When Byzantine Generals Met U.S. Fighter Pilots

Bitcoin (source: Wikimedia Commons)

The blockchain and Crypto craze that is alight across the globe today shares a remarkable, and illuminating, historical similarity to the original Internet: it has followed a path that began in military computer science labs and quickly found transformative applications in the commercial sector. The open question is whether or not it will it follow a similar path of boom and bust and then more boom.

The original Internet was first imagined by a Cold War-era computer scientist working for the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) named J.C.R. Licklider. He described his original idea as an “Intergalactic Computer…

The Illuminated Wisdom and Spiritual Insights of Jesus’ Most Advanced Disciple

Anonymous, Winterfled Diptych: Mary Magdalene Raised by Angels, ca.1430, National Museum in Warsaw

The often overlooked Gospel of Mary gives modern readers a window into one of the most extraordinary women of all time and her mind-bending insights into the nature of reality. The radiant wisdom she shares not only illuminates some of the most important and intractable questions of life and death but, not unlike the Tibetan Book of the Dead, it also provides an otherworldly guide to how each of us can achieve lasting peace in this life.

Before we explore her consciousness-bending ‘hacks’ for living our best life, it is worth briefly recalling who Mary was. Despite the stories that…

As it is Easter this weekend, I thought it would be good to reflect on the history and meaning of Lent. Lent is derived from the Latin word for “forty” and references Jesus’ forty days and forty nights in the desert wrestling with his faith. In the forty days leading up to the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection, many Christians commit to fasting or giving up something else they like as a form of penitence, mirroring Jesus experience of fasting in the desert. Why do Christians, and so many other faiths besides, have some form of deprivation? …

A Screenshot from Roblox

Gaming: The New Social Network

Social media usage was growing steadily before the Covid-19 pandemic, as was the online gaming industry. But as just about anyone in the world can probably personally attest, with the Covid-19 virus causing mass stay at home orders and social distancing in virtually every country around the world, usage of both has skyrocketed. In the gaming sector for example, Twitch, the most popular video game streaming platform, saw 1.5 billion gaming hours watched in April — a 50% increase compared to March. …

As the world steps into the jaws of another recession, it may be helpful to recall the top three lessons I learned, having been a Venture Capital investor through the last two economic crises to engulf the tech sector in 2001 and 2008.

‘Going in one more round when you don’t think you can. That’s what makes all the difference in your life.’ Rocky

Lesson #1: The world doesn’t end but be prepared to weather the storm

The average duration of the last three recessions (in 1990, 2001, and 2008) was 11 months, with the most recent lasting for a year and a half. The key for venture startups losing money is to stay alive long enough to make it to the other side. The survivors will be stronger and nimbler and even better able to capitalize when the tide turns.

As the numbers and economic activity around the Coronavirus worsen, one truism is that cash levels and revenues at startups will fall faster than they expect and, relatedly, faster than they are likely to cut expenses…

Venture Capital

After two false starts, Australia is having a moment

Last month Culture Amp, the employee engagement software firm, announced that it has successfully completed a capital raise valuing the company at over A$1billion. Culture Amp’s success this week is yet more proof that Australia may finally be on the cusp of creating the long-sought after state of a self-perpetuating, self-reinforcing “startup flywheel” and this broader change has gone almost unnoticed.

Geographic spots like Silicon Valley, New York City and, in recent years, non-US spots like Tel Aviv and Beijing have successfully reached this status, becoming global-scale hubs for innovation and extraordinary new-business creation (see Startup Genome table listing the…

Venture Capital

And Unicorns Are Not Cold Weather Animals

If you believe Jim Breyer, the famed VC who was an early backer of companies like Facebook and Spotify, today’s investors in billion-dollar startups should be very worried. In the exclusive confines of the Davos confab, he claimed that 90% of Unicorns were in trouble and that a “blood bath” awaits investors in these over-valued businesses. On the other hand, he made that prediction nearly three and a half years ago, back in January of 2016, a year when a Unicorn was born every 9 days or so. How does that prediction look today? Well, in 2018, a Unicorn was…


Chimeras: What separates the best VCs from the rest of the pack

Chimera, the fire-breathing three-animal monster from Homer’s Iliad and the newest member of the VC Bestiary

In recent years, the press and the VC community have latched on to the idea of a Unicorn, which is a start-up that is valued at a billion dollars or more. While still somewhat rare, Unicorns are becoming increasingly common. According to CB Insights and VentureBeat there are 350 Unicorns in the world today and, in 2018, they represented on the order of 1.2% of all venture deals funded.

But Unicorns aren’t the only creature inhabiting the venture capital bestiary. Since the term Unicorn entered the VC lexicon in 2013 several sub-species have emerged as well. We now have decacorns…

The Zoroastrian secrets to the best life

Zoroastrian Towers of Silence in Yazd, Iran (where the dead were left to the elements)

Zoroastrianism emerged from the shadows of the long ago past through the preaching of a mysterious Iranian prophet by the name of Zarathustra (aka Zoroaster). Though it is largely unknown today, it was the state religion of three Persian Empires, dominating the region until the Muslim conquests in the seventh century CE. In this article I explore the original teachings from this mysterious man and how they might apply to the modern human experience. In a nutshell, Zarathustra’s message is that each human has the possibility to transcend dissatisfaction and painful life experiences. …


The Four Elements were believed to derive from a common source or prima materia, which is the same material from which they believed they could derive the Philosopher’s Stone (the ingredient allowing base metals to be converted into gold). Image: The Alchemist in Search of the Philosopher’s Stone, by Joseph Wright, 1771

The purpose of life is self-mastery, self-realization and spiritual empowerment. Different societies have different ways of expressing this truth, but the general insight is consistent across time and geography and tradition. In this series of articles, we are approaching this truth of life’s purpose through the lens of the Four Elements framework. Like any model, it is just a framework and must not be confused with the experience of this truth or held onto for too long or taken too seriously. …

Zebediah Rice

Zeb is a partner at King River Capital (www.kingriver.co). He also publishes regular guided meditations & wellness recordings (www.happymlb.com)

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