The pandemic has revealed something that we knew but didn’t fully appreciate. The general level of IT skill in the workforce is appalling. Technology moves fast but almost nobody moves with it, so very quickly we are left behind.
One of the first programs I ever used when I got a job was Microsoft Excel. It did a terrific job adding things up and 20 years later it still does. It is amazing that the program is still ubiquitous. It’s not like we still use dial up modems, but the software seems so much stickier than the hardware it runs on.
To prove the point, Bloomberg have been hammering home the difficulty Wall Street is having recruiting people with Excel skills.
Excel? Really. It is astonishing because you can spend about eight hours watching YouTube videos and using WallStreetOasis (which used to be free) and you will move straight into the top 1% of Excel users. Yet people cannot do it, and most haven’t moved beyond being able to sum a single column of numbers. An advanced user is considered someone who can perform a vertical lookup, so much so that you even see it on CVs “excel including Vlookups”.
It’s like saying “can drive but left hand turns only”.
The reason Wall Street is struggling to recruit is because the most talented people probably don’t want to sit there all day and night hammering away on programs that are thirty years old.
So many white-collar workers just cannot be bothered to learn something new unless they are forced. “This is how we do things” is pervasive, which is why we still get PowerPoints the whole time and ultimately, it’s how all businesses die. Once Wall Street was the place to be, then it was Silicon Valley, now it’s up for grabs.
You would also have heard it’s a generational thing, everyone will tell you how good their kids are with IT. Are they though? Watching Netflix, using an iPad, being able to switch the TV over from Foxtel to terrestrial. All those things that over 50’s find tricky. It’s not IT skill.
– How does a computer work?
– Can you program one?
– What is behind the iPad screen?
– How is it doing that?
– How are the chips so small?
– What is the internet?
– Can I automate what I am doing?
– Have I even tried?
The number of people that can answer these questions is very small indeed.
IT power compounds exponentially, the Americans proved it with Silicon Valley. Large countries like India and China are producing 250,000 computer science graduates per year. Their development and contribution will compound over time too, as it already has in China.
Like the frog boiling in water, people are just sitting there while this tech comes for their jobs.
Would you be sad if $600m went missing? I would. Unfortunately, this week that is exactly what happened to the Poly-Chain protocol. They began their recovery efforts with this message.
Simply email us at the address below to return the funds. Oh dear. I take no pleasure in what has happened here, it must be enormously stressful and unpleasant for the people involved.
Polychain explain exactly what they do on their website:
Poly Network is built to implement interoperability between multiple chains in order to build the next generation internet infrastructure. Authorized homogeneous and heterogeneous public blockchains can connect to Poly Network through an open, transparent admission mechanism and communicate with other blockchains. Poly Network has already integrated Bitcoin, Ethereum, Neo, Ontology, Elrond, Ziliqa, Binance Smart Chain, Switcheo and Huobi ECO Chain.
No. I do not understand it either. I suspect they do not understand it and now $600m of other people’s money has fallen into the hands of someone who understands rather better.
DeFi protocols are risky. Smart contracts are risky. Once you layer one risk protocol on top of another the increase in risk is not linear, it is exponential. This will not be the last DeFi disaster we see.
The full scale of the reach of digital currency was revealed this week when the Infrastructure Bill in the US was delayed by the debate about digital currencies. Smuggled into the bill, at the behest of Janet Yellen, was some wording that would essentially have required all people using digital currency to KYC any counterparty. The usual unworkable, unenforceable insanity.
Cue a major uprising, phone calls to Senators from bitcoin users across the US to either repeal the section altogether or to change it. It looks as though there will ultimately be some clarification around who must do this and what is classified as a ‘broker’.
Regulation is a double-edged sword. On the positive side, you don’t spend days negotiating on regulations about something you intend to ban. On the other hand, there is a clear lack of understanding among politicians about how this sector works and their draft legislation proved it.
Overall, when your lobby group is powerful enough to cause Senators to work the weekend and miss Obama’s 60th birthday vegan-fest, then it’s obvious you’re on the map. These days, we are well and truly on the map.
There was considerable surprise in Washington at just how large our community is. I was surprised too.
For many years the leading critic of bitcoin, Jamie Dimon’s JP Morgan launched a raft of bitcoin products to clients last week in response to demand. Four funds from Grayscale are now on the menu, one from Osprey (presumably their bitcoin fund) as well as a few others.
It’s been a long journey from his 2016 “it’s going nowhere”.
Still, Jamie himself has not changed his mind. He tells us the new products arise because “clients are interested, and I don’t tell clients what to do”.
Quite right too, very refreshing.
In Europe, August is holiday month. Christine normally goes to Greece, which is fitting, given that its economy collapsed due to monetary policy disasters. So, we can look to one of her good friends for this week’s Euro-Trash. Senator John Kerry.
The Senator is the Special Presidential Envoy for Climate.
Here he is a few weeks ago in London:
“The climate crisis is the test of our own times”
“2021 is a pivotal moment, a decisive year, as the world must get to grips with the climate crisis and rapidly slash emissions in the 2020s to have a chance of a safe future”
…and here he is arriving at Obama’s birthday party…….. on a private jet.
Christine is a prophet. Not only did John bring energy, drive and leadership to the climate change fight as she promised. He also brought a Gulfstream GIV-SP which burns 1,500 litres of fuel per hour.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for private jets. Just don’t get on your soap box and tell me I can’t have one and then fly home on yours.