If you want to make a difference and change the world, you must first work on changing yourself – the first step is controlling what goes into your mind. You cannot passively watch news or video listen to radio or podcast and imagine that you are being informed. You have to learn to read and to read a LOT of content fast. Reading fast is about understanding the trajectory of logic in any argument – it’s about see the points coming before others make them. There’s no way to develop this skill or foresight except by reading and reading a LOT. Reading and thinking ahead of where others are is why LEADERS ARE READERS.

Reading a lot is the first step to skillfully curating content and thinking ahead, learning how to learn what will be important and doing more serious work with automating data and data APIs. Advanced work with data is essential for understanding the flow of information [in both the digital and non-digital realms]. Trust, integrity, information security and everything impacting the social contract is all about information flow. When it comes to the flow information, you are either predator or prey … you are either antifragile or you are a sucker. If you want to make a difference and change the world, you cannot allow yourself to passively consume content like a sucker – you cannot be programmed like someone’s gadget; you must learn to program yourself – you have to learn to READ.

Political economics and social choice theory

If you want to understand LEAN government, you need to ask the fundamental questions … Bastiat was doing this a LONG TIME ago … and he wasn’t exactly the first or only only one … there are a LOT of important economic, political and social theorists who have already articulated and amply demonstrated the reasons for why government should focus on staying out of the lives of people, rather than providing for people’s wants and desires.

Government is primarity about information and we should expect that the information technology employed by government is a LOT better than it is. Poor technology serves the needs of those interested in preserving old power. We can and should do better; generally technology is apolitical and better technology does not cost nearly as much as maintaining bad old technology. Let’s look at a technology like blockchain distributed database technology.

Blockchain and Bitcoin

– Blockchain distributed database technology was used for Bitcoin, but many of the new use cases have nothing to do with Bitcoin.

– The artitecture of blockchain is basically that of an accounts ledger, but it is a distributed ledger that is not controlled by any single institution. You trust the algortithm rather than the institution. The algorithms of blockchain are relatively simple; what are highly complex and totally unnerving are the intensely emotional relationships that people have to money. People might say that they don’t understand blockchain or bitcoin, but the reality is that they do not have any understanding about the magical and superstitious trust that they have blindly placed in money so blockchain and bitcoin make no sense … because they are not secured by MAGIC, like blind faith in politically-driven monetary institution like the Federal Reserve.

– A blockchain database is immutable. In the language of transactional database systems, it is CRUD without the Delete. You can never delete a record. Update means add a new record to the Blockchain, it does not mean that you change the record. You don’t have to trust an institution to maintain this record securely (this really matters in countries with lots of corruption at Government level, because those who control the records effectively control who owns what).

– Smart Contracts are “if this then this” business rules automatically enforced by code. Most business contracts fall into some variant of “I will do x, when y happens”. The key is that enforcement is not via courts, it is via code. Smart contracts often use an entity that is akin to an escrow agent where release of funds is based on “multi sig” (multiple signatures) to confirm that funds can be released because an event has been triggered.

Algoritms and Mathematics

Understanding the abstract, higher level things is probably insufficient … if you don’t understand how the lower level things work, you effectively believe in magic … many bitcoin fans believe in the magic of bitcoin, simply because it’s the underdog currency. That’s totally insufficent for rational assesment of a technology OR making choices about ANYTHING.

In order to effectively use and design [distributed] databases for lower latency, responsiveness or rapid retrieval [when data is needed], it is necessary think about applying more appropriate or efficient algorithms that exploit the particular attributes of data for managing or indexing data stores. Toward that end, it is important to develop a better working understanding of things like hash functions, checksums, check digits, digital fingerprinting algorithms, randomization functions, forward error-correction, network coding, cryptographic ciphers, blockchain, distributed databases and a variety of topics in coding theory.