3 min read

Miseries of Yore

Miseries of Yore
Photo by Pierre Borthiry - Peiobty / Unsplash

A lot of my Twitter feed is about startups, investments and tech news ( All hail tracking! ). And today, as I browsed through Twitter, the biggest news by far was Coinbase's IPO. Nothing even came close to the discussion that was happening around Coinbase going public at a ~$96B valuation. If you're not familiar with Coinbase, they're a company that started out aiming to make cryptocurrency transactions more accessible through their platform, and they charge a fee for every transaction. But unlike other companies going public where employees and investors profit the most, Coinbase's IPO meant a lot to a significant group of people - the general cryptocurrency enthusiasts and investors. The massive valuation and worldwide interest in Coinbase meant that cryptocurrency like Bitcoin would no longer be considered a niche, speculative currency but might be more generally accepted.

However, between this rush of tweets, one particularly stood out to me

Sahil met Coinbase's founder Brian in 2011 and had a chance to get in at the earliest possible stage. He declined.
When asked in the comments if he regretted it, Sahil says he doesn't. And it makes sense for him. He went on to create Gumroad, a marketplace platform that's valued at over $100M. While it's still a far shot from what he could've had at Coinbase, Sahil and Gumroad are a success by all definitions of the word. He believed in his product Gumroad and had no way of knowing if Coinbase or even Cryptocurrency had any future. He stuck with his gut and made Gumroad a successful company. However, that got me thinking. Would he have had the same answer if Gumroad had failed and he was a nobody today? What would I have felt if I was in his shoes? The honest answer - I don't know and hopefully never have to find out.

There shouldn't be any sadness in a well thought out decision you made in your past no matter the outcome. Maybe you turned down a job at a startup in favour of a bigger company and that startup became a unicorn. Maybe a stock you sold as soon as it started falling blew up and shot to the moon. I regularly see articles or comments on Reddit about how someone gave away hundreds of bitcoin in exchange for a pizza, or someone sold their Amazon shares in the early 2000s and regret it today. But you have to ask yourself what if the alternative had happened. Amazon shares were in the red for years before they rose rapidly. Sure, there are always going to be people who "predict" a company is going to grow rapidly, or some asset is going to appreciate in value, but for every right prediction there are probably hundreds of similar sounding wrong ones that could sink you. Your gut call isn't just some magical voice from above, it's millions of years of evolutionary biases mixed with responses from your own life experience and trusting it goes a long way.

Steve Jobs had a quote that I've always liked -

You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.

As part of the Coinbase discussion, investor Dan Romero shared an email he was reminiscing about from over 8 years ago

With BTC being where it is now, Dan could connect the dots that lead him from first hearing about Bitcoin to him now realising what he missed out on by not investing early. Back in 2012, that sentence could've meant nothing to Dan but a general life update from his friend. Had BTC not taken off, those dots would've remained unconnected and this would've been yet another email in the vast digital universe.

An unheard of coin today might be worth millions tomorrow and there's nothing you can do. Maybe one could train themselves to better identify which ideas seem investing in, but that can only take you so far cause execution is everything and even then, some unforeseen circumstances could derail everything in the blink of an eye.

In case you haven't caught on yet, these are just some thoughts I had browsing through Twitter during all this. So many people applauding the early investors, others regretting not getting in on the company or crypto in general. I'll leave you with one final tweet that sums up how I feel about all this, and something I'm sure most people can relate to.