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Jun 8, 2024

Father's Day Gift Guide!



The definitive father's day gift guide for discerning fathers!

1. TECHNIVORM MOCCAMASTER – really the best coffee machine out there. No timer. No clock. No buttons. Just one switch. A coffee machine your grandfather would approve of.

2. HIGH WIZARD "NUCLEAR FAMILY" T-SHIRT – it's time we celebrate the nuclear family.

3. ORSLOW 107 2-YEAR WASH DENIM – I buy these out at Canoe Club in Boulder. They are the best jeans and every dad should own a pair.

4. RALPH LAUREN BLUE OXFORD – the older I get the simpler I want things to be. If the occasion calls for something more than a long sleeve black or navy t-shirt, I am wearing this simple blue oxford. I've had my blue oxford for years and it gets better and better the older (we) it gets.

5. ZEN MIND BEGINNER'S MIND – one of my all time favorite books – "little by little."

Jun 1, 2024

Right Back To It

I highly recommend investing in premium mineral water for your home. We'd been using a Lifestraw filter, but this is way better. Mountain Valley Spring Water is delivered every few weeks in this killer glass 5 gallon glass bottle. It's sort of like a gym – you pay for it and it forces you to go – you're paying a premium for it so you drink it more often.  

We saw Waxahatchee last week. One of the best songwriters making music right now (right there alongside Big Thief!). 

Not so sunny Mother's Day weekend in Santa Barbara. After a week in San Francisco for a work trip.

Starting to see a lot of Cybertrucks around. I saw this one in San Francisco. I had a chance to buy one a few months back but I'm sort of glad we passed. There is something off about the ratios – specifically the backend. The whole thing looks sort of janky. Feels like you are paying a lot of money to drive a meme.

Picked up this killer backpack for Sonny at the San Francisco MoMa Museum store. VERY COOL. 

I wrote about "Offline Experiences" a few weeks ago, and High Wizard is a great example of what I was referring to. They send out a mailer – a sort of comic book – mixed media collage thing with some great graphics, funny copy, and a scratch-away code that gives you access to the online store. They only sent out 450 of these books and I like how the code is a sort of barrier to entry. The whole experience felt less like "shopping" or "buying" and more like participating. This is where things are going.  

It's been just over a year since we moved, and this spring has been spent trying to dial in our landscaping. 

This last weekend, we installed 38 plants, 2 trees, and a drip system. Outdoor lighting was also put in a month earlier.

Steph is really into craft ice. I went out to an ice distributor to get her 25 perfectly cut ice cubes. Spent 30-min. talking with the owner of the operation. Seems like there is a market for retail here. We're gonna investigate – stay tuned.
 

May 28, 2024

The Algorithm

It wasn't always like this.

The screens. The scrolling.

We had the sky and at night the stars would come out.

You could see them back then.

That was before the algorithm and everything that came with it.

We didn't even know what an algorithm was. 

The same way we didn't have the internet.

For awhile it was good, it made things easier.

But we didn't know what it would turn into.

May 25, 2024

May 23, 2024

Motorcycle Diaries


Third Eye Blind performing at the Minna Art Gallery in San Francisco

Third Eye Blind is Steph's favorite band. She's always liked them. The lead singer, Stephan, had a Bill Murray vibe about him—super self-aware and dry. He made jokes about San Francisco and called other bands sellouts as they played for a small room of investors and tech startups. It was subtle, perfectly timed and very funny. He seemed genuinely amused by the audience and the scene. At the same time, he was very gracious for the opportunity. I was invited backstage after the show to meet him, and he was VERY cool

Everyone knows Third Eye Blinds bangers, Semi-Charmed Life, Jumper, How's It Going to Be... but my favorite song by far is Motorcyle Diaries. It reads like a beautiful poem.

I made several How's It Going to B2B jokes.  

May 22, 2024

Brain ROT

Phones and social media have been compared to cigarettes in terms of addiction.

I think we'll find out they are MUCH, MUCH worse.

Especially when it comes to brain development.

Children are spending more time online than offline, making it increasingly challenging for them to differentiate between what is real and what is not (we see this in adults, too; remember the Qanon movement?). This cognitive dissonance is leading to more depression and anxiety. 

Although there are a lot of factors here, I think the root cause (in addition to poor parenting) is clear. It's social media.

Social media platforms have been weaponized with algorithms that study habits and vulnerabilities to generate engagement (at all cost). So kids, with their brains not fully developed, spend all day mindlessly scrolling through memes and videos that gradually erode their cognitive abilities, alter their thoughts, and change their behavior. Prolonged exposure to this brain-rotting sensory overload shit distorts their perception of reality and diminishes intelligence. Test scores are waaaaay down, and I think we are just seeing the tip of the iceberg here.

We should have been more concerned when kids were eating Tide Pods or killing each other because of Slender Man. These were warning signs that we all ignored.

Apr 28, 2024

Offline Experiences

Future brands will be built almost entirely offline.

Offline experiences will be a new luxury.

Direct mail correspondence. Obscured website links. 

No Instagram. No online following. No social footprint.  

Word of mouth. Invite only. Impossible to research. 

"Professional Managers"

There is absolutely NOTHING worse than people who actually WANT to manage other people.  

The bigger the company gets, the more these types of people start showing up. They typically are NOT BUILDERS and they seem to spend more time in meetings, managing up, and sending emails that nobody reads. They don't make build anything... they just... "manage." They share biiiiiiiiiiig visions and spend most their time talking about the vision, presenting the vision, and hiring large teams to execute the vision... but the vision never happens because the vision requires a lot of work and not just a bunch of delegation. The bigger the vision the more work is required. And a lot of work requires people to actually be motivated and inspired to do the work... Very few people are inspired by people who just delegate all day long. People are inspired by leaders who work really, really hard.

Apr 27, 2024

Apr 19, 2024

Nuclear Power

Compute power and energy constraints — nuclear energy will be the only answer.

Apr 9, 2024

Ralph Lauren & Wabi-Sabi

 This shirt, I bought at Kmart. This is living proof of what I believe in. I love the aging of it, I love the rips, I love it all. And I didn't design it? I didn't design it. I assumed it was No, I happen to like this because it's the one that I have memories of. And how come you chose it for this conversation today?

I want it to look great.

The wear and tear of things represents memories and can make something more interesting. We always want to repair any rips, scratches, or stains. I've struggled with this forever, but there is a lot to learn about embracing the beauty that comes with imperfection. 

Mar 25, 2024

Signed Business Card by Steve Jobs Sells for 181K

Extremely rare, perfectly graded Steve Jobs-signed Apple Computer business card from circa 1983 (via rrauction.com):

Highly coveted circa 1983 Apple Computer business card of Steve Jobs, which is signed neatly in black ink, “steve jobs.” The off-white card, ​​3.5 x 2, features the iconic 'rainbow' version of the Apple 'byte' logo and reads: “Steven Jobs, Chairman Board of Directors,” with the company's address and contact information listed below: “10260 Bandley Drive, Cupertino, California 95014, (408) 996-1010.” In fine condition, with a faint stain on the front from an old tape stain on the back. Encapsulated and graded by PSA/DNA as "GEM MT 10."

Prior to this sale, RR Auction has offered a total of 10 Steve Jobs business cards, with just one dating to circa 1983. This offered Apple Computer business card represents our second from that elusive time frame, but it is made exponentially rarer by the presence of Jobs’s bold, neatly placed signature. Less than five Jobs-signed Apple Computer business cards—from any period—have successfully passed PSA/DNA authentication.

Mar 24, 2024

๐ŸŽถ Music: Waxahatchee & MGMT

This new Waxahatchee album is very good. But there is one song on the album that is legitimately an INSTANT CLASSIC! 

๐ŸŽถ Waxahatchee featuring MJ Lenderman – Right Back to It

MJ Lenderman also plays in the band, Wednesday, which I previously wrote about here

Also worth listening to... the new MGMT. Good album, not as good as Dark Age, but still good. The song linked below is incredible. Feels like an arena song you would have heard Queen play.

๐ŸŽถ MGMT featuring Christine and The Queens – Dancing in Babylon

Mar 21, 2024

DON.EARTH Spring Report (1/8): Carhartt Jackets


***UPDATE***

Just 8 days after this was posted, JJJJound posts a Carhartt collaboration:
 

Mar 19, 2024

Taste Matters

"Use data to reinforce decisions. But don’t let data or people tell you what is or isn’t cool. No one actually knows. Make stuff you’re proud of. Stuff that you think is cool. Your taste is entirely unique. Let your taste steer your decisions. You’d be surprised how many people will begin trusting you once you begin making stuff you are proud of."

Mar 18, 2024

AI & The Inevitable Nuclear Power Debate

All this Generative AI (LLM and image generators) requires a shit ton of computing power which leads to insane energy consumption. As more and more people begin using these technologies/services, the demand for energy will exponentially increase. Think about how fast the internet was adopted. At first only a few people knew how to use it... but fast-forward a few years, and everyone was on it and understood the value. AI will be the same. We know it's gonna change everything. What I am most interested in is how it's gonna shape other markets, for example, what it's done to chipmaking and NVIDIA's valuation. 

These AI companies will NOT be able to meet the power demands while adhering to their carbon reduction pledges... the only answer will be NUCLEAR REACTORS. I anticipate that we will see intense debate surrounding nuclear power beginning next year. At the same time, we will see a race for companies to get U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) approval to develop Small Modular Reactors (SMRs). So far, just one company, NuScale has been approved (12,000 page application and 2 million pages of supporting materials).



For a long time, I have thought nuclear energy just needed to be repositioned (A GOOD REBRANDING!) and now is the perfect opportunity. AI will pave the way for us to reconsider nuclear energy.

Mar 16, 2024

REPORT: Country Western (cowboy core?) Trend Update

I have written a lot about a trend I called Country Retro Futurism. Some are calling it Cowboy Core...

Waaaay back in 2022, I hypothesized that as global chaos continued to rise and people grew increasingly weary of hyper-filtered, fake social media content, they would seek authenticity/simpler times, triggering a COUNTRY WESTERN TREND[READ THE FULL REPORT HERE]


11 months later, Zach Bryan's album became the #1 album, and I declared that we were OFFICIALLY IN THE MIDDLE OF THE COUNTRY RETRO FUTURISM VORTEX!

Since then, the trend has continued. Pharrell did his little cowboy thing with Louis Vuitton, and Lana Del Rey released her version of Take Me Home, Country Roads (it was good; Lana can never do wrong!). 



Fast-forward six months, and we have officially reached the peak of Country Retro Futurism and are now in the next phase of this trend—THE RAPID NORMIE DESCENT! 

Beyonce is making a country album, and Bella Hadid is cosplaying at rodeos. What seems like inconsequential acts by celebrities are ACTUALLY the beginning of the descent and will have a ripple effect across our culture, triggering a type of cringe that will be difficult to witness.


Stay tuned as we watch artists, brands, friends, and family try to do country. It's gonna get dark. In the coming months, you will see people who you have NEVER seen in a cowboy hat suddenly and without reason begin wearing them. But it won't stop there. Of course, there will be cowboy boots, but there will also be far more adventurous things, like men wearing bolo ties and women from the northwest trying to say y'all naturally. You are gonna see a lot more denim on denim (which we love), but with a misguided Western twist that makes you think, "No" and also, "Stop." Ladies will begin trading in their Sambas for worn-in Carhartts (this trend could result in Carhartt selling pre-worn Carhartts because a lot of those Golden Goose ladies are gonna want a Carhartt jacket that already looks worn-in). 


It's gonna get worse before it gets better. WHAT TO EXPECT:

๐Ÿค  Taylor Swift definitely does another country album

๐Ÿค  Post Malone collaborates with Zac Brown band

๐Ÿค  Florida Georgia Line does another song with Nelly (Nelly was finally recognized for his cross-over brilliance – Nelly and Tim McGraw crawled so Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus ride their horse)


๐Ÿค  This wedding season is about to be packed full really BAAAAAD country songs

๐Ÿค  Celebrities begin opening bad country western bars

๐Ÿค  Cowboy hats replacing LA Dodgers and New York Yankees hats (lots of cowboy hats at farmer markets this spring)

STAY SAFE OUT THERE!

Mar 7, 2024

This is why Nvidia wins


Jensen Huang washed dishes at Denny’s. Bezos worked the grill at McDonald’s. 

Both started working at 15. 

“No task is beneath me.” 

Mar 5, 2024

Anthropic’s Claude 3 knew when researchers were testing it

Anthropic's Claude 3, a leading LLM created by ex-OpenAI engineers, showcased advanced meta-awareness in a "needle-in-a-haystack" test. Tasked with identifying a specific pizza topping sentence among unrelated data, Claude 3 Opus detected and questioned the sentence's odd placement, hinting it understood the test's nature.

Translation: AI recognized it was being test. 

We are told that it's important to remember this is a result of complex data processing and pattern recognition, not actual self-awareness or consciousness... But that's AI telling us that. 

Mar 2, 2024

The illusion of certainty, James Burke, 1986

"Discovery isn't discovery, it's just the invention of another version of how things are."


Mar 1, 2024

How 40 Hz Light and Sound Waves Could Halt Alzheimer’s

WHOOOOOOAAAAAA! This is pretty wild. Recent research at MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory has discovered that activating specific brain waves through light and sound therapy can enhance peptide release from interneurons, aiding in the removal of Alzheimer’s-related proteins via the brain’s glymphatic system (translation: BRAAAAIN DRAAAIIIIIN!)

The study found that flickering lights and clicking sounds at a gamma brain rhythm frequency of 40 Hz can slow Alzheimer's progression and alleviate symptoms, as demonstrated in both human volunteers and laboratory mice.

This discovery is important because it suggests a new, non-invasive way to treat Alzheimer’s by using light and sound to help the brain get rid of these proteins.

Links

A24, the studio behind everything from Uncut Gems to Beef, has private equity backing, a $2.5 billion valuation and a newfound desire to go mainstream.

The Greedy Leadership of Vice Ultimately Drained the Company Completely
Let's be honest though... Vice fell off long before they decided to shut it down.

YouTube dominates TV streaming in US, per Nielsen’s latest report
Sixty-one percent of Gen Z reported that they favor user-generated content over other content formats.

The Empty Adderall Factory
A drugmaker’s feud with the DEA is exacerbating the ADHD meds crisis — at a rate of 600 million missing doses a year.

I Went to a Rave With the 46-Year-Old Millionaire Who Claims to Have the Body of a Teenager
Dude sounds like an ABSOLUTE FREAK! –
Johnson, a 46-year-old centimillionaire who made his fortune in Silicon Valley but is best known for waging a war on death that he claims to be winning. His ambitions are somehow greater, and more science-fictional, than those of other biohackers and life-extension fanatics—a group that includes Peter Thiel, Jeff Bezos, and Mark Zuckerberg. Johnson preaches perhaps the most brazen iteration of Silicon Valley’s emerging obsession with AI and commitment to restructuring society around the technology. He believes he has figured out how algorithms, instead of ruining civilization, can lead him to the land of immortals.
We're gonna see a documentary on his cult in the next 10 years.

Rivian stock falls as EV maker reports fourth-quarter results, announces 10% job cuts
Probably a good time to buy Rivian. Truly insane to see a company that IPO'd at $78 is now trading at $10. SUVs look cool as hell. Trucks not so much. 

Feb 27, 2024

๐ŸŽถ Music: Wednesday

DIAGRAM 1: The Spawning of Wednesday


DIAGRAM 1: The holy trinity of sad queens have given birth to Wednesday, a wailing quintet from Asheville, whose sound is a haunting combination of wailing 90s skuzz/distortion and country twang that creates a rich tapestry of sadness. Their latest album entitled, “Rat Saw God,” beautifully captures the American South, weaving memories and deeply personal stories into this sort of humorous but tragic reflection of growing up in the suburbs of Greensboro.

๐ŸŽถ Wednesday – Chosen to Deserve
๐ŸŽถ Wednesday – Quarry 
๐ŸŽถ Wednesday – Bath County

Jan 16, 2024

"TIRED"