Facebook’s Libra Launch


This post is by jlk from The Barefoot VC


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The big news heading out of last week and into the upcoming week is Facebook’s long-awaited GlobalCoin (or Libra Coin), likely to be a stablecoin pegged to a basket of global currencies. Details of its initial consortium leaked late last week – industry website The Block broke the news of members who are contributing $10M each – these include Visa, Mastercard, Coinbase, Spotify, Women’s World Banking, Paypal, eBay, Farfetch, Mercado Libre, PayU, Stripe, Lyft and Uber. While more details will be revealed on June 18th, the listed members are expected to be operating “nodes’ on the network and will earn fees in return for validating transactions. A Facebook subsidiary called Calibra is also expected to run one of the nodes. Given recent regulatory scrutiny, it’s not a surprise that Facebook is building out a consortium to appear as decentralized as possible. A big question yet to be answered is who Continue reading “Facebook’s Libra Launch”

New Book: Secrets of Sand Hill Road


This post is by htidnam from Andreessen Horowitz


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About 18 months ago, I sat down over a holiday and reflected on the many conversations I’d had over the years with friends, aspiring entrepreneurs, start-up employees and students about venture capital and entrepreneurship. The questions were varied, but they …

50 Years Till Blowup


This post is by Jeff Carter from Points and Figures


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Was chatting with a friend about the federal deficit.  Seems everyone that has been elected talks a good game about the federal deficit but does nothing about it.  The thought going around Washington DC today is that America has about 50 years until the deficit becomes a problem we cannot handle.

No one wants to default on debt.  However, no one seems to have the political will to deal with the main drivers of the deficit.  The biggie is entitlement spending.  For example, when Social Security was instituted, people lived far shorter lives.  When Federal government retirement ages were established, people rarely lived a few years beyond retirement.  Try to monkey with changing those ages when benefits are received and all of a sudden you are Satan.

Layer on the crappy policies that are deeply entrenched in the federal budget like subsidies, grants, Continue reading “50 Years Till Blowup”

Capitalisn’t


This post is by Jeff Carter from Points and Figures


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Capitalism is under attack these days from the centrally planned and corporatist left wing.  It’s also under attack from the crony capitalist corporatist right wing.  Socialism has always been at odds with capitalism.  The rise of socialism on the left in the US detests capitalism.  For a flavor of what it looks like, just read Bernie Sanders policy page.  I agree with Professor Luigi Zingales of the Stigler Institute that we need to recapture our love for capitalism in the United States.  Otherwise, we will lose it.  Zingales grew up in Italy where crony capitalism reigns.

There are policies and movements from both the left and right that undermine free market competitive capitalism.  All you have to do is look at my home state of Illinois to see how both sides can get together to undermine free markets.  The current governor Continue reading “Capitalisn’t”

Don’t Miss This Conference


This post is by Jeff Carter from Points and Figures


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Yesterday I went to the Chicago Booth Management Conference.  You can generally walk away with something to use in your life if you listen, and go to panels that are pertinent to what you are doing.  Yesterday, I went to one that asked the question “Is it Culture or Strategy the drives successful businesses?”  The other one I went to was on the role of a corporate board.  Will blog about that in the future but I wanted to make you aware of this conference.

2019 ANTITRUST- DIGITAL PLATFORMS, MARKETS, AND DEMOCRACY: A PATH FORWARD

Don’t miss it if it is interesting or pertains to your job.  They have lined up an excellent list of speakers and I am sure the attendees will be good to network with as well.  The one thing about doing a conference that is hosted by Chicago Booth is Continue reading “Don’t Miss This Conference”

Not Green, Smug


This post is by Jeff Carter from Points and Figures


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The other day, a study came out that showed that electric cars weren’t as green as their owners thought they were.  They also are not as green as the media or uninformed public think they are.  What they are are virtue signalers.  They are smug.

A number of years ago, I got a ride from my friend who is an economics professor.  We saw a Prius and laughed because it was plastered with stickers saying how “green” it was.   At the time, we were living in apartments that were 2500 sq feet or less.  No Al Gore mansions for us.  Our apartments used hot water heat, which is incredibly efficient.

The professor remarked, “They don’t realize where the power comes from when they plug it in to charge.  They also don’t realize the amount of environmental damage mining for battery components is, nor do they realize how toxic disposal Continue reading “Not Green, Smug”

Free Stuff; Loan Forgiveness


This post is by Jeff Carter from Points and Figures


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Lately, if you listen to Democratic candidates for President, you hear the word “free” a lot.  Free health care.  Free tuition.  Everyone has a job at full employment.  If you have college debt, debt forgiveness.

None of the candidates are dealing in reality.  All those policies are integral to societies that collapsed.

But, let’s say you work in health care and think there should be socialized medicine. Single payer, government administered.

Are you willing to work for free or a fixed wage?  Are the landlords and REITs which support socialized medicine that own the properties willing to give health care operations space rent free?  Free utilities?  Free parking?  Are nurses and doctors that support the programs willing to work for free?  Is there no difference in the skill level of anyone?  Are some facilities better than others?

Are college Continue reading “Free Stuff; Loan Forgiveness”

Wireless Charging is Hard


This post is by Jeff Carter from Points and Figures


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Apple announced that they weren’t coming out with their wireless charging mat for devices as announced.  I was an angel investor in a Chicago company, NuCurrent, that is the industry leader in wireless charging.  It’s super technical, and it is super hard.

NuCurrent has many Ph.D. electrical engineers working daily on the problem.  NuCurrent has a patent portfolio that is second to none.

Their CEO Jacob Babcock recently wrote a post on their blog about Apple Power. Here is an excerpt of what he wrote.  Click over and read the whole thing.

Apple’s AirPower product was an ambitious concept that took on multiple, overlapping technical challenges related to wireless power. These included:

Variable loading
Having from one to three devices charging simultaneously

Variable charging rates
Supporting devices with different power requirements (ie. Watches and AirPods need less power than iPhones)

Variable receiver sizes
Supporting Continue reading “Wireless Charging is Hard”

Why Silicon Valley Thinks Differently Than The Rest of America


This post is by Jeff Carter from Points and Figures


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I received this from a friend.  It’s an article about how Google was able to amend its search engine to shift search results so that people would support different House candidates and flip the House from Republican control to Democrat control.

Right now, I am in the camp of let nature take its course regarding regulation.  I wouldn’t regulate them.  Except, I certainly would create policies so that there could be a lot of competition.  I’d make businesses be transparent without revealing their secret sauce.

I am disbelieving of the assertion that Google’s search engine could flip seats right now. I think there were a lot of other factors and trends afoot than just the Google search engine.  I will accede that there is a lot of bias and discrimination against Republicans, Christians, and Conservatives in Silicon Valley.  That’s why organizations like Join Lincoln Continue reading “Why Silicon Valley Thinks Differently Than The Rest of America”

Decision Dilemma’s


This post is by Jeff Carter from Points and Figures


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Calpers is a huge $358 billion dollar fund.  They need to return 7% on their assets each year.  They have huge liabilities.  Right now, they have invested $28 billion in venture and private equity.  They are thinking about allocating another $20 billion to the space.

Traditionally, venture capital returns are better than the stock market returns.  It’s about 9% although there are plenty of studies that show returns being higher.

If you think there was a lot of money in venture before, wait until Calpers allocates. Would Calpers just be better off putting it a no load mutual fund like Vanguard and forgetting about it?

The problem for them if they decide to allocate to PE/VC will be where to put it.

Wesley Gray founder of Alpha Architect evaluates investments using criteria he calls FACTS: fees, access, complexity, taxes and search.  Search is the due diligence of finding Continue reading “Decision Dilemma’s”

Another Mental Health Crisis


This post is by Jeff Carter from Points and Figures


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Farmers have a tough life.  They are beholden to the weather.  If you haven’t seen what’s been happening in Nebraska you ought to take a look at it.  My friend Governor Pete Ricketts has done a very good job dealing with it but until the water recedes there is only so much you can do.

Bloomberg thinks there is a mental health crisis in farming.

Certainly, if I woke up to that scene in Nebraska it would be tough on my mental health.  They will take years to recover.  If you want to donate you can donate to the Nebraska Farm Bureau here.

Having risks that you cannot control can really give you heartburn.  It’s easy to see how farmers aren’t a lot different than early stage entrepreneurs running to put out fire after fire.  This is true in animal husbandry operations, row crop operations, fruit crops or anything else Continue reading “Another Mental Health Crisis”

Tech Is Separating Us; Tech Is Leaving Communities Behind; Capitalism Can Save Us


This post is by Jeff Carter from Points and Figures


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There is a lot of volatility in the news from day to day on tech. It’s interesting to me that Senator Elizabeth Warren is beating the drum on regulating companies like Facebook ($FB), Google ($GOOG) and other Silicon Valley titans. The right wing is echoing her sentiments but for different reasons. They see those companies as oppressive and against free speech along with the way they discriminate against right wing websites, employees who are conservative, causes that are conservative, and conservative speech.

When I was at the i7 in Torino, Italy a well respected Italian computer scientist offered up the idea of regulating the big tech giants. That was September of 2018. Ted Ullyot correctly asked, “How do regulate an opt-in service?” It’s a great question.

Personally, I am a huge fan of free markets, capitalism, and creative destruction.  Why can’t a company come and knock Google off its Continue reading “Tech Is Separating Us; Tech Is Leaving Communities Behind; Capitalism Can Save Us”

Dynamic Pricing in The Future


This post is by Jeff Carter from Points and Figures


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Was thinking the other day about dynamic pricing.  Today, if you go to a physical store, no matter who goes in they get the same price.  The .10 cent pencil is .10 to everyone.  The physical store is unable to change the price on the fly.

In the digital world, a company like Amazon could change the price for me since it is a singular shopping experience.  Because Amazon knows my preferences and history, they could adjust prices as I am browsing.  Suppose Amazon increases the price of a good that their probabilistic models think I will buy by a dollar.  Amazon gets more producer surplus.

Do that a million times and you make a million more dollars.  Because Amazon does so many transactions, they can increase their profit by quite a bit if they adopted this system.

It works in reverse too.  Suppose the probability model thinks I am Continue reading “Dynamic Pricing in The Future”