David Galbraith Profile picture
I invented Twitter bios, like this, among other things. https://t.co/olbA94Gs21 Partner, Anthemis, Venture Capital
12 Apr
China's digital currency, what does it mean?

1. Coins & notes can be replaced by digital and govt now has a way to funnel cash directly to citizens, UBI style.
2. Bitcoin is not challenged much by this. It is digital gold and truly decentralized.
3. Yes it is a step away from dollar hegemony because...
Read 10 tweets
7 Apr
The end of growth .
1. The growth in number of Internet users has halted.
2. Our attention is saturated.
3. Toxicity on social media creates reverse network effects.
Read 17 tweets
7 Apr
Coinbase is like Netscape. It's a well designed UI on top of a new network (Bitcoin/web) created using a new protocol (Bitcoin spec/HTTP). It's worth more than Netscape because it holds currency but maybe it should be valued based on financial services, not tech stock growth.
Like Netscape and unlike, say, Facebook, it doesn't own its own protocol. It's not a platform in the traditional sense.
Now you could argue that Coinbase is like Google which sits directly on the web and therefore doesn't own its own protocol, but Google monetizes its traffic not its deposits or their transactions.
Read 6 tweets
30 Sep 20
Presidential debates don't matter. They are obsolete, game-show era media invented in their current format for TV, which isn't really a thing anymore.
Attachment to them is cultural in the US. European countries like France and the UK have only recently started copying them, ironically just as the world is about to move on.
There were other ways of doing this before. In the US, in the Lincoln era, debates were face to face with no moderator (game shows hadn't been invented). In the UK they were out in the streets on soap boxes.
Read 8 tweets
27 Sep 20
Elon Musk is doing something even more interesting design wise, than Jobs did. Jobs imported decades old German modernist product design, which, unlike architecture, never really made it to the US, and applied Bauhaus modernism to software design. Musk is postmodern...
...in the best way. He's using retro cultural influences, Flash Gordon era rockets and Stealth Fighter like, origami style, car design from 70s Lotus, to deliberately invert the current norm and show that you can be playful with products that are much more ambitious than Apple's.
You can tell at a glance that this is real design in the sense of a human being making creative choices, rather than abrogation through focus groups under the euphemism of 'human centric design' (which is really the opposite).
Read 5 tweets
17 Sep 20
Why the whole environmental narrative of reducing energy consumption is false. Zero consumption and the temperature rises for 40 years, then levels off, the ice melts, we die, the planet survives. theconversation.com/what-would-hap…
So we need to geoengineer (sadly) which requires progress, which has always correlated with increased energy consumption (probably has to, due to laws of physics), so we need to massively onboard renewables, so this energy consumption doesn't make things worse.
But bringing on renewables will take time so we probably need to ramp up nuclear as a stopgap. And we possibly need to turn the flywheel of battery use and electric car demands on the grid to bootstrap a different economic and structural model for the electricity grid.
Read 6 tweets
8 Sep 20
The whole spidersweb of bureaucracy and legalese, from form filling to GDPR whack-a-mole to impenetrable language and unread, ass covering bits of paper or disclaimers, from website signups to medication packaging, product instructions, taxes and applications...
Is designed for a pre computer, industrial era of paperwork and structured data interpreted and pored over by gatekeepers ordinary people don't have access to. It is obsolete, inhuman impenetrable and intimidating for the most vulnerable or underrepresented in society.
All of it should be replaced but is almost impossible to do so as it represents the calcified skeleton of society itself. A decayed framework picked over like carrion by vultures. It's probably only a new country that could bypass this and create an entirely new way of...
Read 4 tweets
28 Aug 20
Most demographic models point to reduced religion as cause of reduced fertility, but this is wrong. Image
A more accurate view would be that reduced superstition and increased reason reduces fertility. But this is also wrong as it assumes secular societies have no art of spiritual component.
A more accurate view is that the decoupling of aesthetics and knowledge leads to reduction in fertility. Image
Read 4 tweets
28 Aug 20
Despite the (un)popular perception, Palantir is the closest example of human centric design actually working and replacing sales and marketing
buckfiftymba.com/palantirs-grow…
Engineers interview users and iterate on products which people evangelise by word of mouth. It works because the unit economics of extremely high ticket enterprise sales have big Customer Acquisition Costs (enterprise sales teams) and high Costs of Goods Sold (integration costs).
By making the integration a CAC vs COGS they increase margins and make marketing more efficient. Their PR has more mystique as it's more authentic, engineer rather than marketer driven.
Read 5 tweets
11 Jul 20
Starting to design my first building in years Image
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Read 6 tweets
9 Jun 20
.@stephen_wolfram theory not everything, so far:
> The universe is a computer
> As in its operation creates itself
> From rule based iteration on a node graph
> We can't predict the future from knowing this as it would require a the universe to compute it
> And we can't have a meta computer that could do so, as it couldn't be part of or connected to the universe
> Of the possible rules that can operate on the node graph, each creates a universe, and one is the actual rule that creates ours.
> Luckily there is enough compression that we can go looking for the rule without needing a spare universe to model it.
Read 8 tweets
5 Jun 20
The single thing that has formed my world view over the last few years and why some of what is happening now is inevitable. ncase.me/crowds/
Because there are a finite number of truths and an infinite number of lies, I believe you can prove from the science that Nicky Case demonstrates visually, in the link, combined with the fact that until a new form of communication settles into a stable, small world form...
...such as happened after the invention of the printing press and the wars subsequent to the Reformation, or is happening now with the Internet, which has changed the landscape of interaction that took centuries to settle into a stable form - you will get conflict.
Read 4 tweets
31 May 20
So unfortunately nobody is doing the math (health cost of economic shutdown vs heath cost of not, using QALYs or some measure of human suffering caused by either). I spoke to a friend at the WHO and it isn't being done there or, seemingly by the UN agencies in concert.
And it isn't being done by politicians on either side as it's politically toxic for most (health related deaths from being poor could be very hard to measure). Which is why we need to have a universal model based on amount of human suffering.
It would look at years of life lost to the disease with each life lost year with a suffering metric increase of 100, or less if that person was already suffering in some way. Then it would look at say the suffering caused by malnutrition by being pushed into extreme poverty, or
Read 11 tweets
29 May 20
@oliverbeige I'm trying to estimate the number of years of reasonable quality of life lost (QALY style) and absolute life expectancy years lost to Covid'-19 deaths vs the economic impact and poverty e.g. the 40-60m plunged into extreme poverty
I.e. would need to know mean age of those thrown into extreme poverty (mostly India, Nigeria and DRC) extreme poverty reduction in life expectancy and some measure of quality of life lost over full lifespan. Compared with average age of death from Covid and life expectancy.
If possible could look at Continuum of economic impact and use QALYs as way to compare number of high quality life years lost due to disease or shutdown beyond extreme poverty cases and in EU and US.
Read 4 tweets
29 May 20
The tech sector and tech investment is not really about technology, or there would be no difference between investment in software vs internet services. But there is a world of difference, the Internet is all about channels of information which create network effects...
...these mean that businesses that take advantage of these new channels and network effects can grow more quickly, more cheaply and more profitably. This has nothing to do with technology but business, sales and marketing.
Technology investors tend to invest in Internet companies because they scale better and capture opportunities in a completely new business landscape. An understanding of technology is required in the same way that someone running a newspaper business should understand a bit..
Read 4 tweets
19 May 20
Traditional Monetarism: control money supply top down (creates inequality).
Traditional fiscalism and MMT: tax and spend (creates too many large projects or entities)
What Coronavirus could trigger is the use of smartphones to engage as a whole and with the state.
This has good and bad possibilities, obviously, but one silver lining could be that monetary and fiscal policies converge on channeling money to individuals and small businesses - who are the very people that need it most, now.
This would avoid both inequality due to asset price inflation or the top down approach of massive infrastructure programs and the like, which end up creating a less human scale to society.
Read 4 tweets
19 May 20
The only reason B2B isn't winner takes all, yet, is cronyism (sales people with golf clubs can still beat bottom up selling). This leads to fragmented markets where people can't leverage network effects as easily and so switch from growth and distribution to revenue, early.
For non US investors that tend to be culturally more risk averse, this early focus on revenue vs growth is comforting, so there is a bias towards B2B. But it is a bias towards the wrong type of B2B and there is an opportunity to invest in B2B startups that capture network...
...effects for distribution and become 'platform scale' [NB, I define platforms differently from, say, @benedictevans as being anything leveraging network effects with sufficient scale, and not just 2 sided marketplaces. Notionally this is $50B+ market cap pure Internet co's].
Read 4 tweets
18 May 20
This is so true. The dirty secret of web design is that it is incredibly badly designed itself. HTML grew over attempted rivals like Flash because you could view source, copy and evolve things and unlike Flash it understood the principal feature of the web - linking and tracking.
So Flash was a crappy, proprietary web building tool that nevertheless allowed for much more interesting visual websites to be built (that didn't actually work structurally). Meanwhile, regular HTML sites were difficult to build anything visually slick, but...
... allowed things to be copied and iterated on. But then several structural mistakes such as putting design elements in a style sheet language that bore no relation to what the page looked like, rather than in a template one (you can't read css and see what a page looks like)...
Read 5 tweets
14 May 20
Suddenly able to put my finger on what makes this period like 1999. A lot of what went then were companies that weren't really internet companies. Sure, some of the wipeouts, were digital native, but they weren't internet companies. WeWork is not an Internet company, Uber is.
Apps made ride hailing possible from a phone, but there is nothing about WeWork that absolutely requires the Internet and couldn't have been done before. It exists in Internet era culture and leverages that, but doesn't need interconnected network technology, per se.
I suspect that what will survive this period are real Internet companies. These are not just technology companies (and often technology isn't that important for Internet companies) but ones that take advantage of the Internet and it's unique distribution opportunities.
Read 4 tweets
10 May 20
Oh God. This kind of binary tribalism that can't tolerate people who don't fit worker vs boss narrative and run a corner shop where lockdown will affect their livelihood and health. It's as bad as Trump supporter lockdown protests. It's complicated. Stop tribalism, come together.
This is ultimately why Corbyn, even if he wasn't an anti-semite himself created a world view that allowed it to fester. For him, there was only a world of bosses and workers and an immigrant running a shop, as many first generation immigrants did, including jewish people...
was not part of that story of us vs them work. It represented Thatcherism and capitalism. So from that, in this time where people should be coming together, the Left have created a stop business and save lives ideology and the right have created a start business, who cares, one
Read 4 tweets
9 Apr 20
Not an expert, but the Lloyd's, syndicated model dissipates risk in a way insurers and reinsurers don't. But is antiquated market and process compared to using capital markets and online tech, like our portfolio company, Tremor, does. This is surely the natural state of things...
And a shock like this surely moves things into a different local max in the fitness landscape for insurance. I.e. syndicated insurance spreads risk so same amount is less systemic but the operators are currently antiquated whereas conventional insurance/reinsurance just puts...
...the risk on a bigger balance sheet (like putting a grenade in a box big enough to contain the blast). The natural equilibrium had to be the capital markets one eventually, but there was never a significant push to get there. Ironically it wasn't the pandemic risk itself...
Read 4 tweets