1. 🎧 I had Melanie Perkins, the thirtysomething Australian founder of unicorn startup Canva.com on the podcast last week. I’ve been trying to get her to be on the pod for a year, and she finally found the time.
Canva is doing to Adobe Photoshop & Illustrator, what Instagram did to photo filters on Photoshop: allowing people to make beautiful content in minutes without any training.
It’s $12.95 a month and the recently raised $70m from Mary Meeker, who I’ve also been trying to get on my podcast for years. Perhaps one of you can send this to Mary Meeker and help me get her brilliant brain on my podcast.
LISTEN: YouTube / iTunes / Spotify
2.💸 My prediction is that there is a 70% chance bitcoin will crash and become worth $500 or less over the next couple of years, with a 30% chance it will trade at the current price or more. I could even see a small chance that it goes $100,000 in the next couple of years.
The bear case, which is my primary scenario is driven by the following factors:
Replacement: Facebook was the ninth or tenth social network to hit scale, after MySpace, Friendster and dozens of other smaller projects. Google was the tenth search/directory site (depending which definition you're using), preceded by Lycos, Yahoo, GNN, Excite and Alta Vista. It follows that bitcoin will be replicated by better technology, and if that happens people will move their money too quickly to that platform -- just like you moved from MySpace and Lycos in a heartbeat when you experienced Facebook and Google.
Regulation: Money is power, and I don’t see governments giving up their power. They are fine with watching this experiment play out, but they will ban unregistered cryptocurrencies before giving up their power, and anyone who says “but it can’t be stopped!” is super naive. Sure, BitTorrent or VPNs haven’t been stopped in places they are illegal, but you don’t see folks using it in the face of harsh penalties. China puts people in jail for VPNs.
Energy: It’s only a matter of time before folks get really tired of bitcoin burning through energy at this pace. Sure, bitcoin might evolve to burn less, but it’s still a risk.
Hacking: it’s amazing that bitcoin hasn’t been taken down by hackers, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be. I’m really impressed by its resiliency, but it’s still dangerous.
My wife bought us some bitcoin in the $200-800 a coin range, so we’re up and have some exposure, which I think is a fine thing to do if you love it.
If I was advising my brothers or parents, I would say 1-2% of net worth would be an OK investment. If you lose it, you won’t care, and if it goes 50-100x you might double your net worth.
3. 📰: The crypto community is a bit obsessed with my take on bitcoin, and you can follow the madness on a couple of tweets, as well as this article -- in which they spell my name wrong.
4.🚲: My startup Inside.com just launched its 48th newsletter, Inside Cycling. If you know anyone in biker shorts, forward this to them. We are taking pre-subscribers for 200+ newsletter topics here.
My concept with Inside is to let the audience “vote with their email addresses” on the next newsletter we launch. As you can see, books, apps, fashion, health, and art are leading the pack right now.
To take you under the hood a bit more, we offering writers $4,000 a year to do 50 editions of a weekly newsletter. If that newsletter grows to 5,000 subs we add another day or two, and if it hits 10,000 we go to 250 emails a year (aka “daily”).
This gives us the ability to offer an awesome steady job to work-from-home writers on a topic they love and reduce the risk around starting a new newsletter. The most we can lose is the $4,000 for the weekly, but we can quickly gain a $26,000+ a year in revenue for newsletters ($500 a week in ads).
If you know someone who is a great writer, and who wants to write a niche newsletter, hit reply and introduce me to them.
My goal with Inside.com is to go 10x, from 50 newsletters to 500, and have each newsletter hit $200,000 in revenue and have a full-time, well-compensated writer (or two half-time) on each one.
If we can get 500 newsletters doing $200,000 each, we will have $100M in revenue and be a unicorn. I’ve never created a billion dollar company myself, and it’s all I have left on my bucket list. 😉
5. 📺: Fleabag is fascinating, with its star, Phoebe Waller-Bridge breaking the fourth wall consistently and interestingly (no spoilers) through the series.
When she talks to the audience, it’s interesting and builds the storylines in a unique way. I normally hate this, but she does it as effectively as Ferris Bueller.
Turns out the star and writer (Waller-Bridge) also wrote Killing Eve (which I recommended in SLAN 1.0)!!!
6. 💲 We recently invested $325k in The Stylist LA, a clever fashion startup out of Los Angeles that is using micro-storefronts to onboard millennial and Gen-Z buyers, for their clothing rental and subscription startup.
My thesis was that the Instagram and music festival generations are looking for a lot of different, stylish looks at affordable prices so that when their Insta-husbands blow them up online they are always in something fresh and new. The brilliance of the business is that they can rent a dress a dozen or two times and then sell to folks at a fair price at the end (everyone wins).
This also dovetails with the Marie Kondo "only love what brings you joy" trend. I did a couple of mini-versions of the Kondo method at home, with my books, electronics, and clothes, and I found it very rewarding.
Their San Francisco store is at 1980 Union Street and the LA store is at 3793 Wade Street. You can book an appointment at https://www.stylistla.com/pages/showrooms
No word on if The Stylist LA has the Fleabag Jumpsuit.
Would love to hear your feedback if you try Stylist LA!
7. 💥 My first magazine was called CyberSurfer, which was my online handle on bulletin boards in the 80s. Someone got the first two copies and put them up on Archive.org!
We called the table of contents the “home page” because Brian Alvey and I had started using web browsers back in the early 90s.
Let me know if you find something interesting in there.
8. 📕 Just finished listening to Bret Easton Ellis’ WHITE (as in WHITE MALE PRIVILEGE), a series of essays that have been joined together into a non-fiction arc around the iconoclastic author’s podcast.
Bret is a great writer (Less Than Zero, American Psycho), whose fearlessness is matched equally by his self-deprecating moments. His introspection and wondering-out-loud essays pull you in because he doesn’t actually know his position on everything, nor does he want to tell you what to think -- he’s still processing it all (like many of us).
If you’re triggered by Trump, race, gender, “words” and freedom of speech (aka the other hot button topics on Twitter) this book isn’t -- or is -- for you.
You will not agree with Bret, but if you’re a Gen-Xer you’ll find a lot of debates and perspectives to chew on. If you’re a millennial you’ll want to burn it.
The book has had some controversy, with BEE getting into it with a New Yorker writer, as well as the standard college campus nonsense -- which he deliberately triggers by calling them “generation wuss”
9.🛒 ANKER is my Apple. I buy everything they make, and what they make is cable, power outlets and charging bricks. I know, this is super silly, but I get Kondo-joy from mounting my powerstrips with double-sided tape and doing cable management. I didn’t need this powerstrip, but I wanted it. I wanted the native USB-C, I wanted the high-speed charging and wanted most of all to use my double-sided tape to hide it behind my desk. I am a sick, sick person.
10. 👨👧👧👧👩 Archery is a fantastic thing to take your kids to. It fits in my parenting zen matrix, as it is time-consuming, fun and a flow type, physical activity that is clearly enriching. It’s also “not iPad.” My nine-year-old is wickedly focused when we do it, and truth be told, I love it too.
We go to Pacifica Archery in Daly City, which is affordable and they have beginner lessons and rent equipment. You show up and you let the arrows fly.
Let me know what you think, hit reply.
P.S. - If you know someone with 50k or more emails on their list, and they want to do a newsletter like this one, I would love to cut a deal with you/them. We can pay you to do it on our platform with cash or with a revenue split (or both). I’m open-minded and just trying to build the number of writers on our platform.