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P.S. You Should Know... | Issue #225

July 18 · Issue #225 · 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. Personal networks are like infrastructure. A decade ago, I spent a meaningful part of my work time writing code. In part because doing it myself saved money, and in part because I really love the work. If you’ve ever done a sort of creative work that requires tooling, you know that the environment (i.e., the set tools you have at your fingertips) is critical. I consider the environment to be infrastructure. These days I rarely write code. Without my development environment it’d take too much initial effort for most use cases. I lack the infrastructure. This week I was able to tap my personal network of contacts to address an acute business need. I realized that network is just like infrastructure, in that without it a lot of problems require too much initial effort. But with strong infrastructure, we are better prepared to move quickly to get things done. Knowing who to call can be a superpower just like having the right keyboard shortcuts mapped.
  2. Inspiration can be just around the corner. Some people bring exceptional energy to a conversation. It’s inspiring. I met someone this week who fit the bill. I didn’t expect it when I walked in to meet him for coffee. When I walked out, though, some of that energy stayed with me. I’ll try and pay that energy forward this week!
  3. That contract wasn’t always so long. I signed some documents this week related to real estate, and it took a full hour shuffling through a lot of pages. At one moment I thought to myself, “Can’t this just be one simple signature?” Of course, I know it can’t. Not long ago, a friend lamented about the length of a contract. Some contracts are an insane number of pages. I think that the first time someone wrote a version of that contract it wasn’t nearly so lengthy. But then the messy real world happened, a bad experience taught the attorney that a new clause was necessary, and the contract got longer. And that happened over and over again. That’s how the contract got so long.
fun facts 🙌
One in four Americans aged 40 to 49 is a millionaire. “…If you include in their household net worth the net present value of their retirement benefits.” Is this a fair thing to do? Kinda… | learn more
Friendship paradox. “The friendship paradox is the phenomenon first observed by the sociologist Scott L. Feld in 1991 that most people have fewer friends than their friends have, on average.” | learn more
This story of a $33 Billion SPAC deal has everything. Analysis from a friend: “Terrible incentives ✔, Lack of any regulatory oversight ✔, Insiders with opportunity cash out immediately ✔, Massive payday for investment bankers ✔, "Medical reimbursements” sort of historically shady biz ✔, “Complex data analysis” and “disruption” name drop ✔, Miami ✔, Buying sports teams before the check clears ✔" | learn more
oh, chicago 🏆
A battle between a great city and a great lake. A reader shared this with me after seeing my story about Lake Michigan last week. It’s an excellent read! “Chicago has a weakness at its very foundations. The towering skyscrapers and temples of commerce were built upon a swamp.” | learn more
tech, startups, internet ⚡
Lilium’s CPO on the massively expensive challenge of eVTOL certification. “There’s a billion-dollar elephant in the room; any startup that wants to bring an eVTOL air taxi into commercial service needs to structure its entire operation to meet the same aerospace standards Boeing does. Does anyone have the money?” | learn more
Tesla’s building a solar neighborhood. “The first Tesla Solar neighborhood—dubbed the nation’s most sustainable residential community—will be built in Easton Park, a master-planned community in far Southeast Austin near McKinney Falls State Park. The newly built homes will feature Tesla solar roof tiles and Powerwall battery storage as well as electric vehicle charging stations.” | learn more
better doing 🎯
The most precious resource is agency. “Do children today have useful childhoods? … Gaining agency is gaining the capacity to do something differently from, or in addition to, the events that simply happen to you. Most famous people go off-script early, usually in more than one way. Carnegie becoming a message boy is one opportunity, asking how to operate the telegraph is another.” | learn more
The unreasonable effectiveness of just showing up every day. “With no self-imposed time pressure, I was able to focus on just one thing: showing up every day and writing some code.” | learn more
to your health ⚕
Doctors might have been focusing on the wrong asthma triggers. “The answer became clear as the monthly questionnaires started rolling in. The number of attacks the participants suffered at home really was dropping. It fell by 40 percent after the onset of the pandemic.” | learn more
retail therapy 💸
The illusion of the millennial aesthetic. “By all appearances, Great Jones was a startup success story. Launched by the childhood friends Sierra Tishgart and Maddy Moelis in 2018, the direct-to-consumer kitchenware line positioned itself as a hipper, more affordable update to legacy brands such as Le Creuset and Lodge.” | learn more
under the microscope 🔬
A list of exaggerated psychological phenomena. “A medical reversal is when an existing treatment is found to actually be useless or harmful. Psychology has in recent years been racking up reversals: in fact only 40-65% of its classic social results were replicated, in the weakest sense of finding ‘significant’ results in the same direction.” | learn more
One dose of psilocybin induces new neural connections. “An extraordinary new study from a team of scientists at Yale University is reporting the first direct cellular demonstration of a single psilocybin dose inducing neural plasticity in a mammalian brain.” | learn more
big ideas 📚
How should we do drugs now? Michael Pollan suggests we’ll need a cultural framework to guide our nation’s relationship with drugs now that “just say no” is no longer our guiding principle. He points to the many indigenous cultures that have used ritual to keep useful but powerful drugs from overstepping their usefulness. | learn more
Why you’re Christian. An essay by David Perell where he argues that a belief in God underpins everyone’s basis for human rights. Though he’s an atheist, his commitment to human rights means he’s, “implicitly committed to Christian ideas—or at the very least, a moral philosophy that’s propped up by the Bible.” | learn more
on the blockchain ⛓
How to explain zero-knowledge protocols to your children. Ali Baba and a strange cave! Published in 1998, this is a great abstraction of a complicated topic and it’s easy to follow for much of the story. The end, though, still doesn’t perfectly click for me. If you’re able to explain it to me, please reach out. | learn more
From winner take all to win and help win. This is the first article I’ve read that is hosted on the decentralized web and was auctioned as an NFT with the proceeds automatically and transparently shared with authors, contributors, and others. And that’s what it’s about: “Web3 technologies that unlock infinite remixability and more granular distributions of value.” | learn more
calls to action 👇
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