Nerd Corner #49

Fiction, innovation, and more!

Hi All!

I’ve been enjoying Florida sunshine so much that my writing and reading have gone slightly down. 

In case you missed it I recently wrote about “Laws of Software”.

And, I just published my summary of “Seeking Wisdom” by Peter Bevelin. It is by far the best book I’ve read this year and one that I was meaning to read for a long time. Bevelin manages to condense and simplify frameworks and mental models to improve our thinking like no other. If you are looking for new reading material just go and get a copy right now!


What I am reading 📚

My friend Karl Krispin has been encouraging me to read more fiction. 

As a kid, I used to devour novels and literature books but as of late I’ve always opted for more practical and actionable advice. This has served me well so far but reading has become boring at times, I read mostly to extract knowledge and new ideas. I seldom stop to enjoy and appreciate a well-written paragraph or quote—they are hard to find in most non-fiction books.

So, I’m making an effort to include more fiction during my readings. I’ve just started with Walker Percy’s “The Moviegoer” and will most likely follow up with “A Confederacy of Dunces” by John Kennedy Toole.

I’m curious, do you read mostly fiction or non-fiction, why? Just hit reply 🚀


Nerd Corner 🤓

Last week I talked about HEY (a new email client that’s been all the rage on tech Twitter). This app highlights the fact that even 50+ years after the first email and 16 years after Gmail first launched, there is still room for improvement if you focus on what the users want. Hey, for example, caters to a set of privacy-focused and email-obsessed users for whom—the once fantastic and always innovative—Gmail stopped working.

This, in turn, highlights a much bigger trend: in the early days of the Internet users wanted the cheapest option but now, increasingly, users are looking for the best of the best. Cheap or free is not enough anymore. 

Apps like HEY are a byproduct of this trend. And, as Will Schreiber points out, companies like Google “blew a 10-year lead”, they are set to lose enormously if they don’t keep innovating like they used to. 

Granted, they have a lot of money and resources, but also a lot of bureaucracy. Gmail used to be the king of email. But its last major update, Inbox, was killed—who knows why?—in 2019 Now, Gmail feels like a relic of the past. The new Hotmail. 

Email is not alone. As I’ve mentioned before I stopped using Google as my default search engine around a year ago. I’m a happy user of DuckDuckGo. I miss Google from time to time, but they don’t have the huge advantage they once had. 

We will see more and more startups and small companies take over segments that we thought were solved and owned by big-tech. As a user, I’m excited about what’s to come, and even though it won’t be cheap I know it will be much better than what we got used to.


Cool Finds 🤯

  • My younger self would’ve loved to have access to this online repository of paper airplanes design. Perhaps it’s a good time to start building them again. Some look quite difficult to make! 

  • Nature is always wonderful and surprising. In this video, you can watch the natural stabilization of an eagle’s head. I’m sure all the photo and videographers of the world feel envy at it!

  • This article by Scott Young popped on my mind as I was discussing with a dear friend about learning techniques. Young argues the best way to learn is by “doing the real thing”. Practice makes perfect. We should bring back the apprenticeship model of the Renaissance. 

  • This bonus link is for data nerds. It turns out that using Google to compare terms can be very helpful in building “ego graphs” and understand the relations and interconnectedness of concepts 🤓.


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Until next week, 

Alberto