Make rent

Heard this one on the radio, T.J. Miller talking about his time in NYC. As a Londoner I find it highly relatable. (Transcript by me, from memory, hey ho.)

The thing about New York is that everybody is trying to make rent.

Everybody. So there is this respect in New York, which is, if you couldn’t make rent you would not be here.

And even feel sorry for the super rich trust fund kids because they’re not really in New York — when they get on the subway they’re not in the same hurry as when you and I are in a hurry, so that we can make rent.

New York will crush a man’s spirit in two weeks.

Highly relatable.

j j j

Connecting dots totally backwards

In the last few days I watched Bitcoin go from:
$6000-something to $7000 and $7500,
and then $7500 to $8000,
and to $8500,
over that,
for no apparent reason…

…and then the Russian government left and Putin became some sort of supreme overlord forever.

So my two questions are:

  • Is Bitcoin still seen as the World’s New Money, or is it now officially a storage for oligarch money? and
  • Whenever I bought Bitcoin in the past (and lost on it every time) — did I literally transfer that money directly to Putin?

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Books I’ve read in 2019

Readers of this blog know that my first post in January is usually the list of books I’ve read last year. So without much ado: my favorite three books with notes, and the rest as a list in no particular order.

Brief Answers to the Big Questions by Stephen Hawking

(1) Is there a God? No. (2) How did it all begin? By accident. (3) Is there other intelligent life in the universe? Maybe. (4) Can we predict the future? No. (5) What is inside a black hole? Particles. (6) Is time travel possible? Maybe later. (7) Will we survive on Earth? Yes. (8) Should we colonize space? Yes. (9) Will AI outsmart us? Yes. (10) How do we shape the future? With education.

Catching the Big Fish by David Lynch

“Ideas are like fish. If you want to catch little fish, you can stay in the shallow water. But if you want to catch the big fish, you’ve got to go deeper.”

About listening to critics: if you thought about how [your movie] going to hit people, or if it’s going to hurt someone, or if it’s going to do this or do that, then you would have to stop making films. You just do these things that you fall in love with, and you never know what’s going to happen. […] A painter paints a painting. No one comes in and says, “You’ve got to change that blue.” It’s a joke to think that a film is going to mean anything if somebody else fiddles with it.

The ONE Thing by Gary Keller

Do your most important work (your ONE Thing) before your willpower is drawn down. Work on what matters most. Instead of a to-do list, you need a success list – a list that is purposefully created around extraordinary results. If you know what your ONE thing is, it’s easier to say no: say no to everything that doesn’t help your ONE thing.

About thinking big: success is built sequentially, one thing at a time. Think big and bold: don’t let small thinking cut your life down to size. Once the ONE thing is set, it’s easier to make it to be a habit, and it’s easier to find the lead domino that starts the chain of ever-bigger dominoes.

About relationships: imagine life is a game in which you are juggling five balls, but work’s ball is made of rubber. If you drop it, it will bounce back. The other four balls–family, health, friends, integrity–are made of glass. If you drop one of these, it will be irrevocably scuffed, nicked, perhaps even shattered.

…and the rest of the list:

  • The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
  • Also sprach Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche
  • Waking Up by Sam Harris
  • Deep Work by Cal Newport
  • Reframing by Richard Bandler & John Grinder
  • The Storytellers Secret by Sejal Badan
  • The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
  • Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
  • Bold by Peter Diamandis
  • Deep Thinking by Garry Kasparov
  • Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh
  • Hocus Pocus by Kurt Vonnegut
  • Seriously… I’m Kidding by Ellen DeGeneres
  • The Innovators Dilemma by Clayton Christensen
  • The Inevitable by Kevin Kelly
  • Factfulness by Hans Rosling
  • Slapstick by Kurt Vonnegut
  • Essentialism by Greg McKeown
  • Buffett, The Making of an American Capitalist by Roger Lowenstein
  • The Wisdom of Psychopaths by Kevin Dutton
  • The Richest Man in Babylon by George Samuel Clason
  • Herr Lehmann by Sven Regener
  • Behind the Cloud by Marc Benioff
  • Think Small by Owain Service
  • Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller
  • Principles by Ray Dalio
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Santa wipes

Let me show you the toilet paper that my wife got us for Christmas.

Two biggies.

  1. There are places where you don’t want to see red. One of those places is anywhere near stool. Santa has a lot of red. I have a lot of missed heartbeats.
  2. After use, Santa doesn’t look any prettier. Rudolph’s nose gets a little — muddy.

Happy festivities!

j j j

UNPOP — great songs on Spotify with under 1000 listens

I hold the unpopular opinion that Radiohead is a pop band. Because, I say, you can’t realistically be called alternative when half the world knows and loves every song you’ve ever published.

Nothing against Radiohead of course. But, let me show you a bunch of songs that I dug up throughout the years. Chances are you haven’t heard them yet.

These songs each have <1000 listens on Spotify. And under 10 views on Youtube, hey ho!

And if you’re reading this blog as a teenager, with an ambition to be really alternative, this is gold. You get the point. Because if all your friends are “different” in the exact same way, then none of them really is. You will be. You’re the person who discovered the goods.

Without further ado, my three favorites from the list:

  • Otik: Blasphemy
  • Foundhim / Ponette: I’m Alone (Youtube link — with the exclusive opportunity to be one of their 21 monthly listeners!)
  • Yuuki Sakai: Pol Gaso (Youtube link)

Go ahead and support the artists with your attention!

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Work on an idea, no matter what, if…

There are two good reasons to work on an idea almost no matter what:

  • If you can learn something that you can use for the rest of your life. Be careful with this definition. A fancy new programming framework doesn’t qualify. Learning to write code does. Trying sales for the first time does.
  • If you can work with people you admire. Even if the idea goes to zero, you can take good relationships into the next project. And the one after, until kingdom come.

When in doubt, build something beautiful.

j j j

Current standings

My home-wework at Aldwych has a line of tall desks along the main window. I have to get there early because the best spots all go by 9.25am, but then I can place my laptop in the window, have a coffee and work away, as I watch busy town being busy outside. It’s a great day.

I’m a big fan of standing desks lately, and started to frequent the co-working offices that offer those. I have to work in different areas almost every day, but standing desks are commonplace enough nowadays, so there are some in pretty much every co-working office. These spots are the easiest to get as well, because who wants to stand all day anyway?

Other than in Aldwych of course, because window seats are window seats on an airplane and they are window seats at work too.

I do standing desks in the mornings, have lunch, and then back in the lounge or a normal desk for the afternoon. Tuesdays I’d start the day with a mile swim, and then get to the office by 9am. Those days are my favorite days now.

Not sure whether standing all day is any healthier than sitting all day by the way, so don’t consider any of the above as health advice. With my messed up back I manage to hunch over any surface anyway.

Fade out.

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Two quick Libra predictions

Facebook announced Libra stablecoin, so here are two quick predictions:

In 2020 Google and Apple will also announce their coin.

In the year after, Google will announce they’re shutting theirs.

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Steampunk devs

Amazon and Serverless is pushing hard to convince this new generation of devs, that servers and databases are some kind of an unnecessary wizard move.

And it’s only fair, because whoever grew up on writing frontend Javascript code, or Python, and has never really seen another language or environment, does already think that servers and databases are: some kind of an unnecessary wizard move.

I mean I think this is a good thing, because managed services are great. Maintenance is usually the easiest to outsource, whilst anything business logic related requires so much in-depth knowledge of the problem, that writing specs often means writing 80% of the service already. Software development time is scarce resource these days, so it should only be deployed on things with the highest impact – managing a Kubernetes cluster is rarely the one.

For my generation of devs, embracing Serverless can be challenging because with it a massive part of our knowledge is becoming obsolete. The goal is not just not having to SSH into a box, the goal is not to be able to SSH into a box at all – so what difference does it make that you know your way around in there? So the world is moving on, managed services are the future, and it’s not even because of the massive scale it enables, but because fuck maintenance, fuck operations, and fuck spending development time on setup.

Compare this all to electricity’s early days, when people ran their own generators. Ask any “sparky”: as soon as a stabile wall plug becomes available, you better start using it.

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