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I Can’t Do Math In Prose1

I wrote those words to a friend of mine yesterday. We are working on a project together. He wrote me an email listing a whole bunch of investments to be made and where we are on them. I read it and understood it, but it didn’t really register with me. So we are going to make a spreadsheet with a few columns, total some stuff up, and look at it together. The Gotham Gal calls that a “fredsheet” because I do better with numbers in a spreadsheet. This is an example of presenting information in context. I feel that how information is presented is often more powerful than the underlying data. And when you want someone to understand what you are saying, it is best to put that information in the format that person is most comfortable in. For me, that is often a sheet.

Drawing well and white space problem solving

In his book on Pixar, CEO Ed Catmull explains that drawing well requires us to learn how to see. The difficulty with drawing is that we let our mental models of objects get ahead of us and get us to jump to conclusions. For example, if we’re drawing a portrait as an amateur, we let our mental models of the size of the various elements of a face take over. This is why an amateur’s portraits don’t look like the real thing. Art teachers teach students to conquer this by getting them to draw an object upside down or, more interestingly, by asking them to draw the negative/white space around the object. We don’t have mental models for what white space looks like. So, our mental models don’t get in the way. The fascinating lesson here is that this “examine the white space” approach is applicable to problem solving. Don’t just look at the problem – look at the context/situation around it. For example, at Pixar, a scene could sometimes only be fixed by looking at the entire story or changing the preceding scenes. This technique gets to the challenge of dealing with causality. We often make the implicit assumption that solving the symptom (what we see) will help solve the problem. That is generally not the case. And, taking a step back to examine the white space is a great way to remind ourselves to solve for the cause. Share this: Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Like this: Like Loading... Related

Can you keep a secret?3


McDonalds & President Trump

Source: McDonalds? Yes. There is nothing like hearty Scottish food, eh? So, it is a cloudy, but brilliantly sunny day in the ATX wherein we consider the eating habits of our President to which the Big Red Car protests: “Fake news!” The Big Red Car does not believe that President Trump actually eats what he is reputed to eat. You be the judge. The MAGA President Trump reported diet: two Big Macs, two Filet-o-Fish, and a chocolate shake. But is it true or a myth? What does President eat at McDonalds, Big Red Car? Dear reader, the President is reported to consume two Big Macs, two Filet-o-Fish, and a chocolate shake. That is a lot of damn food. [Hint: No way a Big Red Car could eat that much even if you lubed it with a chilly quart of 10W40.] McDonalds by the numbers You knew the Big Red Car was not going to leave you hanging. Here’s the nutritional overview. Calories: 2,420 Total fat: 112 grams (172% of recommended daily intake) Total carbs: 257 grams (86% of recommended daily intake) Protein: 98 grams You can go to the McDonalds Nutrition Calendar and do it yourself. Skepticism The Big Red Car is a little skeptical. Here is a picture of Candidate Trump eating French fries with what looks to be a Quarter Pounder with Cheese. OK, who are we going to believe? The press or our lying eyes? Doesn’t this look like a President Donald J Trump eating some Freedom fries, a Quarter Pounder with Cheese, and a diet coke? Where are the Big Macs? The Filet-o-Fish? The chocolate shake? What’s going on here? Fake news? Bottomline it, Big Red Car OK, dear reader, here is some very weak evidence. Somebody ate it, but who? So, there you have it, dear reader. The mystery remains. What does President Trump really eat when he is feasting on good, healthy, robust Scottish food? But, hey what the Hell do I really know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car. Take care of your sweet selves.   Share this:TweetShare on TumblrPrint Related Source:


The news broke earlier this week that our portfolio company Coinbase has acquired A lot of the press attention was centered around the fact that Earn’s CEO Balaji Srinivasan is becoming Coinbase’s CTO and the backstory about how Earn came out of a pivot from a failed Bitcoin mining company called 21. But an overlooked aspect of this transaction is that Coinbase has acquired a business that is the crypto version of Mechanical Turk or, perhaps, Task Rabbit. allows a user to create a profile and earn Bitcoin by doing tasks. The tasks right now are centered around the crypto sector (analyze a white paper, accept an incoming email from a recruiter, etc). But if you squint, you can imagine how this mechanic could be extended to all sorts of other tasks. Brian Armstrong, Coinbase’s founder and CEO, tweeted about this yesterday: It is not enough for all of us to be buying, selling, and holding crypto assets. Earning them is a very important function in the development of an ecosystem. So I am excited to see Coinbase supporting and investing in a business where users can earn crypto assets and my hope is that this becomes something as meaningful as what Amazon has done with Mechanical Turk over the years.