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The Prioritization Paradox

Prioritization is pretty simple in theory but can be incredibly complex. Whenever I talk to someone about what they’re capable of doing with the time they have I always try to make it clear that the time is limited.

Imagine you have 1 unit. You can not do 2 things with that 1 unit. For the sake of this post, 1 unit is time. Here’s how that works.

  • Walk dog. 1 unit.
  • Read book. 1 unit.

I selected the dog and the book because I think many adults have cleaned up after a pet and probably have had to prepare something for school or work before that is important.

If you walk the dog and read the book. 2 units. Assuming each takes an hour, we’ll treat them as equal.

Basic, right? Continue Reading

Dwolla White Paper

What I learned contributing to a white paper

I’ve never written or contributed to a white paper before. I’ve always viewed them largely as an academic exercise. Since I have little to no background in academia it didn’t make a lot of sense to me until now.

A few months ago Arjun and the team decided we needed to produce one for the purpose of educating partners who did have academic backgrounds.

We went down that road and it’s been a great exercise synthesizing our view of the market as well as how we solve problems within it. Importantly, not to everyone in the market but to a core audience.

Here is the abstract.

Digital payment technologies, particularly in the United States, have made accelerated progress in recent years.
Currencies have been created by people simply writing code, and both large and small businesses have adopted new payment platforms. These new payment technologies are unique in their application within the United
States due to the lack of dramatic upgrades to the U.S. payment system and the integral role of the U.S. Dollar
in global economies. The approaching shift to instantaneous liquidity of the U.S. Dollar will inevitably affect the rest of the world. The creation of these new payment technologies presents global financial markets with many opportunities and challenges. Some of the new technologies are able to demonstrate distributed trust but do not have the necessary interface for law enforcement, regulatory bodies, or existing financial frameworks. Other payment technologies may have the necessary interface for participants, but lack speed, privacy, or adoption.

Continue Reading

What I’m reading this week

I’ve been traveling in Asia this week which affords me more time than usual to read. Either the other side of the world is asleep or I’m stuck in transit constantly without wifi so I write, and read. Here’s what I’m reading this week:

Superintelligence by Nick Bostrom

I had a unique opportunity to meet Nick in Munich not too long ago and didn’t realize that the man I met wrote this book until after I started reading it, and looked at the back cover.

Nick is pretty far out there. He writes and talks about the development of the digital or virtual mind as something that is already real. As someone described to me, it’s because in his mind it’s a guarantee these things exist in the future. The book is entirely about what happens when digital brains or AI start to develop in the world and the ramifications for the rest of us walking around in these organic suits, so to speak.

One of the things I truly appreciate about this book is the healthy use of the notes section in the back of the book. Nick repeatedly beats you over the head with facts and cites their source and meaning. I’d hate to get stuck in a debate with him about why what he believes may or may not be possible.

The book is written like a computer wrote it. The notes are referenced by what feels like a computer making sure that us humans aren’t confused by reading it since we don’t know as much as the computer.

On Immunity: An Inoculation by Eula Biss

I’ve been trying to finish this book for a while. The author writes so eloquently that I feel the need to re-read sentences quite frequently not because of the complexity but because of how thoughtful they are.

The book, is really what reads as a memoir and internal thoughts of whether or not vaccination is good written by an extremely eloquent and intelligent author.

The most intriguing sections to me are the parts of the book that consider the effects of that which we can’t know, describe, or measure yet. The things which medical science allows us to measure may actually be exceeded by the things which it can’t. It’s thoughtful.

The world we’ll all create, even if we do it by accident

There was a time when dynamic websites were interesting.

That time, for me, was when I was hardcoding hundreds of HTML pages at a time before a friend introduced me to CSS, then to Javascript, and then to PHP. That same friend introduced me to .NET when the idea that was Dwolla needed something more powerful.

It’s amazing the rabbit hole technology takes us down and the doors it can simultaneously open.

I was in my early 20s when I started to understand dynamic content and in my early 30s I can’t help but feel as though I’m beginning to understand dynamic infrastructures and automation. Continue Reading


When the money finds its own way to where it has to go

A few months ago a small company presented me with something rather astonishing that I thought might be too good to be true.

That thing, was a major network issued card that settled against my Dwolla balance. Which means, everywhere that major card network is accepted, Dwolla is accepted.

With a mild amount of skepticism… I thought this sounded great but wasn’t sure what to make of it.

A few months of living with it though and I feel differently…

Since I got the card. I’ve used it at the Apple store, to get gas, and even to acquire foreign currency.

I did my first currency exchange with Dwolla this week ($ to €/£) and I had nothing to do with it. Developers did it.

I’m even typing this from Germany where I’ll use it to pay for my dinner.

Continue Reading


Generally obvious things about real-time and $0 transactions.

The number of times a payment can be exchanged before it’s worth $0 assuming the service exchanging the money carries a 3% + 30 cent fee is pretty predictable.

If you start with $100 dollars in such a system you can exchange it 79 times before it’s worth $0.

With Dwolla’s network, as of last week, money retains value as it is exchanged regardless of how much is moved.

  • $1 sent is $1 received.
  • $1,000,000 sent is $1,000,000 received.

The number of times a dollar can be exchanged is only limited by the technical capabilities of the underlying system that is used to move that money.

As most of you know… Everyone in one form or another uses the batch based systems that drive our economy. Continue Reading

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