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1 year ago
Xenobots, tiny living machines, can duplicate themselves.
Strange and complex behavior of frog cell blobs
A xenobot “parent,” shaped like a hungry Pac-Man (shown in red false color), created an “offspring” xenobot (green sphere) by gathering loose frog cells in its opening.
Tiny “living machines” made of frog cells can make copies of themselves. This newly discovered renewal mechanism may help create self-renewing biological machines.
According to Kirstin Petersen, an electrical and computer engineer at Cornell University who studies groups of robots, “this is an extremely exciting breakthrough.” She says self-replicating robots are a big step toward human-free systems.
Researchers described the behavior of xenobots earlier this year (SN: 3/31/21). Small clumps of skin stem cells from frog embryos knitted themselves into small spheres and started moving. Cilia, or cellular extensions, powered the xenobots around their lab dishes.
The findings are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Dec. 7. The xenobots can gather loose frog cells into spheres, which then form xenobots.
The researchers call this type of movement-induced reproduction kinematic self-replication. The study's coauthor, Douglas Blackiston of Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, and Harvard University, says this is typical. For example, sexual reproduction requires parental sperm and egg cells. Sometimes cells split or budded off from a parent.
“This is unique,” Blackiston says. These xenobots “find loose parts in the environment and cobble them together.” This second generation of xenobots can move like their parents, Blackiston says.
The researchers discovered that spheroid xenobots could only produce one more generation before dying out. The original xenobots' shape was predicted by an artificial intelligence program, allowing for four generations of replication.
A C shape, like an openmouthed Pac-Man, was predicted to be a more efficient progenitor. When improved xenobots were let loose in a dish, they began scooping up loose cells into their gaping “mouths,” forming more sphere-shaped bots (see image below). As many as 50 cells clumped together in the opening of a parent to form a mobile offspring. A xenobot is made up of 4,000–6,000 frog cells.
Petersen likes the Xenobots' small size. “The fact that they were able to do this at such a small scale just makes it even better,” she says. Miniature xenobots could sculpt tissues for implantation or deliver therapeutics inside the body.
Beyond the xenobots' potential jobs, the research advances an important science, says study coauthor and Tufts developmental biologist Michael Levin. The science of anticipating and controlling the outcomes of complex systems, he says.
“No one could have predicted this,” Levin says. “They regularly surprise us.” Researchers can use xenobots to test the unexpected. “This is about advancing the science of being less surprised,” Levin says.
1 year ago
Sam Altman, CEO of Open AI, foresees the next trillion-dollar AI company
“I think if I had time to do something else, I would be so excited to go after this company right now.”
Sam Altman, CEO of Open AI, recently discussed AI's present and future.
Open AI is important. They're creating the cyberpunk and sci-fi worlds.
They use the most advanced algorithms and data sets.
GPT-3...sound familiar? Open AI built most copyrighting software. Peppertype, Jasper AI, Rytr. If you've used any, you'll be shocked by the quality.
Open AI isn't only GPT-3. They created DallE-2 and Whisper (a speech recognition software released last week).
What will they do next? What's the next great chance?
Sam Altman, CEO of Open AI, recently gave a lecture about the next trillion-dollar AI opportunity.
Who is the organization behind Open AI?
Open AI first. If you know, skip it.
Open AI is one of the earliest private AI startups. Elon Musk, Greg Brockman, and Rebekah Mercer established OpenAI in December 2015.
OpenAI has helped its citizens and AI since its birth.
They have scary-good algorithms.
Their GPT-3 natural language processing program is excellent.
The algorithm's exponential growth is astounding. GPT-2 came out in November 2019. May 2020 brought GPT-3.
Massive computation and datasets improved the technique in just a year. New York Times said GPT-3 could write like a human.
Same for Dall-E. Dall-E 2 was announced in April 2022. Dall-E 2 won a Colorado art contest.
Open AI's algorithms challenge jobs we thought required human innovation.
So what does Sam Altman think?
The Present Situation and AI's Limitations
During the interview, Sam states that we are still at the tip of the iceberg.
So I think so far, we’ve been in the realm where you can do an incredible copywriting business or you can do an education service or whatever. But I don’t think we’ve yet seen the people go after the trillion dollar take on Google.
He's right that AI can't generate net new human knowledge. It can train and synthesize vast amounts of knowledge, but it simply reproduces human work.
“It’s not going to cure cancer. It’s not going to add to the sum total of human scientific knowledge.”
But the key word is yet.
And that is what I think will turn out to be wrong that most surprises the current experts in the field.
Reinforcing his point that massive innovations are yet to come.
The Next $1 Trillion AI Company
Sam predicts a bio or genomic breakthrough.
There’s been some promising work in genomics, but stuff on a bench top hasn’t really impacted it. I think that’s going to change. And I think this is one of these areas where there will be these new $100 billion to $1 trillion companies started, and those areas are rare.
Avoid human trials since they take time. Bio-materials or simulators are suitable beginning points.
AI may have a breakthrough. DeepMind, an OpenAI competitor, has developed AlphaFold to predict protein 3D structures.
It could change how we see proteins and their function. AlphaFold could provide fresh understanding into how proteins work and diseases originate by revealing their structure. This could lead to Alzheimer's and cancer treatments. AlphaFold could speed up medication development by revealing how proteins interact with medicines.
Deep Mind offered 200 million protein structures for scientists to download (including sustainability, food insecurity, and neglected diseases).
Being in AI for 4+ years, I'm amazed at the progress. We're past the hype cycle, as evidenced by the collapse of AI startups like C3 AI, and have entered a productive phase.
We'll see innovative enterprises that could replace Google and other trillion-dollar companies.
What happens after AI adoption is scary and unpredictable. How will AGI (Artificial General Intelligence) affect us? Highly autonomous systems that exceed humans at valuable work (Open AI)
My guess is that the things that we’ll have to figure out are how we think about fairly distributing wealth, access to AGI systems, which will be the commodity of the realm, and governance, how we collectively decide what they can do, what they don’t do, things like that. And I think figuring out the answer to those questions is going to just be huge. — Sam Altman CEO
1 year ago
Did volcanic 'glasses' play a role in igniting early life?
Quenched lava may have aided in the formation of long RNA strands required by primitive life.
It took a long time for life to emerge. Microbes were present 3.7 billion years ago, just a few hundred million years after the 4.5-billion-year-old Earth had cooled enough to sustain biochemistry, according to fossils, and many scientists believe RNA was the genetic material for these first species. RNA, while not as complicated as DNA, would be difficult to forge into the lengthy strands required to transmit genetic information, raising the question of how it may have originated spontaneously.
Researchers may now have a solution. They demonstrate how basaltic glasses assist individual RNA letters, also known as nucleoside triphosphates, join into strands up to 200 letters long in lab studies. The glasses are formed when lava is quenched in air or water, or when melted rock generated by asteroid strikes cools rapidly, and they would have been plentiful in the early Earth's fire and brimstone.
The outcome has caused a schism among top origin-of-life scholars. "This appears to be a great story that finally explains how nucleoside triphosphates react with each other to create RNA strands," says Thomas Carell, a scientist at Munich's Ludwig Maximilians University. However, Harvard University's Jack Szostak, an RNA expert, says he won't believe the results until the study team thoroughly describes the RNA strands.
Researchers interested in the origins of life like the idea of a primordial "RNA universe" since the molecule can perform two different functions that are essential for life. It's made up of four chemical letters, just like DNA, and can carry genetic information. RNA, like proteins, can catalyze chemical reactions that are necessary for life.
However, RNA can cause headaches. No one has yet discovered a set of plausible primordial conditions that would cause hundreds of RNA letters—each of which is a complicated molecule—to join together into strands long enough to support the intricate chemistry required to kick-start evolution.
Basaltic glasses may have played a role, according to Stephen Mojzsis, a geologist at the University of Colorado, Boulder. They're high in metals like magnesium and iron, which help to trigger a variety of chemical reactions. "Basaltic glass was omnipresent on Earth at the time," he adds.
He provided the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution samples of five different basalt glasses. Each sample was ground into a fine powder, sanitized, and combined with a solution of nucleoside triphosphates by molecular biologist Elisa Biondi and her colleagues. The RNA letters were unable to link up without the presence of glass powder. However, when the molecules were mixed with the glass particles, they formed long strands of hundreds of letters, according to the researchers, who published their findings in Astrobiology this week. There was no need for heat or light. Biondi explains, "All we had to do was wait." After only a day, little RNA strands produced, yet the strands continued to grow for months. Jan Paek, a molecular biologist at Firebird Biomolecular Sciences, says, "The beauty of this approach is its simplicity." "Mix the components together, wait a few days, and look for RNA."
Nonetheless, the findings pose a slew of problems. One of the questions is how nucleoside triphosphates came to be in the first place. Recent study by Biondi's colleague Steven Benner suggests that the same basaltic glasses may have aided in the creation and stabilization of individual RNA letters.
The form of the lengthy RNA strands, according to Szostak, is a significant challenge. Enzymes in modern cells ensure that most RNAs form long linear chains. RNA letters, on the other hand, can bind in complicated branching sequences. Szostak wants the researchers to reveal what kind of RNA was produced by the basaltic glasses. "It irritates me that the authors made an intriguing initial finding but then chose to follow the hype rather than the research," Szostak says.
Biondi acknowledges that her team's experiment almost probably results in some RNA branching. She does acknowledge, however, that some branched RNAs are seen in species today, and that analogous structures may have existed before the origin of life. Other studies carried out by the study also confirmed the presence of lengthy strands with connections, indicating that they are most likely linear. "It's a healthy argument," says Dieter Braun, a Ludwig Maximilian University origin-of-life chemist. "It will set off the next series of tests."
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1 year ago
Why don't you relaunch my startup projects?
Open to ideas or acquisitions
Failure is an unavoidable aspect of life, yet many recoil at the word.
I've worked on unrelated startup projects. This is a list of products I developed (often as the tech lead or co-founder) and why they failed to launch.
Chess Bet (Betting)
As a chess player who plays 5 games a day and has an ELO rating of 2100, I tried to design a chess engine to rival stockfish and Houdini.
While constructing my chess engine, my cofounder asked me about building a p2p chess betting app. Chess Bet. There couldn't be a better time.
Two people in different locations could play a staked game. The winner got 90% of the bet and we got 10%. The business strategy was clear, but our mini-launch was unusual.
People started employing the same cheat engines I mentioned, causing user churn and defaming our product.
It was the first programming problem I couldn't solve after building a cheat detection system based on player move strengths and prior games. Chess.com, the most famous online chess software, still suffers from this.
We decided to pivot because we needed an expensive betting license.
We relaunched as Chess MVP after deciding to focus on chess learning. A platform for teachers to create chess puzzles and teach content. Several chess students used our product, but the target market was too tiny.
We chose to quit rather than persevere or pivot.
BodaCare (Insure Tech)
‘BodaBoda’ in Swahili means Motorcycle. My Dad approached me in 2019 (when I was working for a health tech business) about establishing an Insurtech/fintech solution for motorbike riders to pay for insurance using SNPL.
We teamed up with an underwriter to market motorcycle insurance. Once they had enough premiums, they'd get an insurance sticker in the mail. We made it better by splitting the cover in two, making it more reasonable for motorcyclists struggling with lump-sum premiums.
Lack of capital and changing customer behavior forced us to close, with 100 motorcyclists paying 0.5 USD every day. Our unit econ didn't make sense, and CAC and retention capital only dug us deeper.
Circle (Social Networking)
Having learned from both product failures, I began to understand what worked and what didn't. While reading through Instagram, an idea struck me.
Suppose social media weren't virtual.
Imagine meeting someone on your way home. Like-minded person
People were excited about social occasions after covid restrictions were eased. Anything to escape. I just built a university student-popular experiences startup. Again, there couldn't be a better time.
I started the Android app. I launched it on Google Beta and oh my! 200 people joined in two days.
It works by signaling if people are in a given place and allowing users to IM in hopes of meeting up in near real-time. Playstore couldn't deploy the app despite its success in beta for unknown reasons. I appealed unsuccessfully.
My infrastructure quickly lost users because I lacked funding.
This essay contains many failures, some of which might have been avoided and others not, but they were crucial learning points in my startup path.
If you liked any idea, I have the source code on Github.
Happy reading until then!
1 year ago
How to Become a Crypto Broker [Complying and Making Money]
Three options exist. The third one is the quickest and most fruitful.
You've mastered crypto trading and want to become a broker.
So you may wonder: Where to begin?
If so, keep reading.
Today I'll compare three different approaches to becoming a cryptocurrency trader.
What are cryptocurrency brokers, and how do they vary from stockbrokers?
A stockbroker implements clients' market orders (retail or institutional ones).
Brokerage firms are regulated, insured, and subject to regulatory monitoring.
Stockbrokers are required between buyers and sellers. They can't trade without a broker. To trade, a trader must open a broker account and deposit money. When a trader shops, he tells his broker what orders to place.
Crypto brokerage is trade intermediation with cryptocurrency.
In crypto trading, however, brokers are optional.
Crypto exchanges offer direct transactions. Open an exchange account (no broker needed) and make a deposit.
Since crypto allows DIY trading, why use a broker?
Let's compare cryptocurrency exchanges vs. brokers.
Broker versus cryptocurrency exchange
Most existing crypto exchanges are basically brokers.
Examine their primary services:
connecting purchasers and suppliers
having custody of clients' money (with the exception of decentralized cryptocurrency exchanges),
clearance of transactions.
Brokerage is comparable, don't you think?
There are exceptions. I mean a few large crypto exchanges that follow the stock exchange paradigm. They outsource brokerage, custody, and clearing operations. Classic exchange setups are rare in today's bitcoin industry.
Back to our favorite “standard” crypto exchanges. All-in-one exchanges and brokers. And usually, they operate under a broker or a broker-dealer license, save for the exchanges registered somewhere in a free-trade offshore paradise. Those don’t bother with any licensing.
What’s the sense of having two brokers at a time?
Better liquidity and trading convenience.
The crypto business is compartmentalized.
We have CEXs, DEXs, hybrid exchanges, and semi-exchanges (those that aggregate liquidity but do not execute orders on their sides). All have unique regulations and act as sovereign states.
There are about 18k coins and hundreds of blockchain protocols, most of which are heterogeneous (i.e., different in design and not interoperable).
A trader must register many accounts on different exchanges, deposit funds, and manage them all concurrently to access global crypto liquidity.
It’s extremely inconvenient.
Crypto liquidity fragmentation is the largest obstacle and bottleneck blocking crypto from mass adoption.
Crypto brokers help clients solve this challenge by providing one-gate access to deep and diverse crypto liquidity from numerous exchanges and suppliers. Professionals and institutions need it.
Another killer feature of a brokerage may be allowing clients to trade crypto with fiat funds exclusively, without fiat/crypto conversion. It is essential for professional and institutional traders.
Who may work as a cryptocurrency broker?
Apparently, not anyone. Brokerage requires high-powered specialists because it involves other people's money.
Here's the essentials:
excellent knowledge, skills, and years of trading experience
high-quality, quick, and secure infrastructure
highly developed team
outstanding trading capital
High-ROI network: long-standing, trustworthy connections with customers, exchanges, liquidity providers, payment gates, and similar entities
outstanding marketing and commercial development skills.
What about a license for a cryptocurrency broker? Is it necessary?
If you plan to play in white-glove jurisdictions, you may need a license. For example, in the US, as a “money transmitter” or as a CASSP (crypto asset secondary services provider) in Australia.
Even in these jurisdictions, there are no clear, holistic crypto brokerage and licensing policies.
Your lawyer will help you decide if your crypto brokerage needs a license.
Getting a license isn't quick. Two years of patience are needed.
How can you turn into a cryptocurrency broker?
Finally, we got there! 🎉
Three actionable ways exist:
To kickstart a regulated stand-alone crypto broker
To get a crypto broker franchise, and
To become a liquidity network broker.
Let's examine each.
1. Opening a regulated cryptocurrency broker
It's difficult. Especially If you're targeting first-world users.
You must comply with many regulatory, technical, financial, HR, and reporting obligations to keep your organization running. Some are mentioned above.
The licensing process depends on the products you want to offer (spots or derivatives) and the geographic areas you plan to service. There are no general rules for that.
In an overgeneralized way, here are the boxes you will have to check:
capital availability (usually a large amount of capital c is required)
You will have to move some of your team members to the nation providing the license in order to establish an office presence there.
the core team with the necessary professional training (especially applies to CEO, Head of Trading, Assistant to Head of Trading, etc.)
infrastructure that is trustworthy and secure
adopted proper AML/KYC/financial monitoring policies, etc.
Assuming you passed, what's next?
I bet it won’t be mind-blowing for you that the license is just a part of the deal. It won't attract clients or revenue.
To bring in high-dollar clientele, you must be a killer marketer and seller. It's not easy to convince people to give you money.
You'll need to be a great business developer to form successful, long-term agreements with exchanges (ideally for no fees), liquidity providers, banks, payment gates, etc. Persuade clients.
It's a tough job, isn't it?
I expect a Quora-type question here:
Can I start an unlicensed crypto broker?
Well, there is always a workaround with crypto!
You can register your broker in a free-trade zone like Seychelles to avoid US and other markets with strong watchdogs.
This is neither wise nor sustainable.
First, such experiments are illegal.
Second, you'll have trouble attracting clients and strategic partners.
A license equals trust. That’s it.
Even a pseudo-license from Mauritius matters.
Here are this method's benefits and downsides.
As you navigate this difficult and expensive legal process, you run the risk of missing out on business prospects. It's quite simple to become excellent compliance yet unable to work. Because your competitors are already courting potential customers while you are focusing all of your effort on paperwork.
Only God knows how long it will take you to pass the break-even point when everything with the license has been completed.
It is a money-burning business, especially in the beginning when the majority of your expenses will go toward marketing, sales, and maintaining license requirements. Make sure you have the fortitude and resources necessary to face such a difficult challenge.
It may eventually develop into a tool for making money. Because big guys who are professionals at trading require a white-glove regulated brokerage. You have every possibility if you work hard in the areas of sales, marketing, business development, and wealth. Simply put, everything must align.
Launching a regulated crypto broker is analogous to launching a crypto exchange. It's ROUGH. Sure you can take it?
2. Franchise for Crypto Broker (Crypto Sub-Brokerage)
A broker franchise is easier and faster than becoming a regulated crypto broker. Not a traditional brokerage.
A broker franchisee, often termed a sub-broker, joins with a broker (a franchisor) to bring them new clients. Sub-brokers market a broker's products and services to clients.
Sub-brokers are the middlemen between a broker and an investor.
Why is sub-brokering easier?
less demanding qualifications and legal complexity. All you need to do is keep a few certificates on hand (each time depends on the jurisdiction).
No significant investment is required
there is no demand that you be a trading member of an exchange, etc.
As a sub-broker, you can do identical duties without as many rights and certifications.
What about the crypto broker franchise?
Sub-brokers aren't common in crypto.
In most existing examples (PayBito, PCEX, etc.), franchises are offered by crypto exchanges, not brokers. Though we remember that crypto exchanges are, in fact, brokers, do we?
For a commission, a franchiser crypto broker receives new leads from a crypto sub-broker.
See above for why enrolling is easy.
Finding clients is difficult. Most crypto traders prefer to buy-sell on their own or through brokers over sub-broker franchises.
3. Broker of the Crypto Trading Network (or a Network Broker)
It's the greatest approach to execute crypto brokerage, based on effort/return.
Network broker isn't an established word. I wrote it for clarity.
Remember how we called crypto liquidity fragmentation the current crypto finance paradigm's main bottleneck?
Where there's a challenge, there's progress.
Several well-funded projects are aiming to fix crypto liquidity fragmentation. Instead of launching another crypto exchange with siloed trading, the greatest minds create trading networks that aggregate crypto liquidity from desynchronized sources and enable quick, safe, and affordable cross-blockchain transactions. Each project offers a distinct option for users.
Crypto liquidity implies:
One-account access to cryptocurrency liquidity pooled from network participants' exchanges and other liquidity sources
compiled price feeds
Cross-chain transactions that are quick and inexpensive, even for HFTs
link between participants of all kinds, and
interoperability among diverse blockchains
Fast, diversified, and cheap global crypto trading from one account.
How does a trading network help cryptocurrency brokers?
I’ll explain it, taking Yellow Network as an example.
Yellow provides decentralized Layer-3 peer-to-peer trading.
trade across chains globally with real-time settlement and
Between cryptocurrency exchanges, brokers, trading companies, and other sorts of network members, there is communication and the exchange of financial information.
Have you ever heard about ECN (electronic communication network)? If not, it's an automated system that automatically matches buy and sell orders. Yellow is a decentralized digital asset ECN.
Start trading right now without having to meet stringent requirements; all you need to do is integrate with Yellow Protocol and successfully complete some KYC verification.
Access global aggregated crypto liquidity through a single point.
B2B (Broker to Broker) liquidity channels that provide peer liquidity from other brokers. Orders from the other broker will appear in the order book of a broker who is peering with another broker on the market. It will enable a broker to broaden his offer and raise the total amount of liquidity that is available to his clients.
Select a custodian or use non-custodial practices.
Comparing network crypto brokerage to other types:
A licensed stand-alone brokerage business is much more difficult and time-consuming to launch than network brokerage, and
Network brokerage, in contrast to crypto sub-brokerage, is scalable, independent, and offers limitless possibilities for revenue generation.
Yellow Network Whitepaper. has more details on how to start a brokerage business and what rewards you'll obtain.
There are three ways to become a cryptocurrency broker, including the non-conventional liquidity network brokerage. The last option appears time/cost-effective.
Crypto brokerage isn't crowded yet. Act quickly to find your right place in this market.
Choose the way that works for you best and see you in crypto trading.
Discover Web3 & DeFi with Yellow Network!
Yellow, powered by Openware, is developing a cross-chain P2P liquidity aggregator to unite the crypto sector and provide global remittance services that aid people.
Join the Yellow Community and plunge into this decade's biggest product-oriented crypto project.
Observe Yellow Twitter
Enroll in Yellow Telegram
Visit Yellow Discord.
On Hacker Noon, look us up.
Yellow Network will expose development, technology, developer tools, crypto brokerage nodes software, and community liquidity mining.
1 year ago
While we played checkers, we thought billionaires played 3D chess. They're playing the same game on a fancier board.
Every medium has nuances and norms. Texting is authentic and casual. A smaller circle has access, creating intimacy and immediacy. Most people read all their texts, but not all their email and mail. Many of us no longer listen to our voicemails, and calling your kids ages you.
Live interviews and testimony under oath inspire real moments, rare in a world where communications departments sanitize everything powerful people say. When (some of) Elon's text messages became public in Twitter v. Musk, we got a glimpse into tech power. It's bowels.
These texts illuminate the tech community's upper caste.
Checkers, Not Chess
Elon texts with Larry Ellison, Joe Rogan, Sam Bankman-Fried, Satya Nadella, and Jack Dorsey. They reveal astounding logic, prose, and discourse. The world's richest man and his followers are unsophisticated, obtuse, and petty. Possibly. While we played checkers, we thought billionaires played 3D chess. They're playing the same game on a fancier board.
They fumble with their computers.
They lean on others to get jobs for their kids (no surprise).
No matter how rich, they always could use more (money).
Differences A social hierarchy exists. Among this circle, the currency of deference is... currency. Money increases sycophantry. Oculus and Elon's "friends'" texts induce nausea.
Autocorrect frustrates everyone.
Elon doesn't stand out to me in these texts; he comes off mostly OK in my view. It’s the people around him. It seems our idolatry of innovators has infected the uber-wealthy, giving them an uncontrollable urge to kill the cool kid for a seat at his cafeteria table. "I'd grenade for you." If someone says this and they're not fighting you, they're a fan, not a friend.
Many powerful people are undone by their fake friends. Facilitators, not well-wishers. When Elon-Twitter started, I wrote about power. Unchecked power is intoxicating. This is a scientific fact, not a thesis. Power causes us to downplay risk, magnify rewards, and act on instincts more quickly. You lose self-control and must rely on others.
You'd hope the world's richest person has advisers who push back when necessary (i.e., not yes men). Elon's reckless, childish behavior and these texts show there is no truth-teller. I found just one pushback in the 151-page document. It came from Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal, who, in response to Elon’s unhelpful “Is Twitter dying?” tweet, let Elon know what he thought: It was unhelpful. Elon’s response? A childish, terse insult.
The texts are mostly unremarkable. There are some, however, that do remind us the (super-)rich are different. Specifically, the discussions of possible equity investments from crypto-billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried (“Does he have huge amounts of money?”) and this exchange with Larry Ellison:
Ellison, who co-founded $175 billion Oracle, is wealthy. Less clear is whether he can text a billion dollars. Who hasn't been texted $1 billion? Ellison offered 8,000 times the median American's net worth, enough to buy 3,000 Ferraris or the Chicago Blackhawks. It's a bedrock principle of capitalism to have incredibly successful people who are exponentially wealthier than the rest of us. It creates an incentive structure that inspires productivity and prosperity. When people offer billions over text to help a billionaire's vanity project in a country where 1 in 5 children are food insecure, isn't America messed up?
Elon's Morgan Stanley banker, Michael Grimes, tells him that Web3 ventures investor Bankman-Fried can invest $5 billion in the deal: “could do $5bn if everything vision lock... Believes in your mission." The message bothers Elon. In Elon's world, $5 billion doesn't warrant a worded response. $5 billion is more than many small nations' GDP, twice the SEC budget, and five times the NRC budget.
If income inequality worries you after reading this, trust your gut.
Billionaires aren't like the rich.
As an entrepreneur, academic, and investor, I've met modest-income people, rich people, and billionaires. Rich people seem different to me. They're smarter and harder working than most Americans. Monty Burns from The Simpsons is a cartoon about rich people. Rich people have character and know how to make friends. Success requires supporters.
I've never noticed a talent or intelligence gap between wealthy and ultra-wealthy people. Conflating talent and luck infects the tech elite. Timing is more important than incremental intelligence when going from millions to hundreds of millions or billions. Proof? Elon's texting. Any man who electrifies the auto industry and lands two rockets on barges is a genius. His mega-billions come from a well-regulated capital market, enforceable contracts, thousands of workers, and billions of dollars in government subsidies, including a $465 million DOE loan that allowed Tesla to produce the Model S. So, is Mr. Musk a genius or an impressive man in a unique time and place?
Elon's texts taught us more? He can't "fix" Twitter. For two weeks in April, he was all in on blockchain Twitter, brainstorming Dogecoin payments for tweets with his brother — i.e., paid speech — while telling Twitter's board he was going to make a hostile tender offer. Kimbal approved. By May, he was over crypto and "laborious blockchain debates." (Mood.)
Elon asked the Twitter CEO for "an update from the Twitter engineering team" No record shows if he got the meeting. It doesn't "fix" Twitter either. And this is Elon's problem. He's a grown-up child with all the toys and no boundaries. His yes-men encourage his most facile thoughts, and shitposts and errant behavior diminish his genius and ours.
The universe's titans have a sense of humor.
Every day, we must ask: Who keeps me real? Who will disagree with me? Who will save me from my psychosis, which has brought down so many successful people? Elon Musk doesn't need anyone to jump on a grenade for him; he needs to stop throwing them because one will explode in his hand.