What you know vs. what you do

Seth had a post today today on “what you know vs. what you do” that spoke to me. I’ve been exposed to Bitcoin since 2011 and had plenty of opportunities to invest a small amount. But, I didn’t. I’d been mulling about what I learnt from the situation. Then, of course, Seth did what he usually does and summed it all up with characteristic insight and incisiveness.


In 1995, my book packaging company published one of its last titles, an anachronism called, Presenting Digital Cash. It was the first book on digital cash ever aimed at a mass audience. And it was ahead of its time, selling (fortunately) very few copies. The examples in the book were current, but it was soon outdated. (The foreword was written by Neal Stephenson—someone who is ahead of his time for a living).

Thirteen long years later, Bitcoin was introduced to the world. I didn’t invent it, even though I’d written about digital cash more than a decade before. I’d created an entire book about digital cash, and thought about it deeply for months.

Except I didn’t buy 1,000 dollars worth of Bitcoin in 2008. If I had, I’d have more than $40,000,000 today.

It’s not that I didn’t know.

It’s that I didn’t act.

Two different things.

I knew, but I didn’t know for sure. Not enough to act.

All the good stuff happens when we act even if we don’t know for sure.


A long time A Learning a Day reader sent me a note a few weeks ago talking about how he signed up for Seth’s blog after I’d recommended it (for the nth time in these years). He then apologetically explained that he was beginning to like his blog better.

That note made me smile.  I wrote back explaining to him that Seth’s daily notes set the bar that I, every once in a rare while, try to match. 🙂