Discover more from Stay Curious
#52 The best work ethic requires a good rest ethic
Trust battery, Blockchain, Zen Kōans and other timeless wisdoms
Spotify founder Tobi Lütke often champions the metaphor of “trust battery”.
As he explains - when a new colleague joins your company the trust battery between the two of you may start out at around 50%. Each time the new colleague acts in a way that earns your trust that level increases, and if they let you down the trust battery level goes down. It can be long and slow to fill up the trust battery yet quick to drain. Each time we interact with someone we are subconsciously considering the level of their trust battery and that level affects how we respond to people (source: sketchplanations)
It’s a simple concept that is true for most of us. Yet, we rarely notice it. Once you acknowledge it, you will notice a lot of opportunities to improve trust in any relationship. Give it a shot!
And with that, let’s get to today’s finds.
For the uninitiated, ELI5 stands for “explain like I’m 5.” Basically, explain a complex or obscure topic in the simplest of terms.
Sometime back I had proposed that “Reading -> Writing -> Teaching” is a great recipe to become better. I will add one more step to this.
Reading -> Writing -> Teaching -> ELI5 level teaching
Think of it as a test to check your mastery.
This 3500-word guide in plain English to understand Blockchain is a great example of ELI5 work. I have read a couple of 101 notes on this topic, but the ease with which Mohit Mamoria has explained it in this essay is unmatched. Simple & memorable.
This talk by Jeff Bezos does a fairly good job to explain why going to space will benefit Earth? ELI5 or not, this one stands out on multiple fronts.
It’s selling a grand vision that most of us are not even thinking or worrying about.
Bezos does a crazy good job in explaining the logic & rationale of his conviction in this idea. The science sounds reasonably convincing.
I heard it first in audible (so no video + in someone else’s voice). But when I saw this video recording, I had goosebumps. The stage is so grand and adds so much excitement to the whole idea.
2. Debating Web3 and NFTs
Chris Dixon is one of the foremost proponents of Web3 & Crypto businesses right now. His investments include Coinbase, OpenSea, Yuga Labs and more (basically, all marquee brands in this space right now).
The Decoder podcast hosted him some time back to discuss the web3 space. On any normal podcast, you will expect the host to play it safe given the complexity of the topic & the authority of the guest. But Nilay Patel does a phenomenal job in this conversation. He covers a wide range of topics, yet goes sufficiently deep & hard on many of those. He does not mince his words when it comes to his apprehension about anything. Chris Dixon is graceful as well and puts in all the effort to answer the questions to a satisfactory level. I love this ‘debate’. It would require so much effort for the host to be able to enable such intellectually stimulating conversation.
It reminded me of the “Mock Debate” episodes from The Newsroom. Anyone else got any similar feelings?
3. 103 bits of wisdom
Kevin Kelly turned 70 this week and published this wonderful compilation of his learning. In his words these are “103 bits of wisdom I wish I had known when I was young.”
I will not dare to curate from a list like this.
4. Zen Kōans
Kōans are paradoxical riddles that Zen Buddhists used to train themselves to embrace uncertainty. They believed that it was important to embrace uncertainty instead of always seeking answers. For these monks, achieving enlightenment meant resisting the urge to know the seemingly unknowable.
These Kōans are bewildering and ambiguous philosophical thought experiments. And monks practiced them to become better in finding deeper truths about existence.
Case based learning methods go a long back, I must say!
5. Durable insights into thinking better
In “Curiosity > Certainty”, Satyajit Rout stitches together durable insights into thinking better. As he puts it - “it is a weekly newsletter for those who believe that better thinking leads to a better conversation with oneself.”
Rout is a thinker and is good at connecting the dots. His coverage in both width and depth terms is phenomenal. If you’re a knowledge worker trying to be better at decision making, do subscribe to his newsletter. You’re up for a great treat every week.
I’m super proud to know him for over two decades now. My respect for him as a person has increased tremendously as I have seen him take his journey over this period. During our college days, he was this person who loved his game and knew how to enjoy what he loved. Post college, he chose to chase his passion. His path was not easy, I’m sure he had to make a lot of tough choices. But he kept at it. His determination and grit is super inspiring for me. His smile and sense of humor never changed, no matter the stage of life.
We lost touch for a bit and then we connected again. This time to talk about fine-tuning our ideas & expressing them through useful content. He has polished his thinking & knowledge over these years. This newsletter is the first of the outcomes of all those efforts. I’m pretty confident that the bigger picture is still in the works.
6. The world of vending machines
A day in the life of (almost) every vending machine in the world is a fascinating read on the business of vending machines. It covers history, technology, consumer behavior and most of all emotions of this unique business in good detail. The format itself (a day in the life of…) is a refreshing way to discover something new about a particular object or person. Long read, but well worth your time.
7. Everything else
Some random goodness from the internet:
Interesting reads: Why the world only has two words for tea (for all the chai lovers out here), ten minutes of silence in just 99 cents (terrific product idea & execution!), “smell things before they go into space” as a job description (yes, that’s true), The strange business of hole-in-one insurance (another cracker one from The Hustle folks)
Web: https://earthclock.cwandt.com/ you have to visit to experience this, spare a few seconds there and see the magic.
Youtube: Best of Zack King’s magic. Unbelievable creativity!
Twitter: Zae’s thread of companies he has beef with. Some real crazy complaints, put very subtly (or not!)
Before we sign off, here’s a gentle reminder to all of you.
That's all for this week, folks!
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