Marvin’s Best Weekly Reads Nov 14th, 2021

“Energy and persistence conquers all things” — Benjamin Franklin

  1. “My real dream was never about acquiring a lot of things or about financial success but about location independence, personal freedom, and creative thinking. I wanted to explore, learn, and grow to become a mindful creator rather than a mindless consumer.

I began to redesign the system, change the parameters, and write the new code for a happy and meaningful life in the 21st century. I digitized, dematerialized and became a digital nomad, which I still am today despite having relocated to a small surf town.”

2. This is super valuable for anyone starting off their career (or evolving their career).

“Fulfilling careers are built around infinite games. Whether it’s the pursuit of wealth or the drive to solve intractable problems, we all need goals to motivate our choices. But the satisfaction of achievement is fleeting. Ultimately, a career well-spent is one that provides meaning throughout the journey.

Unfortunately, no one tells us which games we can choose from. So, instead of making an informed choice about how to allocate our working hours, we stumble into a profession that sounds interesting.

Fortunately, no matter how you’ve spent your career thus far, you can still make better choices about how to spend your remaining hours at work.

Below are nine examples of infinite games that can guide your career choices. Each offers its own measure of success.”

3. I guess its true. Everyone’s a VC these days. I’m Glad Jay-Z is one though.

4. Completely & fully agree. For information workers, work based on time and hours makes no sense.

“Whether it’s the grueling approach of Musk or the leaner approach of Iceland, hours and structure are how we typically measure work, even though the relationship of time to success makes little sense.

“Everybody is aware that time is a poor substitute, but we’ve taken up the assumption that our output is proportional to hours,” John Pencavel, a Stanford economist, told The Hustle.

The pandemic has accelerated conversations about remote work, hybrid scheduling, and 4-day workweeks (an idea that has been trotted out since at least the 1970s and never stuck). But some scholars propose a more radical alternative to time-based work: destroying the clock altogether and just getting stuff done.

That means working when we’re at our best, and around our family and health priorities, instead of from 9 to 5, or 8 to 6, or longer to try to impress our boss.”

5. “By failing to offer realistic alternatives to Russian-centric economic and security mechanisms, the West has left another region to the tender mercies of a predatory power and helped create another zone of instability. The West must step up its diplomatic game before the region slips further beneath the waves of Russia’s illiberal hegemony.”

6. These are pretty glaring red flags in men. Worth a read.

7. “First named by the writer Nilanjana Roy in a 2016 column in the Financial Times, time millionaires measure their worth not in terms of financial capital, but according to the seconds, minutes and hours they claw back from employment for leisure and recreation. “Wealth can bring comfort and security in its wake,” says Roy.

“But I wish we were taught to place as high a value on our time as we do on our bank accounts — because how you spend your hours and your days is how you spend your life.”

And the pandemic has created a new cohort of time millionaires. The UK and the US are currently in the grip of a workforce crisis.”

8. “In simple terms, if you see the cost of food, rent, housing, utilities, gas etc. rising by 20–30% (please don’t tell us it is 5%, our honest number is 30% for total inflation by year-end)… it means you have to beat 20–30%.

The sentence above is significant even if it reads like a run on sentence. If inflation is 20% you must find assets that appreciate 20%+.

You are not gonna get that by buying Macy’s/Restaurant stocks. Instead you have to look to higher volatility. This means tech, biotech, some medical and of course good ole’ computer tokens.”

9. “But in many ways, standing still can be the worst option because their is a stickiness to the decision. This is because the people that make the right choices in the exponential age will develop accumulated advantage. When good decisions compound at an accelerating rate, they leave the competition behind. This means that if your peers are taking action and winning, you’re now much less likely to catch up to them because they are riding exponential growth trends.

So the moral of the story, develop your instinct and use it to take quick decisive action. Measure results and course correct quickly. Because there are consequences to indecision. And those consequences are increasing at an exponential rate.”

10. There is alot of good stuff here.

“I’d argue the best way to think about the history of the internet is in distinct epochs. The modern internet that we experience today started at scale around 2012.

The basic philosophy is to aim for balance and focus on the macro over the micro. By the way, I think it makes sense to apply a similar philosophy to one’s mental life. So for example, my ideal morning schedule (although I usually don’t have time for this) would be 1) one hour of exercise in a meditative / flow state 2) one hour of creative activities/arts (reading a novel, writing), 3) one hour of math/science/programming.

I also try to pay close attention to my media diet. I find it’s much easier to control the inputs vs how you process those inputs. I studiously avoid corporate media and other secondary sources and get almost all my news from primary sources: one-on-one conversations, Twitter and Substack, video interviews, financial reports, technical papers, primary data sources, and so forth.”

11. Well said!

“Time is precious. Spend it wisely. Focus is a superpower. Enjoy your family. And just do the shit that makes you happy.”

12. A good case for Poland as major technology center. I am bullish myself and will spend more time there in 2022.

13. I’d be down for a sequel.

14. I don’t know how to feel about this. Most companies fall down badly on execution side.

“I wonder if it’s the right metric long term. Unlike the forward ARR valuation method, this technique doesn’t normalize for forward growth which means there’s information lost in the figure.

Regardless, the 100x ARR multiple seems to be a benchmark in the industry today. It has some foundation in the public markets, but assumes quite a bit of forward execution.”

15. This guy is a crypto non-believer, which is his axe. But this is a thought provoking read.

16. Best thing I’ve seen all week. The Icelandverse: parody of the recent FaceBook aka Meta announcement.

17. Good thread on how to do effective investor updates.

18. I enjoy his musings on independent freelancer life. Great newsletter.

“Self-employment exposed a clear tradeoff between money and time. When I see a car, I see the equivalent time I could spend not working. When I hear about a home someone has bought I think about the life experiences it could buy me instead.

There are a lot of Teslas in Taiwan. When I see someone driving it on a commute from the office, all I can think about is the two or three years traveling the world that money would fund instead.”

19. Rise of the Super Apps.

“Over the next several years, I predict that the biggest social media companies around the world will become super apps, acting as gatekeepers to a wider array of things people do online. While they started as ways to mainly keep in contact with friends and family or be entertained, these social networks — Facebook, Snap, and TikTok, for example — will become increasingly important ways people shop, bank, and entertain themselves.

Some of these firms that started in the US, such as Snapchat, are already starting to resemble super apps, even though they’re still primarily thought of as social networks.

In a crowded landscape of apps, becoming a super app is mainly about becoming more integrated into people’s lives and maintaining a grip on their attention, whether it be an endless feed of short videos or an easy way to find clothes to buy.”

20. Very observant. Media First Investors.

“First, as Sean O’Neill wrote, the “ability to propagate a viewpoint at scale is a new function in financial markets, and it is a big deal.” Firms like a16z are building media platforms. Individual VCs are present on Twitter, podcasts, and YouTube. Their ability to shape and amplify the narrative around portfolio companies can affect hiring, availability and cost of capital, and even the exit. Some creators with large audiences in technology and finance will be able to leverage their position to join the industry (as Packy just did).

Secondly, in the world of venture capital having an audience and network of collaborators can be core to the investment process.”

21. One of the most interesting and unique individuals in Silicon Valley.

“She doesn’t name drop.

She doesn’t brag about her returns.

She doesn’t even bring up her portfolio companies without prompting.

She could be forgiven if she did. Her storied track record includes angel investments in SpaceX, Uber, Thumbtack, Postmates, Opendoor, Affirm, Carta, and Niantic.

Along with her husband and long-time business partner, Scott Banister, she boasts more than 170 portfolio companies. The pair was recognized by TechCrunch as the 2016 Angels of the Year and they topped the Crunchbase Angel Leaderboard for 2010–2020.

In 2016, she joined Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund as its first female investing partner. Today, she leads Long Journey ventures alongside Lee Jacobs.

She is one of the valley’s pre-eminent angels. But she’s more comfortable talking about her hero Bill Murray (“when you seek to become enlightened, enlightened people just appear to you”) or about her fascination with Japanese sex clubs than she is about her success.

Banister lives life on her own terms. “

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