Medley 212: Trends, Calendars, Vibes, Tails, Debt, Starting, Brands, Saving, Recipes, Luck...

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:

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Happy Monday!

Last week I did a webinar and Q&A session on "SEO Strategies from Billion Dollar Brands" for Trends, the paid newsletter from The Hustle. It was a quicker 30min presentation, but then I stuck around for almost an hour and a half of Q&A. If you're not a member of Trends, you can sign up for trial for a dollar to check it out.

The World of Sponsorship

📆 This Medley is brought to you by returning sponsor Woven! Woven is one of my favorite productivity tools and the absolute best calendar app on the market. It's also, somehow, still completely free for everyone, which kinda blows my mind for how good it is. If you're not already using Woven and you want a cleaner, faster, more joy-sparking calendar, be sure to check it out.

The World of Work

👨‍💻 It seems like our future is going to move heavily towards remote work, but Byrne Hobart gives a good counterargument. There are many intangible things you get in an office that you just can't get with remote work:

"This is intangible, but it’s important. A remote-only company can have a culture, but it doesn’t have a vibe. And vibe is a force multiplier."

⏳ I don't 100% agree. I think Growth Machine definitely has a vibe, but it took longer to develop than it would have in a shared physical space. Everything intangible just moves a little slower and requires more effort, but the time and cost savings by being remote offset some of that problem. I hope there will be more tools and innovations around remote working in the next few years that make this even easier, too.

The World of Fat Tails

⛷ Morgan Housel shared a touching piece on the three kinds of risk, and what it means for investing. It's a story about how a chance decision on his part was the difference between life or death, and how important the black swans in life really are.

"once you go through something like that, you realize that the tail-end consequences – the low-probability, high-impact events – are all that matter."

📈 And tying back in my discussion from last week about the Joe Rogan Spotify deal, someone found a tweet by Joe from 2009 about "doing some sort of regular thing online." I love finding inception points like this of what later became massive businesses or ideas. In 2009 it was "maybe I'll do something regular online," and by 2019, he had the biggest interview show in the world.

The World of Debt

💰 I enjoyed this summary by Alex Danco of some of the core ideas from "Debt: The First 5,000 Years." I picked up the book and I suspect I'll read it at some point, but this idea stood out:

"there is little evidence that “barter economies” ever actually existed in early civilization. In contrast, there’s a lot of evidence that these early societies had sophisticated local economies long before coinage: not because they were good negotiators, but because they got by perfectly well by using the IOU as a fundamental unit of account."

🤝 It made me think about something I'd observed earlier last week. Austin feels more communal to me than NYC because people seem less worried about balancing the bill with each other after eating out or getting drinks. There's more of a "you'll get me back eventually" mindset. I'm sure the huge difference in cost of living plays a big role here, but it was neat to see some historical context for that sense of what makes a good community.

The World of Reading

👂 Is listening to an audiobook the same as reading a physical book? I don't think so, because it's impossible to get the same level of engagement with the material, at least until better tools are developed for audiobooks.

📝 If you buy my argument that you should try to read books that you'll spend at least an hour reviewing your notes on, then audiobooks don't make the cut. There's no good way to take notes.

📚 On some level this applies to reading books on Kindle, too. The ease with which you can highlight cheapens the experience to some degree. You end up copying out the whole book, or huge chunks of it, instead of being selective in what you save.

🤓 And if you're looking for some great material to read in a very note-take-able way, a bunch of people have started making public Roam databases of famous speeches, plays, and more.

The World of COVID-19

🤣 An MSNBC reporting team got called out in the most hilarious way possible this week. As they were doing a report on all the people out in public not wearing face masks, some random person walked up and yelled into the camera that the cameraman and crew weren't wearing masks either, which the reporter parroted seemingly before realizing what he was saying. Here's the video from the bystander's view too.

🏦 And while most things about COVID-19 are bad, the US Savings rate was at 33% for April, an insane historic high.

The World of Innovation

🚙 Jay Leno got to take the new Tesla Cybertruck for a ride and it's a really cool look into Tesla and The Boring Company.

🤫 If you're a big company without great brand equity, how do you compete in small local markets? Make up a new, fancier brand to sell your products! That's what Chuck E Cheese and Applebees are doing to boost sales through delivery apps like UberEats.

😨 A company raising $60M and doing $20M a year in revenue should be crushing it, right? Not necessarily, as shared in this story about Sprig, a great example of how growth can wreck you when that growth curve gets upset.

👨‍🍳 I'm really excited to see what The New York Times does with all their recipe data. It could become one of the biggest, best organized sources of ideas for cooking online. The overview on how they've developed and organized the database is fascinating.

🤔 And if you're not sure what to work on, then think about this quotation from Sam Altman: "The question isn't, "What will I be doing in 10 years?" But, "What will I wish I'd started 10 years from now?"

End Note

As always, if you're enjoying the Medley, I'd love it if you shared it with a friend or two. You can send them here to sign up. I try to make it one of the best emails you get each week, and I hope you're enjoying it.

If you want to support the Medley and my other writing, there are many ways you can do that here.

And should you come across anything interesting this week, send it my way! I love finding new things to read through members of this newsletter.

Have a great week,
Nat

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