1857
To Gain an Edge, Run Up Stairs
The recipe, then, goes something like this.

- identify your strengths
- find the hardest problems for which your strengths may be an advantage in solving
drive hard in that direction.
- Find the right stairway, and run up it.
career_advice 
2 days ago
The Mental Model Fallacy
The explicit mental models lend themselves to codification, and consist of lenses for seeing the world — know-what frameworks (facts) and know-why frameworks (science). They include things like “winner-take-all markets exist, and these are its properties” as well as “this is how a deflationary debt cycle affects the equity markets.”

But there also exist mental models that are nearly impossible to communicate. We call this tacit knowledge. These mental models are the ones that I believe best explains a practitioner’s success. It is what execution feels like. It is the sequence of moves that an MMA fighter displays when he lunges in for a throw. It is what goes through your head when you make a decision, barely noticeable to your conscious mind. It is what I feel when I need to convince my boss of something, or when I need to introduce a new policy while navigating the political terrain of my organisation.
career_advice  critical-thinking 
2 days ago
Why Passivity Breeds Mediocrity and Mental Illness - YouTube
A bit iffy about mental issues, but the idea that creatives who act passively end up depressed is interesting.

"Merely to do what others have done is often safe, and comfortable; but to do something truly original, and do it well, whether it is appreciated by others or not - that is what being human is really all about, and it is alone what justifies the love that is self-pride."
career_advice  career_growth  creativity  youtube 
27 days ago
Why 500 Startups is betting on Miami, and so should you - 500 Startups
Interesting. If I take a shot in Miami, I would benefit greatly from linking up with 500 Startups at some point.
business_strategy  miami-business 
27 days ago
Sears Files for Bankruptcy, Sears’ Spinoffs, Value in the Age of the Internet – Stratechery by Ben Thompson
Interesting post on business models and spinning out promising segments even while a parent business fails.
business_strategy  stratechery 
4 weeks ago
Schopenhauer: On Reading and Books
Such, however, is the case with many men of learning: they have read themselves stupid. For to read in every spare moment, and to read constantly, is more paralyzing to the mind than constant manual work, which, at any rate, allows one to follow one’s own thoughts.

For the more one reads the fewer are the traces left of what one has read; the mind is like a tablet that has been written over and over. Hence it is impossible to reflect; and it is only by reflection that one can assimilate what one has read if one reads straight ahead without pondering over it later, what has been read does not take root, but is for the most part lost.
reading  learning_to_learn 
4 weeks ago
#47 Embracing Both Sides of Yourself - with Amir Salihefendic & Jerry Colonna — The Reboot Podcast — Overcast
Instead of offsetting different sides of your personality against each other, try integrating those two sides together.
balance  career_growth  career_advice 
5 weeks ago
A Precious Hour – Rands in Repose
The Zone is a well understood mental state where you are fully dedicated to the problem in front of you. First, you take the time to get the complete state of the problem in your head, which then allows you to make massive, creative mental leaps using a precious type of focus that is fleeting. In the 45 minutes leading up to my 8am meeting, I did not get in the Zone. However, don’t tell my brain because I’ve worked hard to create the illusion that I am: massive amounts of data flowing about, a sense of purpose, and scads of coffee, but I am not in the Zone. I’m just busy.
flow  tech_management  time_management 
5 weeks ago
Against Waldenponding
Venkatesh Rao tweeted this recently. It's fantastic.

Note: "bet" means "Act on information in some way to derive a return from consuming it. See yellow bubbles."
5 weeks ago
Instagram’s CEO – Stratechery by Ben Thompson
On how great product design decreases in importance relative to business model and monetization as a company ages.
product_design  business_strategy  stratechery 
7 weeks ago
San Francisco and Scooters, Skip’s Strategic Moat, Santa Monica and Scooters – Stratechery by Ben Thompson
That, perhaps, gets at the biggest takeaway of all: it is natural to immediately compare scooter to ride-sharing, but the reality is that they are have all kinds of differences that make it difficult to compare one to the other. To put it another way, the more costs and supply are located on the network’s balance sheet, the more that government regulation matters on one hand, and the more quickly that winners — or losers — can be identified.
scooters  stratechery  business_strategy  business_growth 
9 weeks ago
Xbox All Access Pass, The Eighth-Generation of Consoles, Console Subscriptions: Now and the Future – Stratechery by Ben Thompson
"I suspect that point can be generalized far beyond consoles: transaction-based business models have always been sub-optimal for niche audiences that care about having the best; from a producer perspective, they didn’t gain nearly as much of the surplus they were generating, while from a consumer perspective producers were not sufficiently focused on serving their needs. Subscriptions fix that: producers can, over the long run, capture more of the surplus they are generating for their best customers, and are thus incentivized to serve the needs of those most-willing to pay."
stratechery  pricing  business_models 
9 weeks ago
Uber’s Bundles – Stratechery by Ben Thompson
On leveraging network effects to create revenue-increasing bundles...*outside* of cable channels.
stratechery  business_strategy  transportation  business_models 
10 weeks ago
Tweet from Mekka Okereke.
"Hey underrepresented folks in technical roles! Performance review season is upon us."
performance  career_growth 
august 2018
Tip: If you're struggling to get your writing done, you might not understand what writing actually is. : writing
Writing is not the act of creating a finished product. No, writing is simply the act of creating something.

*Writing means messing up. It means putting words on a page that make no sense. It means writing a scene that doesn't work. It means developing an unrealistic character. It means typos. It means over-describing things. Under-describing them.*
writing  writing_advice 
august 2018
The Power of Full Engagement: The Four Energy Management Principles That Drive Performance
> The ultimate measure of our lives is not how much time we spend on the planet, but rather how much energy we invest in the time that we have.

Four principles of energy management:

## Full engagement requires drawing on four separate but related sources of energy: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.

## Because energy capacity diminishes both with overuse and with underuse, we must balance energy expenditure with intermittent energy renewal.

> We rarely consider how much energy we are spending because we take it for granted that the energy available to us is limitless. … The richest, happiest and most productive lives are characterized by the ability to fully engage in the challenge at hand, but also to disengage periodically and seek renewal. Instead, many of us live our lives as if we are running in an endless marathon, pushing ourselves far beyond healthy levels of exertion. … We, too, must learn to live our own lives as a series of sprints— fully engaging for periods of time, and then fully disengaging and seeking renewal before jumping back into the fray to face whatever challenges confront us.

## To build capacity, we must push beyond our normal limits, training in the same systematic way that elite athletes do.

## Positive energy rituals—highly specific routines for managing energy— are the key to full engagement and sustained high performance.

> Look at any part of your life in which you are consistently effective and you will find that certain habits help make that possible. If you manage others effectively, you likely have a style of giving feedback that leaves people feeling challenged rather than threatened. If you are closely connected to your spouse and your children, you probably have rituals around spending time with them. If you sustain high positive energy despite an extremely demanding job, you almost certainly have predictable ways of ensuring that you get intermittent recovery. Creating positive rituals is the most powerful means we have found to effectively manage energy in the service of full engagement.
critical-thinking  cognition 
july 2018
Avoiding Stupidity is Easier than Seeking Brilliance
"Wesco continues to try more to profit from always remembering the obvious than from grasping the esoteric. … It is remarkable how much long-term advantage people like us have gotten by trying to be consistently not stupid, instead of trying to be very intelligent. There must be some wisdom in the folk saying, `It’s the strong swimmers who drown.’"
cognition  critical-thinking 
july 2018
Learning How to Think: The Skill No One Taught You
"Multitasking, in short, is not only not thinking, it impairs your ability to think. Thinking means concentrating on one thing long enough to develop an idea about it. Not learning other people’s ideas, or memorizing a body of information, however much those may sometimes be useful. Developing your own ideas."

"It’s only by concentrating, sticking to the question, being patient, letting all the parts of my mind come into play, that I arrive at an original idea. By giving my brain a chance to make associations, draw connections, take me by surprise. And often even that idea doesn’t turn out to be very good. I need time to think about it, too, to make mistakes and recognize them, to make false starts and correct them, to outlast my impulses, to defeat my desire to declare the job done and move on to the next thing."

"So it is with any other form of thought. You do your best thinking by slowing down and concentrating."
critical-thinking  creativity  cognition 
july 2018
Ways to think about machine learning — Benedict Evans
So, this is a good grounding way to think about ML today - it’s a step change in what we can do with computers, and that will be part of many different products for many different companies. Eventually, pretty much everything will have ML somewhere inside and no-one will care.

Equally, machine learning lets us solve classes of problem that computers could not usefully address before, but each of those problems will require a different implementation, and different data, a different route to market, and often a different company. Each of them is a piece of automation. Each of them is a washing machine.

It's all very well to say 'this lets you ask these new kinds of questions', but it isn't always very obvious what questions. You can do impressive demos of voice recognition and image recognition, but again, what would a normal company do with that? As a team at a major US media company said to me a while ago: 'well, we know we can use ML to index ten years of video of our talent interviewing athletes - but what do we look for?'

What, then, are the washing machines of machine learning, for real companies? I think there are two sets of tools for thinking about this. The first is to think in terms of a procession of types of data and types of question:

- Machine learning may well deliver better results for questions you're already asking about data you already have, simply as an analytic or optimization technique. For example, our portfolio company Instacart built a system to optimize the routing of its personal shoppers through grocery stores that delivered a 50% improvement (this was built by just three engineers, using Google's open-source tools Keras and Tensorflow).
- Machine learning lets you ask new questions of the data you already have. For example, a lawyer doing discovery might search for 'angry’ emails, or 'anxious’ or anomalous threads or clusters of documents, as well as doing keyword searches,
- Third, machine learning opens up new data types to analysis - computers could not really read audio, images or video before and now, increasingly, that will be possible.

That is, machine learning doesn't have to match experts or decades of experience or judgement. We’re not automating experts. Rather, we’re asking ‘listen to all the phone calls and find the angry ones’. ‘Read all the emails and find the anxious ones’. ‘Look at a hundred thousand photos and find the cool (or at least weird) people’.

But after we’ve talked about wrinkles in fabric or sentiment analysis in the call center, these companies tend to sit back and ask, ‘well, what else?’ What are the other things that this will enable, and what are the unknown unknowns that it will find? We’ve probably got ten to fifteen years before that starts getting boring.
ml  business_strategy  business_ideas 
july 2018
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