In my journey through the builder landscape, being open to outside ideas has always been my compass. Decisions, particularly regarding expectations, are often hard to make, shaping and challenging me. While it's hard to tell the good times from the bad, especially when steering a company during historically challenging moments, the shared optimism within the software community is a testament to the bullish spirit I believe many of us still hold onto.

I did want to ask one quick question about that article Software is Eating the World. The focus of that seemed to be that we’re not in a bubble, which obviously in 2011 turned out to be very true. I wrote an Article in 2015 saying we’re not in a bubble. That also turned out to be very true. By 2021, 2022, okay maybe, but you missed a lot of upside in the meantime to say the least!

However, there’s one bit in that article where you talk about Borders giving Amazon its e-commerce business, and then you talk about how Amazon is actually a software company. That was certainly true at the time, but I think you can make the case — and I have — that in particular is increasingly a logistics company that is very much rooted in the real world, with a moat that costs billions of dollars to build and a real world moat, you can’t really compete with it: they can compete anyone out of business in the long run by dropping prices and covering their marginal costs. Now that doesn’t defeat your point, all of that is enabled by software and their dominant position came from software, but do you think there is a bit where physical moat still means more, or is Amazon just an exception to every rule?

MA: You can flip that on its head, and you can basically observe that the legacy car companies basically make that same argument that you’re making as to why they’ll inevitably crush Tesla. Car company’s CEOs have made this argument to me directly for many years, which is, “Oh, you Californians, it’s nice and cute that you’re doing all this stuff with software, but you don’t understand the car industry is about the real world. It’s about atoms and it’s about steel and it’s about glass and rubber and it’s about cars that have to last for 200,000 miles and have to function in the snow.” They usually point out, “You guys test your electric self-driving cars in the California weather, wait till you have a car on the road in Detroit. It’s just a matter of time before you software people come to the realization that you’re describing for Amazon, which is this is a real world business and the software is nice, but it’s just a part of it and this real world stuff is what really matters.”

There’s some truth to that. Look, the global auto industry in totality still sells a lot more cars than Tesla. Absolutely everything you’re saying about Amazon logistics is correct, but I would still maintain that over the long run that the opposite is still true, and I would describe it as follows, which is Amazon, notwithstanding all of their logistics expertise and throwaway, they’re still the best software company. Apple notwithstanding all of their manufacturing prowess and industrial design and all the rest of it, they’re still the best or one of the two best mobile software companies. Then of course Tesla, we’re sitting here today, and Tesla I think today is still worth more than the rest of the global auto industry combined in terms of market cap, and I think the broad public investor base is looking forward and saying, “Okay, the best software company is in fact going to win.” Then of course you drive the different cars and you’re like, “Okay, obviously the Tesla is just a fundamentally different experience as a consequence of quite literally being now a self-driving car run run by software.”

I would still hold of the strong form of what I said in that essay, which is in the long run, the best software companies win. And then it’s just really hard. Part of the problem is, it’s hard to compete with great software with mediocre software, it’s really hard to do that because there comes a time when it really matters and the fundamental form and shape of the thing that you’re dealing with fundamentally changes. You know this, are you going to use the video recorder app on your smartphone, which is software, or are you going to use an old-fashioned camcorder that in theory comes with a 600-page instruction manual and has 50 buttons on it. At some points the software wins and I would still maintain that that is what will happen in many markets.

Recently, I've been reflecting on how the expectations of others can sway us, especially when running a community-centric project. The exceptions and nuances, however, make it all the more intricate.

In the face of these challenges, I have discovered strength and comfort in prioritizing the needs of others. By adopting a giving mindset and discreetly placing others' needs ahead of my own, as the scripture advises in Matthew 6:3-4 – "But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you" – we can make deeper connections, cultivate a positive outcome, and ultimately pave the way for the correct path. However, it's crucial to find the right balance, I am still learning this.

A Shared Experience

Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler, Phil Collins and a host of other musicians with George Martin conducting, performing an excerpt from the ‘Abbey Road Medley’ that finished the record even more special. Taking ‘Golden Slumbers’, ‘Carry That Weight’, and ‘The End’ to a whole new unheard level. Far Out

Similarly, a sentiment that has always & deeply resonated with me is, "music is a shared experience." It aptly mirrors the communal essence of the giving mindset, whether playing in a band, singing in a church choir, or immersing oneself in a concert with friends. There's an incredible energy when different musical elements come together, like riding a vibrational wave. Musicians often relate this feeling to pure euphoria, especially in jam & garage bands.

Drawing a parallel, I find the Bitcoin space remarkably similar, especially when providing direction with heightened expectations and expected performance pressures. Bitcoin, in its essence, is a shared experience, from the simplicities of sending a p2p payment to the vibrant culture enveloping it. Like music, this shared journey and the collective commitment to ride the vibrational wave make all the difference right now.

Looking forward to next week at BitBlockBoom, stop by the lab and say 👋

Rocks at Jávea. The White Boat, Joaquín Sorolla 1905, Painting, Oil on canvas
“I used to think that anyone doing anything weird was weird. I suddenly realized that anyone doing anything weird wasn’t weird at all and it was the people saying they were weird that were weird.” - Paul McCartney