2023-07-18 Links

Good work, however we term it, is dependent on relationships first and structure second. – Richard Merrick

Rishad Tobaccowala: 5 Keys to Ensure Professional Relevance

Fran Drescher’s speech on SAG-AFTRA strike

When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir? – Keynes

Gaping Void: The Peace Sign wasn’t Invented By Hippies

Raymond Luk: Repetition is Sexy In startups, we expect the performance of an elite athlete but we pay no attention to repetition. Why do we expect a first time founder to win a match if they’ve never been on the practice court?

Paul Graham: How To Do Great Work

Am I working on what I most want to work on?

Great work happens by focusing consistently on something you’re genuinely interested in.

Be professionally curious about a few topics and idly curious about many more

One way to (see more possibilities) is to ask what would be good ideas for someone else to explore. Then your subconscious won’t shoot them down to protect you.

People show much more originality in solving problems than in deciding which problems to solve.

If you were to take a break from serious work to work on something just because it would be really interesting, what would you do?

People think big ideas are answers, but the real insight was in the question.


Every one of us has a story we tell ourselves. Sometimes it’s the same one we tell others. Other times, it’s a slightly altered one. Or maybe even a different one. There are times when we even believe the story we tell others. There are some stories we believe ourselves.

Sometimes we don’t like the stories we tell ourselves. We talk to friends, who might help us see the story in a different light. Sometimes we believe them & change. Other times we stop talking to them.
“That girl I really hit it off with at the party won’t talk to me”. “Mate, she gave you her number and asked you to call her. Then you got piss drunk & ….”.  
“I never seem to be considered for a promotion, even though my boss knows how much I am willing to take up the opportunity. I think ‘they’ hate me so much as to sabotage every opportunity that comes my way.” “You didn’t even apply for the job.”

Other times, we need professional help.
Sometimes we can afford this help, sometimes not.
In either case, we tell ourselves a story about why it is so.

Some are great story tellers. We listen in rapt attention to their stories. In pubs, restaurants, coffee shops, sometimes even on public transport, you can see this play out every day.  Stop whatever it is you’re doing, take off your headphones & listen to the conversations going on around you. And if you’re alone, go back to the story you were telling yourself. These stories are rich in detail.

We all have friends who bend the truth while they tell their story. We know it because we were there in the situation they are describing, & It’s not exactly how we saw it. “Correcting facts in this moment is not appropriate, everyone’s having a great time” is the story we tell ourselves. Other times we do, & results in an argument, lost friendships, & sometimes tragically loss of life or limb.

Then sometimes we believe our own stories. We live our entire lives that way. Sometimes we find out the truth. & we are unshackled. Other times, it destroys everything.  See the newspapers for examples. Actually, don’t ever read the newspapers.

We sometimes write our stories & publish them. We categorise it – fiction, biographies, autobiographies. They’re all versions of the truth.

Job descriptions these days. Regardless of your career, “story-telling is a key skill” is the story that is told around the world. There are thousands of courses that claim to teach us how to story-tell with data.

Ad infinitum.

What’s your story?

The Obstacle is the path [Article]

Leo Babauta reminds us that The Obstacle is the Path

 when there’s an obstacle, don’t go around it. Don’t run from it. Go into it. Work with it. Explore it. Learn how to be with it and deal with it, and you’ll have a skill for life.

And what’s more: you will no longer be limited by obstacles in your path.

Automation, Employment, & Skills [Article]

Judge Richard Posner articulates his views on automation & its impact on employment while Prof Gary Becker reckons that the future is dismal for workers with few skills. If you are concerned about your future or worried about the future that your kids face, have a read:

Because of automation, outsourcing, and more efficient management practices, the demand for lawyers is down, forcing many lawyers either to drop to lower rungs in the profession’s ladder or to leave the profession entirely for work in types of job which their human capital specialized to the practice of law has less, or maybe no, value to employers. 

Resolutions, & inspiration [article]

Who says you can’t learn new skills as you grow older? Gary Marcus encourages us to consider, as example, amblyopia, another long-standing example in the literature on critical periods. Amblyopia is a visual disorder in which the two eyes don’t properly align; sometimes it’s called “lazy eye.” The standard medical advice is to treat your child early, by getting them to wear an eye patch over the good eye (in order to strengthen the weak one). If you don’t treat the problem early, you can just forget about ever fixing it. Just after my book went to press, however, Dennis Levi, the dean of the School of Optometry at Berkeley, conducted a brilliantly simple study that was easy to conduct, yet would have seemed like a waste of time to anybody steeped in critical-period dogma. Levi and his collaborator stuck eye patches on the good eye of adult amblyopics, aged fifteen to sixty-one, whom everyone else had written off on the presumption that they could not learn anything new. He then set his subjects down at a video game—a first person shooter called Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault, to be exact—and told them to have fun. Levi found that his subjects got better at virtually every aspect of visual perception he could measure. It wasn’t that it was too late for adults to overcome amblyopia, it was that the myth of critical periods had kept people from trying. [Daily Beast discovery]

Inflation? or a product of Globalisation?

The Price of Butter! [Yahoo news]

In the last few decades, strong-arm tactics & policies of certain nations, driven by – it is now becoming more apparent – the wolves of private interests in sovereign sheep’s clothing – have resulted in a gradual change.

This change has been primarily in habits, daily acts & choices performed by all people, perhaps by need, availability, affordability, & a host of other reasons.

My view of this change has been that this change, whether conspired or otherwise, has led to some fundamental choices that were never seen by the human race before, on a scale as we see now. A classic example was the number of mouths required to be fed as opposed to the resources required to feed those mouths. New age thinking is that with improved productivity & technology, a lesser effort/ resource is required to achieve the same result.

This has inevitably led to the increase in the number of people moving away from a primary activity of growing food to higher paying, quicker turnaround, lesser effort jobs requiring “skill” – insinuating that these agrarian jobs somehow required no skill – just put some seeds in the ground & within a short time you get food.

This ridiculous situation – of prices of food becoming unaffordable – is probably going to be a more common phenomenon as we move towards food scarcity – ironic considering the amount of food that is wasted every day in every single family.