9 min read

S3T May 3 2024 - Voter sentiment, Chips, Gold, Neko, Meta lawsuit, Crypto VC, Being present

S3T May 3 2024 - Voter sentiment, Chips, Gold, Neko, Meta lawsuit, Crypto VC, Being present
Photo by Dieny Portinanni / Unsplash

Welcome to S3T, the essential newsletter, podcast, and learning platform for change leaders. Every week we review the top developments and insights you need to stay ahead of the curve, build your ethics & leadership skills, and drive intentional beneficial innovation.

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In this edition of S3T:

Here's a summarized version of the text, designed to engage and entice readers with bullet points, emojis, and emphasis:

  • 📉 Economic Insights & Impacts: The Federal Reserve keeps interest rates stable for the 6th consecutive time, acknowledging the ongoing battle with inflation. Despite official reports, many American families struggle financially, influencing voter sentiment as the 2024 election approaches. Pew and Time/Siena polls highlight a divided perception of the economy.
  • 🥇 Gold's Political and Economic Clout: As instability looms, both adversaries and allies of the US are stockpiling gold, driving its price up by 15% in 2024. This trend signals a preparation phase for a turbulent period, underscoring gold's historical and strategic significance.
  • 🏥 Healthcare Innovation Debate: The introduction of full-body scans by companies like Neko marks a shift towards proactive healthcare. Critics argue about potential cost spikes due to false positives, but proponents see long-term benefits in revolutionizing health monitoring.
  • 💻 Tech & Financial Trends: The rapid capital influx into crypto VCs in Q1 2024, the expansion of chip manufacturing in the US, and new dynamics in AI and finance sectors underscore a shifting technological landscape. Key players include Intel and emerging firms challenging traditional powerhouses.
  • 🌿 Personal Wellness in Digital Age: Emphasizing the importance of being present, the segment offers practical tips for enhancing personal and family life away from screens. Activities include cooking, nature appreciation, and shared learning, promoting well-being and connection in today's digitally dominated environment.

Opinions expressed are those of the individuals and do not reflect the official positions of companies or organizations those individuals may be affiliated with. Not financial, investment or legal advice. Authors or guests may hold assets discussed.

🤿 Rates and Voter Sentiment

The Federal Reserve met this week, and left rates unchanged for the 6th time in a row, acknowledging lack of progress on inflation. As we've long noticed in the S3T newsletters, the headline economic figures and the way younger individuals and families are experiencing the economy are two very different things.

1/3 of Americans rate the economy as poor

Another 1/3 feels its good, and the rest are somewhere in between (Pew Research Jan 2024). The Fed likes to hint that they've avoiding a hard landing. Many families experience hard landings every time they try to pay their bills. This appears to be impacting US voter sentiment as they look toward the 2024 election (Time/Siena Poll of Registered Voters Feb 2024).

Gold as a signal

The price of gold is up 15% in 2024, up 22% since March 2022 when the Fed started hiking interest rates. Why? Central Banks of nations who are not US allies have been buying gold, but so have some NATO nations, all apparently in anticipation of a period of instability and transition, Harold James notes in this fascinating quick history tour of gold and politics.

🔎 Closer look at healthcare affordability: the debate over full body scans

A new set of entrants like Neko promise more proactive health care by offering full body scans.

Max Marchioness notes that full body scans have long been a holy grail of preventative healthcare. They weren't effective/feasible until now. But just as Neko and its peers have started to crack the code, naysayers argue that full body scans will raise healthcare costs by raising false alarms.

Marchione counters that this isn't about immediate ROI ...it's more about the long term benefits of this kind of increased visibility and proactivity.

The merits of full body scans cannot be weighed solely on the comfort zones of the individuals who are managing the current fiscal budgets. The point of full body scans is not "what is the cost-benefit this year" - but what would healthcare look like if properly calibrated and reviewed full body scans were done every time we walked through a doorway?

My Grandpa said his Dad (in 1920's West Virginia) used to make fun of the town doctor for owning a car: "Lookey there! 500 dollars stuck in the mud again!"

Criticisms leveled at early versions of cars and other inventions don't age well. Yes, full body scans may cause false positives or have flaws in the near term until the systems are calibrated. But do you really want them to never be deployed or matured? Would that be a beneficial outcome?

An analogy: Landmines that grow and multiply

As depicted in Figure 1 above, unaddressed health problems are like land mines that grow and multiply over time. Over time, unaddressed health needs in a population get bigger, more costly and harder to avoid.

  • When 1 person is on an unhealthy trajectory, the situation will grow worse over time
  • Unhealthy trajectories replicate themselves: the person has kids who also aren’t healthy, caregivers who are neglecting their own needs, relatives or close associates who pick up the same patterns and habits.  
  • Traditional actuarial mindset is to try to avoid these “mines” ie… the plan year is a minefield to tiptoe thru without your bag of money getting blown up. 
  • A conscientious mindset (akin to purpose statements of most health companies) would require thinking about how to clear the minefield vs tiptoe thru it. 

The need for better financial instruments

Right now the dominant health care model presumes that a single year's premiums should cover that year's population. This approach struggles to cope with the economic realities of healthcare innovation:

  • Prices for certain kinds of treatments start off very high. Over time they may come down.
  • In the early stages of a new treatment innovation, the effectiveness and cost/benefit can be very hit or miss. Over time they may improve.

These kinds of considerations suggest we need to find a better class of financial instruments could provide more operating models with more realistic chances for achieving affordable healthcare.

Quick insights to help you sharpen your tactics and strategies in an AI-driven landscape.

💰Crypto VC Recovery

Crypto VC raised more capital in Q1 2024 than all of 2023. Pantera Capital and Paradigm are emerging as the early heavyweights in this new cycle.

💻 Chip Wars

The chip industry is realigning as a result of a deepening technology competition between the US and China.

📱Controlling your Media Intake

Should you be allowed to declutter your social media feed? This researcher is suing Facebook for the right to control what shows up in your feed. (Lawsuit document is here).

🤖 AI & Finance

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission has named its first Chief AI Officer. We've previously noted in S3T the convergence of AI and Blockchain technologies and their combined ability to enable a new set of financial building blocks. This role suggests a growing awareness of how these technologies will have a combined impact on finance and economics.

black teapot near clear glass mug
Photo by Michael Saidov / Unsplash

Being present and happy in your personal and family life

This week in our change leadership segment, we want to talk about some basic fundamentals for being present and being your best, in the way you show up everyday for your team, your customers and most of all your family and yourself.

Being a change leader is tough. With today's high-speed connectivity and remote working norms, it's so easy to fall into a living pattern of always being on a screen— less than present in your own life and surroundings - and focused on dealing with some situation far far away.

When we are always in a state of being somewhere else, it causes us to miss out. We know this. But reconnecting and being present can be challenging for people who have digital connections to responsibilities and worries that lie outside of their immediate surroundings.

We hear that we should limit screen time, but when you shut your laptop and put your phone down, what will you actually do? Here are some simple tips that can ground you and give your mind a more positive alternative to digital overwhelm. Notice that many of these can be group activities with one or more family members, friends or colleagues.

  1. Talk with your family or significant other about your plans. Making plans together is a great way to connect. In a family setting with a mix of adults and young adults, talking through plans together—the further ahead of time the better —is a great way to multiply enjoyment through shared anticipation. It gives everyone a voice in the planning, let's each person learn about the other's interests, These in turn enables teamwork and shared experiences that are positive for everyone.
  2. Take a few moments to make your immediate surroundings a little better. It can be weeding the garden or tidying up a daily focal point (a place that you see or look at or sit near on a daily basis). It might be a part of your desk, or the windowsill over your kitchen sink, or the bookshelf you tend to stare at when you look up from reading or working.
  3. Take a few moments to notice and appreciate and observe nature. It can be looking at and smelling a flower, studying the intricate parts of an interesting bug, or just quietly listening to the melody of a bird singing. Or noticing the way the sunlight outlines the leaves outside your window.
  4. Enjoy art that is located in your living or working space. Remember where you got the piece. Or what other experiences or ideas it reminds you of.
  5. Cook or fix something to eat. There is a world of amazing savory, flavorful cooking moments that can happen in minutes. Pour some olive oil in a skillet. Sprinkle in herbs and sea salt. Drop some cherry tomatoes in and squeeze a lemon wedge or add a drop of balsamic. Put it on a small plate with a slice of your favorite cheese. That took less than 5 minutes...and there is an endless supply of moments like these.
  6. Take a minute to jot down what you are thankful for and what positive things you think are headed your way. Both are hard, the second one might be a little harder. But try it, and congratulate yourself because you're starting to build a life changing skill when you do.
  7. Breathe and stretch. Taking a moment to focus on your breathing and doing some light stretching can greatly reduce stress and help you feel more grounded and present.
  8. Engage in regular physical activity: Physical activities, whether alone or with family, can improve your physical and mental health, providing a happy, energetic boost through the release of endorphins. It can be as simple as a walk, or playing ping pong. My family used to play beach ball volleyball in the back yard after dinner when I was a kid. The beach ball was easier for younger and older people to handle vs a volley ball, and it was always a hilarious good time.
  9. Learn Something Simple Together: Learning something new can add excitement to your life and strengthen family bonds, whether it's through a shared hobby or a class. It doesn't have to be a big complicated stress-out kind of learning either. We like to do puzzles together. Every puzzle is a new kind of challenge. We have it sitting on our coffee table in the living room, like an open invitation to just spend a few minutes working on it.

These tips can bring some variety to your routine, help reduce stress and enhance your enjoyment of time with loved ones. They also help you limit screen time, so you can have more face-to-face interactions, enhance your relationships and personal well-being.

One great thing about putting these into practice is that they help you set boundaries and start to respect personal and family time. Keeping a clear distinction between work and personal life reminds us that we aren't our jobs - in fact we aren't any one facet of our lives. We are all of them combined.


Feeling disconnected or discontent from time to time is common, but it doesn’t have to define your life. You can take steps like the ones we've talked about, to be more present and grounded in your everyday life with your family and friends.

And remember, the path to happiness is built on small, consistent steps. Take it one day at a time and be gentle with yourself as you find your way back to a fulfilling life. Encouragement and support are all around you; sometimes, it just takes a small shift in perspective to see it. Stay connected, stay present, and let each day bring you closer to the joy you seek.

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