Every Friday I highlight the most interesting or entertaining items from my media diet of the past week.
- 2020 Bundles (stratechery.com): Death and taxes may be a constant, but bundling (and unbundling) is never far behind. Ben Thompson looks at several bundles and their strategic dimensions.
- Build Personal Moats (substack.com): “A personal moat is a set of unique and accumulating competitive advantages in the context of your career.”
- The Cheating Scandal that Ripped the Poker World Apart (wired.com): A middling player goes on an inexplicable winning streak in a series of live-streaming tournaments.
- He Spent Years Forging Ties with the Amazon’s Most Isolated Tribes. Then He Realized His Mistake (haaretz.com): Note: article contains NSFW images of the National Geographic variety (e.g. naked indigenous people). Fascinating observations from ethnographer Sidney Possuelo and his first contact experiences with numerous Amazon tribes.
- Forget the Stock Market. The Rare-Plant Market Has Gone Bonkers (wsj.com): Drop into my “there really is a market for everything” folder.
- How Marketers Convinced America to Eat Fish Sticks (hustle.co): A testament to the creativity and innovation of capitalism (even if the present product popularity appears marginal).
- Life and Breath (aeon.co): The fascinating history behind respiratory ventilators from Galen, to Vesalius, to the iron lung and into the present day.
- The Possibility of Life Without Money (currentaffairs.org): Thought provoking piece that explores cashless and free-at-point-of-use transactions. Note that the author, Nathan J. Robinson, is an ardent socialist (I am not, but I do appreciate opposing viewpoints).
- Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (rollingstone.com): Rolling Stone pumps out a new list every few years and—like a moth to a flame—I always end up reading the damn thing.
- Seeing Like an Algorithm (eugenewei.com): Eugene Wei explores the intriguing idea of algorithm-friendly design by analyzing the TikTok UI. His articles are always fascinating and idea-rich.
- The Supply of Disinformation Will Soon Be Infinite (theatlantic): GPT-3, state-sponsored media manipulation, fake personas, fake institutions, automation. Yikes.
- Toward a Technological Cage for the Masses (cheapskatesguide.com): “When all software runs on cloud servers, companies, not owners of personal computers, will control what is available on their computers.”
- Transracial Adoption: “I’ve Been Accused of Kidnapping My White Child” (bbc.com): Touching story of a Ugandan man who adopts two white boys in the USA.
- Vikings in America (aeon.co): How far into the Americas did the Vikings travel? Some entertaining speculation amid insufficient evidence.
- What Is Math? (smithsonianmag.com): “A teenager asked that age-old question on TikTok, creating a viral backlash, and then, a thoughtful scientific debate.”
- Why Bryson DeChambeau Wins (perell.com): You don’t have to be interested in golf to appreciate this story (I’m no fan of golf). The “mad scientist of golf” bucks conventional wisdom and employs scientific thinking and experimentation in his quest to be the best.
- How I Built This: Guy Raz (npr.org): Special episode in which the tables are turned: host Guy Raz, chronicler of informative entrepreneurial stories, is interviewed about his career.
- Making Sense: The New Religion of Anti-Racism (samharris.org): Guest John McWhorter talks with Sam Harris about race and racism in America.
- On Point: What a TikTok Deal Means for the Global Internet (wbur.org): Explores the political, financial, and national security issues behind the battle to control TikTok.
- Reply All: Country of Liars (gimletmedia.com): An investigation into the origins of QAnon.
- Visibility Bias (productivityist.com): Conversation about social media overwhelm and digital minimalism.