What I learned last week (#108)

Learned last week: Countries by share of the surface, why rolexes are so expensive, venting a moldy shed, and more!

Quote I was thinking about:

“People do not seem to realize that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Six harsh truths that will make you a better person:

Fun read. I am watching Cobra Kai at the moment and I can just picture Jonny Lawrence writing this.

Don’t like the prospect of pouring all of that time into a skill? Well, I have good news and bad news. The good news is that the sheer act of practicing will help you come out of your shell — I got through years of tedious office work because I knew that I was learning a unique skill on the side. People quit because it takes too long to see results, because they can’t figure out that the process is the result.

Six harsh truths that will make you a better person


More DIY work and much more to come this year:

Why a Rolex is so expensive:

Mr. Hammond of Ingen would blush at the lengths Rolex goes to when building a single watch. The materials are very expensive. Rolex, for example, tends to use 904L steel which is leagues ahead of even most luxury market equivalents, which tend to use the cheaper 316L steel.

This 904L steel makes the watches harder, shinier, and also more expensive by default. Dials are often made of white gold and bezels tend to be ceramic. The numbers themselves are often made of sandblasted platinum, and the movements and bezel include real gemstones. These are all expensive materials in their own right.

Wow, that video. At about 4 minutes in you really get a sense for how tiny and delicate that stuff is to work with.

Ever Wondered Why a Rolex Is So Expensive?


Finished watching The Mandalorian and remembered how good Star Wars can be (with the right storyteller).

Thank you Scott for this video.


Visualizing countries by share of the Earth’s surface:

There are over 510 million square kilometers of area on the surface of Earth, but less than 30% of this is covered by land. The rest is water, in the form of vast oceans.

The largest countries by surface area are Russia (3.35%), Canada (1.96%), and China (1.88%).

Together they occupy roughly 7.2% of Earth’s surface. Russia is so big that even if we divided the country between its Asian and European sections, those new regions would still be the largest in their respective continents.

Visualizing Countries by Share of Earth’s Surface


Qualities of expertise:

Gaining expertise is difficult enough, but how can you tell if yourself (or someone else) has reached expert status?

One of the simpler ideas is to see how long someone has been in an industry (say, 10+ years) and give them the benefit of the doubt. Surprisingly, for programmers at least, **“programming experience gained in industry does not appear to have any effect whatsoever on quality and productivity.”**1 Ironically, what does increase with experience is the confidence in your incorrect decisions.

If you have the same one year of experience, ten years in a row, is that nine years of experience? Putting the time in is not necessarily effective. You need a strong feedback loop that allows you to hone your decision making and see what is effective, and an opportunity to vary and increase the difficulty and scope of your work.

Qualities of Expertise


Other things I was reminded of or thankful for last week:

  • Having a garden that is big enough for the kids to run around in, even if it is only 1 degree out and sloppy wet. The kids pretended to be track stars with me timing their sprints across the garden and “announcing” their entrance to the stadium as they came out from the shed after pretending to be in the “locker room”.
  • Proud of the three-bean chili that I made earlier this week.
  • My afternoon nap (they day after staying up late to finish The Mandalorian finally). Nothing can beat these.

Couple of drawings from the week:

Illustration of old wrinkly hands resting on top of each other.
Shared this one over at Five Figures
Abstract chalk art drawing.
Some abstract chaulk art from Sam.

Last but not least, check out what I’m up to now.

Comments welcome!