Discover more from Liberty’s Highlights
352: How to Fix Twitter Verification, The Trade Desk Q3, FTX, 25 Biggest Cos, AMD, and AI Gait Analysis
"time travel in which every bad thing happens all at once"
The truth is rarely pure and never simple. —Oscar Wilde
🐦 🛠👷♂️🧰 The problem with the approach that Elon Musk took for Twitter Blue user verification is that it confuses and mixes up two different goals.
Getting rid of bots and troll accounts AND allowing users to know if account X is really owned by some celebrity/company/media org/the person whose name is on it/whatever.
These two things shouldn’t be tied together.
Here’s my suggestion to Musk to fix it:
The checkmark should be *associated with an account's visible name*. If the account changes its name, the 'verified' checkmark disappears. It re-appears whenever they revert back to their verified name (you can show what name is verified in profile settings so its easy to go back to it). You need a process to verify genuine names changes. To deal with bots/trolls, have two tiers of verification: - Level 1: This is a real person, not a bot (this doesn't give you a checkmark, just some other marker of verification. Maybe a different avatar shape (hexagon? square?) or a different border around it). - Level 2: This is a specific person/brand/organization ('verified' checkmark associated with name). Level 1 accounts won't be able to pretend to be level 2 by changing their name because the visual signal of verification will be different, they won't have the checkmark. Level 2 accounts won't be able to pretend to be other level 2 accounts because if they change their name, the checkmark disappears. No confusion possible.
🎧📚💪👦🏻 I made a great discovery! I was about to read from the 3rd Warrior Kid book by Jocko Willink to my 8yo, and as I was waiting for him to get ready, I idly read the back cover.
It mentions a bunch of projects by Jocko, including… a Warrior Kid Podcast?!
Ooh! I had no idea this existed.
After reading a chapter from the book, we listened to episode #1 of the pod, and it was great, my kid loved it.
The format is an “Ask Uncle Jake” Q&A with questions from young readers, and the answers are perfect at reinforcing the lessons from the books and expanding them a bit.
I’m pretty sure that we’ll be listening to all the episodes over the coming months.
🤦♀️ The biggest scammers and frauds are *always* well-respected, well-connected, have impressive resumés, glowing media stories, etc.
After they are exposed, you get a flood of photos of them with politicians, powerful businesspeople, celebrities, athletes, whatever.
If they weren’t that connected (benefiting from the halo effect of rubbing shoulders with the elite), they couldn’t become as big as they get!
I’m talking about Bernie Maddoff, of course… 😬
🪞🤔 There’s so much hindsight bias going on with everything these days (apparently “everybody knew” about XYZ before it happened…).
But hindsight bias is always there, it’s just more obvious when there are big stories for everybody to do some signaling about (*look at how smart I am! I knew it! it was OBVIOUS*).
What’s more insidious is that when there aren't these big splashy headlines, the impulse is still there and all this hindsight bias is likely just popping up in less visible ways, still distorting people’s view of reality and themselves/their capabilities.
And I don’t just mean others. I also mean you and me.
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Business & Investing
📰 The Headline Time Machine Game, FTX edition 🕰
What if you could send that one back in time to November 14, *2021* (just one year ago when BTC was about $70k, SBF was on magazine covers hailed as the next Warren Buffett, and FTX was going to be the next JP Morgan Chase...).
The collapse of FTX, already one of the most spectacular disasters in financial history, worsened as hundreds of millions of dollars were drained from the cryptocurrency exchange hours after it filed for bankruptcy.
More than $600 million was siphoned from FTX's crypto wallets late Friday. Soon after, FTX stated in its official Telegram channel that it had been compromised, instructing users not to install any new upgrades and to delete all FTX apps.
"FTX has been hacked. FTX apps are malware. Delete them. Chat is open. Don't go on FTX site as it might download Trojans," wrote an account administrator in the FTX Support Telegram chat. The message was pinned by FTX General Counsel Ryne Miller. (Source)
This shouldn’t make you feel schadenfreude. Rather, it should make you question what you believe today that may turn out to have been spectacularly wrong a year from now.
I mean, it’s not like we’ve all got the past few years 100% right, eh?
Humility can save lives, including your own.
💣 Crisis Time-Travel 🕰
another way to look at the stylized fact that all correlations go to 1 in a crisis is that crisis is a form of time travel in which every bad thing happens all at once.
🔥 The Trade Desk Q3 Highlights 🔥
There’s a lot of drama in the digital ad market these days, a lot of uncertainty.
I thought it’d be interesting to see what one of the visionaries in the space is seeing these days. (“visionary” can sound cringey, but I guess that’s what Jeff Green is… he’s got a vision for what he calls the “end state” of his industry, and he’s working in that direction)
Throughout 2022 and in particular, in Q3, The Trade Desk has significantly outperformed seemingly all other forms of digital with a significant contrast to walled garden in our ability to win advertising budgets [with revenue growth up 31%]. [...]
Our vision and business strategy continues to be validated by our advertising clients. Nearly every single major advertiser wants a world where the open Internet thrives, where competition and price discovery thrive. They want great measurement that works across the web so that they can compare the performance of each site app or destination to all the others. [...]
Just 1 more data point on the market overall and how we are performing WPP's GroupM predicts worldwide advertising will increase 8.4% in 2022, and we are growing at more than 3x that rate. CTV continues to be a key growth driver, and our shopper marketing initiatives are yielding very encouraging results.
While Google and Facebook have incredible scale, The Trade Desk is trying to build scale by aggregating access to the zillion smaller and mid-size players on what they call the “open internet”. When taken together, these are pretty gigantic, along with connected TV, which is a brand new space that is fairly fragmented + audio, where programmatic ads are growing fast (ie. Spotify).
While CTV may be the biggest force of change for the open Internet, perhaps retail media and its accompanying data is a close second. Political also continues to perform well.
Retailers and CPG companies have a huge quantity of 1st party data that is very valuable *if* they can use it effectively to better target their ad spend, so it’s not surprising to see TTD build advanced data tools and partners with so many of them.
Once again, CTV was our fastest-growing channel and it has rapidly become our largest.
For years now, we've been talking about how the English-speaking markets have been leading the adoption of CTV advertising. The U.S. and Australia have been great leaders and case studies for the world, both benefiting from the fragmented and competitive nature of content in their markets, but now CTV adoption is going global.
Perhaps the most bullish statement I'll make this year is that our CTV spend grew in the majority of our international markets faster than it did in the United States. I've said previously that the U.S. and Australia are leading the way on CTV and that markets like the U.K. and France are following fast, but that pace is picking up in all corners of the world, especially as advertisers look for more relevance and precision in their biggest campaign category.
CTV is not only becoming their largest segment, but because it is growing fastest, its impact on overall revenue growth increases over time.
Current mix: CTV low 40s percentage share, mobile high 30s percentage share, display low teens and audio around 5%.
Clearly, it’s just a matter of time until every TV ad is programmatic, but we’re far enough from that day that the pie is growing fast at the same time as TTD is gaining market share. 🥧
While much has been said about Netflix moving to advertising, and we are excited about what that opportunity means for our industry and our business, there are many leading content providers that are driving innovation in CTV. [...]
Disney will launch advertising on the Disney+ platform in December, and they are incredibly progressive in how they are enabling advertisers to leverage their own first-party data via UID2. We are very proud to be their partner. [...]
Peacock is one of our longest-standing CTV partners. As with many broadcasters who begin the CTV journey, much of our work with them was initially in a fixed price context, testing the market. But I'm thrilled to report today the vast majority of Peacock inventory that flows through our system is fully decisioned and biddable. And as a result, CPMs have increased significantly, while advertisers are spending more and of course, seeing more value.
One of the effects of having better-targeted ads is that the streamers and content owners get better CPMs for them. This can mean that they can show fewer minutes of ads for the same revenue, or get higher revenue for the same number of minutes of ads.
Either is win-win for all involved (good content is expensive).
One of the key factors in our progress with UID2 has been our success with the world's leading data aggregators such as AWS, Snowflake, Salesforce, Adobe and many, many others.
Put simply, these companies house the first-party data of the world's leading advertisers. With UID2, advertisers can transact on that data without an ever leaving home. Because of this progress, I predict that more than half of the data inventory flowing through our platform by early next year, will be UID2 tag.
UID2 seems to be getting decent traction. They expect that a majority of third-party data on their platform will have UID2 enabled by 2023. As Green points out, it’s not just about replacing ‘cookies’, as CTV never had browser cookies to begin with.
It’s getting adoption on its own merits as a new high-privacy standard that makes it easier to use 1st party data and track performance/measure ROI.
Answering a question about whether they may have to slow investment/hiring/etc:
We've got a situation where we're driving high top line growth. We've got high adjusted EBITDA growth with strong margins.
And we've got not only strong free cash flow generation, but consistent free cash flow generation [...] there's a lot of companies out there that may have more resources than us that are pausing or even cutting their resources because they potentially invested too aggressively.
And we didn't get ahead of ourselves the last couple of years. I think maybe like some of these companies did, and that's paid off for us. We have the ability to stay the course and we deliver it about our investments, and that includes hiring.
In short: We’ll take advantage of others’ weakness to improve our position during hard times.
Here’s Green on the connected TV tailwind:
right now, at The Trade Desk, we're living a secular tailwind that I don't know that we've ever seen before, and I don't know that we'll ever see again and that is going to continue into 2023, largely because of the amount of inventory that is coming online. [...]
CTV is not just leading in our business and not just the most interesting thing happening in programmatic, but it's the most interesting thing happening in ad-funded media. [...]
And so as a result, CTV is quickly becoming the place where people spend their very first dollar and was not surprised at all to see our partner, Disney+ report 12 million new subscribers. And of course, Netflix added a couple of million themselves on just the promise of an ad-funded option coming soon.
So there's more inventory coming online.
this is getting a bit long, so I’ll leave it here 👋
Size goes down pretty quickly for the 25 biggest companies in the S&P500 🐘 🐖 🐁 🐜
Power laws everywhere…
Via Genuine Impact
Science & Technology
🔥 AMD’s CPU Strategy & Genoa Variants 🔥
Friend-of-the-show Dylan Patel writes:
AMD is coming with more and more variants of their CPUs. While CPUs are for general-purpose workloads, there is increasing customization for various end markets. In the 4th generation, there are 4 variants.
Genoa, the topic for today, is for general purpose and mainstream.
Bergamo is for cloud-native workloads. The IO die and platform are shared with Genoa, so many aspects are similar, but replacing the Zen 4 core for the Zen 4C core, which has the same core architecture and L2 cache with half the L3 cache per core. The cores for Zen 4C are laid out to maximize density at the cost of frequency.
Genoa will also have another variant called Genoa X is for “technical.” This is an odd definition, but it is for computational fluid dynamics, EDA, and other workloads requiring more cache. Genoa X will be Genoa but with 3D V-Cache, and potentially multiple variants.
Siena is for Telco and Edge. We would also say it’s for some enterprise deployments due to lower power and Capex demands. Siena can be thought of as 1/2 of Genoa or Bergamo from memory to core counts. Not exactly, but that’s the gist of it.
I love this. If Moore’s Law isn’t giving you as much bang for the buck as it once did, the obvious way to step on the gas is to specialize for various use cases.
Nvidia takes this to an extreme by specializing in certain types of tasks (the so-called ‘embarrassingly parallel’ set for gaming and AI), but without going that far there’s plenty you can do by tweaking things like I/O, cache, adding on-die accelerators, etc
The specs on Genoa are impressive:
96 cores, 12 channels of DDR5, and 160 PCIe Gen 5 lanes (64 of which are CXL capable) [...]
The heart of Genoa is the Zen 4 core. Performance is up massively with a 14% improvement in IPC, and markedly higher frequency and average latency is improved due to the 2x larger L2 size. [...]
The summary is that AMD’s Genoa is ~2x the performance of Milan, with only a modest power consumption increase. Gains are larger in floating point thanks to the addition of AVX512 and the outsized memory bandwidth bump.
🚶🏻♂️📹🤖 ‘This AI Watches You Walk to Diagnose Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis’
In the same way that you can discover the ‘fingerprint’ of certain diseases by analyzing someone’s blood, certain neurological conditions have a fingerprint that could be detected simply by closely watching someone’s gait.
In a recent study, a team of researchers at the University of Illinois explored a technique using standard video cameras combined with AI that can assess a person’s gait and identify those who may have Parkinson’s disease or MS. The results, which show the approach can reach accuracies as high as 79 percent
What’s most interesting is that these patterns can be detected in the earlier stages of the diseases, allowing more time for treatment to slow down or (hopefully soon) cure them. More details here.
🦠 Cold & Flu rebound 🤧🤒
My kids have been sick for 1+ month without pause. My youngest son appears to be beginning his 4th or 5th cold in a row, waking us at night because of a stuffy nose or fever… ugh
It’s worse than in normal times, which makes sense if you consider that during the past two years, we pretty much crushed the cold and flu viruses because of pandemic measures, so our immune systems accumulated a kind of “immunological debt” that we now have to repay (there’s no such thing as a free lunch):
“It is possible that this year will be sort of the granddaddy of them all in terms of flu.”
Hensley says that this is because the population “is more immunologically naive than what we would expect in most years”. Normally, children get infected by their second birthday. Now, “you’re going to end up having kids that are three, four years of age right now who have never seen RSV”.
For older children and adults who have been previously infected, the problem is waning immunity. In the absence of exposure to a virus, antibody levels decline. In a typical year, “we might get exposed to a small bit of virus and your body fights it off”, says John Tregoning, an immunologist at Imperial College London. But “that kind of asymptomatic boosting maybe hasn’t happened in the last few years”. (Source)
I can’t wait until we have universal cold vaccines… Let’s put to use all the neat biotech we’ve developed in recent years!
Not only are these viruses unpleasant in themselves (exponentially so when you have young kids), but the amount of lost productivity from having billions of people sick a few times every year makes it a no-brainer to go Manhattan Project on.
And for those who are very sick/frail, it can be more than just a temporary inconvenience…
The Arts & History
🎬 🎞 This 16-year-old re-cut trailer for The Shining is amazing 👯♀️🪓
I can’t imagine how confusing it would be for someone who has never seen the film to stumble on this, think it seems like a fun, light-hearted family comedy, and then watch Kubrick’s film 😬
h/t Pythia Capital