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P.S. You Should Know... | Issue #235

September 26 · Issue #235 · 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. Investing lessons learned. I passed on a startup investment in 2016. They were building something a bit esoteric, but I understood it’s value. The market needed what they had, and I expected that market to grow. I passed because I thought their product was useful, but not technically difficult to build. My comparison was an internal tool we had built that wasn’t far off from the current product. After comparing the product with the company’s valuation, I deemed it a mismatch and passed. It took me about a year to recognize two errors: 1) the technical difficulty of an early-stage product might not matter if customers don’t want to build and maintain their own versions, and 2) early-stage companies are rarely “worth” their valuations at the time of investment. While I recognized my errors years ago, it took until this week to understand just how wrong I was. The company just exited for 35x the valuation I deemed too high.
  2. I screwed up a wire transfer. I sent a wire to Hong Kong on Monday. Two days later, I received a note from the recipient. I had screwed up and now the bank wasn’t going to credit their account. My error? I didn’t include the “Limited” at the end of their long company name. This error left the funds in limbo for at least a few days as the banks figure things out. This is clearly a tough user experience. However, if I had similarly miskeyed a Bitcoin transaction, it would’ve been worse—a complete and permanent loss.
fun facts 🙌
How we found the giant squid. “Humankind has been looking for the giant squid (Architeuthis) since we first started taking pictures underwater. But the elusive deep-sea predator could never be caught on film. Oceanographer and inventor Edith Widder shares the key insight – and the teamwork – that helped to capture the squid on film for the first time.” | learn more
The boiling river in the Amazon. “When Andrés Ruzo was just a small boy, his grandfather in Peru told him a story with an odd detail: There is a river, deep in the Amazon, that boils.” | learn more
14 design secrets. Why are movie theater curtains red? Why are airplane windows rounded? Answers to these burning questions, and more! | learn more
oh, chicago 🏆
City of Chicago 2022 budget up nearly 60 percent over pre-COVID 2019. “Not only will many of the city’s tax revenues be up in 2022 as a result of the various stimulus packages for individuals and businesses – and $76.5 million in higher property taxes – but the city itself has an additional $3.5 billion in federal COVID dollars to spend in 2022.” | learn more
tech, startups, internet ⚡
Why it’s hard to innovate in construction. “I suspect this reluctance to innovate is actually a rational calculus based on the expected value of an innovation.” | learn more
Toast—a vision of software’s future. “Toast deliberately chooses customers who are more expensive to acquire, churn more frequently, and will pay the absolute minimum for their service.” | learn more
better doing 🎯
Tyler Cowen: How I practice at what I do. “A few of you were skeptical, but it is long since established that practice improves both your writing and your memory, so surely it can do much more than that for your thinking. Here is a partial list of some of my intellectual practice strategies…” | learn more
under the microscope 🔬
Testing the habit discontinuity hypothesis in a field experiment. Habit changes are more effective after moving. I imagine this goes for both favorable and unfavorable habits. We’re moving soon, so I’ll be paying extra attention. | learn more
Peptides fashioned into world’s smallest biomechanically linked structure. “Most of the mechanically interlocked molecules that form the basis of these molecular machines have so far relied on metal ions and harsh solvents to form the desired structure. Princeton University scientists set out to sidestep the need for artificial building blocks by synthesizing mechanically interlocked molecules entirely from natural biomolecules, in this case the tiny strands of amino acids known as peptides.” | learn more
thoughts of food 🍔
Learning to Love G.M.O.s. “A plant biologist, Martin has spent almost two decades studying tomatoes, and I had traveled to see her because of a particular one she created: a lustrous, dark purple variety that is unusually high in antioxidants, with twice the amount found in blueberries.” | learn more
teaching the kids 👩‍🏫
Helping kids understand what McKinsey does. How do you explain management consulting to kids? With the help of a fish farm! | learn more
A generation of American men give up on college. “The number of men enrolled at two- and four-year colleges has fallen behind women by record levels, in a widening education gap across the U.S.” | learn more
on the blockchain ⛓
Notice on further preventing and disposing of the risk of hype in virtual currency trading. This is the official title of China’s new crypto policy. “Virtual currency-related business activities are illegal financial activities.” | learn more
How NounsDAO plans to take over the world. “On August 8th, 2021, Punk4156 and his team deployed a smart contract to the Ethereum blockchain that randomly generates a new NFT digital avatar (called a Noun) every 24 hours and auctions it off to the highest bidder. 100% of the auction proceeds get sent to a community treasury that is controlled by Noun owners. One Noun = one vote.” | learn more
calls to action 👇
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