NFTs are here to stay, but mind the early-adoption bubble.

Introduction

NFTs, or Non-Fungible Tokens, are the new fad at the intersection of Tech (crypto) and Art.

The value proposition seems difficult to accept or even understand for our generation, but remember Paul Krugman predicted in 1998 that “most people have nothing to say to each other! By 2005, it will become clear that the Internet’s impact on the economy has been no greater than the fax machine’s.”

Truly disruptive innovation does not gain foot by old generation adoption: it gains foot by the old generation getting old and irrelevant/dead and a new generation of native adopters taking over. …

China’s Missing Cornerstone Towards Global Reach — Territorial Moral High Ground

Third and last part on China’s geopolitics and military.

(re-)Read part 1: China, The Planned Superpower (Part 1).

(re-)Read Part 2: China: Dreaming of a Blue-Water Navy (Part 2).

In the previous two parts, China: The Planned Superpower (Part 1) & China: Dreaming of a Blue-Water Navy (Part 2), we’ve discussed China’s goal of becoming a (military) superpower by 2050.

We’ve also established that China was working on building its military machine with high economic efficiency, and making sure it was getting ample training to reach operating readiness.

Now for the last two missing blocks:

3. Gaining the ability to deploy it

As we’ve seen in the…

China’s Missing Cornerstone Towards Global Reach — An Operational Blue-Water Navy

Second part following China, The Planned Superpower (Part 1) — How China is planning its way into becoming a superpower, whether anyone likes it or not.

Let’s cut through the chase. Everything comes to the fact that China does not have a true blue-water navy.

How China is Planning its Way into Becoming a Superpower, Whether Anyone Likes It or Not

After 20 years of military modernisation, China released its new Defense whitepaper released last July 2019: China’s National Defense in the New Era (pdf download). This whitepaper explains China’s strategy to become a true superpower by 2050, on par or overtaking the US.

This reported trigger the following analysis by the US Defense Department: Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China — 2020 Annual Report to Congress.

I want to explain what critical elements are still fully missing for China to reach that status, despite largely surpassing the US in Purchasing Power Parity GDP already (28tn vs…

How to Think and Change your Mind

When I first read Philip Tetlock’s Superforecasting, I thought I understood his concept of “the fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.”. It sounds right, you don’t need to dig deeper, do you?

It is the basis of another famous principle: “Strong assumptions, weakly held.”

I am sure you heard it many times, and it felt like a great quote. But think about it one second: can you explain to someone what it actually means?

When I read this fabulous essay by Venkatesh Rao, who wrote some of the best essays I ever read, I understood…

5 things I learnt from my time in strategy consulting that shaped my subsequent career

1 Slide = 1 Idea

This is probably the single highest-leverage advice I would recommend. When I started in consulting, this is one of the very first guidelines I was given. Lots of consultants try and fight it for some time. I think it is an absolutely brilliant principle to follow.

It is the archetype of less is more:

  • It forces you to ask the right underlying question… and answer it
  • It forces you to tell a story
  • It makes your presentation infinitely easier to follow

Not only people won’t be reading your slide while you are talking because there is an information/delivery mismatch between…

1. It is the most direct way of internalising feedback from reality — fast

In a previous issue, we talked about Josh Waitzkin’s way of mastering learning as a skill. If you remember, a lot of his own life experience was related to sports, after him switching from Chess to Tai Chi.

This happens to be for a good reason: many sports are a vivid way to practice your OODA loop in real-time. “OODA” means observe-orient-decide-act. What makes sport an amazing school for this is that more often than not, those three steps have to be squeezed in a fraction of a second. Even (especially?) …

Two weeks ago, our baby daughter discovered stair steps. More precisely, that one single step under a doorframe. She immediately started the fascinating venture to climb over that step again and again… and again.

Both my wife and mother-in-law were very nearby (obviously). What I found fascinating were their respective immediate reactions.

My wife jumped to help her so she would not fall.

Her mum said: “Oh, she is so smart!”

I asked that we let her fall.

This is why:

We are programmed to learn

Most reasonably advanced animal brains are learning machines. Some birds have to learn how the stars rotate to be…

The classical definition of Antifragility

Antifragility is a concept introduced by Nassim Taleb to describe complex (eco)system’s reaction to negative shocks. Systems can react in three different ways to those negative shocks:

  1. suffer or crumble: imagine a house being struck by an earthquake — if the house survives the shock, it usually becomes more likely to be destroyed by a subsequent similar shock or even a lower amount of stress
  2. indifference: imagine a similar building subject to the same earthquake shock, but equipped with passive anti-earthquake protection (usually a massive pendulum at the top of a skyscraper for example). …

Key Practical Principles

I recently finished The Art of Learning, by Josh Waitzkin.

It is a beautiful book: a captivating story, deep teachings, and overall something quite pleasant to read. I advise you to read it if you can find the time. It is not too long.

The key practical principles I noted and wanted to share with you are:

  1. Focus on the process of learning, not on the visible outcomes and/or goals you might have set for yourself (or worse: that others have set for yourself)
  2. Taking breaks, either minutes or months, is fundamental to internalising knowledge and skills. Plateauing is fine…

Valentin Vincendon

I help people and organizations reach strategic and operational excellence | VP Strategy @ Checkout.com | ex McKinsey & J.P. Morgan | valentin.vincendon.com

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