P.S. You Should Know... | Issue #356
Not yet democratizing
my story 🚀
⛷️ I enjoyed a brief trip to the mountain for some fresh powder. Thanks to Kim for holding it down at home while I played outside!
i’ve been thinking 💭
Last week I shared an article about Balaji’s new venture fund that’s fundraising in public. I re-used the article’s title, “Massive step in democratizing venture capital” without critically thinking about it. I received this reply from one of our astute subscribers:
The “Massive step in democratizing venture capital” isn’t. Investors still need to be accredited investors, and if there are going to be more than 99 investors, then the investors need to be qualified purchasers (investible assets of at least $5 MM for individuals) – this is hardly democratization.
He’s quite right, of course. I hadn’t considered the 99 investor limit at first reading. After he highlighted the problem, I wondered if Balaji had found some sort of loophole to get around it? I think not. The Balaji Fund uses AngelList’s rolling fund structure. From their help center:
Over any four quarter period, you can accept up to 97 accredited investors in your Rolling Fund. If you approach this limit, you can move to a parallel fund structure, which would allow up to 99 accredited investors and up to 1,999 qualified purchasers in your Rolling Fund.
I guess that this means that the laws will have to change before venture capital gets much closer to being ‘democratized’. While accredited investors have more options than ever for investing, they’re still boxed out of the most in-demand funds and deals. And for the vast majority who are not accredited, I guess there’s always the state-sponsored lottery.
fun facts 🙌
How big is YouTube? Google won’t just tell you, so these curious sleuths decided to find out by randomly sampling URLs. They estimate there are 13.325 billion videos. “We can calculate the mean and median views per video, and show just how long the “long tail” is – videos with 10,000 or more views are roughly 4% of our data set, though they represent the lion’s share of views of the YouTube platform.” ~ learn more
How does a pool table recognize the cue ball? Those of us who have played at a coin-operated table have noticed the cue ball has a special hole it comes out of after a scratch (accidentally hit the cue ball into a pocket or off the table). “You can tell small children it’s sorcery and they’ll probably believe it. But for older people, there’s a non-mystical explanation.” ~ learn more
Sharks can smell your blood in the water. But it doesn’t smell tasty. “Sharks know the difference between fish and human blood and, while they can smell our blood, it is not a scent they associate with food.” ~ learn more
tech, startups, internet ⚡
Deep dive into ReelShort. A friend alerted me to this app recently. It’s growing very quickly in popularity. “ReelShort is a mobile app providing snackable streaming video tailored for the short attention spans of today's viewers.” ~ learn more
McKinsey’s 2023 global executive survey on autonomous driving. “Our 2023 survey revealed that much has changed in this dynamic sector in the past two years: regional expectations are shifting, timelines for autonomous-vehicle development are extending, and needed investments are increasing.” ~ learn more
better doing 🎯
Against learning from dramatic events. “The bread-and-butter of modern news, politics, etc, is having a dramatic event happen, getting shocked and outraged, demanding that something be done, and then devoting a news cycle or Senate hearing to it. We can’t just throw all that out, can we?” ~ learn more
to your health ⚕
Crispr pioneer Jennifer Doudna wants to tune microbiomes. This is an interview with the Nobel prize winner about her current scientific pursuit of microbiome therapies. “Well, it’s become more and more clear that we are our microbiome. And that’s only become clear in the last, I don’t know, decade or so. Before that, there was a sense that microorganisms are a very different kingdom of life, and they were studied one at a time and cultured in a laboratory dish. But increasingly we’re recognizing that they’re everywhere. Like, we have more microbes in our bodies than we have human cells! It’s crazy.” ~ learn more
Heated tobacco is big in Japan. It’s neither a cigarette nor a vape. The FDA authorized the marketing of it with ‘reduced exposure claim’ a couple years ago, but a patent dispute has kept the device out of the US so far. “Japan's massive reduction in cigarette sales is less the result of intentional policy than it is a bottom-up response from tobacco consumers making their own decisions to try a safer alternative.” ~ learn more
retail therapy 💸
A theory of grift. “Why does the world increasingly seem to be awash in grift? There's a supply story and a demand story: many of the traits that make people excellent grifters used to have more legitimate applications, but don't any longer. Meanwhile, there are simply bigger opportunities to take advantage of people than there used to be. But this is not a stable situation.” ~ learn more
under the microscope 🔬
Sniffing women’s tears reduces aggression in men. “We are interested in human behavior, in what makes us do things, why, and how,” said study author Noam Sobel, the director of the Weizmann Olfaction Research Group. “Within this very big picture, the smaller picture we are studying is a topic referred to as ‘chemical communication.’ Humans, like all terrestrial mammals, communicate meaningful information in body odor, and this effects behavior. We are interested in understanding these chemicals and ensuing behaviors, including their brain mechanisms.” ~ learn more
teaching the kids 👩🏫
Crisis in higher ed & why universities still matter. This is an episode of the The Ben & Marc Show, a podcast by the founders of VC firm Andreesen Horowitz. “In this one-on-one conversation, Ben and Marc take a “structural” look at higher education, diving deep into the twelve functions of the modern university. They also unpack the numerous challenges that universities face today – the student debt and the replication crisis, among them.” ~ learn more
big ideas 📚
Argentina’s new president visits the World Economic Forum. “I was really disappointed when I found out Javier Milei was going to the WEF summit. Until I got a few minutes into his speech and he is just telling them that everything they are doing is wrong and fucked up and the "root of all the worlds problems". He's a pulling a Gervais at the Golden Globes so far.” ~ learn more and see original video
profiles of people 🚶
Patrick McKenzie and Tyler Cowen in conversation. Here’s a run-on sentence: “Tyler sat down with Patrick to discuss signature fields on the back of credit cards, whether bank tellers or waitstaff are more trustworthy, the gremlins behind spurious credit card declines, how debt collection and maple syrup heists should change your model of the world, Twitter’s continued success as the message bus for government and civil society, crypto vs traditional money transfers, the intended desolation of bank parking lots, why he moved to Japan and how it affected his ambition, why Tether hasn’t collapsed, the internet as a Great Work, how he’s experiencing reverse culture shock after returning to the US, what he’ll learn about next, and more.” ~ learn more