Life After Google

Emoji + 1 Line Summary:

👌🏻
A 300 page tirade about how the internet is setup incorrectly, we should listen.

One page…everyone knows the rules.

4.2/10. I would have liked a bit more of a storyline or consistent theme. It was hard to decide if this was a good read for someone who was new to the internet, or had been around a while. It had some points that would be difficult to comprehend without 10+ years on the web. It had a really wide range, from being the anti-thesis to

by Kevin Kelly to agreeing with him. Continuously throughout the book, I felt that I’m not at the level to be able to grasp some of the points made.

3 Bullets that made me think differently:

  • The internet is set up as an open network, and thus will always have security issues. Insecure is the internet default. Inversely, secure is the cypto default.
  • Gold supply grows by ~1% a year. This means it’s time-locked to be rare. We won’t just 100x gold supply tomorrow. (”The price of gold is a function of the time it takes to extract it.”)
  • Hardware is the gating factor, not software. [pg. 114] There was a brief segment on car sensors that convinced me that despite the improvements of AI, bad input data is bad input data. (”No amount of big data can make up for bad data from hopelessly inadequate vision systems.”)

Quotes:

It [security] enables the machine to possess an intitial “state” or ground position and gain economic traction. [pg. 8] (A system is useless w/o security. Solid concept.)
All wealth is the product of knowledge. Matter is conserved; progress consists of learning how to use it. [Pg. 13]
The new world will subsist on the foundational realities of individaul uniqueness and choice. [pg. 48] (Remarkably prescient for a book written in 2018 prior to the rise of TikTok.)
Zero Delay (fast hot chips), zero power (cool low-energy devices), and zero cost (transistors going for billionths of a penny.) [pg. 64] (Noting this as a mental model for other design trade-offs.)
Aim at performance, and low cost will follow. Aim at low cost, and you will not achieve sufficient performance to have an enduring business. [pg. 115]
…virtual money cannot be confined to T’Rain. It gets out…T’Rain gold miners convert their stash by the millions for use in the real world. [pg. 122] (Noted due to a similar phenomenon with Old School RuneScape and gold farming.
Bitcoin focuses on security and simplicity while Ethereum focuses on capability and functionality. [pg. 154]
Bitcoin gains momentum with every governmental campaign against cash. [pg. 155]
…the essential job of a neural network as learning a hierarchy of representations in which each new layer is built up out of the hierarchy of representations in which each new layer is built up out of representations resolved in a previous layer. [pg. 192] (This reminded me of a conversation I had with a friend about how learning is done by scaffolding knowledge on top of itself. It’s near impossible to skip levels or jump to the top of the scaffolding without analogy.)
94. We will be judged by generations to come by what we build, not what we consume. Will it survive time better than its maker? [Pg. 222] -From 1517’s The New 95.
Coase’s Law
: Companies expand until the costs of performing a transaction inside the firm exceed the costs of performing it outside. [Pg. 257] (Never heard of this law, but seems to make sense, until we consider the principle/agent side of it? Contractors/outsourcing is not always better.)
The SI regime confirms that fundemental to all immutable standards of measure is time. All seven key units rely on physical constants, frequencies, and wavelengths that are bounded in one way or another by the passage of time. [Pg. 260] (Loved this concept, time is everything? Seemed to echo some of the themes in
The Perfectionists
by Simon Winchester.

Would I re-read this?

I would skim through it before attending a conference on Blockchain/Crypto to brush up on some of the analogies. I don’t know the blockchain world, but it gave me the impression it was a book outside of the mainstream, and had some wonderful analogies. It was also a great book to break out of my typical genre and try a taste of. I also am reading

in the Crypto space. I’ll be curious to see how they differ.

What did I implement?

I’m buying some gold! It also made me less bullish on crypto overall. It also gave me a broad understanding/model that networks are literally designed to be open. Don’t design a network of anything if you want natural security. (There’s a counterpoint here in

somewhere, but I need to think on that a bit more.