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Power

Written by Elijah Levine

CEO of Black Mountain Investment Group

April 29, 2024

What is power? How much power do you have?  

Power can mean very different things in very different contexts but still, whoever has the power, has the power. Power exists in all situations- in money, influence, confidence, health, and more.

It also exists in more of a “real” sense of data or energy assets such as smart phones, computers, data centers, houses, solar panels, wind turbines, nuclear power plants, sub stations, and so much more. What creates the need for this “real” power, for the most part, is the existence and sharing of data.  

Today, very few people understand where their data is held, how little control they have over it, and exactly why that is so important. 

So perhaps the better question is, what is a lack of power? 

A power outage causes stress and shock to those impacted as we have grown accustomed to modern energy infrastructure like electricity to make us comfortable in our daily lives. If it goes down, we are in the dark. Have you ever had a thought and then just forgot it out of nowhere? Believe it or not, this is a form of a power outage.  

Thoughts are power, like literally measurable power in the form of energy. Elon Must, one of the brightest minds of our time, has proven this with his invention of the Neuralink, which uses measurable electrical signals in the brain to create an incredibly advanced brain-computer interfacing system that was recently successfully installed into its first human brain. The patient, who was a paraplegic, can now play chess for the first time in years using the electrical currents in his mind. The world is changing fast in big ways. 

Power is also influence, but too many people with too much influence can paradoxically lead to a lack of power. Think about congress, but even in other organizations this quickly becomes a problem. For example, I sit on a board that manages quite a lot of money, and anytime an idea gets brought up about doing something new, it goes back and forth across the board room table with lots of discussion, but even when everybody at the table understands and agrees upon a fantastic idea that was proposed, no change actually ever occurs.

In this case, everybody has power and influence as everybody’s opinions are valued, but the power is spread so widely throughout the group, that using it and making decisions as a group becomes unnecessarily difficult/impossible. 

A lack of power can also be felt in a handshake or a locked door- once again, it’s all context dependent. Some say money motivates man, but I think power motivates man even more. In most historical examples, people care more about the power they have over others just as much if not more as they care about the money they have. That said, money is one of the most obvious and powerful forms of power.  

Power in the context of money gives one the freedom to do whatever they like and the freedom to do whatever one likes is undoubtedly a very special form of power. Furthermore, achieving power, for many, is about achieving influence as influence over others is another very special kind of power. The famous Spiderman quote “with great power comes great responsibility,” I think, is mostly about influence.  

Throughout the course of man, the strongest and most resilient leaders have had the most influence. Today, influence is found in strong and resilient leaders, but because of the rise of social media, the power of influence can also be found in the hands of many people who are not necessarily using that power responsibly or even realize the power that they have.  

What enables social media? Power- in the more literal sense. Energy assets such as data centers, cell towers, and WI-FI routers allow data to be created, shared, and transmuted across borders, mostly without limitation. Bandwidth is basically the only limiting factor to how much data can be transmuted across the world at what rate and what cost.  

People have started paying for increased bandwidth in ways that are comparable to faster, better physical transportation such as cars, trains, planes, and more (of course, what enables these forms of transportation is also a form of power/energy). The first power lines in the US were put up in the late 1800s, and since then, we have just been building on top of them. It would be like putting a hypersonic train on a wooden track built in the 1800s and expecting everything to be fine. When in reality, if that was the case, that train would almost certainly run off track.   

Similarly to what is expected to happen in that theoretical thinking, if we continue abusing the grid in the way we have been, especially with more and more demanding AI models that require a lot of energy and power to be used, that metaphorical train is also bound to fly off the tracks. In this parallel example, pushing the grid too hard will result in power outages, which we are already starting to see more and more of all across the world.   

I don’t necessarily think this is any big cause for concern, it’s just something to be aware of. I think most groups working on cell towers and data centers are doing a very good job building sustainable assets that will last and investing capital in sophisticated ways. The problem is the original infrastructure- but in my mind, this is more of an opportunity than anything.  

People are spending thousands on WI-FI set ups and hundreds in monthly payments for access to the same thing: high speed internet. Currently, power runs through ~1,700 “utilities” in the US, or power hubs. This number has been and will only continue to increase as the concept of “edge” data centers and power hubs start to become more popularized- especially as energy centers become more efficient and able to put more power through the same or smaller amounts of space.  

This brings up another question of connectivity. Of course there is such thing as a wireless connection, but even those networks are built off connected cables underground and sea. Most of us still also physically “plug in” all our devices to cords that are plugged in to power sources.  

Being plugged in can be more than just physical though, wireless connections are everywhere. Are you ever driving and feel connected to your car? How about when riding a horse? What about when using your phone or computer? The better we can sync with the things we are using as modes to express or extend ourselves in our daily lives, it can make a huge difference in the outcomes and the grace in which these interactions occur.  

Being in tune with the vibrations and energy fields of electricity is an extremely difficult but extremely important thing to be able to do. I think we have all experienced frustration with technology. Sometimes there are clear explanations for this, such as a cell service or WI-FI outages and/or periods of high usage that clog up the systems. Have you ever noticed when your WI-FI goes down and you start getting frustrated when trying to use your devices, that even offline functionalities seem to not be working as good either? 

However, other times are more nuanced and rarely discussed. Such as “feeling” why a computer flow didn’t go through properly. This can happen when using Microsoft Office, Google, or even the regular internet- but you may notice a very nuanced way of doing things that when slightly adjusted greatly changes the outcome. This is because those flows are real, electrical currents are flows of energy and humans have electromagnetic fields as well. 

I bring this up because the world is quickly transitioning to a place where energy assets (such as iPhones) and humans are interacting at an ever-increasing rate. Even 10 years ago it was rare to have more than 1-2 devices per person. Now, between Apple’s comprehensive and beautiful suite of products, it’s not uncommon to have 4-5 technology products that all use, require, and give off power/energy in the same room.  

There is a recent viral phenomenon called “grounding” which shows social media influencers literally touching grass with their feet to get back in tune with the electromagnetic frequencies of the earth. They make claims that our bodies have electromagnetic currents going through them, and that by “grounding” yourself to the earth, you can bring your electromagnetic currents to a state of “grounding” that can bring about various health benefits.  

What is the most interesting thing about this to me is recent technological advancements in technology such as Apple’s Vision Pro and Elon Musk’s Nueralink. As humans get more intertwined with technology and power/energy assets, it’s important that we continue to tap into and understand the energy fields associated both with our bodies, minds, and the power assets that we are growing more and more accustomed to interacting with.  

These are early thoughts in discussions that far more advanced minds have been pondering for years if not decades, particularly the leaders of Apple and Elon Musk. These new technologies are certainly scaring some people but will likely go down as some of the most important inventions humanity will ever see. It all comes down to brain-computer interfacing and how fast we can transmute data- something the computer revolutionized less than 200 years ago. 

At Black Mountain, we are at the forefront of observing, understanding, and capturing/creating value from these sea changes and will continue to be because it is what we are truly passionate about. We can’t give away exactly what our upcoming real estate fund is just yet, but the title of this article is a teaser to that, stay tuned.  

Best,  

Elijah and The Black Mountain Investment Group Team 

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