Gates & Fink on Clean Energy, Living to 150, The Future of Gaming, The Next Decade's Dominating Theme

September 27, 2021

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Each week, I write an email that mixes technology, markets and worldly wisdom picked up from a +21 year finance career.


“Every man I meet is my master in some point, and in that I learn of him.”

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Intelligent individuals learn from every thing and every one; average people, from their experiences. The stupid already have all the answers."

- Socrates

“It is not true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old; they grow old because they stop pursuing dreams.”

- Gabriel Garcia Marquez 

“Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.”

- Carl Sandburg


A. A Few Things Worth Checking Out

1. Bill Gates, Larry Fink on the Clean-Energy Push and what they are doing about it.

2. Daniel Ek of Spotify was on Invest Like The Best, discussing how the next set of big companies will be built tackling atoms, not bits. He then dives into the big problems of our time, and the changing European venture landscape.

3. If you are a Family Office, you should think about joining a bunch of us in Madrid this year for Club b. It’s the only Family Office conference worth going to, and it’s organised by my good friend Peter Fletcher.


B. Living to 150

Saw Sergey Young present two weeks ago at Pi Capital (you should think about joining) and read his new book over the weekend: The Science and Technology of Growing Young.

Sergey founded the Longevity Vision Fund to support entrepreneurs and scientists in accelerating life-extending technological innovations and making them more accessible to people. He’s on the Board of Directors of the American Federation of Aging Research (AFAR) and sponsors the Age Reversal XPRIZE, a global competition for curing ageing.

Here are the 6 big ideas in the book:

1. For most of humanity we have been working on eliminating early death and we’ve been very successful in doing this. In the last 100 years the average lifespan has more than doubled, from 35 years old to over 70. But the maximum lifespan has stayed the same: about 120 years (the oldest person reached 122).

2. The Longevity Horizons. Technologies and medicine available today will give us the opportunity to live to a happy and healthy 100 years old. Looking ahead longevity innovations can be divided into what is “available now”, “near horizon” and “long horizon.”

3. The Near Horizon. These technologies will be available in the next 10-20 years. They will help us to live to 150 years. There have been amazing advances in gene editing and gene therapy. 30 years ago, it took the US 13 years and $3 billion to sequence a human genome; today you can do it for a couple of dollars and in a few hours. Today, we are all participating in a global experiment in gene therapy, because Moderna and other Covid vaccines are the result of gene therapy.

Other Near Horizons that are here: Organ Regeneration & AI Drug Discovery

4. The Long Horizon. These innovations will be available in the next 25-50 years. These are things that will enable us to live significantly longer, but will raise a lot of ethical questions. This is a world of human avatars and human brain-AI integration. It involves the genetic modification of humans to become a different species, one that combines humans and machines.

5. The Big Players. Big tech is coming into healthcare. Young believes that, 10 years from now, the biggest healthcare companies in the world will be Apple, Amazon, Google and Microsoft. Healthcare is the only industry big enough to give them room to grow for the next two decades.

6. What can we do today? Eat better, which means more plants, no processed food, reduce animal products and sugar, eat early and less often, both high intensity and low intensity exercise, quit bad habits (smoking, drinking, texting while driving), reduce stress, be mindful. Schedule regular health screenings.


C. The Tech and Crypto Section:

1. Chris Dixon at a16z discussing why Blockchains are the new app stores.

2. Great post on understanding blockchain’s Play to Earn model.

3. Why the Future of Venture Capital Will Be Decentralised - just as people are getting deep into VC, the game is quickly changing.

4. Asia Tech Strategy Podcast: How Hillhouse Capital Invests In and Digitizes Chinese Companies.

5. Gaming is a bigger industry than music and movies combined and its changing and growing much faster. The two big trends in gaming are: social and blockchains.

Social: Justin Waldron was on the Founder’s Field Guide, discussing the Future of Social Gaming with Patrick O’Shaughnessy.

Blockchains: Arianna Simpson of a16z was on the Bankless podcast discussing why in the future all games will be blockchain games.

6. The players are the artists; the game is the venue. The gaming industry is changing.

The old business model was: subscribers x ARPU.

The new model is: GTV x Take Rate.

Ultimately, the future business of gaming isn’t based on maximizing Subscriptions times ARPU. It’ll be maximizing Gross Transaction Value times Take Rate. Games of the future will still lean on their own design and creative gameplay to command a high take rate, but they’ll need the cloud to bring down friction as much as possible, in order to spur as much GTV as possible. As with mobile gaming, most high-end games will be free to play soon enough; any lever you can pull to increase traffic and GTV will get pulled.

7. Identifying 100x Opportunities Early w/ Jason Choi (GP of Spartan Group) on the Profit Maximalist podcast


D. What Will Be This Decade’s Dominating Theme:


E. The Queen’s Gambit

I watched the Queen’s Gambit this summer, and since then have been hooked on playing Chess every day. It’s an all consuming game.

Even if you don’t like Chess, it’s an amazing and beautiful story. My father in-law bing watched the whole season in one night!


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Thank you!