Election Day 2020: René Girard, Part 2


This post is by Alex Danco from alexdanco.com

A couple years ago when I started this newsletter, the inaugural post was an introduction to René Girard. I’ve been meaning to rewrite it for quite some time. Today – Election Day, 2020 – seemed like a pretty good time to do that.  In my opinion, Girard’s worldview on mimetic desire, differentiation, and scapegoating is still the best way to understand Trump and the MAGA movement. So I went back and substantially rewrote the original Girard essay. I think this one’s a lot tighter and better, and clarifies some of… Read more Election Day 2020: René Girard, Part 2

Six Lessons from Six Months at Shopify


This post is by Alex Danco from alexdanco.com

I’m now six months into Shopify. So far it’s going basically on schedule: as I was told, “Your first couple months you’re going to have zero idea what’s going on. Then around month three you’ll come up for air and think, ok, I got this; and then you’ll try to start doing stuff. Then you’ll really struggle, because you won’t be in that happy new float-around-and-learn-people’s-names mode, you’ll be in oh-shit-can-I-really-do-this mode. It’s actually a little scary. But then around month five or six, you start to actually figure some things out… Read more Six Lessons from Six Months at Shopify

Covid Kills Inertia: Homeownership Edition


This post is by Alex Danco from alexdanco.com

You may have contemplated, or been asked at some point: “How will homeownership and residential real estate change after Covid?” In my experience, most of these discussions become far-fetched hypotheticals… Read more Covid Kills Inertia: Homeownership Edition

Making is Show Business now


This post is by Alex Danco from alexdanco.com

Nadia Eghbal’s new book, Working In Public: the Making and Maintenance of Open Source Software, may not have been on your short list of books to read this year. It’s admittedly a nerdy topic: it’s about open source projects, roles and responsibilities; the rise of GitHub as a developer platform; and how developer culture is evolving around the new power of creator platforms.  I recommend you get it. It is mostly about software development, but the core insight of the book is bigger: Eghbal clearly sees and articulates something important about… Read more Making is Show Business now

The Future of the CFA Institute: An Interview with Margaret Franklin, CFA


This post is by Alex Danco from alexdanco.com

This week we have a very special interview guest: I’m delighted to share this conversation with Margaret Franklin, CFA. She serves as the President and CEO of the CFA Institute. Software and the internet haven’t yet made their real impact across the world of professional services, especially when it comes to professional designations and certifications that demonstrate proficiency. On the one hand, the internet has created access we could’ve only dreamed about decades ago, both in terms of access to knowledge and advice, access to financial products like diversification, and… Read more The Future of the CFA Institute: An Interview with Margaret Franklin, CFA

Are Founders Allowed to Lie?


This post is by Alex Danco from alexdanco.com

Whenever I have a candid conversation with someone interesting in tech, I like to ask: “What are taboo topics in Silicon Valley?” Unsurprisingly, most of the suggestions I hear are… Read more Are Founders Allowed to Lie?

The Kids are Alright: An Interview with Eugene Wei and Julie Young (Gift Culture, Part 4)


This post is by Alex Danco from alexdanco.com

Welcome to the fourth and final segment in this series on Gift Culture at the Online Frontier. If you missed any of the first three, you can catch up here: Gift Culture, Part 1: Homesteading the Twittersphere Gift Culture, Part 2: The SE Suite, An interview with Julie Young Gift Culture, Part 3: Scarcity Status versus Abundance Status  Today Julie is back with us to help close things out, along with our second very special guest, coming in to bat cleanup: Eugene Wei.  If you’ve spent any time on Tech… Read more The Kids are Alright: An Interview with Eugene Wei and Julie Young (Gift Culture, Part 4)

Scarcity Status versus Abundance Status (Gift Culture, Part 3)


This post is by Alex Danco from alexdanco.com

Welcome back to this multi-part newsletter series on Gift Culture on the online frontier. If you missed them, check out Part One (defining gift culture, and the “homesteading” behaviour exhibited… Read more Scarcity Status versus Abundance Status (Gift Culture, Part 3)

Scarcity Status versus Abundance Status (Gift Culture, Part 3)


This post is by Alex Danco from alexdanco.com

Welcome back to this multi-part newsletter series on Gift Culture on the online frontier. If you missed them, check out Part One (defining gift culture, and the “homesteading” behaviour exhibited… Read more Scarcity Status versus Abundance Status (Gift Culture, Part 3)

The SE Suite: An Interview with Julie Young (Gift Culture Part 2)


This post is by Alex Danco from alexdanco.com

Welcome back to part 2 of a multi-part series on Gift Culture at the digital frontier. If you haven’t read last week’s post on gift culture as an adaptation to… Read more The SE Suite: An Interview with Julie Young (Gift Culture Part 2)

Homesteading the Twittersphere


This post is by Alex Danco from alexdanco.com

If you go to the About page on Matthew Ball’s website, you’ll find a quote from Jason Hirschhorn: “Kevin Mayer called and said ‘Hey, Bob Iger and I would like to have lunch with you’…And Iger, I’m going to paraphrase here, says ‘You know, you’re an idiot.’ And I’m like, ‘Why is that, Bob?’ And he goes, “You give away for free what we pay tens of millions of dollars a year from management consultants for.”  Kevin was talking about Matt’s Disney-as-a-Service post from 2016; but it could have been any of his… Read more Homesteading the Twittersphere

Rollin’ (ARR-paid vehicle)


This post is by Alex Danco from alexdanco.com

One of the themes we talk about a lot in this newsletter, such as here and here and here and here and here, is how Silicon Valley is a “controlled bubble”. It has to be! Startups have a major structural problem to overcome, independently of how risky or ambitious they are: you can’t know the value of what you’re building, and you can’t know how much capital you’ll have to raise to get there. If you can’t know either of those two things, then you can’t know the value of… Read more Rollin’ (ARR-paid vehicle)

It’s Not Debt, It’s Better: an Interview with Harry Hurst of Pipe


This post is by Alex Danco from alexdanco.com

This week, I’m delighted to share an interview with Harry Hurst, founder and co-CEO of Pipe.  Six months ago I wrote a post in the newsletter called Debt is Coming, about the all-equity model of funding startups finally coming to the end. It ran away to become the most widely-read thing I’ve ever written, ever. (Read it first, if you haven’t yet.) Since then, I’ve had a blast getting to meet all sorts of interesting founders, operators and investors who are thinking about the future of financing recurring revenue software… Read more It’s Not Debt, It’s Better: an Interview with Harry Hurst of Pipe

It’s Not Debt, It’s Better: an Interview with Harry Hurst of Pipe


This post is by Alex Danco from alexdanco.com

This week, I’m delighted to share an interview with Harry Hurst, founder and co-CEO of Pipe.  Six months ago I wrote a post in the newsletter called Debt is Coming, about the all-equity model of funding startups finally coming to the end. It ran away to become the most widely-read thing I’ve ever written, ever. (Read it first, if you haven’t yet.) Since then, I’ve had a blast getting to meet all sorts of interesting founders, operators and investors who are thinking about the future of financing recurring revenue software… Read more It’s Not Debt, It’s Better: an Interview with Harry Hurst of Pipe

SPAC Man Begins


This post is by Alex Danco from alexdanco.com

Three years ago, Chamath sat us all down at a Social Capital all hands meeting and told us about this great new thing we were gonna do. It was called a SPAC.  A SPAC (“Special Purpose Acquisition Company”, or “blank check company”), he told us, was a new way we were going to help take big tech companies public. Going public is an important moment in a company’s life. It’s a transition from one state to another, it’s a stressful but monumental transition, and the current way we do it –… Read more SPAC Man Begins

The Freud Moment


This post is by Alex Danco from alexdanco.com

Three months ago to the day, I wrote: I’m getting concerned that we’re not psychologically ready for what’s coming next. The future may not be predictable, but people are. I… Read more The Freud Moment

Craft is Culture


This post is by Alex Danco from alexdanco.com

I’ve now been at Shopify for two months. One month in, the leadership team announced that we’re moving to “Digital by Default”: permanently. The era of office centricity is over; it’s time to figure out what comes next. I’ve had mixed feelings about this announcement. On the one hand, I was disappointed. I like having somewhere to go for the day, and having done so much travelling over the last several years for work, I was even excited to have a “regular commute”. I was especially looking forward to building… Read more Craft is Culture

Craft is Culture


This post is by Alex Danco from alexdanco.com

I’ve now been at Shopify for two months. One month in, the leadership team announced that we’re moving to “Digital by Default”: permanently. The era of office centricity is over; it’s time to figure out what comes next. I’ve had mixed feelings about this announcement. On the one hand, I was disappointed. I like having somewhere to go for the day, and having done so much travelling over the last several years for work, I was even excited to have a “regular commute”. I was especially looking forward to building… Read more Craft is Culture

Craft is Culture


This post is by Alex Danco from alexdanco.com

I’ve now been at Shopify for two months. One month in, the leadership team announced that we’re moving to “Digital by Default”: permanently. The era of office centricity is over; it’s time to figure out what comes next. I’ve had mixed feelings about this announcement. On the one hand, I was disappointed. I like having somewhere to go for the day, and having done so much travelling over the last several years for work, I was even excited to have a “regular commute”. I was especially looking forward to building… Read more Craft is Culture

The Most Famous Loop


This post is by Alex Danco from alexdanco.com

Kevin Kwok had a great essay the other day on Figma, and how its runaway success is based on hundreds of successful loops baked into its product and business model: Why Figma Wins | Kevin Kwok It got me thinking about loops. Loops are important and they are everywhere. Businesses are fundamentally made out of them. It’s obvious to say that a business is a collection of repeatable processes; but it’s worth going the next step to specify: if a process is truly reputable, then it must be a loop,… Read more The Most Famous Loop