Medley 220: 9 Docs, 30 Years, 3 Internets, Going Remote, Life Lessons, Advice Letters, China, Options...

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!

This week I published a short article on "30 Year Thinking," a decision making heuristic I've been using more and more to decide where to allocate time and energy.

Alright, on to the Medley!

The World of China

🇨🇳 In last week's Medley I shared a number of links about the Uyghur genocide going on in China. As a number of you pointed out, this is not the first time China has done something like this to one of its border populations, the treatment of Tibet being another very notable example.

The term for this kind of imperialism in China is "Sinicization," which "may refer to policies of acculturation, assimilation, or cultural imperialism imposed by China onto neighboring East Asian countries, and minority ethnic groups inside China" including influencing the "diet, writing, industry, education, language, law, lifestyle, politics, philosophy, religion, science and technology, culture, and value systems" of the target population.

In some ways Sinicization is the polar opposite of what America aims to do. The expectation in America is that any minority group should have equal rights and respect as any dominant group. Regardless of how successfully that's been done, the cultural bias in the US is towards accepting people's differences rather than forcing people to conform to a set of American Ideals.

🕸 Under Xi Jinping, China has gotten more aggressive with enforcing a common ideology among its people, predominantly through the control of information via the Internet. John Garnaut's article on Xi Jinping's philosophy is fascinating and worth a read to help understand how this has manifested especially in the last 10 years.

📄 One document he references is the infamous Document No. 9, an internal document in the CPP which outlined the major philosophical threats to China's sovereignty. Included in the list of threats are:

  • Western constitutional democracy - “an attempt to undermine the current leadership”;
  • Universal values of human rights - an attempt to weaken the theoretical foundations of party leadership.
  • Civil Society - a “political tool” of the “Western anti-China forces” dismantle the ruling party’s social foundation.
  • Neoliberalism - US-led efforts to “change China’s basic economic system”.
  • The West’s idea of journalism - attacking the Marxist view of news, attempting to “gouge an opening through which to infiltrate our ideology”.
  • Historical nihilism - trying to undermine party history, “denying the inevitability” of Chinese socialism.
  • Questioning Reform and Opening - No more arguing about whether reform needs to go further.

💻 It's a fascinating document also worth reading, and helps highlight the importance of not letting the Chinese internet win out of the three Internet's battling for control of the web.

And, yes, why you should delete TikTok, and probably also WeChat.

The World of Tech

🛩 Last week I shared an article on how "Remote work could destroy silicon valley." I got a number of good responses to that idea, including a link to this article on how it's a good thing if COVID is the end of tech hubs.

🏦 The key difference between the fall of Silicon Valley and the loss of previous innovation hubs is that now we have remote collaboration tech, and as Matt Clifford points out in the piece, "there’s now a huge incentive to found and fund companies working on new tools. I expect hundreds of millions of dollars of venture capital will flow into collaboration tools this year." So perhaps this time will be different and we'll be able to truly create a global talent and innovation pool.

🐣 Jeremy Arnold also followed up his reporting on the Twitter hack (previous article here) pointing out what likely happened, and how the NYT blatantly misrepresented some of the involved parties.

The World of Life Advice

💭 I enjoyed Maria Popova's reflections on "13 Life Lessons from 13 Years of Brain Pickings." A couple lines I particularly liked:

"Allow yourself the uncomfortable luxury of changing your mind... We live in a culture where one of the greatest social disgraces is not having an opinion, so we often form our “opinions” based on superficial impressions or the borrowed ideas of others, without investing the time and thought that cultivating true conviction necessitates."

"The best ideas come to us when we stop actively trying to coax the muse into manifesting and let the fragments of experience float around our unconscious mind in order to click into new combinations."

"Question your maps and models of the universe, both inner and outer, and continually test them against the raw input of reality."

✍️ This is a remarkable letter Hunter S. Thompson wrote to a friend in his early 20s on how to live a meaningful life. A few lines from this one:

"that IS the question: whether to float with the tide, or to swim for a goal. It is a choice we must all make consciously or unconsciously at one time in our lives."

"to let another man define your own goals is to give up one of the most meaningful aspects of life— the definitive act of will which makes a man an individual."

"a man who procrastinates in his CHOOSING will inevitably have his choice made for him by circumstance."

👏 And I think I shared this a couple years ago, but this remains one of my favorite articles on a common mistake young people make. Don't optimize for optionality.

The World of Money

💵 This is a must read for anyone running any kind of business: "The Power of Having a Negative Cash Conversion Cycle." It talks about how Gymshark is able to have an insane amount of money in the bank despite being in an industry where cash can normally be tight. We implemented some of these strategies at Growth Machine a year ago and it completely changed how we were able to think about hiring and growing the company.

😢 Why do 90% of rich families lose their wealth by the third generation? It sounds like a lot of it comes down to failures of trust and communication, and potentially some reversion to the mean for the obsessive drive that created the wealth in the first place.

Just for Fun

🛸 The pentagon is releasing new information about UFO sightings that may or may not be alien in nature. But as this reddit comment points out, the US Military has a very strong interest in maintaining conspiracies around UFOs to help mask any new aircraft they're experimenting with.

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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