July 8, 2021

The Investor Next Door

Would you risk it all on a trading bot? 🤖 David Smooke, Amy Tom, and Guy (the Cher of HN - jk his last name is Torbet) talk about special purpose acquisition companies, culture & novelization, equity crowdfunding, and trading algorithms.
This Week On Pla...

Would you risk it all on a trading bot? 🤖 David Smooke, Amy Tom, and Guy (the Cher of HN - jk his last name is Torbet) talk about special purpose acquisition companies, culture & novelization, equity crowdfunding, and trading algorithms.

This Week On Planet Internet, David, Amy, and Guy are getting into the hard-hitting questions:

  • What was up with the SPAC deal with NextDoor? 🚪 (01:06)
  • Uhmmmm quick side note, did Zuck ruin foiling? 😅 (07:44)
  • Do we stan novelization as hard as Quinten Tarantino does? 😤 (10:42)
  • Should software users be able to own part of the companies they support? 🤝 (15:50)
  • Are you confident enough to bet all your capital on a self-built algorithm trading bot? 🥵(22:20)
  • What kind of tech are we into at the moment? Amy's tech purchase is coming in the mail, Guy is learning something new, and David has a new tech tool (lol) 💰 (27:30)





Hello, and welcome to this week on planet internet, a hacker noon podcast. I'm your guest host today. David smoke. And I'm joined by the real podcast. Host Amy, Tom. Hello, Amy. Oh, hello. And the man the myth, the legend, the inventor of the free internet plugin. Guy. He goes by one name like Cher,

Not bad. Pretty good. How are you? What time is it for you? It's is just 5:00 PM for eight mid-afternoon. I like it. Cool. Working late. Great. So today we're going to talk about lots of cool stuff. That's going on the internet. And we're going to talk about next door filing to go public and other social network out there.

We're going to talk about Quintin Tarantino re-purposing as content. We're going to talk about users owning their own content and, or using, owning their own platforms. Excuse me. As well as losing $1.8 million. So that sounds like a lot of fun. So the first story today is about next door and they have filed to go public.

They did so using something called a special. Purpose acquisition company. So basically kosha coastal ventures from saying that they are backing the deal. So they're putting in the initial money to go public. And what a special purpose, excuse me, I messed it up. It's a special purpose acquisition.

Stanol sorry about that. It's a company with no commercial operations formed solely to raise capital so that they can get a backing and having an initial amount in the pool before going public and talking to other investors. I watched a video interview here with why they're doing it this way. And they compare nextdoor to LinkedIn and saying, Hey, a vertical market network, like LinkedIn is justifying the valuation here.

Cause they're valuing even though next door only made Last year, their revenue was reported 123 million and they lost 75 million. So they're not profitable. They're only making 123 million a year and they're valuing at 4.3 billion. LinkedIn sold for about 25 billion and they're also citing different.

Basically that next door as a social network for your neighborhood has online and offline benefits where you are actually interacting with your neighbors more in-person because of the online network where a lot of the criticism of other social networks is the, the newsfeed of doom and they're really making your real life worse.

Next door is trying to position itself as making your real life better. And so the, but as Reuters rights the competition extends to next door as revenue providers comparing to Facebook, roughly 55 to 65% of Facebook's 84 billion in advertising. Revenue comes from small businesses. Next door is growing faster.

It's top increased 49, 40 9% year over year, but it's still this elephant in the room of trying to compete with them. And Facebook launched something called neighborhoods as an absolute direct competitor of trying to go after and squash next door. What do you think gaming what's going to happen to next door in this public offering?

I think that's interesting. I apparently they have 275,000 neighborhoods that they're already in right now, worldwide. They have neighborhoods in the U S and in Canada and in other countries as well, but I've never heard of it. And to be honest, I don't think that I would use it in. The setting that I live in a suburban neighborhood right now, but I can see if I lived, it was living in an apartment again, how I might like to do that.

Cause like in the apartment, it's really difficult. I think to meet people or New York, like always in the elevator with them, but in the suburbs I don't know. I still talk to my neighbors and like a friendly kind of like way. But I don't, and I think a lot of people in my neighborhood are quite a bit older too, so I think it would be cool to implement and like a young hip city in an apartment building.

But, and I can see a use case for that. And I've never used neighborhoods either in Facebook. Facebook's native app for that, but yeah, I don't know.

Cool. I've used it before, but I don't use it now. I used it when I was in the city when I was younger and it was nice, like for like robberies, like a, who got robbed around the corner, like where the robberies are happening or like checking in with different things. That guy have you used next door before?

Not harder than my camp. Y it's. It's quite cool concept though. Might check them out. Yeah, I, they were saying that it was like the Facebook of it was like a Facebook, but for specific to certain areas, which I thought was interesting. And I guess I don't really understand though why they did it as a special purpose acquisition company, instead of just going through a regular IPO.

I think it's more control over the price because they're basically saying, Hey, instead of going to investors and trying to go from zero to however many hundreds of millions, they want they're saying, Hey, we already have 270 million in valued at 4.3 billion let's match that. Or however much more they want above two seventies.

It's something you would do. If you were confident, the demand was super high, you wouldn't need the special purpose, whatever, if you were confident, you would just be able to need it and continue as this company. So I think it's a way to reduce risk and get and then the top investors get their set things and they're all good with it and they back it and they try and get other people to follow.

Yeah, I think it's just a way to reduce risk of having an IPO that falls flat on its face without enough demand. Who are the investors? This is the main guy here Coachella Cosla, I've actually, I published, we've published them before, once upon a time his company here they are coastal ventures and they've done some they're.

They're known as being a little more, not as driven by the numbers and a little more by the story is the impression I get from them. And I think. Taking on Facebook is a bold move. And now this guy's going to be the lead investor of next door is better for local neighborhoods than Facebook.

So I think it's all like good. Yeah. And for the market, it's good for Facebook to have more competitors. And I really like vertical market networks that aren't Facebook, like, why not join a social network just for this? Or just for that, as opposed to saying Facebook. Yeah. Is your social network and identity?

That's true. I guess it's just harder to gain new users. Yeah. To convince people that they should download another app or use an app make another account. That's not a Facebook account when they could be using Facebook. I guess what's the point I have, I struggle with that too in a WhatsApp to signal kind of sense in the sense I would love to move over to signal, but to convince everybody to move over to the signal.

Is the challenge. And so that's why I haven't like fully moved over yet because my friends haven't moved over. So I guess if they can find a way to convince a lot of people to move over then. Yeah. Great.

Let's do a little side note here on their competition. Did everyone see a mark Zuckerberg on the 4th of July? No, but I saw this article. So question is, this is the title of the article. I'm on a site called beach grit.com. Did Facebook, founder and CEO, mark Zuckerberg. Single-handedly destroy both boiling, both foiling and America.

One fell swoop guy. What's your take on this? That thing he's writing, like he's surprisingly good at that to be fair to him. It looks great. That's cool. Yeah, exactly. No, but the actual surfboard thing, especially for big Zakat spray, but it seems pretty physically challenging. Surprise you actually get it going, but there's a lot of rumors he's going to be running for president in some wacky stuff like that.

I just kinda look at it statistically. I don't think it's going to go too far beyond just a, a meme like the. Sunscreen on the face thing that was around for a few weeks, and then it died out. I think, Zuck with American flags, just going to be a Twitter medium, and then fade away again.

I had to look up what foiling was, can use it. Oh gosh. Okay. It's I don't even know. It's a surfboard, but powered by a motor or something. So you don't have to not it's not a motor. You just pump it and go, okay. It's like completely physical who pumps it. So you pump it and then you run.

You haven't seen them. Have you seen the videos a little bit?

It's like a little fin on the water and then it just floats. There's no motors, but you just push your feet up and down. And then it just bites the waves and keeps going. I don't think I could do it. I've not now skew this, that you've seen mark Zuckerberg with the American flag.

Foiling, will you try foiling or is it dead? I also want to give it a go. It looks quite fun, but I've always thought it was above my kind of skill level and tone. My coordination's not the best, but if you give it a go, make sure you carry the Scottish flag. Oh, yeah, definitely. I've got to represent that's your competition next door.

I thought you meant those guys. Competition. Mark Zuckerberg. His guys a foiling competition. Oh, that's not competition. Difficult weeks here. All right. Let's transition to pop culture. Quintin Tarantino is deciding to write a novel based on his book, based on his movie. Once upon a time in Hollywood, and this is on the site.

So this is a newbie site, a little outside our norm here. But the Tarantino quote what he says about this, the novelization is what's interesting here of moving content through different forms. And the Tarantino quote is to this day, I have a tremendous amount of affection for that. John DRA John era.

So as a movie novelization of fishy auto, of course that's a thing. We're out to announce once upon a time in Hollywood, as my contribution to this often marginalized yet beloved sub genre and literature. I'm also thrilled to further explore my characters and their world and the literary endeavor that they can hopefully sit alongside its cinematic counterpart.

I brought this story up today because it's content moves through different forms. It's interesting to think about how it trends are not like blog posts versus newspaper. Blogposts used to be really shat on, transcript versus podcast, a podcast versus sit-com. There's like things where you can move characters around.

And this story is by Kevin Mims on a site called how do we say this Quill at clever. Coalesce.com. It has a lot of cool stuff here about basically moving around and how it's been a way to promote cross-promote content. And sometimes occasionally the book becomes better than the movie. Whenever you take these characters to a different realm.

Guy, what do you think of Terentino's move here. Traditionally it goes the other way from book to movie like hunger games or something like that. It's quite from a marketing point of view is a smart move. Since the theaters won't be open for a while due to COVID. I saw it and I like his kind of style in the scripts at least.

And I've seen a few interviews apart from him being just wildly contrarian. He seems to have a very unique style. Someone called them functionally illiterate before. So I think and when he wrote the script, he wrote it all phonetically. So we wrote it as you'd say it instead of how it's actually spelled.

So I do feel sorry for the editor. That's all ha as well as filtering out the kind of end bombs throughout it. I would imagine, is that true or is that one of those rumors? Could you realize I'm pretty sure he's. Someone called them functionally a letter in the first draft of the script was completely phonetic.

So editors got a big job on his hands by Googling functionally illiterate. That's only two misspellings. Maybe I'm functionally illiterate. Yeah. If someone said it, her name is Linda G. His handwriting as a chosen atrocious, I was averaging 9,000 grammatical batteries per page, and I would cry and he would try to put back the errors because he liked 2013 vanity fair, same depth to the L there'll be challenging to read in a different sense, but yeah.

He's a very passionate guy. He talks about his films. Like most people talk about their children. So I think he'll put a lot of effort into it. I'm quite excited for it. I'm very much has it, it started off as a novel and then he turned it into a film. So I'm not sure if he's going to pick up where he left off. Interesting. I'm excited for you to get readers, right? If you're always make movies, if you make the movie first and then you make a book, you'll probably get more readers for your book.

Yeah, I think it's a lot easier to get a movie off the ground, but it is a book. Yeah. If that's what you've made before, like anyone we'll just give him a hundred million dollars to make whatever, like Kiki, if he just want to make a movie, you can just get, it wants to get his book on every bookshelf in the world.

They'll do that. You can do whatever you want. Are you buying this? No, definitely not. I'm not pro novelization. I think it's dumb cleaning Terentino's on an author. Yeah, no, I. I, I feel like I take my literature very seriously. And I don't really vary in general blanket statement, like books that are related to movies or books.

I like, I definitely don't like the movie after it's been turned into I, I don't like the movie after it's been based off of a book. And so I don't think that I would like them book based off of the movie. So yeah, no, I'm not buying it. And I am not interested in this quote, unquote beloved sub genre of literature.

I'm buying it. I'm in, give me the Terran Tino characters. You're going to give me more content about it. I'll read it. I'll watch it. Whatever you feel like giving me, I'll consider. I'm all in. All right. I guess you'll just have to know. You'll just have to remember that the book was almost entirely written by an editor apparently.

All right. That brings us to very smooth, not transition. Let users own the companies they build. So this is an article in wired by a professor. A couple of per college professors. One of them being a hacker noon shareholder, and the article starts out by bringing up this old campaign where Twitter tried to file a petition or no Twitter users tried to file a petition that Twitter should be owned by the users.

And that really didn't get anywhere in 20 16, 20 17. But I remember when it happened, I was like, this is really cool. And the webpage is still up and you can see it. Nice and simple thing of saying, Hey, we're the reason, all these words are our words and we're the reason this works.

So why can't we own it? And then it got a little more complicated in the sense of the gig economy rose. And then, so they, the article goes through 2018 where Uber and Airbnb are trying to say, Hey, we think all of our drivers should be able to buy stock or own stock at a reduced rate or have some sort of stock grants.

Basically, it ended up in legal limbo and it never happened and they ended up doing cash, but the idea is growing traction of the people growing the thing. How do you create them? How do you empower them to grow the thing more? You give them ownership. They have ownership in the thing.

They're going to grow it more. And it, hacker noon. We get mentioned in this article for doing an equity crowdfunding campaign and our equity crowdfunding campaign. 90% of the traffic to the page came directly from hacker news. So it's literally the people reading the site bought shares in hacker noon and they've helped grow it.

They've, we've, they've led the hires. They've led the customers. Like we have this little army of people that believe in us and having our readers know that like this group of readers if we grow, they grow. So it's been a useful for us. And it's nice to be mentioned in wired here. And there's just a lot of I'm trying to follow this more, how do we empower our users?

Don't more of our company is something that I spend time thinking about. I'll pass it over to you, Amy. What is going on with users? Owning the companies. They help build. Yeah, I think that's interesting. I think in the case of Twitter, like you mentioned before, it doesn't really make sense because they don't need their user's money, but in the case with hacker noon or something of the, like where we're just starting out and we need to get funding.

Then I think that makes a lot of sense for tech companies or just companies in general to get funding from their user base. And this is Kickstarter S vibes to where if it was a product or something, people would be putting money into it before it's really even built. It's like buying into a concept because you believe in the product or the service as opposed to getting an investment from a investment company is right.

Yeah. The interest of the investment most,  venture capital. Firms they make money when the company sells the interest isn't to make a sustainable thing that lasts forever and makes it better and better for the users forever. If the users own it, they want it to keep getting better.

But if the venture capitalist owns it, they only get paid. One of the thing when there's a liquidity event. So that incentive is a little bit perverse about How funding works. Yeah. Do you think that for companies like Twitter or maybe Facebook it's too late for the users to own that platform?

No. It's happening right now, but the users are buying shares. They're buying shares in a public company and they're making money that way. So there is some of it is happening. Get the overlap between someone who posts on Facebook everyday, and someone who owns Facebook stock. That's a pretty large group of people.

So there are ways. Just buy it, but Hey, if I give Facebook a million, 10 million views, because I put my content there and I created 10 million minutes of time reading or whatever I've done don't you think I deserve some steak? So there's I think that argument it's a little legally tricky and that's what this article gets at in the beginning that like Airbnb and Uber essentially lost or decided like it's too much trouble and it's easier to just give them cash.

And we don't have to go through all these records. And red tape or whatever, in the future I think it could be possible that it's just much easier to get, have users hold shares or, you look at some of these decentralized social networks. They're trying to get them to hold their own currencies and say, Hey, you have your own currency.

And when you contribute here, you are in currency. Now what do you think guy coming from the younger generation here of like, when you're joining a social network, do you feel like you should own some of it or you just, are you just accepting, the user is the user and I just accept their terms.

I remember here ages ago that if you're not getting anything out of it, the user is the product. And so in Twitter and Facebook, you can have your data and your personality become the product of Twitter and Facebook rather than the user. But you mentioned the decentralized social beaches.

Like I remember reading about a new one called bit clout, which every user gets its own crypto currency associated with it. And then the more traffic and stuff. To your page, the higher your value, and then people can invest in your personality and your page make money, and you get a certain percentage back and.

And yeah, and they just invited the top, 500 people from Twitter and invited them and said prove you're this person advertisers on your account and we'll get you your bet cloud account. Elon Musk still haven't accepted it, but he's the top one. So if he just accepts, you'll get like 50 million of his currency.

Sorry. Crazy. Yeah. Is I think it's a really cool idea though. It's just bringing another avenue for value and social media. It's incentivizes you to post there consistently in post high quality content, because then you'll be benefiting yourself as well as others. Yeah. I talked to the founder of one of their competitors in both of these companies and their site is idea market.

Both like one of the cool things about both of them is they're trading the coin before the person claims it. So when the person seems that they already get money right away from claiming, so they have a powerful flywheel of saying, Hey, literally, if you just create the account and you get paid on your first day here of the activity that's already happened on your coin.

So pretty clever, really clever growth incentives to get the top influencers to create an account. Yeah, that's what I was meaning. They created an account for Elon Musk and he's not advertised it yet, but when he do, he's got 50, $50 million waiting for him in his crypto. Damn. You notice how the UI looks really similar to Twitter?

Yeah. Yeah.

Cool. Should we move over to losing $1.8 million on hacker noon? Does that sound like a good one? This post is called how I built a million dollar algo trading strategy, then lost it all. And it's written by hopefully I say this right. Peregrine Butler. And he is his bio is applying novel design methods to build resilient and evolutionary algorithms at dune capital.

And in this story I'll read the intro here on May 23rd. I woke at 4:23 AM to perform my insomniac routine of checking my Binance trading. Yeah. Bitcoin had crashed as it so often. Does this time was different though, by 1.8, 8 million was gone. I had made a mistake in my code, which caused my leverage trading algorithm to miss it stop loss.

And I had been liquidated. So he lost all of his money from a coding mistake in his algorithms trading algorithm, which is a pretty sad, Andy woke up early to find it, but he still lost it all, which is also makes it sad. And he reaches the conclusion that he's going to build another one, which is pretty good.

That's the only logical way forward from that. What do you think, guy? What should our Mr. Buckler friend do? Trading bots are notoriously hard to get, right? By the sounds of it, it wasn't very automated. You're spending as much time looking at his screen as he would have been if it was just trading.

But I guess it can be more precise in when you buy and sale in short. I'm not sure how well off this guy is if however much one point eight billion million even was a massive het term, but I worked at parsley wouldn't trust, putting a massive amount on a bot. I made what's that saying about the confidence?

I don't think I did. Anyone's really there's algorithms and bots sailing for millions. I don't think they really outperform most people most of the time. So we're still got a long way to go in there, but credit to him for giving it a go. I, even after that, I wouldn't definitely wouldn't go back, but.

It said it was profitable. So it must have been doing okay. I was trading with 100% of my capital, so I will, I want to read a certain, an excerpt from the story because. Oh, my God, I feel this so hard and it was just so beautifully written. He said, so as that cool, 1.8, 8 million vanished in a flash. I reinterpreted the everyday anxiety.

The questions of purpose, the crippling self doubt, social anxiety in a millisecond. It propelled me out of my body, flipped me facing, flip me back, facing myself. Perra. How do you pronounce this per your wedded? Frozen and frozen with terrors stranger? My sludge frames, my, my sludge frame, my arms side-by-side gripping the duvet.

I thought to myself, this is how it feels to die. The following month can only be described as someone who had actually died still. It was only money now, a month wiser, a month polar and a month of mourning. I can finally tell my story. So he has like really hit the bottom of the barrel. And he is yeah, he's hit rock bottom.

With that message. And I was like that crippling self-doubt and social anxiety of wow. I feel that I love how the next paragraph is a guide on how to build a profitable tool trading bot. After that. I thought to myself, this is how it feels to die anyways, onto my bot.

I have to say, yeah, I admire it. Get knocked down right back up. He still has the competence of, I made 2 million bucks for I made a thing that could make trades that made about $2 million. I don't know. I saw Chris Sacca, the shark tank dude, talk about losing his first million.

Like he made it and then he lost it all and then he made it again. So I think there is something about these high-risk people that they boom and bust, like if he's really willing to put all of trading bot,

right. The last time I came on here, it was about a guy who'd max out all his credit cards and pretty much sold his house to invest in doge coin and then made a couple million off that. So it does go both ways. I guess you just have to commit. I bet within three years, he has more than 1.8, $8 million. And so hopefully this podcast reaches him and we'll have him on the podcast and three months,  $8 million.

That's where my hope is that I'm rooting for this guy. I think it's brave to tell the story. Brett, I'm glad he brought it to hacker noon. Then I think he's gonna make his money back. That's my sense. You don't know. I have faith. I do have faith. He can do it. Cool. And that's what those are the four stories today for planet internet.

I'm wondering if you guys have any products or tech tools that were on your mind? Yes. I just made a major tech investment that it's still coming in the mail. And it's a Sony, a seven mark three. So very excited to try that out. No word on how it actually is yet because it's still coming, but I will update everybody later.

It's a camera by the way

to clarify. Cool. What about you guys? New mechanical. No, still rocking the cage on K one. It's been free. Pretty good. So far nothing broken had a few spillages on it, but it's survived. So I just started learning stereotypical called VM the other week. Which is more than twice my age, but apparently that's what, yeah.

High-level elite programmers used. So I started using it and there's a lot of good stuff on hacker news. And every time I asked a question on Google hacker, didn't it was a top thing. So if you're looking to learn Novem, there's a lot of good content here. I'd definitely go check it out.

Cool. What about you, David? I don't really, I don't really use technology per se. No, you know what you got? I know what you got. Okay, cool. It's the dongle I read when I switched computers, I couldn't use a microphone anymore. Cause apple cut out the USB and then I realized I could get a dongle. So that's $20.

I could show it to you, but if I do SPCA to USB-C microphone, David finally has this microphone dongle. I'm recording three podcasts in 16 hours. This is number two. Yep. Okay. This is this week on planet internet. Thank you everyone for listening on Akron noon. And bye. Bye. Bye.