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Donald Trump started talking about running for president as far back as the 1980s. But it wasn’t until he embraced birtherism — the racist conspiracy theory that Barack Obama was not born in the U.S. — that Trump gained momentum as a potential presidential candidate.

Trump’s birtherism was a craven attempt to delegitimize not just Obama himself, but the voice of the American people. After all, President Obama had received more votes in 2008 than any other presidential candidate in history then — 69.5 million Americans chose him to lead the country. …

One of the hottest topics in the technology and finance world right now is an old idea that has suddenly found new life, the special purpose acquisition company or “SPAC.” SPACs, which are sometimes referred to as blank check companies, are entities that go public and raise money from investors so that the IPO proceeds can be used to invest in and acquire companies. In 2014, SPACs raised $1.8 billion. Last year, it was $13.6 billion. And this year, in 2020, it’s $40 billion and counting, with a full quarter yet to go.

The reason I think SPACs are hot right now is the lack of innovation in the IPO process. Most IPOs are managed by a handful of investment banks who run a roadshow to sell stock to risk-averse institutional investors. The result is a slow, expensive process that transfers value from the startups and their shareholders to the banks and their clients. …

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So often people talk about the Democratic Party as the party of pluralist, pie-in-the-sky idealism and the Republican Party as the party of practical, results-driven business.

At last night’s Democratic National Convention, though, one of the world’s most successful, results-driven business leaders, Michael Bloomberg, made some key points.

Bloomberg, of course, is not just a great businessman, but also an experienced and accomplished public servant. For 12 years, he served as the mayor of New York City, and like any New Yorker, he knows how to spot a con.

The last time he spoke at the Democratic Convention in 2016, in fact, he told us exactly where we as a country would be with Donald Trump as our president. “Trump says he wants to run the nation like he runs his business,” Mayor Bloomberg said then. …

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Since taking office in 2017, Donald Trump has repeatedly insisted he’s on the verge of replacing the extremely popular Affordable Care Act with “something so much better.” Usually, he claims the timetable for unveiling his healthcare plan is “about two weeks.”

Last month Trump was at it again. “We’re signing a health-care plan within two weeks, a full and complete health-care plan,” he exclaimed on Fox News.

Since then, an additional 20,000 Americans have died from coronavirus, bringing the total to 160,000-plus and counting. To virtually no one’s surprise, Trump has yet to introduce his new healthcare plan.

So naturally Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway is calling her boss the “Healthcare President.”

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Credit: Drew Angerer / Getty

“I built the greatest economy in the World, the best the U.S. has ever had,” Donald Trump tweeted in June. “I am doing it again!”

Obviously, the first part of that tweet is a towering Trump lie.

Trump inherited a great economy from his predecessors, Barack Obama and Joe Biden, and for a while, he managed to keep it going — until his weak and ineffective efforts to deny coronavirus into submission led to 150,000+ deaths, record job loss, and ongoing economic uncertainty as the pandemic persists.

And the second part of Trump’s tweet?

As a presidential candidate in 2015, Trump used to brag about how, in his businessman days, he had showered “a lot of money” on elected officials in both major parties to buy their influence. Then, after rigging the system like this for decades, Trump promised he alone could fix it. …

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From the moment Donald Trump announced his presidential campaign in June 2015, I’ve been a Never Trumper.

That was because he’d spent zero minutes of his life as a public servant — and virtually every minute of his life engaged in narcissistic self-promotion. He started out slapping his name onto skyscrapers and casinos, and then less grandly, he moved onto vodka, mattresses, dog collars, and fake universities. His business record was a chaotic saga of betrayed partners, conned customers, harmed shareholders, a string of bankruptcies, and then that long second-act pivot to reality TV.

What price would America pay if we elected a gameshow host as our president? …

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Photo by Stephanie McCabe on Unsplash

In one important measure of democracy, America is unfortunately not first. Or even 20th.

In fact, according to a 2018 study by the Pew Research Center, the United States ranks near the bottom for voter turnout among its peers in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, just 26th out of 32 countries.

In the top 15 countries in Pew’s study, turnout of the voting-age public ranged from 87.21 percent (Belgium) to 65.97 percent (Mexico). In the U.S., only 56 percent of the voting-age public participated in the 2016 presidential election.

What can we do in the United States to improve this core aspect of our democracy? …

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During the 2016 presidential campaign, a truism emerged that the best way to understand Donald Trump is to take him seriously, not literally.

This has always struck me as nonsense, for two reasons.

First, it creates an artificial divide where there is in fact a natural unity: Taking someone literally is an obvious early step in taking them seriously. You systematically evaluate what they say for accuracy and consistency, and try to determine their credibility and trustworthiness over time.

Second, it’s not just that Trump doesn’t want to be taken literally. He doesn’t want to be taken seriously either.

I say this with great assurance because Trump says it so often himself. …

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Today, there is a vigorous debate raging between cryptocurrency and centralized currencies. Bitcoin celebrated its tenth anniversary this year, and cryptocurrency values overall were climbing again after a period of decline. Media interest increased again too, and with it, arguments about cryptocurrency’s volatility and ultimate value to society. Was it still just a speculative fad without real utility? Or a foundational technological breakthrough on the order of the Internet itself?

As an investor and technologist, I am interested in cryptocurrency on three levels: as an asset (i.e. a digital alternative to gold); as a currency (to create a new transactional layer on the internet); and as a platform (to build alternative kinds of financial applications). …

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How I’m working with Harvard Business School Online to teach the counterintuitive truths of scaling up

As a founder, you rarely have enough time to step back and strategize. Entrepreneurs feel the pressure to execute, often prioritizing daily firefighting over long-term planning. You put your blinders on and stay laser-focused on what’s directly ahead.

But one thing I’ve learned in two years of working on Masters of Scale is that investors and entrepreneurs, at all levels, have a lot to teach one another. Every growth story is full of hard-won, often counterintuitive advice. …


Reid Hoffman

Entrepreneur. Investor. Strategist.

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