9 min read

S3T Feb 2, 2024- AggLayers, DePIN, Biohybrid Robots, Jobs, Buffalo Women, Learning Steps

S3T Feb 2, 2024- AggLayers, DePIN, Biohybrid Robots, Jobs, Buffalo Women, Learning Steps
What to the economic numbers really mean?

Welcome and thank you for reading and sharing S3T. I'm fascinated by the emerging discipline of change leadership and what good things happen when we help people master the change leadership skillset. Each week I share the latest insights and essential perspectives via the S3T newsletter & podcast to empower your journey as a change-maker. I hope this edition gives you max value in the coming week! Thank you! --Ralph Perrine

😎️ In this edition of S3T:

  • Macro Indicators: Job numbers sound good. But do they mean what we think they mean? Healthcare Finance: Its time to abandon moral hazard. Plus: Big Mac Index.
  • Emerging Tech: Don't mention GenAI on earnings calls. China's AI Governance process. Decentralized Physical Infrastructure will bring AI and Web3 together.
  • Nature Notes: Women like Molly Goodnight were at the forefront of saving buffalo from extinction.
  • Change Leadership: We've been taught to break goals into manageable steps or tasks. It's time to shift our perspective and learn how to break goals down into learning steps.

🎧 Listen to this episode on the S3T Podcast - Be sure to follow the S3T podcast so you never miss a show!

📉Macro Indicators

Job Numbers might not mean what we think they mean

If you've been following the headlines, you might have the sense that things are pretty positive in the job market and the economy overall. The numbers sound good. But do they mean what we think they mean?

Layoffs.fyi is reporting that 29,475 people at 107 tech companies (including crypto firms btw) were laid off in January 2024. Mondo's figures (updated for 2024) suggest the trend isn't limited to tech. CFO Dive reports that 40% of Tech CFOs expect layoffs in 2024, but only 14% expect to reduce overall headcount.

So its natural to wonder, if there are so many layoffs, why do the job numbers seem so positive? A few possible factors:

  • Kobeissi Letter: "Currently, the US has a record ~8.6 MILLION people that are holding 2 or more jobs...10 of the last 11 months have seen downward revisions in their jobs number."
  • Haver Analytics. Startup launches and shutdowns may be skewing job numbers due the Bureau of Labor's reliance on the "Birth-Death" model based on the history of business births and deaths.
  • Workers are inconsistently impacted by different recovery economics playing out in different regions.

If you are innovating new products or new pricing models, it can be especially helpful to look at what is going on on a more fine grain level in your specific target markets rather than relying on headline economics numbers.

🩺 Healthcare Finance

"Shifting expenses to the patient...causes them to abandon their medicine, jeopardizing their health and ultimately impacting their quality of life." writes Donna Sabatino, Policy Director for the AIDS Institute in a new piece advocating for reform of health insurance accumulator policy. Her perspective runs counter to the traditional "moral hazard" thinking that pervades insurance. In the case of healthcare, moral hazard is not a useful way to think about patient economics and incentives.

Accumulators, Prior Auth and other capital control measures are vestiges of the earlier era of exclusionary underwriting. The math of healthcare has changed. Its laws and values have also changed. The financial model and platforms are still catching up. For a deeper dive - Recommended Learning Path for Healthcare Change Leaders

🍔 The Big Mac Index

The cost of a Big Mac in different countries may suggest things about the relative valuations (over valuations and under valuations) of international fiat currencies.

🥽Emerging Tech

VR/AR Headsets

Apple‘s new headset Vision Pro goes on sale today 2/2. The debate has already begun over whether this $3500 device will truly be a game changer or just an expensive way to turn into a hermit.

Blockchain Evolution: Polygon's Aggregate Concept

Polygon is launching an “aggregated blockchain” concept this month which it positions as the next logical evolution in blockchain design: ie monolithic --> modular --> aggregated.

  • Monolithic blockchains - Bitcoin, Ethereum (prior to its data sharding rollout)
  • Modular blockchains - Cosmos, Aptos, Celestia
  • Aggregated blockchains - Polygon AggLayer

Dubbed AggLayer v1 mainnet, the new chain represents a step forward in the ongoing work to solve limitations in current blockchain architectures.

The play would potentially improve scalability and resolve liquidity fragmentation by blending the best of monolithic and modular chains:

  • Aggregate zero-knowledge proofs from all other connected chains
  • Enable cross chain transactions that are nearly instant and secure.

Further reading:

Aggregated Blockchains: A New Thesis
AggLayer v1 mainnet coming in February.

DePIN: Decentralized Physical Infrastructure

AI, Web3 and DePIN will work together to enable new kinds of internet experiences says LexSokolin, founder of Generative Ventures, and the fomer Global Fintech Co-Head at blockchain firm Consensys.

Let's not mention AI

Azeem Azhar's notes from Davos mentions continued c-suite fascination with GenAI: they're taking it seriously he notes, but not “mention it on earnings calls seriously.” Telling.

Government approved LLMs: China has approved 40+ LLMs for public use via its official approval process launched in Aug 2023.

🤖Biohybrid Robots

Researchers at the University of Tokyo have successfully demonstrated a biohybrid robot that can move via live lab grown muscle tissues triggered by electrical pulses. While the initial demonstration was limited and slow, the robot was able to walk and pivot.

This suggests that future robots can be soft and flexible in contrast to the shiny plastic or metallic hard shell designs seen thus far.

a herd of animals walking across a snow covered field
Photo by Alyssa Best / Unsplash

Nature Notes: Buffalo Women

“I cannot think of much of anything but the possibility of doing something great with the buffaloes for humanity. My dream…[is] a home for my little pets…[to] let them roam at will with plenty of room for a long time.”
-Molly Goodnight

Many people don't realize this but, women like Molly Goodnight were at the forefront of saving buffalo from extinction. To learn about how these primeval majestic creatures were brought back from the brink, you can read "Blood Memory" by Ken Burns, or watch the Ken Burn's documentary on the same topic.

Here is one of a number of biographical profiles of Molly Goodnight from the Texas State Historical Association. And another which shares how Goodnight established the Goodnight herd of buffalo by rescuing buffalo calves.

gray wooden staircase outdoor
Photo by Yusuf Evli / Unsplash


⚡Unlocking Your Potential: The Power of Learning Steps

Discover the Key to Accelerating Your Goal Achievement

The Learning Step Advantage

Change leaders see needs and set goals with passion. We want so badly to make good things happen. Unfortunately, when we set out to achieve a worthy goal, we often focus on breaking it down into tasks. But if you think about it, achieving goals - especially goals that result in meaningful impact - usually is not just a matter of doing some tasks. There's a game-changing approach that can fast-track your progress: It's time to shift our perspective and learn how to break goals down into learning steps.

Redefining Goal Breakdown

Traditionally, we've been taught to break goals into manageable steps or tasks. However, there's a subtle but profound tweak that can revolutionize your approach. Instead of asking, "What do I need to do?" start by asking,

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