Alberto's weekly email: a few new things, 2020 reading list, and more! 🚀

Hi all,

I hope you all had a great start of the year!

I just came back from a long trip to Europe and India. I had a blast, many new experiences that I hope to share with you soon!

This year my goal is to be more focused on what I write in these emails.

First, my plan is to be more deliberate in choosing and curating what I put in front of my eyes. I will only read books that have been around for 10+ years (the older the better as per the Lindy effect).

Second, I will change and expand the Nerd Corner section. This is the section that I enjoy writing the most. There's a lot of reading and researching involved in it. I will experiment between longer in-depth articles (which I'll publish on my blog) and shorter paragraphs detailing cool things I learned during the previous week. Also, I'm always open to suggestions about topics, so reply to this email with your ideas!

Lastly, the Also Interesting is being renamed to Cool Finds. My goal is to share the coolest things I find on the Internet over the week.

My hope is that you find this content engaging and that it spurs a few thoughts in your mind. So sit back and relax, and thanks for letting me be part of your journey. It's going to be a fantastic year!

PS: Don't forget to share these emails with your friends!

What I am reading 📚

The last book I read in 2019 was The Control Of Nature by John McPhee. Out of the three essays in the book, my favorite was the one about the efforts to control the debris sliding down from the San Gabriel Mountains outside of Los Angeles —it brought childhood memories of the time in 1999 when debris tragically slid down the mountains in La Guaira, in Venezuela.
I’ll share my book notes and summary next week.

This year I decided to compile a list of books to read during the next 12 months. Each book falls roughly into one theme I want to explore this year. The themes are:

  • Mastery and craftsmanship

  • Live better

  • Religion

  • Marketing

  • Science

See this blog post for the entire list.

If you’re interested in reading any of the books, reply to this email. If there’s enough interest we’ll try doing a remote book club!

Nerd Corner 🤓

AirPods, Apple’s in-earphones seem to be all the rage, at least in San Francisco. Up until recently, I was one of the few people roaming the city without wearing them 24/7.

I was happy with my Bose noise-canceling headphones and thought the AirPods were one of those cool but useless accessories until I was gifted a pair of the new AirPods Pro for my birthday.

Everything changed. I understand why everybody likes them and uses them all the time. The earphones are very comfortable, despite their size —the new Pro version has a bigger earpiece to block the sound better. I thought they would fall easily but after multiple rounds of testing (shaking my head like a crazy person), I can attest that they fit very tightly in your ears and will sit tight even if you use them for running and exercising.

Like most Apple products, both the Pro and the older AirPods are expensive. But this doesn’t seem to prevent people from buying them. In fact, according to some estimates, the AirPods are Apple’s fastest-growing segment with an annual revenue between $8 billion and $20 billion. The spread between the two numbers is big because Apple doesn’t release exact numbers so analysts have to do some guesswork. Even so, the numbers are crazy: at $8 billion AirPods make more money than Spotify or Twitter and, if their revenue is closer to $20 billion then AirPods bring in more money than companies like Adobe, Nvidia or Uber!

Cool Finds 🤯

Most news are irrelevant

When I tell friends and colleagues that I don’t read the news, I always get weird reactions. But the truth is that 99% of what appears in newspapers, social media and TV is complete noise. None of it matters. Most media outlets have a clear business objective: grab your attention so they can make money through ads and subscriptions. So they will do anything to keep you glued to a screen.

This is why I found this visualization very insightful. How many of the hot-topics of this list do you remember? How many are still relevant in 2020? Also, see their peaks, most of them have a single peak and then relevance fades out. A few stand out for me though:

  • 2020 US Election. If you live in the US this is what most people talk about these days. It gets boring but I understand the importance of the elections.

  • Venezuela: a very sad picture. News about my country peaked in early 2019 when Guaidó became the legal interim president but not much has happened since.

Deep Sea

We know more about outer space than we know about the depths of our oceans. This awesome interactive visualization of marine life tries to shed some light on what really goes on and who lives below the sea.

Space for Cars

The US is a car-centric country. Most cities are hard to navigate if you don’t drive a car. This becomes more evident when you realize that there are laws mandating that a minimum number of parking spaces be built when you build a new restaurant. This sounds logical and convenient until you see how much space is wasted in the process.

Before you go 😎

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Until next week,