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P.S. You Should Know... | Issue #226

July 25 · Issue #226 · 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 🚀
Grateful for such great friends and all these kiddos. Congrats on #2, Shari & Alex!
Grateful for such great friends and all these kiddos. Congrats on #2, Shari & Alex!
  1. The best X in Y. About a decade ago I was on a connecting flight home through Philadelphia International Airport. I had never been to Philadelphia before. I had some time and was a bit hungry. I like Philly Cheesesteak sandwiches and saw a restaurant that offered them. I went up to the counter and asked for the cashier’s opinion about their sandwich. She replied, “It’s the best one in the airport.” Unsatisfied, I pressed again in hopes of getting a more useful answer. She looked at me like I was an idiot and said, “You’re in an airport. It’s the best one in the airport.” This was an educational experience for me.
  2. Remember to cancel. I use calendar events to keep track of dates when I need to make yes/no decisions on subscription renewals. Apple sent me a friendly reminder that my initial free period of their TV service is expiring, and they’ll soon be charging my credit card. This doesn’t happen very often. What will the world of consumer subscription management look like in a decade?
fun facts 🙌
Higher than the shoulders of giants. Something happened in the early 1970s that led to dozens of unexplained trends. Many blame the US dropping the gold standard. This author blames a different policy that Nixon signed into law. This is a fascinating read. “New drugs lead to scientific revolutions. Some of those drugs, like coffee, continue to fuel fields like mathematics and computer science, even some hundreds of years later.” | learn more
Short guide to Iraq. Written in 1943 for distribution to US troops by the War and Navy Departments in Washington, DC. “YOU HAVE been ordered to Iraq (i - RAHK) as part of the world-wide offensive to beat Hitler.” | learn more
The hidden complexity of wishes. “There are three kinds of genies: Genies to whom you can safely say "I wish for you to do what I should wish for”; genies for which no wish is safe; and genies that aren’t very powerful or intelligent.“ | learn more
tech, startups, internet ⚡
Industrial robot software escapes from Google’s moonshot factory. “Intrinsic is working to unlock the creative and economic potential of industrial robotics for millions more businesses, entrepreneurs, and developers.” | learn more
The app that monetized doing nothing. “My short-lived meditative oasis came courtesy of Calm, the most popular mindfulness app and one of the most popular apps in existence, full stop. More than 100 million people now have Calm on their smartphone, after downloads surged by a third in the coronavirus pandemic’s early days last spring.” | learn more
better doing 🎯
Mise-en-place for knowledge workers. What an excellent analogy! I especially appreciate the Finishing Mindset – “In cooking, a dish that is 99% finished has zero value.” More: “Knowledge work is unique among skilled professions in that we lack a culture of systematic improvement. Other skilled trades – from carpenters to welders to nurses to pilots – have been around long enough and are repeatable enough that the best practices are widely understood.” | learn more
Ergodicity (or the ultimate guide to Russian roulette). Popularized by Nassim Taleb, the thing to know about ergodicity is that the average outcome of the group is rarely the same as the average outcome of the individual over time. This article is a great way to digest Taleb’s point without having to read Taleb’s writing (which is often painful). | learn more
to your health ⚕
How deep brain stimulation changes a person’s sense of confidence. “Up until this moment, she felt only the deep anxiety she has been struggling with every day, but an instant later she begins to feel good about her life. In a matter of seconds, the restrictions lift. She feels lighter, less burdened by her fear and anxiety. Her breathing slows, she feels more relaxed. Whereas before she felt completely dependent on the psychiatrists, she now feels able to relate to them as her equals. She is happier, and hopeful for her future.” | learn more
retail therapy 💸
Crocs sues Walmart and others for knockoffs. Copycat versions of popular products are a mainstay of the retail world. It’s not common to see brands fight back against giants to defend their intellectual property. | learn more
under the microscope 🔬
Google’s DeepMind opens its protein database to science. “The new data­base of rough­ly 350,000 pro­tein se­quences and struc­tures rep­re­sents a po­ten­tial­ly mon­u­men­tal achieve­ment for the life sci­ences, one that could has­ten new bi­o­log­i­cal in­sights and the de­vel­op­ment of new drugs. Deep­Mind said it will be free and ac­ces­si­ble to all re­searchers and com­pa­nies.” | learn more
Paradigm shifts, paradigm drifts. This essay is from 2009 and much of this still feels novel. I guess paradigms take time to shift. Or is it gradually, then suddenly? “I present here examples of what in my mind consti­tute paradigm shifts and drifts in microbiology. Each of them can be reduced to a generalization that, let us hope, is both gracefully simple and exceedingly far-reaching.” | learn more
on the blockchain ⛓
The future of digital communities. “Key learnings: Dicker envisions what he calls “Web 3.0,” a world in which social tokens, NFTs (non-fungible tokens), and “creator DAOs” (decentralized autonomous organizations) will create new layers of digital value that will allow audiences to interact with each other, creators, and the content itself in new ways.” | learn more
Substack vs. DAOstack. “Decentralization doesn’t eliminate the hard problems. It doesn’t wish away wars over values; hierarchies of professional vs amateur; the challenges of developing and nurturing talent. And, token-based governance isn’t necessarily going to reach the best or most ethical solutions. But the participatory purpose of a DAO makes the debates around these issues transparent.” | learn more
calls to action 👇
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