Links: VC, Creativity, Gulag, 80000 hours

Links of the week

Have I Been Pwned: Check if your email has been compromised in a data breach

Have I Been Pwned allows you to search across multiple data breaches to see if your email address has been compromised

the Guardian

Action not words needed over biggest public health failure of our time: pneumonia | Larry Elliott

Me: I think that antibiotic resistance and use, as well as basic hygiene (toilets etc. cf Gates Foundation) are bigger health failures, but the idea is worth a thought.

the Guardian

Leaps and bounds: what I learned in 13 years as the Observer's dance critic

After filing his final dance review last month, Luke Jennings reflects on the transcendent highs and excruciating lows, and his hopes for the future of the art form.

Me: I missed many of these (caught the Pina Bausch). Unsuccessful dance is perhaps even more painful than see unsuccessful theatre, but successful dance is transcendent in ways which often defies words.

The New Yorker

The Investor Seth Klarman, in a Rare Interview, Offers a Warning. Davos Should Listen

Klarman, a low-key but highly influential investor, believes that shortsighted business practices are imperilling public confidence in capitalism.

Me: Klarman gives interviews rarely and is considered an influential value investor. His warnings chime with some other managers of late eg Ray Dalio (though not some others eg Paulson).

The Paris Review  | Forty-Five Things I Learned in the Gulag

Varlam Shalamov claimed not to have learned anything from the Gulag except how to wheel a loaded barrow. But one of his fragmentary writings, dated 1961, tells us more.

Y Combinator

Why Should I Start a Startup?

A lot of people ask themselves why they should start a startup. My answer to why you should start a startup is simple: there is a certain type of person who only works at their peak capacity when there is no predictable path to follow, the odds of success are low, and they have to take personal responsibility…

80,000 Hours

80,000 Hours: How to make a difference with your career

You have 80,000 hours in your career. How can you use them to make a difference?


Many identity conversations recently. Part of the identity conversations are sparked by the success and debate around Crazy Rich Asians. One concern I have about identity politics is that, unless careful, it tends to emphasise differences rather than unity. People are rarely careful. And this plays into the hands of extremists. I sit in a barbell syncrectic position. So, I have furrowed brow reading FT's Roula Khalaf (behind paywall, but I can send you) reading Appiah's Lies that Bind

"... Dealing with identity is not only an individual struggle. Identity, he says, is not just how you see yourself but also how you are seen: “If you do not care for the shapes your identities have taken you cannot simply refuse them; they are not yours alone. You have to work with others inside and outside the labelled group in order to reframe them so they fit you better.”


Tribal politics may be too entrenched to be influenced by historical nuance. As Francis Fukuyama argues in the latest issue of Foreign Affairs, just as 20th-century politics was defined by economic issues, politics today is defined by questions of identity: the left focuses on promoting the interests of marginalised groups, the right argues for the protection of traditional national identity “which is often explicitly connected to race, ethnicity, or religion”. But it is no longer sufficient to lament, or denounce, identity politics. As Mr Appiah attests with his own contribution, a debate about the meaning of identity and how we overcome its over-politicisation has become a necessity...."   suggesting that to some extent identity politics will be a neccessity. Hm. Not good for me.... Although Appiah himself, argues for a much lighter hand on identity (FT interview here) where one interpretation of his early work would argue he thinks the notion of "race" is almost fiction.

I do happen to be pretty fascinated by the Bl;ack American debates and also an interest in hair. A blog about the Black American experience through the lens of Coates here, and a thought on hair loss and black women's hair here.

This week, I also managed to sneak some time to pop by the poetry cafe, in Covent Garden, which I haven't done for years.


I thought, what chance a poetry reading would be full? Lo... standing room only.

I didn't stay long for duty calls, but enough to hear this poem. Working Class poem, in What Are You After by Josephine Corcoran. (Amazon link).


The poem in its own way answers the Identity question, We are so many things that identity can some times atomise us. We are human. We are ourselves.

Listening to legendary theatre agent, Mel Kenyon. 

The current Arts blog, cross-over, the current Investing blog.  Cross fertilise, some thoughts on autism.  Discover what the last arts/business mingle was all about (sign up for invites to the next event in the list below).

My Op-Ed in the Financial Times  (My Financial Times opinion article) about asking long-term questions surrounding sustainability and ESG.

Current highlights:

A long read on Will Hutton looking at Brexit causes and solutions.

Some writing tips and thoughts from Zadie Smith

How to live a life, well lived. Thoughts from a dying man. On play and playing games.

A provoking read on how to raise a feminist child.


Some popular posts:  the commencement address;  by NassimTaleb (Black Swan author, risk management philosopher),  Neil Gaiman on making wonderful, fabulous, brilliant mistakes;  JK Rowling on the benefits of failure.  Charlie Munger on always inverting;  Sheryl Sandberg on grief, resilience and gratitude.

Buy my play, Yellow Gentlemen, (amazon link) - all profits to charity