A Few Things: The Year Ahead, The Rothschilds, You Are The 1%, The Crypto Report, NFTs 101, The Future of Venture Capital
December 11 2021
Good evening. How are you?
I am sharing this weekly email with you because I count you in the group of people I learn from and enjoy being around.
Thank you for reading.
“Named must your fear be before banish it you can”
“Do your own thinking independently. Be the chess player, not the chess piece.”
- Ralph Charell
“All courses of action are risky, so prudence is not in avoiding danger (it's impossible), but calculating risk and acting decisively. Make mistakes of ambition and not mistakes of sloth. Develop the strength to do bold things, not the strength to suffer.”
- Niccolo Machiavelli
A. The Year Ahead
How was your 2021?
I try to use December less for reading new books and more for thinking about the year that has gone by and planning the next.
I’ve found reflecting and planning to be a useful exercise, not because things go according to plan, but because thinking about what you really want and how you are going to get there is a useful exercise....
or as President & General Eisenhower said:
1) Plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.
2) Plans are worthless, but planning is essential.
Three are probably two career planning texts that are powerful and worth reading multiple times (I have) and they help guide me.
Firstly, Byron Wien’s: Lessons Learned in His First 80 Years.
The 3 lessons that really resonated with me:
Network intensely. Luck plays a big role in life, and there is no better way to increase your luck than by knowing as many people as possible. Nurture your network by sending articles, books and emails to people to show you’re thinking about them. Write op-eds and thought pieces for major publications. Organize discussion groups to bring your thoughtful friends together.
When you meet someone new, treat that person as a friend. Assume he or she is a winner and will become a positive force in your life. Most people wait for others to prove their value. Give them the benefit of the doubt from the start. Occasionally you will be disappointed, but your network will broaden rapidly if you follow this path.
Read all the time. Don’t just do it because you’re curious about something, read actively. Have a point of view before you start a book or article and see if what you think is confirmed or refuted by the author. If you do that, you will read faster and comprehend more.
Secondly, Sam Altman’s: How To Be Successful:
Here are 3 parts that resonated with me:
Compound Yourself....You don't want to be in a career where people who have been doing it for two years can be as effective as people who have been doing it for twenty—your rate of learning should always be high. As your career progresses, each unit of work you do should generate more and more results. There are many ways to get this leverage, such as capital, technology, brand, network effects, and managing people....Trust the exponential, be patient, and be pleasantly surprised.
Focus......Almost everyone I’ve ever met would be well-served by spending more time thinking about what to focus on. It is much more important to work on the right thing than it is to work many hours. Most people waste most of their time on stuff that doesn’t matter.
Be hard to compete with....The best way to become difficult to compete with is to build up leverage. For example, you can do it with personal relationships, by building a strong personal brand, or by getting good at the intersection of multiple different fields. There are many other strategies, but you have to figure out some way to do it.
What are your goals for 2021?
Maybe it’s best to start with what you will stop doing.
“If you woke up tomorrow morning and found out you had ten years to live, what would you stop doing?”
- Jim Collins
B. A Few Things Worth Checking Out:
1. Anyone who has achieved greatness has, in part, patterned themselves after those who came before. Napoleon learned from Charlemagne, Charlemagne learned from Caesar, and Caesar learned from Alexander the Great.
The amazing and amusing: “How to Take Over the World” podcast series analyses the lives of some of the greatest men and women to ever live.
By examining their strategies, tactics, mindset, and work habits, How to Take Over the World helps you understand the great ones.
Start with this great one on the Rothschilds. Its deeply and well researched.
2. One of the books I got a lot out of in 2021 is Oliver Burkeman’s Four Thousand Weeks. We discussed it a few weeks back.
He was on the Sam Harris podcast recently discussing our relationship with time. Thank you Jean-Paul for sharing.
3. You are in the top 1% by income on this planet. It takes $45k in annual income to be in the top 1%.
Globally 85% of the world lives on less than $30 per day.
Every few months I spend some time on the GapMinder site with my kids seeing how other families live across the world.
4. This 1-minute video by John Cleese is all you need to know about how to have productive (vs unproductive) meetings. One minute! Applies to zoom meetings, too.
5. 18 Trends That Will Shape Your Career in 2022. One for our children.
6. The number of new marriages in China fell to a 13-year low in the first three quarters of 2021, topping out at 5.9 million registrations, continuing an 8-year streak of declining marriage rates.
Beijing worries a fall in marriages will exacerbate its waning population growth. In some areas, local governments have launched campaigns to encourage weddings—including running counseling services as well as propaganda campaigns advocating cheaper bridal dowries (a practice still common in China.) But China’s gender imbalance, ranging from 4% to 12% more men than women, is harder to resolve. Many men will inevitably go unmarried.
Good Business Standard article.
7. Great nuggets from Rory Sutherland:
C. The Tech and Crypto Section:
1. If you only read one thing on Crypto in all of December (maybe all of 2020), it has to be the Messari Crypto report.
Here’s the table of contents to get you started.
2. NFTs 101 - Why NFT’s are a generational innovation. This is a seminal piece on NFTs!
It starts by first asking what are Digital Assets and how & why they can be valuable. It then discusses the power of memes and narratives on the internet. It then goes to explore what NFTs make possible and then finishes with how to actually buy and sell NFTs.
Do you own a NFT yet? See you on OpenSea.
3. One of my favourite people Meltem, had a great twitter thread on NFTs:
4. A few weeks ago I interviewed one of my favourite people in Venture Capital: Josh Buckley on behalf of Pi Capital.
Josh is one of the rockstars of venture capital, and we chatted about the changing nature of the VC game, gamification and the digital economy, and regulation.
5. If you are really going to go deep into crypto, you will need a Metamask wallet. This report by The Generalist on Metamask is a must read about a great business.
One of the big ideas behind a crypto wallet like Metamask is that it is in fact many things at once.
6. If you want to understand Crypto without the hype, I’d recommend my friend Dror’s class: Hype-Free Crypto. I’m in the current cohort. You can check out the curriculum and schedule for January here.
Hope you are having a great weekend.