Weekend Briefing No. 457

Welcome to the weekend. Hi, from Palm Desert. If you’re at the Summit Series this weekend, shoot me a note. I’d love to meet up in person. Cheers!

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Prime Numbers

6 billion—FTX, the third-largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume in the world, will be bought by Binance, the largest crypto exchange in the world, after a run on withdrawals that caused a liquidity crisis. On Tuesday, CEO Sam Bankman-Fried said that $6 billion in net withdrawals were taken out of the platform in 72 hours, vastly more than the usual tens of millions.

$2 billion$Two billion has been spent on land in the Metaverse.

10%Ten percent of Americans get their news from TikTok.

On Greatness

You, like me, may be interested in becoming great at a certain thing. It could be your career, family, friendship, spirituality, whatever. You may have studied the greats in your field and tried to emulate them. But the “search” for greatness is often misguided, perhaps because what we imagine to be great is in fact not that great at all. Instead of speculating what may make you great, get out there and start doing. Do not look for perfection or even greatness; look for signs of “good,” and start making tangible. The best way to “success” is through consistency. On your journey to greatness, you need to fall in love with the process, which includes many ups and downs. Staying consistent and pushing through both of these continuously is what will truly differentiate you from those that are simply “good” and isolate you as one of the few that are “great.” So if you’re still asking how to become great in life, I reframe the question as “How do I become good in life?” or even “How do I become decent?” Focus on developing those habits to repeat over time. Transform these habits to be your baseline. Soon enough, you’ll be the great one that was once just “good” among the rest, but stuck with it and learned something along the way. In being consistent over time, you become an outlier. Remember: Great is just good—but repeatable. Steph Smith (12 minutes)

Politics and Friendship

All around us, friendships old and new are coming to grief over politics. What is the cause of this? Part of the problem relates to how we practice politics today. We have become more warlike and tribal. Another part of the problem stems from our contemporary understanding of friendship. Genuine friendship places weighty demands on us, and most of us prefer relationships that are quicker, easier and less enduring. Politics and friendship are deeply connected. As strange as it sounds, how we understand what politics is has an effect on the kinds of friendships we are likely to enjoy. Conversely, how we understand friendship will affect our practice of politics. What exactly is the connection between politics and friendship, and how should we assess the relative value of each when they come into conflict? Comment (11 minutes)

Goldman Sachs Recommends New Investment

When it comes to names I trust, Goldman Sachs is up there. After all, you don’t manage $2.5 trillion by accident. So when they recommend investors put around 33% of their portfolios into tangible assets, I’m inclined to agree. After all, the 60–40 stock-bond portfolio is down 20% this year alone. So what’s their solution? They believe one surprising asset that can help: fine art. According to Goldman Sachs, fine art can protect your purchasing power as inflation spikes. It’s easy to see why many investors want to protect their portfolios from inflation by investing in art through Masterworks. This community of investors capitalizes on the exclusive $65 billion art market. For 26 years, contemporary art has steadily appreciated by 13.8% annually with a near-zero correlation factor to equities. Weekend Briefing subscribers (yes, you) get priority access to free membership and their offerings with this link. Masterworks (Sponsored)

Status as a Service

Let’s begin with two principles: (1) People are status-seeking monkeys. (2) People seek out the most efficient path to maximizing social capital. We can start to demystify social networks if we think of them as Status as a Service (StaaS) businesses. However, instead of software, they provide status. This post is a deep dive into StaaS businesses. Most people don’t like to admit to being motivated by status, and few CEOs are going to admit some jobs require stroking people’s egos. From a user perspective, people are starting to talk more about the soul-withering effects of playing an always-on status game through the social apps on their always-connected phones. You could easily replace StaaS with fear of missing out as a service. It’s one reason you can still meet so many outrageously wealthy people in Manhattan or Silicon Valley who are still miserable. Fight against this. Remember that if you want control of your own happiness, don’t tie it to someone else’s scoreboard. Eugene Wei (62 minutes)

NFT Creator Royalties

One of my favorite things about NFTs is that they contain a mechanism for the artist/creator to collect royalties on all of the sales that happen after the initial sale/mint. The creator specifies the royalty percentage when they initially mint the NFT, and the NFT marketplaces/smart contracts collect the royalties on future sales and pay them to the creator. However, there are clouds on the horizon right now. Some NFT marketplaces have chosen not to enforce NFT creator royalties. There are some valid reasons and some not-so-valid reasons for this. Here’s the bottom line for me. A critical part of the NFT innovation is the ability for creators to specify a royalty rate on their work and have it collected in the secondary marketplaces. This is every bit as important an innovation as on-chain art and everything else that comes from the NFT standard. Everyone in the NFT world—creators, marketplaces, collectors, market makers, etc.—should insist that creator royalties remain a fundamental aspect of NFTs and do whatever is necessary to ensure that happens. AVC (6 minutes)

Ray Dalio and McNuggets

Did you know that Ray Dalio helped McDonald’s bring the Chicken McNugget® to market? The issue was that McDonald’s wanted to add it to the menu, but they were concerned with the fluctuating cost of chicken. Majority of the cost of raising a chicken is feed—corn and soy. So, Ray worked with the chicken producer to lock in the price of corn and soy so that they could sell the chicken to McDonald’s at a consistent price. The Hustle (2 minutes)

Dépaysement

Getting lost in a foreign land is one of the best ways to get perspective on your own life. We travel “initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next, to find ourselves,” as Pico Iyer writes.The French call this dépaysement, the disorientation you feel when you travel to a strange land. Your world becomes topsy-turvy. Your sense of proper and improper shifts. You learn to laugh at things that would anger you at home. The majority becomes the minority. Surrounded by the echoes of a language you don’t know, you return to infancy when your mother tongue was foreign to you. You become a young fool again. Ozan Varol (6 minutes)

Should We Work Together?

Hi! I’m Kyle. This newsletter is my passion project. When I’m not writing, I run a law firm that helps startups move fast without breaking things. Most founders want a trusted legal partner, but they hate surprise legal bills. At Westaway, we take care of your startup’s legal needs for a flat, monthly fee so you can control your costs and focus on scaling your business. If you’re interested, let’s jump on a call to see if you’re a good fit for the firm. Click here to schedule a one-on-one call with me.

Weekend Wisdom

To be great, be good, repeatedly. Steph Smith

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