2017 draws to a close. It’s been my third year earning-to-give, and another year full of changes. At various points this year I seriously considered starting a company. This made me ask myself: does it still make sense to donate a third of my income this year if I’m considering something that risky? It’s all well and good to donate money, but maybe it makes sense to do it later...
read more

Cryptocurrencies have a trust problem. Blockchain evangelists claim that with the advent of Bitcoin, centralized authorities and financial institutions will soon become obsolete. Blockchain technology will run the world and corruption will be engineered out of existence. Society will become “trustless.” Ironically, the vast majority of people still don’t trust cryptocurrencies. [video] The evangelists claim those people don’t understand the technical innovations behind blockchains. (As though a lecture on consensus...
read more

It wasn’t too long ago that Silicon Valley scoffed at cryptocurrencies. All over coffee shops in Mountain View and Menlo Park, you heard the same conversation: “Sure, it’s cool technology, but when are we going to see the killer app”? A few merchants dipped their toes into accepting Bitcoin in 2014. But adoption largely backed off. I remember seeing a few Bitcoin ATMs in Austin, and then they disappeared. Bitcoin...
read more

Yesterday, a hacker pulled off the second biggest heist in the history of digital currencies. Around 12:00 PST, an unknown attacker exploited a critical flaw in the Parity multi-signature wallet on the Ethereum network, draining three massive wallets of over $31,000,000 worth of Ether in a matter of minutes. Given a couple more hours, the hacker could’ve made off with over $180,000,000 from vulnerable wallets. But someone stopped them. Having...
read more

Imagine you didn’t need to trust a stranger to make a deal with them. Imagine you didn’t need to trust your bank to deposit your money there. Imagine you didn’t need to trust your government to know it was being just and fair. What would happen? It would change the world. This is precisely the promise of blockchains. Cryptocurrencies, which are built on blockchains, are all over the press these...
read more

I have no self-control. Luckily, I know this about myself. This allows me to consciously engineer my life so that despite having the emotional maturity of a heroin-addicted lab rat, I’m occasionally able to get things done. Mm, a waste of time! I waste a lot of time on Reddit. If I want to procrastinate on something, I’ll often open a new tab and dive down a Reddit-hole. But sometimes...
read more

I was originally planning to write this post reflecting on 2016 and my year-end donations (I know, better late than never). But given the political climate in the U.S. right now, I’m feeling pretty shaken. I don’t usually write about politics, but I decided I needed to share a few thoughts. [video] First, donations. [Note: for those who don’t know my background; I am an effective altruist, and I earn-to-give....
read more

I just came home from a vow of silence at a meditation center in northern California. It’s a strange feeling coming back to city life after five days of silent meditation. Looking around at puffing joggers, Christmas wreaths, eager couples waiting outside restaurants, the stop and start of traffic—it’s almost too much for my senses. The last time I took a vow of silence was 5 years ago. It lasted...
read more

So you know the first 6 rules. You’ve maneuvered through the initial offer conversation, you’ve lined up counteroffers from other companies, and now it’s time to move into the actual negotiating. Naturally, this is the part where everything goes horribly wrong. But worry not. Stick with me, and I’m going to make you into a superhuman negotiator. (Or at least an eccentric billionaire negotiator, which is sometimes better?) Seriously though....
read more

When the story of how I landed a job at Airbnb went viral, I was surprised at how infatuated people were with my negotiations. Media stories portrayed me as some kind of master negotiator—a wily ex-poker-player who was able to con the tech giants into a lucrative job offer. This is silly. It’s silly for a lot of reasons, but one of the main ones is that in reality, my...
read more

Popular
Years