David Siegel — Jack of None

David Siegel

I built my first home page in early 1994. This is my new home online. It contains links to everything I have ever written, created, or been part of.

I’m the founder of 20|30
I’m founder of the Pillar Project
My resume
My LinkedIn page
My YouTube channel
My photos
My art collection
Follow me on Twitter
Email me


My bid to nudge Stanford Graduate School of Business into the 21st century was rejected by the committee. I’m excited to be working at the forefront of blockchain innovation with my amazing teams: 2030, Pillar Project, and Pillar Labs.


Giving Millennials the Break they Deserve — on starting a new institute.
My Libra Coin Overview video
David Siegel’s Biggest Investment Mistakes
— a fun interview.
An Open Letter to the Federal Reserve
My Response Video to Derek’s Amazing Video on the YouTube Ecosystem
Cutting Through the Noise — new web site, blog, and community.
InReality.Show — a new essay on constructing an evidence-based worldview
A Short Primer on Money — it’s not what you think it is
The Future of Governance in Europe — My address at the EU Parliament building in November, 2018
The Nine Act Structure — A resource for screenwriters and producers
A Tribute to Hans Rosling — Why I think Hans got global warming wrong
The Eight Drivers of Change for the 21st Century — A major new speech
Ad Agency of One Why you shouldn’t sell your personal data to anyone

Recorded Podcasts

My BrightTalk Podcast Channel — everything from investing to Tokenomics
My conversation with Carlos Espinal of Seedcamp — venture capital, entrepreneurship, and more


Harvard Business School Continuing Education course, December 2000: Making Corporate Boards more Effective
Stanford Computer Science, MS in digital typography, December, 1985
My graduate work was with Donald Knuth and Charles Bigelow.
University of Colorado at Boulder School of Engineering, Applied Math, August 1982.
I was also a computer science teaching assistant.
Rowland Hall St. Marks: I attended every year from kindergarten to high-school graduation but one, when I was in Denver at Graland.

My Major Essays

An Open Letter to the Federal Reserve
Four Big Questions the Libra Team Need to Answer
The Token Handbook — a guide to launching your own token sale
The Pillar Project Gray Paper on Medium.com
The Nine Act Structure — A resource for screenwriters and producers
An Open Letter to the SEC — on regulating tokens
Open Stanford — Why business schools need a radical new approach
A Tribute to Hans Rosling — Why I think Hans got global warming wrong
The Bitcoin Bubble Explained — Maybe there are no bubbles
It’s Time for Smart Law — an essay on legal simplification
The Future of Tickets
— an essay published by Consensys Media
The Lykke Platform — with Richard Olsen
Thoughts on disintermediating venture capital: globalbetaventures.com.
My Interview with Barack Obama: In which we discuss a variety of topics.
Decentral Station: A vision of a new world, based on blockchain.
The Culture Deck — 24 aspects of a responsive corporate culture.
The Pillar Branding Journey — for designers and entrepreneurs
People Don’t Click— How storytelling hijacked science.
Let’s Crowdfix the Data Problem Permanently Describes the personal data locker, including the video animation.
The Quick-Start Guide to the 21st Century — How we could use software to manage corporate ecosystems.
One Insane Habit the CEOs of Disney, Apple, Tesla, and Google share — a review of LinkedIn for job seekers.
ClimateCurious: 9,000 carefully written words on global warming.
VotingNinja.com: How we can vote smarter and get better outcomes.
Six Myths of Portfolio Construction: How to avoid common thinking mistakes when investing.

My Newsletters

Cutting Through the Noise — a daily newsletter on thinking and understanding the world through data
Failure is the System, September 2016 (before the election)
Macroeconomics, Future Drivers, Blockchain, December 2016


Pillar Labs — a crypto lab to do research for Pillar
DASA — the Digital Asset Standards Association
What is this Blockchain Thing? — explains blockchain technology.
2030.io — a new company building the blockchain future
The Pillar Project — it’s finally time to build the personal data locker
The Pillar Project Gray Paper on Medium.com
It’s Time for Smart Law — an essay on legal simplification
The Future of Tickets
— an essay published by Consensys Media
— The new site for our financial products.
Decentral Station: A vision of a new world based on blockchain
Insurance on the Blockchain , 2016— How it could be very different
Thoughts on disintermediating venture capital
Smart Data for Smart Contracts
The Story of the Lykke Coin
Understanding the DAO Hack for Journalists
The Next Twenty Years will be VERY Different — short essay on Moore’s law.

Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital

Business Agility Workshop — my consulting company, started in 2014
An Evening with David Siegel —a start-up talk at Skills Matter in London
An Introduction to Business Agility — a video of a seminar I led in 2015
The Marketing-Driven Approach to Starting Up — 2011
Global Beta Ventures — 2015 essay on the future of venture capital
See & Share, 2013 — I conceived of and co-created a browser plug-in for easily clipping and sharing photos.
Advice to Entrepreneurs, 2013 — How to build your pitch deck.
A Response to Bill Gross on What Causes Startups to Succeed — 2015
Studio Verso, the company I started in my living room and sold to KPMG.
I started a site called HighFive.com, a magazine of web design. I can’t find the old content, but here are the covers, which were designed by volunteers each week.
Six Myths of Portfolio Construction: How to avoid common thinking mistakes when investing.

My track record as an entrepreneur:

Where 0 is a loss, 1 is a win, - is a wash, and ? is undetermined.


I’ll put a * next to the pieces I recommend most, but I hope there’s something here for everyone:

The Newcomb Machine: test your decision-making skills.
Book Recommendations for 2016*
Stop Innovating!
Break the Innovation Barrier — Start Pretotyping!
Kanban for Everyone!*
What We Know about Leadership *— It’s what we don’t know that should inform our actions.
You WILL be Quantified — How quantification could affect all of us.
Turbulence, and Other Business Myths*— Of ecosystems and complex adaptive systems.
LinkedIn is a Trap, and We are All Stuck in It — What’s wrong with LinkedIn and how to game the system to your advantage.
How to Hire Real People and Get the Culture You Want*Resumes? Where we’re going, we don’t need resumes.
Fixing the Resume by Fixing Linkedin — the third installment of the LinkedIn disaster series; what resumes really should be.
The QuickStart Guide to the 21st Century*— How we will eventually run companies.
The Culture Deck* The 24 aspects of culture you need for this century
How to Improve Employee Engagement — a three-part essay on avoiding the problems ahead of time.
The Leadership Scam — How gurus promote themselves and fool people into thinking they are addressing leadership issues.
Letter to Korn Ferry — Standing up for rationalists at work.
Learning Agility: Myths and Realities — Buzzword-based hiring and pseudoscience doesn’t lead to good outcomes.
The Business Agility mind map — 2014 brain
Peter Drucker vs Business Agility — See how the great master scores (warning: I’m cherrypicking, but it’s fun).
Let’s Crowdfix the Data Problem Permanently* Describes the personal data locker, including the video animation.
People Don’t Click* How storytelling hijacked science.
Letter to Adobe: Kill the Apps — Why desktop software products should all be services.
Letter to J.C. Penney — Case study showing how experiments beat expert planning.
The Business Agility White Paper — Lays out the basic principles.
The Business Agility Manifesto — Asks what management consultants should do.
The Business Agility curriculum — some of it, anyway.
The Business Agility workshop overview
Prostate Cancer for Marketers — Health is an occasional byproduct of hospitals’ ultimate goal of making money for shareholders.
The Placebo Effect, an Update — Shows the power of placebos and the uncertainty around “proven” drugs.
On Being Wrong, Very Wrong — Experts are more wrong than they think.
The Succession Plan — a short piece on how to replace a Great Man with a team.

My YouTube channel on Bayesian reasoning in business.

Apple and the Cloud: A Cautionary Tale— Piece for xConomy.com on why Apple doesn’t get the cloud (and they still don’t), 2012.
An Open Letter to the Board at Apple — A piece I wrote for Forbes.com listing what Apple could do better (they still can).
Why I Should be Apple’s Next CEO — Blog post, 2009.

Severe Tire Damage — My original web-changing essay from 1995; influenced the design of the Netscape and Internet Explorer browsers.


Let’s Crowdfix the Data Problem — Medium.com essay and video.
Cloud Computing, Defined — Short definition of a concept most people don’t understand.
The Semantic Web Acid Test — Aquick primer on the semantic web,
My blog on ThePowerOfPull.com — How we can use data and the web in smarter ways; still very relevant.

Critical Thinking

Understanding Bayes Theorem — a short slide deck

Reading List

My full business-agility reading list


Pillar Project on YouTube
The Eight Drivers of Change for the 21st Century — A major new speech
The Future of Money — short version
Digital Scarcity — nonfungible tokens, August 2018
All about Stablecoins — a live webcast in October 2018
A list of all my talks to 2010
The Personal Data Locker video (2011?)
My talk at Thinking Digital 10 (2012?)
Semantic Web Conference Keynote (2010?)
A short video on cloud computing, Cyberport Hong Kong, 2010

My Books

I always design the covers for all my books. I always dedicate my books to the reader, who spends his time reading my words. (Medium.com isn’t very good at handling images — it used to be better, but then they “improved” it.)

The Euler Project at Stanford, Self-published, 1985.
This booklet was my master’s thesis under Don Knuth and Charles Bigelow.

What is Worth Doing?, Self-published, 1993
This book was about 1) becoming vegetarian for health reasons, 2) limiting population to prevent disaster, and 3) limiting CO2 emissions to prevent global warming. I can report, 22 years later, that I was wrong about all three. The only thing I got right was that being vegan is better for the environment.

Creating Killer Web Sites, Hayden Books, 1996
This book was the #1 bestselling book at Amazon.com for 1996. It was translated into 16 languages. It remains Amazon.com’s longest-running number-one bestseller.

Creating Killer Web Sites, 2nd Edition, Hayden Books, 1997
Written with the incomparable Doug Millison, this update also sold very well.

Secrets of Successful Web Sites, Hayden Books, 1997
1997 was a busy year! This book interviewed groups of people building web sites and told their stories. I also wrote several technical chapters on the craft and business of web design.

Futurize Your Enterprise, Wiley Business, 1999
Perhaps the first business/marketing book on the power of social media and how companies can harness the power of their customers online.

Pull, Portfolio, 2009
The best book I have ever written. Far ahead of its time. Even though it was full of practical examples, we are just now starting to create this world at scale. Very relevant today. I didn’t want the “semantic web” in the subtitle, but my editors insisted — bad call. Easter egg: the barcodes for the letters are those of my previous books.


Agile Investing — a short auto-pilot slide show on postmodern portfolio concepts.

The History of Information — A short fun video on the data explosion, revealing for the first time the father of the modern operating system.

The Diet of Worms — You know what’s good for you.

Interior Design

I have designed two full apartments and remodeled another. I’ve designed tables, desks, shelves, bookcases, a climbing wall, and more. Here’s a glass-tile backsplash I made that I’m particularly proud of in a small kitchen I designed:

Media About Me

Web Sight: Let Your Customers Lead — Fast Company profile (2000?).


What I Learned about Climate Change: The Science is not Settled — Essay (over 110k visits to this page and almost 20k people have read it).
Climate Change: Is it Real and Important?— A response defending me from a misguided rebuttal to the first essay, written by some global-warming enthusiasts.
Antidecarbonization.com — Getting people on board the environmental antidecarbonization movement.
How Climate Change Changes Your Brain — LinkedIn short piece describing my experience after publishing the essay.


The Godzilla Economy, 2005
Godzilla’s tail, 2008


I started a consulting/speaking company called WowCacao!, but the market economics don’t support an independent speaker. Site is gone.
An invitation from a chocolate tasting event at the 92nd street Y — about 100 people attended.


The California Tradition in Type Design, 2015 — Apparently, I’m a California type designer. There’s a chapter on Tekton in this keepsake from the Book Club of California.

The original “Tekton Pro” booklet (PDF).
The Graphite sampler page at Fontshop
The Eaglefeather Home Page (archived)
Zapfino page at Linotype
The WikiPedia page on the AMS Euler typeface is actually correct

My Adobe type designer’s page

The Story of Tekton — My version.
The Story of Graphite — My version.
Note: The WikiPedia page on Zapfino is completely messed up.


The Nine-Act Structure home page — story structure in feature films

Many authors have referenced the Nine Act Structure — just search for it online and you’ll find their work.

I have written several screenplays. I’m very happy with one of them, Run Sid Run, a story of two young kids trying to get a small elephant from one side of Houston to the other, and in the process they save all the animals. I hope you enjoy reading it.


The Woody Allen Paintings, 2003?
Son of Spam, 2003?


I’m one of the first five people to start blogging. My personal blog ran from August 30, 1995 to April 30, 1998. All the original posts are still there.

My award-winning first home page, started in 1994.

My original bio — Jack of None
Dine with Dave — Everyone I ate with in 1996.
David Siegel on Diet — This is my writing from 1990–1994. Some of it is still true, most of it isn’t.
Tips on writing, 1997
My original Women’s Resources Page — Several browser versions later.
The Big Enchillada — A short and wacky essay on sex from 1994.

Stargazer, 2008 — The story of my son Shai’s birth.
Tips from Parents, 2008 — What people sent me before Shai was born.

I collect paper money. I do not recommend this hobby to anyone.


I don’t do many logos, because I don’t need to design for a living, but I still enjoy doing them. Here are a few:

Graphic Design

Here’s a New Yorker cover image I created for the issue at the 40th anniversary of John Lennon’s death. Rejected.


Almost all of my photography is at DsiegelPhoto.com. The most interesting section is the travel section.


My goal is to see 100 countries, and I should be in my 100th country by October 2019! I’ve been to Timbuktu, Tonga, and the Transkei, but I’ve never been to some common places, like Korea or Argentina. It turns out to be very difficult to define what a country is for this purpose. I generally use the alphabetical country list at the Traveler’s Century Club, but that list is very inclusive (Hawaii and Alaska are countries). I don’t include Alaska and Hawaii because I wasn’t there when they were independent. I do include Monaco, Corsica, Canary Islands, Galapagos, Northern Ireland, and Scotland, because I feel they still have their own identities. I would include Wales but haven’t been there. I don’t include Crete, I think it’s Greece. I would count Easter Island but haven’t been there. I don’t count the Sinai, it doesn’t have a culture. I don’t split Turkey. I count Taiwan and Hong Kong as separate from China. I count Palestine because I believe its people should be a sovereign nation (somehow). I will count Tibet when I get there. I wouldn’t count Sicily (possibly a mistake?). Trinidad and Tobago, though very different and I have been to each, have been together for too long to separate. Same with Turks and Caicos. I have been to one country that no longer exists (Transkei). I don’t include countries where I was just passing through the airport, train, or bus station. See? It’s arbitrary. I have a passport stamp for most, but not all of these. So I don’t use the loosest list nor the tightest.

A better site and app is Most Traveled People, where I am in the top 3,000 worldwide.

Here is my list of countries visited so far:

  1. Albania
  2. Andorra
  3. Armenia (booked for October 2019)
  4. Australia
  5. Austria
  6. Azerbaijan
  7. Bahamas
  8. Barbados
  9. Belgium
  10. Belize
  11. Bermuda
  12. Bosnia
  13. Botswana
  14. Brazil
  15. Bulgaria
  16. Burkina Faso
  17. Cambodia
  18. Canada
  19. Canary Islands
  20. China
  21. Congo, Dem Rep of
  22. Corsica
  23. Costa Rica
  24. Cote D’Ivoire
  25. Croatia
  26. Czech Republic
  27. Denmark
  28. Dominican Republic
  29. Ecuador
  30. Egypt
  31. England
  32. Fiji
  33. Finland
  34. France
  35. Galapagos
  36. Georgia
  37. Germany
  38. Ghana
  39. Gibraltar
  40. Greece
  41. Guatamala
  42. Hong Kong
  43. Hungary
  44. Iceland
  45. India
  46. Ireland
  47. Northern Ireland
  48. Israel
  49. Italy
  50. Japan
  51. Kenya
  52. Laos
  53. Liechtenstein
  54. Lithuania
  55. Luxembourg
  56. Madagascar
  57. Mali
  58. Mauritius
  59. Mexico
  60. Monaco
  61. Montenegro
  62. Namibia
  63. Nepal
  64. Netherlands
  65. New Zealand
  66. Norway
  67. Palestine
  68. Panama
  69. Philippines
  70. Poland
  71. Portugal
  72. Romania
  73. Russia
  74. Rwanda
  75. St Lucia
  76. Scotland
  77. Senegal
  78. Singapore
  79. Slovakia
  80. Slovenia
  81. South Africa
  82. Spain
  83. Sri Lanka
  84. Sweden
  85. Switzerland
  86. Tahiti
  87. Taiwan
  88. Tanzania
  89. Thailand
  90. Tonga
  91. Transkei (gone)
  92. Trinidad and Tobago
  93. Tonga
  94. Turkey
  95. Turks and Caicos
  96. Uganda
  97. United States
  98. Vatican City
  99. Venezuela
  100. Vietnam

Here are some of my old travel blogs:

France, 2000
Fiji, 2001
France, 2002
Italy, 2003
Panama, 2004
Romania, 2005
Mali, Kenya, Rwanda, 2007
Vietnam, Cambodia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, France, Portugal, Iceland, 2008
Helping Africa, 2009?
Driving in Africa, 2010?

David Siegel

Written by

Entrepreneur, writer, investor, blockchain expert, start-up coach, founder of the Pillar project and 20|30.io

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