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P.S. You Should Know... | Issue #287

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September 25 · Issue #287 · 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 sixth year!

my story 🚀
  1. Three cheers for the 🐞 army! Just a few days after I released 1,500 ladybugs in my front lawn, I woke up to a clean windshield on the car parked under the pecan tree. My hopes for this tactic were not high, so am quite pleased that it worked out. Now, if only there were a bug I could release to rid my property of mosquitos.
  2. The Juicero of pressure washers. Remember that Silicon Valley company that raised $120 million to solve the non-existent problem of squeezing bags of juice into a cup? The company promptly collapsed after, “Bloomberg News published a story showing that the company’s produce packs could be squeezed by hand easily and effectively.” This week I bought a pressure washer from Home Depot that did the equivalent of partially covering a hose with my thumb. Grateful for a solid return policy!
fun facts 🙌
Unisex names in the US. A visual ranking of the top 50 names that have at least 25% share for each gender. Data from 1922 - 2021. Each name has charts showing volume over time, as well as gender distribution over time. It’s interesting to see some of them flip. | learn more
Was it ever possible for one person to read every English book ever written? I appreciate the approach this author takes to answer the question! “Rather than trying to figure out how long all the lost books and codices are, we can step back and take a longer view of things.” | learn more
The last man standing in the floppy disk business. “Tom Persky is the self-proclaimed “last man standing in the floppy disk business.” He is the time-honored founder of floppydisk.com, a US-based company dedicated to the selling and recycling of floppy disks.” | learn more
tech, startups, internet ⚡
Liquid venture capital. I read this with great delight. This author managed to model private market venture returns using only public market stocks. The point he makes is that the underlying driver of the returns is innovation, and there’s plenty of that to be found in the public markets. There are certainly weaknesses to the approach, including that he starts at Series A and ignores all prior investment rounds. | learn more
How to blow $85 million in 11 months (Pakistan edition). “Interviews with more than 15 former Airlift employees depict a company torn in two: Inside Airlift’s corporate offices, young workers who were experiencing the highs of belonging to the most-celebrated startup in the country, rallied behind Airlift as it went all guns blazing on a path of unbridled growth; meanwhile, the company’s operations staff, responsible for executing the ambitions of Airlift’s amateur leadership, were allegedly neck-deep in chaos: inventory mismanagement, pricing inefficiencies, and fraud were rampant.” | learn more
The interesting story of Vettery and Hired.com. From a cofounder of Vettery: “Hired.com raised $150M to take over the online recruiting industry. We raised $10M. Then we went to battle, head-to-head. Here’s the story (and a few critical lessons learned)” | learn more
better doing 🎯
Philosophers should stop being historians. Or, “why philosophers spend far too much time reading and writing about dead philosophers.” | learn more
to your health ⚕
CGMs for lifestyle change. Fitt Insider interview with NutriSense cofounder Dan Zavorotny! | lean more
retail therapy 💸
Back to the drawing board for Instagram social commerce. “According to The Information, Instagram plans to remove its existing Shop page due to what an internal memo called “shifts in company priorities.” It will also eventually remove the homepage button that directs users to the Shop page. These moves are part of a wider social commerce pullback.” | learn more
Wegmans discontinues its in-store scan-and-go mobile app, citing high losses. “Wegman’s losses from the app point to a common problem among companies that utilize in-store scan-and-go technology — shoplifting. Walmart temporarily suspended Scan and Go, its cashierless checkout program due to theft, an ex-Walmart exec told Business Insider in 2019.” | learn more
under the microscope 🔬
3D printer ink to make wooden objects. “The cell structure of ordinary tree wood influences the shape the wood will distort into as it dries. With the new technique, scientists can control the cell structure and, as a result, the precise shape that the product will take when it dries and warps.” | learn more
big ideas 📚
A first: extra-terrestrial water inside a meteorite. “The Winchcombe meteorite, which struck a road in the town of Gloucestershire last February, is also believed to contain information about the origins of the water that makes up the planet’s immense seas, according to the Independent.” | learn more
Britain and EU decide burning wood is carbon neutral? “Not only are they going back to the future, but they also claim doing so is carbon neutral (spoiler alert: it isn’t, not even close). Nearly 40% of Europe’s so-called renewable energy is currently obtained by combusting wood, much of it coming from forests in the US.” | learn more
The rational case for monarchy. “If you were to go back over the past couple of centuries, the vast majority of the most appalling regimes would be republics. Mussolini’s Italy might merit a place, and perhaps Tsarist Russia, which killed a fair few political opponents and jailed many more — but compared to their Soviet successors those were rookie numbers.” | learn more
on the blockchain ⛓
Full DNS namespace integration to ENS. I missed this news last year, but I think it’s quite interesting. You can use a .com (or other) domain name as an address in cryptoland. “For example, if you own “example.com” on DNS, you can import it into ENS — as example.com… You can then set ENS records for it, e.g. to allow you to receive payments in cryptocurrencies like ETH, BTC, and DOGE to example.com.” | learn more
Why is Iran turning to a new ‘digital rial’? “It is a project officials hope could significantly increase their control over the national currency and its users while offering new opportunities to financial actors.” | learn more
calls to action 👇
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