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photo credit: https://www.jimcollins.com/concepts/the-hedgehog-concept.html

Haven’t you seen this concept comprised of three overlapping circles somewhere? What do you think this concept implies? What do you learn and where do you think you can apply this model?

There is an interesting yet fundamentally critical concept elaborated in Good to Great by Jim Collins. Called ‘The Hedgehog Concept,’ it is one of several key characteristics that defined the good-to-great companies and separated them from comparison companies that ended up as mediocrity. Then why a hedgehog, you might ask?

This time in Weaving Webs, I would like to weave three discussions by three different authors who shared…


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“In the investment world, you can only make money if you think different from everyone else. Bridgewater has prevented groupthink by inviting dissenting opinions from every employee in the company. When employees share independent viewpoints instead of conforming to the majority, there’s a much higher chance that Bridgewater will make investment decisions no one else has considered and recognize financial trends no one else has discerned. That makes it possible to be right when the rest of the market is wrong. . . . Strong cultures exist when employees are intensely committed to a shared set of values and norms…


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A few separate conversations with people, who had concerns on our future, especially related with Artificial Intelligence and automation, motivated me to write this article. While some had philosophical questions such as ‘Will AI dominate humanity? Then will we have a dismal future?,’ others had rather practical concerns such as ‘What should we do in the immediate future when AI and automation displace us from labor markets? If we are being educated from outdated Industrial Age frames, then what to do? What do we have to learn and how do we prepare ourselves for our future?’

Since I have been…


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3. PROMISE VERSUS AS-IS

We are observing exponential technological progress made on top of exponential technology development today. For this reason, what the authors observed and saw as a promise may be different as of today.

Out of many revolutionary promises the authors elaborated, my key interest and enthusiasm first of all, was whether micropayments will be indeed possible. I loved the ideas of economic inclusion of those billion people who are excluded from banking let alone the Internet.

During my research, however, I have found some of the authors’ assertions hence possibilities have changed or evolved into a different…


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2. SWOT ANALYSIS: WHERE DO WE SEE OPPORTUNITIES?

So far, we have looked into important dynamics of the technology in various facets. Due to its newness of the technology and confusion rising from unprecedented novelty, we had much more to discuss than expected. I believe by now, readers may have developed much clearer understanding about workings of the technology, as I have while doing research.

Since its birth in 1970s, the Internet took about thirty years till it became a foundational technology as we have today. 123 Likewise, for this new technology to become the next one running on top…


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■ Frictions in the Real World

Even if Bitcoin itself is difficult to hack, there does exist potential for security risks at various stages of the transaction process. 98

Bitcoins are held in wallets and traded through digital currency exchanges. There are various security risks inherent in each of these two components. 99

Digital Wallets

  • To pay a recipient for goods or services in bitcoin, you first need a bitcoin wallet because the blockchain only records transactions, it doesn’t tabulate how many bitcoins are owned by an address. 100
  • The wallet can be stored on your computer, on your phone…

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■ Miners Economics

Becoming Miners (Nodes)

  • Miners are a supportive and incentivized community that processes Bitcoin’s transactions and keep everything running smoothly 54
  • A node is a powerful computer that runs the Bitcoin software and helps to keep Bitcoin running by participating in the relay of information. Some nodes are mining nodes (usually referred to as “miners”). 55
  • Anyone can run a node and mining nodes. 56
  • The service miners provide is not only transaction validation. Every full node can validate transactions.
  • Miners’ role is critical in that they preserve the distribution of power: the power to decide which transactions…

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(C) Technology Issues

The technology space is getting matured but not yet ready for practical adoption due to its complexity and innate technological issues.

“Bitcoin is created through an energy-intensive ‘mining’ process that uses high computing power to solve a complex mathematical equation, ‘proving’ that an ‘anonymous miner’ used the process the network ‘agreed’ upon to build the blockchain record of transactions. Miners then get bitcoin in ‘reward’ for successfully completing the equation.” 23

If you were given a choice, what key words would you select that can describe the workings of Bitcoin from the concise description above? I have…


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CONTEMPLATION: SEEKING EVOLUTION OVER REVOLUTION

The challenges the technology is facing internally and externally seem no small matters and, in certain aspect, it appears limitations far outweigh the potentials. In my opinion, there are a few fundamental issues that need to be addressed and cleared as “prerequisite conditions” before moving forward to the next stage.

The new world the authors envisage is apparently beautiful and ideal. However, we need to be cautious and patient in discussing these far-reaching subjects. I believe certain aspects can be realized sooner but other discussions can end as ideal wish rather than reality.

So what’s…


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IMPLEMENTATION CHALLENGES

The world looks very different under the blockchain revolution. In some aspects, they sound too good to be true. If this new future is a great leap-up from our current reality, — especially in terms of economic inclusion of billions of unbanked and excluded population from prosperity, of distributed database that clears rooms for concentrated third party’s compromise of users’ private data for commercial profit, of recorded truth such as personal property rights or artistic copyrights protected by the technology, and of transparent and efficient cross-border payments be they remittance or humanitarian aid, — where does the technology…

Leading by Reading

| leadingbyreading.org | In-depth Business Book Reviews by Jay (MBA, CFA candidate) •strategy •leadership •economics •finance •investment •politics and others

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