2.0

Winning to Lose, and Losing to Win: The Trump Way of Business

In Uncategorized on July 22, 2016 at 7:48 pm

Trump only knows how to win to lose and lose to win. He will lose the election in November but win on TV contracts and big name investor buddies. He’s not stupid to actually want the toughest job in the world. There is not much in it for Trump, and he knows he will be deadlocked and crippled from by Democrats from day one. His game is to win the jackpot not lose his precious hair.

Of Frameworks And Religion

In Uncategorized on August 7, 2014 at 12:42 pm

Frameworks and religion share these aspects:

  1. Religion/Frameworks are both illusory attempts to find simplicity and idealism in an inherently complex and  imperfect environment.
  2. A rational examination of the origins of –and reasons for– religion/frameworks, as well as the benefits and disadvantages of religion/frameworks, is unlikely to change the mind of anyone who is afraid to examine these concepts objectively.
  3. Even some bright people may feel too frightened to face the challenges they have without the guidance of a framework/religion. Their upbringing has imbued in them the belief that it is safer not to subject the ideas that happen to be en vogue to close scrutiny. Furthermore, becoming an agnostic or a disbeliever can cut one off from the comfort and companionship of co-believers. This potentially damaging consequence of doubting a popular belief system is a strong deterrent to questioning deeply flawed concepts.
  4. People/Developers tend to associate in communities of other like-minded people. Believers typically restrict their social circle to other believers. They surround themselves with mirror images of themselves. So, the believer in a religion/framework asks, “How can they not believe as I believe? The believing community/cult usually provides a convenient answer to that question: The non-believers are ignorant or they do not get it. If you hang around them enough it might lead you astray. As a result, the believer in a religion/framework becomes paranoid and afraid of the non-believers, because he fails to understand that non-believers do not need to believe in anything. Non-believers rely on reason, logic and the factual evidence. Instead, the believer, when it comes to their choice of association, sees non-believers as undesirable. Thus, belief in a religion/framework maintains itself through self-affirmation, insulation and exclusion of others who don’t have the same views/beliefs.
  5. Frameworks/religions divide us.

Having stated that, frameworks/religion can also help unify us. But unlike religion, frameworks, especially UI frameworks, tend to come and go at a relatively rapid pace, so developers are learning to look for deep principles beneath the surface, where the rate of change is much more bearable.

The meta argument is that it’s really hard to reduce complex ideas like religion and frameworks to either good or bad. So we have to be pragmatic in how we approach technology, focusing on the deeper principles at play rather than the particular framework.

 

Why Bitcoin is Volatile aka I Told You So.

In Uncategorized on December 1, 2013 at 4:52 pm

Bitcoin is based on the idea that money gets its intrinsic value from its scarcity, which is a misconception since money gets its intrinsic value from the volume of transactions involving goods and services that use it. The only reason the dollar has an intrinsic value as a currency is because almost every nation use it to buy and sell energy, food, weapons, etc. If large nations like China decide to stop using the dollar then the dollar will crash regardless of how scarce it is. That does not mean that people won’t make a great deal of money from speculation around this dumb idea.

Selling people on the misconceived notion that Bitcoin has real value because of its scarcity seems to have worked so far, but when people wake up and ask what they can buy with their Bitcoins and find the answer to be very limited they’ll likely lose interest in holding on to those Bitcoins. It doesn’t matter how scarce those Bitcoins are: if they’re not widely accepted in trade, after the speculative bubble bursts, they won’t have much value.

The built-in scarcity makes it so that speculative action can lead to huge swings in currency value, i.e. massive instability over time. If supply always caught up to demand then speculation would be a rational process more or less based on real-world transaction volume as opposed to swinging between “OMG  I gotta get some Bitcoins while there are some available at some astronomical price” and “OMG Bitcoin adoption is slowing down and I gotta get rid of mine before I incur losses.”

In order to be less exposed to speculative bubbles, the intrinsic value of a currency must be decoupled from its supply/demand (in other words, supply must catch up to demand, and oversupply only happens if people stop using the currency, i.e. when you have a drop in volume of real world transactions) and the value must be based on the volume of real-world transactions.

We invented Fire. Next, we have to control it.

Update:

China bans its banks from transacting in Bitcoin thus causing an initial 20% drop in the price of Bitcoin. Here is an interesting passage from the Bloomberg article that reflects many of the opinions I expressed above just a few days before the events in China unfolded.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-12-05/china-s-pboc-bans-financial-companies-from-bitcoin-transactions.html

The People’s Bank of China said financial institutions and payment companies can’t give pricing in Bitcoin, buy and sell the virtual currency or insure Bitcoin-linked products, according to a statement on the central bank’s website.

PBOC, China Banking Regulatory Commission and other regulators have held discussions about drafting rules for trading platforms that facilitate the buying and selling of the virtual money, two people with direct knowledge of the matter said. They were not authorized to speak because the information is not public.

“We’re happy to see the government start regulating the Bitcoin exchanges,” Chief Executive Officer Bobby Lee of BTC China, the largest Bitcoin exchange in the country, said in a phone interview before the PBOC announcement. Regulations would be for “the good of the consumer,” he said. BTC is seeking recognition of the currency so it can be used to buy goods and services instead of being used for speculation, he said.

Update:

This post got plenty of traffic thanks to Hacker News, and in there, someone mentioned that, a few years back, Satoshi Nakimoto, the illusive inventor of Bitcoin, had mentioned my work on P2P Social Currency as being something that can ride atop the Bitcoin protocol. I have my doubts.

http://archive.is/5CbYM

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