Friday threads


  1. The surprising historical accuracy of ancient flood stories in Australia. At this point, I feel like stories passed down are underrated as a way of understanding the past. The bias should be towards assuming there is some truth in it, but that you’re not yet sure what it is.
  2. “Part of this instinct, part of why this is hard to control (at least I think!) is that we sometimes expect a degree of understanding from our kids which they just do not have.” Emily Oster on children and discipline. Guilty as charged here.
  3. How to be more agentic. One for me to practice: Court rejection.
  4. New to me at least: a Deep Fake of London Mayor Sadiq Kahn leads to protests and violence. Several clips of deep fake audio are played over the course of this podcast, including some by the host and I couldn’t tell which were real and which weren’t.
  5. How the wrong side at Boeing won. Makes me think of this quote from Bill Russell:

    Let’s talk about statistics. The important statistics in basketball are supposed to be points scored, rebounds and assists. But nobody keeps statistics on other important things – the good fake you make that helps your teammate score; the bad pass you force the other team to make; the good long pass you make that sets up another pass that sets up another pass that leads to a score; the way you recognize when one of your teammates has a hot hand that night and you give up your own shot so he can take it. All of those things. Those were some of the things we excelled in that you won’t find in the statistics.

  6. You can’t tell people anything.

Friday threads


  1. What makes a superfood? . “As a marketer, if your product happens to come out first in something, you might want to look into it.”
  2. How to do things if you're not that smart and don't have any talent. Some favorites:
    • Be bold
    • Bring a sense of urgency & move fast.
    • Ask your naive questions.
    • Simplify things.
    • Follow up.
    • Show up during the hard times.
  3. Nat Bullard’s Decarbonization 2023
  4. Math Team. Such a waste of young life. I hope I never do this to my children.
  5. How Pixar does listening. My favorite tip: free writing thoughts before responding as a way of avoiding group think. I’d imagine that Amazon’s memo culture produces similar benefits.
  6. I’ve been asking ChatGPT a lot recently to help write “Stripe quality documentation” and getting great results. A new milestone for brands is having a style distinctive enough that LLMs recognize it.

Resend review / friction log


I've adopted [Resend] (https://resend.com/) for a project. If the Resend team is out there and stumbles across this, I offer this feedback as a gift, nit-picky as it might be.

On the whole I enjoyed it, but the lack of out of the box analytics means I'll probably search around more should I need an email service in the future.

Here are my notes:

  • Insanely easy to get to sending an email; I was shocked how quickly I got to hello world.
  • Super straight forward when it comes to organizing and formatting an email. It felt like using React on a webpage.
  • I don't understand why their batch email caps out at 100 emails; this is perhaps unique to my use case, but I'd like to be able to queue up my entire email list and have them process through it (I'm sending the exact same email to several hundred subscribers).
  • Sort of frustrating that you have to already have a domain name to try it out; for this project, haven't yet picked my domain name. Luckily I had one handy I could use.
  • Really disappointed in their analytics offering. I need pretty basic metrics (e.g., sends, deliveries, opens, clicks); best would be grouping the emails by subject so I can see how various messages are performing, but even a domain wide view would've been helpful. Instead I had to build this myself using their webhooks offering, which probably cost me more time than I saved in email formatting.
  • Along these lines, their webhooks encrpytion, Svix isn't in their docs and I got stuck until I found an implementation example buried in their github repo. It's totally possible that this is my newness as a developer showing through, but given how comprehensive the rest of their documentation related to webhooks is not including this in there feels like an oversight.

The size of Lake Victoria


I was listening to Fall of Civilizations podcast and they referenced the size of Lake Victoria, the source of the Nile river, in Africa as approximately the US State of Georgia.

It turns out this is incorrect. Lake Victoria is 23,146 square miles while the US State of Georgia is 57,513 square miles. However, it is about the same size as the Country of Georgia, which is 26,830 square miles or the state of West Virginia (24,038 square miles). Still incredibly massive, and it's not even the biggest fresh water lake! That honor goes to Lake Superior, which is 49,300 square miles, about the size of Alabama or Greece and holds 10% of the world's fresh water (!).

In either case, Lake Victoria has shot up my list of places to go. I'm sure I knew that it was the source of the Nile river at some point, but there's something romantic about being reminded about all that distance and all that history.