Tangential Tuesday #37

How to attract luck, The making of a Youtube radical, Skyscraper farms, Consciousness, Spotify

Happy Tuesday! Hope your week is off to a good start 😃. This weekend I went to a Digable Planets concert, and road one of those terrible electric razor scooters you’ve probably heard about.

I’ve seen a ton of articles criticizing the scooters for being dangerous or taking up too much space on the street. The funny thing is, almost all of the criticisms also apply to cars (although typically much worse). It’s a classic example of what you’re “used” to dictating how you think.

Overall, I’m extremely optimistic about the micro mobility space and the amount of progress that has been made in the last few years

Anyways… let’s get on with the newsletter 😊.


Have you ever heard that quote “luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity”? Or some other cliche quote in the same vain?

This article does a great job explaining the math behind how to attract luck.

The basic idea is that most of us make decisions as if outcomes are based on a normal distribution, when they are almost always based on a power law.

How To Attract Luck

A good heuristic to follow is to prefer depth over breadth in most areas of your life.

A few really close relationships provide 10x more happiness than a lot of shallow or medium depth relationships. A difficult book that takes twice as long to read, is obscure and hard, has a chance of having a 10x or 100x greater impact on your thinking than an average book.

Of course, taking high-risk, high-reward bets also means you will be wrong more often. Most of these fat-tail bets won’t pay off, but the ones that do will more than make up for it.

Fantastic article. Read it here.


🧠 The 17 Levels of Human Consciousness

“Think about the strongest influences in your life right now. Which ones raise your consciousness? Which ones lower it?”

Consciousness is something I don’t tend to spend much time thinking about. This article creates an easy to understand framework to help think about it. It’s a bit overly simplistic but definitely made me want to dive deeper and read more.

Read the article here.


📷 The Making of a YouTube Radical

Mr. Cain never bought into the far right’s most extreme views, like Holocaust denial or the need for a white ethnostate, he said. Still, far-right ideology bled into his daily life. He began referring to himself as a “tradcon” — a traditional conservative, committed to old-fashioned gender norms. He dated an evangelical Christian woman, and he fought with his liberal friends.

This article is extremely bias, but fascinating. One important detail I think it leaves out is that we have a choice over what we watch and what information we consume. Yes, the YouTube recommendation algorithm can have an extreme amount of influence, but we still choose how we interact with it.

Personally, I use this chrome extension to block YouTube recommendations. I will say, I’ve been pretty surprised how much blocking the recommendations makes you realize you were relying on them without realizing it.

One thing that I like about the article, is that it does acknowledge the positive impacts of the internet as well.

The bottom line is, recommendation algorithms are probably not good for us. I generally try to avoid them when I can. BUT that doesn’t mean YouTube, Twitter, etc are not pretty amazing inventions that add value to my life. Call be crazy but I’m still pretty optimistic on where tech is headed 🤷‍♂️.

Read the article here.


🎂 32 Thoughts From a 32-Year-Old

Ryan Holiday is one of my favorite articles. He’s been writing birthday reflections since he was 20.

“Jerry Seinfeld once talked about how ‘quality time’ with your kids is nonsense. Time is time. In fact, he said garbage time — eating cereal together late at night, laying around on the couch — is actually the best time. I think that’s true of life as a whole. Forget chasing experiences. It’s all wonderful, if you so choose.”

Personally, I don’t think I learn too much by reading other peoples life lessons. I have to make most mistakes myself. But I’ve found the process of reflecting each year super valuable. And seeing Ryan do it consistently for so many years is inspiring.

Here’s my 23, as well as 2017, 2018.

One of my absolute favorite things about Ryan Holiday is he seems to always be reading books no one else is reading or talking about.

Read the article here.

🎹 Spotify advertisers can now target listeners by which podcasts they stream

It’s cool to see Spotify making moves on this. Acquiring Gimlet was an extremely smart move despite the cost. It’s not just a direct to consumer play, it’s also about being able to monetize podcasts in new and effective ways.

One thing to watch out for is how this will impact the podcasting industry as a whole.

Right now, podcast infrastructure is shockingly open. It’s basically all independent creators, hosting their podcast on their own RSS feed. This is strikingly different than music (owned by spotify) and video (owned by YouTube).

Now that Spotify is building ways to monetize podcasts better than anyone else possibly can on their own, we might start to see some consolidation. If you want consumers to listen to your podcast at scale, getting on Spotify on their terms might become your only option.

Read the article here.


More to check out

Skyscraper farm

When Everything That Counts Can’t Be Counted

Goldfinch (Currently reading!)


Thanks for reading!!

Love, Taylor 💛