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Archive for January 2014

The new kid on the block – Ethereum Introduced (IPO Feb 1)

All the buzz in the last few weeks in the crypto-currency space is about Ethereum, a “Turing complete crypto-currency”. Let me TL;DR wtf that is (and I’m by no means an Ethereum expert, so don’t quote me on this):

Ethereum is a “Minecraft for money”. It’s a new raw protocol that allows people to build arbitrarily complicated financial scripts and treat these scripts as first class citizens. In Bitcoin, you can send money to an address, that’s easy. A less-known fact about Bitcoin is that you can send money to a script, e.g. a 3-out-of-5 “multisig” script, that requires a signature from at least three people in order to spend.

Bitcoin scripts are deliberately not Turing complete – you want scripts to be very easy to compute and verify – the last thing you want would be someone spamming the network with high fee transactions to a script that is a hidden infinite loop, causing miners and users to overwork their CPU.

I’m not going to go into the details (see the spec, I’ve asked them to prepare a TL;DR and an FAQ). After the last year, in which we saw interesting launches of “Second generation crypto-currencies” such as Mastercoin, ProtoShares, Nxt and others”, everybody’s looking for “the next best thing”. Ethereum is an innovative project with very high ambitions – think of it as a commercial attempt to develop javascript 20 years ago. If it works, the ecosystem this will create can be huge. However, they do face tremendous risk as far as execution and complexity of the project. Add to it an extreme hype that’s generated right now, and it adds to a very risky investment (they are IPO-ing on Feb 1st).

So my TL;DR – I don’t know. When Mastercoin came out August 1st 2013, it was the first second generation crypto-currency, and this is why I posted a buy recommendation that turned out to give a more than X10 profit. Ethereum’s timing is different, for good and bad – they’re getting a lot of attention which is great for them, but it might also mean an over-priced IPO.

Go do your own homework! Follow these links, engage the community, and make up your own mind. I wish them a successful IPO.

How I learned to let go of Inbox Zero

I discovered Inbox Zero a few years ago, and have been a devote believer ever since. The rule is simple: just make sure your inbox is empty. Handle, delegate, or postpone incoming messages (using Followupthen, Sanebox, Boomerang, or whatever works for you).
The goal is to go to sleep every day with ZERO emails in your inbox. Succeeding in doing this is very relaxing, and the “I win!” feeling you get when you reach that empty inbox is very satisfying. The relaxation comes from knowing there is nothing you missed … you successfully handled all your tasks/emails for the day.

Then, Bitoin happened.

My inbox started getting more and more full in the recent years (I receive more than 100 daily emails). Add a conference abroad to the mix, or a few days of complete vacation from my inbox … and suddenly there are hundreds of emails in my inbox waiting reply.

For a while, I was really upset. Here I was, a practitioner of Inbox Zero, unable to follow through on my religion. There are even occasional entire weeks where I’m so occupied with something, be it work related or personal, that I didn’t want to open my inbox at all (God fobbid!). Sometimes, there were so many emails in my inbox, that the very thought of even opening my inbox seemed daunting. I mean … I would never be able to clean up all that mess, right?! Why even both trying…

Well, I learned to let go. I realized that sometimes, you don’t have to really get to a completely empty inbox to be productive. I still follow the basic principles of Inbox Zero – don’t keep unread emails in your inbox but rather process, delegate or postopne them. But I’m also letting people know that I am simply much less available via emails these days, and sometimes I’ll only get to process an email days or weeks after I receive it (especially if it gets into my @SaneLater inbox). There are other ways to contact me for more urgent matters (skype/SMS/phone call to list a few). And sometimes, the best solution is just not to reach me at all, but manage on your own or find someone else in the organization to help you. This doesn’t mean that Inbox Zero is wrong – it has successfully worked for me for several years. But as for me personally – just like I learned to accept the fact I won’t be able to read over 99.999% of the books or Wikipedia articles out there, I accept that the state of “clean inbox” has become a rare phenomenon for me, and not being there doesn’t mean I’m not being productive or need to stress over it.