My wish for the universe

I wish that more people would answer “let’s” when someone says something with”let’s” in it.

Now let’s get on with it.


Keep in mind this was not real remote work

When talking about remote work and what we learned this last year remember this was not the normal life remote work.

Work from home was ushered in not by choice but a government mandate to save lives. our whole lives were upended. These conditions are not the right ones to judge if remote work is working or not.

People had kids at home, no one in the household has seen their friends for ages, they worried about loved ones who are in the risk zone.

That’s not remote work, that’s a pandemic response. It was not voluntary, but a move to keep society going.

When we get back to the new normal we have agency and the opportunity to work remotely rather than having it as a tool to suppress a pandemic.

Remote work has become a catch-all term for flexibility. Flexibility to pick up the kids from school and work in the evening. Take a doctor’s appointment during the classical work hours. That’s all been missing.

This was wartime remote work. Not peacetime.

Let’s keep that in mind when y’all are making HR policies.

Work culture is changing

Expect to read more about this issue in the coming years. Sam Harris talked to Jason Fried on his podcast about this. All-In has talked about it. Coinbase is making its own media house to get around the traditional media. A16Z, a venture capital company is doing the same.

The message is clear – we are here to work on our mission nothing else and we cant have others speaking for us. The Guardian’s Jonathan Liew touched on the same issue when Osaka boycotted the French Open press conference. “Athletes now have their own direct line to the public, and spoiler: it’s not us”. Companies are doing the same.

Matt Taibbi writes:

At cryptocurrency firm Coinbase, employees demanded that CEO Brian Armstrong make a statement in support of Black Lives Matter. Armstrong, for a while, demurred. Then some employees and executives began what Wired called a “virtual walkout,” in which “senior engineers encouraged junior staff to close their laptops in solidarity.”

Armstrong quickly got religion, or so it seemed. He went on Twitter to announce, “I want to unequivocally say that Black Lives Matter.” Then, within weeks, Armstrong and Coinbase leadership flipped completely, announcing that the firm would no longer engage in “social activism,” and any employee who didn’t like the new policy could get the fuck out.

Coinbase offered 4-6 months of severance (depending on service time) and six months of COBRA, in a statement saying — in the thickest corporate sarcasm — that the arrangement could be a “win-win” for the politically minded, as “life is too short to work at a company you’re not excited about.” Only about 60 of the company’s 1,200 employees took the buyout.

At another tech firm, Basecamp, CEO Jason Fried — long the owner of a rep as a progressive corporate leader, as his company has published five books on workplace culture — put the kibosh on controversial talk at work, banning “societal and political discussions.” Shopify, an e-commerce firm that broke ground after the January 6th riots by closing online stores tied to Trump or MAGA merchandise, has now become a symbol of corporate pushback. CEO Tobi Lütke just sent an email to employees explaining that work is not life and life is not work, and employee demands should be adjusted accordingly:

Shopify, like any other for-profit company, is not a family. The very idea is preposterous. You are born into a family. You never choose it, and they can’t un-family you. It should be massively obvious that Shopify is not a family but I see people, even leaders, casually use terms like “Shopifam” which will cause the members of our teams (especially junior ones that have never worked anywhere else) to get the wrong impression. The dangers of “family thinking” are that it becomes incredibly hard to let poor performers go. Shopify is a team, not a family…

Shopify is also not the government. We cannot solve every societal problem here.

Web 3.0 primer and reading list

A while ago I posted The Great Online Game – Not Boring (Podcast link). Which tied together a few things I’ve been thinking about but couldn’t place or put together. As a continuation of the theme, there are a few other articles that could do the same for you.

Packy McCormick of Not Boring has the last 10 months written about Web 3.0, crypto, and what that means for the internet going forward. Which opportunities lie in the proliferation of crypto. How will crypto integrate into our lives.

Reading list

Added podcast links too.

  1. The Great Online Game (podcast link)
  2. The Value Chain of the Open Metaverse (podcast link)
  3. Dao of Daos (podcast link)
  4. Own the Internet: The Bull Case for Ethereum (podcast link).
  5. Is BlockFi the Future of Finance (podcast link)
  6. Power to the Person (podcast link)

After you have read it all, please give feedback on the ranking. Am not super confident that Dao of Dao’s should be before Own the Internet. The reasoning is that DAOs are a structural thing and Ethereum is a specific blockchain. The fifth on the list should also be taken as a general intro to DeFi and not as a BlockFi take. There is also an argument to switching 6 and 1, might update that later.

I’m impressed with Packys writing and his vision of the future of the internet and am excited about that future. We need a more positive view on tech, as Caleb Watney (direct link to episode) talks about – is there something to cultures who produce more positive science fiction books than dystopian have a faster innovation cycle. All the current business leaders were heavily influenced by science fiction – Peter Thiel, Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, etc. Packy gives a good view into the next possible innovations with these great articles.

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

I give it 8/10. Link to Goodreads.

Read in 2 days. I went in blind on this book. Didn’t know he had a new book coming. I thought his next was going to be in the Artemis universe. Looking back to the first few chapters I’m impressed by what kind of book it turned out to be.

He knows how to drip information and spinning a good yarn. The way the book is structured gives the reader increasing knowledge of the world the book is set in without feeling like it’s withholding the story. This is Andy at his best. Loads of space, exciting, and a real page-turner. Readers of his previous work will appreciate the humor.

“I penetrated the outer cell membrane with a nanosyringe.”
“You poked it with a stick?”
“No!” I said. “Well. Yes. But it was a scientific poke with a very scientific stick.”

I think this one, as with The Martian, would be best on audiobook.

The book uses sci-fi well. I have an aversion to sci-fi where it doesn’t add or frame the story in a meaningful way. Andy has always been great at using it to his advantage. As shown in The Martian where mars physics is both an obstacle and solution to the storytelling. Project Hail Mary asks us to ponder some age-old sci-fi questions. time dilation, solitude, camaraderie, humanity, heroism, physics, and how life came to be. Much of the book is about the main characters Grace and Rocky, a possible panspermia cousin who speaks in what we would think of as music, and is a carapace arachnid. The book is not as dull as that sentence makes it seem.

Again, to sum up. It’s an easy and fun read. Highly worth the time.

Anna Gat and 11 sentence essays

These are fantastic. In every way possible. They are short essays, 11 sentences long. I could post all the essays that she has written. It’s not that many yet. It’s worthwhile to read them all.

The concept of 11 sentence essays is new to me. I love them. Even when Anna is not writing them.

The 11 sentence essay is the perfect writing exercise. Not too long, mostly editing and focusing on what you want to say. Word choice, brevity, and clarity. All aspects that readers appreciate.

Inspired by Anna I’ve tried to write a few myself. They are not at publishing quality, but going through the motions has helped me write. Not only more, but inspired writing. There is something about the economy of language that is appealing both as a reader and writer.

A subscription to Annas Substack is a joy for your inbox.