Hello world and welcome! Before I get into the core content, a bit of background on this newsletter:
A few months back I began to feel a sense of isolation among remote friends, family, and peers. I had started a new job a few months before and quickly realized the difficulties in staying in touch with those close to me. The process of finding and setting time to chat, making the call, getting beyond the basics of ‘how’s life’, and finding conversation pieces that were of mutual interest began to overwhelm me. The majority of the social sites we use today capture a sense of those updates that I am so interested in, yet have transformed into a canvas for boasting about accomplishments and progressions rather than personal feelings on life and opinion. I believe we deserve a place to share more freely with those we care about, and allow for conversations that stem from common interests or even differences in thought.
I began to spend more time thinking about a platform that would support this type of interaction, and the core use cases for different parties. The idea and problem continue to weigh on me, and while I work on determining the solution space, I figured that I would go forward with my own solution for myself - a personal weekly newsletter. When I first began to realize the problem, I was also finding my routine and following some other newsletters with relevant content (including Tim Ferriss’ 5-Bullet Friday). His newsletter inspired me, both due to its simplicity and accessibility. Rather than summing up news and reports that could be found anywhere, he dove into his own life - quotes he’s been pondering, people he is interested in, conversations he’s had - all coming from the last week. I am a fairly curious guy and am always looking into new things, from software products to random articles. I thought the best way to share this would be through weekly newsletters, which I plan to keep concise and targeted. They will simply recap a few tidbits of my life from the last week, whether that be a new recipe I tried or a new concept I found.
My inspiration for this newsletter is twofold - in addition to providing (hopefully) some interesting content to those close to me, it will also push me to continue exploring, as well as getting me back into writing.Finally, for the title: I came up with this on a whim because I wanted to rhyme. Yet the goal is to keep these updates short. I will be posting links to external content which will take more time to read/watch/learn about, but my updates should take no more than 3 minutes to skim. If you have any recommendations for name changes do let me know! My mantra for the last few months has been to 'share more truth’. I feel that the majority of the content online doesn’t contain genuine authenticity or capture the menial parts of our day-to-day. I hope that you enjoy the pieces of my life as much as I do! Without further ado, my bullets from this past week:
What I’m Reading
Second In Command: The Misunderstood Role of the Chief Operating Officer. I’d heard many amazing things about Sheryl Sandberg and her work as COO of Facebook, but it wasn’t until this article that I could put some more context to her role and relation to the company/Zuck. Great article that breaks down the many parts of a successful COO.
Second in Command: The Misunderstood Role of the Chief Operating Officer
Asking the question, “What makes a great COO?” is akin to asking “What makes a great candidate for U.S. vice president?” It all depends on the first name on the ticket—the CEO. New research sheds light on this most contingent, and most mysterious, of C-suite jobs. After in-depth conversations with dozens of executives who have held the position and with CEOs who have worked with COOs, the authors have concluded that different views of the COO role arise from the different motives behind creating the position in the first place. There are seven basic reasons why companies decide to hire a COO: to implement the CEO’s strategy; to lead a particular initiative, such as a turnaround; to mentor a young, inexperienced CEO; to complement the strengths or make up for the weaknesses of the CEO; to provide a partner to the CEO; to test out a possible successor; or to stave off the defection of a highly valuable executive, particularly to a rival. This tremendous variation implies that there is no standard set of great COO attributes, which makes finding suitable candidates difficult for companies and recruiters alike. Still, certain common success factors came up consistently in the interviews, the most important being building a high level of trust between CEO and COO. Trust comes from meeting obligations on both sides: The COO must truly support the CEO’s vision; keep ego in check; and exhibit strong execution, coaching, and coordination skills. The CEO must communicate faithfully, grant real authority and decision rights, and not stymie the COO’s career. It’s surprising that COOs are not more common. They would be, the authors contend, if there were less confusion surrounding the role. As we continue to demystify that role, more companies will benefit from more effective leadership.
What I’m Watching
Interview with Sam Altman, a John Burroughs Alum and former president of YC combinator. He’s done some great things and has some insightful outlooks on life and what to pursue.
Sam Altman on Choosing Projects, Creating Value, and Finding Purpose
Sam Altman - https://twitter.com/sama - expands on ideas that have come up in several of his essays. Specifically: choosing projects, creating value, and finding purpose. Sam’s the president of YC Group - https://ycombinator.com/ - and co-chairman of OpenAI - https://openai.com/ The YC podcast is hosted by Craig Cannon - https://twitter.com/craigcannon *** Topics :55 – From The Days Are Long But The Decades Are Short – Minimize your own cognitive load from distracting things that don’t really matter. It’s hard to overstate how important this is, and how bad most people are at it. http://blog.samaltman.com/the-days-are-long-but-the-decades-are-short 3:20 – Stepping back and evaluating your work 5:00 – Creating metrics for your projects 6:00 – Taking a year off 9:00 – Figuring out when to commit 11:00 – Poker 12:00 – From Productivity – Sleep seems to be the most important physical factor in productivity for me. Exercise is probably the second most important physical factor. The third area is nutrition. http://blog.samaltman.com/productivity 14:30 – From You and Your Research by Richard Hamming – If what you are doing is not important, and if you don’t think it is going to lead to something important, why are you at Bell Labs working on it?’ http://blog.samaltman.com/you-and-your-research 16:00 – From The Days Are Long But The Decades Are Short – Things in life are rarely as risky as they seem. Most people are too risk-averse, and so most advice is biased too much towards conservative paths. http://blog.samaltman.com/the-days-are-long-but-the-decades-are-short 17:00 – Perspective shifts 19:45 – From Productivity – My system has three key pillars: “Make sure to get the important shit done”, “Don’t waste time on stupid shit”, and “make a lot of lists”. http://blog.samaltman.com/productivity 22:00 – What Happened to Innovation http://blog.samaltman.com/what-happened-to-innovation-1 24:20 – From You and Your Research by Richard Hamming – He who works with the door open gets all kinds of interruptions, but he also occasionally gets clues as to what the world is and what might be important. http://blog.samaltman.com/you-and-your-research 26:20 – The deferred life plan doesn’t work 31:20 – From The Merge – Our self-worth is so based on our intelligence that we believe it must be singular and not slightly higher than all the other animals on a continuum. Perhaps the AI will feel the same way and note that differences between us and bonobos are barely worth discussing. http://blog.samaltman.com/the-merge 33:40 – Weight training 35:00 – The Way to Love by Anthony de Mello https://www.amazon.com/Way-Love-Meditations-Anthony-Classics/dp/038524939X
What I’m Listening
Again, please let me know of any pieces that you would like to see or content that you would recommend I look into and potentially share!