Tangential Tuesdays #71

how quarantine changed me and other musings from my living room

After flailing around for the first few weeks of quarantine, I think I’ve found peace with my new routine. Some days I even get tinges of “I’m not sure I want to go back to the office once this is all over”.

The first few months of 2020 have been pretty insane for me. Italy, Japan, and a lot of trips to Tahoe. It took being largely closed off from the physical world for me to find the time to process everything that has happened over the last few months, and remember what’s important to me.

It took a quarantine for me to slow down and observe the world around me. On a long walk today, I found myself at the top of Buena Vista Park (wearing a mask, of course) looking out over the city.

It brought back memories of when I first lived in San Francisco in the summer of 2017. For the first time in a while, I felt like a naive kid in a new city where anything is possible. And for that - I am thankful.

I finished Digital Minimalism and Age of Ambition over the weekend. I wrote up some notes on digital minimalism here.

Both are highly recommended - especially Age of Ambition.

It’s the type of book that fundamentally changes how I view the world. Having a base-level understanding of how China works gives me a lens through which I can process any news I read about China and think for myself about what it means.

Coronavirus is a perfect example.

The fact that China was willing to shut down a massive portion of their economy due to a virus, that should have been a huge warning signal to all of us. This is a country that puts economic growth above pretty much else.

In 1992, Deng Xiaoping let it be known that prosperity was paramount: “Development,” he said, after visiting a refrigerator factory that had expanded sixteenfold in seven years, “is the only hard truth.”

Another just for fun quote from the book that made me laugh:

At one point, Chinese programmers were barred from updating a popular software system called Node.js because the version number, 0.6.4, corresponded with June 4, the date of the Tiananmen Square crackdown.

I’m more convinced than ever that consuming high-quality information about what’s happening in China will give unique insights into how the world works.

It feels like Zoom + Board Games is becoming what VR hoped to be. At some point in most of my days, someone shoots over a zoom link and we hop in and out of it throughout the day. Sometimes we talk, sometimes we just code.

If it’s a weekend, maybe we play Code Names or Poker at the same time.

To me - this feels like the coveted “third space” of the internet that VR hoped to be is already here. Does anyone want headsets ? Or do they just wanted to feel connected with their friends? Right now zoom feels like the closest thing to that.

It’s hard to imagine hopping on zoom with friends after this is all over… but idk. I honestly did not expect playing poker with friends over zoom last night to be near as fun as it was. Maybe my close friendships will be less bounded by geography that I previously assumed.


Cool companies

My update

  • Realized how much my phone / media overload has disrupted the way I want to live my life. Working on some solutions :)

  • Falling back in love with reading

  • Work from home is actually pretty great but I hate using Slack

  • Amazon kindle is underrated

Thanks for reading,

- Tay