Lindy Links (06/21/21)

Amazon Shareholder Letters, Social Change, Fast Grants

Hi everyone,

I returned to LA this weekend after a week in San Francisco with my team. We spent our time together talking to customers, addressing their feedback on the product, and bringing them back to show them our final result.

Working at a startup means repeating this process over and over again until you’ve built something that people love. It is invigorating and exhausting at the same time. I highly recommend it.


From me

  1. The four types of crowdfunding: Ideas are cheap; building them is not. I broke down four ways to raise money through crowdfunding and explained the strengths and weaknesses of each approach. If you’ve got an idea but need the capital to get it off the ground, crowdfunding is an increasingly popular option.

  2. What I would tell myself if I were 18: First, I would tell myself to buy Bitcoin. Then I would read this essay.


From the web

Amazon Shareholder Letters

Amazon has been sending yearly letters to shareholders since 1997. This link contains a scanned PDF containing every letter from 1997-2017. I recommend starting with the original 1997 letter titled “It’s All About The Long Term”. As a rule, Jeff Bezos has attached a copy of the original letter in every subsequent yearly letter since then.

As a side note, I uploaded this file to something called InterPlanetaryFileStorage, or IPFS. This is a global peer-to-peer file storage service that works similarly to BitTorrent. It was free and ensures that the document will remain available, even if it gets taken down from the original website.

Originally published: 1997; Lindy score: 2044

On Social Change

Mark Lutter has started collecting examples of rapid periods of social change throughout history. Similar to Patrick Collison’s Fast page, the hope is that these examples will help inform our approach to rebuilding modern institutions. Two of my favorite examples from the list are the Mont Pelerin Society, which was a highly connected network of thinkers, and the Meiji Restoration, which lifted Japan out of poverty in a remarkably short period of time.

Originally published: N/A 

What We Learned Doing Fast Grants

I’m breaking my rule in order to include this link. The Fast Grants program is not Lindy. In fact, it’s less than 18 months old. Despite that, it’s one of the best examples of a modern institution predicated on the idea of moving quickly.

Started by Patrick Collison and Tyler Cowen, Fast Grants awarded money to scientific researchers studying COVID-19 while requiring minimal administrative overhead. Compared to the labyrinthine forms required to receive funding from the government, Fast Grants was intended to be as simple as possible.

This article, hosted on a16z’s new media site, is a fantastic retrospective of the program.

Originally published (Fast Grants): 2020; Lindy score: 2022

have a great week,

phil