B5L Issue #020
Artistic Rich People With Side-Families and Side-Hustles.
I may not know art, but I know what I like..
Some people are talented. I am not one of those people. But if I was, I’d like to think I’d have a sense of humour about it, like this painter who has decorated his house with painted memes on canvas. Very classy.
Artist’s House Full of Painted Memes
Rich people gettin’ younger.. not you or I, obviously..
I enjoyed this post by Paul Graham on the reversion of wealth creation back to company founders. Graham talks about how in the early-to-mid 19th Century there was a move away from entrepreneurialism, as most of the big money of that time came from heavily regulated industries or oligopolies. But now, with more prevalent technology making it easier to start and scale successful companies, new money again flows to those willing to dream big.
It’s a short and interesting read.
In 1982 the most common source of wealth was inheritance. Of the 100 richest people, 60 inherited from an ancestor. There were 10 du Pont heirs alone. By 2020 the number of heirs had been cut in half, accounting for only 27 of the biggest 100 fortunes.
How are people making these new fortunes? Roughly 3/4 by starting companies and 1/4 by investing. Of the 73 new fortunes in 2020, 56 derive from founders' or early employees' equity (52 founders, 2 early employees, and 2 wives of founders), and 17 from managing investment funds.
In 1982, there were two dominant sources of new wealth: oil and real estate. Of the 40 new fortunes in 1982, at least 24 were due primarily to oil or real estate. Now only a small number are: of the 73 new fortunes in 2020, 4 were due to real estate and only 2 to oil.
By 2020 the biggest source of new wealth was what are sometimes called "tech" companies. Of the 73 new fortunes, about 30 derive from such companies. These are particularly common among the richest of the rich: 8 of the top 10 fortunes in 2020 were new fortunes of this type.
My VTs are open..
People who know me know I tend not to answer my phone. I’ve never been very good at it, and somewhere along the way I simply chose to make it a part of my identity rather than always feeling guilty about it. I’m the guy who doesn’t answer the phone. It’s not personal. It’s just I’d rather not stop what I’m doing. PS. I’m probably not doing anything.
So I quite enjoyed reading this article on a new trend among Gen Z’ers for leaving ‘voice-texts’; short voice messages via the iMessage app that vanish shortly after being played. I think this is maybe something I could get behind.
Adelicia told me that before this year she used the voice-text function only with a boyfriend; now she uses it all the time, with anyone who is willing. “I have a little bit of social anxiety,” she told me (via voice text, which is how I conducted all the interviews for this piece). “The thought of calling someone at this point feels like such a big deal. I really love the fact that this lets me have a very personal connection with someone, but I am not making you take time out of your day.” P., my teen-aged friend, told me that voice texting is actually still rare among her Gen Z peers, who are still by and large devoted to S.M.S. or direct messaging. Last fall, when the school year started, she started sending voice texts on a group thread with her freshman drama class. “Everyone was making fun of me, like, that’s so weird, that’s incredibly lazy,” she told me in a voice note.” But she stuck with it, and others started responding in kind. “When someone just, like, texts you the word “O.K.,” it is so dry,” she said. With voice text, “people could tell I had a personality.” Later, she told me, she changed her bio on Instagram to “if i don’t send u a voice memo, just know i’m being held captive.”
If you have my phone number, please send me an interesting VT at your earliest convenience.
The Pleasures of Conversing via Voice Text
The Dollar Bill Stearn of neighbourhood furries..
Pet owners might enjoy this one.
The neighbours just put the house up for sale
(via Abandoned Jerks)
I could have quoted nearly every paragraph of this article by Molly Conway, on how important it can be to pursue a hobby for the pleasure of it rather than to commercialise it.
There are some obvious parallels to what she talks about and my own side-projects, including this newsletter. I’ve known for a while that I have no real plans to monetise Five Links. But I have wanted to grow a following. And I suppose, if I’m being honest with myself, part of the desire to grow a following is so that I might one day be able to monetise other future side-projects.
But my recent desire to grow the subscriber list (first to 100 by Christmas and then most recently to 500 by the end of 2021) has taken a lot of the fun out of putting it together. So I might need to cool it for a little while and do what feels fun again.
Anyway - Conway’s article is not too long and well-written. I loved it.
When I was a kid, I often heard the phrase, “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” Like many millennials — who are now of course accused of wanting too much in terms of job satisfaction and security — I was encouraged to view any of my interests or talents as a possible career. This framework has carried through to adulthood, but now, instead of conjuring a Richard Scarry-esque image of happily occupying my time doing things I love, it reinforces the idea that my attention belongs more rightfully on profit than on pleasure.
We live in the era of the hustle. Of following our dreams until the end, and then pushing ourselves more. And every time we feel beholden to capitalize on the rare places where our skills and our joy intersect, we underline the idea that financial gain is the ultimate pursuit. If we’re good at it, we should sell it. If we’re good at it and we love it, we should definitely sell it.
The Modern Trap of Turning Hobbies Into Hustles
(via The Curious Bunch)
Ok, so it’s Five Links Issue #020, and back in Issue #017 I said by now I wanted to have migrated this newsletter over to a email service provider that doesn’t track subscribers’ behaviour.
Have I done it?
Well, no. Kind of; but no.
It was a lot harder than I thought it would be. The best option I have found is EmailOctopus, but that doesn’t offer a satisfactory landing page or place to host old archives.
And also, when I asked a few subscribers about what they thought about this whole ‘privacy pledge’ of mine, 100% of people surveyed said they really didn’t care about it. So that made it a lot harder for me to try to get motivated to build a custom combination of nocode services that together would replicate SubStack, but without the tracking.
But then I come back to where I started, which is that I just don’t like the idea of being a person that publicly praises privacy-forward stances by companies such as Apple or BaseCamp or [insert flavour of the month here], but then separately tracks subscribers’ clicks within my own newsletter.
So, I’ll be moving over to Hey World.
It’s not a perfect solution - but then this isn’t a particularly perfect newsletter. And my sample size suggests none of you really care enough to be bothered. In fact, the tracking data I’m rallying against actually lets me know that less and less of you are even opening this thing, so moving to a platform that doesn’t provide tracking data at all is an effective way of arresting a concerning trend. Some MBA speak there.
The biggest downside is I don’t think I can migrate an existing subscriber list.
This means that for those of you that I know personally, I will enter your emails manually and you will receive an automated email confirming you wish to be signed up. For those of you I don’t know personally, please reply to this email to let me know you’d like to continue to be subscribed.
I will keep using SubStack for another 5 Issues (or so), and then I’ll nuke this account. So you have some time to reply and let me know you’d like to stay subscribed. And then you’re DEAD TO ME.
Heh. Not really. You do you; it’s cool. But our relationship is a little bit on the line here, is all I’m saying.
If you enjoyed any of these links, the best way you can help me is by forwarding this email on to a friend. They can sign up at this link and they can browse past issues here
Banner Photo by Samuel Regan-Asante on Unsplash