Yesterday morning, instead of going straight to the office, I grabbed my camera and took photos of the skygazers around SoMa. If you were trying to see the eclipse at 2nd street and Folsom, there’s a good chance I have a photo of you craning. More...

Half-Baked: Index Investing and Divesting

A while back, I started thinking about putting some savings in a broad-based index fund, and I compared various brokerage providers. I was surprised to learn about one of Wealthfront’s features, which other players did not offer: direct indexing. Continue reading...

Outside Lands, again (again)

Outside Lands, again (again)

Outside Lands has become one of those San Francisco events that I look forward to all year for the opportunity to take portraits. Thousands of happy people pour into Golden Gate park for a weekend of music and fun. It is kind of crazy that this is my fourth time there.

Somehow, I took 1300 photos over the weekend, so curating and editing them was an impossible task. If you know I took your photo, and you can’t see it here, reach out and I’ll send you a copy.

You might have seen my 2015 and 2016 sets already, but if not, I definitely recommend it after you’re done with these! More...

Links - August 10, 2017

  • The End of Typing: The Next Billion Mobile Users Will Rely on Video and Voice
    Eric Bellman - The Wall Street Journal

    My experience of technology, and that of most readers of this blog, is one predicated on high speed access, tens, if not hundreds of gigabytes of storage, and last generation processors paired with large amounts of memory. How does the internet work when “fast” means you’re streaming over 2G? What do your apps store when the drive on your phone holds only a couple of gigs? How do you find content your when you’re illiterate? This article doesn’t try (and can’t!) answer these questions, but provides data and anecdotes of why they are questions worth asking.

  • Our Broken Economy, in One Simple Chart
    David Leonhardt - The New York Times

    That’s trickle down economics for you. Not only is the US economy growing at a slower rate, but it is also growing extremely unequally. Intuitively, these curves should have negative slopes - it is much easier to find an opportunity to grow $100 into $102 than to turn $1M into $1.02M - so what changed in this complex system that lead us to the current state? Rules over wealth and wages are diverging more and more.

  • The Fallacy of Biological Determinism
    Albert Wenger - Continuations

    I have tried to avoid the discussion about the Google memo from last week, so I have read very few articles (and sadly way too many tweets) on the topic. I know I disagree with the author, and reading N think pieces won’t change that, so I’ve tried to shut it off. However, I read almost every post on Continuations, and Albert’s take seems like a sober response: we have overcome economic, historical and technological determinism, so it seems logical that even if the biological determinism implied by Damore (the memo’s author) were real, we could overcome them with… wait for it… technology!

  • GAFA's org structures as a platform for growth
    Benedict Evans

    Organizational behavior is insane. Moving thousands of people towards a common goal is hard, and I hadn’t thought about how insane this 10x personnel increase that Evans brings up is. You should listen to the related podcast, and if you haven’t read Sinofsky’s Functional versus Unit Organizations, you should probably do that first.

  • Modern American elites have come to favour inconspicuous consumption
    The Economist

    This article argues that “modern American elites recoiled from accumulating mere goods now that globalisation has made them affordable to the middle class” and are instead now spending their money inconspicously - buying experiences, and high social value items instead. I don’t know if I buy the argument, but I guess I’ll have to read the book. I have also been meaning to read Veblen for a while, but that’s a bit denser.

  • Fewer Immigrants Mean More Jobs? Not So, Economists Say
    Binyamin Appelbaum - The New York Times

    Usually I am biased when talking about economics, but this argument wouldn’t help me anyway. Letting low skill workers come in help the US, too, as they generate business and grow the pie for everyone else. It’s not a zero sum game.

  • English language and American solipsism
    Branko Milanovic - globalinequality

    Is it good for your country that everyone else speaks your language, and that the majority of the population can virtually ignore what’s going on outside its borders? I’ve always argued that it is not. Branko agrees with me. The average American is isolated in their culture. Relatedly, if they can’t find things on maps, they’re less likely to want to use diplomacy as a solution. That’s bad.

  • The Eddie Murphy Rule (Podcast)
    Planet Money

    Among other things, this made me think of the opening chapter of Flash Boys, and how the crazy floors of stock and commodity exchanges are not what they used to be. Now I want to go watch Trading Places. (Also, Roman Mars on Planet Money? More of that, please.)

  • The Stethoscope (Podcast)
    99% Invisible

    Speaking of Roman Mars… I think this episode represents well what I like so much about his podcast. A mix between a history class (who invented the Stethoscope?), a design review (how can you improve upon the original rolled up notebook?), modern culture (why do doctors wear their stethoscopes around their shoulders?), and a bunch of interesting interviews. Worth the 20 minutes.

  • City maps from tourists’ feelings
    Beñat Arregi

    Using Airbnb ratings to visualize a visitor’s experience of a city is an interesting idea. Understanding neighborhoods, and social problems (just look at the Tenderloin in the SF visualization!)

Half-Baked: Streaming and Public Commons

Last time I went to the library to pick up a book, I noticed a man next to me getting a stack of DVDs. Given the context, my assumption was that this guy probably doesn’t pay for a streaming service, and that he probably couldn’t afford it, either. People like him, rely on the library to get entertainment and education. This encounter made me think about how technology affects libraries and other public commons. Continue reading...

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