🧭 Where To Find My Writing

All my new writing can be found at Pivotal, a newsletter of long-form essays on data, markets, investing, technology, startups and more. It’s good – subscribe!

I’ve collected some of older essays on this page. I’ve also linked to some of my Twitter threads. Popular articles are marked with a ⭐️.

⏰ Latest Essays

The Economics of Data Businesses ⭐️
How data businesses start, grow, and dominate. I don’t think I’ve ever received as many comments saying “finally! somebody nailed it!” as I did for this essay.

The Perils of Prudence ⭐️
For startups, being prudent is the riskiest strategy of all. A counter-intuitive explanation featuring polar expeditions, migratory birds, board games, mountain-climbing and war.

Minsky Moments in Venture Capital ⭐️
What drives boom-bust cycles in private markets? This essay from early 2022 offers some hypotheses that turned out to be quite prescient. As seen in the Financial Times!

Data in the Age of AI
How does the sudden explosion in AI affect data and data businesses? Featuring complementary assets, trust hierarchies, peace dividends, software-in-the-loop, latent and golden data, first-class tools and more.

The Worst Outcome is a Mediocre Success ⭐️
The object of startup experimentation isn’t the return on the experiment itself; it’s the learning that comes with clear-cut success or failure. Mediocre success hampers this learning.

📡 On Startups and Technology

Why Can’t We Build? ⭐️
In a memorable rallying cry, Marc Andreessen says “it’s time to build”. But why haven’t we been building? What went wrong?

APIs Are Eating the World
Software is eating the world – and APIs are how software talks to other software. That’s why so many of the hottest new tech companies, from Stripe to Shopify, are essentially just APIs.

📈 On Markets and Investing

Alfred Winslow Jones: the Hidden Architect of Modern Markets ⭐️
Let me tell you all about Alfred Winslow Jones. You may not have heard of him, but he’s one of the most important financiers of the 20th century.

Silk Ties and Suckers: A Trading Story
What does your counterparty know that you don’t?

📚 Anecdotes and Memoirs

Invasion! ⭐️
When I was 13 years old, I spent 3 days in the hold of a converted cargo ship, escaping a war zone with nothing more than what I could carry in a backpack. It was the best thing that ever happened to me.

The Accidental Investor
I fell into finance by accident. Here’s how it happened.

📀 All Things Data

So, You Want To Monetize Your Data
A growing number of firms have business plans that revolve around “monetizing the data”. It’s not that easy.

High Frequency Macroeconomics
Empirical macroeconomics has been transformed by the newfound availability of granular, timely, accurate and above-all fast data from non-traditional sources.

Tracking the COVID-19 Economy in Real Time
A collection of real-time charts on the impact of COVID-19 on the economy, using unusual (but fast!) sources of data. (Now somewhat dated).

Pricing Curves for Data
Data behaves quite differently from other commodities, products and services – often in complex, non-intuituve, non-linear ways.

🧠 On Thinking Well

A Fine Line Between Stupid and Clever
Everybody wants to be contrarian these days; they think it makes them look smart. But the thing about being truly contrarian is that it doesn’t make you look smart. It makes you look dumb.

How To Be An Excellent Failure ⭐️
“Best practices” can be a trap. Functional excellence often breeds tunnel vision, and that way lies disaster.

⛩️ Japan Guide

Abraham’s Curated Guide to Japan
24,000 words; 100 original photographs; 1 opinionated writer – welcome to my e-book on touring Japan! I lived in Japan for many years and have visited many times since then; this guide is the distillation of all my best advice.