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#069: The Precipice

The Chomp
#069: The Precipice
By Cody McCauley  • Issue #69 • View online
Hey Everyone 👋 ,
Welcome back to The Chomp. If you’re new here and are not yet a subscriber, you can keep up with the latest by subscribing down at the bottom of this email or by clicking the ‘view online’ link above. 
My thoughts, like nearly everyone else’s, have been centered on the ongoing atrocities taking place in Ukraine. First and foremost, the loss of human life coming at the cost of petty politics is both tragic and inexcusable. It’s a sad state of affairs that this is our reality in 2022, yet here we are—on the precipice of the unknown. If you’re looking for a way to support (continued) Ukrainian Sovereignty, here’s a great resource I came across that’s targeting donations across a group of legitimate organizations.
With that, let’s dive into it.

🔗 Chum Bucket
A synthesis of the latest information on the rapidly unfolding Russia-Ukraine situation as of 2/25
  • “Putin’s main goal seems to be reinstating his view of the Russian Empire. To overthrow governments, install pro-Russian regimes, and prevent further Western assimilation (which he discussed extensively here: On The History of Russians and Ukrainians ). So Putin invaded because he wants Ukraine “back” and there is no promise (and no sign) that he plans to stop there.”
  • “The thing is that Russia has been building up a financial fortress against sanctions - rotating out of US Treasuries, getting a LOT of gold (more gold than USD), de-dollarizing (highlighted most notably by settling their pipeline with China in euros). Over ~30% of Russia’s trade is conducted in euros, and the dollar’s share of trade has fallen to 55% from 80% And Russia is going to do reverse sanctions on the U.S. primarily through “expanding trade and economic ties with Asia ” which India seems to be taking part in by setting up rupee trade accounts with Russia.”
  • “Right now, things are not going as Russia expected. As Michael Kofman highlights “the Russian military clearly tried something. I think it at best yielded mixed results for them. They will adjust.” Ukraine is winning. They are putting up an incredible fight against Russia, which Russia didn’t expect, considering how Crimea went. But this time it seems different. However, Ukraine can’t do this alone. The West is going to have to stand for something, and it can’t be the luxury goods market. There has been a lot of focus on financially impacting Russia. Things are evolving towards physical readiness, which might be important in supporting Ukraine (even though they aren’t a member of NATO) and engaging across all fronts of warfare - economically, informationally, and kinetically.”
Packy’s timely take on what it will take for America to get its swagger back
  • “We need to make America the place where everyone is an owner, and everyone acts like an owner. We need to make it the place where hard work and risk-taking are applauded and rewarded. The point is this: we need to stop focusing so much time worrying about protecting peoples’ downsides and start spending more time working on getting more people more upside.”
  • “Markets are global, consumer bases are global, potential outcomes are bigger than ever before: we should orient ourselves to ensure that as much ownership as possible ends up in the hands of as many Americans as possible.”
  • “When we stop a DAO from giving away free ownership to Americans when we stop someone from investing in a promising startup or alternative asset because they don’t have $1 million in their bank account already… we’re killing the American Dream.”
Mario’s excellent breakdown of the changing VC landscape and the emergent trend of prominent ‘solo capitalists’
  • “In 2012, venture capitalists invested roughly $60 billion. In 2021, that figure reached $643 billion. From 2020 to 2021, the amount of money deployed by the asset class nearly doubled, increasing by 92%.”
  • “It’s a startup trope that entrepreneurs should be “T-Shaped,” capable of applying their skills across scenarios, but deeply knowledgeable about a specific sector. The solo trend favors “T-Shaped” investors – those intelligent enough to analyze different businesses but gifted enough to add outsize value in one domain.”
  • “The variation and opacity of the traditional fundraising process is one of venture capital’s great self-inflicted injuries. Unfortunately, it is a tricky one to heal. The myriad moving pieces – deals, partners, portfolio companies, board meetings, investment committees – conspire to thwart a reliably timely process. Solo investors keep it simple. Thanks to their unilateral position, they’re able to make investment decisions rapidly, winning allocation by being decisive. Shruti Gandhi of Array Ventures noted that “We usually decide on the call and spend more time with additional diligence, negotiating terms, etc.”
Tim Urban shares the good and bad of how we perceive the time we have left
  • “Depressing Math reveals a cold truth: While you may not be anywhere near the end of your life, you may very well be nearing the end of your time spent with some of the most important people in your life.”
  • “We underestimate future possibilities for the same reason we overestimate the time we have left with those we love: our intuition is not very imaginative. It’s a human instinct to believe the life we’re used to is how things will always be, both the good parts and the bad.”
  • “These two delusions — that we have countless time ahead of us and that we can’t change our course — are a recipe for complacency. Shedding them can wake us up and inspire us to live more wisely. The past couple of years has left us with a joy deficit. When we picture a post-Covid world, we imagine having our old lives back. But we can actually go a step further and make up for the missed experiences, flipping the deficit into a surplus. If Covid has given us anything, it’s a rare chance for a reset. Let’s take it.”
A wide-ranging interview with Balaji across the technological and cultural spectrum
  • “A political ideology that requires total centralized control may seem unstoppable when technology favors this…and then may become untenable when innovation turns things in the direction of decentralization.”
  • “In the 1800s you wouldn’t steal because God would smite you, in the 1900s you didn’t steal because the State would punish you, but in the 2000s you can’t steal because the Network won’t let you. Either the social network will mob you, or the cryptocurrency network won’t let you steal because you lack the private key, or both.”
  • “The computer always gives the same output given the same input code, unlike the fallible human judiciary with its error-prone (or politicized) enforcement of the law.”
🗓 Tweet of the Week
The Giving Block
As the conflict in #Ukraine escalates, we must remember the innocent lives being impacted across the region.

We will be maintaining an ongoing thread of #nonprofits active in Ukraine that you can donate #crypto to ⤵️
🎵 Song of the Week
Say Nothing (feat. MAY-A) | Flume
📚 Books
💭 Parting Thoughts
The things you think about determine the quality of your mind. Your soul takes on the color of your thoughts.
— Marcus Aurelius
If you found something that piqued your interest this week, please send it along to a friend.
Until next time. ✌️
This newsletter is created and authored by Cody McCauley and is published and provided for informational purposes only. The information in the newsletter solely constitutes Cody’s own opinions. None of the information contained in the newsletter constitutes—or should be construed as—investment advice.
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Cody McCauley

The Chomp is a roundup of the most interesting content I've read, along with occasional musings on technology and the world. You can expect to find a mix of sub-topics including web3, tech, investing, philosophy, and culture.

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