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Here We Algo Again

Ev Williams was young and wealthy. He had built Blogger, an easy-to-use web publishing tool that got acquired by Google, and he founded a company called Odeo when he left Google (post IPO) in 2004. Noah Glass had a product where you could call a phone number, and it would turn your message into an MP3 hosted on the internet. That was the technology that Noah brought that turned into Odeo, and he was Ev’s co-founder.


Suffice it to say that Odeo was a dud. Funny thing, though, Ev knew it was going to be a dud. He prematurely opened the Odeo kimono to a team at Apple in 2005, and sure enough, Apple announced just a couple of weeks later that they were going to put a podcasting platform on iTunes, thereby rendering Odeo’s technology obsolete.


The employees of ODEO, which consisted of some of the smelliest, nose-ringiest, hairiest hackers in Silicon Valley, began to realize that Apple had just crushed them without warning, and they started working on side jobs. Noah started working with the young Jack Dorsey, and they presented the concept for Twitter to Ev in February, 2006. It was a system where you could send a text to one number and it would be broadcasted out to all of your friends. Noah even had a name for it, Twttr-- probably because this was back in the days when Flickr was cool-- and that of course quickly morphed into Twitter.


Ever the opportunist, Ev called a meeting with Odeo’s shareholders, who had invested approximately $5 million up to that point. He told them that Odeo wasn’t going to make it, that Apple had rendered their original technology useless, and that he felt badly. In fact, he felt so badly that he would personally buy back all of the shareholders’ stock.


Does it sound like Ev Williams conned the Odeo shareholders? Could Ev have known this would be the most influential technology of the young century and hid it while re-capitalizing the company?




According to the fourth Twitter co-founder, Biz Stone:


“Ev could see that we (Biz and Jack) were really into it, and so he took us

aside and was like, “You guys should keep working on this. There is something

to this mixing the web with SMS-- nobody else is doing that.”

Ev even aced out his co-founder, Noah Glass, at the encouragement of Jack. He bought back all of Odeo, then fired Noah and started doling out the stock as he saw fit, mostly to Biz and Jack. Noah Glass made virtually nothing from Twitter’s IPO.


Jack eventually became the CEO-- before Ev fired him in 2008, which was when Jack, realizing what a dagger it would be in Ev’s back, ran over to Facebook and begged them to hire him. The story just goes on and on like this, Ev screwing shareholders, Jack screwing Noah, Ev screwing Jack, Jack screwing Ev.


The roots of Western civilization were the wellspring of philosophy, individual morality under God, law, civilization, art, science, and liberty. This all combined to create American civilization. This legacy is the true nature of American exceptionalism; America is the great inheritor of all the good that came before it. Its greatness will not be judged on statistics manipulated by sadistically created algorithms and disseminated on TikTok.


However, American greatness, though not lost, has certainly diminished. This has not happened due to changes in literacy and household income. Rather, this has happened, in the small degree that it has, due to abandoning traditional American beliefs, and Silicon Valley has had a lot to do with that.  The Valley has spawned an oligarchy of greedy, politically liberal, white men who now exert massive control over Americans’ personal lives, and our collective hero-worship of the self-made billionaire continues to allow them to operate unfettered.


The oligarchy emerged from the place that gave us the most egotistical people in the world, people like Atari’s deeply sexist Nolan Bushnell and Apple’s disgustingly narcissistic Steve Jobs. (Just do a Google search for “Nolan Bushnell philanthropy” or “Steve Jobs philanthropy,” and see what you get. …Doughnuts.) 




The founding of Twitter, chock full as it is of the sort of juvenile backstabbing that Silicon Valley baby boomers like Jobs and Bushnell gift wrapped for the present day, is an almost perfect example of how the oligarchy works.  So, you can imagine my surprise when Jack Dorsey said something that actually sounded mature and insightful this week.


He didn’t sound at all remorseful about his contributions to the phenomenon, but he said it:  “…The free speech debate is a complete distraction right now.  I think the real debate should be about free will.  And we feel it right now because we are being programmed.”

Now, Jack didn’t have much to say when he was running Twitter.  He could have been a free speech/free will advocate then, but it didn’t suit him, so he took orders from governments and gave them what they wanted.  He censored the Hunter Biden laptop story and banned people who shared it, and he interfered in our election at the direction of the FBI.  He then banned the sitting President of the United States.  Suffice it to say that I’m not a huge fan of the guy, but watch the video--  it’s what we all know to be true.  



Speaking of algorithms, they’ve been wreaking havoc on Wall Street lately.  The new spot Bitcoin exchange traded funds (ETF’s) are their poster children.


These ETF’s have been witnessing a historic run of inflows, marking 17 consecutive days of net additions. This Tuesday was particularly notable, as these ETFs observed inflows totaling a staggering $886.6 million, ranking it as the second-highest single-day influx since their introduction.


This was followed by another significant day of inflows on Wednesday, amounting to $488.1 million, with notable contributions from major financial players like Fidelity, Ark and Blackrock, yet despite these hefty capital injections, the price of Bitcoin has demonstrated a relatively subdued response, inching from $68,000 to $71,000 since the beginning of the week.


So why isn’t the price of Bitcoin going up faster?  The answer appears to be algo-driven carry trades.  It happens every day— big guys short the Bitcoin futures, and the ETF’s then put all their new inflows to work in the suddenly cheaper Bitcoin spot market.  Every.  Single.  Day.


If it were anybody but Blackrock, this might be called “market manipulation,” but for now, we’re just calling it “savvy.”


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