Weekly Reading 5/21

Some of the articles I’ve been reading this week:

Blockchain

Blockchain

Yesterday, I listened to a talk from the CEO of Digital Asset, Blythe Masters, on the Blockchain. It can also be described as distributed ledger, decentralized database, or digital ledger.

I surprised to realize how little I understood about the Blockchain, the differences between Bitcoin and Ethereum, and how this technology transfer and reconciliation for assets between institutions.

Like most people around Thanksgiving, I was flooded with news about the skyrocketing price of Bitcoin. It’s not the first time I’ve heard about Bitcoin. Fred Wilson got me to open a Coinbase account years ago. One of my biggest regrets wasn’t investing more then the $10 dollars they gave me to open the account. That’s lesson or issue with investing: it’s always easy to look back in time to see what you should have done. It’s much more difficult to know what to do now or anytime in the future.

One of my problems with Bitcoin is understanding why you should invest in it. It has no assets. It’s really based on faith that it will become a decentralized current and become accepted by the mainstream as a store of value.

What’s the difference between the two currencies?

Bitcoin is basically a database of accounts that is available to the public. Blyth stated, “you could download a history of all the bitcoin transaction since it’s inception.”

Ethereum is a more sophisticated version of Bitcoin. It’s faster to complete transactions. The biggest difference is the implementation of smart contracts which is basically a standard business contract but written into the code. The smart contract will execute once the conditions are met.

Blythe mentioned the positive with these types of blockchains is there integrity, since you’re able to see all of the transactions. The downside, at least for many companies, is the lack of confidentiality since of the information on the Blockchain, including the details of the smart contract, are publicly available. This is a major issue for many companies, especially large financial institutions, where sharing consumer information can be questionable ethically and in some circumstances illegal.

My biggest takeaway was the idea of live reconciliation of assets. Reconciling assets is something that can typically take a significant amount of time in many different sectors of the economy.

For the past few years, I’ve been focusing on Data Science. I’m still all in on Data Science and Artificial Intelligence but I’ll also start working on getting more education about the Blockchain. Specifically, how the Blockchain can improve the flow of assets.

photo credit: WorldSpectrum

Learn something new

Learn something new

That’s one of my daily goals. For the past year, I’ve been struggling with getting back into daily blogging so I’ve decided to write about something I’m already doing each day, learn something new.

Each day I’m going to show up to write about something new I learned in the past few days. Similar to the Alearningaday blog.

Next steps

Next steps

What’s next? It’s a common question many people ask first.

  • What’s for dinner?
  • Where should I get my next job?
  • What should we do today?
  • Who should I speak with next?
  • What’s the next turn?

The above questions aren’t bad questions. The just shouldn’t be your first question. Many people rarely ask why but that’s exactly the type of question we should all be asking ourselves.

  • Why are we doing things this way?
  • Why do we turn here?
  • Why do I need this?
  • Why am I here?

In Simon Sinek’s book, Start With Why, he discusses the importance of starting your questions here first to eventually find your answer and inspire the people around you. It’s a great book you should read if you haven’t already.

Photo Credit: qimono CC0

A voice

A voice

I’m writing to have a voice so others don’t try to speak for me.

I need to have a voice…

To give my opinion.

To speak up.

To ask questions.

To recommend.

To decide.

To lead.

To predict.

To teach.

To manage.

To protect.

To welcome.

To share.

To give.

To move forward.

Generosity of someone who’s gone to soon

Generosity of someone who’s gone to soon

Last week, I found out that a former coworker and fellow toastmaster had passed away after a battle with cancer. It has been about a year and a half since I lost saw her at the Summer Toastmaster Leadership Institute for our local district. I had just completed a training seminar when she told me the news. I said the typical awkward things you say to someone after they tell you some bad news. That would be the last time I saw her. It was also around the time I took a break from toastmasters. I’d gotten involved in too many clubs and felt burned out.

For the past few weeks, before finding out about her passing away, I had thought about contacting her and joining a local toastmasters club again. Then I found out the news in a Toastmasters email.

This event has me thinking about generosity, specifically the generosity of my former coworker. She had a big impact on my public speaking. One of the most important impacts she made was simply being a person to give good constructive feedback on my speeches. If you’ve ever found this person you know it is so valuable. To find someone that cares about your improvement, who takes an interest, and isn’t hurtful when you’re at your most vulnerable. This is why I’m writing about my former coworker today but what made her a special person is that she had done this exact same thing for hundreds of people.

She impacted the lives of hundreds of people. That’s what helping others does. When you positively impact someone’s life, they don’t forget. They care and they’re sad when you’re gone.