Six Links: Contracts, Options, Brevity

I’ve decided to try a new format of blog post today; I wanted to share some of the more interesting things I’ve been reading, emphasizing those that I believe other people are not likely to be reading. In some sense, I’m trying to curate signal in the midst of all of the overwhelming noise in today’s media.

Smart Contracts by Zack Korman:

All of the hype today is around smart contracts, but I don’t think people realize how boring self-executing agreements really are. Seeing people talk about the transformative potential of smart contracts is about as surreal as seeing thought leaders hyping click-wrap agreements. But that’s the world we live in.

Defining Aggregators by Ben Thompson:

Aggregation Theory describes how platforms (i.e. aggregators) come to dominate the industries in which they compete in a systematic and predictable way. Aggregation Theory should serve as a guidebook for aspiring platform companies, a warning for industries predicated on controlling distribution, and a primer for regulators addressing the inevitable antitrust concerns that are the endgame of Aggregation Theory.

The Trouble with Optionality by Mihir Desai (no relation):

[Our] emphasis on creating optionality can backfire in surprising ways. Instead of enabling young people to take on risks and make choices, acquiring options becomes habitual. You can never create enough option value—and the longer you spend acquiring options, the harder it is to stop.

How We Think About the Deficit Is Mostly Wrong on NYT:

There is no mismatch and no problem with things adding up. Balance sheets must balance, after all. The government’s deficit is always mirrored by an equivalent surplus in another part of the economy. The problem is that policy makers are looking at this picture with one eye shut. They see the budget deficit, but they’re missing the matching surplus on the other side. And since many Americans are missing it, too, they end up applauding efforts to balance the budget, even though it would mean erasing the surplus in the private sector.

Make Your Point & Get Out of the Way by Morgan Housel:

Good communication is the ability to say the most stuff in the fewest words. Those receiving information skim, skip, and mind wander far more often than they ask for more. Most points – even complex ones – don’t require endless explanation.

House Passes Anti-Abortion Bill on Axios:

The House just passed a bill, 237-189, to outlaw abortion after the 20th week of a pregnancy. The White House has endorsed the measure, but it nevertheless faces long odds in the Senate. The House passed similar measures in 2013 and 2015, both of which died in the upper chamber.

Also published on Medium.


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