Economic Nationalism and China: The Right Issue for 2018 and 2020?

I just finished up this Bloomberg article on Steve Bannon about his “war” on the Chinese as part of his economic nationalism policy agenda.

The key quote from Bloomberg:

In Bannon’s view, China is harming the U.S. by engaging in unfair trade practices, such as the forced transfer of U.S. technology to Chinese companies. While many experts agree, Bannon has a more dire view of the consequences. “There have been 4,000 years of Chinese diplomatic history, all centered on ‘barbarian management,’ minus the last 150 years,” he says. China’s historical disposition toward trading partners, he contends, is exploitative and potentially ruinous. “It’s always about making the barbarians a tributary state,” he says. “Our tribute to China is our technology—

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The Strange Politics of Independence Movements

For those who have been paying attention to the press this past week, there have been two interesting independence movements, both involving breakaway provinces from strong U.S. allies. In Spain, Catalonia staged a vote this weekend, and in the northern reaches of Iraq, the Kurds held a vote earlier this week. In both cases, the central governments worked feverishly to annihilate the vote, and are now working overdrive to undermine their legitimacy post-ballot.

I get why central governments want their nations to remain whole, so it hardly surprises me that Spain and Iraq are using such aggressive tactics to squelch these movements. What is more surprising to me (or depressing depending on how you look at it) is how strongly the U.S. is

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Capsule Review: Cixin Liu’s Three Body Problem

I just finished Cixin Liu’s Three Body Problem, the winner of the Hugo Prize in 2015. Liu is one of the most popular and prolific authors of science fiction in China, and this book is one of the first of his works to be translated into English.

I will try to avoid spoilers, since mystery is really one of the driving plot points of the novel.

Liu addresses a variety of themes, although thankfully never meditates too long on any one of them. Perhaps the structural theme of the novel is the juxtaposition of the micro versus the macro. The novel begins with vignettes from the Cultural Revolution involving one of the main characters, Ye Wenjie. We witness Ye’s struggle with the chaos

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A Comprehensive Guide to Using Airtable as a Personal CRM

People are annoying (I will add at this point that this is a recurring theme on this blog). They are constantly changing jobs (thanks Gen X!), changing locations (thanks millennials!), and changing messenger apps (thanks Gen Z!). Like many of my friends, I have struggled to just keep up-to-date with people while maintaining my sanity as a knowledge economy worker.

Over the last decade, I have tried many solutions to this problem, from paper and spreadsheets to software such as Rapportive, Contactually, Trello, among many, many others.

None of these solutions has worked out. The reasons often overlap, from being a jumbled mess to being just too hard to update (especially on mobile). But frankly, I have not made any progress in tracking people better

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Some Quick Thoughts on The Other Side of the Table

It’s been about three months since I left CRV to become an entrepreneur. There is lots to talk about, but I want to write up a quick hit list of some thoughts since switching back to the entrepreneurship side of the table:

  1. The market is far more saturated than it used to be. Really, I have some really long-tail ideas that I have been working on, and it never ceases to amaze me just the sheer number of founders working on projects. I feel like you could be building a startup around outer space meat processing and you would still be able to create a stereotypical 2x2 competitive landscape.
  2. That said, it’s always hard to judge execution. I think ideas are worth more
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