Weekly Update (21w08)

Job-switching, desk-moving, book-starting, and not-publishing!

Today’s been quite the week. No, wait, this week has been quite the week! That typo is fitting—it’s been a very long-feeling seven days of change and mental exhaustion.

Almost everything I do regularly has stopped or startedIn light of that, I apologize in advance if this update isn’t very well-written; my mind’s still recovering, and can’t quite focus the normal amount yet ☹️

I. Leaving half of my jobs (finally), and getting another one

For the last few weeks, I’ve been splitting my focus and labor too many ways:

  • For 20 hours per week, I’ve been programming for WEEKDAYS (a micro-schooling startup that graciously took a chance on me 11 months ago).

  • For another 30 or so, I’m with Synthesis, another education startup that’s focusing on making Ender’s Game a reality.

  • And for another few hours per week (off and on), I’ve been rebuilding a Tesla-related news aggregator site on a contract basis.

  • All that, on top of trying to publish something online every day!

Anyways, that all changed this week: I had my last day at WEEKDAYS, and finished polishing and deploying Tesla Today. That allows me to ramp up my effort on Synthesis (to the order of 50-60 hours), where I’m… not sure how much I’m allowed to share about what I’m doing, other than that happy numbers will soon be even happier!

Having so many things on my plate has been devastating to my productivity; when I work deeply on 3-4 things per day, having to get into focus on each of them, I’m able to manage the load… but only barely. And my brain gets completely shot—to the point where I can barely string together sentences at the end of the day. I’m glad it’s over.

While those obligations pass over the horizon in the rearview mirror, another one is coming up: Mattea and I will officially be organizing another community-living house with Edyfi (we’re in one in Utah right now, for those unaware) this upcoming summer! It’s going to be just south of San Francisco, in Daly City, one mile from a beach.

If you know any “curious,” “passionate,” or “purpose-driven” “young people” (~18-23) (basically, anyone like Mattea or me), please send them our way! This first house has been super male and tech-centric, a pattern we’re trying to avoid replicating, so amazing non-male-in-tech people are ideal (there’s already plenty of us 🙂).

II. Moving my desk downstairs, and getting a haircut

In celebration of my job changes, I decided to move my desk setup from the big room upstairs here at Edyfi (where it was an ungracious 20 feet from the ping-pong table) down to our bedroom.

(Actually, I just stopped being able to think one day, and this > scrolling.)

Shoving aside the king-size mattress (which has a really weird texture, it’s super hard then sinks down around you) opened up just enough space for a folding table and giant stack of books, so I’m happy! I also hung up some art I got online recently.

Astute observers may also notice that I got a haircut (from Mattea!), for the first time in many months. (I wasn’t trying out a new longer style—just lazy and too busy. It started getting in my eyes too much, though.) The short-hair look screams “bookish nerdy programmer” a bit too much for even me, though, so it’ll be a while until the next one.

III. Starting a lot of books

“Wow,” you probably asked. “What is in that giant stack of books?!”

Thanks for asking! I’ve been reading a lot more recently. Here’s what I started this week (to varying degrees of progress):

It’s crazy how much more, and richer, information I get from taking notes on actual books (versus scrolling Reddit or Twitter). I’m trying to do it a lot more—and post overviews and reviews on my YouTube channel when I finish them!

Here are the best tidbits I’ve come across by reading books this week:

  • The Hindu-Arabic numbering system (with 0, 10, 100, etc) was only invented in 500 AD!! The entire Roman Empire rose and fell without knowing about ZERO.

  • Theodore Roosevelt might have been the first person to die in an airplane crash, if things turned out a tad differently. Wouldn’t that have been quite on-brand?

  • A good quote about the power of boldness: “Audacity is often the only thing that separates two equally talented people and their job titles.”

  • Another quote: “Frankenstein's terrible and ultimately fatal mistake was to carry out the act of creation first, and to think about the consequences afterwards.”

Most of these books were recommended to me by people who are getting this email; thanks a ton for pointing me in their direction. (And please, everyone, keep telling me your favorite books so that I can read and learn from them! So much wisdom here.)

IV. Publishing (or, not so much)

You may have noticed that this update didn't go out at noon PST this week. Oops!

Neither did two other things I was supposed to get out: an essay on Tuesday, and a video book review on Wednesday. (The difference? This eventually did come out, unlike those, because so many people are actively waiting on it.)

Basically, I’ve been playing with fire. As I wrote last week, I have a bad habit of pushing obligations like this to the last minute—Icarian procrastination, if you will. Of course, sometimes the sun comes too close; and when morning meetings are called impromptu or a programming projet runs late or I sleep way in, and haven’t prepared my content ahead of time—BAM! The schedule gets knocked off track.

Nevertheless, here are my statistics:

  • Twitter: 5.6k impressions (📉 5%), 31 likes (📉 30%), +5 followers to 89

  • Blog: 136 views on new posts (📈 4%), +7 emails [38%] to 25 (📈 17%)

  • YouTube: 11 views (📉 79%), 0.4 hours watched (📉 91%), +1 [4%] subscriber to 24 (📉 50%)

  • Podcast: 14 downloads