tag:connorbmilner.com,2013:/posts connor.txt 2022-04-28T07:11:13Z Connor Benoit Milner tag:connorbmilner.com,2013:Post/1813301 2021-11-03T12:00:00Z 2022-04-13T02:52:08Z Value people first.

People are the most important, technology is complimentary.

Nobody is self-made, it's a myth told to manipulate you into individualism and self-validation. No matter what your next path is in your life whether it's a career, project or business, it's important to think about "who" you will work with, do you value them and do they value you?

I've always believed you need to work with people you value and value you.

To test this theory I came up with an experiment: 

1. Start by asking yourself these questions.

“Who is the worst person you’ve worked with, and why?”

“Who is the best person you’ve worked with, and why?"

You have to think about this carefully and give a truthful, detailed answer because it's highly likely you have thought more about the latter than the former. This is because negative emotions overshadow positive and you'll always remember that asshole manager that made your life hell. 

Expect to have two polar opposite answers and exactly what you’re looking for. This experiment’s goal is to focus on what type of “people” you should work with, as I fundamentally believe this correlates directly to a successful career/business.

“Always associate yourself with people that are better than you” — Warren Buffett, he’s most likely the most recognizable business figure of the last century… I’d take advice from him.

I agree with this statement nevertheless, this can come across as sociopathic in which people purposefully target those with higher credentials and don't focus on the relationship element. Neglecting these realities will not help your growth, people must be better but supporting as well.

For Example Kevin Durant, arguably one of his generation’s best players, couldn’t win a title in 10 years of being in the NBA. He teamed up with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and the Warriors in 2016 to create one of the most unstoppable teams of all time. The Warriors went to win 2 titles in a row (17'–18'). He was around other players that complimented him, inspired him and elevated his work to the next level.

How do I go from quoting a legendary value investor to using a sports example? Because I do what I like… focus on the task at hand. ⬇️⬇️⬇️

2. Evaluate and dissect your answers.

The outcome you can expect will be something like this: The worst person was controlling and extremely negative. This personality was unmotivating, demoralising and lacked the empathy required to get the most out of people. Try your best to describe this person with one sentence “nightmare to work with and cruel human who made me hate my work.”

The best person was highly motivated and extremely positive. This personality was motivating, uplifting and smiled at everyone. This person made them feel like they were valuable, and they had something to offer. Try your best to describe this person with one sentence Bailey described this person with a smile as “someone who made me want to come to work and perform to the best of my ability.”

The outcome here is to make unconscious emotions enter your consciousness because either person could be the smartest, most professional, exciting person in the world but they've given you these feelings that you haven't valued enough. 

If this is your answer it is not unusual as it’s known that positive reinforcement brings out the best in most people, as this Cambridge study suggests IQ/happiness are positively correlated.

Not everyone is going to be inspired by the same things. I personally prefer to work with people I believe are smarter than myself as it gives me the motivation to learn, improve and be inspired to strive for greatness.

As I am in the business of startups, I have heard many stories, including one VC investor who only invested in startups where he liked spending time with the founder. “I don’t care if I lose money, as long as I have fun doing it”. For me, this is a legendary commitment but is a part of his success, sure, you might miss out on a Facebook investment, but would it have been miserable?

3. In conclusion, to finish the experiment, whether you are looking for a new career or building a startup, you must ask yourself, “Are these the people I would like to work with for the rest of my life?”

It seems extreme, but that is the commitment required to know if this is a good decision or not. If the answer is yes, then you can make your decision, and you’re on the right track to a successful venture.

I have often worked with people who bring out the worst in me, which directly results in lower productivity and failure. The times I have worked with geniuses that bring out the best in me and I become an unstoppable machine. If you want to get the best out of yourself or your business, don’t worry about the industry, product or services. Focus on the people.

I am always looking for new exciting startups, projects and fintech companies. Please connect with me below and reach out if you have anything interesting.


Connect with me

Stay hungry.

Connor

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Connor Benoit Milner
tag:connorbmilner.com,2013:Post/1810728 2021-04-17T11:00:00Z 2022-03-30T08:46:08Z Crypto is not going away but could be in an asset bubble.

“A basic principle in going short is that there has to be a catalyst” — Steve Cohen

It’s been over a decade since the introduction of Bitcoin, and whether you’re an active investor or think it’s tulips on steroids, there is no longer denying the significance of crypto as an asset class in the modern world. Institutional capital has been pouring into this space (Venture investors makes record $17bn bets on crypto), retail is overwhelming the exchanges and it is beginning to become mainstream as asset prices fly.

Are we in a bubble? What is the catalyst? Who is betting on this?

Infamous trader Michael Burry the man who correctly predicted the crash of the housing market in 2008 that led to the global financial crisis believes leverage is the biggest reason why the crypto market is in a bubble.

This is a highly valid point made by a credible person. Leverage is one of the biggest reasons crypto as an asset class has proliferated, leverage with stable coins like USDT or 100x margin trading provided by Binance and others.

What is a bubble? —An asset bubble occurs when the price of an asset, such as stocks, bonds, real estate, or commodities, rises rapidly without underlying fundamentals, such as equally fast-rising demand, to justify the price spike.

The crypto market fits this description:

as the market is over $2 trillion dollars total and you see the rise of dogecoin/memecoins.

Are we in a bubble in crypto? Yes but… there are many reasons why we got here and its not worth giving up on the space just yet.

One of the biggest reasons crypto as an asset class isn’t going away is the low-interest-rate environment filled with uncertainty; there is a considerable demand for returns from alternative assets, and Bitcoin/crypto fall into this category. This is sustaining the “bubble”, the overwhelming demand for an “alternative”. When everyone is touting 10x returns, it’s easy for investors to decide 0.05% APY ISA.

Another reason is that it is a new technology whose userbase/developer base is continuously growing. Ethereum has more active addresses than any other crypto network. This is not simply speculation, and many are using Ethereum blockchain and others for real-world use cases.

The final reason is that it provides unique access to global early-stage companies, niche markets, and new technology. The last few years’ growths have introduced mass retail interest from a pure alpha perspective, but we’ve seen how the great companies in the space have taken advantage of this demand.

Most notably Coinbase, Coinbase has just gone public via a direct listing. Thanks to the explosive demand, growth and euphoria of the crypto market, it has been listed at a near $100BN valuation.

What does this mean for the crypto market?

Crypto has entered the mainstream, most people would have heard of Bitcoin, some may have bought and used Bitcoin but overall the positivity around the market has come from the growth of assets prices and memes.

The crypto market which started with Bitcoin being an alternative currency system has now been distributed into many industries through its technological innovations including international payments, insurance, legal and many more. The crypto market is actually moving further away from the alternative currency system.

We are not in a new paradigm from a technological standard point but we are in asset prices, when a meme is worth several billion dollars you have to question the market cycle and how long can that last. This is one of the reasons “crypto” is here to stay because the market has evolved and still has a long way to go.

My belief is the crypto market’s first vertical is the sector of fintech and many fintech co’s will take advantage of the open-source technology to create companies that provide true value.

The above image is a reminded of when I first discovered Coinbase back in 2014, a simple wallet provider and from then on continued to build one of the most important companies in the space. Started in a small niche market to turn into a multi-billion dollar international business.

What we have to remember:

  1. Investing in crypto is no longer about relying on Bitcoin or digital asset prices. — Many companies in the crypto space rely on the price of Bitcoin to see any growth; Now the average retail investor can have exposure to the interest whilst mitigating the initial risk, Coinbase much like a bank, is profitable whether Bitcoin is $1,000 or $100,000 as it is an intermediary platform. Investors can now change their investment strategy when it comes to Bitcoin or crypto.
  2. Opportunity for new companies to follow. — Coinbase is the golden child of the crypto space, easily recognisable to all major crypto platforms. Other companies in the space previously used the ICO model to raise capital for their ideas, which worked until it didn’t. IPOs will open up the next level of what can be captured by the crypto industry; this will be an interesting trend to watch if crypto companies that provide more value than just trading venues can attract new public investors.
  3. Legitimacy as an alternative technology and future asset growth. — It is clear as day that everyone sees that Bitcoin is legitimately an alternative asset. Coinbase’s IPO just proved that the “traditional finance” world believe that it is legitimate too. Pension funds, larger investment managers and even regular retail investors still view Bitcoin as too risky from both a financial and security standpoint. Finally, those who believe that their interest in crypto will grow do not need to have direct exposure to any cryptocurrencies. This will change the space forever as we start to see more crypto companies actually offering value over speculation.

Although it appears that the legitimacy of the space continues to grow, we have to remember that this has all been a highly valued experiment and that the crypto market seems to be highly inflated as we’ve just seen Dogecoin go to $0.40 ($60BN market cap), and those who are hesitant are in their right to feel that way with the many irregularities in crypto. The most important thing is that you cannot ignore it anymore, you cannot deny its significance in society, and you must pay attention to this space.

As a fan, investor and participant in the crypto experiment since I was introduced to it eight years ago, I am impressed by its resilience. Eight years later, one Bitcoin is worth nearly $60,000, Coinbase has had one of the biggest IPOs ever, and the crypto market cap would be above $2TRN. Thanks to incredible market activity, dedicated people and great innovation, there’s no stopping the crypto industry now.

The next bear market will mostly wash away all of the junk, meme coins, bad actors and show that we were in a bubble. For now, this market is not going anywhere as there is still much to innovate and improve financial technology. Crypto, blockchain and open source technology will all provide more opportunities in the future.

Stay crazy.

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Connor Benoit Milner
tag:connorbmilner.com,2013:Post/1810729 2021-03-26T12:00:00Z 2022-03-25T08:12:47Z Why Defi is tomorrow’s $5.59 trillion opportunity.

2020 was quoted as the “Year of Defi”. I believe the next decade will be the “Decade of Defi”. This article is not written to serve as a hype of a particular project or the defi space. It is simply to serve as a reminder of why decentralized finance is here to stay and potentially one of the largest opportunities we have today.

If you don’t know what Defi is? I would highly recommend watching this video by Andreas.

Essentially you could call Bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrency platforms “Defi”. Bitcoin was the first successful monetary network that was completely decentralized and Ethereum was the first successful smart contracts platform that has enabled most of the Layer 2 Defi applications we know today. That being said it is still a world away from being part of our economy and is used for speculation on the most part by a select few people. Why is Defi a $5.59 trillion opportunity?

Below I have gone through the 3 reasons I support my theory.

  • Changing our financial services, What are the financial services? Insurance, asset management, loans, banking, debt, investment, custody and others. The internet has already changed our financial system with the likes of Paypal, Stripe and other major payment providers giving the developed world access to a new internet economy. These companies were extremely successful in introducing an outdated financial system to the internet (which is why they are worth billions) but what could happen if the internet had its own global financial system? That in a nutshell would be Defi. All the current largest providers of these services are still relying on legacy technology plugged into the internet and have not explored providing these services directly through decentralized platforms reducing infrastructure costs dramatically. If Defi is successful in integrating with the current financial infrastructure it has the potential to replace our entire financial infrastructure much as the computers and the internet did.
Photo by Jeffrey Blum on Unsplash
  • Inclusion of the underbanked, I might say this statistic every day to everyone I know. “2 billion people don’t have access to basic financial services”- This statistic is unreal that we still are miles from a completely connected world. There’s a further population who does have access to poor outdated banking or finance options, this will limit their growth and the expansion of enterprise. The barrier that will need to be met to overcome this will be the cost of acquisition, can defi lower the cost of acquiring a customer? A traditional bank wouldn’t waste its time with a customer in a third world country providing $1 of value in which it’s cost them $50 to acquire, that’s a poor business model. If Defi can help reduce infrastructure costs and enable new platforms to reduce this cost it will speed the rate of financial inclusion thus introducing more participants to the global economy.
  • Legitimacy and growth, Defi is growing rapidly not just speculation, we’re seeing more user growth. Platforms like Uniswap, Sushi, Yearn.Finance all of the proof that protocols can run at scale on decentralized systems. Nevertheless this is all for speculation and isn’t really that effective in real-world use cases. It does not mean that asset speculation is the future of defi, as it has proven to be a great marketing tool for defi platforms. In addition, it incentivizes the best developers in the world to work on these projects and build successful applications. Yield farming is great but there is a real-world out there and as the markets come down, the speculation dies off I would really expect to see many projects address real-world use cases such as insurance, debt or real estate. The growth in defi will continue you can no longer deny its potential for disruption.

In conclusion, Why do I believe is defi a $5.59 trillion opportunity? Because that's what the financial sector is currently worth. The internet disrupted finance and if Defi can bridge that gap by increasing inclusion it will not only assist the growth of the financial sector but will change it forever. Financial companies will become technology companies and fight for new users in the same way tech companies do. This distribution of services and competition will increase the quality of services across the board.

I am always looking for new exciting fintech Defi projects and companies. Please connect with me below and reach out if you have anything interesting.

Connect with me

Stay Crazy

Connor

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Connor Benoit Milner
tag:connorbmilner.com,2013:Post/1813298 2021-03-17T12:00:00Z 2022-04-07T14:15:16Z The Power of "No"

As someone who sees 100’s of investment opportunities per month, I need to say No, understand exactly what it means and communicate it effectively.

I believe this word is the single most powerful word if used correctly. It’s a simple two-letter word that will get you where you want to be if you use it correctly and it’s not used enough.

Why can't you say it? It’s just a two-letter word… What are you afraid of?

No.

That’s it. You’ve said it…

Now you’re in trouble. Maybe you’re not?

So why is No the most valuable word in business? Let’s understand the exact definition: “a negative answer or decision, especially in voting.” — Ignore “negative”, read between the lines and you’ll understand the power of this two-letter monster. The keyword I picked up was “decision” and this suggests independence. Independence gains respect and respect is one of the keys to being successful in business.

We teach our children not to say it but we should be teaching them how to use it. It is a tool to be used to open up a new conversation, the opposite “Yes” should be used we you have agreed that the outcome is favourable to you but only then should it be used.

Have you ever heard of a billionaire Yes man? Neither have I.

Jeff Bezos most likely says No 1000x a day but not because he is being rude. He is making a decision not just based on the outcome but on the value of the outcome.

Example 1: If he is asked, “Hey Jeff, you wanna go to a movie tonight?” He’s the answer would be “No, I am busy with a board meeting.” End of conversation.

His time is valuable so he made a quick mental decision of what his time is worth, a movie or a board meeting? He chose wisely, not because the movie was a bad idea its because the meeting was more valuable.

What about negotiation?

Let’s make do another example focused on negotiation: Lionel Messi, a football player wants to sign a new deal at Barcelona.

Example 2: Barcelona offers him a contract in which Messi is taking a 50% pay cut. Barcelona director of football says “Do you accept the terms of this offer Mr Messi?” where Messi answers “No, I don't not!”. This has now opened the door to negotiation which is a fundamental element of any business. Imagine if Messi would have said Yes. He would never have learnt the true value that Barcelona we’re willing to pay, missing out on the bigger opportunity at hand.

What about high-pressure situations?

Here’s a final example high-pressure situation, Fedor Holz is playing online poker with a bunch of other professional players.

Example 3: He looks at his cards and sees 7 hearts/2 spades. He folds immediately and says to himself “No, I am not playing that hand”. In this simple scenario, Fedor made an analysis that told him this hand is not worth financial risk. If Fedor would have said Yes then he would have been in a position that forced him to waste money on a weak hand. This example doesn’t open negotiation it explains patience and saying No to wait for the right opportunity to say Yes.

Too many of us, including myself, have used “Yes” a lot more than we’ve used “No” simply because we are scared of ruining opportunities and I can tell you that’s bullshit. Saying the word No can unlock a lot for you if you use it effectively and know when/where to pull the trigger. If you use it carelessly it can be just as destructive as it is powerful.

Open more conversations, don’t agree for the sake of it and put yourself in the most favourable situations.

Learn when to say Yes and when to say No!

Stay Hungry,

Connor

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Connor Benoit Milner
tag:connorbmilner.com,2013:Post/1813300 2017-03-14T12:00:00Z 2022-04-28T07:11:13Z hello world :)

Updated: Jan 2 2021

One of my favourite sayings is — "The faintest ink is better than the best memory."

I am born, based and bred in London, UK. If there's one thing I am passionate about, it is the next generation of entrepreneurs and the internet economy. Introduced to Bitcoin in 2012 by accident, I am someone who's always been at the forefront of technology but had a keen eye for disruption. Since 2014, I have been investing in fintech startups and early crypto projects; this is where I built my passion for ventures. In 2017, together with Cedric Waldburger, I started a community-first company called Nextblock, in which we had over 500 investors connected from all around the world. Leveraging my knowledge, and relationships, I began supporting several early-stage startups and building an international network.

Life hasn't always been simple for me. After making a tough decision to skip university and bypass academia. I spent months grafting, knocking on doors and begging until I got an opportunity to work in the City. My professional background starts in the City of London, working in sales in the investment industry for proprietary trading firms and brokerages. The City's fast pace and cutthroat environment were the perfect testing ground for learning how the game is played. I pride myself on having expertise in a little but understanding it from a game theory perspective and trying to extract the most important information. 

When I'm not investing in companies, I play high-stakes poker, sports, tech, travelling, gaming (CK right now), music and history. 

I have written articles, newsletters, websites, blogs, ghostwriting and emails for years. In 2017, I started a community-first company called Nextblock, where I would write daily about the new crypto industry and new technologies. Unfortunately, my work, thoughts and findings have never had a good home until now.

In 2021 I joined Tomahawk VC, and as I continue to grow in the venture capital business, building and investing in new companies, I want to document my journey and thoughts. I've failed just as much as I have succeeded. That's what motivates me, the opportunity to learn and grow. After looking at what I want to spend the rest of my life doing, it's clear that I am obsessed with building businesses, and my objective is to support those world-changing ventures and ideas and work with incredible people.


I will be writing about topics such as:

  • Startups
  • Investing
  • Business
  • Career
  • Technology
  • web3/crypto
  • Life

From my perspective, in my own words and in my way.

Follow me on social media @connorbmilner everywhere:

 Twitter
 LinkedIn

The next generation of entrepreneurs and the digital economy will eclipse anything before it. I have the privilege to be investing in startups and new technologies every day; 

Investor @TomahawkVC or email me at connor@tomahawk.vc

Stay Hungry

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Connor Benoit Milner