Sunday Scaries (01/24/21)

Ray Dalio, Bullshit jobs, Andy Grove and Bill Gates

Hi everyone,

Writing to you from Mammoth Lakes, CA. The trip from Los Angeles to Mammoth is starting to feel like second nature. The hours tend to melt away when the Sierras are looming large in the front windshield.

The ride up is therapeutic. The temperature drops, slowly at first, and then all at once. The first signs of flurries start after you reach Bishop, a small town less than one-hundred miles from the base of the mountain. As the elevation ticks upwards, the plant life grows sparse until only the most stubborn survivors remain. It’s a trip — I highly recommend it if you ever have the chance.

I spent the weekend chasing a monster weather event that is set to hit Mammoth. It’s shaping up to be a big one, but this photo was captured in the calm before the storm. A perfect bluebird day.


What’s new from me:

  • On cryptocurrency, pt. 1: This has become my go-to essay when someone asks me what I think of crypto. There is a flurry of interest right now, so I wanted to create a clear-headed explanation that explains the basics in a non-technical way.

  • On cryptocurrency, pt. 2: I continued my thoughts in another essay (this one is just for subscribers). In it, I explain why people are interested in crypto and the beliefs that underpin the technology. Here’s a short excerpt:

    Wealth can be transferred through time or space. Some assets, like precious metals or art, hold their value well over time. Other assets, like currencies, are easily transferred from one place to another. Cryptocurrencies are intended to be both easily transferrable and to appreciate in value over time.


In this week’s edition:

[📊 Economics]

The Changing World Order (Ray Dalio)

Ray Dalio is writing a new book. He is the author of Principles, a combination memoir/philosophy novel that is one of my favorite reads of the last few years. Ray has spent most of his life trying to understand how the global economy works. His video on markets, titled How The Economic Machine Works, could replace an undergraduate finance class.

Ray is also a student of history. From the introduction to his new book:

My biggest mistakes in my career came from missing big market moves that hadn’t happened in my lifetime but had happened many times before. These mistakes taught me that I needed to understand how economies and markets have worked throughout history and in faraway places so that I could learn the timeless and universal mechanics underlying them and develop timeless and universal principles for dealing with them well.

Lindy score: N/A (not yet released)

[☯️ Culture]

On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs

Isn't it odd that there seem to be an infinite number of accounting jobs available, but very few ways to make money as a talented musician?

Bullshit Jobs is a well articulated rant at the ridiculousness of many modern occupations. When economists in the 1930’s imagined the future, they envisioned a world with shorter workdays and more vacation. Instead, we’ve seemed to fill up that vacuum with busywork, rather than letting ourselves feel “unproductive”.

There is a whole class of salaried professionals that, should you meet them at parties and admit that you do something that might be considered interesting (an anthropologist, for example), will want to avoid even discussing their line of work entirely (one or t'other?) Give them a few drinks, and they will launch into tirades about how pointless and stupid their job really is.

Lindy score: 2028

[⚙️ Business]

A Conversation with Bill Gates (Microsoft) and Andy Grove (Intel)

Andy Grove is widely considered to be one of the most effective managers of all time. In this interview with Bill Gates, he discusses their working relationship and how they partnered to create a personal computer business that grew from a niche hobby into one of the largest industries in the world.

Here’s the kicker: this interview was recorded in 1996. You can see glimmers of the future in their conversation. More interestingly, you can find areas that they completely missed (hello, mobile!).

Andy Grove: The Internet is like a 20-foot tidal wave coming, and we are in kayaks.

Lindy score: 2046

Have a great week,

Phil


Thanks for reading Sunday Scaries. If you enjoy this newsletter, please share it with a friend or colleague.

Share Sunday Scaries

Reach me with feedback @philmohun or by replying to this email. I read every response that I get, and your input helps make the publication better for everyone.