Inflections in finance and tech.

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Praise for The Diff

I have culled the online world to a curated group and Byrne’s work is truly the outcome of someone who thinks, and thinks differently and deeply.

Jeff B.Hedge Fund Manager

In case there are any other laggards like me who haven't properly noticed: @ByrneHobart's newsletter is very good.

Patrick C.Fintech Founder

Byrne’s the substacker I wish I was. He reads like an industrial vacuum and synthesizes like a minimoog. His range and taste in coverage puts Matt Levine to shame.

Jordan S.China Tech Analyst

The Diff is a newsletter exploring the technologies, companies, and trends that are making the future high-variance. Posts range from in-depth company profiles, applied financial theory, strategy breakdowns and macroeconomics.

Why finance and tech?

First, they're very meta industries, like layers over the rest of the economy.  They're rich with insights into how a lot of the world and economy works. And they also influence a lot of things about your life.

Second, they're fast moving. Financial markets are designed to instantaneously react to any news happening anywhere, and to decide what it means and how much it matters. This makes them very useful for understanding what's important in the world. (They're not perfect, of course, but it's even more informative when they're wrong.) Product cycles happen faster in tech than in other sectors, and strategies go from being effective to obsolete in a startlingly short period. So looking at the decisions tech companies make over quarters and years offers insight into how other industries will behave over years and decades.

What do you get with The Diff?

  • Each weekday issue starts with a long-form writeup about a notable company, event, or trend. The goal is not to be topical — instead, it's to choose topics and framing that will be more relevant a year from now.
  • Each piece also includes links to five recent news stories, with commentary. These stories are not the five biggest news stories of the day, but five data points that illustrate long-term trends, refute them, or are widely-reported but deeply misunderstood.
  • Free subscribers get one weekday issue a week and access to a free link roundup and open thread on weekends. Paying subscribers get three more full issues.

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More things people have to say about us

The Diff is mind-expanding. Byrne masterfully fuses domains as diverse as economics, technology and sociology into each of his financial analyses. The Diff is like Matt Levine's Money Stuff, but for mental model geeks. I come for the finance and leave enlightened on far more.

Alex P.Data Engineer at Fintech Startup

The Diff appeals to me because it presents an alien (to me) but entirely coherent set of financial analogies for the world: stocks, flows, options contracts, and volatility. Analyzing topics through my distributed computing systems lens and then reading the financialized analysis from The Diff gives me both a deeper understanding of the topic at hand, but is also giving me a backdoor understanding of general financial analysis tools I wouldn’t have otherwise known.

Grant S.Senior Engineer at AWS

As a science fiction author who uses hard science (including economics and finance) as the skeletons of my novels, I consider reading The Diff, with its almost 'Five Whys' approach to explaining underlying patterns in markets and technology development, to be a competitive advantage in building plausible futures.

Travis C.Sci-fi Author