Tangential Tuesday 53: Status, Drugs, CEO DJ..

Writing this from NYC 🏙️. Feeling super lucky that this trip came together 🤞.

Geeks, MOPs, and sociopaths in subculture evolution

This article is FASCINATING. It reminds me in some ways of Eugene Wei’s Status as a Service (which by the way is still the blog post that has influenced my thinking the most in 2019).

Geeks welcome mops, at first at least. It’s the mass of mops who turn a scene into a subculture. Creation is always at least partly an act of generosity; creators want as many people to use and enjoy their creations as possible. It’s also good for the ego; it confirms that the New Thing really is exciting, and not just a geek obsession. Further, some money can usually be extracted from mops—just enough, at this stage, that some creators can quit their day jobs and go pro.

Read the article here.

Status Update, and How Everyone IPO'd in the 21st Century

Speaking of Eugene Wei - he recently published status updates. It’s not nearly as mind-blowing as StaaS, but it’s much shorter and still pretty good.

Billions of humans IPO'd, whether we were ready for it or not, explaining why the concept of a personal "brand" became such a pervasive metaphor.

Just as the SEC regulates what public companies say, social norms regulate what a person can say on social media. PR training today begins for all of us once we get our hands on our first smartphone. It's little surprise that just as many companies now stay private for longer, many people have retreated to private messaging groups, taking their thoughts back into the shadows, while those who stay public learn to code messages in memes or language so opaque and Straussian that even political dissidents would be impressed.

Read the article here.

🎹 DJ D-Sol (CEO of Goldman)

Shout-out to The Profile for this excellent article.

“You know what, it’s who I am, and nobody would tell me not to play golf,” Solomon says now. “And why shouldn’t I—because I’m a CEO?”

If you need someone to tell you you did a good job, Lemkau advised a colleague, “Go hire somebody to do that for you.”

I don’t follow finance companies very closely - so I found this profile of the Goldman Sachs CEO particularly interesting.

One related topic I’ve been thinking about and talking to friends about is: “How much of the finance industry is crony capitalism?”

In tech/silicon valley, there is a tendency to bucket almost all of finance as something that is zero-sum, and not creating much value in the world.

And honestly, this view might be correct. There certainly appears to be a lot of bullshit. But the problem is, I don’t think any of these people (myself included) know enough to say what parts of our financial system actually provide value, and which don’t. Most people don’t even understand how options work. So when people tell me they think the financial industry full of crony capitalism, it’s hard for me to believe they are thinking for themselves rather than just repeating the beliefs of those around them…


Read the article here.

🤑 How a $29 Marketing Scam Turned Into a Master Class on Behavioral Economics

My friend Kushaan published this hilarious (but also so real) article this week.

I’ve easily spent more money in 2019 than any other year of my life. Of course, a lot of that is not because my consumption magically skyrocketed, but rather because my parents no longer help support me financially.

But the point is I’ve been making a lot of purchases. Some of them and necessary. But some of them almost certainly not. This article does a great job of capturing the art of convincing people to buy stuff they don’t need.

Then, I looked at their reviews. 107 reviews. Five stars across the board. I tried to submit a negative review of my own to no avail — only positive reviews allowed by the burrito blanket overlords. I traversed the constant urgency — 48 hour flash sale. Even though, I had bought it months ago, the site today still holds a flash sale. What gives!?

Read the article here.

💊 How to Buy Drugs

I love reading true stories of random subcultures I know nothing about. The internet is crazy…

a student at Manchester University, needed to buy some MDMA for the weekend’s big party. So he did what he had been doing for the last two years: he opened up the Tor browser to get on to the dark web, and typed in the address for Dream Market, the world’s biggest and most dependable source of illegal drugs. Nothing happened.

The early mainstream(ish) use cases of the internet have become known as the 3Ps, Porn, Pills, and Poker.

And for whatever reason, these use-cases seem to come up again when we experiment with new platforms. Buying drugs (pills) was the 1st massive use case of cryptocurrency.

And AR/VR seems to be experimenting with both poker and porn…

Read the article here.

✏️ 3 Minute Journal

My friend Valentin showed me this super quick journal template he created with notion. I’ve only been using it for a week, but I’ve really been enjoying it.

Having prompts and a template removes all the friction from daily journaling. In particular - I love the “Short story of a moment today:” prompt.


Enjoying (hopefully will learn one day™):

Starting to learn:

  • I went to see Andrew Evans perform some magic 🧙‍♂️. It was… magical. I’m sensing a magic obsession coming.

  • Going to a Jeremy Zucker concert on Wednesday (!!!)

  • New York City is amazing.

  • Feeling inspired. We talked to an Electrician today where Thumbtack played a crucial part in helping him get his business off the ground 😍.

Thanks for reading,