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Video Of The Week: Token 1.0 vs Token 2.01

AVC community member William Mougayar sent me a video of a talk he recently gave in Moscow. I really like the framework he articulates about half way through the talk regarding token 1.0 (where we are now) and token 2.0 (where we need to be before we will see real sustainable disruptive value creation with blockchain technologies). Here is that bit: If you’d like to watch the entire talk, you can do so here.

Climate change counseling

Eric Holthaus, a Meteorologist and climate change writer, said the following in a tweet storm earlier this year. I’m starting my 11th year working on climate change, including the last 4 in daily journalism. Today I went to see a counselor about it. I’m saying this because I know many people feel deep despair about climate, especially post-election. I struggle every day. You are not alone. There are days where I literally can’t work. I’ll read a story and shut down for rest of the day. Not much helps besides exercise and time. The counselor said: “Do what you can”, which I think is simple and powerful advice. I’m going to start working a lot more on mindfulness. Despair is natural when there’s objective evidence of a shared existential problem we’re not addressing adequately. You feel alone. You feel powerless. You feel like nothing matters. Your relationships suffer. You feel guilty for “not doing more”. But what the hell am I supposed to do? Write another blog post? Last year we lost a huge chunk of the Great Barrier Reef. We are literally ending existence of animals that were here for millions of years. We don’t deserve this planet. There are (many) days when I think it would be better off without us. How am I supposed to do my job—literally to chronicle planetary suicide—without experiencing deep existential despair myself? Impossible. To me, our emotional/psychological response is *the* story on climate change. It defines how (and if) we will solve the problem. The number one comment I get is “we’re fucked”. That’s not totally true. In order to “save the planet” we have to confront this despair. Climate despair, on its own, isn’t bad. It’s a sign you care. It’s just hard to function when you feel weight of the world crashing down. The more I talk about my despair, the more I realize other people feel same thing. That makes me hopeful—we are more powerful than we think. I don’t have an answer for where to go from here. That’s why I’m in counseling. But part of the answer is: don’t be afraid to talk. It is a poignant note. I’ve just begun thinking about and writing about climate change over the past months and it resonates. Our current state of progress is woeful. If I were to be working on it every day, I’d enroll myself in counseling too. And, yet, despair doesn’t help. Action does. And, learning and awareness precedes action. So, here’s to learning more and sharing it to build awareness in the meanwhile. Share this: Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Like this: Like Loading... Related

The day Amazon stopped being Amazon

Benedict Evans, Partner at Andreessen Horowitz, had a great post today on “The Amazon machine.” He is one of the best technology analysts out there and the post demonstrates that. Amazon is an awe inspiring company in many ways led by an all-conquering, thoughtful CEO who seems to have cracked innovation at scale. As Ben puts it – Amazon at its core is two platforms – the physical logistics platform and the ecommerce platform. Sitting on top of those, there is radical decentralization. Amazon is hundreds of small, decentralized, atomized teams sitting on top of standardised common internal systems. If Amazon decides that it’s going to do (say) shoes in Germany, it hires half a dozen people from very different backgrounds, maybe with none of them having anything to do with shoes or ecommerce, and it gives them those platforms, with internal transparency of the metrics of every other team, and of course, other people (and Jeff) have internal transparency to their metrics. Amazon is on its way to become the world’s most valuable company. It is only a matter of time its market cap reaches one trillion dollars. I am bullish on Amazon in the short term. However, when we look back at Amazon’s rise and fall (and there will be a fall) three decades later, it is likely we’ll find it hard to pinpoint when Amazon began planting the seeds for its eventual demise. Amazon’s rise was based on everything they did to become the most customer centric company on the planet. And, for two decades, they definitely were. But, over time, cracks have been appearing. And, their recent fight with Google shows that those cracks are very real. In a weird ego fuelled battle with Google, Amazon’s decisions to pull Google products have put the customer last every step of the way. They’re clearly feeling invincible. The question today, then, is – Can Jeff Bezos stop this rot? Or, will hubris win the day? If it does, it will be the day that Amazon stopped being Amazon. Share this: Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Like this: Like Loading... Related

Lessons from my first year as a parent

My favorite passage on parenting from Kahlil Gibran says this on the subject of learning – “Strive to be like them. Seek not to make them like you.” In that vein, here are the top five lessons I’ve learnt from watching our infant become a walking, babbling one year old. Be clear about what you are optimizing for and be engaged when you’re pursuing it. Babies have a high level of clarity about what matters to them at any given moment. Sleep matters most. If sleep isn’t taken care of, all else is futile. Food comes next. Again, if their stomachs aren’t full, they pursue that single mindedly. And, if they’re playing, they’re fully engaged in doing so. I’ve found that clarity and engagement to be very inspiring. This is coincidentally the year I decided to engage on my engagement with life. I didn’t realize then that my role model for engagement was right at home. “Strive to be like them” rings very true. The natural thing to do after a fall is to get back up. When kids learn a new skill like pulling up or walking, they’re extremely comfortable with falling. They expect to fall and pick themselves up each time. When our daughter learned to pull herself up, she’d do it 300 times a day. It was mind blowing. A great reminder that failure is not the falling down, it is the staying down. Find delight in simple things. The bar for delight is low. If it isn’t a simple game of peek-a-boo, it could just be a bunch of stacking cups. I’ve become more aware that our happiness is simply a measure of our reality compared to our expectations. If our expectations are low, it is really easy to be happy. Be ready to smile, love and trust – if people prove themselves worthy of it. In a wonderful post about parenthood, Jeff Atwood wrote – I wasn’t sure how to explain meeting new people to Henry, so I decided to just tell him we’ve met a new “friend” every time. Now, understand that this is not at all the way I view the world. I’m extremely wary of strangers, and of new people in general with their agendas and biases and opinions. I’ve been burned too many times. But Henry is open to every person he meets by default. Each new person is worth greeting, worth meeting as a new experience, as a fellow human being. Henry taught me, without even trying to, that I’ve been doing it all wrong. I realized that I’m afraid of other people, and it’s only my own fear preventing me from opening up, even a little, to new people that I meet. I really should view every new person I meet as a potential friend. I’m not quite there yet; it’s still a work in progress. But with Henry’s help, I think I can. I had absolutely no idea my child would end up teaching me as much as I’m teaching him. So. True. Change is the only constant – so, be willing to adapt. There’s a certain amount of flexibility that comes with having a baby around the house.  They have a rough schedule but they may or may not stick with it. The good news is they’re just as open to changes in your plans as well – change is expected. This has been the toughest learning for me. I wrote about this a few weeks ago in a post titled “It giveth and it taketh.” From that post –There are these moments of sheer awesomeness interspersed with moments of “Oh god – there goes another one of my well laid plans.” That’s the interesting thing about what “it taketh” – it says a lot about me and my expectations of the process. The more I plan and I expect, the more I feel “it taketh” and the more I find myself needing to learn to let go and grow. In that sense, parenting is a lot like other great journeys (school, challenging projects, engaging jobs, marriage, etc.)  – it is what you make of it. The more you give, the more it takes out of you and the more you grow in the process. Year one has been a fascinating learning journey. Looking forward to many more. Share this: Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Like this: Like Loading... Related

In the know

Ryan Stephens, a long time reader and friend of this blog, shared 48 of his favorite quotes from 2017 recently. A quote that stuck out to me was from Dave Pell – “The notion that you need to know about world events right when they happen is a marketing creation of media brands.” The first order consequence of the quote is to cut down on the amount of news we take in. I’ve been streamlining this over time. But, I’ve got more to go. But, there’s a second order implication. I’d consider editing that line further to say – The notion that you need to know about world events right when they happen is a marketing creation of media brands.” We live at a time when we are more exposed to events about or from people we know than at any time in human history. In a small percentage of these cases, this exposure is helpful. That happens when we learn something that furthers our growth or when we learn something important about someone we do business with that helps build rapport. Most of the rest of the exposure benefits media companies and advertisers more than it benefits us. I work on ads on the LinkedIn feed. So, as a participant on the media company side of the table, I have both a strong interest in this topic and a (somewhat controversial?) point of view. My learning is that feeds are not benevolent – they are the equivalent of the house in a casino. Casinos can be great places to visit for a while. They’re fun if you go with friends. And, if you’re a fan of a game like poker which offers wonderful lessons in decision making, they can be a source of learning too. But, the house always wins. So, it is important to be clear about what you’re trying to achieve and get out once you’ve achieved it. Analogy aside, the TLDR version of this is the same as what lies at the heart of Dave Pell’s note – being “in the know” is overrated. Share this: Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Like this: Like Loading... Related