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

Never Hertz to Ask


This post is by Alex Danco from alexdanco.com

Obviously we’re going to talk about this today: Ok, so. Up until this year, I would’ve told you that there are two general kinds of financial bubbles.  The first kind… Read more Never Hertz to Ask

Let’s just get rid of peer review


This post is by Alex Danco from alexdanco.com

As you may know already, ten years ago (before I got into the tech world) I lived in the academia world, as a grad student doing neuroscience research. Scientific research, to put it bluntly, needs to be fixed. There are so many smart and well-intentioned people working really hard in university labs and research institutions, but whose best years are getting wasted through no fault of their own. It’s not an easy problem to fix, but we’re going to have to.  Several months ago I wrote a post called Can… Read more Let’s just get rid of peer review

Debt: the First 5000 Years


This post is by Alex Danco from alexdanco.com

I recently read Debt: the First 5000 Years by David Graeber, and it has stuck on my mind for a while. It’s one of those “Everybody is wrong about X,… Read more Debt: the First 5000 Years

Download Cards, “eCommerce”, and Covid Commerce


This post is by Alex Danco from alexdanco.com

In June 2011, my band The Fundamentals headed out for our first multi-week long tour, playing shows across Canada. It was a wild time: we were opening most of the shows for an Australian band called the Resignators, and we found out halfway through the tour that their guitarist had been one of the founding members of GWAR. (If you know, you know.) We also fell victim to a couple of pretty bad van breakdowns, including one at the end where we got stuck in a tiny logging town in… Read more Download Cards, “eCommerce”, and Covid Commerce

Shopify


This post is by Alex Danco from alexdanco.com

Hello everyone! I have some big personal and professional news: I’m joining Shopify. In my mind, Shopify is the most interesting company in the world right now. If you took everything I’ve ever written about scarcity and abundance, about technology, friction, complexity, and antifragility, and expressed it in a business, you’d get Shopify. They’re an accelerant of the future of commerce, and a lifeline for this present crisis. This is their moment.  Beyond Survival My grandfather, Léon Danco, loved small businesses and the entrepreneurs who ran them. He dedicated his… Read more Shopify

It’s going to get worse


This post is by Alex Danco from alexdanco.com

The other day I went for a drive around town, just to clear my head a bit and check out the empty city. For the most part, it looked empty, but ordinary; like being out at dawn before the city wakes up. But there was a notable exception: Starbucks. The lines for Starbucks drive-thru (and I saw three different locations) all stretched down the street, multiple blocks long. I’m not a great estimator of these things, but I’m guessing they were half-hour wait times, at least.  In that moment, I… Read more It’s going to get worse

Life is Made of Unfair Coin Flips


This post is by Alex Danco from alexdanco.com

It’s time we did a non-pandemic related newsletter issue. So this week we’ll do something more fun.  Today we’re going to talk about an interesting journal article that came out… Read more Life is Made of Unfair Coin Flips

Positional Scarcity and the Virus


This post is by Alex Danco from alexdanco.com

So, everything’s gonna be totally different for, I dunno, let’s say a year. And then at some point, the crisis will be over and life will return to a normal… Read more Positional Scarcity and the Virus

Black Swan Events


This post is by Alex Danco from alexdanco.com

So: To be clear, I don’t think we can really call COVID-19 itself a Black Swan event. Plenty of people saw it coming, in some form or another, and said… Read more Black Swan Events

Antifragility


This post is by Alex Danco from alexdanco.com

Seems like a good week, with the Coronavirus pandemic and all, to talk about this: Upon request, I feel like I ought to explain some of these misunderstandings. I already wrote… Read more Antifragility

Employee Stock Options: free money, kinda


This post is by Alex Danco from alexdanco.com

One way to think about employee stock option programs (ESOPs) is that they’re good because they align economic interests between the business and its workers. When the business does well,… Read more Employee Stock Options: free money, kinda

VCs should play bridge


This post is by Alex Danco from alexdanco.com

A lot of VCs play poker, and I get why. But as a metaphor for venture capital, or as a skill-honing extracurricular activity if you want to call it that, I… Read more VCs should play bridge

Progress, Postmodernism and the Tech Backlash


This post is curated by Keith Teare. It was written by Alex Danco. The original is [linked here]

Here are two aspects of the anti-tech backlash that I believe are both true, and are actually reciprocally related to each other: Critics in media, politics, and even in tech… Read more Progress, Postmodernism and the Tech Backlash

Progress, Postmodernism and the Tech Backlash


This post is by Alex Danco from alexdanco.com

Here are two aspects of the anti-tech backlash that I believe are both true, and are actually reciprocally related to each other: Critics in media, politics, and even in tech… Read more Progress, Postmodernism and the Tech Backlash

Can Twitter Save Science?


This post is by Alex Danco from alexdanco.com

Before I found my way to the tech world, I was a grad student in the neuroscience department at McGill University. I never took the opportunity to get my PhD,… Read more Can Twitter Save Science?

Debt is Coming


This post is by Alex Danco from alexdanco.com

Ten years from now, what seismic change will we reflect back on and think, “well that was pretty obvious, in retrospect”?   Debt is going to finally come to the… Read more Debt is Coming

Counterfeit Food


This post is by Alex Danco from alexdanco.com

Here is a wild story: You should read the original thread of tweets here, but here’s what happened:  Pim Techamuanvivit, the owner and chef of a few popular restaurants in… Read more Counterfeit Food

Social Capital in Silicon Valley


This post is by Alex Danco from alexdanco.com

It’s January 2020. And if you’re a founder just starting out, trying to create something out of nothing, one of the best investments you can make is still a plane… Read more Social Capital in Silicon Valley