Tangential Tuesday #42

The flywheel of life, Shoes, Thumbtack's future, Money !!

In light of me getting back into piano. Some morning tunes.

Lots of exciting stuff to talk about this week. Let’s get into the newsletter 😃🚀.


💸 The flywheel of life

I wrote a thing! In college (and before) my life was mostly planned for me. Many of my high school friends were made before 3rd grade.

College is probably one of the easiest, low effort places to make friends with interesting, ambitious people.

But now I’m in the real world.

Moving to a completely new place where I essentially started with no friends has made me think a lot about how I need to design my life to be happy and successful. Whatever the hell “successful” means 🤷‍♂️.

This article is what came out of all of these thoughts / experiences.

I think you’ll really enjoy it. It’s an idea I’ve never seen expressed in this way.

Read the article here


😅 Blood, sweat, tears and fundraising.

Thumbtack just raised 150 Million Dollars.

I don’t think companies, especially our size should be particularly proud that we needed to raise even more money.

That said, it is certainly validating. 125M came from Sequoia, arguably one of the greatest VC firms ever.

Despite the fact that there are still so many problems to solve, we are in a really good position to capture a large chunk of an absolutely gigantic market.

“This market is multiple times the size of Uber’s market”

This leads me to my 2nd point which is that optimism is extremely valuable. Working at Thumbtack I’ve often found that the engineers and designers are the most critical of the product. When you are heads down grinding on something every day, it’s really easy to forget the bigger picture.

The bigger picture is that we are a 100M+ revenue generating company, in a market with a huge opportunity. Although many people hate our platform, many people also love it. Products like this are incredibly rare. Knowing where your product needs improvement is important, but not letting this fact make you cynical about the future is incredibly important.

I’m excited to see where we go…

Read the article here.


👟 Shoes.

This new luxury brand popped up and it’s super interesting.

The premise: Luxury goods straight from the manufacturer.

I mostly included this in the newsletter but it’s the first thing in awhile where their marketing made me super tempted even though I have never owned (or seriously considered buying) a pair of white shoes.

I also find them interesting because luxury fashion and affordability are not 2 things that often go together. A large part of fashion is based off of exclusivity, either by price , or severely limiting the quantity. Fashion is not rational. People camp overnight in parking lots for a chance to buy certain models of Nike’s. Not because Nike’s are clearly the best quality for the price, but because of the brand Nike has built.

Because brand is so important in fashion, I’m curious to see if italic can cut through the noise.


Atlas Shrugged

I’m ~400 pages into this so far. I’m actually enjoying it way more than I expected.

It’s hard to explain but it’s definitely changed the way I observe the world around me. If you squint a bit, Elon Musk starts to look a lot like Hank Rearden in the modern world.

It reminds me of The Elephant in the Brain where after reading it you can’t help but notice all of the ways people try to signal themselves as “virtuous” or “cultured”.

“So you think that money is the root of all evil? [...] Have you ever asked what is the root of money? Money is a tool of exchange, which can't exist unless there are goods produced and men able to produce them. Money is the material shape of the principle that men who wish to deal with one another must deal by trade and give value for value. Money is not the tool of the moochers, who claim your product by tears, or of the looters, who take it from you by force. Money is made possible only by the men who produce. Is this what you consider evil?”

If this passage seems outrageous you, just remember The Power Of Hyperbole.

I love this rant because it captures how much baggage all of us have about money. If you grew up in the U.S, you likely heard the phrase “Money is the root of all evil” at some point growing up. By the time you actually understand what money is, you have a bunch of preconceived notions about whether it’s good or bad, ethical or unethical, etc.

Many of us forget to ask the question: “Why do I believe the things I believe about money?” Don’t get me wrong, crony capitalism takes place every day. The world is far from a meritocracy. Life is not fair. BUT it’s hard to blame this money.


Ideas from my brain

The idea of a “Full-stack” academy is an idea I’ve been mulling over in my brain a lot. It started with an article I saw about Duo-lingo. Everyone from Bill Gates to refugees in turkey is using Duolingo for language learning. That’s incredible.

But why is this not the case for the rest of education? Why is there still such a gap in opportunities? What would I want higher education to look like if I was designing it from the ground up?

I also know many people who know they want to start a company, but also know they are not ready yet. They want to know what they should be doing now, to set them up well in the future (this is basically me everyone around me in SF).

I think something like this could be taught similar to the way FreeCodeCamp works today. Largely self-taught, mostly project based, and with a firm curriculum in place.

Going to be playing around with this idea in the coming weeks. Let me know if you have thoughts, suggestions, ideas, hopes, dream…


Andrew Yang in Newmarket!

I love this article mostly because it takes place extremely close to where I live, in a bookstore I know very well.

Andrew Yang is also interesting. I don’t buy into most of his ideas, but I’m still a huge fan.

“Yang likes to say that Trump got all the problems right but offered the wrong solutions.”

Read the article here.


More to check out

Compound <— props to Jordan + Jacob on 1st launch!

Billionaire’s 2005 ‘Almanack’ of sage advice finds an audience in S.F. tech world

An Elite Athlete’s Real-Life Training Plan


Thanks for reading. Time for bed 🛌. Have a spectacular week.

- Taylor