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Protocol Case Writer (Summer Internship)

Applications will close when all slots have been filled. There are currently two openings for this role.

The Commoncog Case Library is a library of business cases. It is built around a theory of expertise that tells us how experts learn from history. Amongst other things, it explains how famous investors like Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger become good at what they do.

The goal of the library is to take this learning approach and apply it towards accelerating business (or investing) expertise.

What’s the Goal?

You will be researching protocols and creating new cases on protocol history for the Case Library. As far as we know, no such research program currently exists. The cases you create will be read by investors who are paying members of Commoncog. Over time, we intend for these cases to be read by researchers and builders in the broader crypto ecosystem.

The long term goal of the Case Library project is to build the world’s largest library of business cases, organised according to business concepts. Business cases accelerate pattern matching in business and in investing. Protocol cases represent an interesting variation on this goal: we apply the same learning methodology, but for protocols.

Why protocols? We are at an interesting point in history: for the first time, we are able to invest in protocols directly, as opposed to investing in intermediate bodies that create (or own) such protocols. But what makes for a good protocol? How do protocols win? How do they die? What does the typical creation and subsequent growth of a winning protocol look like?

The long term goal of this particular project is to create a new branch of investing research: protocol studies.

We’ll be experimenting with processes as we work together. I expect you to tell me what works or doesn’t work about the research and writing process, so that we may improve it.

Unlike the business cases that fill the rest of the Commoncog Case Library, all of these protocol case studies will be released for free, as public goods.

What You’ll Learn

You’re mostly going to learn about writing and about protocols:

  • You’ll learn how to write better. I’ll be editing your cases with the goal of improving your writing.
  • You’ll learn about research in the wild. We will sensemake about protocols together, along with a few trusted advisors. We will reach out to sources if necessary.
  • You’ll also get to learn some Cognitive Flexibility Theory — the theory of expertise we are using to build this library. Ideally, after this internship, you will never read history the same way again.
  • Commoncog has been described as ‘Harvard Business Review, but actually useful’, ‘what you’ll get if Peter Drucker were Asian’ and ‘ugh, the articles are good but too damn long’.

About You

You are, in order of importance:

  • A good writer. You should enjoy writing and reading. You’ll be evaluated for writing skill as a prerequisite for this job.
  • Someone who enjoys getting to the bottom of things, in order to get at the truth.
  • A hard worker — reading and writing things that you enjoy is all well and good, but we expect you to put in the hours to get good. We promise to train you; we expect you to hold up your end of the bargain.
  • (Optional): History majors are a plus!
  • (Optional): You are curious about protocols or crypto and want an edge in protocol investing.

How Much?

You’ll be paid S$1000 a month. This would be a full-time, fully remote internship, that will last the length of the summer (about three months).

The job scope:

  • You’ll spend your time consuming and chasing down source material: reading books, listening to podcasts, doing research on the Internet, and writing.
  • You’ll be talking to me and to other Commoncog folk.
  • We’ll be doing editing calls together — you’ll edit either with me or with another Commoncog writer.
  • You’re expected to attend some meetings. Most of these will be video calls, with the rare in-person meet-up.

Next Steps

If you’re interested, email me at cedric [at] Include a writing sample. The writing sample should have the following requirements:

  • The sample should be more than 1000 words. It should be meaty: either it paints a narrative, or it makes a cohesive argument, or it uses a combination of narrative and exposition to make a point.
  • You should not use generative AI for this: I’m hiring you for your writing and thinking ability, and want to be able to evaluate both.
  • It’s ok to submit schoolwork. The key thing is that you’re proud of it, and you think it is representative of your best work.

What kinds of writing am I looking for? You may take a look at Commoncog, or browse the existing cases in the Case Library. In short, the writing I expect you to do is best described as: non-formal, optimised for clarity, using an active voice, in the classic style.

I’ll follow up with a writing task (~1500 words) which you should complete in a week. If you pass, I’ll schedule a 30 minute call with you. I promise to give you a decision within three days after the call.

Who Am I?

My name is Cedric Chin, and I’m responsible for Commoncog.

If you’re in Singapore, the following references may make sense to you: I helped create the NUS Hackers back when I was a student. (I created Friday Hacks and organised the first Hack&Roll). More importantly, I did the org design for the club, which persists till today.

From late 2014-2017 I ran the Vietnam engineering office for a Singapore company, where I helped my boss pivot the company from consulting to product, and then helped him bootstrap the business to S$4.5m in annual revenue. I dealt with and often negotiated against lots of ‘Chinese businessmen’ during this period. At the end of my tenure there, I hired three people to replace me and left. In 2019-2020 I helped Holistics reposition their company and doubled their annual recurring revenue in eight months, without any additional marketing spend.

I started writing about my business experiences shortly after leaving that first company. I was trying to make sense of the business skill and the relative success of these intuitive businessmen that I often dealt with. That blog gradually turned into what Commoncog is today.

I spend most of my time working on Commoncog’s Case Library, and a small amount of time on other bets.

I look forward to working with you.

Last Updated: 23 Mar 2024

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