reading list

Highlights from my Reading List – Week 39


  1. Some More Reflections On Silicon Valley – Sar Haribhakti
    Excellent insight into the SV mindset courtesy Sar. Talks about the SV mono-culture, competitive nature, network effects, social-proof and what it means to have a prepared mindset. 

  2. Try an Internal Press Release before starting new Products – Andre Faria
    There is an approach called “working backwards” that is widely used at Amazon, according to Ian McAllister (@ianmcall), General Manager at Amazon.
    “We work backwards from the customer, rather than starting with an idea for a product and trying to bolt customers onto it.”

  3. I’m joining Weekend Fund – Vedika Jain
    This is an excellent example of the briefcase technique and its subsequent result. Vedika worked as a fantasy angel investor on weekends and nights to practice for her future role at the Weekend fund.  

  4. “I, too, am Contrarian”: my last Snippets, April 14, 2019 – Alex Danco
    The last article is probably not the best place to start reading someone’s work but this snippet blew my mind. Worth reading for the recommendations section alone. 

  5. The Turpentine Effect – Venkatesh Rao
    An excerpt: 

    When you practice a craft you become skilled and knowledgeable in two areas: the stuff the craft produces, and the processes used to create it. And the second kind of expertise accumulates much faster. I call this the turpentine effect. Under normal circumstances, the turpentine effect only has minor consequences. At best, you become a more thoughtful practitioner of your craft, and at worst, you procrastinate a little, shopping for turpentine rather than painting. But there are trades where tool-making and tool-use involve exactly the same skills, which has interesting consequences. Programming, teaching, writing and mechanical engineering are all such trades.

  6. The Secret to Ant Efficiency Is Idleness – NYT
    How idleness as a response is programmed into ants and makes for an efficient digging operation. 

  7. Lyft vs Uber: A Tale of Two S-1’s – Benjamin Tseng
    Great breakdown on the unit economics of Lyft and Uber. 
  8. 13 Big Ideas from Spotify Engineering Culture – Andre Faria
    Quick read on what makes for a good engineering culture at Spotify. 
  9. Motivation: How and Why to Startup – Marco Trombetti
    Lessons from Paul Graham.


reading list

Highlights from my Reading List – Week 38


  1. Domestic Cozy: 3 – Venkatesh Rao
    vgr explores stress reactions of the domestic cozy generation.

  2. A 5 Minute Meeting Room Makeover Boosted Utilization by 246% –
    The effects of meeting room design on occupancy.

  3. Identity is the low-hanging fruit – The Margins
    Identity and marketing. 

  4. Meet the woman behind Amazon’s explosive growth – Fast Company
    Some great insights into the behemoth that Amazon’s HR department is and Beth Galetti’s role in shaping the culture.

    Fun Fact: “Amazon now has a global full- and part-time workforce of 647,000, which is 50% more people than Alphabet, Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft combined. Among U.S. companies, only Walmart, with 2.3 million, employs more people, but Walmart’s total head count hasn’t budged significantly in years. By contrast, Amazon employs more than six times as many workers as it did when Galetti joined. It has been adding an average of 337 people a day and currently has 28,000 open positions.”

  5. Those Who Teach, Can Do – Reid Hoffman
    Reid on how to identify learners. 

  6. Why You Can’t Get Serious About Productivity Unless You Optimize How Your People Use Your Space – Mark Suster uses depth sensor for tracking people flow and optimizing office space. Mark talks about how this is accomplished and other novel use cases.


reading list

Highlights from my Reading List – Week 37


  1. Amazon and the “profitless business model” fallacy – Eugene Wei
    Eugene explains Amazon’s laser focus on free cash flow and how that translates into strategy. 

  2. Selfies as a second language – Eugene Wei
    Exploring generational divides on camera-first platforms. Native users are more comfortable with juggling multiple identities compared to oldies. 

  3. Clearbanc plans to disrupt venture capital with ‘The 20-Min Term Sheet’ – TechCrunch
    Funded by an all-star team of investors, Clearbanc is an iteration on the Capital-as-a-service model pioneered by Social Capital. Incidentally, Chamath, the founder of Social Capital is one of the investors in Clearbanc. 

  4. Depression Is an Inflammatory Disease – P D Mangan
    A brief summary of the research that indicates depression being an inflammatory disease that can be helped by improving diet, dental hygiene, sleep and exercise. 

  5. Write on your own website – Brad Frost
    Brad explains the value of writing on your website.

  6. Complexity Rules – Jaffer Ali
    A great post on how complexity rules everything around us. 

  7. Five Things I learned Launching and Scaling Uber across 4 Countries in Southeast Asia – Alan Jiang
    Lessons from scaling Uber in Asia. 
  8. fbFund: The investment fund you’ve never heard of that helped start Lyft – Julia Lam
    Started by Chamath, fbFund was an attempt to fund ideas that could build on top of social platforms like Facebook. Julia writes about patience, early stage investing, backing people and the importance of diversity.
  9. Invisible asymptotes – Eugene Wei
    Finally got around to reading this. A masterclass in growth and identifying barriers to growth.
  10. Invest in Lines, Not Dots – Mark Suster
    How to build credibility, one interaction at a time. 


reading list

Highlights from my Reading List – Week 36


  1. Exploring Cognitive Engagement in Amazon’s Six Page Narratives – Matthew Tippett
    System 2 thinking (in Kanheman taxonomy) as a design feature when writing memos. 

  2. The Asian century is set to begin – Financial Times
    Some data viz that demonstrates the shifting of polarity in geopolitics.

  3. My Unconventional Path to Building the Future of Supply Chain – Shastri Mahadeo
    The story of how Union Crate, a supply chain startup came to be.

  4. Lessons from Stripe – Mark McGranaghan
    Mark reflects on his three years at Stripe and how they’ve built a distinctive culture based on optimism and ambition.

  5. How Amazon Adapted Its Business Model to India – HBR
    “When Amazon decided to enter the Indian e-commerce market, it was clear from the outset that something would have to give. That something was the very business model that had made Amazon an internet powerhouse in the U.S.” 

    A glimpse into Amazon’s strategy in India. 

  6. What Is Signaling? – Robin Hanson
    What counts as signalling and what doesn’t? 
    “More generally I call a message “signaling” if it has these features:
    It is not sent mainly via the literal meanings of words said.
    It is not easily or soon verifiable.
    It is mainly about the senders’ personal features, perhaps via association with groups.
    It is about sender “quality” dimensions where more is better, so senders want others to believe quality is as high as possible, while others want to assess more accurately. Such qualities are not just unitary, but can include degrees of loyalty to particular allies.”

  7. Cellular Automata (The Nature of Code) – Daniel Shiffman 
    A long, introductory read on cellular automata. 
  8. Life Capital – Erik Torenberg
    A Deep Dive into the Past, Present, & Future of Income Share Agreements
  9. Why Amazon Has No Profits (And Why It Works) – Benedict Evans
    Breaking down Amazon’s capital allocation strategy and growth plans. 
  10. The Velocity of Ideas and the Information Economy – Steve Cheney
    Steve explains why an abundance of information leads to poor discovery.