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What happens if building more housing doesn’t work?

I just spent the past week it the Bay Area, and it’s hard not to come away with an acute sense that there’s something wrong with the way that housing is working in the new economy: not just in San Francisco or on the peninsula, where it’s messed up for all kinds of local reasons, but really everywhere. This week I’m going to do some thinking out loud to see if I can make any sense out of three different threads I’ve been pulling on. This is by no means… Read more What happens if building more housing doesn’t work?

Crowds, Power and Bitcoin

Bitcoin is a crowd. Crowds can be understood. I’m currently reading a fascinating book called Crowds and Power by Elias Canetti, recommendation courtesy of @HipCityReg. Since Bitcoin’s having a fun week (and not just all of the is-it-real-or-fake price action – lots of real progress, today most notably from Microsoft), it seems like a great time to talk about the crowd dynamics of Bitcoin through the lens of this deep and thought-provoking text.  The first page of Crowds and Power opens so coldly it gave me chills:  There is nothing that man fears… Read more Crowds, Power and Bitcoin

Cooking As A Service

This tweet made me think a lot: First of all, as much as I hate this idea, I think this notion is correct. This trend has been happening for a long time, and it’s going to keep happening. I think it’s a great illustration of what really happens in “access” or “as-a-service” economies: as friction goes away, we turn away from owning assets and towards consuming services as a way of fulfilling our jobs to be done. There are good parts to this, and there are bad parts; let’s talk about… Read more Cooking As A Service

Billy Joel: American Kayfabe Master

I think this is one of my favourite all-time tweets: While I wouldn’t change a single word of the tweet itself, because it’s perfect, I’d still extend it a whole lot further: I honestly think that this is one of the best snarky metaphors for America I’ve ever seen.  Let’s first start with two true statements, that at first seem to be in conflict with each other but actually aren’t at all: Billy Joel, the iconic American artist who wrote a lot of good music, is most definitely not rock and roll.… Read more Billy Joel: American Kayfabe Master

Secrets about People: A Short and Dangerous Introduction to René Girard

The more we understand about the world around us, the less it seems we understand about people and the way they are. This post is an introduction to one man, named René Girard, who bucked this trend: his perception of the nature of behaviour is like a laser that goes right to the core of the human condition. We watch and learn by copying others, and the most important thing we learn from others is desire. Girard understood something important about desire; so did Shakespeare and Dostoevsky, and so do… Read more Secrets about People: A Short and Dangerous Introduction to René Girard

Snippets 2.0 – it’s back, baby

——-> danco.substack.com <—— Guess what! Snippets is back. (It will probably need a new name though. Email me if you have suggestions. I’ve heard a couple good ones so far…) Thank you so much to all of you for reading my newsletter every week. I’m really lucky to have you all as an audience and I’m looking forward to keeping this newsletter going, both through paternity leave and beyond. Here’s what you can expect from this: -I will keep up the once a week newsletter schedule, and send it out… Read more Snippets 2.0 – it’s back, baby

“I, too, am Contrarian”: moving on from Social Capital / final newsletter

A major personal announcement: I’m moving on from Social Capital! I’m not leaving for any new opportunity in particular; instead I’m taking some time for parental leave, and my hope is to get lots of good writing done while I’m off. As of today, all of my writing going forward will be back on alexdanco.com (and stay tuned for a new newsletter as well…). In the meantime, here is the last issue of Snippets for Social Capital, which I’m reposting here for your reading: For my last Snippets, I want… Read more “I, too, am Contrarian”: moving on from Social Capital / final newsletter

A technical introduction to Bitcoin for non-technical people

This post is something I’ve wanted to exist for a long time, but have never really found to my liking: an introductory but real explanation of how Bitcoin actually works, meant for a smart but non-technical audience. The original Bitcoin white paper is actually quite readable, and if you’ve ever thought about reading it you absolutely should. This post is meant for anyone who might be a bit intimidated by the technical stuff it talks about, but wants to learn anyway. Have no fear: although it’s a complicated system, there… Read more A technical introduction to Bitcoin for non-technical people