A Celebration of Failed Experiments and Progress
Man, couldn't agree more with this whole post! I'm so optimistic of what comes out of environments like this.
We are quick to roll eyes at alchemists but science and tech progress are still driven by the individual’s quest for gold and immortality, even if that drive is unconscious. Psychologically, we are cut from the same cloth as our predecessors.
Great framing of what’s happening and how to move forward! Thanks!
A refreshingly thoughtful essay. Thank you.
This is the truest thing on the internet.
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Yet, imagine if Kepler, Newton, Einstein, Lull and Leibniz had been motivated primarily by greed. There’s your monkey wrench in productive innovation.
I love this article. In Chinese, Newton's Alchemy is called "功不唐捐".
There does seem to be a strong connection between price and interest in crypto: prices rip up and people start doing more projects.
But stock market appreciation and adoption for traditional companies seems to be a much weaker correlation (but not nothing). Did people start using Zoom or Peleton because of record stock performance? Or because of actual utility and word of mouth evangelism?
Also I do wonder what companies go away in the next year that reached scale. If you were dependent on outside capital to survive and the outside capital is no longer available or too expensive, then it's tragic but necessary that you go down because they made a thing people wanted but only at a price that was unsustainable. (This applies less to pre-scale).
Love the premise and couldn't agree more. My personal thoughts are that the current "hype" culture around things make it hard to fail and try. Especially when so much money is being tossed around. I'm all about trying and giving the ability to experiment. But it's gotta be incredibly hard if you are leaning on money for your decisions. Do you think Newton & Llull had to constantly base their decisions on "hype" or the influx of capital?
good job to mention alchemy - it is to chemistry as crypto is to value
There’s a difference between asset prices and technological progress. Too often people conflate them, and mistakenly think that simply because a technology is progress that means that it’s a good investment. For example you could have been absolutely right on the direction of the internet in 2001, but if you’d invested in the nasdaq it’d taken you 14 years to get your money back.
We as a community have to do a better job of separating our discussion of the near term investment cases for near term certain projects from the technical discussions of the projects, otherwise we risk further erosion of popular support and more draconian regulations that will stifle innovation
Oh so we have to wait 300 or 400 years for the scams to be revealed?