Everything's Changed, Not Everyone Realizes
Crazy times. Feels impossible to keep up, I can't imagine what it would be like to also answer to an employer.
For a while I was seeing doctors about pain. They'd invariably ask "on a scale of 1-10, what's your pain?" and would be shocked if I replied "eight or nine". The thing is, what feels like a five on day one, feels like 55 by year 3.
[on the pain scale] what feels like a five on day one, feels like a 55 by year 3... companies aren't accounting for how long the pandemic disruption has gone on for when they think about "hybrid work" or returning to the office.
This is what's happening with the pandemic. Some 15 months of insanity, and companies are expecting employees to flip a switch and return to the office. The pandemic is over, maybe, but we haven't healed.
Perhaps more importantly, employees have tasted a different way of living and may not be all that willing to make decisions with the same narrow priorities and values that they have in the past.
It reminds me of one of the funniest corporate email responses I ever read. A coworker (let's call him Dave) had emailed about some product we were working on, and got a response a month later from someone. Dave's reply started "A lot's changed in 30 days...".
A lot's changed in 15 months, not much of it good for employers. I look forward to watching this play out as companies expect employees to return to the office.
One might (correctly) say, corporate America has become my favorite spectator sport.
I once broke my thumb in the middle of a match. I had a teammate tape my hand in the shape of a fist so I could finish the competition.
Another time, my eyeball was bleeding and I surely had a concussion. I had the medic examine my eye a little longer than he otherwise might, so I could figure out how to stand up, and went back in to win the match... and the tournament.
Then there was that time I literally sucked the last bit of gas out of my tanks because I couldn't find my buddy underwater. I knew exactly how much I needed to breathe to survive and wasn't giving up one breath sooner.
But you get the point.
I'm telling you this because these trials by fire prepared me for last week's crypto market.
I'll tell you the same thing I told anyone who texted me: If you're buying the quality stuff (bitcoin, ethereum, celsius) you're going to be OK.
It's cliche. It's hard to believe it's really happening. But we're watching the same thing that happened with the internet in the 1999-2000 timeframe. This really is new. I have no idea how it will play out. But, it will change everything over the long arc of time.
Which means, it's a good time to keep dollar cost averaging in and learning about the underlying technology (if that's your thing). Ignoring it is like retail ignoring e-commerce in 2001.
Which would be dumb.
Here's an interesting thread explaining why you should run your own bitcoin node:
This is a question I've had, because I'm interested in building a node with the kiddos to teach them, but I didn't understand why people do it. This thread helped me understand why.
Tangent: Tech Messaging
Separately, if you look at the Umbrel website you'll see that they never answer the why. They explain what you can do, but forget the why. This is why tech messaging is so hard. The people who create the messaging are often too smart for their own good.
There's another interesting thing happening with last week's downturn. Money coming out of the "coins" that people sell is not going back to fiat, but rather is being held as stablecoins. That means money's not leaving the crypto/digital system even when people divest their specific holdings.
Why? Maybe because you can earn 10% or more parking your digital dollars as stablecoins, when your bank pays you less than 1% (or requires you to pay them in places like Europe where intrest rates have gone negative).
To learn more about stablecoins, read these 10 stablecoin preditions by Caitlin Long, someone who really knows what she's talking about.
Oh, and in case you're not one of the cool kids, the diamond hands meme is meant to indicate people who hold their crypto without any intention to ever sell.
Work: The Future is Upon Us
Back to the future of work. Gumroad is an interesting case study. Perhaps extreme, but worth paying attention to how they're doing things. Three bits caught my eye from this writeup on how Gumroad works:
- "Today, working at Gumroad resembles working on an open source project like Rails. Except it’s neither open source, nor unpaid."
- "Everyone writes well, and writes a lot."
- "Instead of setting quarterly goals or using OKRs, we move towards a single north star: maximizing how much money creators earn."
That last point is probably impossibly simplistic for a very large company... but I believe we're moving away from large companies, at least for a lot of the work younger and better educated people aspire to do.
Not everything will look like Gumroad though. Here's another example of an individual taking ownership of their career. This person didn't start with any special advatage, and though he's in the crypto space, he's not someone I'm in particular alignment with... but he is successful in his own special way.
Portfolio School, NYC
If you're in NYC and thinking about these things for your kids and their future, join the Portfolio School's info session on Sunday June 6th at 3PM. They have spots for Fall '21 and Fall '22. Our kids couldn't be more excited to make the switch. In fact, when we told them about it, their response was:
If this is a dream, don't wake me because this is too good to be true.
Let's skate to where the puck is going together.
I read a ton, share a lot, but wasn't convinced that I add much value when sharing the topics I follow broadly. That was, until I read a story about Shaggy and It Wasn't Me. The song was discovered by a DJ (a music curator) and only became popular because of that DJ.
With that, here's some interesting stuff I've read recently:
- I wrote a post about the apps students are creating to express their own intrests through the skills they need to gain employment:
- A quick tip for those providing Mac tech support to family members: You can use iMessage to screenshare:
- Who knew PCs would be interesting again? The Apple M1 chip has changed things, and as always I'm very curious to see how this plays out because few can compete with Apple's integrated stack. Apple's M1 Macs feel faster because they own the stack, and can do things others can't. Should you still buy Apple stock? Strong yes.
- I bought some Roblox the first day I was able to (March 10th, 2021). Mostly because I'm fascinated by how the kids collaborate while playing. The stock is doing well, up ~25% since then. Here's the awesome Ben Thompson on Roblox:
- I was first introduced to LiDAR decades ago when learning more about cave diving. Who knew it would ever become mainstream?! In any case, here are some cool photos from the Paris Catacombs (click on the twitter thread below to see some photos, I think the photos may not show properly if you receive this post in email).
- Many of you are the types of people who look for ways to improve your craft. Or, like a friend I was with over the weekend, is at a company just different enough from the big enteprise software companies where you can borrow best practices from the freelance/entrepreneur market. I thought you'd find this piece by my friend Chris Lema interesting: