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P.S. You Should Know... | Issue #216

May 16 · Issue #216 · 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 🚀
  1. Not the last time. Much of the US is short of gas after this week’s latest ransomware attack on an oil pipeline’s computer system. Of note, the company paid up ($5 million) quite quickly and regained access to their systems, then restarting their pipeline. But the panic buying of gasoline after a brief shutdown led to a ripple effect. To me, this is an everyday company with $1 billion in revenue, and they went through an everyday ransomware attack. The CNA Insurance ransomware attack I highlighted a few weeks ago ended without much fanfare as it didn’t impact their quarterly earnings report. How many other companies will face attacks this year? With enough rolls of the dice, inevitably we’ll see even worse ripple effects. Remember, ransomware is coming and it’s not the last time.
  2. Also not the last time. There’s violence in the middle east again and my heart goes out to the civilians across the region who are at risk right now. This includes the people of Israel as well as the bystanders in Gaza who Hamas puts at risk. This conflict flares up every few years, always stoked by extremists. It makes me sad that many in America are quick to vilify Israel and tacitly support a wave of indiscriminate rocket attacks against civilians. I’m fond of the way Bari Weiss explains the situation in The Bad Optics of Fighting for Your Life. It’s important to remember that when it comes to Hamas, nothing short of Israel’s destruction counts as a win for them.
fun facts 🙌
Falsehoods programmers believe about names. “I have never seen a computer system which handles names properly and doubt one exists, anywhere. So, as a public service, I’m going to list assumptions your systems probably make about names. All of these assumptions are wrong.” | learn more
Visual acuity literally off the charts. Louis J. Rosenbaum was an ophthalmologist who worked with sports teams. “The trouble was that Rosenbaum used commercially available Landolt ring charts, which tested visual acuity down to 20/15. Nearly every player maxed out the test.” | learn more
What sort of business is investment banking? “Credit Suisse has over 1.6 million individual clients, over 100,000 corporate clients and tens of thousands of institutional clients. Yet a single client can blow through the profits made from all the others.” | learn more
tech, startups, internet ⚡
Stripe and solid-state economics. From Byrne Hobart of The Diff: “A world where money is accessible through just another function call is a world where more of the economy fits together better and runs a lot faster.” | learn more
Apple discussed disclosing 128mm iPhone hack, then decided not to. “In September 2015, Apple managers had a dilemma on their hands: should, or should they not notify 128 million iPhone users of what remains the worst mass iOS compromise on record? Ultimately, all evidence shows, they chose to keep quiet.” | learn more
better doing 🎯
How Coinbase is rethinking compensation. Coinbase’s latest changes should inspire us all. They’re going to pay 75th percentile compared to a peer group of big tech companies, removing all negotiation from offers and adopting annual equity grants instead of traditional 4-year grants. “Eliminating negotiations doesn’t mean all employees are paid the same after they begin working. In fact, we want compensation differentiation, but it should be solely driven by demonstrated performance and outsized impact on our company and for our customers.” | learn more
What’s going on here, with this human? Recruiting is hard. “My goal in this essay is to help others make better decisions on a potential hire, business partner, or even life partner as quickly and as accurately as possible. It’s made up of suggested action steps and some of the ruminations that underlie them.” | learn more
to your health ⚕
Personalized health is the future. AngelList rounds up the “new batch of wellness-minded startups” tackling personalized health. Great to see NutriSense get a mention! | learn more
A primary care physician for every American. “A new report says it’s time to consider primary care a “common good” akin to public education.” | learn more
retail therapy 💸
Wayfair’s $112 billion plan to take over your entire home. This is a nice long ode to Wayfair! “The furnishings giant is almost 20 years old. But it says it’s just getting started.” | learn more
Travis Scott doesn’t like ‘branding’ or ‘marketing,’ but he’s so good at both. “With Travis Scott, no creative choice is obvious or predictable. In fact, he didn’t even want his first album to be released on CD, still the standard format of the day in 2015.” | learn more
big ideas 📚
UFOs show govt. competence as either surprisingly high or low. A reasoned intellectual analysis into the hardest-to-dismiss cases of UFOs by Robin Hanson of Overcoming Bias. | learn more
calls to action 👇
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