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HomeVenture CapitalData Weight loss plan: a16z Crypto's Elena Burger

Data Weight loss plan: a16z Crypto’s Elena Burger

Data Weight loss plan affords a peek into the personally curated feeds and media habits of the individuals shaping the longer term. In every installment, a unique builder spends two days chronicling all of the content material they eat with a purpose to keep forward of the curve. This time: Elena Burger, a deal accomplice on the a16z crypto crew, the place she focuses on video games, NFTs, web3 media, and infrastructure. Elena lives in New York Metropolis. 

Sunday, July 10 

10 a.m.: It’s an uncommonly lazy Sunday for me — often I wake by 7 or 8 a.m., caffeinate, go for a run in Central Park, and skim Twitter/my e mail. However at this time I occur to be visiting a member of the family’s seaside home with a good friend, so my unflagging morning peppiness has been tempered a bit. 

I sip a espresso on the kitchen desk and pop open a difficulty of The New Yorker sitting in entrance of me. That is one other unusual factor: I used to learn a variety of print media, however most of my media weight-reduction plan is digital these days. I skim a profile of Mavis Staples, the gospel/blues singer, as individuals stream into the breakfast room.

12 p.m.: I’m on the Jitney bus heading again to Manhattan when my good friend pops considered one of his airpods in my ear and asks, “Have you ever ever watched Channel 5?” No, I hadn’t. 

Channel 5, I uncover, is YouTuber Andrew Callaghan’s man-on-the-street interview present, the place he seeks out doubtlessly controversial situations (a pickup artist bootcamp, an anti-vax rally) and movies the individuals doing their factor. We watch the Utah Rap Pageant episode (I’d suggest reducing your quantity to barely beneath “max” earlier than clicking the hyperlink), which options some really masterful rapping from a 15-year-old. I benefit from the video — it’s form of just like exhibits like Nathan For You or How To with John Wilson. I don’t watch a ton of YouTube, however as with the Mavis Staples profile, if one thing is in entrance of me, I’ll sometimes eat it.

I then pop in my airpods and pay attention to the Lex Fridman interview with Grimes from a number of weeks in the past. I come away from it completely loving her. I truly hadn’t realized how deep into crypto she’s gotten and that she has a really techno-utopian view of web3. She discusses stuff like utilizing DAOs to fund motherhood and open-source analysis, and likewise talks about how web3 or AI can automate the operate of music managers and different middlemen. It’s so fascinating to me that artists can instantly grok crypto use-cases much more virtually than many individuals in finance or conventional tech do. I’m additionally now tremendous inquisitive about what Mavis Staples would take into consideration DAOs. 

As an apart, there’s a second within the podcast the place Lex mentions that he lives subsequent door to a widely known anarchist, which makes me surprise: For those who’re an anarchist and also you do personal personal property, what tenets of anarchism do you truly trouble to uphold? If somebody is aware of, be at liberty to ping me.

3:30 p.m.: I’m residence. I open up the SITALWeek (Stuff I Thought About Final Week) publication on my laptop computer, which I learn each Sunday. The publication is compiled by Brad Slingerlend, who focuses lots on subjects in conventional finance and tech: AI, semiconductors, the streaming economic system, inflation, and oil/pure power. As somebody who spends 95% of my time fascinated about crypto, it’s a terrific “contact grass” leveler for me. 

This subject has a terrific piece on the impression of robotic surgical procedure on the ability ranges of trainee medical college students, China’s dominance of the lithium-ion battery market, and some fascinating hyperlinks about looming austerity spending amongst numerous streaming providers. 

A few of these hyperlinks, particularly those about streaming/on-line media, do really feel crypto-related — and regardless of this being my “non-crypto” publication, I can’t assist however take into consideration methods through which web3 might intervene. It looks as if we is likely to be reaching the bounds of what massive streamers can effectively/precisely mannequin out when it comes to consumer desire and stickiness, and newer enterprise fashions in crypto can permit extra artists to take pleasure in a bigger stake of the worth they create whereas additionally permitting the neighborhood to share in IP creation. (To not self-promote, however I had a Twitter thread on this right here)

4:30 p.m.: I am going for a stroll and name my brother. He’s {an electrical} engineer, and for the previous few months I’ve been making an attempt numerous techniques to crypto-pill him. I’ve most likely been a bit too aggressive just lately as a result of the very first thing he says when he solutions the cellphone is “Elena, I’m not coming to the Stanford Blockchain Convention.” Alas. 

We start speaking about all of the current advances in AI and picture era, and we talk about DALL-E, which I just lately bought entry to and have been having a variety of enjoyable enjoying round with. My brother sends me an Astral Codex Ten piece known as “A Information To Asking Robots To Design Stained Glass Home windows,” through which the creator describes his technique of guiding DALL-E asymptotically nearer to the picture he desires rendered. 

Once I use DALL-E, I toggle between making an attempt to dominate it with meticulously particular prompts, and intentionally feeding it one thing open-ended and a bit imprecise. For example, a number of weeks in the past, I prompted it with “Thomas Edison promoting bootleg DVDs on the road within the 90’s.” The primary two photographs it produced appear like they’re from the Nineteen Nineties (saturated colours, Tom-Ed flanked by a pickup truck), however the remaining 4 appear like they’re from the Nineties — black and white, grainy photographs, and the DVDs are unnaturally massive and rectangular, like the one method you would watch them is in case you ran them by a visible phonograph. This was a inventive leap I don’t suppose I’d’ve been able to, so it’s enjoyable to suppose that DALL-E by chance (or deliberately…) bought there by itself. 

After studying the Astral Codex Ten piece, I understand that I can type of reply the query I had earlier than (“What would Mavis Staples take into consideration DAOs?”) if I run it by GPT-3, which I even have entry to by way of the OpenAI playground. I give it the immediate: Write a paragraph from a New Yorker article about Mavis Staples speaking about cryptocurrencies and decentralized autonomous organizations.

Right here’s the outcome:

Mavis Staples has been singing gospel and soul music because the nineteen-fifties, and she or he’s as revered as a dwelling legend as she is cherished as a performer. This previous fall, she launched her newest album, “If All I Was Was Black,” a collaboration with the producer and musician Jeff Tweedy. Staples can be a enterprise capitalist. In early December, she participated in a panel on the Internet Summit convention, in Lisbon, with regards to cryptocurrencies and decentralized autonomous organizations. “I’m not a techie, however I’m studying,” she mentioned.

Fairly superb!! The one inaccuracy I discover (aside from the fictionalized particulars about Mavis Staples’ second life as a VC popping up at Lisbon crypto conferences) is that Mavis’ most up-to-date album is “We Get By,” launched in 2019. It’s fairly doable that it is because the coaching knowledge utilized by GPT-3 isn’t fairly updated, although I’m undecided. 

7:30 p.m.: I don’t actually recall how I ended up on this rabbit gap, however I’m studying about Minecraft servers. I discover this nice Rock Paper Shotgun piece from 2015 on the emergence of Hypixel, the largest impartial server by CCU (concurrent customers). It hit a peak load of 216k gamers in 2021, and often averages round 45-70k gamers/day. I’m nonetheless making an attempt to determine how Minetrack quantifies CCU’s within the context of Hypixel video games, as a result of the server itself directs gamers into a lot smaller “events” through which the video games are performed (so I don’t suppose you’re truly seeing tens of hundreds of gamers rendered round you). However I could possibly be incorrect. Scaling video games to tens of hundreds and even hundreds of thousands of CCU’s remains to be an enormous engineering hurdle — Water & Music just lately did an excellent writeup on this subject in its “9 design ideas for a musical metaverse” (skip to the “Scaled Synchrony” part for extra on this). 

Monday, July 11

7 a.m.: I get up and do a number of laps round Central Park. I solely take heed to music after I run (I attempted podcasts for awhile, however my thoughts wanders after I jog), and proper now my rotation is a variety of Meek Mill, artists like SOPHIE, and aughties-era producers like Ryan Leslie

10 a.m.: Once more, I’m doing my “non-crypto” information rotation. At this level even non-crypto information is crypto associated: chip shortages, inflation, leisure, and so forth — it’s all associated. One among my different go-to newsletters is Liberty’s Highlights, which is a superb roundup of stories associated to the earthlier issues of the world: semiconductors, chips, conventional media, and so forth. This subject truly cites the SITALWeek hyperlink from yesterday about surgical automation — there are additionally some fascinating hyperlinks from The Wall Avenue Journal and Compound Capital Advisors CEO Charlie Bilello, respectively, in regards to the energy-efficiency of electrical car batteries and Eurozone inflation.  

8 p.m.: Most of my day is spent on calls or answering emails/Slack messages — not a variety of time for consuming information (apart from tweets). I do learn a variety of pitch decks and emails from founders, however my time for deeply studying articles or falling into rabbit holes is reserved for later at evening (or on weekends). 

Tonight, I decompress by catching up on the Reddit AMA with the Ethereum Basis analysis crew from per week in the past. I positively attempt to keep as up-to-date as doable on discourses surfacing from the EF (particularly as we strategy the Merge). It’s fairly fascinating to learn by the AMA and perceive that there isn’t all the time full settlement among the many core devs (an excellent case-in-point are the two responses to this query in regards to the hole between analysis and implementation). 

The most important space of consensus appears to be round the sorts of purposes that persons are wanting ahead to within the post-rollup, scaled-Ethereum future: the settlement (amongst Vitalik, Justin Drake and Danny Ryan, not less than) is that purposes round identification, popularity, and privateness will see a variety of innovation. 

(One other nice publication that I often verify is What’s New in Eth2, compiled by Ben Edgington at ConsenSys. Additionally whereas we’re on the subject, a obligatory shoutout to Tim Beiko for his extraordinarily detailed notes from the recurring Ethereum AllCoreDevs calls.)

1 a.m.: After dinner, I proceed to make amends for messages and scroll by Twitter. Then, I’m someway again in a Minecraft rabbit gap. Earlier than drifting off to sleep, I learn this OpenAI analysis put up on coaching a neural internet to search out and craft objects within the recreation. Impressively, solely a small portion of the movies used to coach the neural internet had been labeled with corresponding mouse and keyboard actions. The remaining was simply an unlimited feed of movies uploaded by gamers on-line (in different phrases, the neural community was capable of extrapolate and be taught from a small set of labeled knowledge, and apply it to a a lot bigger set of unlabeled knowledge). 

The extra I take note of issues taking place within the AI house, the extra I’ve been fascinated about how the sector will converge with crypto. Will we see extra protocols that search to implement on-chain AI as a community-owned device that anybody can audit and improve? 0xPARC had a proof-of-concept a number of months in the past demonstrating an on-chain numerical picture classifier inside a zkSNARK, and some years in the past Ali on our crew revealed a terrific Twitter thread on how one may go about bootstrapping an autonomous neural community on-chain. I hope we’ll proceed to see extra of those sorts of purposes sooner or later.


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