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  1. Exactly 20 years ago, in 1994, I browsed the internet for the first time. I heard a guy in the hallway of my high school about this new world wide web thing. I had always been fond of computers. Earlier in grade school I had convinced my parents to buy me an IBM and had played with it nonstop. I was a frequent visitor of bulletin boards and met all these people from around the world who shared messages and interesting things. So when I first saw this new internet thing, I was expecting a lot. Sadly it was not magical, it was complicated, very technical and slow. But we all know how the story ended. That was the beginning of a new revolution, where technology was going to change the world. Since then, every couple of years a wave of innovation arrives and transforms something we do and through technology simplifies it forever. Think, first there was email, then chat, then search, then social. All of these have been steps in the evolution of society through technology. Well this week I read an article that made me believe in the next link of this chain. And I truly think its Bitcoin. If you are wondering what the title of this post is, well its one of my personal bitcoin addresses where you can transfer/pay/deposit bitcoins to me. There has been a lot of press lately on bitcoin and sadly due to the sensationalist state of our culture it has been very shallow. Yes it is a currency… but its also much more… Its more of an algorithm that will most likely transform our world… Anyway I am not going to go crazy here about my theories for this thing, since it would be a very long post if I did… But I leave you with this article by Marc Andreessen that describes a very interest future coming our way…

     

  2. There have been countless letters written about the love stories, the struggles, the joys and the love/hate relationship that people have with this city. Phrases such as “I hate this place” are quickly coupled with “but I could never live anywhere else”. It seems sometimes that NYC should replace Stockholm as the birthplace of that syndrome. But that is the honeypot that this city is… plenty of sweet… but swarming with lots bees… One day I will write my farewell letter to this city… but since the time for that is not here yet… I wanted to share this one attempt a friend just sent my way… To everyone outside of the moats, this is a very good shot at explaining the chaos… and no… it will not make any sense…

     

  3. If I were to ever splurge on a portrait of my family or myself, I would commission either Annie Leibovitz or Chuck Close. I love their work and would consider it a great privilege. I recently saw these portraits taken by Mr.Close for Vanity Fair and felt like sharing them with all of you. 

     

  4. Foto Friday

    Given that by now my NCAA bracket looks like it was punched and beaten repeatedly by the bullies in the statistical gang… And I have been exposed on my lack of sport forecasting prowess…Here is my new chosen team to win it all!

     

  5. With all the crazy price tags that internet businesses are commanding these days… like that recently born 19 billion dollar baby of whatapp… it is no surprise that everyone and their mother is trying to build the next great internet app… but I find it oh so similar to when I was graduating school and everyone was trying to build the next great hedge fund… So back then, to support those efforts, our school used to frequently bring all the hedge fund managers to campus and have them talk about what they did and how they did it… And the best lesson I can recall from all those coffee chats was a very successful manager who said that what you need to do before you begin one of these ventures… is strip everything away, take the shinnyness and galore of the word hedge fund away (read internet app today) and look at it in simple economics… Will you be buying something for cheaper that you can sell it… As simple as this sounds, it gets quite complicated, on the internet age, you will be asking people to consume your product for which they will be paying you in human attention which you will then aggregate and create a balance to then do a trade for real cash.  Now this currency of human attention has historically been a very volatile and complex commodity, think the value an old person places on his time vs a teenager and how hard it is to purchase that from them. Think of the value people place on their time during the different seasons of the year and hours of the day. While some of these attention units can be very valuable some of them are worthless and in identifying that value and capturing it, lies the trick to making that next baby… So before I lose my units from you… Here is a story of a team that tried to make this trade and unlike Whatsapp had the economics turn against them in this new internet game of musical chairs… 

     

  6. Foto Friday

    Given the horrible cold weather that our little town of New York is currently suffering, I wanted to share this with everyone to remind them that there are better days ahead… Stay warm!

     

  7. To legalize drugs or not legalize them? Regardless of where you stand on the drugs debate, you have to admit that the current situations in Colorado and Washington State are needed test cases to explore the legalization option. The “War on Drugs” has spent billions of dollars and hurt millions in the process. From the overcrowded prisons in America, to the needless deaths of Mexico’s youth, the war on drugs has created a chain of unintended consequences with magnifying negative effects. But the devil is in the details. After a law is passed, regulatory bodies use its broad guidance to enact specific regulations that will be applicable to the public. Marijuana is legal? OK… So how do people grow it? How does it get distributed? What are people allowed to do or not while under the effects? This article describes the overwhelming challenge of legalizing this activity given the constraints of having very little research available on the subject, the existence of a current black market and the large consumer base this activity is poised to have. For the sake of the many lives that have been affected by this costly drug war, lets hope those two states can find a working model that finds a balance between all these complex topics.

     

  8. For a brief period of time I used to drill for oil for a living. While the lessons of that profession can be shared with you at another time, the one thing I do want to share is the great sense of gratitude that I feel when I pump a gallon of gas into a car. To know the human sacrifices and technological achievements that take place for you to pump that one gallon of gas is a humbling experience. When you couple that with geo political complications of negotiating and transporting that energy and wealth across the globe through geographies that defy infrastructure and regions that change political regimes and economic systems continuously with cultures that trade with each other while fighting with each other, then you really appreciate every drop of that gasoline. So in this installment I want to share with you an amazing article that will make you appreciate not a liter of gasoline, since that is a historical and every day less important power determinant of the past… but one of the future… an internet megabyte.

     

  9. I love explaining the formula e=mc2 to people… Even though everyone seems to have it written down in their t-shirts and Einstein stickers, few people realize the power that this formula holds and the significance it has in our universe… And it is great to see their faces once they realize this… Now, I won’t explain that formula to you in this text, for that you have to buy me a drink and see me in person. What I will do is share this article with you that explains how some people from all around the world are right now in the south of France trying to use that formula to create what could be the salvation to this planet. We are killing this planet slowly, with our growing population, our love for meat and our ever growing consumption appetite, the world does not stand a chance against humanity in the long term… But there is hope… When humans initially explored the nuclear field we went for the low hanging fruit of splitting the atom and successfully achieved it after perseverance and significant economic costs… now we strive to merge the atom… This cleaner and more powerful cousin is sadly significantly more elusive, complex and expensive. Expensive enough that governments have to get involved with their little mindless minions called politicians that unfortunately complicate and setback the whole scheme… but hopefully the real life good will hunting type people we have working over there make this breakthrough project work and give us the only viable long term energy option we have in this universe…  nuclear fusion. 

     

  10. Gross margin is my favorite metric in a business. Before you begin the craziness of EBITDA, working capital, growth, blah, blah, blah, most business have to contend with one thing… is this product profitable to begin with… does it cost you less to make that what you are able to sell it for… And since cost is a fixed number, very rarely controllable by the company, the price you sell it for drives the complete equation… Here is where the magic comes in… Did you know that the perfume you are wearing cost the manufacturer 3% of what you paid for it in the store. Isn’t it amazing that 97% of that price tag was pure profit shared by the store, the perfume company and Justin Bieber? No wonder that is the first thing you see in the store when you go in… not Bieber.. the perfumes… Well here is the story of the most amazing high gross margin product ever conceived in modern times.. the diamond… I am sorry but you are about to get really mad about that huge purchase you made for that special someone… And that whole a diamond is forever… They were right… it is forever yours…