This is the Monday Medley, a newsletter that goes out, you guessed it, every Monday. I republish it here for sharing and referencing, but if you'd like to sign up you can do so right here:
And I uploaded my notes on Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat to The Brain. I really, really loved how different this book was from other cookbooks, and the first-principles approach to cooking has been helpful pretty much every time I've cooked since.
Alright, on to the Medley!
✈️ I saw this cool bit of trivia about the old Concorde Jets: at a top speed of 2,179 km/h, if you flew from London to NYC you would land before you took off, and watch the sun rise in the West. The next-fastest jet operational today only hits a top speed of 1,153 km/h, barely half as fast.
💰 So what happened to the Concorde? There were a couple bad crashes, and then demand for those flights plummeted after 9/11, and it got retired in 2003. A round-trip flight from London to NYC was $1,200 in 2003 dollars (about $1,672 today), so the high price plus the decreased air travel really hurt their economics.
💥 But, we might be seeing supersonic flight again soon. There's a YC company called Boom that has designed a jet even faster than the Concorde. It will be able to go from London to New York in 3.25 hours, and from LA to Tokyo in 5.5 hours.
🌏 Riding one sounds incredibly cool, too. Here's how they describe the experience in their FAQ:
"Supersonic aircraft fly higher than existing airliners, cruising at up to 60,000 feet. At this altitude, you fly above most of the turbulence, allowing a smoother ride than on subsonic aircraft. Looking out your window, you will see the darkness of space above you and the curvature of the Earth below."
😷 The last few months have been exceptionally strange for businesses everywhere, and it's been interesting to watch how different companies are responding.
🏡 Many companies are having to do layoffs, and some are handling it better than others. Airbnb's founder Brian Chesky wrote a great memo explaining how they thought about it, and how they're handling it internally. Carta published a similar post sharing their thinking.
❤️ No company is perfect, and everyone is getting hit in different ways by the COVID economic weirdness. There's something almost calming about seeing the people leading these big successful companies take these measures. It's a reminder that everyone's human, no one's perfect, and they're dealing with their own challenges too. I've heard a number of stories from clients or friends whose businesses were decimated by quarantine, and the camaraderie in the entrepreneurship world feels like it's unusually high right now. People aren't putting on a show about how great they're doing, they're being more honest.
💻 One thing I'll be curious to see is how long the remote work transition lasts. Twitter has already said they're going to let most employees work from home indefinitely. Once people have had a taste of working from home and still being productive, it's going to be very hard to convince them they need to be in an office for 40+ hours a week.
💵 I'm also still wondering how bad small businesses are going to be hit in the next few months. Will 20% go out of business? 40%? This article on V Shaped vs L Shaped recovery frames it well: One of the biggest assets you could have had in the last couple months is access to capital. Bigger businesses with closer banking relationships got PPP and other loans much faster and easier, despite needing it less.
📖 I liked this piece on the trap of turning hobbies into hustles. I'm definitely really bad at this, whenever I start pursuing some new skill or interest it feels like I have to tie it into some other revenue or ROI generating project. I have very few things I do just "for fun," and feel guilty when I'm doing them vs. reading a book or working on learning a hard skill.
🗻 And in terms of finding happiness from work, this is a great concept from Chris Dixon on "climbing the wrong hill." If you only try to move up, you'll get to the top of the hill you're on, but not necessarily the highest hill. You have to be willing to backtrack and go downhill to find the true highest hill to climb. True for work, hobbies, relationships, most things in life.
📚 A new take on homeschooling and remote education "Primer" was announce this week. I really like this idea of enabling homeschooling while facilitating connecting with other kids online. I think the biggest challenge will still be facilitating local relationships and diffusion of responsibilities so likeminded parents can take turns educating, or hire educators, for a group of kids vs. trying to do it all themselves.
👩🏫 And depending on where you live, hiring a tutor at $100,000 per year to teach 5 kids might be more efficient than public school. The math for this is surprisingly good if you were going to send your kid to private school. If a good private school is around $25,000 a year, and you can get 20 local kids together, that gives you $500,000 to put towards hiring private tutors and organizing hands-on learning activities.
🎮 Epic Games, makers of Fortnite and Unreal Tournament, released a demo of the new Unreal 5 Engine and it looks incredible. Considering how many games are built on top of Unreal (Borderlands, Gears of War, Bioshock, Gears of War, Mass Effect, to name a few) this is a great preview of the next generation of graphics we can expect on the upcoming PS5 and Xbox X.
👾 I love watching super high-skill people play video games, especially fighters and RTS's. This is an old video, but remains one of the best comebacks ever in a fighting game. Longer analyses of professional Super Smash Bros fights are really interesting to watch too. So much is going on that you don't pick up.
🍩 As the longest running sitcom ever, The Simpsons has made a ton of funny predictions about the future, and it turns out a number of them have come true. Highlights include President Trump, the Doughnut-Shaped Universe, Ebola, Greece's debt default, and FIFA being corrupt.
🤓 "The Cuck Zone" is a hilarious satire of what conservative commentators think liberal arts colleges are like now. And of course, a bunch of people are taking it seriously and don't think it's satire. Some of it is definitely a little too real though.
📹 TikTok is having a big role on the Top 40, and how songs are named. Apparently artists are changing the names of their songs post-release based on what people search in Spotify or on Google after hearing clips of their songs on TikTok. For example the song "ily" changed its name to "ily (I love you baby)" after people were searching the "I love you baby" line from hearing it on TikTok.
🌊 I would definitely be a little freaked out by this extremely lifelike wave animation on display in Korea. The physics of the water is so good!
🎭 And since we can't go to Broadway for the foreseeable future, Disney is going to start streaming Hamilton for people to watch at home.
🐦 A bird died on our balcony last year after flying into our apartment's sliding glass door, so I was impressed by this way to make glass that embeds a spider-web like pattern only visible in the UV wavelength. This lets birds see the windows as if they're spider-webs, without making them look any different to humans.
🎧 And if you're looking for some new podcasts, I crowdsourced some recommendations for great lesser-known ones to listen to.
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