What I'm Reading...

The Touchstone of Friendship

The dynamic of friendship is almost always underestimated as a constant force in human life: a diminishing circle of friends is the first terrible diagnostic of a life in deep trouble: of overwork, of too much emphasis on a professional identity, of forgetting who will be there when our armored personalities run into the inevitable natural disasters and vulnerabilities found in even the most average existence. (…)

But no matter the medicinal virtues of being a true friend or sustaining a long close relationship with another, the ultimate touchstone of friendship is not improvement, neither of the other nor of the self; the ultimate touchstone is witness, the privilege of having been seen by someone and the equal privilege of being granted the sight of the essence of another, to have walked with them and to have believed in them, and sometimes just to have accompanied them for however brief a span, on a journey impossible to accomplish alone. – David Whyte

(From Tim Ferriss’ 5-Bullet Friday newsletter.)

How to cultivate genius

Paul Graham writing about great work and genius in The Bus Ticket Theory of Genius:

(…) the most exciting implication of the bus ticket theory is that it suggests ways to encourage great work. If the recipe for genius is simply natural ability plus hard work, all we can do is hope we have a lot of ability, and work as hard as we can. But if interest is a critical ingredient in genius, we may be able, by cultivating interest, to cultivate genius.

As most things Paul Graham writes, it’s worth reading the whole article.

genius great-work growth-mindset learning

Did Microsoft come back from death?

I was reading an old article by Y Combinator’s founder Paul Graham titled Microsoft is Dead, written in 2007.

His point was that in 2007, nobody –meaning nobody in the startup scene, or nobody who cared about computers– was scared by Microsoft anymore. Microsoft was effectively dead.

It’s been five years since the dark wizard was thrown of the company. I wonder if we can already say that Microsoft is coming back from death.


Don’t follow the herd

From James Clear’s 3-2-1 newsletter:

If you want to be in the top 1% of a particular domain, then you can’t take your cues from and follow the social norms of 99% of people. This is harder than it sounds. We are wired to imitate. The further you want to climb, the more carefully you need to construct your tribe.

outstanding-work top-performers

WeWork is postponing its IPO

Four reasons why, according to The Economist’s article Why WeWork doesn’t work yet - Daily chart, investors are unsure about WeWork’s parent company IPO:

  1. Lack of Profits.
  2. Recesion: $47B in lease payments but only $4b in committed future revenues from customers. How would the company face a recession?
  3. Corporate governance: WeWork will issue multiples classes of shares that give its founder, Adam Neumann, control with a minority stake.
  4. Company valuation: initially valued at $47 Billion, now the company is considering a more modest $15 Billion valuation.

Lack of profits is usually acceptable for tech companies that are burning cash in customer acquisition. But WeWork is not a tech company. Tech companies have, among other things, very low marginal costs for each new customer acquired.

business-models coworking wework