TIME TO READ: 4 min 13 seconds | January 17, 2018
“Bitcoin did WHAT?!”
Good morning squad,
For those of you that watched the Vikings/Saints game…what was that safety doing?! Like, come on, you had one job! Not even Phil Mickelson chokes that badly! Also, don’t eat Tide Pods. Because that’s super dumb.
Here’s some stuff you may or may not care about.
Spare Time Links
- Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?, The Atlantic
Kim Jong Un’s big bet. North Korea’s young leader made headlines last week when he pulled a sweeping 180 and seized on the Winter Olympics in a bid for diplomacy with North Korea’s southern brethren. These talks, however, were void of any conversation about denuclearization. Here’s what you should know:
- Diffusing tensions on the Korean peninsula is a top priority for South Korean president, Moon Jae-in, and the gesture of diplomacy undermines the U.S. efforts to stall North Korea’s nuclear program through economic sanctions
- It signals to the world that there’s no turning back — if the world wants peace, it will have to tolerate a North Korea armed with nuclear weapons
- If Un can appeal to South Korean sympathizers, it’s not inconceivable that he could drive a wedge between the United States and South Korea, severely weakening the US’s diplomatic position and further legitimizing North Korea
The hot take…this is a classic example of the U.S. underestimating North Korea. The country has had surprising economic growth, despite backbreaking sanctions, and this latest move in the international chess game will likely satisfy China enough to keep it from inflicting any additional economic penalties — something that Washington dearly wishes it would do.
Furthermore, ethnic nationalism has long played a role in Korean politics for many in the south; in the late 1980s there were more protests against U.S. military presence than against North Korea. Sports might just be the ticket Kim Jong Un needs to begin dividing the U.S. from the Korean peninsula.
Cutting the chord, this time for phones. The annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is known for debuting the hottest tech around. And while this year’s show saw flashy smart cars and robot ping-pong players, I think by far the coolest thing there was the wireless power-at-a-distance solutions. Not one, but two companies — Powercast Corporation and Energous — debuted over-the-air charging solutions that deliver power to devices from 6 inches up to 80 feet away.
The transmitters send RF energy on the 915-MHz ISM band over the air to a receiver chip embedded in a device, which converts it to DC to recharge its batteries or directly power the device. This remote charging technology behaves like Wi-Fi, where enabled devices automatically charge when within range of a power transmitter.
The hot take…unsexy technology can still be pretty sexy. Imagine walking around your house and using your phone while it was charging? Or never having to put new batteries in your remote? Or more importantly, having smart home devices everywhere that ran on a constant stream of wireless energy? In my opinion, this is the biggest game changer for the transition to a smarter world. Look for the maturation of wireless charging to become ubiquitous in your daily life.
S&P 500: (+1.04%)
Cryptos take a hit…in the last 24 hours, more than $30B in value has been wiped off Bitcoin, the world’s largest cryptocurrency. For the first time since November 30, Bitcoin fell below the coveted $10,000 price mark and is still falling. Bitcoin is not the only cryptocurrency to take a hit either. Apart from a few outliers, nearly every cryptocurrency is literally tanking. There’s just no other way to put it.
The hot take…this isn’t the first time the crypto world has gone base jumping in the month of January. While admittedly this is a completely different crypto market than a year ago, markets have previously experienced a dip from January through February and begun to recover again around March. However, I’m not so sure that’ll be the tale this time around. Now that cryptos are a mainstream commodity, people are getting woke to the fact that…there’s pretty much no utility to these currencies yet. That makes them worth next to nothing and it’s reflecting in the market.
Design & Culture
Not a Social Media Platform. Pinterest relies on selling ads to display to its hundreds of millions of users, much like the majority of Silicon Valley. But Ben Silbermann, co-Founder and CEO, and his team have designed a platform that targets consumers based on what they want to do in the future instead of what they’re already doing.
This is a stark shift from the reliance on dopamine-fueled clicks and page views that pump money into the Facebooks and YouTubes of the world and keep people on their sites. To be clear, Pinterest doesn’t consider itself a social medial platform. It’s a platform to help you discover and do the cool things you want to do (like build or bake stuff), and it’s betting that advertisers will buy into the the juicy opportunity to step in at key points along what I’m calling “the journey of doing.”
The hot take…any platform that can grow without forcibly addicting users to endless content is a sign of hope that we might not become Night of the Living Social Media Addicts. Admittedly, it’s still a preference-oriented platform with tons of content — over 75 billion ideas — that can easily eat up time. But unlike Facebook, the majority of people who use Pinterest say they feel better after they use it, not worse. Maybe that can inspire other services to monetize in other ways than just making you click more.
Startup to Watch
Telegram Open Network… Telegram has been around for a while. For those who don’t know, it’s a messaging platform used by almost 200 million people per day. Its secret sauce is that the company was founded on a promise of security and decentralized communication. Users can program messages to delete after being read and it’s used by many of the world’s ruling elite, as well as by defense companies, international trade organizations, crime networks, and much more.
Telegram has now revealed plans for an ICO on what it’s calling the Telegram Open Network. The company is planning to raise $1.2 billion to fund the development of blockchain-based technologies with the overarching goal of becoming the preeminent platform for developers to build services and products for the decentralized internet. Basically think Apple App Store, but for blockchain-based products.
The hot take…I know I just got done telling you that cryptos are worthless, but hear me out. Telegram is popular because it’s laser-focused on privacy. You use Telegram if you’re worried about Big Brother or your mom finding out where you buy weed. That makes Telegram quite-possibly the biggest opportunity for a functioning cryptocurrency because it already has a 200M+ user base that wants out of mainstream everything. Add in the fact that they have the funding and experience to get it done, and Telegram’s TeleCoin really starts to look like something worth investing in.
Did you know…
On this day in 1950, 11 men stole more than $2.7 million from an armored car depot in Boston. They filled 14 bags with cash and coins, a total weight of more than half a ton, and left virtually no clues and nobody wounded upon their exit. The men promised not to touch the money for six years in order to let the statute of limitations expire, after which they would be free to use the money.
It’s likely that the men would have gotten away with it had one of their members not gotten locked up for another robbery. After his fellow gang members attempted to murder him, he made a deal with the FBI. Only a small part of the money was ever recovered. The rest is rumored to be hidden in the hills north of Grand Rapids, Minnesota.
Someone call Nicolas Cage.
Be well and do good work.
PS: If you like what you read, please subscribe!