#17 Succession Meets Crypto
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1 Concept 💡
Alright, who’s ready for our first pop culture cross-over edition? Today, we’re goin’ deep on “Succession”, the HBO drama which just wrapped its terrific third season (spoilers ahead!). We’ll talk:
What “Succession” teaches us about founding vs. inheriting
Why “Succession” makes me bullish on crypto’s future
HOLIDAY SPECIAL 🎁: Map each Succession character to the crypto token that best represents him/her!
Founding vs. Inheriting
”Succession” at its core revolves around an existential battle between two sides. In one corner, you have Logan Roy, the founder of Waystar Royco (media conglomerate, think Fox News) who built his empire from nothing. In the other corner, you have the Roy kids (Connor/Kendall/Shiv/Roman) who’ve grown up with everything handed to them and really having one dream since they were young: succeeding their father as CEO.
In the finale of Season 3, Logan has decided to sell WayStar to GoJo, an up-and-coming tech company. There’s a line by Shiv to her dad at the end of the last episode that bluntly states what the fall-out is gonna be:
“If you’re running things, one of us has a chance to be CEO — but if you sell, we’re f*cked”
The Roy kids might be spoiled but they’re not completely clueless. They realize the sole reason they have clout is because of their dad and the (potentially incorrect) assumption that they would inherit Waystar after he hangs it up. Without it, they’re NGMI.
This episode got me thinking about one of my favorite Balaji-isms (is that a word? If not, it needs to be!): founding vs. inheriting. The TLDR is that founders have the ability to start from scratch or re-invent when needed whereas inheritors effectively keep the lights on by repeating what the founder did but can’t recreate. Balaji likens this to “read-only culture”:
The best example of this dichotomy is the world’s greatest startup ever: the United States. The US’s founding fathers created an ambitious, fought for it with their lives, and invented along the way to make it work. After James Monroe (5th president and last founding father leader), the remaining US presidents have been inheritors. And I mean that literally: John Quincy Adams (6th president) is John Adams (2nd president)’s son. Joe Biden’s entire 2020 campaign was predicated on a “return to normal”. Inheritors want to keep the machine running and protect the lead but don’t have the creativity or clout to take things in a brave, new direction.
You see this with tech companies too. When’s the last time Google or Apple (both run by inheritors) have launched something truly innovative? Hint: it’s when their founders ran the show. Their current CEOs have been terrific stewards of taking care of the business - not re-inventing. On the flip side, it’s not a coincidence that Facebook and Square (run by founders) are the companies boldly rebranding themselves around how they see the future playing out (Meta and Block respectively).
Why “Succession” makes me bullish on crypto’s future
Because crypto is so nascent, virtually every project/protocol/community is founder-led. As an ecosystem, we have bold ambitions, aren’t afraid to push boundaries, or invent on behalf of users. We don’t have legacy to protect — we are looking to create our own legacy. Crypto feels a little like early YCombinator (YC) - creators in a new space when it wasn’t considered cool to be in the space. Beyond the price charts, user & network data, and funding numbers all generally looking like 📈, being founder-led is the reason I’m so bullish on crypto’s long-term prospects and why I believe there’s so much upside remaining.
HOLIDAY SPECIAL 🎁
Ok and now, for the moment you’ve all been waiting for - let’s have some fun and map each Succession character to the crypto token that best represents them 🥳!
Logan Roy = Bitcoin ($BTC)
This one was easy. You come at the king, you best not miss.
Kendall Roy = Ethereum ($ETH)
This one might be controversial but hear me out. He’s the natural, assumed successor, and says the right things about the future (Kendall talks about new media and tech, ETH talks about smart contracts) — but a bit flawed and hasn’t fully lived up to the promise just yet (for ETH, that’s high gas fees and slower innovation than other L1s).
Shiv Roy = Cardano ($ADA)
When Succession first started, Shiv was presented as the smartest kid, the one that would be best suited to take over if given the chance. But when the lights came on, she basically tanked. Sound familiar?
Roman Roy = LiteCoin ($LTC)
Just like Litecoin, Roman is a much less effective clone of his father that would topple over if his dad died.
Connor Roy = DogeCoin ($DOGE)
No substance and all about the meme (Con-heads!). It’s not necessarily a bad thing and he might just turn out to be the most successful (or least damaged) Roy.
Tom Wambsgam = Solana ($SOL)
Tom’s been an underdog since the show started, shit on by every character especially his wife Shiv, but pulls off the chess-move double-cross at the end of Season 3 that gives him pole position to the top. With Solana’s exponential rise of developer adoption and community, could they be similarly positioned to come from behind and beat BTC/ETH?
Cousin Greg = Shibu ($SHIB)
Greg’s fun, hype, and here for the ride. Let’s all just enjoy it!
Gerri/Karl/Frank = Tether ($USDT)
As part of Logan’s top team, they represent stability, always backing Logan and doing whatever it takes to keep power — even if it might be corrupt. Let’s just say Tether has had a lot of similar claims made about it 🤪.
Stewie = Ripple ($XRP)
Stewie’s part of the old guard, Ripple wants to integrate with TradFi. This one fits.
Mattson = Avalanche ($AVAX)
Mattson is the CEO of GoJo, the tech company positioned to acquire Waystar. GoJo kind of came from nowhere and might just win this whole thing — or go away just as quickly. I’d say the same thing about Avalanche.
Side note: I’d appreciate it if you could share with atleast 1 other person who might like this!
2 Things On Our Mind 🤔
1. Messari Research published an EPIC 165 page report on their crypto theses going into 2022. Even skimming this puts you in great position to see the future.
2. I absolutely loved this conversation between Su Zhu (CEO of 3AC crypto hedge fund) and Hasu. They go deep on why perhaps ETH isn’t going to win smart contracts and how alt-L1s such as Solana or Avalanche are doing more for developers and crypto newcomers. I hadn’t heard too much of Su before this but his clairvoyance blew me away. I especially liked his fractal analysis of how Ethereum is what Bitcoin hoped it would be, and Solana/Avalanche might be doing the same to Ethereum - and that anyone in this space for 4+ years might be a Boomer. Highly recommend!
Until next week, always be learning