I just had an ad hoc Bitcoin debate. I'm finding, the more I put myself out there on the topic of Bitcoin, the more I learn about myself and my command of the knowledge I've been accumulating to date. I'm still learning - every single day, reading and listening and watching all of the content that keeps on growing. I stuck my typing fingers out and said something asking everyone on a particular call I was on if they'd been tracking Bitcoin. I heard rumblings, ah, yea, I'm still working on setting up my Coinbase account or, yea, I've gotta dollar average on in. Another person, let's call him Joe, went all in on the other side of the argument, Bitcoin is dead, it's not money, and the only currency that'll ever live is the U.S. Dollar. He said I should be worried about 51% attacks. I was told that I needed to study my history better and go look up the term, "Tulip Bubble", and then get back to him.
Then I got the following screenshots shared with me:
Seemingly harsh, I thought. Study my history better? Tulip Bubble.... Why do people keep bringing up tulips when they are trying to argue against cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin? Tulips. ... That always surprises me.
Actually, as my business partner says, "the “tulip bubble” as people refer to it is more of a confirmation of human behavior that, again, is a stupendous affirmation of why bitcoin is needed, is the answer."
I debated back and forth in my mind on whether to engage - or to just let this Tulip Joe go..... and despite my tendencies, decided to go for it. Here's what I wrote in reply (for context, this is a group chat, so there are other folks viewing this discussion going back and forth). This is literally a "copy/paste" of my response:
Supply side - Bitcoin has a limited supply
Demand side for Bitcoin (which has limited hard capped supply)
As for 51% attack concerns, yes - and now we are much further along with the Bitcoin network. It would literally cost billions of dollars ($15 billion I read somewhere?) to make this happen, if one could find and secure all the hardware, and that alone is really difficult to do for even setting up a small mining operation. The chances are becoming more and more slim as the Bitcoin network has matured - case in point, we now have more and more public companies putting their cash reserves into Bitcoin. It's 2020 now, a lot has happened since 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019. There is no other currency that is as sound, as secure, as borderless, deflationary, hardcapped, transparent, immutable, decentralized, nonsovereign (as Travis Kling says often), than Bitcoin. My bet is on the digital future, on technology, and on math.
More on the 51% attack concerns: Think about it in terms of the built-in game theory. In short, it's not in the best interests of the miners to try and spend a shit ton of money to double-spend Bitcoin. They would have to spend a shit ton on equipment, electricity, space to even get a short at rewriting the blockchain. It's like trying to rob the bank for $10 million, after spending $10 million. Makes no sense. The numbers favor all of the people who have an incentive to keep the integrity of the Bitcoin global network is MUCH greater than the number of folks that want to attack it. We saw it - with Bitcoin Cash as the hard fork. That was a critical moment in history and the perfect moment for Bitcoin to have died. It didn't. Bitcoin has only gotten stronger since then.
RE: Bitcoin and tulips. Yea, this is the knock that we hear often from the "peanut gallery, it's a lazy argument intellectually and very misleading" (as I think Pomp would say about the Tulip argument). I heard a lot about tulips in 2017 and especially in 2018. Those were truly hard times for me personally.
[AND THANK GOODNESS FOR HUMANITY that] Bitcoin didn't die in 2018, sorry. Nor in 2019, sorry, or in 2020. Sorry. You're talking about the ATH (all time high, that was just all kinds of crazy speculation thanks to the ICO's) in 2017, it went from $1k to $20k, and then back down to $3k. It's not a good factual representation for anyone that looks at the market holistically. [I've learned recently that] The Bitcoin average across many weeks, 200 weeks is the better metric - [and as we've seen] Bitcoin is a solid investment. Also look at the number of consecutive days that Bitcoin has been (really boring) and just hanging out over $10k in 2020. ----> really that'll show you that Bitcoin has stabilized a lot since the crazy hey day of 2017. [Technology is evolving FAST. 10 years ago, I had turn-by-turn map directions printed out on paper. Today I have Waze on my phone.] As investors, we should care more about the long term. Things go up and down, and in this case, Bitcoin has been trending up, even with its ups and downs. The technology is much more mature. The network is much bigger.
And the timing is also, very right.
One more (the U.S. Dollar versus Bitcoin debate):
I don't know how I did, if all of my facts are straight - they should be close (enough).
Anyways, I'm a believer in Bitcoin, in bitcoin, and in blockchain. This is the future.
Saw this talk by Jimmy Song (and Jimmy Song speak live) for the first time when in LA for Russell Okung's Bitcoin is_ conference. So many concepts and ideas that I hadn't thought about before were introduced - and so provocative. I found the talk, had it transcribed, and am sharing it with you, because it really is so good. A couple of my favorite points that really got me thinking:
Watch the video below from Bitcoin Is_ 's Jimmy Song's talk. So good.
Bitcoin is the Ultimate Social Justice by Jimmy Song
Conference: "Bitcoin is ___"
Speaker: Jimmy Song
Title: Bitcoin is the Ultimate Social Justice
TRANSCRIPTION of above video below here.
Alright, how's everyone doing? I know it's like late afternoon right now. Maybe you're feeling a little bit sleepy, maybe you need to get a little coffee. I won't be offended if you fall asleep or something. I'm okay with that just you know I won't judge you too much. Alright, so my talk is called Bitcoin the ultimate social justice and I deliberately titled it that way as a way to provoke maybe a little bit of a reaction because we have a conception of social justice that I think is very flawed and we're going to talk about exactly in which… actually can you change that to the actual slide. Yeah thank you. Otherwise I'm going to get lost… as the ultimate social justice and this is something that I'm very passionate about and this is the way in which Bitcoin will impact society is absolutely huge. So, what I'm going to do is go through an argument essentially arguing that Bitcoin is going to be better for the cause of social justice than pretty much anything else and we're going to look at the current situation - what things are like right now, how fiat money changes a lot of the incentives, and exactly what incentives people have under a fiat money system. Then we're going to talk about Bitcoin now that changes you know the incentive system and how people behave under a Bitcoin system and then talk about the future and how things will change there.
So let's look at the cause of what's going on and let's sort of try to define at least what social justice is all about. Alright so we have a lot of problems in the world right? We have a lot of people that are poor, some that are rich, and so on. And we also have you know some people that have more opportunities than others we also have other people that have power over you some people that they can abuse and so on. There's a lot of different problems in the world today and the general way in which social justice sort of defines this or sort of attempts to remedy this is by treating essentially the symptom. And the symptom is kind of like the tip of the iceberg, alright? Like there's a lot more that goes into it than just some somebody is suffering. Generally, if you look at any charity or NGO or government program, they're looking to treat the symptom. This means making sure that the people that are going hungry have food or that the people that don't have housing have a place to stay and so on. But that's treating the symptom. The actual problem is underneath and that's what I want to talk about.
So this is the general way in which a lot of NGOs and you know charities and so on, this is how they generally approach the idea of helping people. And you know if you can't read it, it's give a man a fish you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime, create a good tutorial and you can teach himself how to fish. This is sort of the way in which a lot of people that are in these spaces of charity and social justice, that's how they think about it. But I would submit to you that this is not the problem. It's not a problem of information. It is not a problem of information at all. It's not about somebody not knowing how to fish.
Fact the real problem is oppression - it is oppression. People have power over other people and that is the real problem here. And when you have oppression well you can do certain things. It's not that the person that's being oppressed doesn't know how to fish, it’s that he has to apply for a fishing license or has to you know get in with government crony in order to fish at scale. It's that they got taxed on the fish that they catch because that's the current law that happens to exist and that's the real problem. It's not that they don't know. Lots of people know. That is not the problem at all.
So what happens when there are enough people that are oppressed continually and there are more regulations and things like that that happen is that eventually you end up with revolution. This is the most recent thing that happened that's like that is the Arab Spring. I mean Muslim countries where you had Arab Spring, a lot of them were very oppressive. They had so many rules and it gets worse and worse and worse until basically the people explode. It’s gradually then suddenly and all of a sudden something happens. And so you might be wondering, "okay are we always doomed to this kind of cycle where you know you have a revolution and then you have more and more regulation and more and more oppression and then people get sick of it and then they revolt again"? Yes, but things have changed. Bitcoin is something that's new and different and we just heard from Alex who's talking about government surveillance and technology that's used to make people more and more oppressive, but there's also a technology that's taking the power of money printing away from the state. Financial oppression, believe it or not, is the biggest source of oppression that you can have. In many ways, that's what we're going to be talking about going forward.
Alright, so we talked about the current problems and my argument in this section is that the real oppression is easy fiat money - is easy fiat money. Alright, so I don't know how many of you know what this is but these are glass beads and this was used in sub-Saharan Africa for money for a very long time. And in fact it makes sense to be money if you heard Saifedean Ammous's talk - it's about hard money versus easy money. Glass just isn't very abundant in some in Africa so it made sense to use this as money. European settlers came in and they recognized that oh they're using glass for money. We know how to make glass we have glass blowers and we have a plentiful supply. So what did they do? They went, made a whole ton of glass beads, and bought up everything. They bought up everything. They were able to print money essentially as a way to take the wealth of everybody that was depending on that as money. And this has an economic name and it's called the Cantillon effect. And the Cantillon effect is essentially this - the first printers are the money, the people that get to spend the money first, they get all of the benefits of the printing of the money.
And it's something that Richard Cantillon noticed in the 1700s. He used to work as a banker and then you wrote you know some economic treatises, but that's essentially what happens. The thing about the Cantillon effect that's so seductive is that the population doesn't really notice right away. It's very slow. When you're inflating money, when you're adding new money to the population, you don't notice oh this is going to be worthless later. You know it's a very gradual thing and then very sudden. And this has some really pernicious effects including long term uncertainty. And among other things that it does is it increases consumption and rent-seeking. By consumption I mean just like sort of buying things for now alright? Like YOLO or FOMO or whatever. And rent-seeking in the sense that - and the way I define rent-seeking is taxing some transaction without any adding any value and there are plenty of people that do that.
Here's a chart of the health care system in America today and you can notice that the number of physicians has not gone up very much, but the number of administrators has exploded. What is going on? Well there's a lot of money going into the healthcare system and as a result there's a lot more rent seekers - a lot of people that are taxing transactions that aren't really adding anything. Now I could show you a similar chart for education and government and many other organizations, but this is just what happens when you have a lot of money printing. There's no real… there's a lot of people that end up sitting in the middle of transactions making money essentially for doing nothing.
And this has some consequences among others this is the question that gets asked. How do I get a job? And if you know anyone that's unemployed or in college right now, this is the question that they ask - how do I get a job? And if you think about it, this is the wrong question because in a sense it's asking where can I fit right; what rent seeking opportunity can I get? It's not about adding value at all. It's about finding a place in the world where you can survive right? It has a very static view of the world where there's only so much to go around and you need to get your piece - and that is the wrong attitude.
And this has some serious consequences and real social ills that come out of it. Here's a cartoon. I don't know if you can read it but it's sort of from a perspective of a millennial. I don't want much in life, just sick clothes, a bunch of money, convenient restaurant options, free shipping is always nice, and like a sense of purpose I guess. I love this cartoon because it does sort of like capture that mentality, but think about it. If you are a rent seeker in in this economy, what are you going to be thinking about? You're not thinking about changing the world or providing value for the world. You're thinking about all this other stuff and why is that? Well it's because deep down inside you know you are a leech; that you are really stealing from everybody else. And I'm serious about this. There's a lot of people that are going through having to deal with the fact that they are not contributing at all to society. We have epidemic levels of depression. Where do you think that comes from? If deep down inside you know that you are not contributing anything to society well how should you feel? And think about it. There's a lot of other people that when they have that voice inside that's telling them okay you're not really doing anything useful, well they go around and drown that. We have epidemic levels of all kinds of addictions too – alcoholism, drugs, even like TV or getting obsessed with the latest Netflix series, or you know eating or whatever. There's a lot of different addictions that everyone can get into. That causes real social ills. And eventually you get to a situation where you have a lot of run seeking and eventually you collapse.
These are the ruins of Rome right? The Roman civilization famously devalued their money. Diocletian went from 70% silver in a denarii down to like 5% and that caused a lot more rent-seeking that caused a lot more people that weren't doing anything and eventually the whole edifice just sort of crumbled under the weight of all the rent seekers that were out there. So Fiat leads to decay. It's a fundamental part of it.
Alright so why is that? Why does Fiat cause all this? Well there are two ways essentially to make money in any system. The first is to create more of the monetary medium - more of the monetary medium. So with gold or something like that you have to do the hard work of actually mining it. With central bank, they can just print the money and this is actually more expensive than what they do which is update a database that says I have 200 million more dollars. So there's creating more of the monetary medium.
In the second case the other way to make money is to provide goods and services and this is what actually builds civilization. If you're successful with creating a good or service, then you're going to be adding something beneficial to everybody else. It's what they want.
The key thing to realize is that the former does not add anything to society. If you're creating more of the medium of monetary exchange you are not contributing anything. You're not making anything. You're essentially stealing from everyone else through inflation. The latter definitely adds to society because by definition you're doing something better than what's out in the market already. You're doing something faster, more conveniently, more you know securely, or something - you're doing something better than what other people in the market are doing because there's a market for your services. And as a result you're adding to the pie. You're growing the pie. You're making something better. And the key thing to realize is when there's easy money people go towards the former. When there's hard money people go towards the latter.
So when you have easy money for example you want to go into the money production business because the cost of producing that money is very cheap relative to the value that you're going to get out, but when there's hard money only the specialists go in. So if you're… not many of you are probably gold mining right now and that's because you have to be an expert in gold mining in order to be a gold miner and this is actually one of the biggest mistakes that people make when they come into Bitcoin is they think oh I can go print my own money buying miners or something, but in fact it turns out that only the real specialists can make money off of mining. And this is really terrible because think about where people have been going… where the best, smartest, and most talented individuals have been going into for the last 50 years? They've been going into investment banking, right? And they go into it not because they happen to be talented in investment banking, they go into it because that's where the margins are. That's where they can make the most profit. It's much easier to be an investment banker and make 300 million dollars a year than to create a three-billion-dollar company and keep three hundred million dollars for yourself. That's the reality that we are living in is that because of easy money everyone is motivated to go towards that direction and that's a real tragedy. That's how civilization gets built and hopefully this picture comes up.
Alright, so I was born in Seoul, Korea and I found this nice picture of the contrast between then and now. See, 1900 it was kind of a backwater Asian place and after you know a 120 years later you have this thriving city that you have now. That happens because you have a lot of entrepreneurs, because you have people building things, that are creating things for the benefit of others. In a way, they're creating goods and making the world better and they get to profit - that's the beauty of capitalism.
So let's talk about the new system right? Because we're are under a fiat money system well how is that going to change? The revolution is Bitcoin and the revolution comes in from the fact that we have property rights. We have control over our own money right now. If you have money in a bank account the government can confiscate it from you. They can accuse you of being a drug dealer or using it for terrorism or something like that. Even if you have money under your mattress, they can just inflate it away. They can print another eight hundred billion dollars to different investment banks or something like that. We don't have property rights over our money, but with Bitcoin we do. We can take the power of money printing away from the state and as a result we have a lot more long-term certainty because we can save for the future. A lot of people think that capitalism is like materialism or something like that. It's this idea you know I got the sickest car or something like that. That is not it at all. Capitalism is about capital accumulation. It is about creating more so you can you can make even more money and continue to benefit society. In fact, production and entrepreneurship are exactly what happens in a in a hard money civilization because most people aren't going towards investment banking or the money production business. They start using their talents towards something else. They start giving people what they want. And this increases production, increases value for everybody. There's a really good illustration in Saifedean's book which I'll repeat here, but at one point in time people used to catch fish with their hands and it would take… maybe you can catch only like one or two fish a day by trying to catch with your hands. At some point somebody decided okay you know what I'll catch an extra fish and sort of half star for a day and I will make a fishing pole and using a fishing pole - that's capital accumulation - they can maybe catch four fish a day and then doing that for about a week, you can save up, take another week to make a boat. Now maybe you hire somebody to drive the boat while you go fish. You get better and better productivity out of people as you have more creativity and entrepreneurship to the point where we are today where we have a, you know, a fishing vessel takes like five years to build cost millions of dollars but you have eight people on that ship and they can catch hundreds of thousands of fish in a week. That's real productivity; that's real entrepreneurship; that's real value that the rest of civilization gets to have.
Anyway the pertinent question that people ask in this case is not how do I get a job; it's what do people want. And this is the right question it isn't about finding your place in a rent-seeking society. It is about what value can I bring to other people and this is absolutely critical for entrepreneurship. I'm speaking to you right now as a speaker, as an author and stuff like that, but for the first years of my life I was a coder. I was a programmer. Think anyone ever paid me to go speak in front of people or to write a book? Not a chance. Those are things that I had inside of me that I didn't realize I could use for that sort of stuff but being an entrepreneur, being a producer, I was able to see ok well that's something that I can do. In a Fiat money society, what you end up with are very specific roles right if a company hires you to be an accountant that's all you can really be. They don't hire you to also be a publicist or something like that not unless you're in a start-up. But it's much more fulfilling to be an entrepreneur in part because you get to use all of who you are instead of this narrow slice that's defined by the company. And that's something that hard money allows and Bitcoin is the path to get there because that takes the power of money printing from the state and that makes it very difficult to go into the money production business eliminating a lot of rent-seeking.
Anyway, let's examine what that actually means and what that actually looks like. So one of the things that's really scary about Bitcoin is that you know ownership is pretty scary. This is a cartoon you can probably look at it later. It's about somebody that newly bought a house and you know doesn't think that he's ready for a home ownership. Fact of the matter is were not used to the personal responsibility that Bitcoin requires. There's a lot of people that you know… like even Bitcoin core developers, if they have to move their Bitcoins, they get really nervous. Why? Because it's scary having to handle a lot of money right, where it might be permanently lost. Everything is centralized in a sense to take away that fear of having to move or be responsible for a lot of money and that's convenient right because you don't want to lose money to a bank robber or something like that where if you had like a gold bar in your house and it gets taken away from you all your savings disappear. That's kind of scary, but at the same time, we've lost something we've lost something as a civilization as a result of all that centralizing of responsibility and it's this idea of personal responsibility. See when you have personal responsibility, it helps because you start caring about the thing that you're responsible for you. You want to make it grow. And you know those of you that are parents, you kind of understand what that means. A lot of it is helping the thing that you're in charge of. And when you do that it leads to a lot of good things because when you have long term certainty, when you're when you're thinking about ownership and you you're used to the responsibility, now you can set goals and have a purpose, and that in turn leads to a lot of building. And instead of the sort of the rent seeking job that you might have where your soul is telling you, you are not doing anything good, when you are producing something for the rest of civilization that is beneficial, it's much easier to get up in the morning. It's much easier to live and know that you are contributing something. You don't have to drown yourself in alcohol or drugs or sugar or whatever it is that you might be addicted to. It becomes something different. And that is the future that we want to have with Bitcoin.
And really the key here is that we have a path to a peaceful revolution. It used to be that history was you know just a regime that would get more and more authoritarian until there was a revolution. That's like one view, kind of cynical view of history, but now with Bitcoin we have the ability to decentralize the power. See a lot of the social justice advocates, what they think about is okay if only my guy were in charge, things would be different. If only my guy were there, then everything would be okay. That's the wrong problem. It's still centralized power. With Bitcoin, we can start taking some of that power back and give it to ourselves. And as a result, all of the rent seekers that are propped up, we walk off the platform that goes away naturally and that's a very good thing. We don't want waste in our society. I love this picture because it has the Statue of Liberty which stands for freedom in the foreground and you have all these buildings that are built by big banks in the background.
The prosperity that the U.S. experienced in the 19th century versus the 20th century are profoundly different. 19th century we were under a hard money standard and a lot of stuff was built during that era. The 20th century, it was mostly because of the dollar hegemony. It was the result of the dollar being the world standard and being able to use that to gain a lot of wealth from other countries. And thinking about the 19th century, there is a really cool phrase that's part of why I wear the cowboy hat.
The phrase is, “Go west young man. Go west young man.” Now they were saying this not just to people that wanted to you know pan for gold or something like that. They were saying this to nearly everybody because say you are like 22 years old, maybe you're a new baker or a barrister or you know cobbler, whatever. The thing is, if you stayed on the East Coast, you would have to compete against everybody else that was a cobbler or a baker or a barrister and it would be very difficult because they had like 20 - 30 years’ experience on you. How are you going to compete against those people? They already had the clientele and everything. Well if you went out West, what happened? There weren't that many bakers or cobblers or barristers and you could make a lot more of yourself very quickly that way. Bitcoin gives us a new frontier. Bitcoin gives us a new frontier and it makes all of this happen a lot faster. And ultimately, this is why I think that a lot of social justice people have the wrong conception of human value. It isn't that we're not feeding them or housing them or clothing them - that's not the tragedy. Yeah it is a tragedy that's people are starving or don't have homes or don't have clothes or don't have you know freedoms and so on. That isn't the real tragedy. The real tragedy is that these people aren't contributing to civilization. The real tragedy of the starving African child isn't that the child is starving - I mean that's a tragedy too - the real tragedy is that that child has no chance to express their creativity, entrepreneurship, and inventiveness by contributing to civilization and creating something that none of us have thought before by creating businesses, by making something better - that's the real tragedy of centralized power is that it oppresses so many people so that we don't get to benefit from the tremendous human capital that already exists out in the world. By bringing sound money back through Bitcoin, that is the ultimate social justice.
I just read The Profile by Polina Marinova Pompliano (see above photo) and "Words and Character" do not carry enough weight these days. By the way, I highly recommend subscribing to The Profile, if you haven't yet. I was a fan when she did the Term Sheet at Fortune Magazine - and continue to be a fan. Today's Profile Dossier is on Hugh Jackman. I love this actor... and after reading about him today, I love him even more.
At the end of the article, there is a list of "techniques to try".... and one of them really hit a chord with me. Big deep one that's been on my mind a lot recently.
Keep your word even if it doesn’t benefit you: The most important lesson that Jackman’s father taught him was that promises are sacred. His dad taught him to always stay true to his word — even if it turns out there’s a better option or something will benefit him more. “If you get an invitation to go across the road to your mate’s place for dinner, and then an hour later, you get an invitation from the queen of England to go to Buckingham Palace, you stick by your first one,” Jackman says. “You always keep your word.” This, Jackman believes, is the only way you become a trustworthy human.
From about 2007 to about 2015, I had a really good friend. We met through salsa dancing and I remember just being so moved by the fresh energy and zest for life she used to carry. She's off the charts amazing as a dancer too - I'd often sit on the side watching her. She had a way of dancing that was so detailed and natural - it was like watching an exotic car move effortlessly in a sea of Toyotas and Hondas. Beautiful. I tend to just fall in love with the people I bring into my life - and perhaps I put them on a pedestal too. Wonderful treasures of laughter, hugs, memories, and more.
We went to each other's weddings. Our friends became her friends, and vice versa.
Then it started (again). I'm not sure if it's me. It's happened several times now where since I'm the only thing common, I can't help but think it's me. Maybe I'm not good enough. Maybe I'm just not that interesting. Maybe no one really wants to be friends with me in the first place. Am I even worth anyone's time? It's a downward spiral of sadness, and self-pity.
We'd be making plans to visit San Francisco, and of course, I'd send a note to my usual favorite friends to see while there. I'm usually an introvert and seek more of those intimate conversations with family/friends. Only if time is truly limited, I'll throw everyone into one big dinner or drinks...
She was on this list of friends I truly enjoyed seeing. The first time it happened, we were supposed to meet for a drink at happy hour. Then about an hour before, she was tired so wanted to push it to later. It became a dinner plan. Then around dinner, it became dessert. Then around dessert time, it became after dinner drinks... then late night drinks... then the next day.
My husband also thought it was weird. We brushed it off the first few times as oh well, the timing must have been difficult... oh bummer, they must be really busy... ...
Words and Character. Shouldn't they mean something?
Then on subsequent attempts on following trips to San Francisco, plans would be made and broken again and again. And the questions of, who else is going to be there? Is anyone else going to be meeting up with us? ... Is there anyone notable that she would miss meeting if she didn't come out to meet up with me? ...
It just was not working out. I suppose I could have confronted her candidly about what I was experiencing. Then again, the relationship at that point now had a giant chasm of doubt in between. I did not trust that I knew anything about her anymore. The character and values that are so important to me didn't seem to match. Then I had to make a conscious decision and remove her from my mental list of folks that I wanted to see, and/or wanted to see me... I took it as perhaps I'm just not that exciting enough for her. Perhaps not beautiful enough. Perhaps not influential enough. Just not enough - and perhaps most definitely, we're not a fit for each other anymore. It was causing me so much heartache so I quietly went a different direction.
Experiences where family and friends don't keep their word puts a dent in the trust tree. Words and Character - they should mean something. Put enough dents into the trunk of the tree and it'll fall down and die. Perhaps it stems from a childhood trauma - like so many of these things we think are unique in our adult lives.... I used to run home every day hoping to see my father after school. He was never there.... and then only once he was there standing behind the front screen door when I got home.
And then, he was never there again.
Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. Tapping my shoulders.
Sharing some of the great work we're doing as the Cascadia Blockchain Council. Enjoy!
When it comes to blockchain, what it is, its use cases, and the industries using it, there’s a lot of information out there. You can admit it: maybe you feel mystified by blockchain technology.
Rest assured you’re not alone. While it’s true that blockchain gets a high volume of media coverage, that doesn’t mean it’s being written about clearly, comprehensively, or even accurately. No standard definition of blockchain exists globally, creating confusion and often misinformation that obscures this emerging technology’s legitimacy. This can hinder the policymaking process, deter investors, and generally leave the massive potential of blockchain technology untapped.
This past one (1) year, I've learned a lot. October 2018 to October 2019, I've learned an incredible amount about me, my relationships, recovering from significant challenges, the meaning of life, and much more:
Want the abbreviated version of what I've learned this past year? The summary is that the magic key ingredient to everything is empathy. Most of us are trying to make a mark, to do something with life, and to be a good valuable member of the community. Sometimes, a person may get wrapped up in the chaos they are in and respond too quickly. Another time, a person may poke a bear a little too hard with a stick that is too sharp and prickly. Emotions are real - and it's very important to not let the emotions get the best of us. Don't forget to breathe and find empathy.
My last post was my best 3 AM attempt to synthesize all of the voices and put into one holistic map of what’s going on locally in Seattle. We as humans, myself included, are bombarded with noise all day long - the billboard signs, the yard signs, the Facebook and Twitter feeds, emails, and yes, even getting unsolicited text messages from candidates (not cool = Tammy Morales). It’s increasingly difficult to find that quiet thinking time. It’s very difficult to figure out who has what incentives, why are they pushing a particular candidate (or not), and what is most important for me and my community.
My last post upset some people - even upset some friends. Hopefully, we can disagree and still like each other.
Here are five additional thoughts on the topic of Ari Hoffman and Civic Discourse:
We are all human. Likely, we all want the same things for ourselves and each other. Let’s start there, in the name of humanity -- and then work to figure out the details, the different approaches and ideas, and get there, together.
Video of Women in Blockchain that was made for the Blockchain NW conference here in Seattle on September 10-11, 2018.
" I'm excited because the more opportunities where we can bring thought leaders, people that are really active in the technology space in Seattle. You know that Seattle is the hub for cloud technologies, artificial intelligence, which means we are at the hub of technologies when it comes to the digital evolution with cloud, devices, mobile, machine learning, data data data, which is the heart of blockchain. So it's gonna be really exciting to bring all of these thought leaders, have us trade notes, build those relationships and work together in building the new future." --Arry
Making decisions whilst drowning in ambiguity and chaos.
Yes - that describes what it's like to be a founder and CEO of a startup. That also describes what it's like to do a tokensale, an ICO, or anything in this new complex-business model blockchain "stuff".
Making decisions whilst drowning in ambiguity and chaos holding a newborn baby in one hand and the Empire State Building in the other hand while balancing on a tight rope standing completely buck naked in front of the mob in a crowded stadium.
That's more like what life has been like the past 12 months and continues to be like for me personally. It's surreal. Time is moving both so slowly and at "warp" speeds at the same time. Most of the time when I'm in a meeting, I am constantly having this "out-of-body" experience that allows me to walk around in the room mentally, while at the same time sitting in the chair and experiencing the meeting firsthand. Surreal. Sometimes my ghost body gets "stuck" in the physical body, where I'm trapped, blind, and suffocating.
There are also many times when it's just really tough. Working with white spaces and green companies, we don't usually have a playbook of best practices to look to. We don't have a board (of advisors or investors) to turn to on speed dial that can provide wisdom and a sounding board. And when a company is growing so fast moving through the stages of its evolution in weeks and months, rather than years - without realizing it, many of the things that a company does actually is setting precedent for its future. Forever.
In moments of really tough decisions, I play the scenario in my head over and over and over. It's me on professional judgment day. I'm standing before a jury of my professional heroes and heroines like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Meg Whitman, Peter Thiel, Ben Horowitz, Steven Sinofsky, Mary Barra, Sarah Imbach, Jeffrey Friedberg, and many more. It's really important to me that I can look at myself in the mirror, and also picture myself standing before the jury of heroes and heroines. I look for "defensible", logical, and figuring out what is the real intent of the decision that makes sense - and then look to what kind of precedent that it will set for the forever future for our employees, our culture, our advisors, our communities, ... and most importantly, our society. Humanity.
And so, that is the state of where I am today - mentally standing before the professional jury.
And fighting daily to find "space". Got tips?
Group gifting trivia from the world of GiftStarter:
My heart hurts. A lot. To say goodbye.
I pushed and pulled and fought as hard as I could to create something out of nothing. I met some very talented and inspiring people along the way. Thousands to people were part of this journey, and I could not have gotten anywhere as far as we did without everyone.
In the end, the 10 big lessons for 2014-2018 are...
Knowing when to walk away.
Spring to Summer of 2016 was really hard. I thought I could be superwoman, having just given birth to my Lentil - that with the help of my awesome team, we could pull through this together. Deep post partum depression. I spent the summer of 2016 in a deep depression. Deep despair. My husband often had to peel my salty existence off the floor and into bed. I did not feel like I even deserved to be alive. I often thought the world, my husband, Lentil, everyone would be better off without me. A waste of space. Unworthy of the air I took in. I looked at the sweet innocent face of Lentil and would end up crying because I felt I did not deserve to be his mother.
My advisors and investors starting sitting down to give me the "talk" in 2016. They told me it was okay - to close it down and give them the write-off. They told me to get going on the next startup because that one was the one they wanted in on. I tried for one last hurrah in the fall of 2016, with my "AJ" by my side (thanks to my investors, especially Rudy, for giving me that one last swing at the ball). Fall of 2016 was not the season of generosity and giving. Power was changing hands - and the air was filled with emotions between the Clinton versus the Trump camps.
January - March 2017 I spent most of it on the verge of tears or crying my face off or finding a place to belong. I'd be fine, and then while brushing my teeth with my husband in the bathroom, I'd tear up. Standing in the kitchen I'd tear up. I tried to get "out there" and involved in the community to pick up my spirits. I tried to do this "Red Scarf" thing which was all about giving it forward to another woman entrepreneur. I spent a bit of time doing office hours. I put together events. I volunteered to help the Riveter launch. I did consulting on the side. I advised any startup that came our way. I really wanted to help this tiny little startup company called CakeCodes (which later became Storm and one I am part of today).
And here we are. May 2018. I should really have called it quits back in the Winter of 2015/Spring of 2016. I definitely should have in the Summer of 2016. I absolutely should have sometime in 2017. It is now officially May. We are in the first week of May 2018 and I am finally officially and publicly - calling it done.
Hope this post helps someone out there. If you ever want to talk, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. It is so lonely being an entrepreneur, a founder, in startups, being a founder CEO, raising funds, doing the grind, having employees, figuring out how to be a mom as a founder, all of it. The emotional depression and the depth of despair that one experiences is so great, I wonder how many of us are suffering silently.
Hugs to you out there trying to change the world.
Coffee & Catch Up.
That's the title of so many messages I've received over the past 6 months, from all kinds of people. People I know very well, people I'm acquainted with, people that haven't connected with me in over a decade, and lots of random folks.
At first, (since I was feeling more like a helpful advising socialite between January and April 2017), it was really nice. I tried to do at least one a day. I felt like that was a good way to stay in touch and/or meet new people.
But then... it got out of hand really fast. Coffee & Catch Up turns out to be code for, "I want something from you."
And now, when I see various folks write those messages that say, "No, I don't check nor respond to LinkedIn messages." --> I get it. I'm now officially, 62,003 messages UNread in my inbox. How's that possible? Did you know people will auto-subscribe people to all kinds of update emails? I'm now asking my VA to manually unsubscribe me from anything that's not an actual email to me.
I sit down for a quick sync with an investor, and then you get question after question about, "what coins should I buy now?", "I think I want to do an ICO, too", "will you advise my friend's startup that wants to do an ICO?", or hey, "I think I deserve to get paid more, in ETH or STORM Tokens please".
Advice? Be upfront and fast. 1) Hi, I want ____ from you, and 2) I can be valuable to you by ____. Interested? Coffee & Catch Up is just way too generic and passive. I still believe people want to help each other, just don't make the person you're asking for help from think too much. Make it easy to give.