Medley 217: Sickness, UBI, Kenya, Remote Jobs, Blood Sugar, Sleep, Jobs, SFX...

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Happy Monday!

Today's Medley is a little light. I lost Thursday through Sunday to what I seriously thought was a mild case of COVID-19, but turned out to just be a really awful stomach bug or food poisoning. Either way, I spent half of the week alternating between Fortnite and Breaking Bad so I don't have quite as much to share today.

But last week, Dynamite Jobs (one of my favorite job boards for hiring for Growth Machine) posted an article based on an interview with me about "How to Get a Job at a Remote Company." Perhaps this should be rephrased now to be "remote-first company," since it's focused on the different psychology of bootstrapped remote companies like mine vs. venture funded startups or big old companies.

And speaking of jobs, the great gym I wrote about in my "Old Business, New Tricks" post is hiring a part-time marketing coordinator in Austin. It's their first dedicated marketing hire so you'd have a lot of ownership over the role.

Alright, on to the Medley!

The World of Being Sick

🦠 Thursday through Sunday seriously sucked. Around noon on Thursday I started feeling kind of off, and by 2pm I could barely stay awake or focus on anything. I had a fever, chills, nausea, and thought I was losing my sense of taste, so Cosette and I ran over to urgent care to get COVID tests done.

πŸƒβ€β™‚οΈ I was pretty impressed by the testing process: we went to an urgent care, waited ~15 minutes, then went in to get the swabs and blood draw (for antibodies). We were in and out in under an hour and got the results back 3 days later.

πŸ‘¨β€βš•οΈ I had a funny moment with the doctor: in an effort to be helpful, I showed him how crazy messed up my blood sugar was that afternoon (I almost never go above 120):

Which then resulted in a few minutes of him getting really worried because he assumed I had diabetes and was therefore a high-risk patient showing pretty clear signs of an infection. Apparently I'm the first weirdo he's seen who has a CGM just for fun.

πŸ€” But the blood sugar and sleep data from being sick definitely told an interesting story: simple carbs and alcohol have an indistinguishable effect on your body from food poisoning. Here's two nights of Oura data, one is from being sick, one is from drinking too much:

The second one is the sick one, but they're not that different. Kind of like this blood sugar data from a week ago when I had a breakfast sandwich with fries for brunch:

Similar spike as the sick data, the big difference being that when I'm not sick my body can recover a bit faster. But that ability can deteriorate over time, and if you have metabolic disease your reaction to certain foods could look a lot like my first graph.

🀒 The big takeaway to me is that your body reacts very similarly to alcohol and simpler carbs as it does to literal poison. So... that's bad. I can eat as much steak and vegetables as I want and see only positive changes in these charts. Maybe we should be getting grain out of people's diets instead of meat.

πŸ“Š This is also a great example of why quantified self data can be useful! I knew something was wrong Thursday afternoon when I saw that blood sugar spike, hours before my symptoms got really bad. And on Sunday, I knew I was getting back to normal from my blood sugar renormalizing, which encouraged me to push it a bit more with re-feeding.

The World of UBI

πŸ“š A friend asked me for my best reads on Universal Basic Income over the weekend, and here's what I sent him.

πŸ‘·β€β™‚οΈ First, Andrew Yang's book "The War on Normal People" is really quite good. It makes a very compelling case for why UBI is one of the best solutions for the future we're entering into where one highly skilled person can do what took 10 or even 100 people years ago, and the inevitable wealth & income inequality that come with this brave new world. I strongly disagree with his desires for a Value Added Tax to cover the cost (since that disproportionately affects lower income people), but that's a separate discussion.

πŸ›  One response to UBI has been to push for Basic "Jobs" instead, something that a number of the former democratic candidates were in favor of, suggesting that people need to work for their money. But that's a ridiculous idea when you dig into it, as explained on Slate Star Codex (RIP) in the archives here.

πŸ‘¨β€πŸ’Ό Similar to the issue of Basic Jobs, there are tons of Bullshit Jobs now that exist for inexplicable reasons, as pretty much anyone who's worked at a big company or the government is well aware. Why make up more bullshit jobs when we can just give people free money?

πŸ’‘ I had previously said that the stimulus checks everyone got during COVID were an example of UBI not working, but I was shown wrong here because of how different the circumstances are of the one-time stimulus check and a truly reliable UBI. We can imagine that if people knew they were getting a recurring check each month, they'd behave differently than when they don't know when their next relief is arriving.

🌲 That's pretty much exactly what has been going on in Alaska, which has its own form of baby UBI. And it turns out that the Alaska Permanent Fund hasn't had any impact in employment, one of the big concerns with a national UBI.

πŸ‡°πŸ‡ͺ And one of the best studies on actually doing a UBI in Kenya has had unequivocally positive results:

The documents Forget uncovered revealed that teenage children in MINCOME families completed an extra year of schooling compared with teens in similar small Manitoba towns. Hospitalizations decreased by 8.5%, with the largest drops in admissions for accidents and injuries and mental-health diagnoses. Importantly for economists, who worried that the programme might encourage people to quit their jobs, Forget found that employment rates stayed the same throughout the trial

The World of Hiring

πŸ’Œ Cold emailing executives and entrepreneurs to get a job is an underrated way of finding really cool work. This is a great example of how to do it properly, and how much that hard work can pay off.

🧲 And on the company side, I really enjoyed this essay about Keith Rabois's advice on how to become a magnet for talent.

"...one of the best ways to attract A+ talent is to hire A+ talent and expect A+ output from them. A strong culture can quickly fall apart if A+ players see that the CEO is not holding everyone to the same standard. You shouldn’t expect to have zero defects through this process. The process of letting people go that aren’t able to perform quickly is just as important as sourcing and interviewing."

The World of Just for Fun

πŸ’β€β™€οΈ What makes the Karen meme so perfect? Part of it could be how generationally linked the name is, as shown in this analysis by Pudding. They also show the best names for the male version of Karen, and what names might be the new Karens in 10, 20, and 30 years. Watch out, Lisa.

🀯 This is an incredible example of how social media can rapidly surface talent. Julian Bass, who'd been putting out videos of his SFX videos for a while, made an exceptionally good one that went viral on Twitter to the point of Bob Iger (among many other famous Hollywood people) responded to it. The video is seriously impressive.

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.

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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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