summing up 42

a more or less weekly digest of juicy stuff. please find previous editions here.

  • reinventing explanation, my own personal conviction is that we are still in the early days of exploring the potential that modern media - especially digital media - have for the explanation of science. our current attempts at digital explanation seem to me to be like the efforts of the early silent film-makers, or of painters prior to the florentine renaissance. we haven't yet found our michaelangelo and leonardo, we don't yet know what is possible. in fact, we don't yet have even the basic vocabulary of digital explanation. my instinct is that such a vocabulary will be developed in the decades to come. but that is far too big a goal to attack directly. instead, we can make progress by constructing prototypes, and learning from what they have to tell us. highly recommended
  • startup advice and the clarity of experience, being there - in the arena-gives you the clarity of experience; it's a sixth sense that is the ability to know which pieces of advice are important. unfortunately, the most important lessons you can learn from people with experience tend to be things you don't think are important until you have experience
  • 1,000 true fans, young artists starting out in this digitally mediated world have another path other than stardom, a path made possible by the very technology that creates the long tail. instead of trying to reach the narrow and unlikely peaks of platinum hits, bestseller blockbusters, and celebrity status, they can aim for direct connection with 1,000 true fans. it's a much saner destination to hope for. you make a living instead of a fortune. you are surrounded not by fad and fashionable infatuation, but by true fans. and you are much more likely to actually arrive there
  • curse of the gifted, we've seen the curse of the gifted before. some of us were those kids in college. we learned the hard way that the bill always comes due - the scale of the problems always increases to a point where your native talent alone doesn't cut it any more. the smarter you are, the longer it takes to hit that crunch point - and the harder the adjustment when you finally do
  • don't end the week with nothing, i realized something which is fundamentally true of a lot of day jobs. nothing i did at the job mattered, in the long run. don't end the week with nothing. prefer to work on things you can show. prefer to work where people can see you. prefer to work on things you can own
  • why javascript is doomed, yet, at the same time so many developers get up in the morning and write javascript code. why do they do it, unless they think javascript really is awesome? it's because all the stuff around javascript and built with javascript and on top of javascript is actually pretty awesome
  • how religion destroys programmers, i have an amazing gift to always make the very best technology choice. when i look back at my development career, it seems to me that every programming language i was using at any given time was clearly the best one. the problem with this self-imposed religion is that our technological religion blinds us from the truth
  • make gifts for people, by john green
  • reason for payment, meaningless reasons for payments and money transfers

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My letters are about long-lasting, sustainable change that fundamentally amplify our human capabilities and raise our collective intelligence through generations. Would love to have you on board.