Tangential Tuesdays #57
Why you should be optimistic about the future, homework, mushrooms, airpods
|Dec 17, 2019||1|
Hi - welcome to this week’s newsletter.
I’ve been rethinking the way I write this newsletter recently. I love sharing articles I read and things I learned each week - but sometimes the sea of links that makes up this email can feel more like homework and less like fun.
Do we really need more homework? Probably not. Consider this an attempt and experiment at moving a touch away from an aggregation of links.
One idea that I’ve been exploring is this: the difference between a job you enjoy and a job you don’t is far less than most people think.
Take one of my 1st jobs for example: Working for the Appalachian mountain club at a hut. Objectively, there were a lot of less than ideal parts to the job. Someone had to rake composting toilets every day. You had to clean bathrooms and make beds. You had to do mountains of dishes. And for all of this, you were rewarded with minimum wage.
Based on this job description - it’s probably surprising that getting a job at the huts is extremely competitive and attracts college kids from many of the best colleges on the east coast.
There’s a lot of lessons to learn from how the huts are run - but for now, I want to focus on the fact that with the wrong people, this would have been a terrible job. But with the people I worked with? Most days it didn’t even feel like a job. We were just kids getting paid to cook, live with our friends, and go hiking.
I contrast this experience with the winter I spent working at Winter Park. When I tell people about the job - people often tell me they have dreams of doing something similar.
I was the same way… before I actually tried it myself. I hated the repetitiveness of my job and made ~0 friends. Although the skiing was amazing, it wasn’t enough to offset the mundane day-to-day.
The question is: how much of this was pursuing the job at the wrong time of my life? I don’t think I was particularly open to making friends and trying to socialize. I didn’t have a car and was living in rural Colorado… I think we tend to underestimate how very small changes can lead to very different outcomes. In my (extremely limited) experience, jobs within the same industry (tech) but at different companies can look widely different. Way more than I would expect.
We worship bold career changes, but if you’re not loving your job, chances are you don’t need a bold career move or a silver bullet. You just need a tweak.
Jeremy and I hosted a dinner party on Sunday. It was glorious to bring some of my friends I admire most together in the same room.
One idea that I brought up got less traction than I would have expected. To me - that only makes it more interesting. I argued that augmented reality (AR) is already mainstream, in the form of airpods. There are people that essentially spend their entire day with airpods in: walking, ordering a coffee, even while talking to other people.
This feels like a pretty big deal. Combined with the microphone, you can now communicate with a computer / the internet throughout the entire day. I don’t know exactly what this means but it feels like there is a lot of opportunity in the voice/audio space at the moment.
In a similar vein - I love this video on why you should be optimistic about the future. In it, Marc Andreesen argues that the singularity is here and actually started 300 years ago. Human progress over the last 300 years has been insane.
The biggest story that no one is talking about is the fact that the U.S economy has continued to grow over the past 10 years while reducing climate emissions (!) I know I’ve talked about this in the past but that is incredibly impressive and should be celebrated more. It’s only that it’s been canceled out by the growth in emissions from developing countries… that’s still reason to be optimistic as far as I’m concerned.
It is prime mushroom foraging szn (if you live in california).
It’s hard to think of a technology that will have a more visceral impact on my life over the next few years. No doubt me or a close friend will meet their husband/wife via a dating app.
This might still seem strange if you’re not single and living in a major city but dating apps are fully here and have changed the dating market forever.
Basically, the same thing is happening in the dating market as is happening in the Hedge Fund market: things are getting more efficient, very few are pleased about it, and there are lots of strange advice books, blogs, and videos coming out.
Probably the most interesting aspect of this is that dating apps are so popular that they influence the market as a whole. Even if you have never used a dating app in your life, it is almost certainly influencing other people’s choices to date you / consider dating you.
With all new uses of technology I think it is only natural (and correct!) to be skeptical. That said, I’m cautiously optimistic. Making markets more efficient has historically been pretty good for the world !
Thanks for reading. I’ll be back in NH for a few days starting this Friday… let me know if you are around 😊.