Tangential Tuesday #33

Read more books, Breaking the rules, Free Learning, Uber, Amazon Prime, Woks of Life...

Hey team, I hope your week is off to a great start. I’ll be in Texas for a wedding this weekend 🤠 - so no newsletter next week.

I’m a bit nervous (but also excited) to share this first article with you all. It was inspired by wanting to empathize more with my Minds Matter mentee as he starts the process of writing a college essay.

Mine gets pretty personal - starting with a story I’ve never told my parents (until now 😉)

The Day I Learned To Break The Rules

It’s still a draft on Medium - and I’m not sure I’ll ever publish. Let me know what you think!

📕 How to Read More Books in the Golden Age of Content [*Highly Recommend*]

Amazing, inspiring, long-form content. The 37 minutes I spent watching this video was well worth it and made me want to double down on my reading habit.

Watch the video here.

💡Start A Free Learning Project

A list of startup idea to benefit an support free learners. Some of these ideas are frankly pretty bad. But the thing that I love is they’ll make you reevaluate what education could look like or could be.

The education market is extremely tough - especially in the U.S. Many companies like Khan Academy and Edmodo generate tons of users and usage, yet still struggle monetize. Kids have no money, and most parents are not willing to pay more money on top of a ridiculously expensive college education.

But education still has yet to be radically changed by the internet. Sure, there’s been some changes, but more people are going to universities than ever before. The top 20 universities have seen very little change over the past 100 years - the same cannot be said about the top 20 companies.

SUPER excited to see what companies like Lambda do in this space in the next 5-10 years.

Read the list here.

🚗 America Would Happily Pay Uber An Extra $7 Billion

Uber will join the growing list of 2019 tech IPOs in just a few days.

This article ignores the price war that Uber is in with Lyft (and other competitors) but it makes some good points that match up with my personal experience.

Uber has built something extremely valuable. No - it does not really matter for their long-term viability that they are still burning loads of money.

I find it extremely difficult to make a compelling argument that Uber has no made the world a better place. I found this NYT article to be extremely misguided to the point where it almost seemed like the author was trolling. No Uber is not perfect - but drivers choose to drive for Uber. I get it - some of them do not have much of a choice. But the alternative to Uber as a company is not some Utopia. The alternative is no Uber at all. It is millions of drivers without jobs, or significantly worse jobs.

Read the article here.

🛒 The Making of Amazon Prime

There were some all-nighters and there were some nights when five hours of sleep would be a recharge. For me, at the height of the project I was working between 110 and 120 hours a week.

Jeff blurted out the name. He said, “We’ll call it Prime.”

I didn’t particularly love the name. For me personally, after I’d heard “all-you-can-eat premium shipping, call it Prime” — I was like, “Prime rib?” But remember, I’m a finance guy.

And so I grabbed Chris Bruzzo who was running PR and marketing for us at the time. And I said, “This idea of Prime, I don’t know if that’s quite right. Let’s do a full brand study.” ...

So we put together a bunch of names. And we went in there with this recommendation like, “Look, here’s 20 names and here’s the three that we actually like better than Prime.” ... Jeff came in and he read the document, he says, “Oh, okay, this is great. I agree. I like Prime.” And then laughed.

It’s the only time in the 19 years I’ve worked with Jeff where he pretended ... to ignore a recommendation. He was so convinced Prime was the right name.

Wild - super entertaining stories.

Read the article here.

🥘The Woks of Life

I’m a huge fan of perusing and discovering cooking blogs. This is my latest favorite, recommended by TACKitchen

Highly recommend if you’re looking for some inspiration or just enjoy dreaming about food.

This curry mee looks particularly appetizing

🧠 How Emotions Are Made

This article argues that:

  1. Emotions are not hard-wired in an ancient, “reptilian” part of the brain

  2. Emotions cannot be detected through facial expressions or any other physiological measurement

  3. There are no “universal” emotions across people, nations, or cultures

  4. There are no distinct parts of the brain dedicated to specific emotions (such as the amygdala for fear)

  5. Emotions are not “reactions” to external events

Read the article to find out why.

Definitely makes me want to read the full book.


- I was on a podcast this week! Listen Here. I recorded most of this podcast in August, and then did a follow up just a few weeks ago. It was really fun to see how much has changed in just ~8 months. I ramble, and hedge what I’m saying way too much - but you have to start somewhere I suppose 🤷‍♂️

- Shoutout to a friend and Bucknell alum for building Airsplit.io. If you or anyone you know has experience doing A/B testing at a company, I’d love to connect you to the founder - He’s looking for feedback as well as potential customers.

- Life is good 😃

- Habits for April 🚀

- Databases class @ Bradfield starts tomorrow. Get ready for some nerdy database articles.

Thanks for reading! See you in two weeks ✌️😘

- Tay