The weekend is here! Pour yourself a mug of Goose Hollow coffee, grab a seat by the pond, and get ready for our longer form weekend reads:
• Revenge Of The Winklevii After losing an epic battle with Mark Zuckerberg over ownership of Facebook and being shunned in Silicon Valley, CAMERON and TYLER WINKLEVOSS are back—this time as budding Bitcoin billionaires at the center of the future of money, the creative economy and quite possibly a new operating model for Big Tech itself. A dozen years after they settled with Zuckerberg for $65 million in Facebook stock and cash, the Winklevii, as they are widely known, have emerged as leaders of a technological movement whose core operating principle involves digitizing the records of all assets globally, decentralizing control and cutting out gatekeepers—including Facebook.(Forbes)
• Citadel Gets the Spotlight: With banks hobbled by new regulation after the financial crisis, Citadel Securities became a major force in trading. But the GameStop episode that revealed the firm’s huge role in U.S. listed markets has attracted the attention of politicians and regulators. Citadel Securities rode a 2020 retail trading surge to a record $6.6 billion in revenue, almost double its previous high. And if the meme stock frenzy is any indication, 2021 revenue may be a lot higher. (Bloomberg)
• We Good Now? A Dror Poleg x Not Boring Collaboration on WeWork as a Public Company This is the WeWork enigma. It has done some truly mind-blowingly impressive things while burning mountains of money. If it weren’t for some huge unforced errors, it would have gone public at a valuation near $50 billion way back in 2019, before COVID supersized remote work valuations. It rode a positive narrative to the moon, and came crashing down when the narrative flipped. (Not Boring)
• Why Animals Don’t Get Lost Birds do it. Bees do it. Learning about the astounding navigational feats of wild creatures can teach us a lot about where we’re going. Each of these strategies requires one or more biological mechanisms, which is where the science of animal navigation gets interesting—because, to have a sense of direction, a given species might also need to have, among other faculties, something like a compass, something like a map, a decent memory, the ability to keep track of time, and an information-rich awareness of its environment. (New Yorker)
• Attempting the Impossible: Are you building a business or practicing your craft? The distinction between an investment practice and investment business: A business gives to the customer what they want. The manager creates a product to fill a need. A practice, like a medical or law practice, is there to give a client what they need. (Neckar’s Notes)
• Welcoming Our New Robot Overlords How warnings of AI doom gave way to primal fear of primates posting: Since the 2016 presidential election, fears about machine dystopia do not seem like nearly such a preoccupation. Instead, attention has shifted to online radicalization, misinformation, and harassment. Tech critics ultimately place the blame for these online dysfunctions on software that encourages toxic behavior and on companies’ lax moderation policies. Fear of machine revolt has morphed into generic fear about out-of-control algorithms that, among other things, fuel hatred, fear, and suspicion online. (New Atlantis)
• Why The Republican Party Isn’t Rebranding After 2020 Despite losing the White House and Senate in 2020, and thus being totally swept out of power in Washington, there’s been no official “autopsy” or widespread consideration of appointing new leaders or anything else. In the period after the 1988 presidential election, the Republican Party has lost the popular vote in all but one presidential race (2004). It has lost three of the last four presidential elections and allowed itself to be dominated by former President Donald Trump, who was twice impeached for breaking with democratic values. But it is moving forward like none of that really happened. (FiveThirtyEight)
• Myanmar’s internet suppression: In Myanmar, the junta’s intensifying crackdowns on protesters in the street are mirrored by its rising restrictions online. Governments around the world are increasingly using internet restrictions during political crises as a tool to limit free expression and hide human rights abuses, according to data from the digital rights organization Access Now. The U.N. Human Rights Council has condemned such intentional disruptions as a human rights violation. (Reuters)
• Jerry Seinfeld — A Comedy Legend’s Systems, Routines, and Methods for Success Looking back at my whole life, starting about second or third grade, it was all this inexorable march towards this pursuit of the comedy arts. There was nothing else about comedy. (Tim Ferriss Show)
• The world is fast. Bad Brains are faster. It seems absurd that a book like “Think and Grow Rich” had any kind of formative influence over a developing punk scene skeptical of capitalism, spirituality and the notion of hope in general, but everything about Bad Brains seemed to defy the odds. Written during the Great Depression by failed businessman Napoleon Hill, the book offered techniques for amassing personal wealth through positive thinking, and its success as perennial bestseller helped to establish the entire concept of American self-help — an optimism industry that Barbara Ehrenreich meticulously debunks in her 2009 book “Bright-Sided: How Positive Thinking is Undermining America.” Ehrenreich describes “Think and Grow Rich” as one of the “classics of self-delusion” designed to “harness the subconscious mind to conscious greed.”(Washington Post)
Be sure to check out our Masters in Business interview this weekend with John Schlifske, CEO of Northwestern Mutual. The firm underwrites over $2 trillion in life insurance, with $200 billion in client assets. Schlifske joined Northwestern Mutual in 1987 as an investment specialist, and climbed through the ranks, becoming CEO 11 years ago. The firm announced a record $6.2 billion dividend in 2021.
Streaming Drives Global Music Industry Resurgence
To learn how these reads are assembled each day, please see this.