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Building a meditation routine

I wrote recently about the challenge of turning plans into routines.  One of the activities that is the most impactful for me is meditation.  I cannot say that I have a perfect meditation routine, but I can absolutely say that when I do do it, it makes me feel great, immediately. There are a bunch of good tools out there to help build a meditation routine.  I have found that guided meditations are the easiest to start with, since they give you a framework and something to react to, but can also...

Trauma

Just about two years ago, my wife’s parents were hit by a truck while crossing the street. The past two years have been both difficult and wonderful.  Wonderful in that two people who were on the brink of death following the accident are still with us (her mother in particular has had a miraculous if incomplete recovery from a shockingly awful head injury) – and also wonderful in that the experience brought us closer in some ways.  Difficult in that not only was the recovery an...

Plans vs. routines

Sunday night over dinner, my son, parents and I were discussing the saving / investing system we set up for our kids in the spring. The idea was/is: set a monthly budget for purchases (in their case, mostly online movies, tv shows and games), and include a really healthy interest rate (20% monthly) to encourage savings. What a great idea! I got lots of really nice feedback on the post back in March. My son described the system to my parents, but instead of describing the concept, as I just did...

The adjacent possible

Dani and I have been spending a bunch of time recently thinking about the relationship between applications and infrastructure.  It’s a little bit of a chicken and egg situation.  You need infrastructure to build apps, but often times you don’t really know what kind of infrastructure is needed until you build some apps. For example, we didn’t get AWS (the infrastructure) until we had Amazon (the app).  Often times, the early innovators need to build all the infrastructure...

Getting the chills

One of the greatest things Frannie and I have in common is that we get the chills from music — typically at the exact same time, triggered by the same musical… something. For me it starts  at the back of my neck, and if it’s really good, it spreads all over my back, head, and chest — if it’s really really good I end up with tears in my eyes.  I get it the most from vocal solos and tight harmonies, in particular R&B, gospel, and certain musicals.  It’ll...

The utility infielder

My favorite baseball player is Brock Holt, and has been since his first season with the Red Sox back in 2013.  Here is me last month wearing my Holt jersey that I wear to every game (note the #26 that he started out with, before it was retired for Wade Boggs a few years ago — Brock wears #12 now): Repping brock holt tonight who just hit a monster triple amidst an epic redsox rally. More to come on why he is my favorite red Sox player, but he is pic.twitter.com/Aca8hfaDQ7— Nick...

Fear

I have been helping my son, who is in 4th grade, with his math — specifically, multiplication.  He feels like he is a little bit behind, so we are working on it so he can get more comfortable.  It is going well now — we have gotten into a routine of spending 15 minutes per night doing a worksheet or a game, and talking through the math. But when we first started, just a few weeks ago, it was much harder.  He really really resisted getting started, or engaging with it at all.  When...

Form factor

Over the past few weeks, I have varied up my computing habits a bit.  For a laptop, I have been using a Pixelbook, and I have also been spending more timing using an iPad Pro for work (vs my default of using a Mac laptop for everything). What I have discovered is that the form factor of the device I’m using matters a lot in terms of what kinds of work it supports best.  Both devices have exactly the same apps, but the experience on each couldn’t be more different. For example, the...

A little, and then a little more

Back in May, I had what ended up being a major hand surgery — repairing a torn tendon and in the process reconstructing the end of my pinkie by grafting tendons borrowed from my ring finger.  As a result, I am now recovering from two injuries — the pinkie itself and the ring finger that was the donor. What I have learned is that most surgeons under-sell the recovery process.  Surgery is invasive and often causes as many problems than it solves.  In my case, the scar tissue from the...

Layers

A central concept on the internet is Layering.  Each of the protocols in the internet stack talks to the layer directly above and below it — new protocols can be added as long as they speak the language of their layer.  Protocols at one layer can be upgraded so long as they don’t break compatibility with the layer above or below it.  This architecture maximizes interoperability and allows for a great deal of flexibility.  The shape of the layers has been described as an hourglass...

Minimum Viable Economy

One of my favorite things about the cryptocurrency / blockchain space is that our conception of “what it all means” is still very much in flux. Nic Carter just published a nice analysis of how the functional narrative around bitcoin has changed over time – (roughly) from e-cash, to e-gold, to private currency, to a reserve cryptocurrency, to a programmable shared database, and on. (FWIW, at USV, our “aha” moment was in 2013 when we started thinking of bitcoin as a...

The path to decentralization: self-destructing companies

In June, the SEC gave some of its most concrete guidance to date that cryptoassets can start out as centralized projects, possibly initially sold under securities laws, and eventually become “decentralized” and thus no longer sponsor-controlled, and no longer sold or transferred under securities laws. It makes sense that a decentralized protocol does not fit the definition of a security.  There’s not a clear single issue or promoter (for purposes of reporting, etc); tokens are...

Trust and fairness

I was at an event last night, where the moderator, Preeti Varathan from QZ observed that there seemed to be a lot of cynicism in the blockchain / crypto space — in other words, that the whole thing was essentially premised on a distrust of existing systems (fiat currencies, large internet companies, etc). It’s an interesting and I would say correct observation, but it’s also not the whole story.  In addition to the distrust angle, there is also an innovation angle (though it...

Compound interest goes in both directions

There is no shortage of writing and punditry about the power of compound interest. As usual Naval has a pithy tweet about it: Play iterated games. All the returns in life, whether in wealth, relationships, or knowledge, come from compound interest. — Naval (@naval) May 31, 2018 I have been thinking about this a lot lately —  in the context of work, health, family, finances etc.  And more specifically, how compound interest is not just something that works for you, but it’s also...

just_work = true

One of my former colleagues, Rob Marianski, and I used to have a running joke — we would be building and debugging something, and he’d finally say, “Oh, so you just want me to set just_work = true?”.  That was over 10 years ago, but it still gets me every time for some reason.  (as an aside, I have always thought justworkequalstrue.com would make a great blog name, and actually bought the domain for Rob a few years back — still waiting for that first post...

Focus

Ryan Caldbeck is on fire on Twitter right now.  Ryan is the CEO of our portfolio company CircleUp, and he just joined Twitter for the first time earlier this year and is, I may say, feeling very comfortable in the medium.  Over the weekend he put up a great diagram-oriented tweetstorm with a bunch of gems in it. I will focus on this one: 9/ So many people told me to focus even after I thought we were focused. They were always right. pic.twitter.com/GZeXzzNqnX — Ryan Caldbeck (@ryan_caldbeck)...

Finding your discomfort zone

I have been down in DC the last few weeks, among other things, talking to lawmakers and regulators about cryptonetworks and cryptocurrencies.  As part of that, I’ve been spending a lot of time with attorneys — specifically securities attorneys — getting into depth on issues like the definition of an “investment contract” and case law like Howey, Reves and Forman. Separately, I’ve spent a bunch of time over the past 9 months helping USV portfolio companies...

Digital scarcity

As readers of this blog can tell, I’ve been spending a lot of my time recently focused on cryptonetworks and blockchains, and in particular, working through the complex legal and regulatory issues involved. Explaining what cryptocurrencies, cryptonetworks and blockchains are is hard to do.  As Naval recently said on twitter: It is the mark of a genius to explain a complex topic in a simple way. — Naval (@naval) March 12, 2017 One person who is able to describe this complex topic...

Zombies eating kitties

On Tuesday we announced our investment in Cryptokitties, and, as you might expect, received a combination of enthusiasm and skepticism in response.  Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies already sound ridiculous to most people, and virtual “real” kittens made out of cryptocurrency take it a step further. But, as with many new technologies, these first use cases just scratch the surface of a broader potential.  There are lots of things to be excited about here, but for now I’ll just...

Nick Grossman

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