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P.S. You Should Know... | Issue #214

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May 2 · Issue #214 · 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 fifth year!

my story 🚀
We’re a third of the year through 2021. Here are some musings from this week about efficiency…
  1. Work in process. In manufacturing, there are three types of inventory: raw materials, work in process and finished goods. Even though I’ve never worked in manufacturing, I think a lot about work in process. I like to apply the concept to work more broadly. The excel file I started working on then set aside, that blog post I started writing but haven’t published, and that idea I briefly explored before getting distracted are all work in process. Unfortunately, half-finished work rarely provides value. That’s why I think of work in process as waste. How often have I abandoned work half-finished? Often enough that I believe avoiding work in process is a great way to work more efficiently. Ideally, I’d only start a piece of work if I believed I had time to finish it.
  2. Time to value. Think about the last time you opened a webpage. The page doesn’t appear immediately and all at once. Behind the scenes, a lot happens to deliver your page. It’s a process. You might even call it work in process. At what point does the work start to yield value? Google coined a term for this in the world of webpages: time to first meaningful paint. It’s the time it takes for a page’s primary content to appear on the screen. It’s the best metric for user-perceived loading experience (aka value to the user). Once again, I think the concept applies to work more broadly. The sooner the work is finished, the sooner it can begin creating value. Rather than rushing through work, I think the best move is to think more about what “finished” means and design milestones that are bite-sized enough to deliver incremental value along the way. Note that even after a webpage’s first meaningful paint, loading continues.
fun facts 🙌
How magicians can control your decisions. “In magic, choices are rarely what they seem. Magicians know how to manipulate us into a false sense of free will while really holding the puppet strings. Here’s a simple but clever example of a false choice used in magic.” | learn more
Feel good charts. This list of ~60 facts and charts reminds me of the late Hans Rosling and vast quality of life improvements happening throughout the world right now. | learn more
Are you hacking Vice right now? A Vice reporter goes to Russia to meet a hacker in this short video. | learn more
tech, startups, internet ⚡
Spotify’s open access. “This new option from Spotify lets users tap a few buttons to get their paid audio in their Spotify app while you get to control the customer relationship. It’s the best of all worlds: ease of use, in an app with scale, using your existing subscription relationships.” | learn more
Space junk removal is not going smoothly. “After so many decades of the buildup of high-speed clutter in the form of spent rocket stages, stray bolts and paint chips, solid-rocket-motor slag, dead or dying satellites and the scattered fragments from antisatellite tests—all of which could individually damage or destroy other assets—low-Earth orbit is finally on the verge of becoming too crowded for comfort.” | learn more
better doing 🎯
The infinite conflict of hiring. “What great Founders do, that others do not, is examine the balance between speed and quality, in order to make confident hiring decisions for their company.” | learn more
Advice from the CEO Jeff Bezos called his teacher. “[Jeff Wilke] built Amazon alongside Jeff Bezos for 22 years. Now he is analyzing the operations playbooks and early decisions that made Amazon so powerful.” | learn more
under the microscope 🔬
Special diets might boost the power of drugs to vanquish cancers. Two new clinical trials are taking “food as medicine” to the next level. “The researchers hope the diet will render tumors more vulnerable to the drug, which blocks a growth-promoting pathway in cells. “It’s very outside of the mainstream thinking,” says Makker, a researcher at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.” | learn more
First head-to-head trial pits psychedelic therapy against antidepressant. “The results, recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine, are decidedly mixed with the primary depression measure revealing no significant difference between the two treatments, but a number of secondary measures notably favoring psilocybin.” | learn more
thoughts of food 🍔
What’s on the menu? “We’re transcribing our historical restaurant menus, dish by dish, so that they can be searched by what people were eating back in the day.” | learn more
big ideas 📚
Is plastic recycling a lie? Short answer: yes. “Rogue, like most recycling companies, had been sending plastic trash to China, but when China shut its doors two years ago, Leebrick scoured the U.S. for buyers. She could find only someone who wanted white milk jugs. She sends the soda bottles to the state.” | learn more
on the blockchain ⛓
A brazen hack of that $69 M Beeple. “In the opening days of April, an artist operating under the pseudonym Monsieur Personne (“Mr. Nobody”) tried to short-circuit the NFT hype machine by unleashing “sleepminting,” a process that complicates, if not corrodes, one of the value propositions underlying non-fungible tokens.” | learn more
The Ponzi career. From Bowie Bonds to blockchain tokens, this is a scenario that may indeed play out. “In such a scenario, every career becomes a pyramid scheme.” | learn more
calls to action 👇
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