3-Things Weekly - Naval, Balaji, and Li Jin Writings - December 12th, 2021

3-Things Weekly - Naval, Balaji, and Li Jin Writings - December 12th, 2021
Li Jin, Balaji, Naval

Hey all!  Here's the latest "3-Things Weekly," an exclusive letter about 3 companies, ideas, communities, or people that are on my mind. Subscribe here for free.

I wanted to try something a little different this week. These writings are from 3 people I enjoy reading who always make me think differently about stuff. Hit reply and let me know what you think.

Balaji & Parag Khanna - Great Protocol Politics

Great Protocol Politics
The 21st century doesn’t belong to China, the United States, or Silicon Valley. It belongs to the internet.

This is one of the most bold views and visions on the future I've ever read. In a "I can't quite wrap my head around how in the world that could happen but it totally makes sense" kinda way.

It's 100% worth reading in its entirety. This could be controversial, but I'd love to discuss this with you and start the conversation.

This section from the article really stuck out to me:

However, the internet is adding a new dimension to this. It is not merely a passive data layer that states enable and contest but a new kind of geography comparable in scope to the physical world. Think of it as a digital Atlantis—a new continent floating in the cloud where old powers compete and new powers arise. Within this cloud continent, the unit of distance between two people is not the travel time between their positions on the globe but rather the degrees of separation in their social networks.
This means anyone can put themselves near anyone else by simply following them on social networks or keep others away by blocking their accounts on those same networks—no plane ticket required. Any floating entity within this cloud continent can likewise attempt to interact with any other by pinging the right IP addresses, for the purpose of anything from transactions to cyber invasions—no preexisting proximity required.
Every citizen of the old world, provided they have internet access, can simply become a citizen of the new by telecommuting via their screens to spend a few hours in the cloud each day, as billions of people routinely do—no physical immigration required. Encryption serves as the digital equivalent of physical fortifications in the cloud, allowing any user to defend their digital property without resorting to traditional munitions—no physical force required.
Bottom line: Network proximity is now on par with physical geography, and basic geopolitical assumptions about citizenship, migration, power projection, and the use of force need to be rethought for the digital world.

Read the full article here: https://foreignpolicy.com/2021/12/11/bitcoin-ethereum-cryptocurrency-web3-great-protocol-politics/

Dylan Field, CEO of Figma, shared the Tweet below about the article. I agree with him that it deserves a global conversation.

Naval - Groups Never Admit Failue

Groups Never Admit Failure
Groups never admit failure. A group would rather keep living in the mythology of “we were repressed” than ever admit failure. Individuals are the only ones who admit failure. Even individuals don’t like to admit failure, but eventually, they can be forced to. A group will never admit they were wron…

Naval makes a clear case on why "for-profit" entities are the best vehicle for making change. I personally relate with this part of the article:

If you want to change the world to a better place, the best way to do it is a for-profit because for-profits have to take feedback from reality. Ironically, for-profit entities are more sustainable than non-profit entities. They’re self-sustainable. You’re not out there with a begging bowl all the time.
Of course, you lose the beautiful non-profit status; you have to pay your taxes; and also you can get corrupted by being purely for-profit. But I would argue that the best businesses are the ones that are for-profit, sustainable and ethical so you can attract the best people. You can sustain it because it’s a mission and it’s not just about the money—because there are diminishing returns to making money.

I've always hated the narrative that "for-profit" is a bad thing. Like Naval, I see it as the best way to think long-term and be sustainable.

Read the full article here: https://nav.al/failure

Li Jin - Token Network Effects

Li Jin is one of the best thinkers in technology. This Twitter thread she posted about token network effects is just 🔥🔥🔥.

One thing is clear about the web3 future we are all moving into, network effects [are still] the most important thing. But, in web3, owning a token is a lot more powerful than just being followers or friends. Tokens could change everything we know about network effects and creating defensibility with the projects and products we build.

It's worth asking the question: Should what we are building and creating have a token?

Whether you are an artist, company builder, or working on a tech product, this is a great thread from Li Jin. Read the whole thread on Twitter below:

Please say hi anytime, just hit reply, and feel free to forward this email to anyone who you think would be interested in learning about new companies and ideas I'm interested in. Also, feel free to share http://blog.shanemac.com on social networks if you like what you're reading.

Talk soon,

Shane Mac

*Disclaimer: This is not investment advice and I will always disclose if we are an investor. Li Jin, Naval, and Balaji are all investors in my current company XMTP. Have a great week.

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Jamie Larson