reading list

Highlights from my Reading List – Week 24


  1. The Truth About Hard Work – Naval Ravikant and Kapil Gupta
    To the experts, what looks like hard work from the outside, is play from the inside. So a good area to focus on is an area that looks like work to others, but feels like play to you – That’s your superpower. 

  2. Indian technology talent is flocking to Canada – The Economist
    Pushed out by the cost of living as well as by a less welcoming American government, they are being pulled in by countries such as Canada, where tech vacancies are forecast to reach 200,000 by 2020. Canada is gambling that by the time America wakes up to the cost of discouraging immigrants its tech sector will have secured some of the best talent.

  3. It’s probably time to learn Chinese – Eric Meltzer
    The world seems to be moving from a unipolar America-led situation towards a bi-or-multipolar one where China assumes a lot more importance, so speaking Chinese is a good hedge in that sense.

    Important reasons –
    1. China is emerging from its copycat phase and is beginning to produce interesting technology and cultural products again.
    2. Almost as many people speak Mandarin as English; about 1.5 billion for each language.
    3. Very few Mandarin speakers also speak English. The oft-cited figure of 300 million english-speakers in China is laughable propaganda, and the true number is probably closer to 10 million, or less than 1% of the population.

  4. Sustainability is Unsustainable – Jed Lea-Henry
    Human history is a history of hardship and suffering not because it has to be so, but because it is also a history of near-complete stasis. And this is why ‘sustainability’ is such a dangerous idea.

    The term has two complementary meanings: ‘unchanging’ and ‘providing’. It’s the idea that we can find a stable, non-dangerous way of life, where no more existential problems arise that require creativity and progress to solve. This is Garden of Eden-type thinking — environments never sustain anything!

  5. A Strong Cold Email Always Beats A Weak Warm One – Hunter Walk
    What would I prefer instead? Send me a great cold email. One which tells me why you’re reaching out, directs my attention to something, and suggests what you’d like as a next step. Provide proof, rather than claims (show me code, a blog post, a deck). And don’t start off by apologizing for sending me a cold email.

  6. The biggest threat to Netflix in India is not Amazon Prime, or even Hotstar, but Reliance Jio – Aviral Bhatnagar
    With Jio pushing data onto your mobile, it can also bundle content through its “pipes.” The Jio service doesn’t only provide data, but could also provide video, audio and other content.

    Expectedly, Jio acquired Saavn for music streaming, signed deals with Balaji, Eros and Star for video and has even partnered with cable.

    Jio’s bundle could be more powerful than a standalone Netflix, in a reversal of the unbundling. For one subscription price, you could get a lot more than video.

  7. Falling for my Booty Call – Sarah Kasbeer on Longreads
    Sarah Kasbeer reflects on a history of hookups — and why they left her cold.
  8. Meet the Woman Who’s Created the 21st Century Finance Model for Emerging Technologies – Riva Tez
    Riva-Melissa Tez is the CEO and co-founder of Permutation in San Francisco. A London native, she runs an artificial intelligence platform and incubator. In her spare time, she works on The Longevity Cookbook, alongside Maria Konovalenkoand Steve Aoki, which is a book that distills academic research into practical measures for slowing the aging process. This is an edited transcript of a recorded interview.
  9. Investing Ideas That Changed My Life – Morgan Housel
    You spend years trying to learn new stuff but then look back and realize just a few big ideas changed how you think and drive most of what you believe.

    Morgan on convexity in re-reading. 

  10. Unit Economics – Sam Altman
    Commentators are looking hard for what’s wrong with startups in Silicon Valley.  First they talked about valuations being too high.  Then they talked about valuations not really meaning anything.  Then they talked about companies staying private too long.  Then they talked about burn rates.
    But something does feel off, though it’s been hard to precisely identify.
    I think the answer is unit economics.

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