Tangential Tuesday #44

Being Basic as a Virtue, Free speech, Bean babies, 24,

Hey 👋. Did you miss me? 😊. I missed 2 weeks of the newsletter in a row for what I think might be the 1st time since I started this newsletter almost a year ago.

Life has been crazy recently. I just turned 24 🎂. Let’s get into it.


🌶 The real problem at Yale is not free speech

This is a spicy article. It’s pretty long but I think you’ll find at least reading the first few paragraphs pretty insightful.

“You know I’m rich, right?”

“What?”

“You know I have a trust fund, right? I can buy my own sandwich if I wanted it.”

This is the moment when after three years of friendship, Marcus sat down and told me his life story. His cottages in Norway. Sneaking into the family study. Learning about the cost of hardwoods and hearing his boorish, critical father sulk in 5-star hotel rooms.

I’ve never heard anything remotely similar to this take to explain what’s happening in higher education, and more broadly as a generational shift.

Highly recommend.

Read the article here.


Being basic as a virtue

Lately I’ve been feeling sort of exhausted by the familiar dance of idea propagation that manifests over coffees, dinners, Twitter, and parties in my corner of the world. Asking a stranger what they’ve been reading or thinking about lately feels like the new equivalent of asking someone where they work. Our words are filled with whimsy – after all, isn’t learning so much fun?! Don’t you just love to think?! – but our faces are smeared with coal dust, our eyes somewhat dulled by the knowledge that we’ve done this many times before, and are about to do it many more times tomorrow.

Having lived in SF for almost a year now, this article hit home for me. I love San Francisco. So much. There’s pretty much no other city I’ve ever visited that checks as many boxes for me as this place.

But it’s exhausting at times.

When food was scare, being fat was a sign of virtue. Now that food is plentiful, it’s the opposite. We’re living in the information age. In my lifetime we have switched from a world where information was scare to one where we are constantly bombarded by information.

It would only seem natural if becoming “basic” (think anti-intellectual) will become a virtue.

Read the article here.


🚀84 Startups from YCombinator s19

I love YCombinator. It’s absolutely insane how many world changing companies they have funded in the last 10 years. And that’s what gets me excited to read lists like this 😃.

A few I found particularly interesting:

  • Matagora: Launch an affordable pop-up through showroom spaces, pop-in spaces or full spaces.

  • Rent the Backyard: Earn money renting out a studio apartment in your backyard

  • Well Principled: Killing MBA management consultants one step as a time

  • Revel: $15 per month membership that gives you access to the community-hosted groups. Starting with groups of women ages 50+

Special shout out to Compound, a tool to help you value equity compensation. Stories like this remind me how much we need something like compound:


The Tyranny of Convenience

I’ve always been skeptical of the idea that if you can trade money for time - you should always do it. It’s a tempting idea. That if you just outsource lots of time consuming tasks you’ll have so much more time to be happy.

But it’s never quite worked like this for me.

Today’s cult of convenience fails to acknowledge that difficulty is a constitutive feature of human experience. Convenience is all destination and no journey. But climbing a mountain is different from taking the tram to the top, even if you end up at the same place. We are becoming people who care mainly or only about outcomes. We are at risk of making most of our life experiences a series of trolley rides.

This articulated what I’ve felt intuitively but never been able to put into words.

Read the article here.


Personal

Since I last talked to you all I:

  • Visited New Hampshire! It reminded me how much I will always love home. It also made me realize how important it is for me to get out of the city more often, spend time in nature, away from technology.

  • Took a day trip to Napa 🍷. We drank wine @ Castello di Amorosa and ate fried chicken at Ad Hoc.

  • Signed a lease 🖋️😬. I’m pretty excited to explore a new area of the city… and having significantly less roommates and a closet won’t hurt either.

  • Biked to Tiburon on my 24th birthday. It still feels extremely surreal that I graduated from college over a year ago and just turned 24. Life definitely moves fast after college…. I still need to write about everything that’s happened this year (stay tuned).

  • Celebrated with friends in Dolores Park yesterday. I realized afterwards that this was probably my first time ever organizing my own birthday party. It was a bit scary (event planning is not my strong suit) but I’m glad I did it 😃

  • Stopped reading Atlas Shrugged. After about 600 pages, I felt like I got the point enough to stopped reading. Still some good insights, but I feel like Ayn Rand has a tendency to drone on..

  • Started reading The Great Beanie Baby Bubble. I probably wouldn’t read this book on my own if it wasn’t part of the Thumbtack book club I’m in. That said, it’s a light read and pretty hilarious to look back on the beanie baby crazy. I knew very little about the size the bubble grew to, but also totally remember playing with beanie babies as a kid.


That’s all for this week. Thanks for being here 🧠

- Taylor