astukari Newsletter #66 - Crazy New Ideas

Hi friends,

I’ve made a couple of changes to the website, which you may be interested in. Firstly, I’ve updated my Books page to have links to Amazon and Gumroad for all of my works thus far. I plan to expand beyond Amazon and Gumroad in the future, but I figure this hits about 95% of the audience. Second, I’ve added my Publications page (a bit of a misnomer) which contains some longer form Google docs of content I’ve discussed before in the blog. And, lastly, my Reading List now has Amazon links to most of the books (I still haven’t updated the most recent ones, whoops). Anyway, enough of that stuff — let’s do #66.

Try a mystery article!

🔨What I’ve Been Making

Conscience Questions, Unchristianized Edition - I’m a big proponent of spirituality. I think a lot of the benefits (primarily for mental health) are real and have true scientific backing. That being said, there is… uh… a large body of literature that gives valid arguments against religion. So, for my friends that are diehard Unchristians out there, here is a more palatable spirituality exercise that is based on content produced by a Catholic web publication.

On Being You - Anyone who’s read my work on the Ubermensch concept (click that Publications link above if you’re unfamiliar!) knows that the statement “be yourself” is a lot more complicated than it seems to imply. Here’s an article that goes over some of the challenges of trying to be you.

[For those who prefer audio, there are now video summaries for Art as Inspiration, Free to Play Models, and Making Mistakes Post Internet]

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📚What I’ve Been Reading

Bitcoin Network Effects - This newsletter is going to be very crypto-themed. I apologize in advance. Anyway, this article goes over how cryptoassets build momentum — their essential lifeblood.

The Slow Death of a Firm - I believe there was a similar article to this a few episodes back, but I really can’t overstate the value of this point. One of the biggest advantages of crypto is that it makes the traditional concept of the corporation obsolete. You can do the exact same thing as a business, except 1) it is immediately gathering public funding, as a publically traded asset, and 2) it is owned by no one (!).

On Value, Velocity, and Monetary Theory - The main value of this article, I found, is less in the discussion of cryptoasset valuation and more in the insight that value is easier to parse given stricter standards. This has big ramifications for investing. For example, pre-GAAP US Stocks were a lot harder to value, making value investing them quite difficult yet quite lucrative. This is how Buffett, Klarman, and others made a bulk of their profits. But then time goes on, things get more strict, more people get into the game… and all of a sudden, everyone knows value. The stocks don’t become mispriced, because the SEC has made them too hard to misprice! So now you look at the big winners of today, and realize they aren’t coming from stocks — they’re coming from VCs and crypto, which have that value opacity.

The Furry Lisa, CryptoArt, & The New Economy Of Digital Creativity - Ah, how could I have a crypto-dedicated episode without discussing NFTs? For full disclosure, out of all of the blockchain use-cases, the idea of NFTs is pretty low on my list of “breakthrough potential”. Still Belsky’s comments here are easily the best bullish argument for NFTs I have seen.

Crazy New Ideas - And here is your one non-crypto article for this biweek. Although it is by Paul Graham, so if you don’t like Hivemind I guess you’re shit outta luck. Jokes aside I think Graham’s equation of “crazy sounding + reasonable person + domain expert” for a high-quality crazy idea is something to consider.