This Week I Learned #55

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


  • Learned about a way for non-coders like me to build apps/software. Enter: I'm not going to be building anything at the moment but I've had ideas and I've been pushing them aside because I didn't want to hire a development team but learned about this neat tool.


  • Learnings from reading stories in All Those Wonders by The Moth. An American-South Korean journalist went undercover into North Korea as a teacher. Apparently, Year 0 began with the birth of the first great leader of North Korea (Kim Il Sung). A part of me thought this was crazy but then again most of the world decided we would celebrate our Year 0 on the birth of Jesus Christ. At least I know one person actually lived and existed so which society is truly the crazy one? Maybe we all are. Regardless, apparently the students in North Korea do not learn about people being on the moon and computer science students do not know the existence of the internet. It can even be a crime to be listening to 'rock' music instead of listening to music that praises the supreme-ness of the Great Leader.


  • Learnings from reading stories in All Those Wonders by The Moth. From an agent in Churchill's secret army during WWII. She had to keep her involvement in secrecy for 60 years per some secrecy act and only after the year 2000 were they allowed to talk about it once the existence of such a program became public. By then, most of her colleagues had already died. She joined when she was 18 and most of her work involved training new agents by tricking them into divulging information to her. It seems the younger and more attractive female agents had these kinds of roles. Hence, her job and life was all about lying as no one in her life could know what she actually did. The survival rate of agents dropped off into German-occupied Europe was 50% for a single mission. Most were advised to use cyanide pills that would kill them within 2 minutes. Jewish agents also had a time limit of 6 weeks once entering German-occupied Europe. They had a max of 6 weeks before being captured or killed by the Gestapo.


  • I once heard someone comment that if we were to measure the length of news feed an average person would scroll on a daily basis it would be as tall as the Empire State Building. A part of me was surprised but it also made sense. One particular article pointed out it was about 96m (the height of Big Ben) while another calculated an approximation of 71-74 feet/day (the length of a trailer truck or the Megalodon shark). Either way, putting the length of daily scrolling in perspective is a great way to make you think twice about social media consumption.


  • Most of the world's banana export is the Cavendish banana. This is the typical banana we see in every supermarket. There are 100+ different kinds of bananas but with the Panama disease in the late 1900s killing a lot of bananas, companies chose to adopt the Cavendish because it was immune to the disease. With the combination of monoculture farming (just farming for one product), this has accelerated and increased the Cavendish banana's slice of the banana pie. But this means that if another Panama disease were to come out to kill these bananas, we could lose an entire food group since we've neglected all other banana production.


  • Almonds consume a lot of water. About 15 gallons of water are needed to produce 16 almonds. With the increased demand for almonds as a "healthy" food for all, 10% of USA's water is used for almond farming. This also means that almond farms have to be located in fertile wetlands that have aquifers. As these aquifers dry up at alarming speeds, we are now seeing land sinking in parts of California. Almond is one such problem but I bet the demand in avocado (another water intensive food) is also going to compound this problem.


  • I listen to the Reboot podcast quite frequently and being a big fan of the Co-founder, Jerry Colonna, I had previously reached out and had the pleasure to speak with one of the Reboot coaches, Jeff, in the past. It's a podcast I listen to get some perspective and realize that I'm not alone and crazy going through the emotional roller coaster I've been going through. Learned that Jerry's new book is actually available for sale now and I got to learn a little more about his story on the interview with Jason Calacanis.