Okay so I have been doing a bunch of reading, listening, watching videos, etc. And even taking notes! But then I don’t end up actually posting anything. Back to basics:
- Post here first: I can sort of always write. I can’t always record audio. I can’t always edit video. And writing is foundational to those other things. And I can post writing here.
- Start in the editor: If I write notes then I sort of mix writing for public consumption or private thoughts and then if I want to use them for something I’m posting somewhere then I need to translate it in some way.
I should probably post to Twitter by default instead so that I can work out crisper writing and have some skin in the game and a chance that people will see it. But for whatever reason that’s gotten into my head as a heavier lift than writing paragraphs here.
So I’ll write here.
Onto the actual info diet.
“Dune” by Frank Herbert (book) — A couple hundred pages left here but I’m enjoying it a lot. I talked to a friend about it who is reading it before watching the movie. I’m realizing watching the movie first really helps with some of the things that might be confusing in the book. The houses and all that. In any case, of course everything you read goes through your current lenses. Currently I’ve been thinking a lot about web3/NFTs etc and read The Sovereign Individual this year as well. How does Dune fit into all that? Information flow, religion, culture.
“Idleness, no more,” he said. “Don’t try to divert my attention by trying to make a simple matter appear mysterious.”
It’s December, so there’s definitely some mix of reflection of this year and looking forward to the new year.
You might be setting health/fitness goals for next year. Oftentimes there are simple changes to make but we can be pulled toward things that appear mysterious. Fad diets have mysterious names. (P.S. I’m not saying all fad diets bad!) “Intermittent fasting” creates the right type of curiosity. If it were called “The skip breakfast diet” then it brings on too many immediate objections for some people to get past. But intermittent sounds scientific enough to make you think it’s not just someone telling you to starve yourself.
Phrasing matters. Control of information matters. Dune shows how this plays out on a distant planet.
(Or: ARE SANDWORMS ON KETO???)
“To Pixar and Beyond” by Lawrence Levy (audiobook) — Levy was Pixar’s CFO for over a decade. Interesting look at a creative company from a financial perspective. Again, I’ve been following some web3 things this year and one of the interesting threads is seeing the mix of finance and digital art. Releasing a web3 art project can also mean you’re creating a mini economy or joining a mini economy. It’s evolving fast in that new world.
Pixar is an example of this working really well in the traditional world. At a certain point, Pixar was the majority of Steve Jobs’s net worth. Levy fought for Pixar’s creative control when Disney had leverage built over decades.
“The problem with success, even a little success, is that it changes you. You are no longer walking along the same precipice that drove you to do great work in the first place. Now you have something to defend: a reputation, money in the bank, a brand, real customer expectations. Success can take the edge away.”
Pixar had an incredible run. Marvel had an incredible run. Star Wars had an incredible run. Disney has an incredible run going.
I’m writing this the day after UFC 269, when Amanda Nunes’s streak came to an end against Julianna Pena. Nunes had 12 straight wins coming in.
- Toy Story
- A Bug’s Life
- Toy Story 2
- Monsters, Inc.
- Finding Nemo
- The Incredibles
- Toy Story 3
- Cars 2
Pixar had 11 straight wins before Cars 2.
Whether you’re known for hitting or known for hits, that’s a whole lot of success to navigate through.
“Snow Crash” by Neal Stephenson (audiobook) — I’ve been re-listening to this in a weird way. I just put it on to sleep and put a 30-minute sleep timer. So I’m listening to 30-minute chunks but listening to some range between 3 to 30 minutes (if I can’t fall asleep) at a time.
This is a terrible way to read a book. But fine for a fiction re-read to experience different scenes again.
And in Flatland, when you need a tool, you just sit down and write it. So Hiro starts by writing a few simple programs that enable him to manipulate the contents of the scroll without ever seeing it.
Text is resilient. Similar to Dune, Snow Crash involves language and how languages affect information transfer. Some languages can spread ideas faster than others.
2021 showed the power of memes on a global scale. Memes are more than text over images—but that specific meme format is one of the most viral forms of information today.
(And now I’m guessing Mike Shinoda named his NFT project “Ziggurats” with some connection to themes in Snow Crash—Sumerians building ziggurats, The Tower of Babel, etc…)