Mini book review: “The Billionaire’s Folly”

I’ve previously reviewed at least seven blockchain-specific books in the past number of years. No one has paid me to review them, although I have received a couple copies for free. Unfortunately more than half of the books have been pretty bad… both technically wrong and often very polemical.

Fortunately, a page turner appeared in my inbox about a month ago: “The Billionaire’s Folly” by Faisal Khan. I’ve already posted a couple of short comments on the bird app and an usual for me – do not have a lot more to add. Mostly because it lacked many errors. Sure, it had a couple of typos here and there and a couple of debatable points but overall it was well-written and informative.

It also didn’t try to stray far away from what it aimed to do: discuss Khan’s perspective working at ConsenSys, an Ethereum-focused company, during what turned out to be the heady days of the ICO era. So in some ways, it is closer to Nathaniel Popper’s Digital Gold (which was equally well-written) than most of the other b-word books.

I didn’t mention this in the thread above but a number of anecdotes that Khan shares in the book were either relayed to myself (often through co-workers) or by actually witnessing it first hand. So it is interesting to see some of them independently confirmed.

One that did not (because Khan had yet to join the company) but definitely could have fit right in, involved an event held in the spring of 2016 near Seattle. About 60ish employees of this Fortune 100 tech company hosted a day-long powwow about “blockchains” and only three external companies were allowed to send representatives:

  • A well-known, large consulting company
  • ConsenSys, who sent several executives
  • R3 (my then-employer) sent myself

After presentations were given, the floor was opened for questions and a senior architect in the back questioned the urgency and immediacy that one of the promoters had claimed. And during the ensuing war-of-words, a partner at the consulting firm literally stood on the table at this closed-room event, crooning to everyone that “blockchain was the biggest thing in his career and that it would dramatically impact this tech company.” One of Khan’s future colleagues from the table over made eye contact with me and we just shook our heads. Although in retrospect, he was probably shaking his head for very different reasons than I was. I’m ngmi, right?

Either way, Khan has oodles of stories packed into a book that isn’t polemical. Check it out.

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