S3T Sunday March 19 - Bank blues, Turf war, GPT4, One Medical, Fidelity crypto, Light EA, Trilemma, Irish Creme, Upskilling birds...
A special welcome to new subscribers and members! If you signed up to get the free Time Tracker, hope you are off to a good start using it! DM me on LinkedIn or Twitter and let me know how its going!
Listen to this edition on the S3T Podcast
Bank Blues, and Agency Turf Wars
Moodys downgrades its outlook on the banking system from "neutral" to "negative" after the recent bank failures, and indicators that more banks may be in trouble. Bitcoin and other crypto assets rose sharply - likely a combination of this news and the Fidelity Crypto news (more about this below).
Talent Landscape: Unemployment is 3.5% (lower than projected) but tech Layoffs are making things especially difficult for H1b Visa Holders.
Congress's inability to quell the SEC/CFTC turf war over crypto regulation is jeopardizing the US's financial future. In recent days the SEC and CFTC have given directly conflicting compliance guidance (here and here). Crypto firms and projects are being courted by other countries eager to be the hubs for the next wave of internet innovation.
For complete economic indicators, paying members can access the Global Economic Dashboard here.
Emerging Tech: Big Launches This Week
Millions of Fidelity clients can now buy Bitcoin and Ethereum commission free. Fidelity's move comes as other banks are shunning crypto. Interesting to compare Fidelity's guided experience vs Coinbase's content (which is often imported from 3rd parties and labeled with disclaimers) and wonder what this may mean for Coinbase. Bitcoin spent most of this week above $25K.
Open AI rolled out GPT4, a significant upgrade to the brain that runs ChatGPT. If you have a ChatGPT Plus subscription ($20month) you can opt in to use GPT4. GPT4 makes fewer mistakes, writes better code (now in all programming languages per OpenAI), and does a better job handling nuanced instructions (Detailed technical benchmark report here).
A photos feature is expected out in a few weeks. Previewed versions of this feature demonstrated stunning capabilities: Creating meal recommendations based on a photo of food sitting in a refrigerator and creating functional websites from drawings.
Amazon's One Medical goes national
Amazon launches nationwide rollout of One Medical primary care for $12 per month. The service also includes financial assistance options. A lot of eyes on this one: Amazon has a relationships with thousands of employer groups desperate to get their health costs under control.
Light Weight High Value Enterprise Architecture
New Feature in S3T Full Access for Technology Change Leaders
Changes in the tech and business landscape put IT and Architecture teams under a lot of pressure, as businesses scramble to understand how emerging technologies impact their strategies. Orchestrating architectural and technology investment decisions to achieve timely business value - without churn or delay - can feel like an impossible task.
Fortunately there is a light weight architecture framework that can make the difference even in complex industries and organizations.
For Paying Members: Access the Light Weight High Value Enterprise Architecture Framework here
🔎 Closer Examination: The Blockchain Trilemma
Over the next 5 years IT and business leaders should expect to face decisions regarding which blockchain platforms they'll adopt, similar to the decisions companies had to make about which cloud platforms they'd adopt. Setting a sustainable cost-effective blockchain strategy will require an understanding of the Blockchain Trilemma.
The Blockchain Trilemma refers to a 3-way dilemma first articulated (in this 2021 post) by Vitalik Buterin, the founder of Ethereum. Buterin recognized that blockchains would need 3 properties to be successful:
More importantly, Buterin recognized a tension between the three: Excellence in any one comes at a cost to the others.
Any blockchain currently in existence is subject to this trilemma. So it will be important, when evaluating blockchain platforms to understand what is most important to your organization or industry, the tradeoffs of the blockchain platform you're evaluating, and whether the tradeoffs are acceptable.
Ethereum proposes to solve the dilemma via Sharding (as described in the link above). Algorand and others have proposed solutions as well. These explainers cover the solutions being attempted and their importance to mainstream adoption of blockchain: Gemini explainer, Ledger article.
Key point: as of right now, no single blockchain can offer perfect coverage of scalability, decentralization and security simultaneously. You'll have to evaluate which chain has the mix that is the best match for your organization or industry's needs.
🍱 Sensible Ideas
I am blessed to be part of a family that knows their way around the kitchen and the campfire. So each week I share what I call "sensible ideas" for good times and good food!
The Culinary Luck of the Irish
St Patrick's Day may be over, but you can and probably should continue to enjoy Irish-inspired food year around. A few of my favorites.
- Stew with Potatoes - the photo above from our St Paddy's day dinner, as it was about to go into the oven (the house smelled crazy good for the next several hours).
- Irish Soda Bread - read its fascinating history and order online here.
- Both go amazingly well with Irish Blue Cheese. We used Cashel Blue Irish (Jane and Louis Grubb's original Irish farmhouse cheese), but here is a list of the other most popular Irish Blue Cheeses.
And finally, Bailey's has this Cream Creme recipe that calls for Bailey's Original Irish Cream. If that doesn't get you eating Irish year around...
Ground Birds adopting Woodpecker style clinging skills
A relatively new bird suet product called Bark Butter may be introducing a new kind of learning among perching birds and ground birds, encouraging them to learn woodpecker and nuthatch behaviors of clinging to vertical tree trunks.
First, some context about birds, and then some context about a new bird food product.
Birds can be categorized by how they feed in relation to trees:
- Woodpeckers, Nuthatches, Sapsuckers and Creepers cling to the vertical trunks of trees, using their feet and often their tail feathers to stay in position or move up, down, even sideways on vertical tree trunks.
- Robins, Warblers, Orioles, Flycatchers and others perch on the branches of trees, but do not cling vertically to tree trunks as a rule.
- Juncos, Towhees and some kinds of Sparrows spend a lot of time feeding on the ground, may perch on branches but also do not cling vertically to tree trunks.
The new bird food product:
- A relatively new bird suet product called Bark Butter may be introducing a new kind of learning among perching birds and ground birds, encouraging them to learn woodpecker and nuthatch behaviors of clinging to vertical tree trunks.
- Bark butter is basically spreadable bird suet. Instead of placing a block of suet in a suet feeder you take a butter knife or spatula and spread this on a tree trunk or other surface.
With that background, here are some recent observations of sparrows and Junco's adapting tree clinging
During January and February I regularly placed small smears of Bark Butter on selected vertical tree trunks in my yard.
At first the only birds who visited the Bark Butter were woodpeckers with occasional attempts by Carolina Wrens.
A group of White throated sparrows (8-12) frequents our yard along with a smaller group of Juncos (5-9). These birds usually feed on the ground. They will perch in tree branches, but are not known to cling to vertical tree trunks.
By February, Bluebirds, Cardinals, Kinglets and Wrens were regularly visiting the Bark Butter on the vertical trunks along with the woodpeckers and an occasional Brown Creeper.
White Throated Sparrows were also making attempts. Occasionally a Junco would make an attempt as well. In both cases these ground-feeding birds were consistently unable to sustain a perch - they would lose their grip and fly away.
Toward the end of February however, White Throated Sparrows were regularly demonstrating a "sustainable cling" long enough to get some of the Bark Butter.
They started with a side perch (similar to the one Kinglets do), then graduated to other styles of clinging to the vertical tree trunk.
They also began pinning their tail feathers against the trunk, the way woodpeckers do(!)
One White Throated Sparrow got comfortable with a head down position used by Nuthatches:
Junco's seemed to take longer to figure out the behavior, but they kept watching the sparrows and making attempts.
Eventually on Feb 25 the Junco's were able to get the food too. They started with side perches and then seemed to figure out other styles although not as "free-stylin" as the White-Throated Sparrows.
One Junco did demonstrate use of tail features to help prop itself against the vertical tree trunk:
Bark Butter is a nationally available bird food sold in most bird stores. So I wonder if this kind of learning is occurring among non-perching birds across a wide geography.
💬 Final Note
Thank you again for reading and sharing. Hope you are all S3T for a successful week!
Feel free to forward this to a friend and continue the conversation on the S3T Discord, Twitter or LinkedIn.
Opinions mine. Not financial advice. I may hold assets discussed.