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P.S. You Should Know... | Issue #170

June 28 · Issue #170 · View online
P.S. You Should Know...
👋 Welcome back to P.S. You Should Know… probably the best newsletter published on Sundays between 6-7am CST, and definitely the best one published by me. Now in its fourth year!

my story 🚀
Summer 2020 is in full swing! 🦩
Summer 2020 is in full swing! 🦩
🌊 Once a topic becomes politicized, discussion about its nuances largely goes into hiding. It’s one of the reasons I favor less-covered (though not less important) ideas – because I really appreciate the nuance. But the politicized topics sure do get a lot of attention. Three great waves have combined to crowd out my reading list, bit by bit. Beginning with Trump’s presidency, many publications started making sport of tying all stories back to him. Then in March, Coronavirus infiltrated almost every source of information I regularly read. That hadn’t abated much by the time Racial Inequity gained traction in June. All of these are relevant and important, yet I am reminded of what I wrote on March 15th: “I know that I will, by default, overweight the importance of what I hear most frequently.” I’m working hard to see the world more clearly by seeking out more of the world. This week’s links reflect that, and I hope you enjoy.
someone else's words 💬
fun facts 🙌
The $2 billion marketing letter. “Below is what many consider ‘The Greatest Sales Letter of All Time.’ It sold $2 billion worth of Wall St. Journal subscriptions & ran from 1975-2003 with only minor edits.” | learn more
Jim Carrey’s epic 1994. Did you know that The Mask, Dumb and Dumber, and Ace Ventura all came out in the same year? | learn more
Fold ‘n fly. A database of paper airplane designs with all the instructions you’ll need to succeed. | learn more
tech, startups, internet ⚡
Balaji Srinivasan on The Portal podcast. Balaji is a blockchain guy, having most recently worked as CTO of Coinbase. He also was very early (January) with coronavirus analysis. This covers a lot of ground including how public health plays the role of a utility that we’ve taken for granted, privacy vs contact tracing, and trust in government as a nation’s competitive advantage. And a lot more – it’s 3 hours long. | learn more
The return of the 90s web. “Are we ready to revisit some of the ideas of the early web again? There are trends that suggest we might just have come full circle - and I like it.” | learn more
Tesla autopilot is better than you think. A play-by-play analysis of Tesla self-driving video. “Most people are amazed by the things that autopilot can do, but Tesla’s software is much better than it seems on the surface.” 7 minutes watch time. | learn more
better doing 🎯
The best networking is not networking. Tyler Tringas learned to arrive early at conferences to catch people off guard, set up meetings immediately before conferences when willingness to meet was highest, etc. “But then I discovered a networking tactic that worked 100x better. All the other marginal improvements I’d made were worthless by comparison.” File this one away for when conferences return someday! | learn more
retail therapy 💸
Skubana’s top 133 coolest direct-to-consumer brands. I’m not sure whether I’m more surprised by how many I didn’t know about, or how many I was already aware of. I wonder what this landscape will look like by early next year? | learn more
Nike hit hard by coronavirus. Even the strongest of brands is hurting today. “Nike reported an unexpected quarterly net loss and a sales decline of 38% year-over-year.” That’s despite digital sales growing by 75% to represent 30% of their revenue. | learn more
under the microscope 🔬
How early-life environment can drive long-term aging. “Early life exposure to environmental stressors, including endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), can impact health later in life. Here, the authors show that neonatal EDC exposure in rats causes epigenetic reprogramming in the liver, which is transcriptionally silent until animals are placed on a Western-style diet.” EDCs include a lot of common chemicals including BPA and PFCs. | learn more
How gut bacteria can break down cholesterol. “A new study, led by researchers at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, … describes how bacteria in the gut can metabolize cholesterol at levels high enough to improve a person’s cardiac health.” | learn more
How do optical illusions work? “The question is whether the “illusion” part is generated in our brains or in the visual data our eyes are sending to our brains. Over the course of three experiments, the scientists say they believe the phenomenon occurs in each eye, even before the information from both eyes is merged together.” | learn more
big ideas 📚
The American soviet mentality. Some timely writing about the Soviet Union that’s applicable to the US culture today. “It was during that campaign [against Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago] that the Soviet catchphrase “ne chital, no osuzhdayu”—“didn’t read, but disapprove”—was born: Pasternak’s accusers had coined it to protect themselves against suspicions of having come in contact with the seditious material. Days after accepting the Nobel Prize, Pasternak was forced to decline it. Yet demonization continued unabated.” | learn more
Vladimir Putin’s essay on World War II. Putin probably didn’t write this, but he did put his name on it. It’s surely published for self-serving reasons, but that doesn’t mean it’s not useful. In particular, he directly contradicts the history I learned in school about the Nazi-Soviet nonaggression pact. In Putin’s telling, the Western states had appeased the Nazis and stalled in the hopes that they’d become an exclusively Soviet problem to deal with (“The Munich Betrayal”). That drove the Soviets to step out of the way in 1939. Worth reading as a reminder that we never learn the full story when our learning is driven by political forces. | learn more
on the blockchain ⛓
Balaji on decentralized personal media corporations. Balaji Srinivasan has earned a second appearance in today’s newsletter. This is a presentation “on how the multiple concurrent crises of 2020 have led to further breakdowns in trust in both establishment media and social media, and how crypto could be used to decentralize and improve the quality of news and information.” | learn more
Telegram to return $1.2 billion and pay $18.5 million fine to SEC. “Pavel Durov’s grand cryptocurrency dreams for his Telegram messaging service are ending with an $18.5 million civil settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and a pledge to return the more than $1.2 billion that investors had put into its TON digital token.” | learn more
PayPal & Venmo plan to roll out direct sales of crypto. This could be a big move toward driving adoption of cryptocurrency by a large group of new users. Telegram’s attempt might have accomplished this, except for those pesky securities law violations (see above). | learn more
calls to action 👇
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