Top Reads: September 2021

This month's edition of top reads covers startup fundraising data, early adopter perks, and tales of moonshot projects.

Top Reads: September 2021
Photo by Axel Houmadi / Unsplash

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1. Milton Glaser’s iconic 9/11 poster is now helping New Yorkers emerge from the pandemic

Quartz | 5 minutes

As New York City rallies from the Covid-19 pandemic, several campaigns are vying to recreate what Glaser’s poster managed to do 20 years ago—there’s “All in New York“, “New York City reawakens,” “It’s Time for New York City, and “Wish you were here at NYC” among them—but none quite rises to the level of immediacy and heartfelt resolve conveyed in “I ♥️ NY More Than Ever”.

The iconic poster from the aftermath of 9/11 continues to offer hope to many. As an NYC resident, I'm inspired by the resilience of this great city, which has a life of its own.

2. The Startup Fundraising Playbook

DocSend | 14 minutes

“DocSend’s fundraising research, the DocSend Startup Index, provides insights into how startups raise capital at various stages in their lifecycle. We study how founders craft their pitch decks, seek meetings, and pitch investors in order to uncover fundraising trends and evaluate changing investor behaviors. “

This research from DocSend is data-driven and thoughtful. I love the examination of bias in fundraising and the undeniable challenges for female founders – I hope VC decision-makers give this a read.

3. The Minimum Viable Testing Process for Evaluating Startup Ideas

First Round Review | 27 minutes

“The MVTs provide knowledge about your market that help influence what you do next. In some cases, the next step is to build an MVP and launch. In others, it can be to focus on building out only one part of the product and nail that.”

The concept of a Minimum Viable Test is a great model to test the market before you begin the heavier work. Step one: figure out how to quickly learn if people are interested in your idea – and willing to pay for a product.

4. Global Energy Perspective 2021

McKinsey | 6 minutes

“As economies and energy markets recover from the short-term impact of COVID-19, fundamental shifts in the energy system continue, and the coming decades will likely see a rapid acceleration of the energy transition.”

The future of energy is on the horizon. The tipping points for solar and wind have arrived, and smart people are actively addressing the need for storage and infrastructure. Did you know the sun provides enough energy to power the globe every 90 minutes? Big changes are ahead!

5. In Response to Climate Change, Citizens in Advanced Economies Are Willing To Alter How They Live and Work

Pew Research | 16 minutes

“Public concern about climate change appears alongside a willingness to reduce its effects by taking personal steps. Majorities in each of the advanced economies surveyed say they are willing to make at least some changes in how they live and work to address the threat posed by global warming. And across all 17 publics polled, a median of 34% are willing to consider “a lot of changes” to daily life as a response to climate change.”

This sweeping study examines popular attitudes towards climate change across nationalities, gender, age and the political spectrum. In short: consensus is hard to come by, but political will is a crucial factor in the climate fight ahead.

6. Plans for $400-billion new city in the American desert unveiled

CNN | 5 minutes

“The former Walmart executive last week unveiled plans for Telosa, a sustainable metropolis that he hopes to create, from scratch, in the American desert. The ambitious 150,000-acre proposal promises eco-friendly architecture, sustainable energy production and a purportedly drought-resistant water system. A so-called "15-minute city design" will allow residents to access their workplaces, schools and amenities within a quarter-hour commute of their homes.”

Another big, lofty project to build the city of the future. I love the enthusiasm, but I think this time and money may be better spent making existing cities more equitable, accessible and resilient. And deserts could stay deserts.

7. The Hunter Economy

Erik Torenberg | 8 minutes

Enter “The Hunter Economy” — a whole class of startups that'll be built to incentivize & reward early adopters both economically & socially. They'll exist for discovering new products, new people, and new ideas.

The idea of “I liked it before it was cool” has become a core tenet of collective human behavior. As more of our lives move online, this "first in" status game will follow.

8. Crypto’s latest trend is to play games before they’re even built

The Block | 4 minutes

“The wacky idea is that game developers can build a game or multiple games around these collectibles, assigning items that match the attributes in the bags. So anyone who owns the bags may be able to access such items within these yet-to-be-created games.”

The emergence of blockchain, crypto and NFTs has triggered an explosion in creativity that may turn out to be unrivaled in human history. The experiments, communities and applications ahead will be fun to watch. Next up, an NFT game from the creator of The Sims.

9. The disastrous voyage of Satoshi, the world’s first cryptocurrency cruise ship

The Guardian | 29 minutes

Their vision was utopian, if your idea of utopia is a floating crypto-community in the Caribbean Sea. No longer was seasteading a futuristic ideal; it was, said Romundt, “an actual ship”. The Satoshi also offered a chance to marry two movements, of crypto-devotees and seasteaders, united by their desire for freedom – from convention, regulation, tax. Freedom from the state in all its forms. But converting a cruise ship into a new society proved more challenging than envisaged.

The fascinating story of an ambitious project to create a crypto-powered seasteading utopia. These moonshot initiatives can be exciting in theory, but too often fail spectacularly in practice.

10. Meet the day-trading hamster that is outperforming Warren Buffett, Cathie Wood, and the S&P 500

Fortune | 3 minutes

“The rodent's trading streams on a Twitch channel. His nearly 20% returns since he started trading this June are currently outpacing the S&P 500, Cathie Wood, and Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway, according to crypto new site Protos.”

This wild hamster-powered investments experiment just goes to show you - even the professionals are tossing darts at the wall.

September flew by as usual. I hope you enjoyed these reads. I wish you success in your plans to close out the year!

Minnewaska State Park, NY