Marvin’s Best Weekly Reads Sept 11th, 2022
“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” -Mother Teresa
- For road warriors and frequent flyers like me.
“If you’re still in the grind here are some ways to make sure you stay in shape without killing your performance on the job.
Step 1 — Prepare: If you know that you will have a long week including travel you should think about it the following way: 1) Heavy leg workout the day before you leave, 2) grab compression socks and wax matrix niacin and 3) if you’re really concerned about bloodflow you can take a baby asprin.
Why? During flights you will recognize that your feet are inflamed. Badly. If you want proof of this simply take off your shoes on the flight and try to put them back on when you land. *Note, don’t be one of those gross people walking around the plane without shoes on*
We’re simply giving you a way to prove out that it is damaging to your body. Blood clots are a real risk to flying.”
Skincare and Working Out While Grinding 80+ Hours a Week
Welcome Avatar! We're working with various niche experts in the jungle to come up with some free content that will…
2. A great example of a Portfolio Entrepreneur. One of the best to say the least.
“Though he might wince at the comparison, one commonality Hoffman does share with the onetime hawker of Trump Steaks, Trump University and Trump Tower is a penchant for building businesses — and then writing and talking at length about them.
Hoffman’s multitude of roles, each of which would soak up the bulk of a typical executive’s time, include partner at blue-chip VC firm Greylock, board member at Microsoft, main investor in the SPACs for autonomous vehicle startup Aurora Tech and flying-taxi hopeful Joby Aviation, and founder of a software company, Inflection AI, that’s in quasi stealth mode.
What, I asked, does a typical week look like, given this diverse portfolio? “The principal way I work these days is that I have projects that have CEOs that I’m working with, and I have, as noted by your account, too many projects to be the CEO of something.” Hoffman, sporting a black T-shirt and a mop of tousled hair, was sitting in front of a bucolic printed shoji screen. He said he toggles between these various enterprises depending on where he’s most needed — something he couldn’t do if he were an actual CEO. “That’s the reason why there isn’t, per se, a typical week. Every week is its own unique species.”
Hoffman, who recently turned 55, has been carrying on like this since 2009, when he stepped down for the second time as LinkedIn’s CEO. An early investment in Facebook, coupled with Microsoft’s 2016 purchase of LinkedIn for $26 billion and his 13-year run as a partner at Greylock, have made him a multibillionaire — but clearly not an idle one.”
'I Don't Think There's Anything Foolish About Blitzscaling': Reid Hoffman Regrets Nothing-Except…
It's check-writing season for Reid Hoffman, and not just for his two venture capital firms, two special purpose…
3. “The world is going multipolar — and China is on the rise, aiming to use its newfound wealth and strength to achieve what Chinese President Xi Jinping refers to as his dream of “the great renewal of the Chinese nation”. Reacquiring Taiwan is one of the most important aspects of Xi’s dream, and from Beijing’s perspective, one of the most powerful political figures in the U.S. (dear Nancy) just spit in that dream’s face.
The result? Not World War III, despite the breathless coverage from the media, which will fade away in a few weeks’ time as it has around the still-ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine. China is not powerful enough to conquer Taiwan yet, but make no mistake — China is building up its military capabilities in part so that a threat of force against the renegade island will mean more in the future.
Many U.S. companies that made their products in China are scrambling to rebuild supply chains from scratch, whilst those that remain in China face much higher costs to manufacture goods in China and pass these costs onto the consumer (i.e., you and me) — both of which are inflationary.
And that’s before accounting for what the pandemic and China’s COVID-19 lockdowns have done to disrupt manufacturing on the mainland. Instead of a reprieve in trade ties, a Fourth Taiwan Strait crisis means more trade tension and potential shipping disruptions in and around the South China Sea, which is still where the vast majority of the world’s semiconductors are produced.”
A Geopolitical Primer on Taiwan
China's goal with Taiwan is reunification, though it would prefer to do so peacefully. Pelosi's visit, which in and of…
4. Go Ukraine!
“So summarising the above into what I think happens. I think we see continued Ukrainian long range attacks on Russian troops in Ukraine, including Crimea, to devastating effect, as the West supplies more long range kit. I think Putin knows he needs a peace deal, but does continue to fuel the energy crisis in Europe over the next few months to boost his leverage in those talks.
I don’t think there will be a defining battle for Kherson, but the defining battle will be the Battle of Supply Chains — Russian military supply chains in Ukraine, and possible European supply chains disrupted as a result of Putin’s energy war in Europe. It’s ironic that both countries strategies are now based on hitting the other deep behind the front lines but with Ukraine this is in southern Ukraine, and for Russia is it in Central Europe, Germany, et al thru energy.
And eventually I think the two sides do end up at peace talks this autumn, likely November, when the first snows are falling and when Putin will be nervous about leaving his military in an enemy field during freezing temperatures.
Question will be how far Putin will be prepared to compromise, and can Zelensky accept any territorial concessions now, or is he and Ukraine willing to fight on until all Ukrainian territory is liberated. And I guess I worry if Putin is willing to play the Z-card — Zaporizhiya NPP?”
Ukraine - prospects for peace?
The Erdogan - Zelensky meeting in Lviv has brought some optimism that substantive peace talks between Russia and…
5. Good summary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine so far from a very smart, qualified guy for once. (US/Nato General). Slava Ukraini!
6. We can all be much more supportive of each other down our chosen paths. It really matters.
“Feiler argues that most people think of life as a smooth linear path. If you ask most 21-year-olds, including me at the time, you’d probably get them telling you this is how life will go. Yet in his extensive research into how people’s lives actually play out, he found that the reality was much different. Instead of being defined by a line, the thing that shaped people’s lives was a steady stream of “disruptors.” Most people have about three dozen disruptors in their lives, meaning on average people face things that send them in new directions every 12–18 months.”
“This can be life-changing to someone. Yet so few people do it.
This is why people like Tyler Cowen are so inspiring. He has taken a weird path, reached a level of status and success, and now puts a ton of effort into supporting hundreds, if not thousands, follow bold paths through his program Emergent Ventures.
Why doesn’t everyone have a Tyler Cowen-type person in their family or community? It’s a damn shame.
The good news is that you know all this now and realize that even if someone seems confident, they probably aren’t. Even people on the default path need encouragement and supporters.
I’ve talked to countless people of all life stages, income levels, ethnic backgrounds, and life conditions and it’s pretty clear — everyone is a bit uneasy and everyone could use a little more support.”
Believe In Others | #193
August 20th, 2022: Greetings from NYC. We are down in the city for a couple of days and enjoying the summer. I hope…
7. “I do not consider myself a military or geopolitical expert, so there is a good chance I’m not seeing the big picture here. But I can’t deny that a lot of what Prince says resonates with my current thinking and/or experience of the world. This especially applies to his matter-of-fact economic analysis.
Prince points to the failure of the West’s attempt to bring China into the liberal fold via a strategy of making it rich. He says this strategy is responsible for much of what ails us. He also blames the over-domination of corporate monopolies and a lack of competition for entrenching an overly bureaucratic and ineffective state system. Nor is he a fan of easy money. He has some fairly clear-cut thoughts about the politicisation (or deneutralisation as I call it ) of the dollar — as well as the role that Russian sanctions are likely to play in further undermining the global reserve currency. Can’t fault him on any of that.”
So what can we learn from this? There’s a lot to be drawn out from Prince’s views on things that go beyond Afghanistan.
Other notable points in the interview include Prince’s thoughts about bitcoin, crypto and gold. His concern about the rise of a “social credit system” surveillance state, which he says he will fight tooth and nail against. His role in running an assassination bureau that operated in “soft” jurisdictions like Germany. How the Russians had invited him to basically start what would become the Wagner group, but he turned them down in a move that he says proved he wasn’t a mere profiteer.
And his experiences in Eastern Europe as a kid and how they informed his opinion of communism. And much more…
That a mercenary favours gold and bitcoin and emphasises the importance of paying good wages to soldiers, of course, shouldn’t really be that surprising. It was true in Julius Caesar’s day, and it remains true today.
But that’s kind of the key point of this interview. It emphasises the degree to which the more things change, the more they actually stay the same. The same old forces still influence everything. The mercenary field may not be the oldest profession in the world, but it’s certainly high up there. And those who have the capacity to raise private armies are politically contentious for a reason.”
When high profile mercenaries have opinions about markets, and more - The Blind Spot
It's a year since the US de facto transferred power to the Taliban in Afghanistan, in an absolute shambles of an exit…
8. Gil has been one of the more disciplined investors in the last few years of crazy (because he is experienced and knows what’s up).
“Healthy atmosphere. But the other thing that has changed is the atmosphere. For the first time in a long time, all of our conversations with founders are grounded in reality. Founders are asking for reasonable amounts of capital at reasonable terms to achieve potentially extraordinary things with manageable risk. There is time for conversation, time for questions, time to get to know one another, and time to align. There is a return of mutual appreciation and respect. We tremendously respect founders that are making reasonable asks, driving reasonable burn rates, and taking on risk — and founders, in turn, seem to have a new appreciation for the real risk that investors are taking by believing in them.”
“So right now — when so many investors and over-funded companies are struggling to adapt to the new environment — now is exactly the right time for us to double down on what we do — and what we have always done.”
For early-stage venture, it’s go time.
Don’t tell anyone, but this is the best venture market in years.
9. Worth reviewing. For founders who want to know what’s happening in the fundraising market right now.
Tomasz Tunguz on LinkedIn: Fundraising Environment in 2022 | 34 comments
Last week, I presented an overview of the fundraising market at the Traction Conference in Vancouver. The slides are…
10. I like this concept of Gorilla in tech, so much better than Unicorn.
“In nature, gorillas are impressive creatures. The same is true in business, where a Gorilla is a startup that has (1) surpassed a valuation of $1B and is (2) generating an annual net revenue run rate above $100M. Most importantly, these startups are on track to becoming enduring, generationally defining businesses.
With 1,250+ global unicorns, it’s safe to assume only a small fraction are Gorillas. Whether the name becomes vernacular or not, a stronger focus on business fundamentals seems appropriate now more than ever.”
Strive to be a Gorilla, not just a Unicorn
Enduring companies are built with fundamentals, not valuations.
11. This is a worthwhile interview with controversial Erik Prince. Lots of very good insight here on where the world is going from a geopolitical perspective.
12. “I’m not suggesting for a moment you should stash your assets in a hidden Panamanian bank account like Iceland’s former prime minister did — over the years I’ve learned that your government will almost inevitably find out if you’re doing something shady. But I am saying that if there’s a legal means for you to pay less tax to your government overlords, you should take it.
Because many of your government overlords are doing the same.
If you own a company in Sweden, why wouldn’t you move it to Hungary to cut your tax bill by more than half? Or if you’re a location-independent entrepreneur, why not consider moving your legal address to Georgia, a nation that’ll allow you to legally pay just 1% tax?
Obviously, most of the benefits of being able to cut a huge chunk out of your yearly tax bill come when you stop being a paid employee, and structure your life around your own business, company, or solo enterprise. This is why Sorelle and I believe that generating an independent income is the most important first step in becoming a more free global citizen.”
Burn the witch.
"Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live!" Those were the words young Dorothy Good heard being screamed by a Puritan, as…
13. This is a great initiative. We owe our veterans more.
“The two have been paired together through Hives for Heroes, a Houston-based nonprofit that helps veterans take up beekeeping by matching them with experienced mentors. The project tackles two disparate problems: the mental health risks that veterans face when they separate from service and the declining population of honeybees.
Launched in 2018 by Marine Corps veteran Steve Jimenez, a Houstonian whose rough transition back to civilian life was transformed by beekeeping, the project has expanded to every state and matched more than 1,200 veterans — “newbees,” in the group’s parlance — with beekeeping mentors.
Hives for Heroes aims to give its novice beekeepers the same benefits. The project harnesses veterans’ desire to be of service — they’re helping the environment, and some volunteer to relocate unwanted colonies from walls and trees — and can lead to a new career. (Though not all beekeepers harvest honey, some do turn the hobby into a business.)
The mentor beekeeper — sometimes a fellow veteran, often a non-veteran civilian — is a supportive presence and a connection to the larger beekeeping community. For some combat veterans, the element of danger is an attractive challenge. And all participants develop bee-yard mindfulness out of necessity. If they rush or their minds wander, they’re more likely to get stung.”
These Veterans Have Found a Post-Service Mission: Beekeeping
On a warm summer morning, Michael Moore and Charlie McMaster don their protective suits and veils to inspect the health…
14. “If you hadn’t had that experience with your injury, would you have ever become this mission-driven leader?
No. It knocked the hell out of me. You know, it knocked out all the narcissism, it knocked out that I knew everything.”
Bridgewater Co-CEO Mark Bertolini on the Value of 'Radical Transparency' and Taking Over From Ray…
Earlier this year, Mark Bertolini was named co-CEO of Bridgewater Associates, the largest hedge fund in the world. With…
15. “George Leonidas Leslie led a double life: By day, he was a distinguished architect who hobnobbed with New York City’s elite denizens; by night, he was one of history’s most prolific bank robbers.
Unlike other heisters of his time, Leslie’s approach was academic rather than brutish. He studied the anatomy of locks, drafted up blueprints of banks, and invented mechanical safe-breaking devices.
During his “career,” authorities estimated that his exploits accounted for 80% of all bank robberies in the entire US during his active years of 1869–78.
Altogether, he stole at least $7m ($200m in today’s money), much of it pilfered from the bank vaults of America’s wealthiest titans.
The final bank heist he orchestrated is still, to this day, the largest in US history — an astounding $81m haul, adjusted for inflation.”
The architect who became the king of bank robberies
The period between 1850 and 1920 was full of colorful ne'er-do-wells. Career criminals like Jesse James, John…
16. “Pretty much everyone in that world, from the millions of small-scale crypto holders to industry employees and investors, has watched in shock and dismay as Three Arrows Capital, once perhaps the most highly regarded investment fund in a burgeoning global financial sector, collapsed in excruciating and embarrassing fashion. The firm’s implosion, a result of both recklessness and likely criminal misconduct, set off a contagion that not only forced a historic sell-off in bitcoin and its ilk but also wiped out a wide swath of the cryptocurrency industry.”
The Crypto Geniuses Who Vaporized a Trillion Dollars
This article was featured in One Great Story, New York's reading recommendation newsletter. Sign up here to get it…
17. Japan is on the rise. A critical military ally against the CCP.
18. This could be the future: investing directly in talent! Love this.
“In Central Park, they told me that, with Maria and Anna, they’d created an entity called Libermans Co. It held all the income from their enterprises; any debts, assets, and profits they might gain; and any investments they might make or companies they might start for the next thirty years. They had gathered all these elements and sold shares in the whole, offering investors, effectively, a stake in their entire financial future — shares in their life.
So far, the Libermans have traded around three per cent of their futures, which investors have valued at four hundred million dollars, or about a hundred million dollars per Liberman. They spent a few months in conversation with the Securities and Exchange Commission to list themselves on the stock market, which they hope to do by 2023.
The Libermans’ theory is that, in terms of stuff that America’s big wealth can invest in, people are more appealing than the current catalogue of middling venture-capital funds, shipping firms, and companies selling toothbrushes by mail. Instead of putting money into a fund for startups, investors would be free to find an ingenious entrepreneur and invest in her entire career.
Rather than buying shares of Spotify, a fund could buy into a portfolio of the futures of emerging hip-hop artists, all of whom would get that cash. Most of us are more excited about our brilliant friends than about the companies they work for. And while the average age of an S. & P. 500 company is approximately twenty years — most die young — people do better. The stronger their boost off the blocks, the longer they can keep trying, increasing their odds of success.”
Is Selling Shares in Yourself the Way of the Future?
Brave New World Dept. Two tech-minded brothers are testing the market on themselves. Save this story for later. Save…
19. “Decluttering our lives from things, thoughts, and people that doesn’t propel us forward makes us lighter, faster, and happier. Everything becomes easier as there is nothing cluttering up our time, attention, and creative energy.
Every day becomes a white space that we can fill with meaning but also leave open for surprise discoveries. Our calendars are no longer fully booked, our spaces are clean and easily manageable, and our thoughts are crisp and clear, brain fog gone.”
Towards Fewer Better Things, Thoughts, and People
My simple recipe to reclaiming time, attention, and creative energy is to reduce everything down to genius. The goal is…
20. This was a personally helpful discussion. Searching for self-actualization, gaining courage and finding your path.
21. “Let’s go back a century to Weimar. Most speculators knew that the government had lost control and that the only path forward was to print money. However, occasionally the politicians would try and arrest the inflation — as inflation crushes voters. Sometimes, it was an offhand quote from a government official, sometimes it was concrete action.
The market would convulse in panic, only to find that the authorities had zero tolerance for pain. Voters hate inflation, but they hate losing their jobs even worse. Politicians work for the speculators, not the voters — caught in a stall-speed between inflation and depression, politicians will almost always choose inflation. However, there were brief moments where the market believed the politicians — or at least worried that they’d lose control to the downside and things would crash.
Once again, the trick to navigating what is coming is to stay as long as possible, while not getting taken out during the inevitable pullbacks. If your timing is good, you can add size at the end of each pullback and dramatically increase your returns, especially as the amplitude of each incremental move will usually be greater — besides, as money gets debased, it is imperative to have some financial leverage.”
The Pause... - AdventuresInCapitalism | Small Companies-Big Upside
I have frequently described "Project Zimbabwe" as a highly inflationary cycle where both fiscal and monetary stimulus…
22. “Spending more money on research is really the key here, because that’s what creates demand. Yes, supply of research inputs is important — we need lots of high-skilled immigrants, and we need to push more Americans to go into STEM. But unless there are jobs for those researchers, Americans will be discouraged from going into the field, and the presence of immigrants will seem like a cutthroat zero-sum competition. Spending more money ensures that anyone who has the talent can see their talent put to work.
So far, the current U.S. industrial policy revival has been a bit disappointing on this front. The CHIPS Act lobbed a bunch of money at the semiconductor industry, but this represented a vastly scaled-down bill that chopped out most of the best parts of an earlier version called the Endless Frontier Act. The Endless Frontier Act could have revitalized U.S. scientific research, far beyond the narrow confines of the chip industry, but our congressional leaders simply didn’t see the point.
Well, the point should be obvious now. When China has quantum computers a million times faster than Google’s, satellites that can talk securely with the Earth via quantum entanglement, quantum magnetometers that can (possibly) find our most secret submarines, and autonomous drone swarms that can fly through dense forests, Congress would have to be insane to worry about pinching a few pennies.
The U.S. hasn’t fallen behind in science yet. But in order to avoid falling behind, at least in many key areas, we need to take bold action now.”
The War Economy: Is America falling behind China in science?
This is the third in a series of posts about how international competition could reshape the U.S. economy. The first is…
23. “Above all, war is more than battles and operations. Regardless of the technology, it is, as Thucydides reminds us, the human aspects that matter most. If the public embrace the desire to fight to survive, are willing to endure and sacrifice, then systems will become less important. Even where superior and overwhelming firepower is employed, if a population refuses to submit, they will endure defeats in battle and keep fighting. Multi-domain integration determines only how to fight; it will not necessarily determine who wins wars.”
Human behaviour will still determine who wins wars
How will the future of war be fought? It is the perennial dilemma for defence planners and military personnel…
24. Talk about mortgaging your country’s future.
“Well, not really. The Erdogan administration might be able to muddle thru to elections, but at the price of the deterioration in Turkey’s balance sheet in the interim.
Russia might be allowing Turkey to pay in borrowed rubles, but they still have to be paid back, and these likely will create a liability on the next government to emerge after elections, AKP or otherwise.
Similarly, if the strategy it to continue to intervene to defend the lira, FX reserves will be spent, and the CBRT’s net international reserve position will deteriorate even further than it’s current estimated minus $60bn number.
All this does not resolve the underlying problem that Turkey is living beyond its means, too much growth now, not enough saving, and the accumulation of more external debt liabilities which need to be paid back, whether to Russia or the Gulf.
And in the case of debts to Russia, one had to ask what an absolutely malign character like Putin will demand of the new credits he has extended to Erdogan? But we know for sure that he will come knocking on Turkey’s door in the future and the payback will likely include a big wad of usury which Putin certainly believes in. Putin will extract a heavy’s price on Erdogan, and especially if this results in his re-election next year. Erdogan will owe Putin.
And what about the Gulf money? It’s hard really to imagine MBS, with all his tortuous history with Erdogan lending to keep the latter in power in Turkey unless a heavy pay back is expected — likely in lucrative Turkish assets being put up for sale to Gulf interests at some point in the future.”
Erdogan's economic plan for election's revealed
As ever so much economic policy in Turkey is revealed late night Friday, and last Friday was no exception with Turkish…
25. Great profile here on Idris Elba, who is aging like a fine wine. All men should aspire to be like this man. A very cool dude.
Idris Elba Is Just Hitting His Prime
Entertainment A few months ago, Idris Elba, the 33rd annual Sexiest Man Alive, was about to have some sex. "I was…
26. “CBDCs enable all of those financial censorship capabilities with one click of a button. Everything being collected leaves you in a very scary position.
If you carbon footprint is too large, fines automatically removed. Financial censorship on steroids.
If you read up on CBDCs from the rest of the central banks, like the Sand Dollar and the e-CNY, you’re going to find they all have the same motivations as China and the Bahamas. Tracking and controlling you, your money, and removing any and all privacy.
During the middle of the lockdowns, Summer 2020, only 35 countries were even deciding, whether or not, to develop or launch a CBDC. Now, over 80% of all central banks are active in developing a CBDC — making up over 95% of global GDP.
The central banks all have the same talking points, and they all recite the same “initiatives” for developing a CBDC. Best to be listening and developing your multiple income streams as fast as you can.”
CBDC Update with BowTiedScholar
Welcome Avatar! With all the news related to the World Economic Forum and more digital oversight we have BowTiedScholar…
27. Congrats to Timmu and the team. Proud investor here.
Investing in Ready Player Me | Andreessen Horowitz
Interoperability has long been a key guiding principle of the Metaverse - a vision that we can bring our digital…
28. An investing legend. Father of the baby cubs: a multitude of very successful hedge funds. RIP Julian Robertson.
Julian Robertson, the hedge fund billionaire who fathered a whole ambush of 'Tiger Cubs,' dies at…
Robertson instilled in his traders his keys to success, which included managing holdings aggressively, removing good…
29. The CCP & their enablers are the enemy of America & the western free world.
“In that sense, in contrast to the Nazis’ militaristic imperialism, the CCP has resurrected a more ancient form of imperialism in which they’ve bought and groomed foreign elites to be more loyal to them than to their own people. Since the early 19th century, no illiberal regime besides the Soviet Union has had the wherewithal to co-opt western elites to that degree, and relations with the Soviet Union were limited. But the amount of western cash running through China over the last few decades appears to have made this ancient form of imperialism viable for the CCP.
This is, by all accounts, a sad story. China is running out of money. The CCP made promises to the Chinese people that they couldn’t keep, and they’re therefore resorting to increasingly ruthless ways of obtaining cash while dragging the world into totalitarianism with them, as we saw with lockdowns. They’re simultaneously resorting to increasingly ruthless methods of robbing their own people, such as bank defaults and jailings of billionaires, while doubling down on domestic controls.
Decoupling from China need not be permanent. China is a great civilization, and I have no doubt that China can right itself and rectify its institutions within our lifetime. But we can’t risk our democracy and the lives of our young people while we wait for that to happen. We need to be on the highest level of alert with regard to the CCP and treat the war as if it’s already begun. There’s presently no legitimate reason why we should be engaging with Xi’s China any differently than Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union.”
The China Situation Isn't As Bad As It Looks. It's Far Worse.
Among the challenges that citizens face in the modern world is having to base their political views on imperfect…
30. Shameful policy by grossly incompetent or corrupt political elites in Germany.
“Half a century later, in 2020, Russia would supply more than half of Germany’s natural gas and about a third of all the oil that Germans burned to heat homes, power factories and fuel vehicles. Roughly half of Germany’s coal imports, which are essential to its steel manufacturing, came from Russia.
An arrangement that began as a peacetime opening to a former foe has turned into an instrument of aggression. Germany is now funding Russia’s war. In the first two months after the start of Russia’s assault on Ukraine, Germany is estimated to have paid nearly €8.3bn for Russian energy — money used by Moscow to prop up the rouble and buy the artillery shells firing at Ukrainian positions in Donetsk. In that time, EU countries are estimated to have paid a total of €39bn for Russian energy, more than double the sum they have given to help Ukraine defend itself.
The irony is painful. “For thirty years, Germans lectured Ukrainians about fascism,” the historian Timothy Snyder wrote recently. “When fascism actually arrived, Germans funded it, and Ukrainians died fighting it.
When Putin invaded Ukraine in February, Germany faced a particular problem. Its rejection of nuclear power and its transition away from coal meant that Germany had very few alternatives to Russian gas. Berlin has been forced to accept that it was a cataclysmic error to have made itself so dependent on Russian energy — whatever the motives behind it.”
'We were all wrong': how Germany got hooked on Russian energy
n Sunday 1 February 1970, senior politicians and gas executives from Germany and the Soviet Union gathered at the…
31. China is in very deep doo doo (just like many other places in the world these days).
“Whichever way you look at it, Beijing is walking a tightrope. And the scale of the risks is unprecedented not just for China but also for the wider world. Matt Klein may be right in his recent FT piece to argue that from the point of view of inflation-fighting, the deflationary effect of China’s slowdown is welcome at this current moment.
But to take the next step to argue that “China’s troubles may be just what the rest of the world needs”, is surely to push a good point too far. It may be true that “China’s healthy exports and weak imports” were previously a “drag on the global economy, depriving workers elsewhere of the incomes they would have earned selling goods and services to Chinese customers.”
But that is a counterfactual argument. A better world is, indeed, imaginable in which China’s current account since the late 1990s was more balanced. Fair enough. Meanwhile, in the actually existing world economy, there are plenty of workers and businesses around the globe who depend heavily on exports to China. None of them will be celebrating bad news from China as good news, especially in light of the pressure also being exercised by a strong dollar and Fed tightening.”
Chartbook #145: China on the tightrope
The headwinds acting on the Chinese economy right now are formidable, on top of collapsing housing markets and the…
32. No one feels sorry for the rich tech bros & VC, nor should they.
“The biggest critics of the government are, oddly, some of its biggest beneficiaries. Tech billionaires are often the first to shitpost America, even as they continue to harvest wealth from the investments taxpayers make via the U.S. government.
A wonderful thing about our country is that the people who are most patriotic are the ones who’ve made the greatest investment: veterans. Less heartening are the individuals who’ve registered the greatest benefit, are the least grateful, and are often the most critical: VCs who relocate to Miami and, before buying sunblock, disparage (constantly) the state they built their wealth in. Also, mega-welfare queens who cash EV subsidy checks and sell carbon credits as they mock the elected leaders who passed those laws.
BTW, nobody believes you moved to Florida or Texas for better governance — you wanted the chance to recognize a capital gain at a lower tax rate than the middle-class taxpayers who funded your infrastructure.”
Welfare Queens | No Mercy / No Malice
What's the most successful venture capital firm in history? Kleiner Perkins and Sequoia Capital backed many…
33. The west needs to get off its act together and stop the half ass support of Ukraine. Send weapons and money asap so Ukraine can finish the barbarian Russian invaders.
“The great hope of Western governments was that Western economic sanctions would have a material effect on Russia’s ability and willingness to sustain the war against Ukraine. Battlefield attrition and economic attrition would combine to force Moscow to sue for peace. This, of course, depends on actually making a serious dent on the Russian economy. Six months into the conflict, how far that has been achieved is hotly contested.
As Zelensky knows, the stakes could not be higher. If, at the six-month mark, Ukraine now faces a long war, then stability is crucial. And that stability must be secured, not just on the frontlines, but on the home front as well, which is “highly contested too”. Otherwise, when Kyiv comes to mark the 12-month anniversary and the 18th-month anniversaries in 2023, the narrative may be less up beat than it is today.”
Chartbook #146 The Russia-Ukraine War At Six Months: symbolic anniversary or economic and military…
It is six months since Russia launched its attack on Ukraine. Amongst the anniversary coverage two long reads by the…
34. This is an immensely disturbing trend from Korea that seems to be showing up all over the modern world.
“The only think I can think of is that women’s entry into the workforce may explain most of this, childcare is a high additional cost as opposed to a social default. Whatever the answer is, the west may stave off the consequences of the population crunch for a while with its willingness to import foreign workers, but the same can’t be said of advanced Asian nations.
We’re peering into the biggest selection event humans have faced in some time. I’m not normally worried about much but I am worried about this.”
Bloomberg: "South Korea Crosses a Population Rubicon in Warning to the World"
Bloomberg recently a published a piece on the advancing fertility crisis in South Korea, which has now broken its…
35. Good read if you are considering doing angel investing in startups.
Why I'm An Angel Investor
The other day a friend asked me about angel investing. He told me that several entrepreneurs had invited him to invest…
36. Focus on comparing yourself to global maximum not the local maximum.
Can You Beat My Friends? - Chris Neumann
As a result, whenever I meet a promising Canadian startup, one of the earliest warning flags for me is if they show me…
37. “In Vietnam, Afghanistan and many other conflicts, the stronger power lost because it could not win, and the weaker power triumphed simply because it did not lose. So shall it be in Ukraine, where the same process is playing out rapidly.”
Putin's on the brink
In Vietnam, Afghanistan and many other conflicts, the stronger power lost because it could not win, and the weaker…
38. “The war in Ukraine has shown how a well-led, motivated and well-supplied defending force can effectively disrupt or even defeat an adversary with superior size and military means. At a minimum, the strength of contemporary defensive regimes means that defenders can significantly inflict significant costs, and prolong the duration, of an aggressor’s military aggression.
Lessons in areas such as leadership, multidomain integration, signature management, closing ‘detection to destruction’ time against an adversary, massed use of crewed and uncrewed systems, information operations and industrial scale warfare are likely to be prevalent in these studies. These will all drive institutional adaptation.”
How Ukraine is winning in the adaptation battle against Russia
The axiom 'adapt or die' is never more true than in war. The Ukrainian army's willingness to modify its approach has…
39. “But the real lesson of recent days is that events are spiraling out of the Kremlin’s control. Not one element of the original plan to attack Ukraine has survived contact with reality.
Morale has not fractured. Neither has Western support. Attrition and bad leadership steadily weaken the Russian forces while Ukraine’s military is becoming stronger, with better training and more modern equipment. Whether by sabotage, or through drone and missile strikes, Ukraine is hitting targets that the Kremlin did not think it would need to defend.
Retribution indeed: these attacks undermine a crucial Kremlin narrative about the conflict’s limited geographic and military scale. Russia thought it could limit the fighting to Ukraine. But nobody asked the Ukrainians about that.”
Dogs of War
Unleashing havoc is easier than controlling it Since its seizure in 2014, Crimea has been a geopolitical trophy and a…
40. Investing in climate tech is hard. Important but hard for generalist VCs like me.
“I’ve sadly come to the conclusion though that in order to be successful, you need some billionaires to back you eventually. This is by no means a bad thing (yes a lot of billionaires get negative press) as I couldn’t be happier that they are focusing their efforts and resources on a HUGE problem. It’s just that in my limited knowledge and quest to find something early pre/seed I find investable, they will need to continually raise capital and there aren’t many options as they grow.”
Trying to invest in pre/seed climate tech is really hard
You basically need billionaires to get you all the way
41. Ukraine will win because of people like this: James Vasquez (and due to the indomitable will of Ukrainian people). Slava Ukraini!
42. Go NAFO! Down with brain dead Vatniks!