Marvin’s Best Weekly Reads Mar 6th, 2022
“Courage is Grace Under Pressure” — Ernest Hemingway
- “To some traditional Silicon Valley investors, the sudden about-face by hedge funds validates concerns that the influx of capital going into the private markets was unsustainable. Such venture capitalists predicted it would ultimately hurt startups by pushing up prices so fast that they would have a hard time living up to their valuations once the market soured.”
“One of the challenges crossover funds have is that they have to compare and contrast the future return on dollars,” said Ram Parameswaran, founder of two-year-old investment firm Octahedron Capital, which backs both public and private companies out of a single $250 million fund. “With a handful of exceptions, it’s hard to justify valuations for startups when there are better deals in the public markets.”
Tiger Global, D1 Capital Signal Pullback From Big Private Tech Deals Amid Market Rout
Responding to a steep sell-off in technology stocks, some hedge funds and other investment firms with large public…
2. I’m very hopeful on Ukraine. If they will be left alone by Putin, this is going to be an even more amazing place, full of potential.
“Ukraine is in the same situation as many other Eastern European countries in transition. Old-fashioned streetcars rattle along streets pitted with potholes. But next to them stand the gleaming facades of new office towers. Modernity contrasts with backwardness. Rebirth and stagnation lie close together in what is still Europe’s poorest country — measured by per capita gross domestic product, it even ranks slightly behind neighboring Moldova.
But the potential is there. You can feel it, not least among young Ukrainians. They are often energetic, they want to make a difference and they want to live in a country that operates by Western standards. And they accept risks to make it happen. Some fight for democracy and the rule of law, others build businesses. By contrast, Switzerland and Germany seem self-satisfied and smug.”
Russian invasion would destroy Ukraine's economic potential
Roger Federer peilt Comeback im Spätsommer an. Leverkusen trotzt den Bayern einen Punkt ab. Schär trifft für Newcastle…
3. “By charting the longitudinal PQR ratio top-down and bottom-up, a sales leader can identify when a sales team will attain plan and which parts of the funnel differ in performance from quarter-to-quarter. In between these two estimates likely lies the ultimate performance of the business.”
The Sales Sandwich by @ttunguz
The most consistent sales leader I've worked with hit plan 27 consecutive quarters. How can a sales leader develop…
4. “Web3 is a battle over the future of the internet. Not a struggle over websites, protocols, and cables, but a battle over fundamental freedoms, income distribution, access to resources, the right to remember, and the right to be ignored or forgotten.”
The upcoming cohort of Hype-Free Crypto begins next week. The course includes 6 core sessions over 3 weeks, as well as…
5. “Monahan does have some theories, though: “I feel like the trajectory of the 2010s has been exhausted in a lot of ways. The culture-war topic no longer seems quite as interesting to people. Social media isn’t a place where you can be as creative anymore; all the angles are figured out. Younger people are less interested in things like quote-unquote cancel culture. These were kind of, like, the big pillars we used to navigate pop culture in the 2010s. And we had the rise of all these world-spanning, like, Sauron-esque tech platforms that literally have presences on every continent. People want to make things personal again.”
He thinks the new vibe shift could be the return of early-aughts indie sleaze. “American Apparel, flash photography at parties, and messy hair and messy makeup,” he riffs, plus a return to a more fragmented culture. “People going off in a lot of different directions because it doesn’t feel like there’s a coherent, singular vision for music or fashion.” He sees Substacks and podcasts as the new blogs and a move away from Silicon Valley’s interest in optimizing workflow, “which is just so anti-decadence.” Most promisingly, he predicts a return of irony.”
A Vibe Shift Is Coming
This article was featured in One Great Story, New York's reading recommendation newsletter. Sign up here to get it…
6. This is worth watching for some interesting views on global economy and geopolitics.
7. What a surprise! This place seems like a crap place to work. #betterisworse
Better.com loses more senior execs as employees brace for another mass layoff
Things are getting worse at Better. More executives have resigned from Better.com nearly three months after the online…
8. “thanks to Russia’s threats, “Kyiv’s economy has been torn to shreds. A trivial matter, perhaps, but a gratifying one.” In the absence of a full-scale attack, Mr Putin can continue to damage Ukraine with threats, cyber-attacks, perhaps the disabling of some infrastructure.
But Ms Simonyan passes over the fact that the effects on Russia’s economy have been noticeable, too, and that while Mr Putin clearly feels a need to show Russians that their neighbours will not be allowed a flourishing democracy, most of Russia sees no benefit from such a demonstration. They want what is good for them more than what is bad for the West. They do not want the perpetual prospect of war, nor the sort of state which that implies.”
Vladimir Putin's attack on Ukraine also damages Russia
Editor's note: Since this article was published, Vladimir Putin, Russia's president, ordered a "special military…
9. I love this. #Calmcompany
“Unlike a lot of other entrepreneurs, they weren’t aggressively pursuing growth, putting in 80 hour weeks, or sacrificing their personal life. Instead, the Wakeman’s prioritized living a good life first.
For them, having a business was a means to an end, and they always kept their life priorities in sight.”
The good life
Back in the year 2000, while I was still in college, I read this article about the founders of Great Harvest Bread Co…
10. This explains so much of the last few years. Physicals versus Virtuals.
“The first is a class that has been a part of human civilization for a really long time. These are the people who work primarily in the real, physical world. Maybe they work directly with their hands, like a carpenter, or a mechanic, or a farmer. Or maybe they are only a step away: they own or manage a business where they organize and direct employees who work with their hands, and buy or sell or move things around in the real world. Like a transport logistics company, maybe. This class necessarily works in a physical location, or they own or operate physical assets that are central to their trade.
The second class is different. It is, relatively speaking, a new civilizational innovation (at least in numbering more than a handful of people). This group is the “thinking classes” Lasch was writing about above. They don’t interact much with the physical world directly; they are handlers of knowledge. They work with information, which might be digital or analog, numerical or narrative.
They are informational middlemen. This class can therefore do their job almost entirely from a laptop, by email or a virtual Zoom meeting, and has recently realized they don’t even need to be sitting in an office cubicle while they do it.”
“But the most relevant distinction between Virtuals and Physicals is that the Virtuals are now everywhere unambiguously the ruling class. In a world in which knowledge is the primary component of value-added production (or so we are told), and economic activity is increasingly defined by the digital and the abstract, they have been the overwhelming winners, accumulating financial, political, and cultural status and influence.
But the Virtual ruling class has a vulnerability that it has not yet solved. The cities in which their bodies continue to occupy mundane physical reality require a whole lot of physical infrastructure and manpower to function: electricity, sewage, food, the vital Sumatra-to-latte supply chain, etc. Ultimately, they still remain reliant on the physical world.”
Reality Honks Back
Like many, I have spent the last couple of weeks a bit entranced by the trucker protests happening in Canada (and now…
11. “The bottom line: a democratic and “free” country has adopted authoritarian policies. They restrict and punish the beliefs of an opposition movement. This action is seen around the world. And it will incentivize individuals with alternative beliefs to seek out digital technologies to “exit” the system.”
Trudeau's Policy Accelerates The Digital Transformation - The Sovereign Individual Weekly
The Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau recently made a policy choice that aggressively targets anti-vax mandate…
12. I think the writer is a kook. But in this case I agree with him. Klaus Schwab, Davos and WEF all represent arrogance at the highest level & are a big reason no one trusts the elites.
“Klaus Schwab has an unbelievable God complex, and he frequently reminds the reader of his apparently unlimited technocratic faculties. He routinely reveals that he believes his group of colleagues have deity-like powers, and that once they unite their overall expertise, these technocrats, once in charge of all of us, can bring about unprecedented happiness and order.”
The Great Reset, part two: the World Economic Forum's Great Narrative Project
Time is of the essence, and Klaus Schwab and the World Economic Forum are here to save you from yourself. The "climate…
13. In light of global geopolitical mess these days. This is a pretty good overview of whats going on.
“The West, and her Allies are in decline facing off against a growing number of rising threats. From former empires China and Russia, to more modern threats: Corporations, Terrorism, and Systemic Collapse. The West needs to accept they are now in a multi-polar order to prevent unnecessary conflict.”
All Quiet Across the Global Front
This will be the final free article for the month barring any major global catastrophes. At the End of the Month the…
14. Wake up call in Europe. Sadly shows appeasement never works in the long run. You eventually have to fight the bully.
“Risks looming of the biggest war in Europe since WW2 is coming — bad for Europe. Putin will be drawing the second Iron Curtain across Europe. The Post Cold War Peace Dividend just ended. We are all going to have to spend a lot more on defence.”
Recognition of DPR/LPR sends ominous signal
Today Putin recognised DPR and LPR. This is a significant step as in effect that means the end of the Minsk 2 peace…
15. “The new escalation is simply to turn off the power, GPS and the internet. But, not for long. These mechanisms are needed to spread the news but their availability can become sporadic. All this can be done by China and Russia with almost unlimited plausible deniability.
When electrons are weapons, wars become invisible and don’t need to be declared.
Events happen and nobody quite connects the dots or can determine exactly who did it. Electrons can start fires, set off explosions, jam signals. That’s also why explosions in space have to be taken seriously. They can disrupt the core of modern economies.”
Escalation: Electrons are the New Bullets
The question is not just "what is the correct position in the market?" The question is "Will there be a market?" All…
16. “Fast forward to 2022. If you’ve been on Twitter in the last week, you know the bird app is obsessing over Russia, Canada truckers and the implied potential for more protests/war. This represents the actual value of crypto which is bigger than a long-term store of value against money printing.
To get to a point where you’re in the top 0.01% in anything you have to dial in everything. Therefore, assume competence over a random opinion on a short clip from Twitter.”
Canada, Russia and Quarter Squat Trolling
Welcome Avatar! Over the last two years, crypto in general adopted the "store of value" narrative since billions of…
17. This is the big question. I’m skeptical of economic sanctions as they have not really worked in the past except for hurting the regular people. The elites tend to get away with stuff thru western enablers (corporates, politicians, bankers and lawyers who help them skirt these).
But this step by Putin seems to have galvanized much of EU and USA (seems is word) so maybe it will work this time.
Putin's Fortress Russia may be no match for the 'mother of all sanctions'
As Russia eyes moving troops further into Ukraine, Western leaders are readying economic sanctions to punish Vladimir…
18. “Unfortunately, we must also admit the same analysis holds true for gold, a conclusion that runs opposite to our previous thinking on the topic. However effective gold might be as a store of value, if the only available functions during a time of personal crisis are to facilitate bartering or fleeing, it isn’t money. Gold bugs and crypto advocates alike should be aghast at what Trudeau has done and at what those in the US Treasury undoubtedly have in store for Americans.
And therein lies the critical conundrum: alternative forms of money require a benign government to allow for their proliferation, but a benign government negates the need for alternative forms of money. This is a political problem, and no amount of Bitcoin or Gold Eagles will help when the political eye turns against you. Money is what the government says it is, and we just got a glimpse that our views — political, cultural…personal — form a relevant condition to being allowed to spend it.”
What Canada Means for Crypto
" I sincerely believe that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies. " - Thomas Jefferson In…
19. Man, I so hope this really happened.
"Fired? Are You Sure?": New Management Fires The Best Employee In The Company, Regrets It Almost…
A change in a company's ownership can transform it into an entirely different business. And not always for the better…
20. This is so well said and totally agree with this. #standwithukraine
“Ukraine needs help. Not just salvation from war. I met so many beautiful people trying to build things and help their country. Extract it from all the suffering that happened because of soviet russia. Right now it seems like people in the US only care about Ukraine as rage-bait for klout points on Twitter. And I imagine for most people it’s hard to see Ukranians as people because every country in the world has now politicized their lives.
Then maybe you could see that Ukraine is more than just some poor country russia is threatening to invade. It is full of beautiful people trying to create beautiful things in very adverse circumstances.”
I went to Ukraine during an impending war on accident
A few weeks ago I went to Ukraine during an impending war, on accident. I'ma be honest, I never really had much desire…
21. Amazing that anyone with half a brain actually believes this Russian media garbage… #StandwithUkraine
'Dumb and lazy': the flawed films of Ukrainian 'attacks' made by Russia's 'fake factory'
he video shows a ghostly scene. A night-time battle is taking place in a forest. There are flashes and mysterious…
22. I tend to prefer neutral country sources of media these days. Cogent conversation on Russian invasion of Ukraine. (it is an invasion for the record)
“Twice already, Russian allies — the Libyan General Khalifa Haftar and the Armenian army — have suffered stinging defeats at the hands of technologically well-equipped opponents. In both cases, drones, Turkish support and an intricately networked style of warfare made the difference.
Russia’s military leadership is likely to be fearful of a similar scenario arising in Ukraine. Thanks to technological progress and support from the West, Ukraine is becoming a more serious potential adversary. Thus, now might be the last point in time that Russia could secure its military superiority.
However, a closer look reveals a compelling argument against this: Russia would be violating one of its own most basic principles of combat — that of «maskirovka,» the art of deceiving the enemy.
This is the great strength of the Russian army. No one on the outside is supposed to know the exact intent, whether at the very top of the strategic level or at the tactical level in the field.
This time, the Kremlin has deployed its troops in such an obvious manner that a retreat is almost more in line with the principle of maskirovka than an attack. Thus, the deployment itself would be the deception — and the withdrawal the surprise.”
Russian troops at Ukraine's borders may be a tactical maneuver
Der Einfall der russischen Armee in die Ukraine hat auch in Asien ein politisches Erdbeben ausgelöst. Während sich…
23. “I see the end of $ hegemony on the horizon. I think our enemies are actively trying to pursue an agenda that will accelerate the demise of the US$ as the unilateral reserve currency and help foster in the end of American dominance in the global arena. As more countries are able to purchase commodities, particularly in oil, in their own currencies and settle transactions in a neutral reserve asset (like gold now, maybe bitcoin later), we will start to see currencies trade more on a current account deficit or surplus basis.
The US, with its massive deficits, will see the $ weaken in order to over time improve America’s competitive position globally in order to run more balance trade account. I believe this weak $ trade is the structural trade to embrace for the coming next several years and I anticipate being short US$ for years to come.”
Russian Roulette Is Not Our Favorite Game
My mind wanders often. I like to envision where the world is going to be in 2-3 years and then try to invest alongside…
24. Food for thought. I’m really torn on this investment opportunity. I will probably not do so though.
I am buying Russian stocks. Here is why.
Sure, there is geopolitical risk in investing in Russia. If anything, I see the main risk being Western governments…
25. “There was nothing that Europeans could have done about the Russian government’s decision to impose severe costs on its civilian population for the sake of maintaining its own flexibility. But Europeans can and should be blamed for becoming even more reliant on Russian fossil fuel exports since the 2014 invasion of Ukraine.
They wasted nearly a decade when they could have been greening their economies and also increasing the security of their own neighborhood. Ukrainians — and others — will now have to live with the consequences.”
Russia Was Prepared to Withstand Sanctions. Why Wasn't Europe Prepared to Impose Them?
Russian exports of oil and natural gas are an essential source of hard currency that helps cover the cost of importing…
26. For anyone who thinks it will be an easy conquest in Ukraine by Russia, watch this video. Ukrainians are tough people.
27. “I am not anti-sanctions. I am anti-only-sanctions. As I like to say, all tools of statecraft should always be used against all adversaries. There is an acronym, DIME, which stands for diplomacy, intelligence, military, and economics. None is in its own sufficient, but all are always necessary. And if you want quick results, only military could provide it. The other three take years to bear fruit.
I’ve been thinking about what the United States is not doing against Russia other than sanctions and military deterrence through NATO. There is a lot we are not doing. Let me put it this way. We are not doing anything else other than sanctions and NATO deterrence!”
Political Warfare: Gone But Not Forgotten
Welcome to so many new subscribers I have received over the past week. If you are interested, here are some of my…
28. The world has changed for the worst in my opinion. China-Russia lined up against USA-EU. The new Gray war has begun.
“So, what does Xi get out of chaos? A distracted U.S. may be a net positive given the tenor and trajectory of recent Sino-U.S. relations. “If there is a major war in Europe … it still will steal a lot of oxygen in any war room,” says Alexander Gabuev, chair of the Russia in the Asia-Pacific Program at the Carnegie Moscow Center. “And that means that there will be diversion from the China challenge.”
But the irony is, of course, that by tacitly backing Putin, Xi has all but confirmed Western hawks’ greatest fears about an authoritarian arc stretching from St. Petersburg to Shanghai, harking back to the Sino-Soviet alliance of the 1950s. Stronger Beijing-Moscow ties, after all, simply provide democratic rivals a rallying point.”
What Xi Jinping Gets by Supporting Putin on Ukraine
As the West condemns Putin's moves in Ukraine, Xi Jinping is striking a different tone. Still, the relationship between…
29. Really great wide ranging discussion here. Worth a read.
“There’s a lesson here: A successful society rests on a broad foundation of human capital; it does not place all its hopes on a thin sliver of genius. I see too many people in Silicon Valley — both liberals and conservatives — tacitly accept the notion that only a few people have real potential. And maybe that’s because venture-funded software is such a winner-take-all market. I don’t know. But that’s not the attitude that will bring this country a broad industrial renaissance or social revitalization.
this was something that Genghis never imagined. He was born into a zero-sum world, where the best way to get rich was to seize land and privileges from others. He won that zero-sum game, probably more brilliantly and completely than anyone before or since. But in the end he was playing the wrong game. We were not born into this world to fight over scraps until we die. We were born into this world to remake it so that we don’t have to fight over scraps.”
Interview: Noah Smith
Rohit: First question, a trip back in time. What lessons can we learn from studying the crusades? You had a theory…
30. We should be prepared for this in the US, Canada & EU. It’s clear Putin will stop at nothing & frankly neither should we.
It’s not deterrence if they know we won’t do anything.
Russia may be primed to hack America's infrastructure
As Russian troops attack Ukraine, experts are warning that Vladimir Putin could also seize the opportunity to deploy…
31. I hope he is right. Definitely can say that the “Will” of Ukrainian army is strong and getting stronger because they are fighting for their homes and families and country. Not sure you can say the same for Russian and Belarussian troops.
32. “Whether or not Putin declares any additional pieces of Ukraine to be part of the Russian Federation, the norm that kept the peace since World War 2 — the idea that great powers are guarantors of the inviolability of weaker countries’ borders — is no longer a universal norm. And the invasion also shows that although America can presumably still defend its treaty allies, it does not have the power to prevent other great powers from having their way with weaker countries within their spheres of influence.
The law of the jungle has returned, and the strong will dominate the weak if they see fit.
This will have several ripple effects. First, it will dramatically increase the incentives for nuclear proliferation — recall that Ukraine gave up its nukes in 1994 in return for a (worthless) guarantee of security from the Russian Federation. Countries whose territory is menaced by powerful neighbors — Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, and so on — will now be thinking very hard about whether to get nukes of their own.
It will also push countries toward great-power alliance blocs, as in the Cold War (when even most of the so-called “non-aligned” countries really chose sides).”
A moment of clarity
"all sleeping the deep, deep sleep of England, from which I sometimes fear that we shall never wake till we are jerked…
33. I wish I had a fraction of this lady’s guts. So impressive. #StandwithUkraine
Ukrainian woman offers seeds to Russian soldiers so 'sunflowers grow when they die' - video
A woman is being hailed on social media after she confronted a heavily armed Russian soldier and offered him sunflower…
34. Putin is a war criminal.
“Putin is now, at minimum, a pariah condemned by leaders across the world.
Putin may now also qualify as a war criminal, according to the Geneva Conventions of 1949. War crimes include willful killing and extensive destruction of property “not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly.”
“Holding Ukraine, given its vast size and population, will be a challenge militarily and politically. Russia has the largest land army in Europe, but it would need to send in many more troops than it already has to occupy the entire country, which is roughly the size of Texas.
The Ukrainian government has called up reservists and promised weapons to civilians to form a public resistance force. They could create an insurgency challenging Russian control of part or all of Ukraine, experts predict.”
Putin's Historic Miscalculation May Make Him a War Criminal
In the eyes of the world and almost certainly history, Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine on Thursday was an epic…
35. Great summary of many facets of the ongoing crisis & illegal Russian invasion of Ukraine and the many economic effects. As I said before, do not fool yourself that Putin will stop here. Ukraine is on the frontlines of liberal democracy.
Update on Russia and Ukraine
If you're already subscribed, thank you! If you'd like to subscribe, please do so here: YouTube/podcast up soon I want…
36. “Public markets synthesize billions of signals every second and distill these bits and emotions into an indifferent number that points to a direction. Private markets take longer to reflect reality, because private ownership changes hands less often, and out of view. But private markets inevitably come in line, and just like the tail of a whip, the smaller market can deliver greater pain.”
Down Round | No Mercy / No Malice
A week of contrasts that mark the age: A Russian president launches the invasion of a sovereign nation ahead of…
37. “With so many miners flocking to the United States, some policymakers are concerned that electricity grids in American crypto mining towns could suffer from the fate of places like Kazakhstan. The US generates more electricity than any other country in the world, save for China, but the power is divided between grids.
That means a shortage in one state cannot easily be offset by a surplus in another. In Texas, which has attracted the most attention from crypto miners, the industry is expected to account for about 6% of the expected peak electricity demand. Yet, Texas is also the state where a miscalculation in peak demand last February resulted in the largest and longest blackout in the state’s history.”
For Small Towns Betting On Bitcoin, Mining Companies Are A Flight Risk
When the Chinese government banned all crypto mining in summer last year, the crypto mining company BitFuFu packed its…
38. “We could never have imagined a scenario in which the US would continue to impede domestic development of critical energy projects on the eve of the most serious conflict in Europe since the end of World War II. But here we are. Energy is at the core of our flexibility to respond in a meaningful manner. Reports out of Europe indicate significant division among NATO allies as to the severity of the sanctions that should be imposed on Putin. No wonder.
We are left with a simple choice in the US: get serious about our energy policy and preserve our place in the geopolitical order or be forced to stop play-acting as a superpower. The laws of physics make our cards transparent to our political enemies, and it’s all too easy for them to call our bluff when they know in advance what we’re holding.”