"No good thing is pleasant to possess, without friends to share it. And if wisdom were given me under the condition that it must be kept hidden, I should refuse it," writes Seneca, the first century Roman philosopher, in a letter to his friend Lucilius.
Welcome to Abandoned Curiosities! I'm Sumit, and I've been reading a lot lately, and often share my learnings with friends. Those conversations inspired this newsletter.
Abandoned Curiosities is an attempt to build a library of ideas — lessons, reflections, obsessions, recommendations — to complement my ever-growing library of books. Included among the studies are artists, inventors, scientists, entrepreneurs, philosophers, and more. It’s a motley crew.
Each week, I'll share a few interesting finds from books and around the web. And, occasionally, supplement it with deep-dives into individual books.
Now, ready for take-off.
This week, Mark Zuckerberg reflects on the nature of reality, we briefly touch on Chris Dixon's new book, and Van Gogh sends his love.
Zuck: The real world is the physical and the digital world coming together
My favorite feature of the Apple Vision is that it leads me to imagine what the tech will look like a few generations from now, and the overall future it represents.
This particular reflection from Mark Zuckerberg has stayed with me for a while now:
"We're moving towards a world where we're going to have something that looks like normal glasses, where you can see the physical world, but you'll also see holograms. By the end of this decade, we'll be living in a world where there are as many holograms when you walk into a room as there are physical objects."
"A lot of people have this phrase where they call the physical world the real world. But I actually think the real world is the combination of the physical world and the digital world coming together. But until this technology, they were sort of separate."
'Read Write Own' by Chris Dixon
In 'Read Write Own,' Chris Dixon echoes Zuck's prediction, "When people refer to the physical world as the real world, they fail to appreciate where they spend more and more of their time."
"New technologies will further fuse the digital and the physical. AI will make computers vastly smarter. VR and AR headsets will enhance digital experiences, making them more immersive."
Yet underlying that shared vision is a core conflict, forming the basis of 'Read Write Own.'
Chris argues that we spend a lot of time online, especially via mobile phones, using some app or the other. And therefore, "in the thrall of an app store duopoly: Apple and Google, which charge up to 30% for payments, more than 10x the payment industry norm.”
He further adds, "These power brokers architect their networks to restrict and constrain startups, impose high rents on creators, and disenfranchise users. They stifle innovation, tax creativity, and concentrate power and money in the hands of a few."
But there is hope.
Towards the end of 'Read Write Own,' Chris talks about a particular tailwind driving the blockchain industry. A new generation of builders, "people who want to do more than just work on technology for its own sake. They want to set out on their own and shake things up and challenge incumbents."
Overall, the book filled me with optimism. And if you’re interested in blockchain's potential to decentralize power and create new opportunities, I highly recommend giving it a read.
Also, let me know if you would be interested in a select curation of my top highlights from the book.
Moving on, Van Gogh sends his love.
I've become obsessed with Van Gogh's letters lately and would love to borrow a few words.
“It is good to love as many things as one can, for therein lies true strength, and those who love much, do much and accomplish much, and whatever is done with love is done well."
With love, Sumit.
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