Written by: John "JAYEL" Lasak
As I was walking around my Wynwood neighborhood on a cold and windy Sunday morning, for some reason, I had a random thought about vehicle financing.
Leasing a car is a great hedge against inflation.
This is because when you sign a car lease, you are agreeing to a price that you can buy the car for at the end of the lease. For example, I sign a 36 month lease that says my car is worth $20,000 and ends in January of 2022. I put $2,800 down and pay $200 a month for the lease. At the end of my lease agreement, I can buy the car from the dealership for $10,000.
$20,000 car value - ( $2,800 down payment + ( 36 months * $200 per month ) ) = $10,000
This is good for a number of reasons.
First, you are getting any maintenance issues handled by the car dealership 100% while you are under lease. The car is technically the dealership's still, so they want to preserve the car.
Secondly, you are making cheaper payments on the car than you would be if you bought the same exact car without a lease. Most car financing deals are 60 months, so if you bought that same $20,000 car instead of leasing it first, you could put $5,000 down and would then be responsible for paying $250 per month for 60 months (instead of $200 for 36 months and then paying $166 once you do the five year financing after the lease--also, you only put $2,800 down instead of $5,000).
Thirdly, and the reason I started this article with, you are hedging against inflation. You are locking in the price to buy this car while making cheaper monthly payments on it. If you are planning to buy this car, why wouldn't you lease it first? For example, if my Volkswagen Jetta was worth $20,000 brand new in 2016 but now a 2021 Volkswagen Jetta costs $22,000, that's a 10% increase in price that I just hedged against. More importantly, that same exact 2016 car that I bought might even be the same price used now--considering how rampant inflation is.
What do you think about this? Do you lease cars or buy them? Are you more interested in leasing a car now than before? Let me know, I'm curious!
Now, lets get to the technology and investing 🚀
🚀 NFT minted in space from Miami
Miami Hack Week took place this past week and it was another one of many special moments for the #MiamiTech scene. The hack week boasts 15+ sponsored villas located in different parts of Miami that teams live and build in. When you sprinkle in some impressive speakers like Pomp, and have great parties and events, it makes for a lovely week in Miami as a technologist. Ja’dan Johnson and his team put together an elite week of building and networking.
The hack week's headquarters was in my neighborhood and they had it open as a co-working space from 8 am until 8 pm every day. I had been following the MHW's Twitter and Instagram campaigns and was really excited for how the week would go.
I stopped by the headquarters to work for most of the day on Thursday and it was definitely a very cool vibe to immerse yourself in. Different teams were collaborating, people were meeting up with each other who connected at previous events, and people like me were just hanging out and working on their own things. There was always a flowing supply of food, water, energy drinks, and coffee ☕️
On Friday, the winner of Miami Hack Week was decided. The Hard Tech Miami house placed first with their Cosmic NFT project, which launched an NFT in space. Yes, the title of this email was not complete click-bait! They really did it, straight from Miami.
The team brought this idea to life with a 30 ft weather balloon, 60 liters of helium, 10 bps satellite communications, 1 camera, and all of that 30,000 feet above Earth.
Once the balloon and camera reached space it supposedly froze, thawed, took a picture, and minted an NFT on Opensea via the Polygon network. The team said they would do something about the ice next time ☃️
There's not much detail about the specifics of the Cosmic NFT project, but I think there is a lot more media to be released by the team, including drone footage. So check out their Twitter to stay up to date!
There will be many events that take place in Miami to grow its tech scene this year, such as Miami Tech Week in April. They're working and the movement is happening. Miami is the Silicon Valley of the future.
🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia buys Counter-Strike
No, the country of Saudi Arabia did not actually buy the video game, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO)--technically.
Counter-Strike is the most historic and internationally known esport video game. It has been a pioneer in the explosion of world-wide esports adoption and evolution. No other game has had such an effect on the growth of competitive gaming like the Counter-Strike series has over the last twenty years.
The Public Investment Fund is one of the biggest sovereign wealth funds in the world, and it invests on behalf of Saudi Arabia. The sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia recently created a new holding company called Savvy Gaming Group, which is to be the esports and video gaming arm of the Public Investment Fund.
Last week, two behemoth companies within the Counter-Strike ecosystem announced that they had been acquired for a combined $1.5 billion by the Savvy Gaming Group. The two companies were known as ESL Gaming and Faceit.
The two companies have no direct ownership of the Counter-Strike video game (it is fully owned by Valve), but they are serious upholders of its legacy and growth--especially on the international esports circuit. ESL is the primary manager and developer of the professional esports scene within Counter-Strike, as well as other games. Since its inception, ESL has hosted tournaments with over $60 million in prize pool money, broadcasted its events for over 25 thousand hours with over 900 million hours watched by viewers, and had a peak event viewership of 1.2 million users. Faceit provides a secure and professional platform for competitive Counter-Strike players to compete on. It tracks player stats and creates pugs (pick-up-games) for players of similar talent. ESL also has its own version of Faceit, called ESEA.
The Public Investment Fund created the Savvy Gaming Group holding company as a layer of illusion to hide its Saudi government funding source. While it is clear and obvious to everyone in the community, it will likely prove to be a decent mirage in the future for those who are unfamiliar with the situation. Not too long ago, there was outrage when the Saudi government tried to enter the Counter-Strike scene. This announcement was met with similar conflict from the community, but it doesn't seem to be getting stopped this time. While the video game is still growing and standing as a pioneer among esports, it does need some assistance and push in the right direction. While the Public Investment Fund does not have a good public appearance, it does undoubtably have an absurd amount of money that it is promising to inject into one of the best competitive games of all time.
In an attempt to remove my own political opinion and bias from this headline, I will simply share a video from one of the most influential figures in the Counter-Strike and gaming community at large, Richard Lewis.
🏨 Coolest remote work innovation ever
It's great when targeted ads actually connect with you. Like, I hate you, but I love you. Do you think Elon Musk is going to do target ads when he connects our brains to his Neuralink? Find out next time on, Black Mirror.
Anyway, Gather came up on my Instagram last week and my nostalgia with MMORPGs, Club Penguin and Habbo Hotel instantly skyrocketed.
P.S. this write-up is not sponsored but if Gather wants to hook a homie up, you already know that I'm about this life 😉
Gather creates a virtual space (did someone say, mEtAvErSe!?) for remote teams and companies to work in. Each team member has an avatar that is fully immersed in this virtual office during the day. Users can walk around via the WASD keyboard commands and enter different rooms and even bump into other avatars and start-up a video call with them.
It's difficult to put this application into words, so I highly recommend you visit their website and take a look for yourself.
There have been many start-ups and projects spun up during the pandemic that claim to be the next best thing for remote work. All of them were complete shams to me. This seems different. Gather really seems like something that has a future, especially with the millennial generation growing older and having the experience we do with online games and communities.
I could see a company like Facebook acquiring Gather if it starts to pick up more attention and usage. Innovation like this is what remote work really needs and I love the direction they're going.
Can't wait to see what is coming up on the roadmap for this company!
The below image shows the virtual office space that I made for my avatar, Swag Dadi. Click on the image to make your own virtual office for free! It only takes like 30 seconds.
👋 Hello, February
Thanks as always for reading! February is upon us! We are already 8.33% finished with 2022. Make sure you get to work on whatever it is you want to accomplish. A little bit of progress is 100% better than no progress at all. Don't get stuck, just keep pushing and trying new things. You can ALWAYS do it!
Some more headlines for you 😊