This Week I Learned #41

“Go to bed smarter than when you woke up”
— Charlie Munger


  • Wise: Learned about a news tool. A daily email newsletter called Morning Brew. It's free and I was a little skeptical but I've been on the market for a cheap and effective way to just get the facts on global events so I figured I'd try this one out. It may become one of my own stable newsletters now. Just until I get to the point of having positive cash flow so I can subscribe for a printed subscription for the Financial Times. If you're interested in checking it out here's my referral link. Apparently I need 50 referrals to get the mug. Would be cool if you folks can help me get the mug :). But in all seriousness, I actually find my morning emails quite valuable and gets me the core information I'd like to know. 


  • Wealthy: Ryan Williams, author of Influencer Economy at Google Talks. Great overview on becoming an influencer. 1) Influencers are not the '0 talent' mascots on Instagram that just look pretty in a photo. They only have vanity metrics like "followers" and/or "likes" but they can't really move the needle. 2) It ties well with creating a competitive advantage in an industry by targeting a niche. 3) Not something that is just for 'marketing' but for any successful business. There were some valuable insights on thinking about creating a community with your niche and using their feedback to build out a proof of concept. 4) Picking a platform but constantly piloting different ideas and pivoting with feedback is essential. 5) After you have your proof of concept you can start collaborating with other influencers. Link here  


  • Wise: For Canadians. Form-free travel throughout the Schengen area (26 EU countries) will be until 2021. After which you'll have to apply for some form where you register your visit to the EU and declare which country you will be entering from. It's a measure enforced to fight illegal immigration. Link here 


  • Wise: Google talk by Martin Atkins, cultural musician and entrepreneur, on the myth of efficiency in creative media. 1)"The Small Stuff + time = The Big Huge Stuff." Don't ask how to get 20K people into a stadium. Even Martin doesn't know how. Focus on making two friends today instead. Just do this over time. That's why efficiency doesn't matter. Because you can't get efficient in building trust. 2) Do stuff for your fans because no one cares about what is important to you. Link here


  • Wise? Just Funny Really: Tim Minchin's wonderful commencement speech. He's an Australian comedian who expresses controversial opinions in his stand-up. "Opinions are like assholes, everyone has one. Yet, unlike assholes, your opinions should be constantly and thoroughly examined." With that quote I'll leave it up to you to decide if you want more of his humour. I watched a few of his standups and I can resonate. Link here 


  • Healthy: Learned about the VW diesel scandal through the Netflix Dirty Money documentary series. Did not know Hitler played a material role in the company's growth in the 1930s by calling it the "People's Car" for the masses. VW ironically re-branded itself as the counterculture car with the Beetle and Box Van (aka hippie mobile) in the 60s/70s. Learned exhaust products from diesel (nitric oxide) mixed with the chemicals in the atmosphere is what creates smog and they are culprits for asthma and lung disease. A fraud that ties in the CEO and all senior management. It also reveals the involvement of other major German manufacturers and how they were all involved in creating defeat devices in their own cars. The shocking reality is that the German government allows these defeat devices to be installed in cars. If not the German government, other EU governments are willing to look the other way for the corporate entities to invest economic production in their country. The reality is that the EU has nitrogen dioxide levels that surpass the legal limit. Regardless of whether it's a green zone or not. With something like 6-7x the normal amount of nitrogen dioxide in the EU air than in America. Though now with the USA out of the Paris Accord (only 3 countries in the world are not part of this), it can get bad really quickly. VW had created about 11M cars with defeat devices installed in them and they continue to do so in the EU. The CEO has been charged for by the SEC just this week. Two years after the original incident. The CEO continues to deny this and blames it on a handful of software engineers in VW, though insiders in the documentary point to how strict processes would not have made this possible. 


  • Wise: Went on an interview spree to learn about Sam Altman, the former president of Y-Combinator.

    • 1) He sold his company at 26 and was in the first cohort of Y-combinator in 2005.

    • 2) After selling his company, Sam took a year off to explore and try everything and he believes this process is required to find ones purpose/path. Try a lot of things and then focus on what works. This is a tough process that requires the humility and awareness to be objective with what is working and what isn't. I'm in the wilderness so I'm biased to finding people who've gone through it themselves.

    • 3) He finds a mistake many people make is deferring their ultimate plan. Saying they’ll do "XYZ" now to eventually do "ABC" in the future instead of doing "ABC" now. Sam advises focusing on doing "ABC" now because most people who defer end up getting stuck on the main path and never end up realizing things.

    • 4) He also talks about focusing on simple systems to just get things done. No need to obsess over crazy systems. 


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