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Berlin Impressions, 29 Years Later

This summer 2018, I travelled to Berlin, Germany, for a conference. The last time I had been in Berlin was about two months before the Berlin Wall came down. My friend Brennan Novak, now a resident of Berlin, encouraged to write down my impressions, so here I am. My last trip, so many years ago,…

Why decentralized social networking never makes it — ever heard of Crossing the Chasm?

Every now and then, the "why hasn't decentralized social networking succeeded" discussion pops back up. And inevitably, that motivates somebody who thinks they can do better. They proceed to design a new set of decentralized networking protocols, write lots of code, and get early adopters to enthusiastically adopt the New Thing. Which then, inevitably, never…

Global Warming and (My) Productivity

Reporting on the results of an unexpected experiment ... with unexpectedly global implications. After 20 years in the same house in Northern California, we installed whole-house air conditioning earlier this year. It seems that most of the apartments here have it, but not too many single family homes. Somehow the weather seemed to have gotten…

Why smart contracts are not for you (or me)

A friend asked: "So you don't think smart contracts are ever going to be ... secure and useful?" Here's my response: “Ever” is a long time, but ... let me tell a quick story: When I raised venture capital during the dot-com bubble, if memory serves, the combined legal bill for my company’s Series A…