The Great Resignation, The Fall of Afghanistan, Digital Currencies and Solana

August 24, 2021

Hi, from sunny Orange County.

Welcome to the 20 new subscribers since last Monday’s email! If you’re reading this but haven’t subscribed yet, do it! Each week, I write an essay that mixes technology, markets and worldly wisdom.

It’s been called “the best signal-to-noise ratio of any email”

“Everything that has a beginning has an ending. Make your peace with that and all will be well.”

- Buddha 

“At any given moment, public opinion is a chaos of superstition, misinformation and prejudice.”

- Gore Vidal

“He who knows nothing is closer to the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors.”

- Thomas Jefferson

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

- Winston Churchill

A. A Few Things Worth Checking Out:

1. “The Great Resignation” - The combination of A third of US workers under age 40 reportedly considered a career change post-COVID (Washington Post), combined with employer-mandated vaccine mandates (New York Times) being rolled out across the United States, could lead to mass resignations because if one is fired from their jobs for refusing a vaccine mandate, one may not be able to collect unemployment. So any employee that does not want to be vaccinated will likely want to quit or retire prior to the employers’ deadline. 

Remember when it was as simple as this chart?

2. The Fall of Afghanistan: The New Yorker Radio Hour: Dexter Filkins on the Fall of Afghanistan, and his August 22nd New Yorker article on “What We Left Behind in Afghanistan

Here’s the breakdown of the total cost of the 20-year US war on terror according to Adam Tooze.

$5.4 trn dollars spent...

“The tragedy is not that the War on Terror crowded out better projects. The tragedy is that the better projects were never on the agenda of power at all. The tragedy is that the one thing that those with power and influence could agree on was war-fighting. In a profoundly divided polity, with deep divisions extending into the elite itself, national security is the one area where a degree of bipartisan agreement was still possible.”

“Other than making good the damage done by the frailty of the financial system, the War on Terror was by far and away the largest collective undertaking of the United States elite in the last twenty years. That is what the numbers so carefully compiled by the left critics of the war show. It is indictment enough.”

3. Inflation: Two good reads / watch.

a) GMO White Paper: Inflation – Tall Tales and True Causes

b) Understanding and Debating Inflation with Mike Green

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B. The Tech and Crypto Section:

1. Chris Dixon of a16z had two great threads on blockchains, crypto and web3:

2. A Tour de Force on Digital Currencies and the Decentralised Finance Revolution with Dr Pippa Malmgreen on MacroVoices. Super listen.

Thank you Andre K for flagging!

3. Video games ($180bn globally) are already a bigger industry than movies and music combined, and growing much, much faster. But what’s the secret to building great games and why everything is being gamified.

This Invest Like the Best episode with Gabe Leydon on Designing Digital Economies is as much about technology as it is about hacking human nature and behavioural science.

4. Solana is a Layer 1 protocol, or blockchain, like Bitcoin, Ethereum, or a number of others. What makes Solana interesting is that its radically different system architecture leads to dramatically higher speeds and lower costs than other blockchains. Whereas Bitcoin can handle about 7 transactions per second (TPS), and Ethereum can handle 30 TPS (until Eth 2.0 dramatically increases it), Solana can currently handle 65,000 TPS.

At a $40bn market cap it weighs in at 10% of Ethereum’s market cap, but with a number of ETH’s problems solved. Well worth reading this Solana Summer piece by Packy to understand it better.

If you prefer audio, Solana’s CEO Anatoly Yakovenko was on the Acquired Podcast discussing Solana and his vision.

Thanks to Yuriy for flagging Solana to me in March 2021.

5. My friend Ben Savage of Clocktower Technology Ventures was on the the Consumer VC podcast discussing: Why the future is Fintech, Fractional Ownership and Lessons Learned from Ray Dalio.

6. Great thread on 10 truths about China that mainstream media won’t tell you.

Disclaimer:  THIS IS NOT INVESTMENT ADVICE! This is for educational and entertainment purposes only. Do your own diligence.

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John Templeton on constant change:

“An investor who has all the answers doesn't even understand all the questions. A know-it-all approach to investing will lead, probably sooner than later, to disappointment if not outright disaster. Even if you can identify an unchanging handful of investing principles, we cannot apply these rules to an unchanging universe of investments—or an unchanging economic and political environment. Everything is in a constant state of change and the wise investor recognizes that success is a process of continually seeing answers to new questions.”

Author and journalist Mitch Albom on time: 

"Try to imagine a life without timekeeping. You probably can’t. You know the month, the year, the day of the week. There is a clock on your wall or the dashboard of your car. You have a schedule, a calendar, a time for dinner or a movie. Yet all around you, timekeeping is ignored. Birds are not late. A dog does not check its watch. Deer do not fret over passing birthdays. Man alone measures time. Man alone chimes the hour. And, because of this, man alone suffers a paralyzing fear that no other creature endures. A fear of time running out."

Source: The Time Keeper​ 

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