To infinity and beyond!
Book review of Going Infinite, and also some thoughts on walking:
Book Review: Going Infinite by Michael Lewis, the Rise and Fall of a New Tycoon, the Story of Sam Bankman-Fried and FTX and Alameda Research
So I just finished going infinite by Michael Lewis, highly recommended read. Why? Very very fun read, and also… Fascinating insight into the world of crypto, money, currency, Fiat currency etc.
- Sam Bankman Fried isn’t the evil villain everyone wants to paint him as. He is just like an extremely uber genius math prodigy whiz kid, who has zero concern for social norms.
- Perhaps the real culprit here are the effective altruists (“effective altruism”— bad), these new tech money elites, who follow utilitarianism, who want to find a reason to “save the planet”, and I think… they actually want to see humanity destroy itself, in order to go to Mars or whatever.
- This whole trend of creating your own cryptocurrency or token is a bad idea. FTT, which was the token for FTX, was probably the biggest critical downfall of ftx.com. You should never hedge your finances on imaginary token.
- Money is fake
- CZ, the CEO of binance, seems like kind of a strange character. Once again he isn’t evil either… but, it seems that petty rivalries and feuds often escalate into some sort of market downsides.
- Apparently from what I understand, besides all of the bad behavior, ftx.com was actually a good trading platform. It allowed novice traders to trade, and also more advanced quants to trade as well. Apparently it was very cutting edge at the time, offering advanced treating tools for experts.
- Alameda research, which actually was in existence before ftx.com is the strange case. Essentially it was the place where money was being funneled into, which may be turned out to use customer funds to fundraise strange effective altruist campaigns. For example, Sam Bankman Fried essentially had an unlimited US dollar bank account, to throw money at any sort of celebrity endorsement, which includes Tom Brady and Stephen Curry, And also, throwing vast sums of money at political candidates running for office, to essentially ensure that Donald Trump did not get elected (he still did). I believe that Joe Biden and his campaign was given over $100 million from Sam Bankman Fried.
So what happened?
Some interesting things:
First, learning about Jane Street, one of the high frequency trading firms, a bunch of quant, quantitative folks, doing some sort of hedging, maybe dynamic hedging as Nassim Taleb calls it — essentially a lot of the trading world is automated by algorithms, and bots. Jane street recent news.
It also seems that a lot of this is run by people who are highly mathematically trained, people who are essentially mathematical thinkers.
Maybe this is where math is interesting; it isn’t math for math, but instead, the purpose of math is to think more critically, and to also think quicker.
So what happened?
I think essentially what happened was all of the customer accounts of ftx.com were funneled into Alameda research, which then either directly or indirectly went to Sam’s discretionary spending fund on political matters, building infrastructure for the headquarters in the Bahamas etc.
Also, the demise and downfall of ftx.com was that it relied too much on hedging; essentially let us say that $10 billion worth of US dollars worth of crypto was in the platform, customer money… and let us assume that at once, 100% of the customers would want to pull their money. This would not be possible because at one point a time, ftx.com might only have a total of 10% of the customer funds.
I think this is actually what happens similarly in traditional banks as well. A bank never has all the customer money, they essentially use your money as leverage to speculate elsewhere.
Also this is where I’m starting to get more skeptical of traditional IRAs, 401(k) plans, Roth IRA etc.; once again, certain companies and corporations in the US government are trying to leverage your money right now to make a profit on something, while you have to sit there and just twiddle your thumbs.
It seems that I think, the best trading platform is Coinbase. I see it like it is the PayPal, the new PayPal for crypto.
Also, I am not really like a crypto anarchist; I like the government, I like being able to transfer it into my normal American Bank account, and I like the idea that if I wanted to, I could easily convert it into US dollars. Of course it all comes with the fee; but that fee is nominal for the convenience and the practicality of things.
I recently converted 90% of my bitcoin into chainlink, and one of the driving factors is what if chainlink becomes like the next SWIFT for international banks? This would help a lot of the global finance industry.
For example, my mom currently lives in South Korea, and having to transfer money from my US Bank account to her South Korean bank account and vice versa was a major pain in the ass. Having to literally go to a bank teller in real life and having to sign all these paper forms was insanely cumbersome annoying and time-consuming. It should all be able to be done digitally, in terms of cryptographic truth.
Also, another subtle funny thing; a lot of hourly wage service workers have to punch in punch out, but… it seems difficult to know for 100% certain or not if they actually truly showed up for work or not. Maybe chainlink could solve that.
I still love bitcoin and I think bitcoin is sexy, and I think that everybody should own at least one bitcoin, just in case it goes to $10 million a bitcoin or who knows even $100 million a bitcoin by the time that we are about to die.
Also, I think everything in crypto should be done in the spirit that literally it could all go to zero. It probably won’t, but it might go down to just one percent of the value what it was worth before. For example I was able to ride digibyte from 20 cents a dgb to maybe 50 cents a digibyte, in which I literally traded to chainlink, and then converted it all back into bitcoin. But now, digibyte in now in shambles, worth less than a penny.
The reason I like chainlink is that it actually does something useful. To create a technology which actually does something is a good idea. Bitcoin is great, but ultimately I think of bitcoin more like digital electronic gold. Most people never spend their gold, they just hoard it.
Data price feeds?
A very useful technology and service that chainlink provides is giving you an accurate price of certain cryptocurrency assets. For example, if you really wanted to precisely know the price of one bitcoin pegged to the US dollar, down to the cent… who do you trust? Because some platforms give you slightly different numbers. Ultimately we want ultimate truth, the most accurate number. Chainlink will offer that.
The reason why this is critical is that one thing I learned from going infinite and flash boys… literally even a quarter of a penny, if leveraged and hedged with trillions of dollars can make a fat profit. These really really big firms will want accuracy of crypto prices down to even a fraction of a penny.
So one character I find very interesting is Eric Schmidt, the ex CEO of Google. He made Google to become the Google it is today. Apparently one of the things he said, a strategy that he had when see you at Google was genius; “We made sure to put a little bit of Google into everything”. YouTube video.
Quite genius. I think nowadays almost every single product tracking thing is somehow connected to google analytics and Google Adsense somewhere. Even when you Google something and open up the hyperlink and click it, there is this long ugly URL with a bunch of Google tracking code in it.
Also I find Eric Schmidt interesting because he was mentioned in the going infinite book. Even apparently ERIC Schmidt I think… ran for Senate or something, it might hold a board seat somewhere?
Now this is the killer: Eric Schmidt joined chainlink as part of their board of trustees. This is good news for chainlink, because then what it means is that I think… ERIC Schmidt, probably owns a substantial number of chainlink in his own personal account, and now that he has political power, he will most likely use his political power to enrich himself. Therefore as a consequence, if you own chainlink, it is a good promise that ERIC Schmidt is probably behind the scenes, helping you become richer.
I took some screenshots, but essentially all the rich people are banding together to become richer together. Apparently there’s lots of private parties in which Jeff Bezos shows up, a few of the Kardashians, etc.
I find this interesting not from a conspiracy theory perspective, but essentially the elite are essentially giving each other back rubs, maybe wealth is just a huge circle jerk.
Michael Lewis for the win
I love Michael Lewis for his candor, his humor, his offkilter humor. And also would I like by Michael Lewis now because he is so successful, I think he’s just really writing these books out of self interest and fun. You could tell that he is actually legitimately interested in the life of Sam Bankman-Fried, expensively interviewing his parents, his friends etc.
You cannot fake passion and enthusiasm and fun. It is a hugely entertaining read and insightful. Highly recommend.
So now what?
Walk more, think less.
I think one of the really big critical issues here is that in modern day times, we spend too much time thinking, not enough time walking.
My vision is that the future, we are essentially going to be like elite homeless people. That the new tech trillionaires of the future, we will be like some sort of off the grid, Zen Stoic monks. We will be mostly shirtless, walking around 50 miles a day, aimlessly for fun, lifting weights here and there for fun, and not have access to a phone, and not be contactable.
We will bask in the sun, and we will only prefer to lift weights in the direct sun, topless.
We will be maximally friendly, courteous, fun. Like overgrown children. Yet we will also be insanely wise, intelligent critical and deep.
If you haven’t already, don’t be a cheapo and just subscribe to the ChatGPT plus. This is literally the ultimate life hack.
What to become?
Just become a street vlogger like ERIC KIM. Just walk around a lot, vlog any random thoughts on your mind and upload it to YouTube and your own blog. As long as you get more than two views, consider it successful!
Also, double dip; shoot photos and make photo art, and also use DALL-E, DALL-E 3 to make AI art! And simple; keep it all open source.
So what can money buy?
Money can buy you experiences, and also leather products.
The more I use HAPTIC PRODUCTS, the more I love it. For example this ERIC KIM PORTFOLIO CASE Cindy and I made and designed back in Saigon in 2017… I still use it every single day, and the beauty of it is that the more I use it, the more comfortable it becomes, the more it becomes.
This is ultimate wabi-sabi— the general idea with leather which I love is that it will last longer than you. You can hand it down to your kids!
You don’t buy a HAPTIC PRODUCT for yourself, you buy it for your future children (ripoff some watch, Rolex, AP ad I saw somewhere).
All access to some of the most interesting thoughts on the planet.
Some more fun thoughts on walking:
THINK LESS, WALK MORE.
A thought in modern day society: we think too much.
For example, some modern day ills include the fact that we wake up, we stay at home, work from home, never leave the apartment or the house all day, or even worse… we go to the office, stay in the office, don’t leave all day, eat lunch at our desk in front of our laptop or computer… even worse, if you’re hardcore you don’t leave the office for days weeks or even months… You just sleep in a beanbag next to your desk or in a sleeping bag under your desk.
This is the big issue I’ve discovered:
I think what the modern day man or person strives to be is to become the ultimate productivity machine robot who doesn’t need anything. That somehow you could optimize yourself out of going outside, getting natural light by just popping some vitamin D tablets, don’t need to exercise, and if you exercise, the minimum amount of exercise necessary not to atrophy your body, Find no need of the sun, or no need to walk because it is “inefficient”.
In fact, I wonder if this whole bizarre trend of “running“, or “jogging“, is because people don’t think that walking is “effective”, or “efficient “. People are somehow trying to maximize their movement activity; they don’t think of walking as “exercise“, and somehow that it doesn’t “burn calories” (the calorie in, calorie out myth).
As a consequence, modern day man becomes strange. A strange plant. Lacking natural light and melanin in their skin, lacking ability to make iContact with people in embodied reality, and prefer to not interact with any humans. Thus the trend towards mobile orders etc.
Think ancient Greece
A lot of people like to think about ancient hunter gather lifestyles whatever… I prefer to think about ancient Greece, ancient Sparta. Before money was invented, and you could only measure your wealth by how many cattle you owned. Or how many men you governed.
For example, in the Iliad, I think it was Nestor who told Achilles that king Agamemnon was the superior man, because he commanded more men.
What are we striving for and looking for?
I think a lot of us are dealing with some sort of modern day pain suffering and discontent and we’re not really sure what to do about it. I think this is why we seek out “therapists”, see psychiatrists, get prescribed some sort of generic medication, etc. In fact, besides the extreme edge cases, I think medication should be avoided at all costs. I think when people are depressed, it is a physiological and physical depression. Not enough time outside walking, in the direct elements, in the direct sun, not enough exercise and lifting weights, over consumption of alcohol, caffeine, coffee, drugs, marijuana etc. I don’t think anything is wrong moralistically with marijuana… but I distrust anybody who consumes or takes or does marijuana on a daily basis. Marijuana does strange things to your mind.
I trust nobody who is woke, who tokes!
Also, if you’re reliant on marijuana to fall asleep at night, once again… not a good sign.
Back to ancient Sparta!
I think what we are having an issue with in modern day society is more of a moralistic and ethical one. The thought is we are born to be productive, and our self-worth and value is simply predicated on how productive we are, how much money we make, how much we increase our money number in our savings account, buying houses etc.
Therefore, anytime we are not actively doing that… we feel some sort of inner guilt, shame, and we lose respect for ourselves. We end up self-flagellation ourselves.
Don’t trust nobody on social media
Several things; first and foremost, any human being who uses Twitter, Instagram, Facebook etc.… they’re hopped on a strange matrix simulation like dopamine machine. I think using social media and having notifications on your phone might actually be worse than gambling. At least gambling has to do more with money… social media has to do more with your self-respect, your self-esteem esteem.
“I’ve been awakened by an enlightened man’s dream… checking Instagram comments to crowd-source my self-esteem”— KANYE
Burn the boats!
Very simple. Just stop using social media, uninstall all of the apps from your phone, or just delete them.
For example, I think one of the most glorious moments of my life, one of the greatest things I have done in my life as a photographer and “influencer“, was deleting my Instagram in 2017. Why? Since then, I feel like I unhooked my brain from the matrix. I took the red pill. Anyone who still uses Instagram, Facebook, Gmail, Twitter, YouTube, listens to podcasts, has Spotify, Netflix, etc. is still on the blue pill.
Why? The best way to have more interesting thoughts is via negativa— actively canceling out, or deleting, or getting rid of external stimuli in the spirit of books, blog posts, media, Reddit, the news, etc. In fact the big problem in today’s world is that we are almost like in a human centipede consumption of information use and media; one media outlet regurgitates and quotes the other one, which quotes the other one, which might’ve ultimately just been written by ChatGPT or some sort of AI bot. In fact I’ve been experimenting a lot with chatGPT4, the paid premium one, and what I’ve discovered is funny; even ChatGPT doesn’t know that it was written by ChatGPT.
For example, for fuzzies, I ChatGPT’d myself. I would open up ChatGPT 4, the premium paid one, and asked simple things like “who is ERIC KIM“? ChatGPT with then do an effective summary and overview of me my life story in my life loss etc., and then I just copied and pasted the information, and literally published a blog post on what ChatGPT said. I then later a few days later, ask ChatGPT “ERIC KIM philosophy“, and then once again, it re-summarized things and actually linked back to my blog giving me a citations and footnotes, but the funny thing was… the citations and footnotes gave me were actually the blog post written by ChatGPT itself!
Or another words, ChatGPT doesn’t know that I am ERIC KIM.
To think is to sit on your butt and ruminate and think. No no no… to think is to walk. In fact maybe we should stop call it “thinking”, but just walking.
My personal thought is the noveau luxury is walking. If you have the privilege of having a 100% pedestrian lifestyle, 100% biped lifestyle, in which you’re just literally walking everywhere, without having to use the agency of a car, it is a sign that you are truly truly rich and wealthy. Secondly if you don’t always have to check your phone. Thirdly, if you could have all the notifications on your phone disabled.
How and why is walking so critical?
First without thinking about it too much… just think about this: if you walked 50 miles a day, I think 99.9% of your life cares concerns and worries would disappear. Especially if you do it in nature. With uneven surfaces, different grades and elevations, no two steps are alike.
One of the greatest things about being in nature, just going on a simple hike, is that sometimes it is steep, sometimes it is level, sometimes it is dirt, sometimes it is pavement, sometimes it is gravel, sometimes it is grass, etc. Having variation in the texture of the environment and the terrain is critical.
In modern day times, everything is flat. And everything is the same thing; typically just concrete.
I actually wonder and think, I wonder if a lot of the issues with modern day health and physiology has to do with the fact that everything is flat. I think the reason why we are bipeds is that as a biped, we are very very very good at traversing uneven terrain. In fact, one could even argue that human who is upright and biped could better navigate rocky and mountainous terrain compared to a four-legged animal.
Also the best thing you could buy with money is vibram five finger shoes. Just buy it for yourself for Christmas or ask somebody to buy for you.
We got to stop calling it “hiking”
One of the biggest issues I’ve discovered about the whole “hiking” notion is that people think too much that it has to be done a certain way. We think that somehow we have to buy those silly hiking poles, buy a hat, buy some hiking boots at REI or whatever, and wear all this expensive outdoor clothing.
Technically you could just do a barefoot, or… get some vibram five finger shoes, and just go on a fun walk!
Another weird thing I’ve discovered is we think we got to purchase the thing in order to somehow justify getting into a certain lifestyle. For example, we think we got to buy some sort of off-road four-wheel-drive car some sort of Subaru or jeep or sports utility SUV car in order to do “outdoorsy” stuff. This is silly. For a while Cindy and I work on hardcore hiking and camping stuff, and literally 99.99% maybe even 100% of the places we went to, we were able to simply do it in a simple four-door sedan, the Ford fusion which is just a normal sedan with a front wheel drive car.
I think this is the insidious nature of capitalism and consumerism; it makes you feel insecure and uncertain and unqualified, and we think that in order to do the thing that we want to do, we must buy the things in order to do it.
So now what?
I can’t speak for you or others. I think everyone has different talents, different skills, different desires.
First, I think having some sort of life dreams and goals is a good one. And striving with all your might to meet them and accomplish them and achieve them.
Then the next question is… then what? Should you just keep doing this into infinity? Ad infinitum?
Maybe not. Or maybe.
For example with weightlifting, a simple path is just to keep increasing your one rep max until the end of time. I don’t think this is a bad idea.
But also at the same time, you don’t need to be tied down to this either. Technically real life, reality is not metricated.
For example, if you think about the Iliad, Achilles, Hector, nobody could care less about “how much you can bench“. It was a simple binary; if you were in hand to hand battle with another fighter or warrior, would you kill him, or would he kill you? Who was the more courageous and superior and dominating force?
Also well interesting is that it seems that in the Iliad, nothing was really accidental or by chance. For example when warriors would go to battle, one warrior would not “accidentally“, get killed by the other warrior. It really did come down to courage, skill, power, who was the better fighter.
Even the final bout between Achilles and Hector; Hector was essentially hoodwinked and tricked… He was deceived into thinking that he had his charioteer, his trusted fighting buddy by his side to take on Achilles, because Hector was no dummy; he actually knew that Achilles was the superior fighter, and if you went head on with Achilles, he would lose. He was hoodwinked by one of the gods, who made an illusion and made themselves appear to be the friend of Hector.
So then the question is in real life, what do you seek to do, achieve, etc?
Heraclitus one said, “The greatest glory is to seek immortal glory amongst men, yet the majority of men stuff themselves like cattle.”
Who will not be remembered?
I don’t think that any modern day tech CEO will be remembered, nor cared for. Exceptions include CEOs who were also founders.
Also, I think people who will be forgotten include people who sell their companies. I don’t know… If you ultimately decide to sell your company, even for $10 billion… I think it is a signal that you care more about money than the thing you built. Why? As long as your business is making an income and you can somehow pay yourself a base salary, pay your rent, your utilities, your meat, etc.… what else need do you have for money?
This is where I give Mark Zuckerberg great credit. In the early days of Facebook he had so many offers to be bought out, but he stuck to his guns and refused. Highly intelligent.
Some people I think who compromised include Jack Dorsey of Twitter, I’m even starting to get a little bit suspicious of the cofounders of Google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin; why did they end up leaving running Google and building the board of Alphabet instead?
Perhaps one graceful exit is Jeff Bezos at Amazon; I think he’s put in his fair share and his duties; I think space travel was his ultimate dream, and if you read invent and wonder, I think he really did stay true to his principles and never compromised. Also, him publicly exposing his controversial affair in the public, was insanely bold ballsy and respectful. He refused to be blackmailed. What a true mensch.
People who will be remembered
I think Elon Musk might be remembered forever. Why? Through pure force of will, might, and craziness… He was able to achieve the impossible. His thinking was only limited by physics, the laws of physics, first principles. Aristotle would have been proud of him.
Second, Kanye West. I really don’t think there is any thinker innovator or artist quite as bold, innovative, and amazing as him. Even now, randomly in the middle of the night, this morning I thought about his “Runaway“ song, and his perfect album my beautiful dark twisted fantasy. Actually if you think about all the albums and songs he has ever produced, he was so ahead of the game, so innovative and unique, he really did care for creating true magic in his music.
Also Steve Jobs. It seems that nowadays kids don’t really know who he is, but, for innovators and thinkers like myself and countless others, they will always sight Steve Jobs as an inspiration. Also, it seems that Steve Jobs died at the right time; he fulfilled all of his creative visions, never compromised his beliefs, and I think he set the path for other creatives down the line.
I think the last vision of Steve Jobs was to create a creative company so infused with creativity that it would stand the test the time. I think he was quite successful.
What is the value of thinking?
The big question at hand is what is the value of thinking? Why think?
I think some people think, engage in thinking because they hope that it will lead to some sort of money making opportunity.
For me, I love thinking and sharing my thoughts because it is fun! To me, a life devoid of thoughts or interesting thoughts is not a life worth living.
The best way to live life
Very simple: only pursue and do that which you are genuinely interested in, ignore everything else.
Also, in terms of happiness and food… maybe the single most critical thing to improve your happiness is to increase the quality of your meat. Beef, beef liver beef heart beef intestines, lamb, grass fed ground beef etc. Wagyu ground beef at Costco is great.
In fact, I have a theory that a lot of the modern day issues that we got is that we’re under nourished. We aren’t eating enough red meat, enough beef or lamb. Pork is not meat, chicken and turkey is not meat.
Don’t let the feelings of others govern your behavior, in terms of how you eat or live
Another bizarre thing I’ve learned is the way that some people live their lives and they decide what to eat, what not to eat, how to live, how not to live, how to talk, what to say what not to say based simply on other people; they center themselves or don’t really see what’s on their mind because they’re afraid of:
“How do you think that makes me feel?”
But we don’t do the opposite; we don’t then tell that person the same. That “How does that make me feel?”
For example this nonsense behind gender pronouns. That you demand that I call you a certain pronoun, but what if I don’t feel comfortable calling you that pronoun?
It has to be faster, more seamless
One of the good reasons I think of building your own gym at home is that it reduces a lot of the friction. For example I generally love the gym and I think gym life is good, but here in LA I haven’t been able to find any good gyms; they all suck. Therefore this motivated me to build my own gym, just in my back yard, parking lot garage, in the back of my apartment.
I love this off the grid approach because literally… there is no friction. I don’t have to jump in the car and I don’t have to check in or scan my QR code or whatever whatever, I never have to wait for equipment etc.
If you have tight quarters, a simple solution is to just buy really really heavy kettle bell, 105 pounds and up. Or just buy a heavy sandbag, go to the playground and fill it up with sand, and just exercise with that picking it up and throwing it around. Even with us experienced weightlifters, I encourage buying the 400 pound sandbag on roguefitness.com or just get it on Amazon for cheap, fill it out with playground sand and experiment lifting that at home. Titan.fitness is also good.
I actually think that the most critical factor is to exercise outside, in the direct sun. If it is cold, just layer up.
Why exercise outside? It is more fun, more lively, more uplifting. Also one of the good benefits of working out at home is when you need to stop by the bathroom to pee, you could just pull yourself another espresso! Good luck doing that at any gym.
In fact I have an idea; I think all gyms should have some sort of coffee bar or espresso bar. Not these bad energy drinks, which is just fake sugar added.
Lift with EK
If you’re interested in lifting with me, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, if you live in LA or anywhere in the southern California area.
Ultimately never forget that you’re an artist, a visual artist. Photography is just another tool in your creative tool kit.
Use dall-e, ChatGPT plus and premium, make your own AI generated art. Have fun with it, don’t take it too seriously.
Post it to your own self hosted blog, and keep updating! The ultimate sim of a blogger is this:
If somebody opens up a new tab and loads your blog, and they don’t see anything new.
Some good freebies
Always updating the ERIC KIM start here page with more fire.
Forward the fire!
If this sparked even one fun creative idea within you, feel free to forward this to a friend!
“Happiness is walking (a lot).”