But neither a bull nor a noble-spirited man comes to be what he is all at once; he must undertake hard winter training, and prepare himself, and not propel himself rashly into what is not appropriate to him.
Hi, Happy New Year!
According to historical benchmarks, most new years resolutions have been abandoned by now, but not us, we’re stronger and more deliberate than that. Right! Right?
As Epictetus alludes to above, it took a lifetime for you to become who you are and will require hard work to change.
So how do you change? In Atomic Habits, James Clear says the answer is habit-building. I haven’t read the book, but this summary and this episode of Capital Allocators featuring James were a delightful combo.
In 2020 I stepped my New Years Resolutions game by creating this spreadsheet and quantifying all inputs to end the year with a score out of 100. Happy to report that I achieved ~72% of what I set out to accomplish with many twists and turns along the way.
Almost a month into 2021 and while I haven’t duplicated my spreadsheet, I have thought through the tweaks I’d like to make. 2021’s approach will be a double-down on those actions that gave me the most energy and the removal of any fluff. I don’t plan on sharing this year’s spreadsheet but will report back on overall progress come 2022.
Some consistent themes that have served me well:
50 net fewer possessions — fewer things = fewer things to worry about
10% less alcohol than last year — this is so much easier with all the great non-alcoholic beer available these days, my favorite being Clausthauler Dry Hopped
10% less added sugar than last year — more fruit, fewer cookies
10% more overall net worth — CREAM
🤑 My Journey Into DeFi
DeFi (Decentralized Finance) is the creation of standard financial instruments (loans, high-yield savings, margin, options, etc) into the world of cryptocurrency and specifically without a centralized controller.
It’s fascinating because, on one hand, we have a large crop of neo-banks competing with the large incumbent institutions, on the other hand, we have non-banking companies starting to offer financial services (big tech, Walmart, etc), and completely unrelated to both we have an entirely new system being created by open-source makers from all walks of life.
In fact, over the past year, the total value locked in DeFi rose from less than $1B to $25B+. Of course, much of that has to do with the crypto bull run, but despite price fluctuations, people are choosing to keep their money in these portals.
I’m still new here, but thus far there are three reasons why I’m excited:
Ease of signup, many portals only need one piece of information from you, your crypto wallet address - this replaces the plethora of questions and additional passwords to remember (side note: it’s 2021, you NEED a password manager).
High APY, how much are you currently earning? At best 0.5% from Marcus/ Ally or 0.35% from Wealthfront? That’s nothing! Within DeFi, you can conservatively earn 5% and if you’re more risk-tolerant you can earn upwards of 30% APY!
Transparency, each of these portals is extremely transparent in their code, their governance, and their fee structure. Having dealt with financial institutions that try to sneak in fees for the silliest of reasons, this is inspiring and refreshing.
How can you get started?
It all starts with research, but one thing I want to make perfectly clear is that DeFi isn’t inextricably connected with Bitcoin or Ethereum. So even if you’re anti-BTC or ETH, you can still participate. In fact, the best yields are often from coins that are pegged to the fiat US Dollar. Meaning the coin is worth $1 today and anytime in the future when you would like to convert it back to a fiat dollar.
While I’m not a professional, and this isn’t investment advice, I felt most comfortable starting with Nexo.io, while it’s not hardcore DeFi (if that makes any sense), their homepage trust triptych combined with a deep-dive into content featuring their founder, Antoni Trenchev, gave me all the confidence I needed to get started. After seeing the interest earned on my measly “toe in the water” allocation, I was hooked. 5% APY on BTC, 5% APY on ETH & 8% APY on USD Coins!
Once the glamour of those numbers fades away, you’re ready for the harder stuff:
For now, I’ll continue testing and report back, until then, share this with someone who’d like 8% APY on their USD holdings :)
🧪 Other Experiments
While I’ve spoken about the importance of experiments previously, I haven’t documented them. In January, I’m trying three other things:
Working from Miami, settled into Coconut Grove and loving it!
Networking via Upstream, which started as a way to find intros to the Miami tech scene, but it’s so much more valuable than that. Particularly love the office hours video chats with a timed countdown and auto-hangup.
Networking via Clubhouse, which I was hesitant to join and frankly still have my reservations. I’m such a big podcasting fan, that’s it’s difficult to see the value in unedited long-form speech versus thoughtful editing from a podcast. That said, the community aspect has been interesting to peruse and this week I had a chance to sit in as a co-host on a startup pitch practice session.
This newsletter is my attempt at (a) sharing learnings with friends and family (b) becoming more vulnerable through transparency and (c) improving my writing. Thanks for reading, and please reply with your thoughts.