Back to blog

The Sunday Drive - 12/24/2023 [#90]

👋🏼 Hello friends,

Greetings from Saratoga Springs, NY! It’s Christmas Eve 🎄 and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas (or Happy Holidays if you prefer).

Now, let's take it easy and enjoy a leisurely Sunday Drive around the internet. 


🎶 Vibin'

As is usual around our house this time of year, we’ve been listening to quite a lot of Holiday music lately. But since it’s Christmas Eve, I feel like vibin’ to something we don’t hear that often. Please enjoy this medley of O’ Come All Ye Faithful and O’ Holy Night by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.


💭  Quote of the Week‌

“All good ideas start out as bad ideas; that’s why it takes so long.”
– Steven Spielberg


📈  Chart of the Week

Not a lot to add to this very busy Chart of the Week other than to say that the topic of stress in the banking system is one that I expect to spend a lot of time discussing (and worrying about) in the coming months.

It’s not at all clear to me that the combination of declining demand deposits and a still inverted yield curve won’t end up with some nasty outcomes for many banks and perhaps our economy as well.

It’s definitely something to keep an eye on going forward.


🚙 Interesting Drive-By's

This week we have articles on startups, technology and media, AI, and ChatGPT:

📈 Want to Build? Technical Excellence Won’t Be Enough - from Evan Armstrong

“Technology alone is not enough—it’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the results that make our heart sing.”

I’ve been reflecting on this quote from Steve Jobs, which he said during the unveiling of the iPad 2 in 2011, a lot lately. The explosion in AI tools is rapidly decreasing how much it costs to create new technology. Many of the simple market opportunities, the easy and obvious things, are either dominated by pseudo-monopolies, like Google, or are blood baths filled with thousands of minnows (see SaaS). We’ve had a decade of good times and abundant capital, with most founders locked in a cage match over opportunities that have been market-mapped and analyzed to death. Now, the bottom has fallen out. More than 3,200 startups and $27.2 billion in venture capital are gone. All of this put together makes for one of the most confusing times in the history of the technology industry. Sprinkle in a lack of clarity on whether VR, AI, or crypto will be the next big thing, and it’s a mess. Founders don’t know what to build, investors don’t know what to fund, and to some extent, consumers don’t know what they want. 

We are in an age of noise. 

The frameworks that got us here, of jobs-to-be-done or product-market fit, will be insufficient going forward. For founders to have extraordinary outcomes, they will have to find alpha in markets that aren’t easily understood. 

Which is to say, technology alone won’t be enough. The other essential ingredient will be taste. Technology without taste is a melody without a rhythm. To operate well, to build winning companies and enduring careers, you have to clear a bar that is beyond technical excellence. It requires an intuitive grasp of human need. And building products for these needs demands not just technical excellence but superior taste. [link]

🤔 How to Use ChatGPT as a Copilot for Learning - from Dan Shipper

Sometimes ChatGPT is a copilot, sitting beside you, taking directions, and guiding you as you fly through your work. At other times, it’s something entirely different—a subordinate of sorts. It’s not just an assistant or a companion, but a trusted deputy, someone—or something—to which you can take a moment to explain exactly what you want, and it’ll go off and handle it for you.

When ChatGPT simply acts like a copilot, we’re able to save a lot of time. But when we can delegate tasks to it, we’re moving closer to the eventual promise of AI: just like machines replaced muscles during the Industrial Revolution, AI will one day replace brainpower. That’s not to say that, with AI at our fingertips, we’ll necessarily become lazy, but if AI can handle some of the drudgery of everyday work, then maybe we can find the extra time for work that’s more creative, thoughtful, and, dare I say, human. [link]

💡 Bill Gates’ AI Predictions - from Business Insider

Bill Gates has praised the "revolutionary" nature of AI and its potential impact on the world.

On Tuesday, the Microsoft cofounder published a six-page blog post outlining his predictions for the future impact of the technology on healthcare, education, and the workforce.

Gates predicted that AI development was about to "supercharge" the innovation pipeline.

"Innovation is the reason our lives have improved so much over the last century," he wrote. "From electricity and cars to medicine and planes, innovation has made the world better."

Gates suggested that high-income countries such as the US were around 18 to 24 months away from significant adoption of AI. While he predicted a lag when it came to African countries' making general use of the tech, he said he expected to see similar levels of adoption in around three years. [link]

🤓 The 2023 Stratechery Year in Review - from Ben Thompson

At the beginning of last year’s review I said that the biggest story in tech was the emergence of AI; I can say the exact same thing about 2023, but even more so: 12 of Stratechery’s free Weekly Articles were about AI in some way, shape, or form. The second biggest topic was a Stratechery staple: the evolving content landscape; 2023 was particularly notable, though, for the dramatic shifts that are hitting Hollywood, highlighted by both strikes and the Disney-Charter standoff this fall. There were also big stories about the tech industry itself, from a bank failure to board room drama, and a “vision” of what might come next. [link]

It is with profound sadness that we said goodbye to our dear Winston this week.

RIP Winnie. We will always love you. ❤️

Winston Allison 2008-2023


👋🏼 Parting Thought


If you have any cool articles or ideas that might be interesting for future Sunday Drive-by's, please send them along or tweet 'em (X ‘em?) at me.

Please note that the content in The Sunday Drive is intended for informational purposes only, and is in no way intended to be financial, legal, tax, marital, or even cooking advice. Consult your own professionals as needed.

‌I hope you have a relaxing weekend and a great week ahead. See you next Sunday...

Your faithful financial provocateur,