Last week, as I have done for the last several years, I gave a guest lecture at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. The class is DPI-662: Digital Government: Technology, Policy, and Public Service Innovation taught by my old friend David Eaves and the topic in recent years has been on Cryptonetworks and Blockchains.
I am always amazed at the people in the class — incredible diversity of backgrounds from around the world. And as we have discussed crypto over the past few years, the conversation has gotten better and better — whereas a few years ago it was a curiosity it is clear that people are paying close attention.
Here is the deck I used for the talk. Like many of my presentations on crypto, it is geared towards newer technical audiences with a deeper policy slant. Makes less sense without the narrative, but I have included speaker notes which you can see in the Google Slides version.
At USV, we talk a lot about our investment thesis. The USV thesis is a set of ideas that has guided our investing over the years. It is a tool we use to help ourselves know what to look for, and to help companies who fit into it to find us. Despite all of the… Read more »
A few weeks ago at the CoinAlts conference in Chicago, I did a fireside chat with Sam McIngvale, CEO of Coinbase Custody. CoinAlts is a conference focused mostly on the institutional infrastructure around crypto assets — legal, accounting, custody, etc. So we started out talking about the evolving role of custody in the crypto markets,… Read more »
As I turned to write this, I was in the middle of reviewing a document a friend had asked me to look at a little while ago. In somewhat typical fashion, I had not done it right away, and had basically forgotten about it until he pinged me again, and even then I didn’t get… Read more »
Yesterday, we had a team offsite at USV, which included a “presentation party” where a bunch of us gave 3-minute presentations on a variety of topics. It was actually a perfect window into everyone’s personality — Andy gleaned lessons about venture capital from music lyrics (of course), Albert talked about beauty in math focusing on… Read more »
My son played in a baseball tournament this weekend. His team did well, and finished as the runner-up. The team that beat them in the finals played really well, but more importantly, it was obvious that they had a strong culture of success. From the moment they walked on the field, they had a noticeable… Read more »
This week was the annual USV CEO Summit, one of my favorite moments of every year (remarkably, this was my 8th summit, and they seem to get better and better). The theme of this year’s summit was “Trust”, which, for those paying close attention, is the anchor of USV’s investment thesis 3.0. We have been… Read more »
Like most people, I have struggled over the years to comes up with a organizational/productivity system that works for me. Disclaimer: I do not yet have it down perfectly, and am not claiming guru status. But I do have a few things that have worked pretty well, and I have noticed some things that others… Read more »
Community is a funny thing. It can sound like a fluffy word or concept, but it’s actually really powerful. Maybe more powerful than many things. Community is about helping people feel connected and aligned. When people are connected, they feel warm and good, and part of something bigger than themselves. When people are aligned, each… Read more »
Picking back up the series on what decentralization is good for (part 1, part 2), today I want to focus on one of the most exciting aspects of decentralization: growth. In this case, when I say “decentralized”, what I really mean is “open and non-proprietary”. The two often go hand-in-hand. Ok, so why are open,… Read more »
Just about 10 years ago, I had a migraine that lasted two weeks. I have never been in such pain; even an ER visit and a morphine drip didn’t touch it. Then, 6 months later, I had a stomach pain that just wouldn’t go away. Finally I went to the hospital, and it turned out… Read more »
Last night I went to see RAIN, a Beatles tribute band, with my friend and neighbor Jeff. If you haven’t been to one, tribute bands/shows are kind of odd: on the one hand, typically technically/musically perfect (the tribute band can play the entire catalog of the original band flawlessly); and on the other hand, the… Read more »
Continuing on the theme of what decentralization is good for, this week I would like to focus on one of the most powerful drivers in the near-term: Platform Risk. Platform Risk is is the risk that the tech platform that you build your product/app/business/life on will become a critical dependency, will become unreliable, and/or worse,… Read more »
Over the long weekend, I spent a bunch of time with my kids doing outdoor cold weather activities. I love the winter, and I love winter sports — there is something about being outside on a cold, sunny day that gets my blood moving and makes me feel great. Those who have read this blog… Read more »
Recently, Simon Morris, a long-time BitTorrent exec, wrote a provocative series of posts on the nature of decentralization, in the wake of BitTorrent Inc’s acquisition by TRON. They are relatively short and a good read: Why BitTorrent Mattered — Bittorrent Lessons for CryptoIf you’re not Breaking Rules you’re Doing it WrongIntent, Complexity and the Governance Paradox Decentralized Disruption — Who… Read more »
I am in Hong Kong this week for Blockstack‘s Decentralizing the World Tour (more on that in a forthcoming post). I arrived yesterday and have been exploring the city a bit. The first observation is how awful the air quality is. Holy cow. This report from Plume Labs (snapshot from the time when I took this… Read more »
USV’s book club book for this month is Drug Dealer, MD, by Dr. Anna Lembke, Director of Addiction Medicine at Stanford Hospital – so we have spent a bunch of time recently talking about addiction. It is not a stretch to hypothesize that we, as a society, are at a moment of heightened addiction, generally… Read more »
Debt is a complicated subject. On the one hand, it is empowering — it lets you get a quick start on something, and lets you do things that would not be possible otherwise. There are times when it is useful, necessary, and unavoidable. I think about “debt” in the broadest possible terms: times when you… Read more »
For the past week or so, I have been experimenting with the Pixel Slate, Google’s new hybrid tablet/laptop. Here is me typing this blog post right now, on the train to NYC. For a longer, more technical analysis, this review from The Verge is good. The Pixel Slate is an odd machine, and I am still… Read more »
Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, and I am not your lawyer. I have been in an uncountable number of conversations over the past few years discussing the question of what defines a “security” in the context of cryptocurrencies, cryptonetworks, and token offerings. Here is my current understanding, including a number of key questions I… Read more »