Category Archives: Essays

Synthesis of My Mental Models (Companies & People)

I built these frameworks to serve as mind-maps when analyzing systems

Firm Level Analysis

Firm level analysis in the context of market competition, product and service marketplace, potential customers, operating structures, capital allocation, and buybacks.

Firm Level Recommendation

Mental Model for firm analysis.

Individual Level Analysis

A model for the physiological needs of the individual, drivers of psychological motivation and social structures through which individuals manifest motivations in the real world.

The Future of Content Monetization

Until the present day, advertising has been driven by catching the eyes (or ears)  of captive audiences. Large billboards, television commercials slotted between shows and ads placed between songs on the radio. Advertisers increasingly see the need to improve engagement with ads. Vast volumes of data enable the likes of Twitter and Youtube to deliver content users may want to see on the basis of past activity.

Ad monetization has existed as a popular business model primarily because monetizing small sums (on the order of pennies and cents) is too costly: transaction costs quickly add up, making it almost impossible to charge users on the basis of page views. An innovation I look forward to is the (potential) proliferation of bitcoin & lower transaction fees. This infrastructure will enable content providers to charge per view instead of having to slot unwanted ads on a page (or even force costly subscription models). Medium lends to an aesthetic I imagine of websites of the future: content driven engagement.

As health concerns become a greater priority, I foresee that mindfulness will rise in importance. Societies will recognize the danger of cognitive fatigue and prefrontal overuse. Perhaps a greater number of people will speak to the woes of internet addiction and continue to advocate creative thinking – and wandering, detached from mobile devices. People will become more conscious of what media they are consuming – and even further, may have a greater ability to log this digestion and derive insights from new discoveries.

We live in an era where the proliferation of computers has magnified the realm of human potential. We do have access to vast amounts of data – the next step is deriving actionable insights associated with the data. Along the way, society may learn to restructure the way media is distributed and consumed.

The Future of Media

In an unfortunate and tragic sequence of events, Philando Castille was shot dead by an officer in Minnesota yesterday, July 6, 2016. The shooting yielded immediate attention by social media outlets and the press, as the diseased’s girlfriend recorded and streamed the aftermath on Facebook Live.


Numerous accounts of faulty witness testimony are affected by traumatic events. Recollections of events are impacted by how questions are posed, and numerous biases may impact how a viewer may recollect an event. In the future – in an age where digital capture and distribution becomes increasingly accessible – witness testimony may no longer be subject to human memory, but rather, computer memory. As seen in the Treyvon Marvin case, witness accounts competed for confirmation of whose voice was heard when screaming “Help!” during the incidents that transpired on February 26, 2012 – which raised the question: who was the attacker here, Zimmerman, or Martin? In the future, data capture will be cheaper, as will data distribution, making available more data for objective review in future trials. and incidences.


  • Access to data transfer and distribution technologies: data is becoming cheaper, and as a result, it’s possible to share more information at a faster rate. Innovations include: improved cell phone recording ability, improved data transfer speeds, and improved UI for user generated content communities (Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc).
  • Type of data transfer: higher quality images and 360 video will transform how experiences are documented

Towards an Integrated Theory for Investment

I’ve been ruminating on a couple thoughts lately, mainly:

Marks: All the first-level thinker needs is an opinion about the future, as in “The outlook for the company is favorable, meaning the stock will go up.” Second-level thinking is deep, complex and convoluted.

The aforementioned has guided my efforts in integrating ideas I’ve discovered and explored over the course of the last three years. For a period of time, I’d almost struggled to synthesize fields of interest with my professional pursuits (becoming a better investor). For example, I’d delved through psychology and neuroscience to explore the basis of novelty-seeking and satisfaction by questioning why people like to seek new experiences. I’d gleaned this curiosity by sifting through facebook posts and other social mediums: I’d recognized that with increasing income, my peers had found joy in exploring the world. I’d questioned why this trend had occurred:

3/30/15: Our sensory responses react to stimulus (hot stoves, arousal, cold weather) in order to input in our “internal” databases the best means by which to optimize survival (put simply – Avoiding action A to avoid result X; or conversely, to repeat Action B to attain result Y). Similarly, different regions of our brain are activated when posed with tasks we’ve repeated numerous vs. new challenges. When an individual does something familiar, the basal ganglia fires a sequence of commands without much conscientious thought. Alternatively, when posed with decision making that requires a solution to a problem, the prefrontal neocortex is activated – the region of the brain which controls logic and rational thinking.

My exploration of novelty-seeking enabled me to make the connection between income and leisure and what societies may tend to do with increasing income levels. Thus far, my exploration of neuroscience / psychology and novelty  seeking has guided my interest in researching travel companies that may be poised to benefit from secular shifts in increasing income, primarily in India and China.

This brings me to my next point / thought:

Aaron Swartz: With the time people waste reading a newspaper every day, they could have read an entire book about most subjects covered and thereby learned about it with far more detail and far more impact than the daily doses they get dribbled out by the paper. But people, of course, wouldn’t read a book about most subjects covered in the paper, because most of them are simply irrelevant.

I’d read that “when information is cheap, attention becomes expensive.” A common theme I’d explored is how best to invest and allocate my time. The proliferation of digital technologies has broadened our obsession with up-to-the-minute information, increasing our addiction to none other than noise.

In my effort to index and log all information I’ve consumed and integrated in to my personal models for the world, I hope to more accurately track where I’ve been, and where I hope to go. Leveraging digital archives, I can track what I know that I know, what I know that I don’t know (see the following:)

In my effort to make available all I know to others, I seek increase the rate by which I build and develop upon my ideas…

…which enables our society to innovate upon existing technology. At the root of it all, I am in the pursuit of fulfilling my responsibility as a human. I believe that in our ancestral past, the beast sought to survive. In the new era, I believe it is my responsibility to enable others to survive, and then, also thrive. The root of humanity is in easing the pain of others.


Visibility / Theory / Application

My perspective on the world is comprised of 3 units:

1. Visibility

















2. Theory: (Graph / Factor Models)

Considering point 2, theory, I envision each “block” comprising of a universe of nodes / vertexes. These can be visualized by way of graphs and factor models. Each node in a network interacts with other nodes, and the consequential vertex embodies an action.

Another way to visualize the above is by way of a factor model. Described in terms of factor models, we get a “bottoms-up” build of micro variables that characterize a macro condition / state.

3. Theory: (Temporal Network Analysis / Complexity Theory)

Each conceptual unit digested interacts with a body of other nodes. Here, it is possible to define the relationships between nodes utilizing temporal network analysis. We can observe these relationships by studying computer virus propagation networks, email distribution and biological virus propagation. Understanding the interactivity between concepts – unit by unit – enables us to create larger macro concepts and affect outcomes of systems in the world.

The Evolution of Power

Forms of power have evolved in correlation with technological advancement. The means by which “authorities” establish legitimacy have democratized the means by which tastes / trends / ideas evolve. The present age rewards net production, rather than net consumption, in the conquest of societal mind share.


Human Experience

First, we will begin by understanding the root of human motivation by exploring our evolutionary history.

“It is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree — make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to.” Elon Musk

Humanity: Situational Overview

Mills identifies that problem categories associated with adapative problems include personal survival and reproduction, mating, parenting and relations with kin, interactions with non-kin, and information transfer [1]. He attributed the following individuals with developing the major theoretical advances associated with these topics:

Theoretical Advances in Adaptive Problems 

Person Focus Concept Problems
C. Darwin Individual Survival Selection Survival & Asexual reproduction
C. Darwin Individual Sexual Selection Sexual Reproduction
W. Hamilton Family / Kin Inclusive Fitness Indirect gene replication
R. Trivers Group (non-kin) Reciprocity between non-kin Symbiotic cooperation
R. Dawkins Culture Meme replication Information transfer

At this point, we will segment the world population in accordance with the Human Development Index per the United Nations Development Programme. The United Nations identifies three dimensions (health, education, and living standards) and four indicators (health = life expectancy and birth; educations = mean years of schooling & expected years of schooling; living standards by gross national income per capita) to construct a perspective on the human development of nations.

Components of the Human Development Index

Next, we will take the aforementioned framework and identify what percentage of the world population has reached what degree of human development:

Human Development Index by Population

As seen above, 68% of the world has achieved at least a medium level of human development (a third achieving only a low level of human development).

Classification and Construction

We will borrow Mills’ framework above to develop a perspective on a dual-track operating state for the world. We will group Darwin, Hamilton, and Trivers in to one camp, that which is defined by adaptivity by way of survival and inclusion.

Adaptive Problem 1: Survival and Inclusion

I argue that limited access to survival is directly correlated with barriers to social inclusion [4]. As such, we recognize that the higher degree by which a group is deprived of components associated with survival, the higher degree by which there are conflicts to social inclusion (guarantees of property rights, trade, business, etc.)

We will utilize the Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative to classify poverty. In the absence of a third or more of the following necessities, the Oxford MPI classifies an individual as “poor” or in poverty:

Multidimensional Poverty Index

The above diagram represents the major challenges associated with survival in the present day and are indicative of the degree by which a society has advanced relative to others.

Adaptive Problem 2: Memetics and Culture

Once a society or group of people have been able to address the challenges associated with maintaining a foundation of survival and inclusion, it seeks to spread information by way of culture. We understand the consensus for the development of ideas by way of three frameworks:

  • Master-slave Hegelian Dialectic
  • Implicate and Explicate Order
  • G-t-r heuristic

Implicate and Explicate Order

In 1980, David Bohm developed two frameworks for understanding different aspects of reality: the implicate and explicate orders. The explicate order consists of an unfolded organization of abstractions that humans can easily perceive such as sight, sound, and touch. The implicate order represents the folded order – which represents how one person perceives the “unfolded” order.

A loop forms; the explicate order is defined by individual expectations.

Hegelian Dialectic

Friedrich Hegel developed the notion of the Master-Slave Dialectic in the 19th century. He asserts that the truth is formed when ideas have the opportunity to compete with one another until an ultimate truth is formed:

GTR Transmission

Henry Plotkin developed a heuristic to guide evolution by way of Darwin machines and the nature of evolution. He utilizes the g-t-r heuristic, which stands for generate-test-regenerate.

  • Generate phase: conserve selected essential information & produce new variations
  • Test phase: successful genes reinserted in to gene pool
  • Regeneration phase: conserve beneficial genes

Extent of idea proliferation:

We now understand that societies formed consensus voting machines to agree with a notion of reality. The following framework helps us understand the spread of cultural norms:

Memetic Metrics [3]

Developing A Connection Between Human Adaptation and Financial Markets: Towards a Heuristic

Survival Adaptations

Problem Characteristic Market Perspective Sustainance Perspective
How to acquire food Hunger Consumer Goods Health
How to evaluate food Good taste Consumer Goods Health
How to deal with a threat to personal safety Seek safety Industrial Goods Living standard
How to deal with a personal resource loss Lose valued posession Financial Living standard
How to acquire resources for self (and kin) Obtain valued object Consumer Goods Education
How to find resources / dangers in environment Exploration Services Education
How to deal with an important unexpected event Surprise Financial Education
How to overcome an obstacle Persistance / frustration Services Education

Sexual Adaptations

Problem Characteristic Market Perspective Sustainance Perspective
How to find a mate Flirting / courtship Services Health
How to make offspring Sexual desire Services Health
How to keep mate Bonding Services Health
How to guard mate from other potential suitors Jealousy Consumer Goods Living standard
How to provision mate Generosity Consumer Goods Living standard

Adaptations of Inclusion – Family

Problem Characteristic Market Perspective Sustainance Perspective
How to protect kin Housing Industrial Goods Living standard
How to provision / nurture kin Generosity Consumer Goods Living standard
How to teach / socialze kin Education Services Education

Adaptations of Inclusion – Group

Problem Characteristic Market Perspective Sustainance Perspective
How to join a group and maintain membership Identity Consumer Goods
How to detect a social cheater (non-reciprocator) Revenge Financial
How to decide when to cheat Resource acquisition Consumer Goods
How to increase social status in a group Status striving Consumer Goods

Memetic Adaptations

Problem Characteristic Market Perspective Sustainance Perspective
How to verbally transfer information Information transfer Technology

Phenotype-driven adaptation (memetics) [5]:

Genetic adaptation Memetic adaptation
Fur Clothes
Antlers Helmet
Brain Computer
Kidney Filter
Heart Pump
Eye Camera
Ear Microphone
Echlocation Radar
Voicebox Speaker
Muscle Servo
Lungs Bellows
Blowhole Snorkel
Skeleton Shasis
Exoskeleton Armour
Fin Rudder
Tooth Knife
Claw Spear
Nerve Cable
Vine Rope
Leaf Solar cell
Tree trunk Girder
Shell House
Flagellum Propellor
Bird Aeroplane
Portuguese Man o’ War Ship
Fish Submarine
Cheetah Car
Gecko feet Velcro


So far, we have developed the following system:

  • Two-track world: Survival and Memetic
  • Components of Survival
  • Components of Developing A Consensus (memetic transmission)
  • Cultural Environment and Relationship to Goods / Services sectors

Psychological adaptation and the environment of evolutionary of adaptation will be heuristics by which we understand motivations associated with human wants and desires driving key themes in markets and beyond. We will follow these ideas with the means by which tastes and preferences are formed (neurological basis) and how ideas proliferate (technology and network analysis)

[1] Mills: Toward A Classification Table of Human Psychological Adaptations

[2] Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative: Global Multidimensional Poverty Index

[3] Robert Finkelstein: A Military Memetics Compendium

[4] An example of which is the terrorist group Al Qaeda, whose power derives from its generosity towards arab states, which were unable to provide its citizens with food, clothing, and shelter.

[5] Tim Tyler: Genetic and memetic adaptations

Domestic Political Considerations

American Political Environment
Reference: Icahn [1]

In light of the upcoming presidential elections, I will begin to aggregate key ideas policy makers should consider in 2016. Below includes considerations per Icahn and a few thoughts I’ve with respect to each bullet:

  • Domestic economy must reduce its dependency on low interest rates
  • The Fed should raise rates because the risks of malinvestment in numerous asset classes have risen
  • Overseas income should be repatriated and used to expand physical plant
  • There is too much “financial engineering” and not enough capital expenditures
  • U.S. corporate-tax regulation needs restructuring

The aforementioned include key elements of structural reform and give rise to important questions vis a vis the U.S. corporate environment: what is the best means by which to facilitate a U.S.-friendly corporate tax and operating environment?

Per his point on U.S. dollar repatriation – I do not necessarily agree as U.S. entities will yield greater returns on capital in developing and emerging environments. Our economy is a service-based one; capital expenditures should not be seen in terms of returning jobs to the U.S. By capitalizing on investment abroad, multinational corporations can tap large industrializing economies experiencing improvements to standards of living, higher incomes, and generally – a larger market for future potential products.

While an increase in rates may negatively impact emerging markets in the short term, market volatility has increased to unsustainable levels with respect to U.S. economic data and how the market perceives the Fed will digest this data. Nearing 30 recently, the VIX index reveals investor apprehension associated with the guessing game subject to the hand of Yellen. I feel that a soft increase in rates in the short term will instill market confidence and enable firms to re-align their investment decisions in accordance with capital allocation methods most beneficial to the firm in the long term, rather than making decisions on the basis of the simple availability of money. A clear indication of the effect of this low-interest rate environment can be seen through the popularity of REIT and MLP spinoffs as of late: firms are capitalizing on locking in low-interest financing in the face of limited alternative investment opportunities.

I’ve limited background on U.S. corporate tax structure, but am eager to dive in to future developments.

[1] Ritholtz Blog: Carl Icahn: Key Ideas for America


Information Funneling: Identifying Important Data Feeds


The challenge of an information seeking mechanism is to learn efficiently a large repertoire of diverse skills given its limited resources, and avoid being trapped in unlearnable situations.  – Gottlieb et al, 2013

A quick digression from explaining systems in terms of physical / social / psychological structures. Here, we build off Part 1 of What Does the World Look Like to expand upon how I identify data streams that I’ve deemed useful which I leverage to construct my digital environment. We use the centralized, decentralized, and distributed networks framework from an earlier post to better visualize these structures.

The purpose of this exercise is to minimize overlap between data feeds. For example, in keeping to date with news sources, it is not optimal to read both The Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal. While there is value in digesting multiple perspectives, the gain is but marginal; it would be a better use of time to allocate my time with digesting feeds from a different network structure (ie, a node within a distributed network, such as a blog), than simply digesting more information from another authority.

Non-Italicized = Sites I Use
Italicized = I’m cognizant of the existence but do not actively access

I still log what does exist (in italicized text) to take a tally of the sources that do exist in order to be aware of what data is available for a specified function (that I’ve chose not to mark as my personal preference).

The following is what I’ve dubbed as my “system” – the information feeds I allow myself in the world of distributed networking.

Primary Tools and General Reference

How I View My Digital World

Diagram: My Digital Existence in the Context of Centralized, Decentralized, and Distributed Networks


Primary Data Feeds

Centralized Networks

Decentralized Networks

Distributed Networks

Blogs updated frequently

Relatively inactive blogs that do contain useful information to reference

Aggregation / Community

Investor Reports

Tertiary Data Feeds
Not actively referenced…a means by which to optimize productivity (ie, not scroll through Facebook)

Entertainment & Culture

Food Delivery / Other
Includes sites I use (or mean to use); select services I have chose not to use explicitly omitted (eg, Amazon Fresh, Google Express) 

  • Caviar
  • DoorDash (btw, 1.99 delivery til sept 26!)
  • Eat24 (Yelp)
  • Grubhub
  • Instacart
  • Munchery
  • Postmates
  • Seamless
  • Sprig
  • Uber Eats (have not yet tried)

[1] Screen to screen latency – a concept that I’ve dubbed which describes the potential lag in digesting information by virtue of switching from one medium of consumption to another (such as disengaging from a desktop computer, then walking over to a couch, then re-accessing the website on a tablet).

Significance: the higher the latency associated with receiving information, the greater the possibility that the information is never consumed (ie, an agent is too lazy to google search a website on his tablet, gets distracted, and never reads the article he / she accesses via desktop computer in the first place)

Useful tools which address this problem

  • Google Chrome: enables the access of open tabs across any device (as long as the user is logged in to Google Chrome on each device)
    • Primary drawback: Corporate PC does not allow me to log in to Google Chrome; perhaps this is a limited prohibition in the context of my life (and Chrome has already solved the problem) – but is still an issue now, nonetheless
  • Pinboard: lite means by which to record notes and bookmarks
  • WordPress: highly customized pages through which I can organize (curate) my own bookmarks (like I currently do on my blog)

[2] The link above points to, which enables me to easily link to subreddits I follow. The complete list of subreddits I subscribe to is listed below (I later plan to sort the followings links in order of greatest to least by # of subscribers):

Other notes to self:

Time As A Universal Currency for Exchange

In part 2, we discussed a framework to consider the physical inputs required for an individual to exist in a cultural environment. Here, we will observe the interactions between individual units within larger systems and develop a framework that examines the units of currency exchanged which enable an individual to alter his / her perception of reality.

In short, I seek to elaborate upon how time serves as the universal currency of all and how allocations of time serve as the means by which individuals can accumulate data points that serve as leverage to influence reality.

The Implicate and Explicate Orders

In 1980, David Bohm developed two frameworks for understanding different aspects of reality: the implicate and explicate orders. The explicate order consists of an unfolded organization of abstractions that humans can easily perceive such as sight, sound, and touch. The implicate order represents the folded order – which represents how one person perceives the “unfolded” order. An example of which is a car crash:

A large number of spectators witness the explicate order (car crash) from a multitude of angles; each will perceive the situation on the basis of their proximity to the crash and degrees of focus devoted to other activities at hand (eg: prior to the car crash, Person A is drinking coffee with Person B around the corner from where the car crash occurs (they eventually hear, but do not see the car crash); Person C is sitting on a bench observing the cars passing by on the street which the car crash occurs; Person D just stepped out of his / her building which is situated on the street which the car crash occurs for a cigarette break); when the accident occurs, each person absorbs the details of the incident dependent upon the aforementioned – each person will walk away from the incident with a “folded” perception of the event – resulting in a multitude of implicate perceptions of the car crash.

Technological innovation has given rise to the means by which we form our expectations of reality. The printing press enabled non-physical transfers of knowledge to exist; the telephone and telegraph decreased the latency associated with transmitting information. The television and more recently, the internet, has enabled the rapid transmission of data to large audiences. Our perceptions of reality are formed when we digest different notions of the explicate order which in turn shape how we perceive reality on an implicate basis.

As a result, this innovation has significantly affected how information is sent and received, which are formed through the following:

  • Centralized Networks
  • Decentralized Networks
  • Distributed Networks

Centralized Networks

Radio, tv, and newspapers represent centralized networks: individuals contribute thoughts and ideas to a central mediator who in turn decides what is / is not published to its audience.

Diagram: Example of Centralized Network, The Financial Times Newspaper


In earlier times, the printing press itself acted as a centralized network: what was / was not published was determined at the jurisdiction of the owner of the press.

Decentralized Networks

Decentralized networks act as 2-sided networks by which contributors simultaneously act as audiences on centralized platforms. Mediation is limited to the degree by which moderators of a community choose to censor its users (eg, disallowing hate speech or the dissemination of adult content). Examples include forums and message boards.

Diagram: Example of Decentralized Network, Seeking Alpha


Distributed Networks

Distributed networks operate in the absence of mediation. Each node within a network is connected to virtually any other node and information flows in an unlimited number of directions. The structure by which we can understand distributed networks are personal blogs: individuals exist on a standalone basis, unencumbered by mediators or content platforms.

Diagram: Example of Distributed Network, Blog Network


Information Networks

In the past, geographical or socioeconomic positions played important roles in accessing information. Much of this was ruled by accessibility to educational institutions, cost of books, cost of technology (radio, tv, computers), and cost / access to transportation (availability of public transportation or cost of motor vehicles). Temporality presented an additional confound: operational hours set by institutions restricted the times by which individuals could access information (eg; a library’s hours of operation, when a tutor is available, or when a professor decides to host office hours). Today, the internet has enabled the reduction of many of these barriers and confounds, contributing to a greater degree of information democratization.

Technology largely defines the rates by which we can update our orientations to problems in the real world. Problems remain unsolved to the extent by which an individual lacks the necessary knowledge base to understand the relationship between inputs and drivers within a system and how varying inputs affect how units in a system interact with one another and affect processes and outcomes.

Reality, here, is defined as identifying the primary data points which define a class or idea which (generally) are confirmed by a consensus of (a select) majority.

Consider the following example of the Fourth of July for many Americans:

Americans associate the Fourth of July with BBQs, fireworks, and red white and blue. We encounter the explicate order of this event in America through socialization (growing up and attending bbq’s, firework shows, etc.) and internalize these events which effect our expectations of what the date should entail on an implicate basis. The explicate order is strengthened by implicate expectations: I / (we) expect to see fireworks on the fourth of July on an implicate basis; we contribute to the explicate reality by photographing these events, etc, further molding the construction of the reality and influencing expectations of others, and ultimately, the explicate order.

The fourth of July is but a point in time in space: Americans associate this class with a multitude of instances that define that class [1]. The fourth of July is a symbol which triggers associations for many Americans, associations not necessarily manifested in non-Americans with respect to the fourth of July. As such, red white and blue, bbq’s, and fireworks exist as a reality of the fourth of July for Americans, but not so much so for other subsets of people.

In the context of Bohm’s aforementioned framework, exposure to data points associated with a class symbol form the basis of an individual’s conception of reality: the more data points one individual accumulates with respect to an idea, subject, or experience, the greater leverage he/she harbors regarding any interaction with the the idea, subject, or experience simply because this individual harbors an understanding of how units and processes interact with one another to define a class of ideas.

Developing the Foundation for An Idea or Class of Ideas

Thus far, we have noted that a conception of reality is defined by how strongly a multitude of data points meet an expectation for what characterizes, or defines, a class symbol. Here, we break down how these relationships interact with one another.

Consider for a moment the data points which define the idea of Graph Theory, as a concept:

Diagram: A Visualization of the Wikipedia Entry for Graph Theory



To understand the class symbol: Graph Theory, it is necessary to define a subset of data points associated with the topic:

  • The definition of Graph Theory
  • Applications of Graph Theory
  • Its History
  • Graph Drawing
  • Graph-Theoretic Data Structures
  • Problems in Graph Theory
  • Areas Tangentially Related to Graph Theory

The subset of data points associated with Graph Theory each embody their own subsets of information:

Problems in Graph Theory:

  • Graph coloring
  • Subsumption and Unification
  • Route Problems
  • Network Flow
  • Visibility Problems
  • Covering Problems
  • Decomposition Problems
  • Graph Classes
  • Enumeration
  • Subgraphs, Induced Subgraphs, and Minors
  • Graph Coloring

Also Related (to Graph Theory, as represented by the subtopic “See also” from the diagram above):

  • Related Areas of Mathematics
  • Generalizations
  • Prominent Graph Theorists
  • Algorithms

In order to engage in an information exchange associated with Graph Theory, it is necessary to understand the aforementioned subtopics to conceptualize the context surrounding the class symbol, generally.

Consider the list below in relation to the diagram above on the basis of 3 levels:

  • Graph Theory serves as the Class Symbol (Level 1)
  • The subset of data points above serve as Instances of Graph Theory (Level 2)
  • The subset of data points associated with each instance is a Manifestation of Graph Theory (Level 3)

From broadly identifying Graph Theory as a class (Level 1) to assembling the components associated with it – its subtopics – or, instances and manifestations, the accumulation of each successive data point represents a unit of currency by which actors can trade ideas associated with Graph Theory ranging from:

  • Teaching others about graph theory
  • Collaborating with one another on the topic of how to tackle problems associated with graph theory
  • Challenging commonly held beliefs, or assumptions, associated with the topic

Conceptualizing Digital Knowledge Networks

By now, we have developed the basis by which we can conceptualize how subsets of information serve as units of information that embody class symbols that have the potential to exist as units of exchange between actors in a system.

The primary distinction between the current age and all other points in time derives from an altercation by which information is sent and received. A larger set of data is available for any individual (who has access to the internet) to explore and accumulate. Actors, in the absence of mediators and institutions, have the ability to absorb, synthesize, and share information, contributing to virtually any discourse hosted via the internet.

Here, we can observe the construction of distributed networks and, more specifically, examine the distinction between young and mature knowledge networks.


I’d quickly assembled a database and script parsing xml of four websites; two of my friends (Chris Chang and Kingston Hon) as well as two more mature website (Paul Graham and Aaron Schwartz). These diagrams serve as visualizations by which we can observe the information that they have shared with the internet: potential units of currency enabling each to connect and transact with any other node on the internet network.

Infantile Knowledge Networks

Below represent the site structures for and

Diagrams: Visualizations of Infantile Blog Structures


In accordance with each site structure, both are laid out quite simply: Each site pushes articles every few months, and have been accessible for less than 2 years each.

Mature Knowledge Networks

Next, we examine mature knowledge networks, those of Paul Graham and Aaron Schwartz. Each have been online for a greater number of years and are comprised of a greater number of posts.

Diagram: Visualization of Mature Blog Structure,


Unlike Chris and Kingston’s blog structures, Paul Graham organizes his website on the basis of deeper categorization:

  • Essays
  • H&P
  • Books
  • YC
  • School
  • Arc
  • Lisp
  • etc.

Above, we examine but one subset of his blog: Here, we can easily observe that he has pushed a significantly greater number of posts to the internet than Chris and Kingston – a higher volume of currency to transact and transmit ideas.

Diagram: Visualization of Mature Blog Structure,


Aaron Shwartz arranges his blog through three sub topics:

  • Quote Blog
  • Web Blog
  • Technical articles

Here, we can observe the frequency by which Aaron Schwartz pushes information to the internet; from greatest frequency to least: Web Log Posts, Technical Articles, Quote Pages.

A Micro Analysis on Allocation of Time

The website visualizations above represent the digital constructions of time invested in by each individual. Each individual manifests a synthesis of ideas which they share to participate in a cultural environment.

In an effort to further articulate the relationship between time and knowledge networks, I embarked on a project by which I logged each point of information I absorbed for a period of two months. The following project demonstrates how an individual can allocate his / her consumption of time to accumulate data points associated with classes of ideas which enable him / her to transact these points of information with others within a cultural environment.

Breadth and Depth: Input Volume by Subject Type

Diagram: Time Series Analysis of Volume of Information Logged Within My Personal Database Over a 2 Month Period


For the select period, we can track the interest by which I pursued a broad array of subjects and topics ranging from macroeconomic themes, exercise, specific equities, and specific investment themes (beef, consumer retail). Notably, this module enables me to observe which themes I explored with great depth in comparison to others which sparked my interest yet failed to follow up on.

This module enables me to accurately track where my attention is allocated over periods of time.


Applied Databasing: Sourcing Recommendations and Building Efficient Recall Methods

At the end of April, 2015, I’d requested help from my network of friends, shooting off the following email:

Friends – I’m working on a little project and would appreciate your help.

Could you send me a list of your favorite items within the following categories? Don’t need to list for all 3 (but can if you want). 1 is more than enough.

  • Books
  • Movies
  • Music (Artists)

I’ll send over the output once completed so you can see where your contribution stands. Your help is much appreciated.

I yielded the following results:


The above graph represents the entire field of results I harvested from my query. The purpose of the exercise; however, was to construct my database such that I could effectively recall information on the basis of the following criteria:

  • Popularity (frequency)
  • Alphabetical order
  • Date Logged

I’d successfully assembled my database to handle the aforementioned criteria. The results of the survey were as follows:

Diagram: Most Popular Artists


Diagram: Most Popular Movies


Diagram: Most Popular Books


As we can see above, while my data is not statistically representative of the tastes and preferences of my generation (which would be impossible to deduce from a < 30 person population sample), the exercise did challenge me to design my database with an application in mind.

Reflection: Allocation of Time Over Two Month Period (captured in database)

At the end of my two month period, the top subjects in my database comprised of the following topics:

Diagram: Snapshot of Composition of Top Datapoints as of June 2015


The above graph serves as a brief overview of where most of my time was directed at a specific point in time. However, it is necessary to observe my database from a higher perspective as other modes of exploration don’t require high volumes of data.

Diagram: Overview of Topics Captured in Database as of June 2015 and Sample User Interface


Diagram: Graphical Representation of Topics Captured in Database as of June 2015


At the conclusion of the two month observation period, I’d focused most of my time following macroeconomic events while paying special heed to individual equities. At this point in time, I’d developed a thesis on low oil prices and constructed valuation analyses on companies hit hard by the oil pricing environment. I also studied macroeconomic events to understand its effects on consumer spending (notably, Harley Davidson (HOG)) as well as the effects of high cattle prices as a result of the California drought on tertiary industries (poultry, namely: Sanderson Farms (SAFM)). During this time, I developed significant positions in the aforementioned equities. Additionally, I diligently followed my exercise routine (logging the distances I’d run and times I’d run those distances in), as well as embarking on an additional extracurricular project within a project: sourcing movie, music, and book recommendations from my network of friends and redesigning my personal database to efficiently sort and recall these points of information.

Additional points of interest over the two month period include:

  • Nutrition
  • Aggregating Notable Finance Blogs to Bookmark
  • A study on Capital Allocation Methods

Information Transmission and Transaction: Leveraging Digital Networks to Manifest the Currency of Time

The study above represents an observation of how time is spent and over what range of topics information is accumulated. In my view, I like to consider that individuals exist as nodes in space (Level 1; recall from illustration of Graph Theory above) that allocate their time investing in a breadth of subjects / hobbies / ideas (Level 2) within their cultural environments by which they develop depths of information (Level 3) which enables them to transact these points of data with one another to teach / collaborate / challenge one another.

The world today looks like a series of nodes in space by which individuals can harvest data points from a virtually limitless web of associations. This generation is defined by high degrees of access to information. Individuals readily and ably share information while associations with institutions or proximity to physical social networks play less a role in impeding an individual from accumulating relevant data points associated with specific topics.

These network graphs serve as reminders of our investments in time: with what breadth and what degree of depth is information being harvested? Is time being optimized to address physical inputs which address individual resource requirements? To what facets of cultural environments are individuals learning from or contributing to?

Affecting Reality

As such, individuals with the greatest depth of information associated with a specific topic or class of ideas has the greatest propensity to navigate and shape a reality. Understanding the inputs that comprise of the whole class, individuals with a high degree of understanding of the inputs which control units within a system and how these units interact with one another in simultaneous processes has the greatest ability to shape prototypes of ideas. The enfoldment of the explicate order (data points harvested from the unfolded abstraction of reality, also known as the implicate order) enable an individual to affect systems to the highest degree.

Up Next

So far, we’ve studied:

  • Structures of Physical Systems
  • Structures of Cultural Environments
  • Framework of Time as Currency for Transacting

Next, we’ll discuss the motivations associated with why people choose to accumulate different units of currency as well as the neurological and psychological processes which affect these systems.

[1] The class / instance framework is borrowed from Douglas Hofstadter and his Prototype Principle through which he notes: specific events have a vividness which imprints them so strongly on the memory that they can later be used as models for other events which are like them in some way. Thus in each specific event, there is the germ of a whole class of similar events […] (through which) unconsciously, (people) rely on a host of presuppositions about (events) […] that trigger relations with other class symbols. 

See page 352 of Hofstadtr’s Godel, Escher, Bach for detail