Insights

Stop preparing for the last disaster

When something goes wrong, we often strive to be better prepared if the same thing happens again. But the same disasters tend not to happen twice in a row. A more effective approach is simply to prepare to be surprised by life, instead of expecting the past to repeat itself. If we want to become…
Read more

Idea generation

The best ideas are fragile; most people don’t even start talking about them at all because they sound silly. Perhaps most of all, you want to be around people who don’t make you feel stupid for mentioning a bad idea, and who certainly never feel stupid for doing so themselves. Stay away from people who…
Read more

The hacker who saved the internet

At 22, he single-handedly put a stop to the worst cyberattack the world had ever seen. Then he was arrested by the FBI. This is his untold story. AT AROUND 7 am on a quiet Wednesday in August 2017, Marcus Hutchins walked out the front door of the Airbnb mansion in Las Vegas where he had…
Read more

The new economics of chess

Notice how well Magnus Carlsen understands reputation and internet production. He keeps on posting “Banter Blitz” videos on YouTube, which show him playing speed chess on-line and commenting on the games as they proceed. He dramatically expanded the supply of chess tournaments, which he earns income from. He already was “the scarce factor,” and he…
Read more

A look at SoftBank Vision Fund I

A detailed analysis with lots of background infos. On May 18th, 2020, SoftBank announced that it recorded losses of more than $17 Bn in the Vision Fund for the fiscal year that ended on March 31st, representing one of the largest write-downs in private equity fund history. An incredible 47 investments, representing 64% of the…
Read more

How to be extraordinary (or not)

We’re constantly encouraged to become extraordinary. It’s all over the internet. It’s what makes up today’s pop culture. And it’s the bane of the self help industry. Over and over we’re sold this ridiculous idea that we’re all somehow destined to do our own big great thing. We’re all made of something special and all…
Read more

The sickness in our food supply

“It’s long been understood that an industrial food system built upon a foundation of commodity crops like corn and soybeans leads to a diet dominated by meat and highly processed food. Most of what we grow in this country is not food exactly, but rather feed for animals and the building blocks from which fast…
Read more

The art of being alone

Loneliness has more to do with our perceptions than how much company we have. It’s just as possible to be painfully lonely surrounded by people as it is to be content with little social contact. Some people need extended periods of time alone to recharge, others would rather give themselves electric shocks than spend a…
Read more

Maria Konnikova teaches how to play poker

Maria Konnikova, who gave a pop-up lecture on poker, has a new book coming out next called The Biggest Bluff. I had an advance copy and wanted to share a passage on learning. “Most real-world environments are … “wicked”: there’s a mismatch between action and feedback because of external noise. Activities with elements of surprise, uncertainty, the…
Read more

Another “interesting” profile of Peter Thiel

Michael Gibson still remembers his first day working for Peter Thiel. Like many of Thiel’s hires, he’d met the contrarian investor through several of the PayPal founder’s variously eccentric political ventures. A onetime self-described “unemployed writer in L.A.,” who’d left a doctoral program in philosophy at Oxford, Gibson had met Thiel through his work at…
Read more