Tangential Tuesdays #69

Life, China, So you want to be a backcountry skier

Up until today, COVID-19 felt kind of like poverty in Africa. I knew it was bad, but it didn’t really impact my daily life. My bubble shrank from the tech bubble of San Francisco to the confines of my apartment and what the internet allowed.. but still, no one that I know has gotten the virus, and, until today, no one had lost their job.

Today - Thumbtack laid off 250 employees.

Obviously - there are a lot of emotions. I feel lucky to still have a job and even luckier that there is still no one that I know that has become severely ill due to COVID-19.

I feel immense sympathy for everyone that lost their jobs today. But in a weird way, I am kind of fired up. I’ve heard adults talk about hard times, but never actually experienced them. And this is probably one of the most impactful events for the world since world war II

Difficult times reveal character. And creativity.

Airbnb, Square, and Stripe were founded in the midst of the last recession.

So…. still SUPER macro optimistic, but it’s going to hurt a lot to see so many businesses and jobs destroyed over the next few months 🙁.

Since I missed writing last week - I thought I’d share these pictures from skiing pyramid peak. As always, the day was an adventure (last ~.5 mile down took like an hour and we came out on the road ~1/4 mile from the car) and an absolute blast.

I can only hope the quarantine will end by June (in time for Lassen + Shasta missions) 🤞

I finished reading On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous over the weekend. Not my favorite kind of book - but I enjoyed it.

Here’s a nice quote:

Is that what art is? To be touched thinking what we feel is ours when, in the end, it was someone else, in longing, who finds us?

What have you been reading over the quarantine?


I’ve been increasingly curious about China over these past few months. If you are as well - I think Age of Ambition might just be the perfect book for learning more.

I promise it is *really good*.

A few gems:

The difference in life expectancy and income between China’s wealthiest cities and its poorest provinces is the difference between New York and Ghana.

Income had begun to soar at a rate never experienced in a big country. The last time I had been in China, per capita income was three thousand dollars a year—equivalent to the United States in 1872. The United States took fifty-five years to get to seven thousand dollars. China did it in ten.

When a Chinese friend asked which American cities to visit on his next trip to the United States, I suggested New York, and he responded as tactfully as he could, “Every time I go, it looks the same.” In Beijing, I never passed up an invitation, because places, and people, vanished before you had a chance to see them again.

To survive in China you must reveal nothing to others. Or it could be used against you … That’s why I’ve come to think the deepest part of the self is best left unclear. Like mist and clouds in a Chinese landscape painting, hide the private part behind your social persona. Let your public self be like rice in a dinner: bland and inconspicuous, taking on the flavors of its surroundings while giving off no flavor of its own.

We have to wait til ~2022 but i’m already excited :).

So you want to be a backcountry skier….

My friend Zack asked if there were any resources I could share for someone interested in getting into backcountry skiing / splitboarding.

Because I’ve been talking about it so much on this newsletter, I figured some of you all might be interested as well.

This google doc is probably the best thing that I’ve seen. One of my favorite things about the internet is all of the random unexpected silos and sources of information that exist…. pdfs, and random google docs shared in facebook groups like this.


That is all. I have a lot on my 🧠 today.

- Taylor