This has to be the third or fourth time I’ve taken an unplanned hiatus from writing on this site. And every time I come back saying I promise I’m going to write more regularly. But let’s be honest… I think I’ve learned and realized that I’m not the guy who’s going to write every day or every week. This is just something I do for fun so I don’t feel the pressure to write anything unless I’m feeling particularly motivated by an article or enough people push me to keep writing. In this case, it’s the latter.
I ran into a few people over the last few weeks that told me they read my blog and asked why I haven’t posted in a while. I’m always thankful for the fact that people tell me they support my articles and mean it sincerely, especially since this isn’t some ground-breaking website you’re going to visit every day. So thank you for giving me a little nudge to continue doing this. Here’s this week’s rapport:
What I’m Reading
This was the top recommended book of 2018 by both Bill Gates and Barack Obama. I took a screenshot of it when I came across it the other morning. Later that day, I was walking to get coffee and passed a bookstore, which almost always means I have to stop in. Within about 45 seconds, my eyes came to the book I had screenshot on my phone earlier that day – Factfulness by Hans Rosling. I’m only a couple of chapters in, but already it’s provided me with an enlightened and much broader worldview. It’s starts off with a quiz asking you multiple choice questions about what you think the status of the world is in terms of economic development in rich and poor countries. The answers and statistics quickly knock you on your ass to show you the world is not NEARLY as bad as you think it is and that the media only portrays the two extremes to us since they are the most polarizing. I always thought there was an ever-widening gap between the lower and upper class but as Rosling points out, that couldn’t be further from the truth. We, as both a country and a world, a better off than we have ever have been and more humans are now living in the middle class than ever before.
All of his statistics are based off numbers provided by the United Nations and the World Bank, yet all of our preconceived notions and “facts” we think to know about the world are based off those statistics from the 1960’s and the extreme ends of the spectrum we see and read in the news every day. The world has gotten immensely better in the last 50 years, but we only see thinks through a tiny filter. Here is his TED talk if you want the abridged version – it only has 2.6 million views. Awesome read so far and really eye-opening.
Topic I’m Studying
I know, I know… we’re all sick of hearing about bitcoin and the douchey people who say “it’s the currency of the future, bro.” Like most of you, I bet, I don’t understand bitcoin or cryptocurrency in the least. People try to explain it, but even they get confused once someone asks them a difficult question. Rather than push it aside as a fad and ignore it, I’ve made it a goal of mine to learn as much about bitcoin, blockchain, and cryptocurrency as I can by the end of the year. I just finished reading The Age of Cryptocurrency which was written by two Wall Street Journalists so they give a good informational background of cryptocurrency without leaning in favor or agasint.
I also listened to this great podcast featuring Andreas Antonopoulos, who is a bitcoin entrepreneur and serves on the advisory boards of several bitcoin startups as well as the Chief Security Officer of Blockchain. He does a really good job of simplifying why cryptocurrencies were created, what the use-case is for them for us and for banks, how it will change the world and he offers a great future-looking perspective on how this is becoming “the internet of money.”
I’m still not fully able to describe why, how, or even if it will work in the future, but I’m starting to understand how it could transform a lot of industries. The biggest usecase is for merchants like Starbucks or CVS, for example, to lower their transaction costs. I think once a large retail corporation like Walmart embraces cryptocurrency and the blockchain for their supply chain and thousands of vendors they deal with, it will really start to kick off. I understand it is not stable, but that will come with time, users, and trust as Bitcoin or Ethereum get bigger and have more backing behind it. It will also transform currencies in failing economies in countries like Brazil or Argentina where they are seeing wild fluctuations in their currency value and the people no longer trust large banks. Sending money between borders and exchanging different currencies could become much easier and cheaper as the so-called “Internet of Money” becomes a technology we all use and not just an idea. Apple Pay is moving in the right direction here already with the ability to pay with your mobile phone just about anywhere. Kenya has even employed “M-Pesa,” an entirely mobile payment system for the whole country. since 2007. 60 Minutes had an awesome piece on it – The Future of Money.
The concept of money and banking is changing in front of us, slowly but surely.
Newsletter I’m Subscribing To
I like to subscribe to newsletters and change it up every now and then. I’ve done The Skimm, the Need2Know, Early to Rise, etc. The one I’ve kept the longest is The Morning Brew. Similar to the others, it provides bite-sized news tidbits but with more of a business skew (think stocks, earnings reports, and business trends along with some politics) but it’s not nearly as boring as it sounds, trust me. It’s been my favorite so far and I make sure to read it every morning. It also has relevant ads for products that I’m actually interested in.
One of those ads was promoting the sports news newsletter Sports Internet. I’ve only had it for a couple of days, but since I don’t really watch Sportscenter anymore it’s a great way for me to catch up on what’s going on in sports in terms of trades, rumors, injuries, and other parts of the business.
Quote of the Day
“Do more things that make you forget to check your phone.”