Instead of asking yourself, “What should I do first?”

Try asking, “What should I neglect first?”

Trim, edit, cull. Make space for better performance.

an art piece by Sister Corita Kent that says 'Open Wide'

This is how our brains should be when it comes to learning and curiosity: open wide.

Never try to discourage thinking for you are sure to succeed.

Curious is our natural state. Uncurious is a learned behavior, typically inflicted by standardized systems.

RULE TWO: General duties of a student: Pull everything out of your teacher; pull everything out of your fellow students.

RULE THREE: General duties of a teacher: Pull everything out of your students.

RULE FOUR: Consider everything an experiment.

For me, curiosity isn’t just the end game. Learning isnt done solely for enjoyment. But because I enjoy sharing stuff I find interesting with others. A means of connection.

It's phenomenal, isn't it, that we teach kids so much stuff that is so unbelievably useless to them in the rest of their lives an we don't teach them anything that is actually kind of useful in terms of the psychology. So you think, well we know this stuff about resilience and relationships and happiness and all these important topics, and, yet, it's still a very fact based curriculum to do with geography and history and this sort of thing. There's all these life skills that, for the most part, we don't teach to kids.

Learning and teaching are not cause and effect. They are two sides of the same coin. One cannot happen without the other. And each individual involved in the knowledge transfer need to be doing both at once.

"You teach kids how to succeed when they successfully foil the educational system."

Ask a question. Seek an answer. Share what you find.

Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.

So, what are you curious about? And what can you teach others?

Sister Corita Kent's 10 Rules for Students and Teachers typewritten on a sheet of paper

Microsoft’s definition of disability feels like a helpful framing. (site, PDF)

As Doug Thomas sums it up:

Microsoft’s Inclusive Toolkit defines disability not as a personal health condition but as a mismatch between expected and actual human interactions.

A black and white graphic stating that disability does not equal personal health condition, disability equals mismatched human interaction

Collected Threads 070122

A dedication to optimism from Ian Bremmer:

To a glass half full. That first half was tasty.

What is a chapbook? According to Kirby from Knife Fork Book:

Poetry books used to be maybe, maybe 60 pages. Maybe, at the most, 80 pages. But a chapbook is anywhere up to 48 pages. Which I think is too long, I would still call that a full-length book.

A recent and unexpected curiosity about the internal structure of car tires led me to this diagram on the Continental site:

a stylized diagram highlighting the 9 layers of a car tire from the tread down to the bead core, steel wires that help keep the tire seated in the rim

My layer of interest?

  1. Steel cord belt plies. Strong steel cords provide the tire with rigidity in this layer, which:
  • Enhances shape retention and directional stability
  • Reduces rolling resistance
  • Increases your tire’s mileage performance.

One of the belts had snapped in my front driver’s side tire, adding a jaunty angle to the width of the tread. I knew tires were more complex than inner tubes, but I never realized how many structural layers there are. So now I know more about tires and my van no longer turns left on its own.

Who’s Left Holding the Bag?

The market is mixing signals like a middle school dance.

Housing prices and mortgage rates are up. Inventory and home sales are down. But the high end of the market seems unphased. Spec builds might decrease as builders race to catch up on fulfilling existing orders. Lumber and container prices are dropping. Along with the valuations of tech companies. And levels of VC funding. And capital in biotech. Digital prices didn’t move much. But inflation and gas prices did. Crypto skipped fall and went straight from summer to winter. Travel is exploding, both in volume and infrastructure stability. Extra income is down, but consumer spending might go up.

When markets or sectors are running hot, I always wonder who will be left holding the bag. I’m still waiting for that one hotel or apartment project in the local market here to realize they were the one that marked the overbuilt point. I’ve been waiting for years. CNN+ marked that point in the Great Unbundling Race a.k.a. The Streaming Wars. (Let The Great Rebundling begin!) Substack is playing this game with…itself?

Being left holding the bag isn’t always a bad thing though. In some markets that bag is full of money. Grocery delivery companies are scrambling to be the one that secures the bag. Social media platforms seem to take a misguided approach to this (believing they must all be TikTok now).

Everything is either in a phase of unbundling or rebundling (yeah, you’ll have to stretch those terms a ways to make them fit plenty of areas).

Hey, I thought this was a newsletter about marketing and (tenuously) marketing-related news?

It is.

How can you plan your marketing if you have no idea what the larger market and economy is doing? (Tesla started with a luxury sports car because that’s the market that could handle the prices required to manufacture an EV at that time. As scale could be reached, prices could drop, and vehicles with broader appeal (except Cyber Truck) could be launched.(I am not an Elon fanboy, but this is the best example I could think of off the top))

What makes everything so messy now is that the signals are all over the place and the causes are unprecedented. The housing market explosion wasn’t toxic like 2008 (I think, we really won’t know for a few years). It was driven by pandemic-induced lockdowns that had people spending more time in their homes than ever before and with very few other avenues to spend money. “I could really use a [insert: ‘home office’, ‘play room for the kids’, ‘bigger kitchen’, ‘actual kitchen’, ‘second / third bathroom’, etc.]. I know, I’ll buy a house that has one!” Wash, rinse, repeat. Thousands of times.

That same pandemic messed up supply chains like a kid kinking the hose to get you to look into the nozzle.

And then a war was started by a country that exports a lot of oil.

And then we collectively got to a point where we were over the pandemic and decided, at the population level, to do things outside our homes again. Like roleplaying as sardines and getting the hell out of where we are for literally anywhere else and calling it a vacation.

The money that turned the housing market into Shark Week didn’t disappear. It just went somewhere else. Substitute goods reappeared and people yelled “praise be the flying spaghetti monster.” And they went and spent their money.

So, in conclusion: the market is up. But also down. And people don’t have any money. But people are also spending money. Don’t panic. Yet. But understand what’s happening out there when you’re analyzing your marketing. Or business performance. Or personal budgeting. Etc, etc, etc.

You think about yourself / your business more than you think about the market (probably). Others think about the market more than they think about your business / you (unless they’re family, maybe).

Welcome to Hot Weird Summer.

_originally shared in [Rabbbits Weeekly](

Collected Threads 062522

The section on Trigger Events about halfway down this email has infused my work thinking lately. But it could also be useful on the personal end. What are your trigger events? How would understanding them impact your behavior?

Trigger events are events that trigger people to take action or buy products.

A writing triptych from Kleon, Kleon, & Sivers.

This piece from Stratechery is a look at how ATT works as a glimpse into how Apple thinks of privacy. And doubles as a handy primer on how to inerpret legal disclaimers in tech.

tracking is only when data Apple collects is linked with data from third parties for targeted advertising or measurement, or when data is shared/sold to data brokers. In other words, data that Apple collects and uses for advertising is, according to Apple, not tracking;

Bee a hero.
(I’ll see myself out…)

Some various threads I collected yesterday. Maybe some will be woven together into something else in the future, or maybe they will remain the detritus of intellectual woolgathering.

More from Seth (yes, I’m a fanboy):

A big supermarket in the right place in a city will create as much economic benefit as a stadium that costs hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars.

If you want even more on this topic, you can check out this Brookings article about the book:

No recent facility appears to have earned anything approaching a reasonable return on investment. No recent facility has been self-financing in terms of its impact on net tax revenues.

Some great advice on listening via You’re Not Listening: What You’re Missing and Why It Matters by Kate Murphy via Mark Frauenfelder. Such as:

Form questions as invitations, not challenges

Longfrom Editions is a cool record label that asks artists to create one longform piece of music. Here they discuss what led to this idea:

The tools are: these streaming services, these digital platforms, this internet based music that no longer has a packaging requirement. Ok, packaging requirement gone; that means no albums, no singles, no duration requirements. Let’s crack it open.

Douglas Murray (author and political commentator) on what makes agreement so hard (at least politically) right now, on the Lex Fridman Podcast:

Having different opinions is very last century. Now we all have different facts. Or at least the two sides have different facts.

And later on, on the topic of love, a better theory for the perceived promiscuity of gay men:

Gay men behave like men would if women were men.

Some various threads I collected yesterday. Maybe some will be woven together into something else in the future, or maybe they will remain the detritus of intellectual woolgathering.

Who eats first?
-Seth Godin on Status Roles

Adrian Quesada, of Black Pumas fame, sharing a sentiment I totally understand ( the MPC2000 is a music sampler that was pivotal to hip-hop):

Because of the sound of the drums of an MPC2000, that’s how I want drums to sound all the time. As much as I used to listen to Guns n' Roses when I was a kid, I don’t hear the drums like that. I hear the drums like Pete Rock… The drums, I want them to sound like a hip-hop drummer.

Wisdom from poet Ron Padgett’s How to Be Perfect:

Make eye contact with a tree.

Don’t expect your children to love you, so they can, if they want to.

Meditate on the spiritual. Then go a little further, if you feel like it.
What is out (in) there?

Contemplate everything’s opposite.

Keep your childish self alive.

In later life, become a mystic.

Want more poetry? Try these Selected Legends of Andre the Giant. Or this Poem.

Ido Portal’s Squat Challenge: spend 30 minutes a day in a full squat position. No weights. Not (necessarily) all at one time. Just hang out down there for a bit a few times a day.

We are in the midst of an epidemic of appearance anxiety (likely due to the visual obsession of our culture). Cosmetic surgery, and other cosmetic procedures, is on the rise. The British Association of Plastic Surgeons attributes this rise to reality shows (like Love Island and athleisure wear. “So you have your cosmetic surgery to get the body that looks good in the clothes that you wear to go to the gym.” via Clare Chambers on the Philosophy Bites podcast.

From The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch 📚:

“AN OLD Camorri proverb has it that the only constant in the soul of man is inconstancy;

Fancy a joke? And this interview with my new guitar obsession: Derek Bailey.

Some various threads I collected yesterday. Maybe some will be woven together into something else in the future, or maybe they will remain the detritus of intellectual woolgathering.

From Seth Godin’s recent return to The Moment podcast with Brian Koppleman: Using a gas powered leaf blower for one hour is the equivalent of driving a Chevy from New York to Cali.

Also from The Moment:

Urgent and important doesn’t necessarily mean immediate. If the world is going to end in 50 years, “that’s fucking urgent.”

More Seth knowledge:

We think the Earth is worth $10,000, 100 years from now. We would sell the total destruction of the entire planet 100 years from now, for $10,000 today.

From Nick Cave:

Jesus roamed the land expressing what were, at the time, considered dangerous and heretical ideas. He was literally the embodiment of the terrifying idea… These impossible, dangerous ideas – to love your enemy, to love the poor, to forgive others – were terrifying and unconscionable and forbidden in His day,

From stacy-marie ishmael:

There is so much to learn from being present.

There are so many ways to be absent. Sometimes loud, sometimes silent.

We’ll end with a bit of sci-fi from Marcelo Rinesi (spoiler alert):

It didn’t occur to you that the software may be working well until your locked gun fired itself at a mirror making a bullseye on your forehead’s reflection.

“What day is it?”

“It’s today,” squeaked Piglet

“My favorite day,” said Pooh

-A. A. Milne

(Reminded of this quote by a Boston Celtics blog, naturally)

Formulae of Genre

While talking about his hit song on the Song Exploder podcast (you know the one), Rick Astley* described many of the songs by his production team (the hottest pop house in the UK at the time) as “very, very two keyboards and a drum machine.”

Which made me think about hip hop: 2 turntables & a microphone.

And country: 3 chords & the truth.

And punk: 3 chords & a band (some might say: 3 chords & an attitude).

Which made me think about similar formulae for other genres.

Funk: the one & a groove.

Reggae: a bassline & a backbeat

Blues: 12 bars & a story.

Everything has a rule book or a way of being done, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make it your own.

Or this:

(Jazz is: tear it up and/or burn it down but keep it swingin'.)

*Yes, this might all just be an elaborate Rick Rolling

Unrelated, listening to this episode made me think of a song I love: She Drives Me Crazy by Fine Young Cannibals. I have a weird strain of 80’s nostalgia for someone who can only very tentatively say they’re an 80’s baby.

Why Do We Have Phillips Head Screws?

As a DIY Dabbler™ and a User of Power Tools™, I have interfaced with many a screw (the fastener kind, get your mind out of the gutter).

In most cases (at least until recently, I think) your options were usually flat head or phillips head. I do not have the patience for flat heads. So phillips head it has been (yeah, it’s probably supposed to be capitalized, but that seems like a lot of work).

Or, had been.

If you’ve used phillips head for more than the odd hanging of pictures or assembling of an IKEA (or maybe an IKEA assembly is all you need to experience this), you’ve inevitably had one strip out (or ‘cam out’ if you want to sound like you know what you’re doing (TIL etc etc)).

That is actually by design.

The Phillips drive came to prominence in the automotive world because they couldn’t be over-torqued. The head would ‘cam out’ before that happened. (As I learned at about the 3:35 mark in this episode of the Cool Tools podcast.)

Very useful for that purpose. Very not useful pretty much everywhere else.

If you’re looking for an alternative, try Torx. (Specifically, try GRK Fasteners as recommended by Jeff in that podcast episode. I will happily cosign the rec.)

What are mosquitoes for?

On planning:

The most reasonable plan is planning on your plan not going according to plan.

A Few Beliefs · Morgan Housel @ Collaborative Fund

This is what a black hole sounds like

Question I’m curious about:

Where is the money for all these increased salaries going to come from?

Inspired, in (small) part, by Microsoft

If you do client work, your deliverable might be a part of their deliverable. Whether that is to higher ups, clients, or customers.

So you can meet spec and do the job.


You can figure out how to make them look good and do that.

That Thing™️

Sometimes you just need to realize that you haven’t dug into That Thing™️ because you don’t really want to. There are other areas where you want to spend your time1 and/or effort more, and that’s ok2.

1You can “spend your time” in 1 of 2 ways: 1) by using your time in “real time” or 2) by using your money, which is basically a battery for time (storing previously spent time in a voucher that can be rapidly exchanged for something).

2It may help to determine where That Thing™️ falls in this hierarchy before you commit to the “that’s ok” path.

“What we need today more than anything else is to invest in beauty, because beauty is harmony which comes from chaos. But we invest in chaos, because chaos is much more profitable than peace... Beauty is a kind of safety vault for people.”

The beauty of, uh, beauty, is that there isn’t a universal. People can pursue their own beauty and enrich the world, this is called art.

Sometimes you find yourself wondering: what is the best type of bird seed?*

And sometimes you find yourself staring at a cardinal in your window mounted bird feeder, watching as its tail twitches up everytime it chirps, for a while.

*according to BirdNote, it’s black-oil sunflower seeds (the GOAT), white millet, and nyjer thistle. Avoid red milo.

“The woman was the subject, not the object”

It’s sad that this might still qualify as surrealism in some circles.

Super. Flower. Blood. Moon.

The recent super flower blood moon moon made me think about gardening. (Thanks Farmer’s Almanac!)

Austin Kleon has been writing about gardening lately (and, along with Recommendo, has me wanting to propagate plants).

And Anil Dash has me thinking about how the garden of the internet (after a period of intense monocropping) is starting to get weird and wonderful again. (And lots of artists love their gardens.)

And we have a window sill filled with seedlings and sprouts that I planted with my daughter.

So all of this reading and watering and marveling has me thinking about seeds, which makes me think about beans (which is a subset? I guess?). Which reminds me of this piece I wrote a while back (pre-pandemic, so forever ago) about beans as batteries. Which can be extrapolated to all seeds.

A seed is a life storage mechanism, a life battery. The battery is activated either through planting or ingesting (if safe (and properly prepared (I don’t want to get sued))). Seeds are created by the plants they create (and (maybe) by the beings they satiate). Seeds can be self-replicating batteries of life. That’s pretty cool!

Planting seeds and growing plants and tending gardens can help bring us in tune with life’s inherent beauty. Which can help us have a meaningful life. Which is pretty cool!<.

And all it, usually, takes is a little extra care. A little effort. A little attentiveness. A little slowwwing down.

All good things.

(And, yes, this can be read as a metaphor. I’m really struggling to not go full Charlie Day with this.).

And, thus, we come to the bottom of the rabbbit hole. Plant a seed. Eat a bean. Touch a plant. Add an extra dash of care. And breathe.

Are Beans the OG Battery?

I am very interested in what the next battery breakthrough will be. Our lives are increasingly powered by batteries and they are a natural companion for renewable energy sources. (Also a necessary companion if you think about times when renewables can’t generate.) Our current lithium-ion batteries are great; except they aren’t power dense enough, rely on rare resources, and the extraction of these resources helps fund some not-so-great political regimes.

The next class of uber-companies could come from the battery disruption space (mark off your buzzword bingo cards). Algorithms will allow for faster searches and iterations of novel compound combinations. Electric cars will provide power instead of just taking. And mines will be turned into power plant tunnels to the bowels of the earth. Maybe we’ll also learn how to mimic more natural systems and turn plants into literal power plants by tapping into photosynthesis. (I’m a big fan of algae as an industry.)

But this is all a rambling introduction to a much less world-changing question I had the other day: are beans the original battery?

They are nutrient dense, easy to transport, extremely shelf stable, and don’t take much effort or energy to transform into a consumable version of energy for another system.

Now, I wasn’t around in the dried bean discovery days (shocker, I know), but I imagine it was a transformative change in food storage technology. They’re basically edible rocks (And sometimes contain rocks so be careful). To my mind, the only other food storage medium that comes close in terms of shelf life and stability is canning, and that isn’t nearly as energy efficient and easy as beans appear to be.

Now we aren’t going to power the electric grid with beans. (I’m really just assuming here because who knows what some scientist is toiling away on somewhere in obscurity right now.) But could we discover a system or chemistry that allows for the “dehydration” of energy into a solid, stable form factor that can power the grid if you “just add (salt)water”?

Worst case scenario we all just eat more beans and take a load off the food supply system. They’re good for you anyway. (As schoolchildren everywhere know, heart healthy.)

First published this back in my short-lived (and maybe soon to be resurrected?) newsletter PLNT LYFE

Yeah, It’s About Basketball

I’m a Boston Celtics fan. And they just clinched one hell of a playoff series against the defending champ Milwaukee Bucks.

In today’s game the third year player they drafted 22nd overall, Grant Williams, led the team in scoring. And tied an NBA record for most threes made in a playoff game.

He was not known as a three point shooter before this season.

He’s 6’6” and built like a linebacker.

A lot of individual hard work put him in the position to do this tonight.

But individual effort doesn’t mean a whole lot in a team setting.

The team also played as a cohesive unit and superstar teammates helped put him in the position to do this.

Put in the hard work. Elevate yourself.

Play well with others. Elevate the team.

It’s not either / or if you want to make a difference. It’s both, and.

Add a little extra care. What could it hurt?