History does not repeat but it often rhymes

Mark Twain is often reputed as to have said, “History does not repeat but it often rhymes.” 

The French Revolution – The causes of the French Revolution are complex and are still debated among historians. Following the Seven Years’ War and the American Revolutionary War,[5] the French government was deeply in debt and attempted to restore its financial status through unpopular taxation schemes, which were heavily regressive. Years of bad harvests leading up to the Revolution also inflamed popular resentment of the privileges enjoyed by the clergy and the aristocracy. Demands for change were formulated in terms of Enlightenment ideals and contributed to the convocation of the Estates-General in May 1789. The first year of the Revolution saw members of the Third Estate(commoners) taking control, the assault on the Bastille in July, the passage of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen in August, and a women’s march on Versailles that forced the royal court back to Paris in October. A central event of the first stage, in August 1789, was the abolition of feudalism and the old rules and privileges left over from the Ancien Régime.

.@Ruskoff – ‘We’re Not Using the Internet. The Internet is Using us.’

There was a thriving peer to peer economy right at the end of the Middle Ages that nobody likes to talk about. The soldiers had come back from the Crusades. They had all sorts of new inventions and technologies and mechanisms; there were new trade routes that they had opened up. And they had came back to their towns and they took something that they found in the Middle East called the bazaar and they revived it as something they called the marketplace. So now people who had just been peasants working on the land of the Lords started coming together and trading this stuff that they made. And they had all of these really interesting instruments from market money and local currency and grain-based currency and all of these evolved really to promote the exchange of value and the velocity of transactions between people.

And it started to really do well, which was the problem. As the peasants became wealthy the aristocracy got scared, who are these people? They’re not going to be dependent on us any more. So they came up with two main financial innovations to prevent the rise of this peer to peer economy. The first one was the chartered monopoly, really the parent to the modern corporation. All the chartered monopoly was was a way to say all of you small businesses are now illegal. If you want to be in the shoe business you have to work for his majesty’s royal shoe company. You want to be in the grain business you have to work for his majesty’s royal grain company. So people who were small business people now became employees. Instead of selling the value they created, now they sold their time as servants, as wage laborers.

The second invention they came up with was central currency. Not such a terrible thing in itself. It’s great to have a long distance currency that lots of people can use and value, but the problem was they made all of the local currencies illegal. So the only way people could trade with each other, the candlestick maker could trade with the chicken farmer was by borrowing central currency from the treasury. So now you had to borrow money at interest just in order to transact. And that set in motion really a growth cascade. If you have a currency that has to be paid back with interest, in order to just make end meet you need an economy that’s growing. You need more money next year than there was this year.

So that worked well for colonial powers, as long as we could extend into Africa and South America and North America, find slaves, find new resources, we could grow. But what happens when you reach the end of the planet’s growth as we did really at the end of World War II? Then we started to look for really virtual surface area, some new way to grow. And that was the technology. We believed that digital technology and the World Wide Web and computers would really create a new place, a new virtual territory for us to colonize. And it just turns out what we’ve been colonizing for the last 20 years is human attention and human time. And now it looks like we’re even running out of that.

.@RobCapps – The MP3 Effect

In his article for @Wired magazine, “The Good-Enough Revolution,@RobCapps outlines a change in consumer values that he calls the MP3 Effect:

“What has happened with the MP3 format and other Good-Enough technologies is that the qualities we value have simply changed. And that change is so profound that the old measures have almost lost their meaning… We now favor flexibility over high fidelity, convenience over features, quick and dirty over slow and polished. Having it here and now is more important than having it perfect. These changes run so deep and wide, they’re actually altering what we mean when we describe a product as ‘high-quality.'”

Satoshi Cycle

The Satoshi Cycle basically states that this rising interest or curiosity in Bitcoin leads to parties running searches for Bitcoin on Google and other search engines. The increasing search hits, in turn, increases the value of Bitcoin. The more Bitcoin rises in value, the more interest in it – the more interest, the higher the price of BTC. And so, the cycle continues. In effect, the rising interest in Bitcoin would lead to increased participation in the use of the currency. The increased participation translates into a higher demand for the coin. Like the stock market which is fueled by demand, an increase in demand for Bitcoin would lead to further increase in its value.

However, critics fear that Bitcoin is simply a bubble, given that its rising value is tied to the heightened curiosity among traders, investors, and hedge funds. Christopher Burninske, after making mention of the “the virtuous Satoshi Cycle” stated that after every bubble there’s a crash. But after eight years of its disruptive entry into the digital world, no one can really state for a fact whether Bitcoin has a limited or unlimited upside trajectory.


.@ProfGalloway – On the Value of Storytelling

  • $TSLA has painted an unbelievable vision.
  • $F sold 7M cars last year. $TSLA sold 80k. $TSLA has higher market capitalization than $F.
  • $TSLA is a bet on the promise, not the actual performance, thus far.
  • $TSLA is in the business of over promising and under delivering, and it is working because the vision is so INTOXICATING.

.@JoHenrich – ‘It is less about teaching people facts’

“Try to convince locally high status or prestigious individuals to adopt a practice, and then you’re more likely to get it to transmit and spread. Because it is about imitating or acquiring the practice, and sometimes the belief and understanding actually come after the practice has been acquired. It is less about teaching people facts. And so, one of the reasons that public health programs have been so unsuccessful at transmitting these behaviors is they assume a rationalist model. Where if we just say the facts and we assume you belief the facts, then you will change your behavior in response to the new information. That’s not how human psychology works.”

@JoHenrich is a professor in the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University. His research focuses on evolutionary approaches to psychology, decision-making and culture, and includes topics related to cultural learning, cultural evolution, culture-gene coevolution, human sociality, prestige, leadership, large-scale cooperation, religion and the emergence of complex human institutions.

Insight from the @NYUStern Token Summit

Cryptocurrencies provide a mechanism to flip that around. Maybe what happens is the people who power the applications end up with all the money, and the person who created the application ends up with very little of it. Check the link for more from the @Nyustern Token Summit.

#bitcoin #ethereum #cryptocurrency #kik #socialnetworking #socialmedia#economics #insight #fredwilson #usv #nyustern #tokensummit #facebook

Update – Python Tutorial: MACD (Moving Average Convergence/Divergence)

Download the accompanying IPython Notebook for this Tutorial from Github. 

I received a question from Sam Khorsand about applying the Python Tutorial: MACD (Moving Average Convergence/Divergence) Tutorial   to multiple stocks. The code below will produce yesterday’s MACD Crossover for a list of stocks. Also, by adding ‘to_string(index = False’), you can clean up the date formatting. Enjoy!

import pandas as pd
from pandas_datareader import data as web
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
import datetime as dt
%matplotlib inline

def MACD(stock, start, end):
    df = pd.DataFrame(web.DataReader(stock,'google',start,end)['Close'])
    df = df.reset_index()
    df['30 mavg'] = pd.rolling_mean(df['Close'], 30)
    df['26 ema'] = pd.ewma(df['Close'], span=26)
    df['12 ema'] = pd.ewma(df['Close'], span=12)
    df['MACD'] = (df['12 ema'] - df['26 ema'])
    df['Signal'] = pd.ewma(df['MACD'], span=9)
    df['Crossover'] = df['MACD'] - df['Signal']
    return stock, df['Date'][-1:].to_string(),df['Crossover'][-1:].mean()

stocks = ['FB', 'AAPL', 'GOOG', 'AMZN', 'TSLA']

d = []

for stock in stocks:
    stock, date, macd = MACD(stock, '1/1/2016', dt.datetime.today())
    d.append({'Stock':stock, 'Date':date, 'MACD':macd})
df2 = pd.DataFrame(d)
df2[['Date', 'Stock', 'MACD']]
Date Stock MACD
0 249 2017-09-20 FB -0.211440
1 249 2017-09-20 AAPL -0.828956
2 249 2017-09-20 GOOG -0.069812
3 249 2017-09-20 AMZN 1.028655
4 249 2017-09-20 TSLA 2.287354


’20-something bro-grammers trying to crack our attention spans?’

The New York Times with commentary on our cultural  adaptation to the information economy.

Memorable Quotes

“Honestly, have we abdicated our purpose just because of these insistent micro asks? Have we just completely ceded our center, completely ceded clarity, and it was all just based on 20-something bro-grammers trying to crack our attention spans?”

“What the world today faces ‘wicked problems,’ unprecedented and complex, that require creative solutions, the kinds that are most likely to come not from staid meetings in conference rooms but rather from “non-ordinary states.”

“All of these undertakings were in the service of honing a crucial element in flow, what Mr. Wheal refers to as ’embodied cognition’: integrating our whole minds and bodies through specific exercise, based on the science showing that physical movement directly affects how we think and feel.”

“They are tapping into spiritual intelligence that before now was only really talked about in a religious context.”