Day: March 3, 2022

Surprise, Shock, and Uncertainty

A couple things I’ve been thinking about in the last week:

The world breaks every decade or so. There are so few exceptions to this it’s astounding.

What Covid-19 and the Ukrainian invasion have in common is that both have happened many times before but westerners considered them relics of history that wouldn’t resurface in their own modern lives. Maybe the common lesson is that there are difficult parts of humanity that can’t be outgrown.

However crazy the world looks, it can get crazier. History is just a long story of the unthinkable happening, precedents being broken, and people reading the news with bewilderment and denial.

“History doesn’t crawl; it leaps,” says Nassim Taleb. The most important events tend to be abrupt, out of the blue, changing the world before people have time to rub their eyes and understand what’s happening.

There is a “shock cycle” for all big news events. It goes like this:

  • Assume good news is permanent.

  • Oblivious to bad news.

  • Ignore bad news.

  • Deny bad news.

  • Panic at bad news.

  • Accept bad news.

  • Assume bad news is permanent.

  • Ignore good news.

  • Deny good news.

  • Accept good news.

  • Assume good news is permanent.

In general people have no idea where they are in this cycle until after the fact.

Uncertainty amid danger feels awful. So it’s comforting to have strong opinions even if you have no idea what you’re talking about, because shrugging your shoulders feels reckless when the stakes are high. Complex (Read more...)

Echoes of (My) History in Ukraine

This post is by Jeff Bussgang from SEEING BOTH SIDES

Ukranian border crossing at Siret, Romania

It has been a hard week to focus on startupland.

My usual daily obsession with new innovations, new entrepreneurs, and new fundings has been replaced with daily reports of bombs, convoys, and sanctions as Ukraine struggles for its survival. The blog post I had been working on regarding illiquidity in venture capital and the recent tech market correction now seems woefully tone-deaf.

My inbox and news feeds are full of heroic acts by Ukrainian friends, colleagues, and former students. One of my VC friends posted last night that he and his wife had flown from Boston to the Romanian border and handed out $7,000 in cash to 100 Ukrainian women.

This week’s NY Times The Daily podcast — “In Ukraine, the Men Who Must Stay and Fight” — described the buses being stopped at the Ukrainian border as all men ages 18–60 are ordered to remain in the country to take up arms to fight. As one Ukrainian young man put it, “Last week, I was contemplating what new game to buy for my PlayStation and today I am contemplating taking up arms to kill Russian soldiers and defend my country.”

A Ukrainian former HBS student who is a managing director of a private equity firm in Kyiv with over a billion under management, happily married with two young children, wrote: “All we have now fits in a few suitcases…this is not an abstract [classroom] discussion — it’s Munich all over again. We’re (Read more...)

Visualizing Ukraine’s Top Trading Partners and Products

This post is by Niccolo Conte from Visual Capitalist

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ukraine trade partners

Visualizing Ukraine’s Top Trading Partners and Products

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International trade was equal to 65% of Ukraine’s GDP in 2020, totaling to $102.9 billion of goods exchanged with countries around the world.

In 2014, Russia’s annexation of Crimea contributed to a 30% year-over-year drop in Ukraine’s 2015 trade value ($75.6B). Now, Ukraine’s international trade has been irreversibly disrupted since Russia’s full-scale invasion on February 24th, 2022.

The current conflict continues to reshape geopolitical relations and international trade—and to give context to the situation, we’ve created this graphic using IMF and UN Comtrade data to showcase Ukraine’s largest trading partners and goods traded in 2020.

Ukraine’s Largest Trading Partners

Ukraine’s largest trading partner in 2020 was China, with the value of trade between the two countries reaching $15.3 billion, more than double the value of any other trading partner.

Germany ($7.4B), Poland ($7.4B), and Russia ($7.2B) were Ukraine’s next three largest trading partners, with the majority of Ukraine’s trade with these countries being imports.

CountryTrade with Ukraine (2020) Exports from Ukraine (%)Imports to Ukraine (%)
?? China$15.3B46%54%
?? Germany$7.4B28%72%
?? Poland$7.4B45%55%
?? Russia$7.2B37%63%
?? Turkey$4.8B50%50%
?? Belarus$4.2B32%68%
?? Italy$4.1B48%52%
?? U.S.$3.9B25%75%
?? India$2.7B73%27%
?? Netherlands$2.6B (Read more...)

Tune into the NEW Venture Capitol podcast!

We are excited to announce that NVCA has launched its first-ever podcast and we hope you will tune in! It’s called the Venture Capitol podcast, and that’s Capitol with an “O” as in Capitol Hill where we focus a great deal of attention on advocating for America’s startup ecosystem.

Why did we decide to do a podcast?

We wanted another way to communicate, educate, support and maybe even entertain folks in the venture industry, as well as lawmakers on Capitol Hill and across the country. This podcast will give listeners a unique look at public policy priorities, premier research, and industry initiatives through the eyes of America’s venture capitalists.

As host of the show, I will be interviewing expert guests from the VC industry as well as policymakers to talk about the issues that are important to our nation’s startup ecosystem, and highlight how the VC industry has a dynamic impact on America’s economy and job creation.

Our 1st Episode

We are excited to bring you the very first episode of the Venture Capitol podcast! Our first episode features our Venture Forward Executive Director Maryam Haque. She and I discuss the important work that is being done to make our industry more diverse. You will also hear from a rising star in the venture industry. We hope you enjoy the podcast and will share it with your friends!

Here at NVCA, we believe investing in tomorrow starts with smart policies today. Click below to listen to our 1st (Read more...)

Tushar Jain, Co-founder and Managing Partner of Multicoin on Crypto: Sovereign Software, Surviving a Brutal Winter and Seeing Through the Fog

This post is by Howard Lindzon from Howard Lindzon

I’m really excited to have  Tushar Jain on the pod. He’s the co-founder and managing partner of Multicoin. We talk about the current crypto market, what it was like in the 2018/19 bear market, and what we can expect with crypto/web3 on a 2 to 5 year time horizon. We discuss The Graph, Helium, and Render. We’re still in the early innings of the crypto markets, which means volatility will remain high.  We have been in a blackberry moment and web3’s iPhone moment is coming. This current tech bear market may be the catalyst that gets people focused on the next big thing.

You can listen to the podcast here on Spotify or Apple podcast and now all the episodes are on my YouTube channel as well.

You can also listen right here on the blog:




Guest: Tushar Jain

Profile: Co-founder Multicoin

Where to Find Him: LinkedIn

What’s Tushar Panicked About?: Authoritarian laws being spread in the guise of public health


The Takeaway:

The Crypto Winter of 2018/19 was a brutal lesson in chasing the market. Crypto tops and bottoms can’t be done. The market is a complex, emergent phenomenon. There’s a lot of chaos you can’t predict. The trick is asset selection. Make bets on specific projects you’re bullish on for fundamental reasons. This could be indexing or compute (decentralized networks of GPUs for rendering) or storage networks that can’t be censored (Read more...)