What’s Next

by Jordan Gonen

What’s Nextby Jordan Gonen

by Jordan Gonen

Hi there 👋 Hope you are having a great start to your week.

Tons of interesting long reads in this week’s newsletter.

I have been trying to take new deep dives into the way big industries operate…how have you gone about this in the past?


Articles to Read.

Solitude and Leadership:

We have a crisis of leadership in America because our overwhelming power and wealth, earned under earlier generations of leaders, made us complacent, and for too long we have been training leaders who only know how to keep the routine going. Who can answer questions, but don’t know how to ask them. Who can fulfill goals, but don’t know how to set them. Who think about how to get things done, but not whether they’re worth doing in the first place. What we have now are the greatest technocrats the world has ever seen, people who have been trained to be incredibly good at one specific thing, but who have no interest in anything beyond their area of exper­tise. What we don’t have are leaders.

How can you know that unless you’ve taken counsel with yourself in solitude? I started by noting that solitude and leadership would seem to be contradictory things. But it seems to me that solitude is the very essence of leadership. The position of the leader is ultimately an intensely solitary, even intensely lonely one. However many people you may consult, you are the one who has to make the hard decisions. And at such moments, all you really have is yourself.

[podcast] The Future of Bike Sharing (massive industry)

Month to Master:

Completing 12 ridiculously hard challenges in 12 months.

$300 Billion War Beneath the Street:

Bursting pipes. Leaks. Public health scares.

America is facing a crisis over its crumbling water infrastructure, and fixing it will be a monumental and expensive task.

Two powerful industries, plastic and iron, are locked in a lobbying war over the estimated $300 billion that local governments will spend on water and sewer pipes over the next decade.

By 2020, the average age of the 1.6 million miles of water and sewer pipes in the United States will hit 45 years. Cast iron pipes in at least 600 towns and counties are more than a century old, according to industry estimates. And though Congress banned lead water pipes three decades ago, more than 10 million older ones remain, ready to leach lead and other contaminants into drinking water from something as simple as a change in water source.

Why Music Services Need to Add Donation Options:

It’s a widely known fact that musicians these days aren’t really making money off of streaming or ad related (i.e. YouTube) revenue. There are countless examples out there where artists have candidly displayed what they actually make. These “per play” estimates tend to fluctuate but most can agree that unless you’re a megastar like Drake or Lady Gaga then you won’t exactly be raking in the dough.

But this post isn’t about the megastars, it’s about the smaller folk. An artist will only see revenue after the record label, publisher, taxes, and streaming platform have taken their cut beforehand. At Spotify’s $0.0048 per stream, you can see why the majority of artists don’t really make much money from streaming. Gone are the days where a hit single could net you royalties for a lifetime.

Blockchain is the internet of Money:

We can understand bitcoin and blockchain in four steps, he says. “One, cash. When A gives a dollar bill to B, he’s transferring a physical object. B has it, and A no longer does. There’s implicit scarcity in the physical world.”

Step 2 supposes that we treat the serial numbers on those Federal Reserve bills as “a form of naive digital cash. Then A emails those numbers to B. Now B has a copy. But A still has a copy!” So if those serial numbers were treated as cash, A can “double-spend” the numbers by sending them to another party, C. This, Mr. Srinivasan says, is the fundamental issue with digital cash: “the double-spend problem. How do we introduce scarcity into the digital system?”

The way we resolved this problem before bitcoin, Mr. Srinivasan explains in his third step, “was through the use of centralized institutions called banks. Whenever you use PayPal or a similar technology to send money from A to B digitally, the bank is trusted to debit A and credit B.” This, he says, is how “scarcity” is introduced into a digital system; but it is “inelegant, from a computer-science perspective, to have a central, trusted node in any networking topology” — a word my dictionary defines, in this context, as being the way in which constituent parts are interrelated or arranged.

The key point, he says, is that any computer could, in theory, approve transactions, and no single computer could block transactions.

The Generalized Specialist:

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” Do you ever ask kids this question? Did adults ask you this when you were a kid?

Even if you managed to escape this question until high school, then by the time you got there, you were probably expected to be able to answer this question, if only to be able to choose a college and a major. Maybe you took aptitude tests, along with the standard academic tests, in high school. This is when the pressure to go down a path to a job commences. Increasingly, the education system seems to want to reduce the time it takes for us to become productive members of the work force, so instead of exploring more options, we are encouraged to start narrowing them.

Should we become specialists or polymaths? Is there a balance we should pursue?

Tesla’s Semi-truck Announcement:

[video , reddit response]

Building Bullet-Proof Brands:

How does one build a brand that lasts for centuries? Today, in the consumer goods space — specifically in apparel, fashion, footwear, beauty, cosmetics, accessories, and furniture — it’s an especially challenging quandary given the ferocious speed at which Amazon and fast fashion giants like Zara and H&M are growing, while other legacy physical goods brands are struggling. The internet reorientated the playing field for brand durability and is now forcing both upstarts and incumbents to think about brand in an entirely new way.


– Snapchat’s Strategy Flip Flop
– [guide] How to Get What You Want Professionally
– Second Life Still Has 600,00 Users
– [must watch] The future of robots
The Future of Everything
– Kobe’s Insane Work EthicSee My Full Reading List

You made it to the end! Thanks for reading 👋

If you enjoyed, would really appreciate if you shared this link! 
Want to read more? I write daily, and tweet too!

My Update:

– Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving!

– Check out this chrome extension my friend and I just made. Let me know what you think!

– Semester is almost over. Still wild.

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Thanks for reading! Really hope you enjoyed! (If you did, would be really awesome if you could share this link with 5 friends)

– Jordan
Personal Website

By jordangonen on November 20, 2017.

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Exported from Medium on February 17, 2018.