Issue #359, 11th October 2019

This Week's Favorite


How Can We Develop Transformative Tools for Thought?
30 minutes read.

Andy Matuschak and Michael Nielsen with an incredible essay you should absolutely read this weekend. I've been using Anki ("Anki Notes" app on the iPhone) to memorize concepts and framing that I felt were helpful. The process of distilling your understanding into flashcards and using Spaced Repetition is something I found very powerful. If you find the essay interesting, I highly recommend looking at their previous work, and for podcasts they interviewed at (made my commute X100 more interesting). Also worth checking the work by Tiago Forte on Building a Second Brain.

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Culture


Confidence: The Currency of Acceleration
6 minutes read.

This post by Eric Paley is highly relevant in today's world, where companies are facing the consequences of rapid growth with questionable profit strategy: "It's confidence, not capital, that should be the currency of acceleration at a startup — no matter if you have a million dollars or a billion dollars to burn. [...] Companies create value by compounding learning and therefore compounding confidence in their future. As confidence grows, companies will earn credibility inside the management team and with investors."

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Capturing Luck With “or” Instead of “and”
4 minutes read.

Jason Cohen shares a painful truth for building a successful company: there is a lot of power in multiple plans that are decoupled from each other. You learn this lesson when building distributed systems with a requirement for high availability. Multiplying probabilities end up very quickly as your enemy. Switching to "OR" instead of "AND" might lead you to lose focus, so build the strategy formula (what you're planning to do) before you're executing the plan.

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Disruption Theory Is Real, but Wrong
9 minutes read.

"We’re seeing ecosystems of many different products and businesses, many of which in isolation look like integrated businesses or a sustaining innovations and compete on high-end, quality user experience. But as they do so, they create an ecosystem of technology that undermines and eventually disrupts the integrated, single-purpose legacy systems that preceded them." -- Looking at disruptive ecosystem vs. disruptive business is a helpful way to appreciate current innovations. It goes well with "Why now?" many founders often ask themselves when working on a new company - what was changed in the ecosystem that the business can benefit from today?

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Peopleware


A Forty Year Career
9 minutes read.

Will Larson with a post that should help you define for yourself what would be a meaningful and sustainable career: "How would I approach my work differently if focused on growth and engagement, and if I measured eras not in equity and IPOs but instead in decades?". I still don't have a clear answer for my journey, but I've learned to gravitate towards areas that make me energized and happy: I look for opportunities to be with and help people I love; I do things I can see myself doing for the next 10 years (like this weekly email); I find a vacuum in areas I define as "play" and fill these whenever I can; What did you learn about yourself that you think can help you in the next decade or so in our industry?

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Err on the Side of Action, to Test Theories
2 minutes read.

Derek Sivers is a terrific writer that I enjoy following, as he always gets me to think about core questions in my life. What are you trying to optimize for right now? What did you do to experiment in that area? Did you ask that question one of your teammates recently? What did you learn about them?

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I’ve Logged 10,000 Hours as a Chief of Staff in a Large Tech Company; Here’s My POV on the Role
10 minutes read.

I've never worked in a managerial position for a large company with many thousands of employees. Rob Dickins shares an inside view into the challenges and complexity within large organizations, and CoS can act as a multiplier for the team: "In this capacity, the CoS is a principal architect, champion, and curator of the organization’s operating model, just as a COO serves that function for an entire company."

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Inspiring Tweets


@iam_preethi: A Good Book Can Save You a Decade of Thinking.

@dhh: The Quickest Way to Ruin the Productivity of a Small Company Is to Have It Adopt the Practices of a Large Company.

- Oren

P.S. Can you share this email? I'd love for more people to experiment and improve their company's culture.

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