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Albert Wenger - World After Capital

Invest Like the Best with Patrick O'Shaughnessy

March 13, 2018

66 minutes

My guest this week is Albert Wenger, a managing partner at Union Square Ventures and the author of the book World After Capital.

Albert studied economics at Harvard and earned a PhD in information from technology, but if you’d asked me to guess before looking those up, I’d have guessed that he studied philosophy because of how widely he has thought about the world and the impact of technology.

Our conversation is about how technology is changing the world from an Industrial Age to a knowledge age. We explore how cryptocurrencies, low cost computing, and regulation will impact our future and why the transition may require delicate care.

I loved this conversation because of my obsession with the concept of scarcity. We explore what has been scarce through time and what may be scarce in the future. Albert is one of the most interesting thinkers I’ve come across and was a pleasure to speak with. I hope you enjoy our conversation.

Hash Power is presented by Fidelity Investments

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Links Referenced

World After Capital

Show Notes

2:16 – (First Question) –  Defining what it means to be human

            2:58 – World After Capital

3:56 – Trans-humans vs neo-humans

4:37 – The concept of Qualia

5:25 – Albert’s investment philosophy=

8:27 – How Albert began his exploration into cryptocurrencies

12:59 – Most exciting things blockchains could enable

14:27 – How does Albert view blockchain technology from the view of an venture capital investor

17:00 -  Why Albert thinks that the dominate cryptocurrency of our time may not exist just yet and what he is looking for in protocols that will become the leader in the space

20:16 – What are the central functions that will be important in cryptocurrencies

21:22 -   The state of regulation in the cryptocurrency space

27:37 – What has Albert most excited for the future of blockchain

29:10 – The idea of universal basic income

32:26 – How do you solve the problem of giving money value in a world of universal basic income

35:00 – How scarcity has changed over time

39:01 – Role of financial capital in the last 200 years of civilization

42:39 – Are we as a society only capable of solving problems once they become an immediate threat

44:15 – Explaining the idea of attention as a scarce resource

47:56 – The two key drivers of change; zero marginal cost distribution and universality of computational power

53:13 -  What should we as investors and inventors be focusing on as the new objective function

57:24 – Scariest aspect of this transition into the knowledge age

59:45 – Three basic freedoms we all seek; informational, economic, psychological

1:02:13 – Fermi’s paradox and the scarcity of attention

1:02:56 – How Albert thinks about his own day and wellbeing given all of this information

1:05:01 – Kindest thing anyone has done for Albert

Learn More

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