March 17, 2019

Permission to play

Every day

  • Exercise outside
  • ≤1 thing with refined sugar per day
  • At least one thing from the play-list

Play-list

  • Climb something not meant to be climbed
  • Give someone something they’d like
  • Swim
  • Get someone to do something new
  • Find somewhere new

A friend’s observation: I’m too flat. I’m so focused on working, doing what I should’ that I shut out any chance of having fun, doing stupid things, and letting loose a little. I’m less the spontaneous, mischievous, curious person I used to be.

Solution: the play-list. It’s a short menu of provovative challenges to choose from each day. Do something from the play-list every single day. Take it as a challenge—it’s an excuse to have fun, be playful! Scheme a creative or ridiculous thing to do with someone else. Make a beeline for a part of town you’ve never set foot in before. It’s designed to cultivate spontenaity, and the precious skill of doing silly things because they’re fun and why not!?

We started with a long-list. Trying to think of things broad enough to allow creative interpretation. Challenging enough that they can’t be fudged. We wanted to cull to a short-list, so that all could be committed to memory, and there’d be no need for record keeping. From the long list, we picked out a set of five that would be the list. 5 different challenges that would put a spark in the day and stoke the adventure fire within.

We just set these today. I’ll be doing them every day for the next 90 days. I’ve no idea how it’ll go. There’ll probably be some that need changing. Maybe it ends up too easy, and the constraints need to be pushier. Maybe they’re not provocative enough? We’ll see. We’ll do them, and see.

What might your play-list be?

March 17, 2019

Status as a service businesses

A new Status as a Service business must devise some proof of work that depends on some actual skill to differentiate among users. If it does, then it creates, like an ICO, some new form of social capital currency of value to those users.

Brilliant long read: What if we view social networks as Status-as-a-service businesses?

February 26, 2019

Busy is not a badge of honor

Professional runners have to rest their leg muscles. Carpenters have to rest the muscles in their hands. If the primary muscle you use to do your job is your brain, you need to learn how to rest it, too. For the knowledge worker, that means large chunks of unstructured time spent doing nothing. That’s right, nothing. Not reading Twitter, listening to a podcast or texting with your customers. I’m talking about the kind of nothing where the brain finally gets to relax. Sitting still, taking a nap, riding a bike. That kind of nothing.

From the New York Times — https://www.instapaper.com/read/1166336275

February 25, 2019

Startup advice that has actually been helpful [WIP]

By now I’ve read hundreds of books and articles on advice for startup founders and entrepreneurs. Most of it has been completely unhelpful—‘Trusims’ drawn from one individuals experience solving a set of problems very different to your own.

With that, there’s a few bits of advice that have stuck, or helped steer us at key moments. I’ll list as many of them as I can here.

  • Doing a startup is Learning how to build a sustainable business” given sector/market. —Eric Ries, The Lean Startup
  • Build, measure, learn”. The most important thing you can do is work on making this cycle move as fast as possible. —Eric Ries, The Lean Startup
February 25, 2019

Notes on The Blank Slate

Chapter 3 of Steven Pinkers The Blank Slate changed the way I see people. It might be the best, most concise debunking of the we are souls, in control of our actions’ line of thinking I’ve come across. Thanks Shaun for the intro.

See disorganised rambling notes below…


There is no ghost in the machine” — no indivisible soul, spirit or whatever that exists separate from our body. Soul, spirit, or a less supernatural yet equally black-boxey term like intelligence’. All terms used to gloss over the fact that really, we don’t know much about how things work up there.

The popular the brain is a computer’ saying is not quite accurate, but it’s close. Our behavior, decisions, etc. can all be modelled using computational concepts. Algorithms, conditionals, functions, feedback loops, etc.

The computational theory of mind explains why we think, know, and try – without leaning on a ghost in the machine.

We are programmed by a core set of algorithms which have evolved through generations of genetic ancestors. There’s variation in these algorithms, as there are genetic variations which lead to different traits like eye color or height, but overall humans share an overwhelming amount of the underlying software which instructs our day to day behavior.

All global languages are remarkably similar. All have the concepts of subjects, prepositions, verbs.

Behavior may differ across cultures, but the design of the mental programs that generate it need not vary. Intelligent behavior is learned successfully because we have innate systems that do the learnin. And all people may do the learning, but not everyone may translate them into behavior in the same way.

Many qualities we’ve previously seen as innate, have been shown to correlate with the presence, or lack of certain genes, or to be related to the makeup of individual brains. People with a smaller pre-frontal cortex have been found, on average, to display more aggressive sociopathic tendencies. Einstein had a larger part of the brain linked to spatial reasoning and numbers.

Proximate vs. ultimate causation I want sex because it feels good” vs. I want sex to reproduce” Very different. One can override the other easily. Contraception lets one have the first without the second.

February 23, 2019

Paul Rudolph apartment

I know nothing of Paul Rudolph, but ooh.. isn’t this a lovely looking interior? Link

Paul Rudolph apartmentPaul Rudolph apartment

Paul Rudolph apartmentPaul Rudolph apartment

Paul Rudolph apartmentPaul Rudolph apartment