More on Society & Culture
8 months ago
Don't treat Elon Musk like Trump.
He’s not the President. Stop treating him like one.
Elon Musk tweeted from Qatar, where he was watching the World Cup Final with Jared Kushner.
Musk's subsequent Tweets were as normal, basic, and bland as anyone's from a World Cup Final: It's depressing to see the world's richest man looking at his phone during a grand ceremony. Rich guy goes to rich guy event didn't seem important.
Before Musk posted his should-I-step-down-at-Twitter poll, CNN ran a long segment asking if it was hypocritical for him to reveal his real-time location after defending his (very dumb) suspension of several journalists for (supposedly) revealing his assassination coordinates by linking to a site that tracks Musks private jet. It was hard to ignore CNN's hypocrisy: It covered Musk as Twitter CEO like President Trump. EVERY TRUMP STORY WAS BASED ON HIM SAYING X, THEN DOING Y. Trump would do something horrific, lie about it, then pretend it was fine, then condemn a political rival who did the same thing, be called hypocritical, and so on. It lasted four years. Exhausting.
It made sense because Trump was the President of the United States. The press's main purpose is to relentlessly cover and question the president.
It's strange to say this out. Twitter isn't America. Elon Musk isn't a president. He maintains a money-losing social media service to harass and mock people he doesn't like. Treating Musk like Trump, as if he should be held accountable like Trump, shows a startling lack of perspective. Some journalists treat Twitter like a country.
The compulsive, desperate way many journalists utilize the site suggests as much. Twitter isn't the town square, despite popular belief. It's a place for obsessives to meet and converse. Journalists say they're breaking news. Their careers depend on it. They can argue it's a public service. Nope. It's a place lonely people go to speak all day. Twitter. So do journalists, Trump, and Musk. Acting as if it has a greater purpose, as if it's impossible to break news without it, or as if the republic is in peril is ludicrous. Only 23% of Americans are on Twitter, while 25% account for 97% of Tweets. I'd think a large portion of that 25% are journalists (or attention addicts) chatting to other journalists. Their loudness makes Twitter seem more important than it is. Nope. It's another stupid website. They were there before Twitter; they will be there after Twitter. It’s just a website. We can all get off it if we want. Most of us aren’t even on it in the first place.
Musk is a website-owner. No world leader. He's not as accountable as Trump was. Musk is cable news's primary character now that Trump isn't (at least for now). Becoming a TV news anchor isn't as significant as being president. Elon Musk isn't as important as we all pretend, and Twitter isn't even close. Twitter is a dumb website, Elon Musk is a rich guy going through a midlife crisis, and cable news is lazy because its leaders thought the entire world was on Twitter and are now freaking out that their playground is being disturbed.
I’ve said before that you need to leave Twitter, now. But even if you’re still on it, we need to stop pretending it matters more than it does. It’s a site for lonely attention addicts, from the man who runs it to the journalists who can’t let go of it. It’s not a town square. It’s not a country. It’s not even a successful website. Let’s stop pretending any of it’s real. It’s not.
11 months ago
Don't underestimate the foolish
ZERO GRACE/ZERO MALICE
Big companies and wealthy people make stupid mistakes too.
Your ancestors kept snakes and drank bad water. You (probably) don't because you've learnt from their failures via instinct+, the ultimate life-lessons streaming network in your head. Instincts foretell the future. If you approach a lion, it'll eat you. Our society's nuanced/complex decisions have surpassed instinct. Human growth depends on how we handle these issues. 80% of people believe they are above-average drivers, yet few believe they make many incorrect mistakes that make them risky. Stupidity hurts others like death. Basic Laws of Human Stupidity by Carlo Cipollas:
Everyone underestimates the prevalence of idiots in our society.
Any other trait a person may have has no bearing on how likely they are to be stupid.
A dumb individual is one who harms someone without benefiting themselves and may even lose money in the process.
Non-dumb people frequently underestimate how destructively powerful stupid people can be.
The most dangerous kind of person is a moron.
Professor Cippola defines stupid as bad for you and others. We underestimate the corporate world's and seemingly successful people's ability to make bad judgments that harm themselves and others. Success is an intoxication that makes you risk-aggressive and blurs your peripheral vision.
Stupid companies and decisions:
Big-company bad ideas have more bulk and inertia. The world's most valuable company recently showed its board a VR headset. Jony Ive couldn't destroy Apple's terrible idea in 2015. Mr. Ive said that VR cut users off from the outer world, made them seem outdated, and lacked practical uses. Ives' design team doubted users would wear headsets for lengthy periods.
VR has cost tens of billions of dollars over a decade to prove nobody wants it. The next great SaaS startup will likely come from Florence, not Redmond or San Jose.
Apple Watch and Airpods have made the Cupertino company the world's largest jewelry maker. 10.5% of Apple's income, or $38 billion, comes from wearables in 2021. (seven times the revenue of Tiffany & Co.). Jewelry makes you more appealing and useful. Airpods and Apple Watch do both.
Headsets make you less beautiful and useful and promote isolation, loneliness, and unhappiness among American teenagers. My sons pretend they can't hear or see me when on their phones. VR headsets lack charisma.
Coinbase disclosed a plan to generate division and tension within its workplace weeks after Apple was pitched $2,000 smokes. The crypto-trading platform is piloting a program that rates staff after every interaction. If a coworker says anything you don't like, you should tell them how to improve. Everyone gets a 110-point scorecard. Coworkers should evaluate a person's rating while deciding whether to listen to them. It's ridiculous.
Organizations leverage our superpower of cooperation. This encourages non-cooperation, period. Bridgewater's founder Ray Dalio designed the approach to promote extreme transparency. Dalio has 223 billion reasons his managerial style works. There's reason to suppose only a small group of people, largely traders, will endure a granular scorecard. Bridgewater has 20% first-year turnover. Employees cry in bathrooms, and sex scandals are settled by ignoring individuals with poor believability levels. Coinbase might take solace that the stock is 80% below its initial offering price.
Fools' ledgers are valuable. More valuable are lists of foolish rich individuals.
Robinhood built a $8 billion corporation on financial ignorance. The firm's median account value is $240, and its stock has dropped 75% since last summer. Investors, customers, and society lose. Stupid. Luna published a comparable list on the blockchain, grew to $41 billion in market cap, then plummeted.
A podcast presenter is recruiting dentists and small-business owners to invest in Elon Musk's Twitter takeover. Investors pay a 7% fee and 10% of the upside for the chance to buy Twitter at a 35% premium to the current price. The proposal legitimizes CNBC's Trade Like Chuck advertising (Chuck made $4,600 into $460,000 in two years). This is stupid because it adds to the Twitter deal's desperation. Mr. Musk made an impression when he urged his lawyers to develop a legal rip-cord (There are bots on the platform!) to abandon the share purchase arrangement (for less than they are being marketed by the podcaster). Rolls-Royce may pay for this list of the dumb affluent because it includes potential Cullinan buyers.
Worst company? Flowcarbon, founded by WeWork founder Adam Neumann, operates at the convergence of carbon and crypto to democratize access to offsets and safeguard the earth's natural carbon sinks. Can I get an ayahuasca Big Gulp?
Neumann raised $70 million with their yogababble drink. More than half of the consideration came from selling GNT. Goddess Nature Token. I hope the company gets an S-1. Or I'll start a decentralized AI Meta Renewable NFTs company. My Community Based Ebitda coin will fund the company. Possible.
Stupidity inside oneself
This weekend, I was in NYC with my boys. My 14-year-old disappeared. He's realized I'm not cool and is mad I let the charade continue. When out with his dad, he likes to stroll home alone and depart before me. Friends told me hell would return, but I was surprised by how fast the eye roll came.
Not so with my 11-year-old. We went to The Edge, a Hudson Yards observation platform where you can see the city from 100 storeys up for $38. This is hell's seventh ring. Leaning into your boys' interests is key to engaging them (dad tip). Neither loves Crossfit, WW2 history, or antitrust law.
We take selfies on the Thrilling Glass Floor he spots. Dad, there's a bar! Coke? I nod, he rushes to the bar, stops, runs back for money, and sprints back. Sitting on stone seats, drinking Atlanta Champagne, he turns at me and asks, Isn't this amazing? I'll never reach paradise.
Later that night, the lads are asleep and I've had two Zacapas and Cokes. I SMS some friends about my day and how I feel about sons/fatherhood/etc. How I did. They responded and approached. The next morning, I'm sober, have distance from my son, and feel ashamed by my texts. Less likely to impulsively share my emotions with others. Stupid again.
8 months ago
What Happens When You Sell Your House, Never Buying It Again, Reverse the American Dream
Homeownership isn't the only life pattern.
Want to irritate people?
My party trick is to say I used to own a house but no longer do.
I no longer wish to own a home, not because I lost it or because I'm moving.
It was a long-term plan. It was more deliberate than buying a home. Many people are committed for this reason.
Anyone who told me that owning a house (or striving to do so) is a must is wrong.
One pattern for life is to own a home, but there are millions of others.
You can afford to buy a home? Go, buddy.
You think you need 1,000 square feet (or more)? You think it's non-negotiable in life?
It's insane that society forces everyone to own real estate, regardless of income, wants, requirements, or situation. As if this trade brings happiness, stability, and contentment.
Take it from someone who thought this for years: drywall isn't happy. Living your way brings contentment.
That's in real estate. It may also be renting a small apartment in a city that makes your soul sing, but you can't afford the downpayment or mortgage payments.
Living or traveling abroad is difficult when your life savings are connected to something that eats your money the moment you sign.
#vanlife, which seems like torment to me, makes some people feel alive.
I've seen co-living, vacation rental after holiday rental, living with family, and more work.
Insisting that home ownership is the only path in life is foolish and reduces alternative options.
How little we question homeownership is a disgrace.
No one challenges a homebuyer's motives. We congratulate them, then that's it.
When you offload one, you must answer every question, even if you have a loose screw.
Why do you want to sell?
Do you have any concerns about leaving the market?
Why would you want to renounce what everyone strives for?
Why would you want to abandon a beautiful place like that?
Why would you mismanage your cash in such a way?
But surely it's only temporary? RIGHT??
Incorrect questions. Buying a property requires several inquiries.
The typical American has $4500 saved up. When something goes wrong with the house (not if, it’s never if), can you actually afford the repairs?
Are you certain that you can examine a home in less than 15 minutes before committing to buying it outright and promising to pay more than twice the asking price on a 30-year 7% mortgage?
Are you certain you're ready to leave behind friends, family, and the services you depend on in order to acquire something?
Have you thought about the connotation that moving to a suburb, which more than half of Americans do, means you will be dependent on a car for the rest of your life?
Are you sure you want to prioritize home ownership over debt, employment, travel, raising kids, and daily routines?
Homeownership entails that. This ex-homeowner says it will rule your life from the time you put the key in the door.
This isn't questioned. We don't question enough. The holy home-ownership grail was set long ago, and we don't challenge it.
Many people question after signing the deeds. 70% of homeowners had at least one regret about buying a property, including the expense.
Homes are different from houses
We've been fooled into thinking home ownership will make us happy.
Some may agree. No one.
Bricks and brick hindered me from living the version of my life that made me most comfortable, happy, and steady.
I'm spending the next month in a modest apartment in southern Spain. Even though it's late November, today will be 68 degrees. My spouse and I will soon meet his visiting parents. We'll visit a Sherry store. We'll eat, nap, walk, and drink Sherry. Writing. Jerez means flamenco.
That's my home. This is such a privilege. Living a fulfilling life brings me the contentment that buying a home never did.
I'm happy and comfortable knowing I can make almost all of my days good. Rejecting home ownership is partly to blame.
I'm broke like most folks. I had to choose between home ownership and comfort. I said, I didn't find them together.
Feeling at home trumps owning brick-and-mortar every day.
The following is the reality of what it's like to turn the American Dream around.
Leaving the housing market.
Sometimes I wish I owned a home.
I miss having my own yard and bed. My kitchen, cookbooks, and pizza oven are missed.
But I rarely do.
Someone else's life plan pushed home ownership on me. I'm grateful I figured it out at 35. Many take much longer, and some never understand homeownership stinks (for them).
It's confusing. People will think you're dumb or suicidal.
If you read what I write, you'll know. You'll realize that all you've done is choose to live intentionally. Find a home beyond four walls and a picket fence.
Miss? As I said, they're not home. If it were, a pizza oven, a good mattress, and a well-stocked kitchen would bring happiness.
If you can afford a house and desire one, more power to you.
There are other ways to discover home. Find calm and happiness. For fun.
For it, look deeper than your home's foundation.
You might also like
1 year ago
100-day SaaS buildout.
We're opening up Maki through a series of Medium posts. We'll describe what Maki is building and how. We'll explain how we built a SaaS in 100 days. This isn't a step-by-step guide to starting a business, but a product philosophy to help you build quickly.
Focus on end-users.
This may seem obvious, but it's important to talk to users first. When we started thinking about Maki, we interviewed 100 HR directors from SMBs, Next40 scale-ups, and major Enterprises to understand their concerns. We initially thought about the future of employment, but most of their worries centered on Recruitment. We don't have a clear recruiting process, it's time-consuming, we recruit clones, we don't support diversity, etc. And as hiring managers, we couldn't help but agree.
Co-create your product with your end-users.
We went to the drawing board, read as many books as possible (here, here, and here), and when we started getting a sense for a solution, we questioned 100 more operational HR specialists to corroborate the idea and get a feel for our potential answer. This confirmed our direction to help hire more objectively and efficiently.
Back to the drawing board, we designed our first flows and screens. We organized sessions with certain survey respondents to show them our early work and get comments. We got great input that helped us build Maki, and we met some consumers. Obsess about users and execute alongside them.
Don’t shoot for the moon, yet. Make pragmatic choices first.
Once we were convinced, we began building. To launch a SaaS in 100 days, we needed an operating principle that allowed us to accelerate while still providing a reliable, secure, scalable experience. We focused on adding value and outsourced everything else. Example:
Concentrate on adding value. Reuse existing bricks.
When determining which technology to use, we looked at our strengths and the future to see what would last. Node.js for backend, React for frontend, both with typescript. We thought this technique would scale well since it would attract more talent and the surrounding mature ecosystem would help us go quicker.
We explored for ways to bootstrap services while setting down strong foundations that might support millions of users. We built our backend services on NestJS so we could extend into microservices later. Hasura, a GraphQL APIs engine, automates Postgres data exposing through a graphQL layer. MUI's ready-to-use components powered our design-system. We used well-maintained open-source projects to speed up certain tasks.
We outsourced important components of our platform (Auth0 for authentication, Stripe for billing, SendGrid for notifications) because, let's face it, we couldn't do better. We choose to host our complete infrastructure (SQL, Cloud run, Logs, Monitoring) on GCP to simplify our work between numerous providers.
Focus on your business, use existing bricks for the rest. For the curious, we'll shortly publish articles detailing each stage.
Most importantly, empower people and step back.
We couldn't have done this without the incredible people who have supported us from the start. Since Powership is one of our key values, we provided our staff the power to make autonomous decisions from day one. Because we believe our firm is its people, we hired smart builders and let them build.
Nicolas left Spendesk to create scalable interfaces using react-router, react-queries, and MUI. JD joined Swile and chose Hasura as our GraphQL engine. Jérôme chose NestJS to build our backend services. Since then, Justin, Ben, Anas, Yann, Benoit, and others have followed suit.
If you consider your team a collective brain, you should let them make decisions instead of directing them what to do. You'll make mistakes, but you'll go faster and learn faster overall.
Invest in great talent and develop a strong culture from the start. Here's how to establish a SaaS in 100 days.
1 year ago
Ads Coming to Medium?
Could this happen?
Medium isn't like other social media giants. It wasn't a dot-com startup that became a multi-trillion-dollar social media firm. It launched in 2012 but didn't gain popularity until later. Now, it's one of the largest sites by web traffic, but it's still little compared to most. Most of Medium's traffic is external, but they don't run advertisements, so it's all about memberships.
Medium isn't profitable, but they don't disclose how terrible the problem is. Most of the $163 million they raised has been spent or used for acquisitions. If the money turns off, Medium can't stop paying its writers since the site dies. Writers must be paid, but they can't substantially slash payment without hurting the platform. The existing model needs scale to be viable and has a low ceiling. Facebook and other free social media platforms are struggling to retain users. Here, you must pay to appreciate it, and it's bad for writers AND readers. If I had the same Medium stats on YouTube, I'd make thousands of dollars a month.
Then what? Medium has tried to monetize by offering writers a cut of new members, but that's unsustainable. People-based growth is limited. Imagine recruiting non-Facebook users and getting them to pay to join. Some may, but I'd rather write.
Tiered subscriptions ($5, $10, $25, etc.)
and these may be short-term fixes, but they're not as profitable as allowing ads. Advertisements can pay several dollars per click and cents every view. If you get 40,000 views a month like me, that's several thousand instead of a few hundred. Also, Medium would have enough money to split ad revenue with writers, who would make more. I'm among the top 6% of Medium writers. Only 6% of Medium writers make more than $100, and I made $500 with 35,000 views last month. Compared to YouTube, the top 1% of Medium authors make a lot. Mr. Beast and PewDiePie make MILLIONS a month, yet top Medium writers make tens of thousands. Sure, paying 3 or 4 people a few grand, or perhaps tens of thousands, will keep them around. What if great authors leveraged their following to go huge on YouTube and abandoned Medium? If people use Medium to get successful on other platforms, Medium will be continuously cycling through authors and paying them to stay.
Ads might make writing on Medium more profitable than making videos on YouTube because they could preserve the present freemium model and pay users based on internal views. The $5 might be ad-free.
Consider: Would you accept Medium ads? A $5 ad-free version + pay-as-you-go, etc. What are your thoughts on this?
Original post available here
9 months ago
I've had these five apps on my phone for a long time.
Who survives spring cleaning?
Relax. Notion is off-limits. This topic is popular.
(I wrote about it 2 years ago, before everyone else did.) So).
These apps are probably new to you. I hope you find a new phone app after reading this.
ViewRanger is Google Maps for outdoor enthusiasts.
This app has been so important to me as a freedom-loving long-distance walker and hiker.
This app shows nearby trails and right-of-ways on top of an Open Street Map.
Helpful detail and data. Any route's distance,
You can download and follow tons of routes planned by app users.
This has helped me find new routes and places a fellow explorer has tried.
Free with non-intrusive ads. Years passed before I subscribed. Pro costs £2.23/month.
This app is for outdoor lovers.
New phones come with bloatware. These rushed apps are frustrating.
We must replace these apps. 2017 was Google's year.
Files is a file manager. It's quick, innovative, and clean. They've given people what they want.
It's easy to organize files, clear space, and clear cache.
I recommend Gallery by Google as a gallery app alternative. It's quick and easy.
App for trains, buses, and coaches.
I've used this app for years. It did the basics well when I first used it.
Since then, it's improved. It's constantly adding features to make traveling easier and less stressful.
Split-ticketing helps me save hundreds a year on train fares. This app is only available in the UK and Europe.
This service doesn't link to a third-party site. Their app handles everything.
Not all train and coach companies use this app. All the big names are there, though.
Here's more on the app.
Play Store has 478,000 games. Few can turn my phone into a console.
Call of Duty Mobile and Asphalt 8/9 are examples.
Asphalt's loot boxes and ads make it unplayable. Call of Duty opens with a few ads. Close them to play without hassle.
This game uses all your phone's features to provide a high-quality, seamless experience. If my internet connection is good, I never experience lag or glitches.
The gameplay is energizing and intense, just like on consoles. Sometimes I'm too involved. I've thrown my phone in anger. I'm totally absorbed.
Customizability is my favorite. Since phones have limited screen space, we should only have the buttons we need, placed conveniently.
Size, opacity, and position are modifiable. Adjust audio, graphics, and textures. It's customizable.
This game has been on my phone for three years. It began well and has gotten better. When I think the creators can't do more, they do.
If you play, read my tips for winning a Battle Royale.
As a photographer, I believe your best camera is on you. The phone.
2017 was a big year for this app. I've tried many photo-editing apps since then. This always wins.
The app is dull. I've never seen better photo editing on a phone.
Adjusting settings and sliders doesn't damage or compress photos. It's detailed.
This is important for phone photos, which are lower quality than professional ones.
Some tools are behind a £4.49/month paywall. Adobe must charge a subscription fee instead of selling licenses. (I'm still bitter about Creative Cloud's price)
Snapseed is my pick. Lightroom is where I do basic editing before moving to Snapseed. Snapseed review:
These apps are great. They cover basic and complex editing needs while traveling.
I hope you downloaded one of these. Share your favorite apps. These apps are scarce.