Learning in Public: 10/31/2021
Bits and bytes
Master Of The Senate: The Years of Lyndon Johnson by Robert A. Caro
Skip the first 4 chapters if you have read either of the previous 2 books.
Kennedy was quick to adopt TV and leverage it to go from a relative nobody to winning the presidency. Other politicians didn’t think TV was important — they thought in the “old” ways — that radio was the key. New media mediums are opportunities in politics (and generally in obtaining power).
“Not about first to know but first to know what to do and then act super-fast”. LBJ had various playbooks of what he had seen work for others and knew that when an opening/advantage was given to him, he had to work super fast to deploy the playbook to win.
In the Senate, LBJ used narrative and control of the process to blindside his rivals. A specific example is Senator Oldman whom he accused of being a communist. Oldman didn’t see any of the attacks coming, and was known as a loyal servant to his constituents and probably an overly honest person. LBJ trapped him by asking if he had even spoken at labor party events (which were accused of being communist) or if his writings had gone out in what was then seen as communist newspapers. Oldman answered yes to both — but then was drowned out in his explanation that the events were ~20 years prior and hence the labor party was NOT communist at that time. As for the newspapers, — his column was syndicated to ~ 100 papers and he didn’t have control over where it appeared! LBJ knew all of this but it didn’t matter — LBJ wanted to win and told the story that would do just that. Had Oldman gotten his story out first, LBJ’s tactics wouldn’t have worked. In relating this to business, with Uber and founder/CEO Travis Kalanik I think we can see a corollary of a need to move quickly and to get YOUR story out there fast. In two instances Travis, in my opinion, could have kept his job as CEO and not been ousted — first, if he had filled the two board seats he controlled pre-emptively — never leave them unfilled. This directly would have prevented the board from ousting him. And second, he had written a mea culpa email to send to the Uber employees, but the Benchmark meeting requesting he resign happened before he could send it out — at that moment Travis didn’t have the love and support of the employees — but with his mea culpa (which you can read in Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber) I believe he would have won over the team and prevented Benchmark from successfully ousting him. He had the email written and ready to send at least a day or two prior. Hindsight is 20/20.
ETH is the iOS of Crypto
It’s not just product-market fit, but engineer-platform fit.
I have no clue if it is true, but over the past ~20 years we have seen first a wave of developers working on Social — be it at FB/Twitter or in all the apps in that ecosystem. At roughly the same time, developers migrated from building websites to building for iOS/Android — and in many ways, iOS won — where the “Best” users are — in terms of actively engaged, paying, and generally the platform with the best OS and hardware. Now, there is a question as to which currency/developer environment will win. If the tweet above is true, this has means ETH is the iOS of Crypto.
I’d never considered this question nor even realized it. I have no real thoughts on the linked article — I link it because they asked the question and they give their own thoughts as to why. If you want data on the party of the Mayors of the top 100 cities take a look here at Ballotpedia (hint some are Republican but no city I’d consider a Megacity has a republican Mayor).
Employees want schedule control
I’m not saying anything others haven’t said before — this article about Stitch Fix and the large swath of their employees quitting server as another example. Stich Fix changes a large swath of flexible, remote work jobs (even pre-covid) into roles with a fixed schedule — the result is those employees quit.
My takeaway: There is significant demand in the US for jobs with:
Flexible hours — think set your own hours like an Uber driver
Work from home.
And the reasons seem to largely revolve around taking care of the family (kids, parents, etc). I was impressed Stich-Fix found a way to tap into this talent pool, and interested to see they are exiting it — as this seems like this pool will long be a source of highly capable people that want and need a job — but cannot work a classic 9-5.