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P.S. You Should Know... | Issue #291

October 23 · Issue #291 · 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. The latest AI tools. Over the past weeks I’ve taken time to mess around with a handful of AI-powered creation tools for text and images. I can say that I’ve found them easy to use and hard to master. Trial & error is a required element for generating quality outcomes. The implications? First, that generative content is an artform that leverages the creativity of the user. If you look closely at example prompts, you’ll see them stuffed with words and phrases. Which words to put in there? That’s the creative bit. Second, that we’re just around the corner from an iterative process that uses brute force to simulate creativity. I imagine if you throw computing power at the problem to run 100x more trials, add in a discriminative model (half of a Generative Adversarial Network) that approximates human judgement, and shake over ice, you’ll end up with a high quality output. [Want to hear a female AI voice read this paragraph?]
  2. Human judgement, you say? After I wrote the above, I started wondering how we’d judge whether a generated image was “good” by some human standards. That’s probably a very tough nut to crack. One idea: train the model on Instagram photos that get the most likes. If the discriminator deems the generated image to be “like the others” in the top-liked set, then it’s a winner! I’m interested in this line of inquiry, so if you know anything about it, please message me.
  3. Get yourself a kolache! Chicagoans, I encourage you to check out the newly-opened Howdy Kolache storefront in Fulton Market. The business is cofounded by your fellow subscriber Eric. What’s a kolache, you wonder? “In the early days, we described it as if a King’s Hawaiian roll had a baby with a breakfast taco.” Read more in Eater.
fun facts 🙌
Seeing natural selection in action, human edition. “When the Black Death struck Europe in 1348, the bacterial infection killed large swaths of people across the continent, driving the strongest pulse of natural selection yet measured in humans, the new study found.” | learn more
The power to control the creation of money has moved from central banks to governments. In the summer of 2020 economist Russell Napier predicted the coming inflation. “My structural argument is that the power to control the creation of money has moved from central banks to governments. By issuing state guarantees on bank credit during the Covid crisis, governments have effectively taken over the levers to control the creation of money.” | learn more
It’s time we talked about eels. “ALL the eels in Europe and America are born in the Sargasso Sea (in the Bermuda Triangle! Ominous? Yes).” | learn more
oh, chicago 🏆
Does Chicago need a city charter? “Most big cities in the U.S. have charters, but Chicago not only doesn’t have one, it is not even allowed by the state of Illinois to create one.” | learn more
oh, austin 🤠
The biggest surf park development on the planet. Coming (hopefully soon) to Austin. “If all goes according to plan, Pura Vida will be the largest integrated wave pool development in the world. In addition to the Surf Lake at the center, other high adventure additions will be announced for the community.” | learn more
tech, startups, internet ⚡
The next generation of visual artists will use words and AI tools.
The next generation of visual artists will use words and AI tools.
Real pictures are overrated. “A new, AI-powered selfie generating tool called is making the rounds on social media, allowing users to create incredibly stylized, beautiful and handsome versions of their own faces by simply feeding the algorithm around five to ten previously taken selfies.” | learn more
Product managers love frameworks. And you should too! “Frameworks will not fix all your problems. Used right, they should help you 1) better understand your context 2) create structure for problems 3) communicate ideas & solutions” | learn more
A look inside a VC-funded bankruptcy. “Pollen, the events festival tech startup, went bankrupt in August after raising more than $200M in venture funding.” Employees will likely get none of the £3.1M in owed wages, as they are behind secured creditors in the pecking order. Full details in the link. | learn more
better doing 🎯
“I’ve worked on a number of high-profile failures.” This engineer explains how he’s experienced failures from the inside, including Google Glass. “They all had a fatal flaw. Everyone saw the flaw. But the culture that arose in these teams purposefully ignored the flaw.” | learn more
retail therapy 💸
A word of caution to AngelList LPs. “I’ve observed what I perceive to be a “market inefficiency” on the platform, which is what I want to call out today: Tier 1 VC bridge rounds.” This is the same lesson as Mark Suster’s 2014 gem Why Am I So Lucky, put into a very modern investing context. | learn more
under the microscope 🔬
Low-dose potassium community trial. “Potatoes are special for many many reasons, but by far the most obvious thing that makes them special is that they’re really high in potassium. If potassium is the reason the potato diet makes people lose weight, then there’s a good chance that taking potassium directly would also make people lose weight. Someone should really do a study. Who, us? Ok, fine.” | learn more
Scientist (named Pavel) transforms pure water into a metal. “By bringing pure water into contact with an electron-sharing alkali metal – in this case an alloy of sodium and potassium – free-moving charged particles can be added, turning water metallic.” | learn more
thoughts of food 🍔
Upcycling and the cacao fruit. I am amazed how often I have no idea where the ingredients to my food come from. | learn more
on the blockchain ⛓
Webaverse: an open-source metaverse for the people. If you, like me, are still rolling your eyes at the metaverse, I think that’s ok. Because it’s not real yet. At the same time let’s keep a close eye on those who have a vision and are building toward it. “We’re not trying to look at traditional games and make a better game with crypto. We are making a genre of games that haven’t existed.” | learn more
calls to action 👇
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