Deryk Makgill


This lists major mistakes I’ve realized I’ve made in public with my work or writing, with some attempts at self-criticism. Some of the mistakes of factual, strategic, and others are moral.

1. (02/11/2016) I reviewed Ramit Sethi's book I Will Teach You to Be Reach and was overly critical. I claimed then the book would be better titled I Will Teach You Not to Be Poor and suggested the advice was overly simplistic.

I’ve come to see more value in his advice though as I’ve tried putting some of it into practice from mid-2017 to the present 2019. Automated investing, index funds, etc, work. Read it and use his advice. It can be worth tens of thousands of dollars to you or more, like it’s been to me.

2. (06/28/2017) I overreacted to my friend and colleague Simon Fraser's new book that I thought overborrowed from conversations we'd had and things I had written without mentioning the work had come from me.

Simon made an honest mistake and offered to correct it. I should have accepted and moved on, but I acted uncharitably, assumed the worst, insulted him, embarrassed both of us, and lost a friend. It wasn’t worth it. As my friend Isaac Morehouse says, there are very few hills worth dying on.

3. (05/26/2018) I released what I thought was an newly discovered pre-release draft of the Bitcoin whitepaper too quickly through the Nakamoto Studies Institute.

I realized weeks later that the draft almost certaintly had to be a forgery. The date on the b-Money citation was the correct date, but if it were a true original draft, one would expect the date to not match or to be missing entirely, as one of Satoshi’s earlier known communications was to ask Wei Dai for a proper citation to include in a document he linked him via email.

Fools rush in.

4. (08/28/2018) In a short blog post about the words of Mohammed Atta, one of the men behind 9/11, before he crashed the plane into the Twin Towers, I wasn't clear enough on my stance and it led to some confusions.

The point of the post was this: evil might try to tell you to just “stay quiet. You’ll be okay.” Don’t listen. Speak out. The post wasn’t about 9/11, Islam, immigration, or anything else. It’s about having your ideals turned against you.

For example, free speech should be protected at all costs, but that doesn't mean you need to be silent when someone is speaking evil. For example, racism is evil and wrong, but accusations of racism shouldn't be used as a cudgel to silence someome from speaking out against something they thing is evil or dangerous. I should have been more clear.

5. (05/08/2019) For a long time I used "Twitter likes" as reading bookmarks. When I was interested in exploring a topic or Tweet, I would like it and return to it later.

Unfortunately I didn’t think at the time that liking Tweets across the spectrum on a wide range of topics I disagreed with, both on the left, the right, and on issues like vaccines, minimalism, literature, culture, film, etc, might lead people to think I agreed with them. I often don’t.

Not a huge deal to the rational mind, but there are a lot of irrational people looking for a quick win. Likes prior to May 1, 2019, are not endorsements of content.

This page was inspired by Scott Alexander.

The opinions expressed on this website are my own. They do not represent those of my employer.