#78 First make the change easy, then make the easy change
Crypto, Meme, Games & more
The title of this post is taken from this short note by Adam Tal. He had introduced this in the context of software development. But his intention is not to keep it narrowed to that field. He goes on to say:
Although the context here is software development, the spirit of the quote can be applied elsewhere. When I find myself stuck between differing choices I have to make, I’ll refer to this quote. I’ll ask myself “why is the decision difficult to make?” Inevitably it is because my thoughts are not organized and I am not adequately informed to feel comfortable with any decision.
I then take the time to do the work I should have done. After that, the decision tends to be much easier.
Context and clarity are super critical for making the right decisions. They help a lot in execution as well. Time spent in fine tuning those are the right kind of investments.
Let’s get to today’s discoveries.
1. The Only Crypto Story You Will Need
If you’re still using Twitter or have subscribed to the cool newsletters from around the world, you would have already heard about this story. In about 40,000 words, Matt Levine has written the bestest explainer ever on the world of Crypto. This Bloomberg piece is worth all the hype. If you’ve not followed the crypto space, this is the one piece to refer to and get started. If you’re already a crypto nerd, read it to enjoy your world better.
I have just read the first two sections of this so far. But I am super convinced that this piece is worth all the hype. Matt does not make any lofty claim, neither does he take any side. He is just explaining things as they are. And he does it in a style - simple, humorous at times yet in a super logical way.
I highly recommend this. Bookmark it and cherish it in your free time with your favorite cup of coffee or tea (you will need a lot of time to read the long piece anyway).
(via the internet)
2. Meme Mapping
Michael Taylor’s post for Reforge is a great example of entertainment that educates. It talks about how to run better creative tests by reverse-engineering Hollywood. It calls the approach “meme mapping” because it takes & expands the real meaning of the word meme. Here’s what Michael says:
You probably associate the term “meme” with internet memes: those image macros with white text superimposed on a funny image that go viral on social media. But that’s actually a hijacking of the term, which was coined by a British evolutionary biologist, Richard Dawkins, in his 1976 bestseller “The Selfish Gene”:
“Examples of memes are tunes, ideas, catchphrases, clothes fashions, ways of making pots or of building arches. Just as genes propagate themselves in the gene pool by leaping from body to body via sperms or eggs, so memes propagate themselves in the meme pool by leaping from brain to brain via a process which, in the broad sense, can be called imitation.”
The word meme comes from mimeme, the ancient Greek word for “imitated thing.” Dawkins meant it as an analogous to biological genes, a way to describe how our culture evolves in ways not explained by our DNA.
He uses Hollywood movie poster design themes to decode how meme theory is used successfully there. Very interesting examples. He used this further to build an example of ad listing. This one bit is where this post turns into actionable insights - almost like a tutorial. If you’re involved in digital marketing & creating ads of any sort, this is for you.
(via D2C Pulse)
3. Personal Library
Technically, anyone who owns a bunch of books has a tiny personal library. But what good can that do? A lot, suggest this post on Psyche. Here are three possible benefits:
This post delves deeper on the idea of personal libraries and how one can indulge in making them a great source of comfort & enlightenment. I loved this snippet about how to choose the books you should read.
(via Nick Parker)
4. Tutorial on tutorials
I discovered this video of a talk by George Fan (creator of Plants vs Zombies) while searching for some good insights on tutorial design for games. And I must say, this one did a fairly good job at answering all my questions. In #75, we had discovered some insightful lessons from Mario’s onboarding. This talk is like an extension of that post but with lot more insights & served in a super entertaining way.
If you’re in a rush, you can access a sketchnote of the key takeaways from this talk here.
And, while you’re on the topic of ‘gaming’, I highly recommend reading Felipe Dal Molin’s “The colors of game design”. It provided a new way of looking at game mechanics and player engagement. Concepts look fairly simple and the framework logical. No wonder, games are the most engaging (addictive?) products out there today.
5. Procrastination Matrix
This is Tim Urban at his best - explaining a very fundamental idea in very simple terms. Super long reads, but you won’t feel it that way. His analogies & graphical style keeps you going.
Part 1: Why procrastinators procrastinate
Part 2: The procrastination matrix
I read through the two part series and was convinced that this is the best explanation of procrastination I’ve seen. Tim mentions many patterns that are eerily visible in my current choices as well. Something needs to be done!
Here’s one key takeaway from the post.
The fact is, the Instant Gratification Monkey is the last creature who should be in charge of decisions—he thinks only about the present, ignoring lessons from the past and disregarding the future altogether, and he concerns himself entirely with maximizing the ease and pleasure of the current moment.
(via One Daily Nugget)
6. Letters of Note
Letters of note is a very interesting newsletter format. It shares notable letters from the past. Some real, heart-to-heart conversations that have power to move many more hearts.
Sample this one - “I would like to be paid like a plumber” - from Steve Albini who went on to produce Nirvana’s “In Utero”. Albini wrote this letter in November of 1992, shortly before they formally agreed on his involvement. His pitch to them and ideas on how he wanted to work are a remarkable read. One can sense an artist who is fully aware of his craft as well as values. Here’s one snapshot from the post:
I explored some more letters. These ones are worth reading, if you’ve some more time.
I feel obliged to offer my services in the continuing struggle against the cursed Death Eaters
(via Nick Parker)
7. Everything else
Some random goodness from the internet:
London’s stupid station names (via Jonn Elledge)
Find the best books on any topic at Five Books (via Psyche)
The infinite article - a thought experiment or a reality in making? (via Every)
Little rules about big things - nuggets of wisdom from Morgan Housel
The punctuation guide - all your silly doubts solved in one place.
A five-minute guide to Better typography. The presentation style makes it very enjoyable. (via Storythings)
Taylor Swift and her 3 categories of lyrics - Quill Lyrics, Fountain Pen Lyrics, and Glitter Gel Pen Lyrics. (via Storythings)
Before we sign off, here're two ways to find success as per our friend Sandeep.
That's all for this week, folks!
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