Tangential Tuesday #39

Education, iPhone, Facebook, Libra, Load Management, Robo Real Estate Investing..

Hey 👋 - Welcome to July. Hard to believe we are half way through 2019.

This weekend something special happened. I met someone at a party, completely randomly, no mutual friends (that I know of) that had read this newsletter and was excited to talk to me about it! The internet is cool sometimes

I actually write this newsletter almost purely for myself, but it’s always nice to hear from readers in real life. Writing online is still so underrated!


☎️ The iPhone Is a Breakthrough Handheld Computer

“The iPhone’s most controversial feature, the omission of a physical keyboard in favor of a virtual keyboard on the screen, turned out in our tests to be a nonissue, despite our deep initial skepticism.”

“We have been testing the iPhone for two weeks, in multiple usage scenarios, in cities across the country. Our verdict is that, despite some flaws and feature omissions, the iPhone is, on balance, a beautiful and breakthrough handheld computer.”

This is a fun look back on the original iPhone - published in 2007. It’s absolutely insane how much the world has changed since then. When I think about that, it’s hard not to get excited for what humans will do in the next 12 years 😊🚀.

Read the article here.


🧠 A Model for the Future of Education

This article is full of ideas which I love - but I have learned to be cautious when it comes to criticizing education. Rome was not built in a day, and neither were K-12 public schooling systems.

There’s a lot to be critical of with the current system, but all things considered it’s pretty amazing how good public school systems are. I can also acknowledge that they are extremely variable in quality, but my High School experience was probably one of the most intense learning periods of my life.

With that disclaimer, I’m SO excited to see how we can make things better.

“An average of 7,200 students drop out of high school each day, totaling 1.3 million each year. This means only 69 percent of students who start high school finish four years later. And over 50 percent of these high school dropouts name boredom as the number one reason they left.”

“When I think about the skill that has served me best in life, it’s been my ability to present my ideas in the most compelling fashion possible, to get others onboard, and support birth and growth in an innovative direction. In my adult life, as an entrepreneur and a CEO, it’s been my ability to communicate clearly and tell compelling stories that has allowed me to create the future. I don’t think this lesson can start too early in life. So imagine a module, year after year, where our kids learn the art and practice of formulating and pitching their ideas. The best of oration and storytelling.”

Read the article here.


🤑 Facebook, Libra, and the Long Game

Hopefully you’ve been able to avoid the recent flurry of news coverage on Libra, a cryptocurrency backed by Facebook.

There’s been a ton of media outlets publishing hot takes on this announcement, and quite frankly most of them are very bad.

As usual, Ben Thompson from Stratechery publishes a rationale and well thought out article. I still think people are very correct to be skeptical of this project, but there’s a fine line.

Many people have been quick to dismiss the currency all together, but Facebook is not stupid. They have an absurd network advantage. I still think the probability of the project gaining significant traction is relatively low, but we’ll have to see what happens.

Read the article here.


⚖️ Load Management

“As NBA stars stand to make tens of millions playing and even more in big media markets, and as the seasons get longer, they and their management teams are growing more conscious of the idea of “load management,” such as limiting “back to back” games, having allocations for playing minutes per game, and so forth in an effort to preserve the body both for a longer post-season (to stay fresh) and for long-term career prospects.

Yes, I’m tying this back to the startup ecosystem.”

I like this short article a lot. It can definitely be tempting to sacrifice the long-term for the short-term at times. It also makes me slightly concerned that Elon Musk seems to have absolutely no concept of load management.

Should we be more concerned that one of the most incredible entrepreneurs and scientists of our generation appears to be working himself to death? I’m not sure..


💰How Discount Brokerages Make Money

This probably sounds like a super boring article - but hear me out. Have you wondered how companies like Robinhood, E*Trade, Charles Schwab actually make money?

This article explains the entire landscape in an easy to understand, jargon free way.

He even adds a little spice 🌶️:

“And then there’s Robinhood, which is a discount brokerage whose marketing and product decisions probably do not assist their users in achieving successful outcomes.”

Read the article here.


Meet the A.I. Landlord That’s Building a Single-Family-Home Empire

“Sean Dobson, Amherst’s CEO, is an imposing Texan data savant who dropped out of college to get into mortgage trading. A decade ago, he made a killing shorting shaky debt during the housing crash. Today he’s adding 1,000 homes a month to his empire with the help of artificial intelligence, using data modeling to make dozens of offers a day on potentially profitable houses.”

Read the article here.


More to check out


As always - thanks for reading! Happy 4th of July 🇺🇸

- Taylor