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P.S. You Should Know... | Issue #206

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March 7 · Issue #206 · View online
P.S. You Should Know...
👋 Welcome back to P.S. You Should Know… probably the best newsletter published on Sundays between 6-7am CST, and definitely the best one published by me. Now in its fifth year!

my story 🚀
Some musings from this week…
  1. The overhead of outsourcing. My inbox is full. It’s full of to-do type emails that require me to take an action. For one, I need to make a phone call to pay a bill by credit card. For another, I need to fill out a pdf form with some information for tax purposes. Cumulatively this type of work to managing my affairs eats into my schedule. I’d love to be able to rely on someone else to do it all. I’m thinking of the omnipotent executive assistants we see in movies. But what’s a regular guy to do when he’s not important enough to have a full time EA? Has anyone solved this personally?
  2. What’s going on with prices? I want to talk about economics but I’m mostly unqualified. Everywhere I look, I notice higher prices. Certainly, low interest rates play a role. The fed money printer, too (brrr). Investor Fabrice Grinda calls it the Everything Bubble. Are you taking any concrete actions based on the economic environment? Or do you have a different perspective on it entirely?
  3. “We clearly don’t understand fundamental physics that well.” The sentence in my inbox hit me hard. I don’t spend much time thinking about physics, so I asked the author to elaborate. The author adds this disclaimer: “I’m an armchair physicist at best.”
As for the fundamental physics, no, we don’t know as much as many think. We haven’t yet rectified quantum physics with gravitation. We can calculate quantum phenomenon but have no idea why any of it happens. We don’t understand the fundamental particles well, or if they even are fundamental. Particle physics has been chasing supersymmetry to find that next particle for decades and the accelerators have gotten way past the expected energy required. String theory has turned out to be a likely wash. The basic building blocks of reality are still being discovered and are not well understood. There are even crazy new theories like Weinstein’s geometric unity and Wolfram’s graph theory that proclaim to be more fundamental theories than what’s out there. I think there’s lots of potential for some breakthroughs in those fields, and potential applications to materials, batteries, and even other crazy stuff, but it may be a long time or never also.
fun facts 🙌
How I gave up alternating current. “Soylent founder Rob Rhinehart shares his thoughts on extreme sustainability.” | learn more
The story of clearing, aka WTF is DTCC? “And the DTCC is perhaps the most powerful entity you’ve never heard of. It’s the engine of the US securities markets; in 2019 alone, it processed over $2.15 quadrillion worth of securities (yes, quadrillion!)” | learn more
Who’s making all those scam calls? Reporter Yudhijit Bhattacharjee tracked down a scammer who works at a call center in India and asked him some questions. | learn more
oh, chicago 🏆
LongJump VC launches to write first checks to Chicago founders. “Having capital available to founders without existing personal wealth not only allows more diverse founders to enter the startup industry, but also provides a sturdier path for younger entrepreneurs working on their first business.” | learn more
tech, startups, internet ⚡
Big markets continually create opportunities. “Big markets continually create new opportunities. Even with major incumbents that seem to do it all, new areas of opportunity emerge, and the bigger the market, the more opportunity a small slice represents.” | learn more
Indie.vc shuts down due to lack of investor interest. This story circulated quickly over the past week. Indie.vc was a funder of startups that didn’t fit the “billion dollars or broke” venture capital path. The fund’s investors have not been thrilled with the approach, and now Indie is shutting down. | learn more
A venture studio that’s working: Atomic. The biggest winner so far from Atomic is Hims, an online pharmacy that’s publicly traded with a market cap of ~$2.5 Billion. “At first, Atomic worked on one company. The following year, it worked on two. By 2018, the outfit had built out a team that could handle many of the back-end functions that startups need to thrive, from recruiting to accounting, and launched 10 companies.” | learn more
better doing 🎯
The holy grail of self-improvement. “The holy grail of self-improvement in modern times is a framework for individual experimentation and learning that can be used by the average person. The key question such a framework would have to answer is “How do people change?”” | learn more
Seneca on gathering ideas and combinatorial creativity. “Seneca advised observing and copying the bees, and idea that gave like to combinatorial creativity well before Einstein hit upon the same notion.” | learn more
to your health ⚕
China’s one-minute staff-free clinic. A Chinese telehealth company, Ping An Good Doctor, launched a staff-free one-minute clinic last year, and now they’re expanding to 1,000 units across 8 provinces. This seems like a worthwhile investment in health! “The clinics currently provide online consultations for more than 2,000 common diseases, and can immediately answer tens of thousands of medical and health queries for users, with an international standard accuracy level. Every One-minute Clinic has more than 100 categories of common drugs, all of which are cryogenically refrigerated to ensure their quality. If a user needs a drug that is not stored at the booth, they can purchase it online through the Ping An Good Doctor App and enjoy the one-hour drug delivery services provided by nearby cooperative pharmacies.” | learn more
under the microscope 🔬
1,098 person study finds significant associations between foods and microbiome. Published in Nature Medicine: “Analyses from the gut microbiome of over 1,000 individuals from the PREDICT 1 study, for which detailed long-term diet information as well as hundreds of fasting and same-meal postprandial cardiometabolic blood marker measurements are available, unveil new associations between specific gut microbes, dietary habits and cardiometabolic health.” | learn more
big ideas 📚
Pump-free geothermal loops. “[Requiring no power for pumping water down] makes this Eavor-Loop technology a bit of a unicorn. Essentially it’s a low-enthalpy geothermal station that sends fluid through a sealed loop in a way that self-perpetuates without adding any extra energy at all once it’s running.” | learn more
A theory of everything. I only made it about halfway through this interview of Eric Weinstein, but it was quite interesting up until he lost me. “Eric Weinstein is a mathematician with a bold and piercing intelligence, unafraid to explore the biggest questions in the universe and shine a light on the darkest corners of our society. He is the host of The Portal podcast, a part of which, he recently released his 2013 Oxford lecture on his theory of Geometric Unity that is at the center of his lifelong efforts in arriving at a theory of everything that unifies the fundamental laws of physics.” | learn more
on the blockchain ⛓
Why India should buy Bitcoin. Crypto mainstay Balaji Srinivasan: “More broadly, India should champion decentralized cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum to safeguard national security, prevent deplatforming, attract international capital, strengthen monetary policy, deter financial fraud, accelerate technological development, and hasten India’s ascendance as a global power.” | learn more
Low FICO users driving crypto growth. I don’t know that there’s much of a conclusion to draw from this. I did crosscheck with the general distribution of credit scores, and this skews to lower than the overall average. “53% of Coinbase users have a FICO score under 650 (in the Very Poor to Fair range according to Experian). Coinbase users increased their account balances by 2.7x YoY between January 2020 and January 2021.” | learn more
First publicly company CEO now paid in Bitcoin. “U.K.-listed cryptocurrency mining firm Argo Blockchain started paying the salary of its CEO, Peter Wall, in bitcoin this month.” | learn more
calls to action 👇
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