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Hi friends, 

Most US equities took a tumble this week, with a few high profile falls. One advantage of being busy day-to-day, though, is that there is no time to dwell or react.

It does seem like the market is beginning to view companies more critically - and as growth rates slow and interest rates rise, it's difficult to imagine that the trend down or flat is going to reverse any time soon (but, as always, nobody knows). 

Today's Contents:

  • Good Reads: Emerging Trends
  • Good Reads: Sensible Investing
  • Weekly Song: I Want You To Want Me

Good Reads: Emerging Trends

Why the past 10 years of American life have been uniquely stupid. It's not a just a phase. Here. TL/DR: He uses the story of Babel as a metaphor for modern times; quoting a few highlights: 

  • We are disoriented, unable to speak the same language, or recognize the same truth. We are cut off from one another and from the past.
  • Once social-media platforms had trained users to spend more time performing and less time connecting, the stage was set for the major transformation, which began in 2009: the intensification of viral dynamics.
  • Social media has both magnified and weaponized the frivolous
  • “Politics is the art of the possible,” the German statesman Otto von Bismarck said in 1867. In a post-Babel democracy, not much may be possible.
  • What would it be like to live in Babel in the days after its destruction? We know. It is a time of confusion and loss. But it is also a time to reflect, listen, and build.
Is MrBeast for real? Inside the Outrageous World of YouTube's Cash-Happy Stunt King. Here from Rolling Stone. Short answer: sort of.

But in truth, the main character of MrBeast’s channel is not actually MrBeast himself. It is cold, hard cash. Money — piles, sheaves, gobs of it — takes center stage in nearly all of his videos, proffered as a balm for all of the world’s problems to the gig-economy scrappers and hardworking single moms who star in his videos. In one, he tips a waitress at a hot-dog joint $10,000 for two glasses of water; in another, he gives more than $100,000 to people who lost their jobs in the pandemic. Much of the appeal of MrBeast is predicated on an updated version of the Horatio Alger story; the idea that with a little bit of luck, you too could one day run into MrBeast on the street and walk away thousands of dollars richer.

ApeCoin & The Death of Staking. Here by Cobie. One of the most important reads in web3 this week. He describes what staking used to mean and now what it commonly is in practice using ApeCoin, or the official currency of the Bored Ape Yacht Club, as in this illustrative example: 

"Somehow, over time, the word ‘staking’ has been repurposed and redefined. Instead of receiving rewards for contributing to chain security with collateral at stake, modern “staking” just seems to mean idk we give you more coins as a reward if you don’t sell your current coins lol.

These modern staking mechanisms do not have any function in the ecosystem to which they belong. They don’t do anything in any practical or technical sense. They don’t make an ecosystem more robust. They are a shell game, using the name of a different thing to obfuscate their actual purpose, which is to encourage less selling. 

Simply paying users for not selling, payment received in the same asset that they are not selling, seems like pretty late-stage in the games of ponzi creation

The rise and fall of Crypto CultureHere. This article makes the same point but on a more theoretical basis which I agree with: 

Crypto culture has strangled crypto ethos.

I have long been vocal on my disdain of crypto culture, and my love for crypto ethos. Reading that might sound weird, but crypto ethos is concept like self-sovereign rights, self custody, self empowerment. Crypto culture is concepts like wealth, entitlement, enrichment, and ego.

DALL·E 2 and The Origin of Vibe Shifts. Here. Good piece. Punch line below.

"The leading edge of aesthetics will probably always involve human skill, even if the methods we use to channel that skill will change dramatically. When it comes to relative-performance games, we should think of AI tools more like an instrument that can be played well or poorly, and less like a replacement for humans. If all that mattered was absolute performance, then sure, the AI would be able to perform well enough to get the job done without human intervention. But when it comes to status games, relative performance is what matters. And human+AI is probably going to beat AI alone for a long time."

Good Reads: Sensible Investing


Bill Ackman (Pershing Square) loses ~$400M on Netflix and pens a letter on his exit after the stock drop. Letter here

Intro to Tokenomics by Zach from Borderless Capital here. Good overview. 

The private market "supercycle." Here in the FT (no paywall). Headline: 

"Last year, the overall size of the private capital industry rose to over $10tn, and industry data provider Preqin predicted that this will grow to almost $18tn by 2026. However, Goldman Sachs forecasts that it could actually swell to as big as $30tn by then, if it continues to make retail investor inroads and interest rates don’t go up as much as feared."

The real costs of Stock Based Compensation Expense. Here. My take: Stock Comp as a % of revenue is striking. The great trend of the 2010-2021 era was how generous and lucrative stock-based comp was for employees (particularly management) at companies that hadn't proved their long-term financial viability in a world where profitability mattered and costs of capital were going up.

Weekly Song: I Want You To Want Me

Music Video here

I love directness and desperation in this song. Sometimes that's what work-life feels like :) 

"I Want You To Want Me" by Cheap Trick

I want you to want me
I need you to need me
I'd love you to love me
I'm beggin' you to beg me

I'll shine up the old brown shoes, put on a brand-new shirt
I'll get home early from work if you say that you love me


Thanks for reading, friends. Please always be in touch.

As always,

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Katelyn Donnelly
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