Newsletter #48

AirTag, Maker’s Schedule, Lower Capital Gains Tax Rate, Your Onboarding Process, Knotel, Come For the Creator, Stay For the Economy, Cellebrite Vulnerabilities, and Rich People

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Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule

“When you're operating on the maker's schedule, meetings are a disaster. A single meeting can blow a whole afternoon, by breaking it into two pieces each too small to do anything hard in. Plus you have to remember to go to the meeting. That's no problem for someone on the manager's schedule. There's always something coming on the next hour; the only question is what. But when someone on the maker's schedule has a meeting, they have to think about it.

For someone on the maker's schedule, having a meeting is like throwing an exception. It doesn't merely cause you to switch from one task to another; it changes the mode in which you work.

I find one meeting can sometimes affect a whole day. A meeting commonly blows at least half a day, by breaking up a morning or afternoon. But in addition there's sometimes a cascading effect. If I know the afternoon is going to be broken up, I'm slightly less likely to start something ambitious in the morning. I know this may sound oversensitive, but if you're a maker, think of your own case. Don't your spirits rise at the thought of having an entire day free to work, with no appointments at all? Well, that means your spirits are correspondingly depressed when you don't. And ambitious projects are by definition close to the limits of your capacity. A small decrease in morale is enough to kill them off.”

The Case for a Separate, Lower Capital Gains Tax Rate

“In the 2012 presidential debate against Mitt Romney, President Obama was asked to defend his policy of increasing the long-term capital gains tax. President Obama responded, “It’s only fair.”

Obama’s appeal to fairness has widespread appeal among the American public. Critics argue that keeping the long-term capital gains (LTCG) rate separate and lower than the normal income tax rate is a regressive tax break for the wealthy, who primarily derive their income from capital gains on their investments. It strikes us as unjust when Warren Buffet claims that he pays a lower effective tax rate than his secretary.

However, myopic egalitarianism on the issue of taxes would have ruinous consequences for every stratum of our society. Long-term investments deserve a special status in the federal tax code because the incentive structures that determine how we allocate capital determine how dynamic our economy is, and what opportunities are available for working and middle-class Americans.

A separate, lower LTCG tax encourages skilled investors to reallocate capital to the most promising projects, ensuring that capital moves to the companies most likely to create jobs and prosperity as they innovate and scale. Over time, better investment of capital literally means higher wages for workers, superior goods for consumers, and a more sustainable tax base.”

Treat Your Onboarding Process Like Your Build System

“Whether you have one, ten, or a hundred engineers, a scalable onboarding process is a very high leverage activity with immediate results and has great return on investment over time.

I’ve led the engineering teams at many startups including Medium, ClassPass, and Chartboost, and one of the first scalable systems I’ve put in place every time has been a repeatable process for engineering onboarding.

It’s worked every time.”

Knotel & Newmark

Come For the Creator, Stay For the Economy

“In a few years, I imagine people flocking to a creator-focused protocol because one of their favorite creators recently joined. As they build a reputation on the protocol, they may qualify to apply for a monthly stipend from the treasury to quit their job and become a full-time content creator. Or maybe they want to deposit their crypto into the community's automated wealth management system. Or maybe they raise an investment fund from the protocol treasury based on their reputation as a curator. In mature creator-focused protocols, I believe there will be emergent opportunities like these for creators, curators, community leaders, developers, protocol politicians, and passive consumers alike.

They come for the creator, but stay for the economy.

At a superficial level, they're bound by the protocol token. On a deeper level, they're bound by the desire to succeed together. The heart and soul of these economies isn't an invisible hand driven solely by self-interest. Nope. Instead, it's the feathered dinosaur that's a community leader on a mission "to cohere & align collective intelligence". It's the bunny that ships code like his life depends on it. It's the bag holders that donated 10% of their earnings back to the protocol to fund future development.

It's a new type of economy.”

Vulnerabilities in Cellebrite UFED and Physical Analyzer

“Cellebrite makes software to automate physically extracting and indexing data from mobile devices. They exist within the grey – where enterprise branding joins together with the larcenous to be called “digital intelligence.” Their customer list has included authoritarian regimes in Belarus, Russia, Venezuela, and China; death squads in Bangladesh; military juntas in Myanmar; and those seeking to abuse and oppress in Turkey, UAE, and elsewhere. A few months ago, they announced that they added Signal support to their software.

Their products have often been linked to the persecution of imprisoned journalists and activists around the world, but less has been written about what their software actually does or how it works. Let’s take a closer look. In particular, their software is often associated with bypassing security, so let’s take some time to examine the security of their own software.”

Rich People