Archive of posts with tag 'economics'

Devon Zuegel on Inflation, Argentina, and Crypto

October 19, 2022 • #

Argentina has become infamous for its decades-long struggles with inflation and economic instability. For an otherwise fairly well-off nation, it’s surprising to outsiders how deep the problem on this has been.

In this episode of EconTalk, Devon Zuegel talks about an article she wrote on this topic, after spending time there and investigating the problems for herself. What’s most surprising about all this is how pervasive a problem it is. Inflation touches everyone; everyone is hyper-aware of money issues and constantly thinking about...

Weekend Reading: Koestler on Awareness, 21st Century Alchemy, and the Gini Coefficient

July 30, 2021 • #

🔮 The Nightmare That Is a Reality

In early 1944, journalist Arthur Koestler was onto the horrors of the Holocaust taking place in Europe. He wrote this essay, originally published in the New York Times, calling attention to the atrocities in a climate where most in media were denying or claiming conspiracy.

At present we have the mania of trying to tell you about the killing, by hot steam, mass-electrocution and live burial of the total Jewish population of Europe. So far three million have died. It is the greatest mass-killing...

Weekend Reading: American Growth, JTBD, and Dissolving the Fermi Paradox

October 17, 2020 • #

📉 Summary of The Rise and Fall of American Growth

Concise summary of Robert Gordon’s book on Roots of Progress.

👨🏻‍🏫 Guide to Jobs to be Done Interviews

A solid comprehensive, step-by-step overview of how to conduct JTBD interviews.

🛸 Dissolving The Fermi Paradox

A pointer somewhere on Twitter led to this post from the Slate Star Codex archives, discussing a paper that supposedly debunks the Fermi paradox:

Imagine we...

Second and Third-Order Effects

October 6, 2020 • #

From Mark Levinson’s The Box, on the shipping container and its impact on global trade:

The true importance of the revolution in freight transportation would be found not in its effect on ship lines and dockworkers, but later, as the impact of containerization resonated among the hundreds of thousands of factories and wholesalers and commodity traders and government agencies with goods to ship. For most shippers, except perhaps government agencies, the cost of transporting goods was decisive in determining what products they would make, where they would manufacture and sell them, and whether importing or exporting...

Weekend Reading: Guide to SaaS, a Few Rules, and Starting a Company Now

September 26, 2020 • #

📕 Stripe’s Guide to SaaS

Stripe Atlas has a great batch of guides on various parts of company-building.

📜 A Few Rules

Some great random clippings from Morgan Housel. I’m currently reading his latest, The Psychology of Money, which is great so far.

📈 The 10x Advantage of Starting a Company Now

In many markets during COVID, startups have a host of advantages over their incumbent competitors:

Consequently, growth and innovation efforts are quickly deprioritized or even fully...

On Legibility

July 31, 2020 • #

I think I probably read three different pieces this week alone that reference James Scott’s Seeing Like a State. It presents an argument about the desire for “legibility” that overthrows and reorders bottom-up, emergent systems that develop naturally.

In this piece, Venkatesh Rao dives into what legibility means and what happens when the pursuit of order and “governability” ignores locally-discovered motivations that could be at work informing why a system works the way that it does.

Boca Raton, planner's paradise Boca Raton,...

Image credits: Daily Overview

Weekend Reading: Quarantine Talks

July 11, 2020 • #

🛠 Attitudes, Aptitudes, and Progress

Joel Mokyr’s talk on the most recent session of The Torch of Progress series.

🧠 How to Be a Neo-Cartesian Cyborg

A recent talk from Maggie Appleton on the “building a second brain” concept.

👋🏼 Take a Tour of HEY

Great example of how to do a product demo. Informal style, clearly prepared but not “scripted,” and deep care and attention to the product.

The Torch of Progress with Tyler Cowen

June 11, 2020 • #

This is the second episode of the “Torch of Progress” series that the Progress Studies for Young Scholars program is putting on, hosted by Jason Crawford. Tyler Cowen is unbelievably prolific in projects he’s got going on, so it’s great to see him making the time for things like this.

Read more here from last year on the progress studies movement.

Weekend Reading: Post-Truth, Knowledge, and Game Graphics

May 30, 2020 • #

⚖️ The Way Out of Post-truth

Another razor sharp analysis from Gurri:

The collapse of trust in our leading institutions has exiled the 21st century to the Siberia of post-truth. I want to be clear about what this means. Reality has not changed. It’s still unyielding. Facts today are partial and contradictory—but that’s always been the case. Post-truth, as I define it, signifies a moment of sharply divergent perspectives on every subject or event, without a trusted authority in the room to settle the matter. A telling symptom is that we no...

Weekend Reading: Optionality, Pangaea, and Regulatory Disappointment

May 16, 2020 • #

⚖️ The Trouble with Optionality

A 2017 commencement address from Mihir Desai, critiquing the phenomenon of infinite optionality and lack of commitment pushed by modern universities:

I’ve lost count of the number of students who, when describing their career goals, talk about their desire to “maximize optionality.” They’re referring to financial instruments known as options that confer the right to do something rather than an obligation to do something. For this reason, options have a “Heads I win, tails I don’t lose” character—what those in finance lovingly describe as a “nonlinear payoff structure.”...

Weekend Reading: Tagging with Turf, Mars Panorama, and Kinds of Easy

March 7, 2020 • #

🗺 turf-tagger

Bryan put together this neat little utility for merging point data with containing polygon attributes with spatial join queries. It uses Turf.js to do the geoprocess in the browser.

🚀 Mars Curiosity High-Res Panorama

Amazing photography of the Mars surface:

NASA’s Curiosity rover has captured its highest-resolution panorama yet of the Martian surface. Composed of more than 1,000 images taken during the 2019 Thanksgiving holiday and carefully assembled over the ensuing months, the composite contains 1.8 billion pixels of Martian landscape. The rover’s...

Weekend Reading: Tradeoffs, the Margins, and PR FAQs

December 21, 2019 • #

⚖️ Tradeoffs: The Currency of Decision Making

Farnam Street:

Time is our most fundamental constraint. If you use an hour for one thing, you can’t use it for anything else. Time passes, whatever we do with it. It seems beneficial then to figure out the means of using it with the lowest possible opportunity costs. One of the simplest ways to do this is to establish how you’d like to be using your time, then track how you’re using it for a week. Many people find a significant discrepancy. Once we...

Weekend Reading: Iceland, the Use of Knowledge, and CLI Search

September 14, 2019 • #

⚖️ The Use of Knowledge in Society

I’ve been reading some of Hayek’s famous articles this week. This one is all about what he probably considered one of the most important concepts, since these basic ideas form a central thesis for most of his works. His argument was for bottoms-up, decentralized systems of decision-making instead of centralized, top-down systems:

The peculiar character of the problem of a rational economic order is determined precisely by the fact that the knowledge of the circumstances of which we must make use never exists in...

Weekend Reading: Wind Turbines, Bruce Sterling, and Economic Ideas

November 17, 2018 • #

⚡️ The US Wind Turbine Database

Ben Hoen from the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab gave a lightning talk at Geo2050 about this project, a map and database of the operational wind generation capacity in the US. The map currently reports the country producing around 90 gigawatts of wind power. They also publish the raw dataset for download.

🧬 Interview with Bruce Sterling

One of my favorite science fiction authors. Talks about his work, industrial design, speculative architecture, and risk models.


Economics & Product Management

October 10, 2018 • #

A continuous challenge in product development (perhaps the ultimate challenge) is the balancing of many wants and needs with an inability to have everything. You never have the resources to build everything you want into your product — be it labor, capital, or time.

All this year I’ve been studying economics, some foundational resources, different philosophies, and the history of economic theories. I think what attracts me to the subject is how its fundamentals can be applied to so many other areas. I just finished Thomas Sowell’s Basic Economics a few weeks ago, which is a great...

How the Economic Machine Works

October 6, 2018 • #

Learn the foundations of how an economy works, in only 30 minutes.

This piece from Ray Dalio (hedge fund manager and author of Principles and hedge fund manager) breaks down an entire Econ 101 class in a concise, graphical form. He’s actually an excellent narrator. And knows a thing or two about how markets work.

Weekly Links: Tensor Processing, Amazon, and Preventing Traffic Jams

April 13, 2017 • #

Google’s “Tensor Processing Unit” 💻

Google has built their own custom silicon dedicated to AI processing. The power efficiency gains with these dedicated chips is estimated to have saved them from building a dozen new datacenters.

But about six years ago, as the company embraced a new form of voice recognition on Android phones, its engineers worried that this network wasn’t nearly big enough. If each of the world’s Android phones used the new Google voice search for just three minutes a day, these engineers realized, the company would need twice as many data centers.