First, I owe you all an apology. After 86 weekly editions, I went on a much-needed vacation to San Diego. For the first time in over 18 months, I spent a week without using my computer 🤯. I took the time to catch up on a lot of reading and clarify my ideas and goals for the remainder of the year and reorganize my priorities.
I also took the time to reflect on a year of writing a weekly Nerd Corner, and while I enjoyed every second of it, I also felt, well, cornered into a certain range of topics and ideas. That’s why I’ve decided to stop this newsletter altogether and pivot to something new, “The Permanent Beta Newsletter.”
Permanent Beta ∞
We’re all a work in progress, and our lives are governed by constant change. Permanent Beta is my favorite term to describe this process in a very nerdy way. The idea with this newsletter is to build from what I’ve learned writing Nerd Corner and give myself permission to write about topics I’m less familiar with but equally curious about.
What does this mean for you?
If you’ve been enjoying Nerd Corner and would like to receive Permanent Beta updates, then there’s nothing you need to do. Just keep an eye on your inbox and spam folders for the first edition, dropping at the end of next week!
If you don’t want to receive more updates, then you can unsubscribe from these emails or reply and let me know. I’d love it if you can give me some feedback so I can make the next iterations better!
And now we're in for one last round of Nerd corner 🤓!
I’ve been catching up on a lot of reading and revisiting books I’ve read:
"The Strangest Man: The Hidden Life of Paul Dirac, Mystic of the Atom" by Graham Farmelo:
Dry at times, the book nonetheless paints a comprehensive picture of Dirac's life from his childhood struggles in Bristol, UK, all the way to his retirement in Florida in his later years.
If you're interested in learning about how some of the most important discoveries in theoretical physics came to be, this book is worth the time. Dirac is aptly named one of the founding fathers of Quantum Mechanics, and history will remember him as one of the best scientists to have ever lived, up there with the likes of Newton and Einstein.
“Algorithms to live by” by Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths is a nice introduction to many Computer Science topics with fun applications in our daily lives.
Twitter Threads 🧵
Elon Musk makes decisions like Jeff Bezos. You know I'm fascinated with Jeff Bezos's mental frameworks, and this fantastic thread dives deep into some of the most useful mental models that decision-makers like Musk and Bezos use daily.
Red Bull is a weird and fascinating company. This thread breaks down RedBull's business model. It turns out that RB is not really a company that makes drinks. Instead, it is a marketing powerhouse that focuses on distribution and advertising and outsources everything else, including making the drinks themselves
People Are Using Red Dead Redemption 2 to Hold Conference Calls. I don't know how I didn't read about this earlier, but it highlights the wealth of unintended consequences and transformations that this pandemic catalyzed. Red Dead Redemption 2 is an awesome videogame, and people, tired of boring zoom calls, started using the game to hold conference calls!
Peter Attia published an excellent article on mRNA technology (the gene tech used in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines). It is short and worth your while. If you want to dig deeper into virology and vaccine development, you should check out this episode of his podcast as well.
Best from the Rest 🌎
Juggling as art and science. This old TED Talk will blow your mind. Michael Moschen is a world-famous juggler. In this video, he explains his experiments mixing music and juggling to create what he calls "visual music" The talk is also a masterclass on skill-building that reminds me of Josh Waitzkin's book "The Art Of Learning."
The Great Unbundling. This is Benedict Evans's latest presentation. It could've been under the COVID-19 heading since the pandemic accelerated the "unbundling" of most industries as they get eaten by the Internet.
Deliberately Uninformed, Relentlessly So [A Rant]. When it comes to writing on the Internet, Seth Godin is second to none. His blog is a treasure trove of productivity and marketing advice and funny rants and opinions about all sorts of things. This old post (from 2010) encapsulates a lot of my own thinking around watching television, the importance of reading books, and spending time digesting ideas and making them your own.