Ahoy, Palloi. Photo by Carles Rabada on Unsplash.

As told by Thomas Piketty, Chris Rock, and Albert Einstein.

To create wealth you need to understand 3 basic truths, and put them to work in the way you make, spend, and save your money. If you were born with money, you probably understand them already.

If you weren’t — like me — you’re going to need to figure them out. Once you do, the rest is simple.

The First Truth

The first basic truth of wealth creation is this:


The best, at work.

I’m doing these 5 things, and you should too.

You can be a better writer than you are today. The key isn’t the talent that powers your first draft, it’s the habits that make the most of the talent you have.

I’ve seen it myself, having committed to the daily practice of writing throughout the Summer. Reading lots of advice on how to be a better writer has made me more thoughtful about the way I write, and I’ve felt the impact on my work. There’s a lake of information out there for aspiring writers, much of it focused on clicky headlines and SEO Optimization. …


Alex Welsh / The New York Times / Redux Pictures

“Roadrunner” sheds light on the sad end of a triumphant life

Anthony Bourdain spent his life looking for something. When he ended that life, not having found it, I was left looking for it too.

I watched Roadrunner last night hoping for clues as to what it might have been, and to answer other questions… What was “Tony” really like? What led to his horrific, final choice? How could a personal hero have done this not only to his fans, or even himself, but to a daughter he clearly loved?

The film, made by Bourdain’s longtime collaborator Morgan Neville, doesn’t offer easy answers. …


Ms. Holmes, outside the courthouse on September 2. Image property of AFP, used under non-commercial purpose.

I’ve walked up to that line. So have you.

In startup land, you need to spread the bullshit if you want to grow the crop. How do you know when you’ve gone too far?

I’ve been following the Theranos story a little too closely this week. In case you missed it, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur named Elizabeth Holmes raised $1.4B dollars of supposedly smart money with a made-up story about a product that could test blood in a fraction of the time and money required today. It couldn’t. When the house of cards collapsed, the money was gone, and she was in handcuffs. …


Plus the recipe you’ve been looking for.

  1. It’s best to keep them simple. Fewer ingredients, with focus on the quality of what you include.
  2. We learn to make them from our parents. We watch what they do, and take what we can from it. We taste their mistakes, then make our own.
  3. Something forgotten makes them great. Bread, past its prime, toasted and processed into homemade crumbs. There’s treasure in what’s old, with the patience to draw it out.
  4. Balance is everything. Too much meat is dull; excess garlic, bitter; surplus parsley, bland. …


Crap movie. Great name. Photo by Drew Beamer on Unsplash

Figure out why it matters before deciding what it’s called

Most startup names suck. The reason is naming your startup is not like naming your kid, and most entrepreneurs seem not to understand this.

Naming your kid is a personal and emotional process… sifting through experiences and relationships for inspiration, mining ancestry and cultural identity for symbolic significance. In the end you trade subjective associations with your partner until you find something one of you loves, the other can live with, and no one other than little Winston Onslo Bonpensiero will ever really care about.

We sometimes name our kids to say something about ourselves… about where we come from…


Get happy, people! Photo by Zachary Nelson on Unsplash

There’s plenty to feel good about. It’s just not “news.”

Is it me, or is the world falling apart again? COVID, climate chaos, religious fanatics taking over government and clamping down on Democracy in Afghanistan. And Texas. Oy.

Take heart! There’s plenty to feel good about. In fact you can make a good argument the next 80 years will be the greatest in human history! Or at least they can be, depending on us.

First some quick historical context…


Maybe an asshole, maybe not. Photo by Alessandro Bellone on Unsplash

One flawed thinking machine, looking at another

Most people want to be kind. A casual insight from what may be the world’s best fiction writer taught me how to do that, and it works even when the person you’re trying to be kind to seems helplessly, hopelessly out of touch with reality.

George Saunders is one of my favorite authors. Lincoln in the Bardo, which won the Mann Booker prize in 2017, is an outright masterpiece, a vividly imagined story of what took place in the graveyard where President Lincoln spent his evenings after the death of his son Willie, seated quietly in a crypt beside the…


It’s here, and then it’s gone. Photo by bobby hendry on Unsplash.

What right now sounds like

Last week I saw my first live music show in more than a year. It was Dawes, at The Chicken Box on Nantucket. It was magical, and it’s not only got me more comfortable going back, it’s changed the kinds of shows I want to see going forward.

Looking Back

I’m not an avid concert-goer, except for Springsteen shows. Bruce’s 3+ hour marathons are more an event than a concert, a coming home of the rock & roll faithful to commune in the joyful noise. Buffet shows are the same, with grey-haired, beer-soaked Parrot Heads pantomiming shark bites. Same for U2, an…


Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

Don’t worry about it too much.

If you’re a parent struggling to keep up with your kids’ changing expressions of preference for everything from diet to gender to economic systems… take heart. For all that’s changed— much of it for the better — what’s most important to understand is what hasn’t.

I was in the ringtone business back when that was a thing, and the year I got out — 2006 — the top selling ringtone in the world was Party Like A Rock Star by Shop Boys. It’s a kind of gangsta rap tune apropos of the era, with lyrics including:

You know them hoes…

Mike Troiano

Venture storyteller, wartime consiglieri, lyrical gangsta. Partner, G20 Ventures, thoughts here are my own. http://about.me/miketrap

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