from the skyrocketing value of their assets, like stock and property. Those gains are not defined by U.S. laws as taxable income unless and until the billionaires sell.”

8. The private space race is on!

9. Net net: don’t have a hot wallet.

10. “Our media’s reliance on its in-group web of trust is entirely human, and almost all of us rely on something similar. I would never have been early to the danger of Covid-19, for example, had I not trusted people like Balaji Srinivasan, my opinion of whom was and is enough to make me take a closer look. I think this kind of trust is useful, and in any case probably impossible to entirely adapt away from. We’re wired to love each other, and belief is a bond between men as much as it is between men and ideas.

But in this new and rapid media environment we live inside, our disembodied schools of talking heads on Twitter are bigger than we’re built to manage, and we have wildly exposed ourselves to any bad faith actor smart enough to hack the dynamic.”

11. “In our role as a wizened witness tree, we have been asked repeatedly over the past year, ‘Is this worse than the dot-com bubble?’” he wrote. “We have tried to be cautious when answering, and there are many ways to compare the two eras, but now our answer is yes, it is worse. The main difference: the anger.”

12. This is a great perspective. Play your own game.

“When startups face these big decisions, they’re often framed in the most high-stakes way possible. One path could lead to success and riches. The other to failure and ruin.

The reality is a bit more nuanced.

In most cases, both paths are viable. The key is heading the direction that makes the most sense for your mission and business model.

And remembering, too, that your competitors face their own forks in the road. Depending on the choices they make, they may cease to be competitors at all.

The internet contains multitudes. Even for digital sports publications, there are many paths to success.

So don’t worry about the paths not taken. Focus on the one you’re on.”

13. “We have had proof of just how good networks are at solving modern problems. I don’t think we can go back.”

14. I think YC was right in these situations & within their rights to kick them off community board. These founders broke privacy policy of community.

15. These are very good lessons from the pandemic.

16. Spot on. Hedonic Adoption is a killer of financial freedom.

“As I started to design my life around working less, I also had a calmness and contentedness re-emerge in my life. I stopped drinking alcohol, craving expensive meals and opting for the nicer arrangements while traveling. I no longer “deserved” them after a long work-week. Nor did I need them.

I’ve come to believe that “financial security” as most people frame it is a myth. The problem with this idea is that there is never a number that is defined as “enough.” While some in the financial independent, retire early (FIRE) crowd are are literally defining how much is “enough”, it doesn’t seem to resonate with most people. Yet this community is often spot in with diagnosing the problem.

We are owned by our jobs and our stuff, not the other way around.”

17. “With startups staying private longer and growing larger, Seed and Series A venture investors have come across an interesting dilemma: with limited reserves to follow on across multiple financing rounds, what should they do with their pro ratas in their breakout portfolio companies?

Enter the opportunity fund: a new fund structure soaring in popularity among early-stage GPs that offers an elegant solution to this problem. Done properly, an opportunity fund — sometimes known as a “select fund”, “follow-on fund” or “growth fund” — offers fund limited partners (LPs) the prospect of doubling down on emerging winners in a fund’s portfolio.”

18. I can’t lie. I’m excited to see this. Back to my childhood!

19. “My bromide: Be warriors, not wokesters.

Be mentally and physically … warriors. Lift heavy weights and run long distances, in the gym and in your mind. Many tasks you’ll be asked to perform early in your career will be tedious. Don’t do what you are asked to do, but what you are capable of doing. Think of it as boot camp before being sent to battle, as there are millions of other warriors fighting to win the same regions of prosperity.

Get strong, really strong. You should be able to walk into a room and believe you could overpower, outrun, or outlast every person in the room.

The most rewarding things in life — relationships, work, kids — are all really fucking stressful.”

20. The lockdowns have been a travesty & debacle across the so called free world.

“Instead of understanding the pandemic, we were encouraged to fear it. Instead of life, we got lockdowns and death. We got delayed cancer diagnoses, worse cardiovascular-disease outcomes, deteriorating mental health, and a lot more collateral public-health damage from lockdown. Children, the elderly and the working classwere the hardest hit by what can only be described as the biggest public-health fiasco in history.”

21. Farmland makes sense as an investment. Works for Bill Gates.

22. Scary scenario here. We need to be prepared for China unmanned platforms in war.

23. Incredibly wise article. We should all pay attention.

“Today’s economy is good at creating two things: wealth, and the ability to show off wealth. Part of that is great, because saying “I want that too” is such a powerful motivator of progress. Yet the point stands: We might have higher incomes, more wealth, and bigger homes — but it’s all so quickly smothered by inflated expectations.

That, in many ways, has been the defining characteristic of the last 40 years of economic growth. And Covid-19 pushed the trend into hyperdrive.

Whether it’s savings or investing, getting the goalpost to stop moving — or at least move slower than your income grows — is the only way to both be happy with what you have and ensure you don’t push beyond the limits of what you can handle.”

24. Lots of painful nuggets of truth in here.

“To change you’ve got to understand that your beliefs aren’t just good because you have them. Your head, my head, and everyone else’s head are stuffed with inherently broken and self-destructive beliefs that have no business being there. Until you understand that, you can’t begin to let them go because you mistake your beliefs for actual reality. There’s objective reality and how you perceive it and they aren’t the same thing.

If we mistake our beliefs for actual reality, those beliefs run us like rats through an invisible maze. They limit our actions and our range of responses.”

But surviving tigers and surviving the modern world of social media and tremendous abundance are two very different things. And the resilience of our beliefs can really hurt us because they tell us not to look to closely. At the deepest level we don’t want to change our beliefs because it feels like we might die.

That helps us when we believe looking both ways before crossing the street is a good idea but it’s not so good when we think we’re worthless or that we’ll never find someone who loves us how we want to be loved.”

25. Wholeheartedly agree here. The power of Sabbaticals.

“Taking a break is scary but from what I’ve seen it’s probably one of the simplest ways to grapple with one of people’s biggest fears: that they didn’t live a life that they were capable of. Taking a break is a way to take a different perspective of your life, remember the things that mattered to you, and sometimes simply rest and be with the ones that matter to you.”

“We are moving from what Seth Godin has argued is a competition of “being more ordinary, more standard, and cheaper” to “being faster, more remarkable, and more human.”

26. Good stuff takes time (and consistency).

“Working for yourself requires a tectonic mindset shift. A shift that flies in the face of society’s deeply programmed views of progress and achievement.

When you work for yourself your growth will be very, very, very slow.”

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