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Hey all,

After a long hiatus, I'm back at it.

This week, I want to talk about Extreme Weather and Attacks on Asians.

To keep it light, I finish with some thoughts on crypto investing.

Extreme Weather

This last week, there was a mini ice age in Texas.

With weather colder than Alaska and rolling blackouts across the state, Texans encountered another eye-opening lesson in the power of extreme weather.

Extreme weather is hard to model. And even when you have accurate predictions, it's difficult to imagine the second order consequences.

Sure, we knew we'd get 3-6 inches of snow, but the following was not on the forecast:

  • Blackouts
  • Internet outages
  • Caved in ceilings

And there are crazier, higher order effects that we'll be grappling with later on.

It's all gotten me thinking about preparing for asymmetric risks.

I've heard a lot about asymmetric risks with upside. If you're an individual with strong fallback options (earned or unearned), you should take Erik Torenberg's advice and take asymmetric career bets.

But we don't talk a lot about asymmetric negative risks. These are:

  • Catastrophic accidents
  • Security hacks
  • Black Swan financial crises
  • Extreme weather

I don't want to discuss what what you should do in the face of these risks. That's best left to Nassim Taleb. Instead, I want to talk about coordination, and how to get a group of people to prepare for these risks.

Texans might not be very interested in climate change. As the saying goes "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.".

But when you point them to this most recent freeze. Hurricane Harvey. Some of them start to budge.

Nothing beats lived-in experiences. To develop a healthy fear of something, you need to understand something "in your bones". Otherwise, it's just abstractions.

Coordination against negative outcomes, thus, occurs when a critical mass of people have "lived-in experiences", they start sharing their stories - and perhaps most importantly, people start listening.

Attacks on Asians

I've been struggling to figure out what to include in this newsletter about the recent attacks on Asians.

I write for a tiny audience. Most people who visit my website come for my articles on crypto and typing speed. This is not a particularly effective platform for advancing consciousness of Asian American issues.

But I believe I must throw my voice in the ring.

Here's what you need to know about me, and then, what I think you should know about the attacks.


  • I spend a lot of time thinking about Asian American issues
  • Earlier in life, lack of consciousness of my race allowed narratives to control my life. They still do, but I am now able to fight them - and have won many battles
  • I'm heartbroken at the state of Asian America today. So divided. So selfish. So much vitriol tossed between factions
  • I struggle discussing these issues. I silence myself a lot. For every article on my website that even touches upon Asian American issues, there are probably a dozen unfinished ones that I will never publish.

The Attacks:

  • Vicha Ratanapakdee (pronounced Vee-'cha Ra-ta-na-PAK-dee), 84, was violently shoved in SF on Jan 28. He died a few days later of his wounds
  • The attacker, Antoine Watson, was 19 and vandalizing a car before the attack. While on a morning walk, Vicha caught him in the act, which presumably prompted the violence
  • To complicate matters, Antoine is Black and part Asian. Black and Asian relations is a difficult topic, with a history full of misconceptions (i.e. people need to educate themselves on the details of the LA Riots).
  • Daniel Dae Kim and Daniel Wu used their platforms to bring attention to the attack, which was just one of many against Asian elders across the country since COVID-19. This caused mainstream media to start reporting on anti-Asian violence
  • People started changing their profile picture to an artist's rendition of Vicha - to bring awareness and show solidarity

The fact that Asians are speaking up, and making noise - this is something new. Asians are predominantly a voiceless people. Even when we have something to say, we rarely speak up (i.e. yours truly) and when we do, our voices sound like a whimper and often get utilized by the mainstream media to further their agendas.

In this case, the media wants to say that Donald Trump, with his usage of the term "Wuhan virus" and "China flu", caused all of this.

No, that is not the cause. There was a fire already burning. It glowed red with anti-Asian hate. Trump added some gasoline. But the fire was always there.

If you want to be more aware of what's going on, spend some time on Nextshark - a news outlet dedicated towards Asian news. They report all attacks on Asians - across the world.

And if you really want to gain race consciousness, educate yourself.

Read the Autobiography of Malcolm X. Read Minor Feelings. Read The Making of Asian America.

Asians are beginning to share stories. We need more people to listen.

And for the Asians reading this, we need to go deeper and have more conversations with each other about our lived-in experiences. If you're like me, you'll find narratives within that control you in ways you don't like.

Crypto Investing

I hate ending newsletters with something heavy, so I'll context switch to something lighter.

Over the last few months, I've been following crypto a lot and making some small investments. With gas prices on Ethereum being so high, it's becoming unprofitable (and makes Binance Smart Chain somewhat attractive), but I learned a lot.

Here are some lessons:

  • Governance tokens are equity
  • Narratives drive Price - especially in the short run
  • Price can drive Action - if enough developers and builders become true believers of a narrative, they can make changes to the fundamentals
  • To make true believers, you must be inclusive
  • Populism is a force to be reckoned with
  • People in the West have no idea how to understand China (this is true, not just in crypto)
  • When a project proves you wrong, it's humbling and surprisingly hard to accept
  • Don't bet against highly driven founders
  • Crypto culture is increasingly inculcated with language of white-male misogyny. The fact that the term "chad" is used so non-chalantly is extremely pernicious and a dangerous development
  • NFTs are overhyped and underhyped. Crypto might make Artists some of the wealthiest people on the planet

Crypto has made me appreciate the true power of narratives.

Personal Update

And tiny personal update - I'll be starting a new job in March. It'll be in crypto. Will share more after the start date.

Alright, be safe out there. Keep yourself educated and confident, and I'll see you all next time.


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