So the cryptocurrency industry has basically two products, one which is relatively benign and doesn't have product market fit, and one which is malignant and does. The industry has a weird superposition of understanding this fact and (strategically?) not understanding it.
If everyone was holding bitcoin on the old x86 in their parents basement, we would be finding a price bottom. The problem is the risk is all pooled at a few brokerages and a network of rotten exchanges with counter party risk that makes AIG circa 2008 look like a good credit.— Greg Wester (@gwestr) November 25, 2018
Because if they weren't Bitcoin would be valued at its use value, not its speculative value.
"Why don't we find a bottom in the market?"
Because the use value is, to a reasonably accurate approximation, zero.
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For technical founders it is irrationally, obscenely hard to reverse years of programming (ba dum bum) that sales is a value-destroying activity. Sales is CLEARLY a value-creating activity, contingent on you have a value-creating product.
The world will not drop what they are doing to adopt your work. This is particularly true in B2B, where simply building a better mousetrap won't overcome the activation energy required to get people with additional non-mice problems to prioritize changing mousetraps today.
This is very non-obvious for founders because founders are not often people who *want* to be sold to. We often come from a background where trying out tools is a bit of a fun hobby. We like looking at all the options, making charts, and ripping out partially complete tests.
"This week I unsuccessfully trialed four software options for automating that thing that has been killing us. Our actual production process remains the same as last week. Don't worry; this was a great use of time." is not a thing you want to write in a progress report to manager.
For candidates: evaluate prospective employers accordingly.
For startups employing e.g. engineers: given that your candidates should evaluate you accordingly, be *extra special* careful to operate like professionals with regards to e.g. interviewing, offers, and negotiation.
"Can you be more explicit about 'abusive' here?"
Not without violating a confidence, but as someone who has been on hiring side of table and is a capitalist, there are *clearly* things you could do which would be "sharp operating, but we're all sharp operators" in some contexts.
Hiring employees is often not one of those contexts. The nature of the relationship, the asymmetry in power, and the social contract strongly counsel you to be a lot better there than you are minimally required by law / contract.
A thing which aesthetically frustrates me is that a lot of the things I've heard companies do here serve *no legitimate business purpose.* In some cases it's getting tens of dollars of advantage. TENS! On an engineering candidate!
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Here's their CFO describing their agreement (which we know from other litigation was never contractualized because, presumably because money launderers hate paper trails):
Bitfinex's CFO was shocked, shocked to learn that the money launderer they engaged to provide money laundering services while I-swear-to-God-this-is-an-actual-quote "we learned to bank like criminals" may have from time to time lied to banks.
"Institutional constraints" means, here, "We were attempting to avoid velocity checks placed by our banking partners to detect fraud and money laundering, which would have detected our fraud and money laundering."
Money at the speed of code, yadda yadda yadda, the Bitcoin economy is surprisingly blasé when several hundred million dollars is in an interstitial state for months.
In a situation never before encountered by a financial institution: the check was not, in fact, in the mail.
2/ The sum of ETH holdings of ICO treasuries is now a little over 3.57M ETH (3.5% of supply). In April, the treasuries held 4.65 million ETH (4.5% of supply) indicating that they likely liquidated (or moved) about 23% since then.
3/ Despite the decline in ETH price, the selloff hasn’t been as drastic as many analysts anticipated. In the past two months, treasuries of projects that held ICOs liquidated (or moved) 172,00 ETH, or ~4.6% of total holdings.
4/ The most aggressive sellers were Status, district0x and Tierion (in order), which sold (or moved) nearly 55,000 ETH combined since September 9. Out of the 57 companies I tracked, 50% didn’t touch any of the ETH in their treasuries.
5/ At least 11 ICOs currently have a smaller “market capitalization” than the amount that they hold in their ETH treasuries alone (see table below).
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The paper is a good example of lots of elements of good experimental design. They validate their metric by showing lots of variants give consistent results. They tune hyperparamters separately for each condition, check that optimum isn't at the endpoints, and measure sensitivity.
They have separate experiments where the hold fixed # iterations and # epochs, which (as they explain) measure very different things. They avoid confounds, such as batch norm's artificial dependence between batch size and regularization strength.
When the experiments are done carefully enough, the results are remarkably consistent between different datasets and architectures. Qualitatively, MNIST behaves just like ImageNet.
Importantly, they don't find any evidence for a "sharp/flat optima" effect whereby better optimization leads to worse final results. They have a good discussion of experimental artifacts/confounds in past papers where such effects were reported.
Fun going down this list and thinking: "Hmm, plausible at a well-run modern software shop", "Hmm, possible, but requires implausible tradeoffs", "Literally disallowed by languages", and "If you were to attempt doing that our test suite wouldn't let you merge."
I think we as an industry celebrate (not quite the right word) failure too much and don't celebrate success nearly enough. There is no DailyWTF for competent execution, word of which generally stays pretty local to the source while incompetence passes into legend.
Alrighty let me try to thread the needle on being the change I want to see in the world while not giving away anything that will get me in trouble:
Ruby has wonderful developer ergonomics. Typed languages are easier for machines to guarantee the correctness of. We built a type checker for Ruby (and I believe it is slated for OSS release sometime).
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18 Things I Would Do At 18:
I was a dumb 18-year-old. I thought I had the world figured out. I didn't.
I stayed up till the wee hours. Drank every liquor invented.
Partied non-stop. Woke up after noon.
Surfed the web aimlessly.
Read BS self-help.
If I could do it all over again, here's 18 things I would do...
PHASE ONE: GET MY MIND RIGHT
ACTION #1: Break the chains - I wish I made the decision earlier. I didn't. I was scared. Anxious. Nervous. I knew once I made the decision, there was no going back.
Don't be like me.
Make the decision at 18. The decision to pave your own path in life. To go against the herd. To choose your own adventure. To commit to whatever sets your heart on fire.
ACTION #2: Cut off every negative person in your life.
Scroll through the contacts in your phone...
Notice how the names make you feel.
Delete any and all names that fill you with doubt and negativity.
ACTION #3: Condition your mind to embrace the producer mindset instead of the consumer mindset.
Consume 20% of the time. Produce 80% of the time.
ACTION #4: Set an intention to make $10k a month and write it out every MORNING and NIGHT as if you already achieved it (in the past tense).
Visualize yourself already having the money as you write.
Does it work?
PHASE TWO: EDUCATION