05 September 2021

Welcome back to the Week That Was series highlighting things from the interwebs which are interesting, noteworthy and/or probably worth your time.

Articles📝, Tweet(s)📱, Videos🎥, Charts 📈 all fair game with or without attendant commentary.


🗿 Digital Pet Rocks

Pet Rocks

Per 📝Mandy Williams.

Speaking in an interview with Bloomberg Quicktake yesterday, Justin Sun explained why he comfortably spent half a million dollars to purchase a “picture of a rock.” According to him, the money spent now “doesn’t matter at all ” as the digital art will become valuable over time, like Picasso paintings.

“It’s just like Picasso in 1932 – it represents the beginning year of lots of our works. I think all the art collections in the year 2017 represent the beginning of the NFT even though most of the arts might not be understandable by people outside of the cryptocurrency industry, but I believe those NFTs are going to become more precious in the future as long as the industry continues to grow,” he said.


Digital Pet Rocks selling for millions is… fascinating to say the least.

Say what you will about NFTs (fad? 2021’s version of 2017s ICOs? spawn of endless QE? marker for things to come in the metaverse?) they are clearly an outlet for conspicous consumption in the digital age. After all Jay-Z, who already has a penchant for expensive and controversial Jean-Michel Basquiat pieces, recently started sporting a CryptoPunk as his Twitter profile picture.

Yet we also saw 📰Visa purchase a CryptoPunk for almost $150,000 while 📰Christie’s moved almost $17 million worth of “rare”versions of the pixelated NFTs this year. STart Art Gallery in Hong Kong was also displaying various expensive pieces this weekend.

I’m not even going to say anything about the 📰Loot project.

Whatever is happening, Justin’s splurge seems like it’s called a local top - although the numbers are still pretty incredlbe.


Maybe one day someone will purchase one the pics on 📸the Shanghai Collection I minted and listed on OpenSea to test the waters ;) …we’ll probably need ETH gas fees to come down ten-fold before any action occurs.



🌡️🥵🌊 Warming

“Environmental story telling”




🔬🚢 Semiconductors

With a newborn, I’ve had to look at changing cars in recent times - trading up from my 2016 2-door to a mid-sized SUV. All the new options I’ve been looking at are delayed due to the continued semiconductor shortage, leading to chip supply-chain shocks filtering into thousands of products…including my would-be vehicle.

For a fascinating longread and quite excellent deep-dive into both this topic, it’s deeper politics and China’s push for high-tech independance - have a look at 📝Lillian Li’s blog where Jordan Nel of Vineyard Holdings weighs in with a guest post.


Per 📝Azeem Azhar:

From shortages to supply chain issues, the politics and production of semiconductors are among the most critical issues of 2021. China’s ambitious plans for semiconductor dominance is a fascinating plot line of this complex story.

Semiconductors 2

Semiconductors 3


📝China, Semiconductors, and the Push for Independence - Part 1


🕒😩 996

Per 📹VICE:

“996” is a common term used by employees at China’s tech companies to describe their working life- starting work at 9am and leaving at 9pm, working six days a week.

📹This VICE World News video looks at China’s hyper-competitive work culture and the costs to their personal and social lives.


Interestingly as part of the sweeping regulatory crackdowns happening across China, the 12 hour, six-day work schedule has been rendered illegal 📰by China’s Supreme People’s Court and its Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security.


🎨⏲️ Deadlines


Deadlines, Garrett Frickey, Digital, 2021


🧓📜 Boring Advice

Software engineer and tech leader Vitaly Pushkar with a reminder to 📝follow boring advice.

But when I started observing and talking to people I consider successful, I noticed they don’t do anything extraordinary. In fact, they do quite the opposite. They follow “boring” advice I already heard a million times in proverbs, religious and old philosophy stories, and even from my grandma.

Some examples:

  • Action: We are what we do, not what we think we are. Taking an imperfect action now is more important than thinking about it forever.

  • Consistency: Most of the good things come from building a habit or a process and trusting it.

  • Iteration: Doing the wrong thing consistently leads nowhere. From time to time, it’s important to stop, reflect, readjust and continue in the right direction.

  • Compounding: Compounding doesn’t only work in finance, but also in life. Even the tiniest of steps compound over time.

  • Deliberate practice: When practicing to get better at something, it’s important to do so deliberately: pushing a little bit further every time, with short feedback loops, and focus.

  • Focus: Focusing on one thing at a time. Having one, clear goal. Eliminating distractions and impulses.

  • Divide and conquer: Most hard things become manageable when split into small, actionable steps.

  • Positivity and gratitude: Genuine positivity and optimism work wonders. Positive people are attractive. Practicing gratitude brings peace of mind.


🎵📈 Spotify Dominance

Spotify extending it’s lead in the streaming wars.

Spotify Dominance


💰📹📧 Acquiring Youtube

Larry Page, 2005:

“I think we should look into acquiring [YouTube]”

From documentary evidence presented to the US House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee (2020), outlining some of the background to one of the greatest acquisitions in modern history.

Youtube 1

Youtube 2

Youtube 3

Youtube 4

Chris Sacca reckoned it was the most important acquisition in the company’s history.


📜 “Per my previous tablet…”

A typical complaint fielded by Babylonian administrators:

“I am not getting water for my sesame field. The sesame will die. Don’t tell me later, ‘You did not write to me.’ The sesame is visibly dying. Ibbi-Ilabrat saw it. That sesame will die, and I have warned you.”

1684 - 1647 BC



⚠️ Risk Taking

It appears in aggregate, the day of the week when you make certain decisions really matters. It turns out we take more risks on Mondays, with this declining over the week until Friday - when risk taking explodes once more.

Like many innovations the seven-day week has unintended consequences. The more we look for them, the more we find. At first sight, it may seem unsettling that the risks we are willing to take – individually and societally – can depend on the day of the week. But the human origin of the weekly cycle places it under human control. Understanding weekday effects will help us to make sense of the past, to improve forecasting and to time our actions so that they are maximally effective.

From The British Academy: 📖Does risk tolerance change through the week?


🖥️🌠 The Universe is Hostile to Computers

Tiny particles from distant galaxies have caused plane accidents, election interference and game glitches. Veritasium looks a little deeper at the phenomenon.


🧠🎙️ The Scout Mindset

Baiqu from The Browser sits down with Spencer Greenberg, a mathematician and entrepreneur in social sciences and the Founder of ClearerThinking.org - where he unpacks what it means to be in a scout mindset, how to apply rational thinking to Amazon purchases and much more.

Pretty average quality video capture of a Zoom call basically but good content.


The 📚Clearer Thinking website is also highly recommended with a few dozen tools that help with science-based reasoning skills aimed at upgrading your headspace and making it easier to thrive in a complex world.

Of course Greenberg almost invariably also has a fairly new podcast; an example episode below on “long” history and why civilisations collapse was fascinating.



🎨 Since Yesterday

Zoom out…

Since Yesterday

Since Yesterday, Lee Wagstaff, oil gesso on canvas, 2021


💬 Deep Cuts

“To see something marvellous with your own eyes - that’s wonderful enough. But when two of you see it, two of you together, holding hands, holding each other close, knowing that you’ll both have that memory for the rest of your lives, but that each of you will only ever hold an incomplete half of it, and that it won’t ever really exist as a whole until you’re together, talking or thinking about that moment … that’s worth more than one plus one. It’s worth four, or eight, or some number so large we can’t even imagine it.” ― Alastair Reynolds, House of Suns


☕ One More Thing

Hidden in the microverse all around you, there is a merciless war being fought by the true rulers of this planet, microorganisms. Amoebae, protists, bacteria, archaea and fungi compete for resources and space. And then there are the strange horrors that are viruses, hunting everyone else. Not even being alive, they are the tiniest, most abundant and deadliest beings on earth, killing trillions every day. Not interested in resources, only in living things to take over. Or so we thought. It turns out that there are giant viruses that blur the line between life and death – and other viruses hunting them.


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