My Birthday, Graduation, Changes

5/20 - What's Next

Hey - Happy Monday!

Thank you so much for all the birthday wishes (as I turn 22 today) and support you have given me throughout the year. You know how I feel about birthdays. Very very excited for the future.

Please email me (hit reply) if you have any questions/requests/etc., I want to be helpful.


Articles to Read.

The Lies We Tell

We make up stories in our minds and then against all evidence, defend them tooth and nail. Understanding why we do this is the key to discovering truth and making wiser decisions.

We tell ourselves stories that are convincing, cheap, and often wrong. We don’t think about how these stories are created, whether they’re right, or how they persist. And we’re often uncomfortable when someone asks us to explain our reasoning.

Do Things that Don't Scale

One of the most common types of advice we give at Y Combinator is to do things that don't scale. A lot of would-be founders believe that startups either take off or don't. You build something, make it available, and if you've made a better mousetrap, people beat a path to your door as promised. Or they don't, in which case the market must not exist.

Actually startups take off because the founders make them take off. There may be a handful that just grew by themselves, but usually it takes some sort of push to get them going. A good metaphor would be the cranks that car engines had before they got electric starters. Once the engine was going, it would keep going, but there was a separate and laborious process to get it going.

The Problem of Thinking Too Much

Consider the predicament of a centipede who starts thinking about which leg to move and winds up going nowhere. It is a familiar problem: Any action we take has so many unforeseen consequences, how can we possibly choose?

The problem is this: We can spend endless time thinking and wind up doing nothing—or, worse, getting involved in the minutiae of a partially baked idea and believing that pursuing it is the same as making progress on the original problem.

A famous physicist offered this advice: “Don’t waste time on obscure fine points that rarely occur.”

The Peculiar Blindness of Experts

Credentialed authorities are comically bad at predicting the future. But reliable forecasting is possible.

he idea for the most important study ever conducted of expert predictions was sparked in 1984, at a meeting of a National Research Council committee on American-Soviet relations. The psychologist and political scientist Philip E. Tetlock was 30 years old, by far the most junior committee member. He listened intently as other members discussed Soviet intentions and American policies. Renowned experts delivered authoritative predictions, and Tetlock was struck by how many perfectly contradicted one another and were impervious to counterarguments.

The result: The experts were, by and large, horrific forecasters. Their areas of specialty, years of experience, and (for some) access to classified information made no difference. They were bad at short-term forecasting and bad at long-term forecasting. They were bad at forecasting in every domain. When experts declared that future events were impossible or nearly impossible, 15 percent of them occurred nonetheless. When they declared events to be a sure thing, more than one-quarter of them failed to transpire. As the Danish proverb warns, “It is difficult to make predictions, especially about the future.”

Why Do Experiments Make People Uneasy?

People were outraged in 2014 when Facebook revealed that it had run “psychological experiments” on its users. Yet Facebook changes the way it operates on a daily basis and few complain. Indeed, every change in the way that Facebook operates is an A/B test in which one arm is never run, yet people object to A/B tests but not to either A or B for everyone. Why?

Unease with experiments appears to be general and deep. Widespread random experiments are a relatively new phenomena and the authors speculate that unease reflects lack of familiarity. But why is widespread use of random experiments new? In an earlier post, I wrote about ideas behind their time, ideas that could have come much earlier but didn’t. Random experiments could have come thousands of years earlier but didn’t. Thus, I think the authors have got the story backward. Random experiments generate unease not because they are new, they are new because they generate unease.

Why Recycling Doesn't Work

You may use the blue bin, but it doesn’t mean you’re helping the environment.

But as much as Canadians love the blue box, “its role in [our] hearts and minds…is much larger than its actual environmental impact,” wrote Dianne Saxe, Ontario’s environmental commissioner, in a report last October. In fact, recycling is one of the least environmentally friendly “environmental” things one can do.

After being picked up, enormous volumes of recyclable waste are unloaded at a local materials-recovery facility (mrf, pronounced like “smurf”), dumped onto conveyor belts, and passed through a battery of sieves, magnets, optical sorters, and manual workers who separate each item into its own stream—plastic, paper, metal, and so on. The batches from each stream are then sent to gigantic balers, squeezed into cubes, and sold, often by middleman companies, to “end markets.” These are the manufacturers, in Canada and around the world, that profit from turning our waste into something new—toilet paper, perhaps, or plastic lawn furniture, egg cartons, or drywall. More than a public service, recycling is largely a commodity business, as dependent on supply and demand as any other. When municipalities produce more recyclable garbage than end markets can absorb, the value of the product decreases, and in the selling market, Canada faces competition from countries across the world.

How to Join a Social Network in 1998

In 1998, I got an invite to what many consider the first online social network: sixdegrees.com (deceptively, that link will take you to the Wikipedia article about the website and not the website itself; I have no excuse). The invite came in the form of a lengthy email with instructions on how to join. I could either use the website or actually do the entire process via email, adding my friends using a peculiar and precise format in the body of the email. The subject of the email was simply the name of the person who had added me as a friend.

More to Check Out: 
Saying goodbye to Microsoft
- The Fusion Reactor Next Door
- Billionaire Stanley Druckenmiller: Investment Strategy, Market Analysis
MIT Scientists prove adults learn language to fluency nearly as well as children
- AI: Scary for the Right Reasons


My Update.

  • The last week has been a whirlwind. Last Friday, I officially graduated from University. Today, I turn 22 years old. Tomorrow, I land in Portugal. In 8 days I land back in PHX. In 11 days, I move to San Francisco. That being said, I am very excited for the future - I hope that these will be the hardest 6 months of my life.

    “I always want it to be a project that, if successful, will make the rest of my career look like a footnote.” - Sam Altman

  • Where are you going to be this summer/next year? Let me know!

Thanks so much for reading! Find me on twitter : )

Graduating College, Believing

5/13 - What's Next

Hey, hope you have a great week.

I cannot believe I am graduating college this week. Time flies!!


Articles to Read.

How To Be Successful

It’s useful to focus on adding another zero to whatever you define as your success metric—money, status, impact on the world, or whatever. I am willing to take as much time as needed between projects to find my next thing. But I always want it to be a project that, if successful, will make the rest of my career look like a footnote.

I think the biggest competitive advantage in business—either for a company or for an individual’s career—is long-term thinking with a broad view of how different systems in the world are going to come together. One of the notable aspects of compound growth is that the furthest out years are the most important. In a world where almost no one takes a truly long-term view, the market richly rewards those who do.

Self-belief is immensely powerful. The most successful people I know believe in themselves almost to the point of delusion.

Emergent Layers, Chapter 1: Scarcity, Abstraction & Abundance

Let’s consider the fate of Giaccomo, a 19th century local Italian musician living just before the advent of recorded music. Musical performance at this time is a decidedly non-scalable affair: if you want to be musically entertained, you need to be present to a musician in person. As such, Giaccomo cannot scalably export his work, but neither can the big opera singers in Milan who might otherwise compete with him. Geography and physical proximity represent a strong point of friction — with only a handful of other musicians in town, Giaccomo can set a fair price and earn a decent profit so long as his vocal chords remain in good shape.

Now imagine what happens with the invention of the phonograph. Suddenly poor Giaccomo is competing against the Milan big shots! His unit of trade (his voice) has been abstracted away into the etchings on a wax disc. As far as the residents of the town are concerned, this is a great development. They can now pay a fraction of what they used to, and in return receive an endlessly replayable recording of a superior artist! But for Giaccomo, this sucks. Physical proximity, which used to be a point of friction off of which he could extract earnings, is now easily circumvented; it becomes much harder for him to make a profit, or even get paid at all. Even if Giaccomo were able to get access to his own recording equipment, it would be to little avail: a new point of friction has emerged, distribution, with which he has no skill in dealing.

A new scarce and non-scalable element emerged out of the new scalability of musical performance: distribution. An entirely new industry came to life, which we now know as record labels, who sit at the newfound point of friction and extract profit.

How the Hell Has Danielle Steel Managed to Write 179 Books?

The author works a 20-hour shift, lives on chocolate bars, and writes best in her cashmere nightgown.

Let's look at the numbers, shall we? The author has written 179 books, which have been translated into 43 languages. Twenty-two of them have been adapted for television, and two of those adaptations have received Golden Globe nominations. Steel releases seven new novels a year—her latest, Blessing in Disguise, is out this week—and she's at work on five to six new titles at all times. In 1989 Steel was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for having a book on the New York Times best-seller list for the most consecutive weeks of any author—381, to be exact. To pull it off, she works 20 to 22 hours a day. (A few times a month, when she feels the crunch, she spends a full 24 hours at her desk.)

Math Teachers Should Be More Like Football Coaches

Football coaches can be easy to caricature: all that intensity, all those pep talks, all those promises to build character. I certainly don’t romanticize them. I don’t believe that they make better young men, just better football players. But I wish math teachers were more like football coaches.

No one expects a math teacher to tell a talented student that he or she could become the next John von Neumann. (No one expects math teachers to tell students about von Neumann — perhaps the greatest mathematician of the 20th century — at all.) And no one expects math teachers to talk with the kind of fire, or to demand the kind of commitment and accountability, that football coaches do. But I wish they did.

Why books don’t work

Books are easy to take for granted. Not any specific book, I mean: the form of a book. Paper or pixels—it hardly matters. Words in lines on pages in chapters. And at least for non-fiction books, one implied assumption at the foundation: people absorb knowledge by reading sentences. This last idea so invisibly defines the medium that it’s hard not to take for granted, which is a shame because, as we’ll see, it’s quite mistaken.

Now, the books I named aren’t small investments. Each takes around 6–9 hours to read. Adult American college graduates read 24 minutes a day on average, so a typical reader might spend much of a month with one of these books. Millions of people have read each of these books, so that’s tens of millions of hours spent. In exchange for all that time, how much knowledge was absorbed? How many people absorbed most of the knowledge the author intended to convey? Or even just what they intended to acquire? I suspect it’s a small minority.

I’m not suggesting that all those hours were wasted. Many readers enjoyed reading those books. That’s wonderful! Certainly most readers absorbed something, however ineffable: points of view, ways of thinking, norms, inspiration, and so on. Indeed, for many books (and in particular most fiction), these effects are the point.

The Upside of Teen Vaping

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A study published by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in January, based on a sample of 12,000 12- to 17-year-olds who were surveyed on two occasions one year apart, confirmed that teenagers who try e-cigarettes are more likely than those who don't to subsequently try conventional cigarettes. That finding is consistent with Gottlieb's fear. But it is also consistent with the hypothesis that pre-existing differences make some teenagers more likely to experiment with both products.

The overall vaping rate rose between the two surveys while the smoking rate declined, which is consistent with other surveys. In fact, adolescent smoking rates have reached record lows as experimentation with e-cigarettes has surged. A study reported in the journal Tobacco Control last year found the downward trend in smoking among teenagers accelerated as vaping became more common.

The Deepest Hole We Have Ever Dug

According to some, this is the entrance to hell.

This is the Kola Superdeep Borehole, the deepest manmade hole on Earth and deepest artificial point on Earth. The 40,230ft-deep (12.2km) construction is so deep that locals swear you can hear the screams of souls tortured in hell. It took the Soviets almost 20 years to drill this far, but the drill bit was still only about one-third of the way through the crust to the Earth’s mantle when the project came grinding to a halt in the chaos of post-Soviet Russia.

More to Check Out: 
How to build a cathedral
Busting the myth that depression doesn't affect people in poor countries
- Automation Transformed How Pilots Fly Planes. Now Must Happen With Cars
- Widening the Gender Gap
- Are the dead taking over Facebook?


My Update.

  • Graduating College this Friday. Then traveling to Portugal for 8 days. Let me know if you have tips!

Thanks so much for reading! Find me on twitter : )

Failure, Reading, Goals

5/6 - What's Next

Hey, Happy Monday! Hope you have a great week.

I started daily blogging on February 24, 2016. My current “streak” is now at 1167 days in a row. Fun to look back on my first essay ever (from 2016).

This is my fifth time starting a blog — Yep, I’ve failed four times before this one. But I think this time is going to be different. I am writing daily to refine my thoughts and become a better storyteller. The truth is that I have virtually nothing to lose. Who is going to be reading this ?

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

Enjoy the newsletter, email me if I can be helpful: jordangonen1@gmail.com


Articles to Read.

How to Read More Books in the Golden Age of Content (30 minute video)

Career advice I wish I’d been given when I was young

Don’t focus too much on long-term plans. Focus on interesting projects and you’ll build a resumé that stands out — take on multiple part-time consultancies and volunteer projects in parallel to quickly build it out. Back in my 30s, most of the things on my resumé were projects that involved 10% of my time each, and about half of them didn’t pay me any money. Those projects sounded fancy and helped me to get good full-time jobs later on.

Don’t over-optimise things that aren’t your top priority. I try to avoid the time and anxiety associated with over-optimising. For most decisions I just use satisficing heuristics — is this action sufficient to meet a project’s primary goal? Unless it’s a highly consequential and irreversible decision, I don’t spend much time thinking about it.

Find the biographies of people whose job you’d like to have, and figure out how they got there. You can potentially try to reverse engineer their career path.

The making of Amazon Prime, the internet’s most successful and devastating membership program

An oral history of the subscription service that changed online shopping forever.

It’s easy to forget now, but Amazon wasn’t always the king of online shopping. In the fall of 2004, Jeff Bezos’s company was still mostly selling just books and DVDs. That same year, Amazon was under siege from multiple sides.

Amazon was worth $18 billion at the time. Its online rival eBay, on the other hand, was an internet darling worth nearly $33 billion. If you were an outsider to both companies and you had to pick one as the future Everything Store, it might have been hard to imagine Amazon as the victor.

Charlie Munger

“A lot of success in life and business comes from knowing what you want to avoid: early death, a bad marriage, etc.”

“How could economics not be behavioral? If it isn’t behavioral, what the hell is it?”

“Warren and I avoid doing anything that someone else at Berkshire can do better. You don’t really have a competency if you don’t know the edge of it.”

The Race to Develop the Moon

For science, profit, and pride, China, the U.S., and private companies are hunting for resources on the lunar surface.

Hapke recalls being told by several scientists and nasa employees that, “when the moon landing was first conceived, it was a strictly political stunt: go to the moon, plant the flag, and come back to Earth.” The original design of the spacecraft allotted little to no room for scientific payloads. “When the scientific community got wind of this, they pointed out strongly to nasa all the fantastic science that could be done, and the whole tone of the project was changed,” he said. Hapke was then at Cornell, where he and his lab mates studied what the lunar soil might be like; the moon’s characteristic reflectivity helped them deduce that the surface must be a fine dust. For Hapke, the Apollo era remains the most exciting time in his scientific life. He also recalls “the widespread puzzlement in both Congress and the general populace after the first landing: ‘We beat the Russians. Why are we going back?’ ”

Robocaller ‘Will’ really wants to buy your Philly home. Here’s what happened when we called him back.

Robocaller ‘Will’ really wants to buy your Philly home. Here’s what happened when we called him back.

Our quest was a case study in how difficult it is to track down robocallers, who can cheaply and anonymously place calls using new technology. Americans received a record 5.2 billion robocalls in March, up from 3.2 billion the year before, according to estimates from YouMail, a robocall blocking software company. There were 88 million in Philadelphia last month.

The productivity pit: how Slack is ruining work

Job software like Teams, Slack, and Workplace were supposed to make us more productive. They haven’t.

“The average interaction worker spends an estimated 28 percent of the workweek managing email and nearly 20 percent looking for internal information or tracking down colleagues who can help with specific tasks,” according to the study. McKinsey figured people would be able to more easily and quickly accomplish these task using new workplace software.

On average, employees at large companies are each sending more than 200 Slack messages per week, according to Time Is Ltd., a productivity-analytics company that taps into workplace programs — including Slack, calendar apps, and the Office Suite — in order to give companies recommendations on how to be more productive. Power users sending out more than 1,000 messages per day are “not an exception.”

More to Check Out: 
My 2018 Year in Review
We All Work for Facebook
- The Complete Paypal Stock History
Betting on Things That Never Change
- Google Maps Is Ready to Transform the World of Superapps


Books I Read This Week.

FAQ: I read to explore my curiosity (and lately, I have been reading a lot)
Here is my 2019 bookshelf

  • Malign Velocities: Accelerationism and Capitalism: "We are told our lives are too fast, subject to the demand that we consume more That’s one familiar story. Another, stranger, story is told here: of those who think we haven’t gone fast enough."

  • The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America's Wealthy: A bit dated, but some lessons still apply. The "typical millionaire" does not fit the persona you would expect.

View My Bookshelf

Let me know if you have/need any recommendations!


My Update.

  • I have my final final exam ever this week. Almost done with college, hard to believe, but at the same time very excited.

  • This summer is going to be amazing. So so much to do!

  • Was in Mountain View last week, now back in STL. I am going to Portugal at the end of May. Do you have any recommendations? Please let me know!

Thanks so much for reading! Find me on twitter : )

Faster, Electric, Great

4/29 - What's Next

Hey there, hope you have a great start to your week!

Here is some more optimism to start your week with:

Between 1960 and 2007, the share of disposable personal income spent on total food by Americans, on average, fell from 17.5 to 9.6 percent - Data

Lots of interesting content linked below..reply to this email if you think I can be helpful.


Articles to Read.

The Anatomy of a Great Decision

Making better decisions is one of the best skills we can develop. Good decisions save time, money, and stress. Here, we break down what makes a good decision and what we can do to improve our decision-making processes.

In 1947, Secretary of State General George Marshall put forward a plan that has since carried his name, a plan to give a massive amount of money to several European nations. Those countries accepted, the continent was rebuilt, and Marshall is credited with one of the most positive defining acts of economics, politics, and ethics in the last century. But when you look at the thinking that went into the Marshall Plan, the reasoning behind the details, you see that it would have been a great decision regardless of the outcome.

Jeff Bezos: The electricity metaphor

Super fascinating (20-minute) talk delivered by Bezos in 2003 that talks about the future of the internet and how a “gold rush” is the wrong metaphor to be using.

Why are racing pigeons so expensive?

He is five years old, looks alert—thanks to some striking red eyes—and has a neck coloured with vibrant green and pink streaks. He is also a champion. In the past year he has won the equivalent of national, European and Olympic gold medals. When put up for sale online, he attracted interest from all around the world, as well as his native Belgium. His new, Chinese owner paid €1.25m ($1.41m) for him, more than three times the previous online-auction record. Armando is the world’s most expensive racing pigeon. But why have elite birds become so costly?

Agony of an African Programmer

In Africa there is a perception problem though, some people still think technology comes in a box like a camcorder, computer, laptop, iPad and so on. We need to all visualize technology as a process and something we are going to build ourselves here in Africa.

Thought as a Technology

Have you ever felt awe and delight upon first experiencing a computer interface? An interface that surprised you with its strangeness, with a sense of entering an alien world?

As an analogy, compare today's attempts to go to Mars with the exploration of the oceans during the great age of discovery. These appear similar, but while going to Mars is a specific, concrete goal, the seafarers of the 15th through 18th centuries didn't know what they would find. They set out in flimsy boats, with vague plans, hoping to find something worth the risks. In that sense, it was even more difficult than today's attempts on Mars*

Something similar is going on with intelligence augmentation. There are many worthwhile goals in technology, with very specific ends in mind. Things like artificial intelligence and life extension are solid, concrete goals. By contrast, new elements of cognition are harder to imagine, and seem vague by comparison. By definition, they're ways of thinking which haven't yet been invented. There's no omniscient problem-solving box or life-extension pill to imagine. We cannot say a priori what new elements of cognition will look like, or what they will bring. But what we can do is ask good questions, and explore boldly.

Inside the Quietly Lucrative Business of Donating Human Eggs

Just before her 21st birthday, she typed “egg donation” into Google, and off she went. Over the next four years, Griffin donated her eggs six times at three different clinics. On four of those occasions, her ovaries became painfully swollen and she experienced weight gain, abdominal pain, severe nausea, and had trouble urinating; one time she was hospitalized. For her efforts, she was paid $61,000.

How The Citizenship Question Could Break The Census

TRUMP-DOCKET-0423_4x3

Every 10 years, the Constitution requires the government to count all the millions of people living in the United States. The decennial census is a massive, painstaking undertaking that results in a national portrait in numbers. It tells us how many people live here, where people have moved and how our country’s racial and ethnic makeup has changed. And today the Supreme Court will weigh whether asking respondents whether they are U.S. citizens would undermine the census’s mandate to count every person.

Questions related to a person’s citizenship did once appear on the census, but historians say the phrasing and intent of those earlier questions were different — and, in any case, they were removed from the main head count after 1950 in a bid to improve the census’s accuracy. Meanwhile, social science methods have evolved to the point that high-quality citizenship data can be — and already is — collected via other Census Bureau surveys and administrative records. So the Trump administration is facing an important question: Why add a question to the census that could harm the quality and credibility of the data — and also may not be necessary?

More to Check Out: 
Dear Freshman Me (What I would tell my former self)
The Word of the Day Is
- I Sell Onions on the Internet
- Winner Of French Scrabble Title Does Not Speak French
Video Games for Doctors


Books I Read This Week.

FAQ: I read to explore my curiosity (and lately, I have been reading a lot)
Here is my 2019 bookshelf

  • The Wobbling Pivot, China since 1800: An Interpretive History: Strong rec if interested in empire building / China. Comprehensive overview of relationship between central gov't and communities. Long-term thinking!

  • The Family Office Book: Investing Capital for the Ultra-Affluent Overview of history/how traditional family offices work. Lots of interviews with CIOs and fund managers.

View My Bookshelf

Let me know if you have/need any recommendations!


My Update.

  • 3 weeks left remaining of school - good luck to those finishing up!!

  • What city will you be in this summer?

  • Important week ahead…will see what happens and keep you in the loop.

Thanks so much for reading! Find me on twitter : )

Tips, Stronger, Living

4/22 - What's Next

Happy Monday - Hope you have a great start to your week!

Here is some more optimism to start your week with:

Today, about 10% of the world population lives in extreme poverty, while in 1990 the corresponding figure was about 37%. Two centuries ago almost everyone in the world lived in extreme poverty. - Our World in Data

Lots of interesting content linked below..reply to this email if you think I can be helpful.


Articles to Read.

You Have To Live It To Believe It

Sure, we’ve read about the Great Depression. But most of us didn’t live through it. So can we actually learn lessons from it that make us better with our money?

My generation, the millennials, has never experienced significant inflation. We can read about gasoline lines of the 1970s and 15% mortgage rates in the 1980s. But am I as concerned about monetary policy as the Baby Boomer who does remember those things? And is the Baby Boomer as concerned as the Venezuelan who’s experienced hyperinflation?

The answer to these questions is – at best – maybe.

I say it’s one of the most important topics because it affects everyone. What I’ve experienced as an investor is different from what you’ve experienced, even if we’re from the same generation. And the generation and country you’re born into, the values instilled in you by your parents, and the serendipitous paths we all wander down are out of our control.

This report digs into the effect difference experiences we’ve had have on our ability to make smart decisions about business and investing risk.

The Dutch East India Company was richer than Apple, Google and Facebook combined

The VOC’s stocks pushed the company’s worth to a massive 78 million Dutch guilders, which is a pretty solid business even today, but translates to a whopping $7,9 trillion dollar worth today… Yes, really, trillion. That’s 7,900 billion – or 79,000 million!

Early-career setback and future career impact

Setbacks are an integral part of a scientific career, yet little is known about whether an early-career setback may augment or hamper an individual’s future career impact.

Here we examine junior scientists applying for U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) R01 grants. By focusing on grant proposals that fell just below and just above the funding threshold, we compare “near-miss” with “near-win” individuals to examine longer-term career outcomes. Our analyses reveal that an early-career near miss has powerful, opposing effects. On one hand, it significantly increases attrition, with one near miss predicting more than a 10% chance of disappearing permanently from the NIH system. Yet, despite an early setback, individuals with near misses systematically outperformed those with near wins in the longer run, as their publications in the next ten years garnered substantially higher impact. We further find that this performance advantage seems to go beyond a screening mechanism, whereby a more selected fraction of near-miss applicants remained than the near winners, suggesting that early-career setback appears to cause a performance improvement among those who persevere.

Why independent bookstores are thriving in spite of Amazon

Porter Square Books has found politics energizes its community of readers.

Only a few decades ago, mom-and-pop independent bookstores were supposed to disappear, crushed by Barnes & Noble. (The plot of the 1998 rom-com You’ve Got Mail pivots on this very tension.) But today, it’s Barnes & Noble that’s trying to survive the Amazon.com-driven retail apocalypse currently blighting American malls and shopping districts, while independent bookstores are doing pretty fine. According to a recent report from the American Booksellers Association, the number of independent bookstores in the country is up 31 percent since 2009. And book sales at independent bookstores grew nearly 7.5 percent on a compounded basis over the past five years.

Driving the trend is an increase in the number of Americans shopping at businesses in their neighborhoods. “People get that dollars spent locally go back into the community,” says Oren Teicher, CEO of the American Booksellers Association. It also helps that the nuts-and-bolts parts of running a business — inventory and accounting systems, not to mention customer outreach, have gotten much cheaper, helping small businesses compete more effectively with large ones. And independent booksellers are positioned to adapt and respond to their community interests quickly and creatively.

Be yourself” is terrible advice

Some great advice I once got was “Be less yourself.”

Unfortunately I think the best advice comes from Nike, and that advice is, ‘just do it.’ ‘Be yourself’ sucks because you’re being yourself probably the most when you’re giving into your worst tendencies. If I were to ‘be myself’ I would be in bed talking to no one at all times. That’s very ‘me.’ There have been a lot of times when I’ve been held back by fear of failure or humiliation, and friendships and experiences and career-related things I’ve missed out on because I’m very nervous and very shy. But that’s where ‘just do it’ comes in, via Nike. All of the good things I have are because I just tried to do exactly the thing I wanted, over and over and over again. Or because I said yes to something daunting when I desperately wanted to say no. I think it’s good advice: just do it.

The New Revolution in Military Affairs

 A U.S. Blackhawk helicopter leaving an Iraqi police base in Baghdad, February 2007

Technology will also radically alter how militaries shoot, both literally and figuratively. Cyberattacks, communication jamming, electronic warfare, and other attacks on a system’s software will become as important as those that target a system’s hardware, if not more so. The rate of fire, or how fast weapons can shoot, will accelerate rapidly thanks to new technologies such as lasers, high-powered microwaves, and other directed-energy weapons. But what will really increase the rate of fire are intelligent systems that will radically reduce the time between when targets can be identified and when they can be attacked. A harbinger of this much nastier future battlefield has played out in Ukraine since 2014, where Russia has shortened to mere minutes the time between when their spotter drones first detect Ukrainian forces and when their precision rocket artillery wipes those forces off the map.

The greatest danger for the United States is the erosion of conventional deterrence. If leaders in Beijing or Moscow think that they might win a war against the United States, they will run greater risks and press their advantage. They will take actions that steadily undermine the United States’ commitments to its allies by casting doubt on whether Washington would really send its military to defend the Baltics, the Philippines, Taiwan, or even Japan or South Korea. They will try to get their way through any means necessary, from coercive diplomacy and economic extortion to meddling in the domestic affairs of other countries. And they will steadily harden their spheres of influence, turning them into areas ever more hospitable to authoritarian ideology, surveillance states, and crony capitalism. In other words, they will try, as the military strategist Sun-tzu recommended, to “win without fighting.”

Where did Zoom come from?

Until recently, very few knew just how powerful a company Eric and his team were building, and what an amazing and indispensable product they had brought into our lives. Quietly, they’ve won the business of everyone from small businesses to the Fortune 50 and top universities. Now that Zoom has filed it’s S-1, people around the world better understand what Zoom has done. One detailed S-1 breakdown states: “From looking at Zoom’s meteoric rise compared to other companies, they’re in a class of their own. Every metric they disclose is best-in-class — revenue growth, sales efficiency, profitability, net dollar expansion, massive growth in $100K+ revenue / enterprise deals.”

More to Check Out: 
Internship Guide
- Andy Grove: How America Can Create Jobs
Lebron’s High School is Doing Well
- The Notre Dame Fire
- Catalyzing Success: Interview with Pioneer Founder Daniel Gross


Books I Read This Week.

FAQ: I read to explore my curiosity (and lately, I have been reading a lot)
Here is my 2019 bookshelf

  • The Alchemist: “It's the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.” “Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.”

  • The Curse of the Mogul: What's Wrong with the World's Leading Media Companies - Introduces very interesting lens for analyzing (media) companies. Explains delta between perceived and real competitive advantages.

View My Bookshelf

Let me know if you have/need any recommendations!


My Update.

  • A month left of college - “hurry up and wait” is finally materializing, excited for what is next and trying to enjoy the now.

  • I recently booked a trip to Portugal (for 8 Days), any recommendations?

  • Have we not spoken in a while? Let’s catch up! (hit reply)

Thanks so much for reading! Find me on twitter : )

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