BS Jobs, Fear, Rich

8/26 - What's Next

Hello! Happy Monday.

Enjoy the newsletter.


Articles to Read.

The Fine Line Between Fear and Courage

I tell my kids, what is the difference between a hero and a coward? What is the difference between being yellow and being brave? No difference. Only what you do. They both feel the same. They both fear dying and getting hurt. The man who is yellow refuses to face up to what he’s got to face. The hero is more disciplined and he fights those feelings off and he does what he has to do. But they both feel the same, the hero and the coward. People who watch you judge you on what you do, not how you feel.

Every fighter that ever lived had fear. A boy comes to me and tells me that he’s not afraid, if I believed him I’d say he’s a liar or there’s something wrong with him. I’d send him to a doctor to find out what the hell’s the matter with him, because this is not a normal reaction. The fighter that’s gone into the ring and hasn’t experienced fear is either a liar or a psychopath…

Do the Rich Get All the Gains from Economic Growth?

Adjusted for inflation, the US economy has more than doubled in real terms since 1975.

How much of that growth has gone to the average person? According to many economists, the answer is none or close to none.

But these depressing conclusions rely on studies and data that are incomplete or flawed. They understate economic growth for the poor and the middle class because they use measures of prices that mis-measure inflation. Some studies leave out important components of compensation such as fringe benefits which have become increasingly important in recent years.

But that doesn’t change what actually happened in the last three decades of the 20th century in the Isaacs study: the children from the poorest families added more to their income than children from the richest families. The pessimistic claims I mentioned at the beginning of this essay deny there is any regression to the mean. They argue that only the richest Americans have benefited from economic growth over the last 30–40 years. Or that only the richest Americans have gotten raises. The pessimistic story based on comparing snapshots of the economy at two different points in time misses the underlying dynamism of the American economy and does not accurately measure how workers at different places in the income distribution are doing over time.

Bullshit jobs: why they exist and why you might have one

Do you have a job that you secretly believe is pointless?

If so, you have what anthropologist David Graeber calls a “bullshit job.”

He argues that there are millions of people across the world — clerical workers, administrators, consultants, telemarketers, corporate lawyers, service personnel, and many others — who are toiling away in meaningless, unnecessary jobs, and they know it.

doors and windows and what’s real

Like everyone, I live in a little house with many doors and windows.

One door goes out to my neighborhood. The local kids come to play with my dog. The elderly neighbors take so long to tell me their stories. I slow down my inner clock to listen. One door is just for my son. This door goes somewhere new every time he opens it. I pause what I’m doing and follow him on an adventure. My inner clock stops working through that door.

One hidden door is for my dearest friends. That one comes all the way inside, anytime.

But one door is really no fun to open. Whenever I do, I’m horrified at all the shouting. It’s an infinite dark room filled with psychologically tortured people, trying to get attention. Strangers screaming at strangers, starting fights. Businesses put windows there, showing bad things said and done today, because they make money when people get mad.

The Slackification of the American Home

Stretched for time, some households are starting to operate more like businesses.

Children’s free-play time has been on the decline for more than 50 years, and their participation in extracurricular activities has led to more schedule-juggling for parents. Parents are busier too, especially those whose jobs demand ever more attention after hours: 65 percent of parents with a college degree have trouble balancing work and family, a 2015 Pew Research Center report found, compared with about half of those without a college degree. In an effort to cope, some families are turning to software designed for offices. Parents are finding project-management platforms such as Trello, Asana, and Jira, in addition to Slack, a workplace communication tool (its slogan is “Where work happens”), particularly useful in their personal lives. In other words, confronted with relentless busyness, some modern households are starting to run more like offices.

How a Tarahumara woman won a Mexican ultramarathon in sandals

Twenty-two-year-old María Lorena Ramírez.

Instead of sports clothes and running shoes, she is dressed in a skirt and a pair of sandals with soles made from recycled tire rubber. These are the shoes she ran in for seven hours and three minutes. They are the everyday footwear of many Tarahumara indigenous runners who are used to jogging between the gullies of the Chihuahua mountains.

The inside story of how Chick-fil-A used Christian values and a 'clone army' to build a booming business that's defying the retail apocalypse and taking over America

chick fil a 3x4

Operators pay just $10,000 — up from $5,000 in the '60s — to open a restaurant. The company doesn't require candidates to meet a certain wealth threshold, and Chick-fil-A covers all startup costs, including real estate, restaurant construction, and equipment. By comparison, McDonald's requires franchisees to pay between $1 million and $2.2 million in startup costs, including a $45,000 franchise fee

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My Update.

  • Can you believe that summer is almost over? I guess I have not shared much about what I have been doing all this time, so here is a very quick update:

    • I’ve been living in San Francisco working on a company with a friend. The past 3 months have been the most productive of my life. I have learned an incredible amount—about both myself and the world. This is my first time ever working full time on anything and it has been such an impactful experience.

    • We participated in this summer’s YCombinator Batch and just finished Demo Day. Tech Crunch named us one of the top startups that launched out of YC this batch. Lots lots more coming soon! We have a very long way to go.