Owls, Names, Risk

I have officially stepped into a CSM role at ReadMe! It’s wonderful. I particularly like

  • the small, friendly, fun team dynamics
  • a people-first company culture that generously encourages healthy work-life harmony
  • an awesome product accompanied by a rock-solid, positive-sum business strategy.

The company is growing! We’re especially keen on finding

  • our first recruiter
  • engineers
  • head of customer support.

Let me know if you’re interested, or if you have any connections who might be!

In other news, I’ve begun obsessing over Namebase this past week, in part due to an awesome interview featuring Tieshun (correct pronunciation: tee-ay-shun).

Tieshun an amazing and articulate human. He and cofounder Anthony are good personal friends.

I also happen to believe that Handshake is one of the best applications of the blockchain to date. It has a serious shot at transforming the internet.

So this will very likely turn out to be my $10k side project for the year…and perhaps much more than that…

Which brings us to risk. It’s part of each decision we make.

Understanding risk is akin to understanding what matters, and how to act on that. It’s a kind of super-charged common sense. Think Warren Buffett.

What’s stopping you from spending an hour learning about Namebase and Handshake?

From purchasing ten dollars worth of bitcoin—or just one dollar, whatever you fancy—then moving that bitcoin from Coinbase into Namebase as HNS tokens, then bidding on a top-level domain name?

Or simply leave the coins and watch your micro-investment grow overnight

The information is available, the interfaces are user-friendly! The hardest part might be waiting patiently during the account creation and identity verification steps, remembering your passwords, etc.

And things are largely reversible—you can transfer your HNS back to BTC back to dollars in your bank account, very smoothly! (On second thought, the hardest part may be filing taxes…)

The point is, if you only put in what you are willing up-front to lose, then you can only win. Either you make money for free, or you learn something valuable about risk to inform your future decisions and actions, or both.

So failure here isn’t really a tragedy. It’s always a learning experience. The real tragedy lies in not exploring the unfamiliar—in not seeking new perspectives, finding and trying new ways of doing things, emerging better-positioned from experience with leverage for future action.

ReadMe gives the following AMAZING book to all new employees. It’s about

  • working deliberately (to bend the culture)
  • being kind, being human, and using common sense
  • playing with risk.

It’s a super quick read. Short essays, with an illustration every other page. I highly recommend investing a couple hours to immerse yourself in it…or you can risk not doing so…

To close out, I’d like to give thanks to the many, many generous people who have shaped me. This includes folks alive and long gone, people I’ve grown up with and worked with, as well as many whose influence and presence I may be barely aware of, if at all.

As much as I may rail against the education system, I will always remain indebted to the blessings it has conferred upon me.

I was so lucky and privileged to have learned storytelling from Junot Diaz, biology from Robert Weinberg and Eric Lander, algorithms from Ron Rivest and Karger, computer science from Sipser, math from Shor and Moitra, living under Dava Newman and being advised by Seth Lloyd, Jaime Peraire, David Jerison, Anne Hunter, Marie Stuppard…

And of course, learning from each and every superstar in the neighborhoods and public schools I attended…

And living with all of you on this fine planet! Life is good. Happy March 2020.


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