November 9, 2018

Chicago

Fulton Market Chicago

November 9, 2018

Fall, Winter, Summer

I woke up at 5am this morning to fly from Atlanta to Chicago. The next time I’ll sleep in a bed is two and a half days from now - Sunday night.

Andy and I took a Lyft to the airport.

I’m flying ATL to MDW, where I’m working from Industrious for the day.

It’s snowing in Chicago.

Tonight at 12:30am, I’ll leave O’Hare and fly to Taipei, and then onward to Bali.

Fall in Atlanta. Winter in Chicago. Summer in Bali.

November 8, 2018

The demand curve slopes downward”

Some people think of Bitcoin as a Giffen Good.1 The more expensive it becomes, the more in demand it becomes. Sort of like gold.

But that’s the wrong view of cryptocurrencies. They are not Giffen Goods.

Blockchains at their hearts are computing services. To use the distributed computing network, you need coins. If coins get more expensive, then the demand for the coins goes down because the computing on the network gets more expensive.

The demand curve slopes downward.

This means there’s always a downward pressure on cryptocurrency coin prices. The more popular a network becomes, the more expensive it becomes. The more expensive it becomes, the less demand there is for that network.

As a coin’s price rises, one of two things will eventually happen.

  1. The demand will shift to other blockchains. Since The Blockchain” is an open source concept, and since anyone can create a blockchain, there is robust competition in the cryptocurrency/blockchain space. The moment Bitcoin becomes too expensive, people will use Ethereum.
  2. Or, the demand will disappear entirely. Centralized computing is super cheap. If blockchains are too expensive, people will merely rely on AWS or Azure - or even revert back to professionals using pen and paper.

But what about network effects? Could more people using Bitcoin, for example, increase the value of the network and increase the price of Bitcoin?

I think it depends on what the value of Bitcoin is. If it’s a store of value - if it’s a digital gold - then this might be true.

But there are three arguments for why blockchains are valuable:

  1. It’s a store of value
  2. It’s a currency
  3. It’s a computing network

If it’s a store of value, then perhaps it’s a Giffen Good and will behave like digital gold. If this is true, I think only Bitcoin will survive.

If it’s a currency, it will struggle to find adoption because cryptocurrencies are naturally deflationary. Currencies need to naturally, slowly inflate in order to encourage spending.

And if it’s a computing network, I wouldn’t expect much price appreciation. Computing tends to get cheaper, not more expensive, over time. The demand curve slopes downward, after all.


  1. Giffen Goods are goods that have increased demand as they become more expensive.

November 6, 2018

The end of status

Instagram might be the downfall of status”.

Anybody can upload airbrushed selfies. Anybody can post pictures from the gym or from the new breakfast spot or from a stage at Lollapalooza.

If you can edit pictures and photoshop your life and make Everything Look Amazing and blah blah blah, then aggressively showing off your status to win approval no longer works.

Instagram and Snapchat have broken the metric of status.

Perhaps listening and learning will become more valuable than ever.

November 6, 2018

Boundaries

Sam Harris asked Yuval Noah Harari about how he is able as a professor of history to draw on biology and chemistry and sociology while writing Sapiens.

I’m interested in questions, and questions don’t have boundaries,” he said.

It’s simple and it’s obvious.

We use problems as a way to learn about the world and gain new skills through a bunch of different lenses.

November 3, 2018

Birds and buses to BHM

Last week, I left Industrious and walked out onto Peachtree St. There were four Limes sitting on the sidewalk.

I opened up the app, scanned a scooter, and started riding down the street.

The trip took me from Midtown to the core of Atlanta. I was surrounded by tall buildings the whole way. Office buildings, a grocery store, a hospital, the Fox Theater.

The trip was 2.2 miles. It took me about 14 minutes.

I parked the bike right in front of the Megabus that would take me to Birmingham.1

After handing my bags to the driver, I took a seat on the upper deck. Everybody had their phones plugged in outlets, streaming Netflix or reading books.

In 3 hours my sister picked me up from the brand new bus station in Birmingham.

10 years ago I never would have guessed this is how I’d get home. It’s hard to imagine even 1 year ago.

Sidenote: these scooters may force the largest investment in sidewalk and biking infrastructure we’ve ever had.


  1. Our driver and my Lime. Megabus and Lime