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What I learned last week

What I learned last week (#72)

Quote I enjoyed:

”The best test of a person’s intelligence is their capacity for making a summary”

Lytton Strachey

Book excerpt I was thinking about:

“Long-distance running suits my personality, though, and of all the habits I’ve acquired over my lifetime I’d have to say this one has been the most helpful, the most meaningful. Running without a break for more than two decades has also made me stronger, both physically and emotionally.” (Haruki Murakami and Philip Gabriel, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running)

How would you answer the question: what habit have you acquired during your lifetime that has been the most helpful, the most meaningful?


The system that actually worked:

A great peek behind the huge growth in internet usage during the pandemic.

The surge in traffic, on the internet as a whole and on AT&T’s part of the network, is extraordinary in a way that the phrase 20 percent increase doesn’t quite capture. AT&T’s network is carrying an extra 71 petabytes of data every day. How much is 71 petabytes? One comparison: Back at the end of 2014, AT&T’s total network traffic was 56 petabytes a day; in just a few weeks, AT&T has accommodated more new traffic every day than its total daily traffic six years ago. (During the pandemic, the AT&T network has been carrying about 426 petabytes a day—one petabyte is 1 million gigabytes.)

All kinds of digital communication usage is up as well:

On AT&T’s network, customers are spending 33 percent more time talking on their cellphones, and they’re sending 40 percent more text messages, compared with January and February. Twice during the pandemic customers set a record for text messages,—once in mid-March as it started to build, and again on Easter weekend, sending more than 23,000 in a single second, besting the old record of 15,000, set on New Year’s Eve.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/05/miracle-internet-not-breaking/611212


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What I learned last week

What I learned last week (#70)

Quote I enjoyed:

“Feelings are just visitors. Let them come and go.”

Mooji

Thoughts on running and marathons…and a lot more:

Ok, I love this subject of course, but this was truly a great read.

And so, in the spirit of experimentation, I decided to see if I could run fast marathons back to back. One of the great mysteries of running is the level of effort that breaks you. To a point, going harder makes you stronger, like blowing air into a tire that gets ever firmer. But there’s a limit, and when you cross it the tire pops. Your muscles collapse and your motivation falters. Each marathon made me feel like a rag doll. It could take months before I was ready to run hard again. But maybe, I thought, this year would be different. Perhaps there was air left in the tire for running the New York City Marathon just three weeks after Chicago.

To a point, going harder makes you stronger, like blowing air into a tire that gets ever firmer. But there’s a limit, and when you cross it the tire pops.

My two older boys had come to cheer me on in Chicago, but the youngest one, then 4, had stayed in New York. I had a feeling that I would never be this fast again, and I wanted him to see me running well too. Parents can never know for sure what will inspire their kids or scar them, and few people are better at seeing through our vanities and pretensions than our children. Still, at the very least, he would get a sense of this thing I do when I put on my running shoes.

https://www.wired.com/story/marathon-speed-tech-training-outrunning-my-past


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What I learned last week

What I learned last week (#69)

Quote I was thinking about:

“An amateur practices until they can play it correctly, a professional practices until they can’t play it incorrectly.” – Unknown


Creativity is not something you either have or don’t:

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What I learned last week

What I learned last week (#67)

Quote I loved:

Kindness is more important than wisdom, and the recognition of this is the beginning of wisdom.

Theodore Isaac Rubin

Tools and gear for the distributed:

Lots of good stuff (published by the company I work for) from folks that have been working in a fully-distributed fashion for years.

Also very-related and useful is this summary for headsets and advice for online meetings.

One heterodox recommendation I have for audio and video calls when you’re working in a distributed fashion is not to mute, if you can help it. When you’re speaking to a muted room, it’s eerie and unnatural — you feel alone even if you can see other people’s faces.


Approaching your computer time (or phone time) intentionally:

A good reminder, because this topic always needs reminding.

Ultimately this is about you. You need to approach your computer, and other devices, as a tool for accomplishing a specific job, then be intentional about using it for that job. It’s a skill, and learning it takes time.

https://zapier.com/blog/use-your-computer-like-a-tool


Still enjoying making mini-zines:

What if aliens visited in the midst of coronavirus?


A book excerpt i enjoyed:

“Work hard, work passionately, but apply your most precious asset-time-to what is most meaningful to you. What are you willing to do for the rest of your life? does not mean, literally, what will you do for the rest of your life? That question would be absurd, given the inevitability of change. No, what the question really asks is, if your life were to end suddenly and unexpectedly tomorrow, would you be able to say you’ve been doing what you truly care about today? What would you be willing to do for the rest of your life? What would it take to do it right now?” (Randy Komisar, The Monk and the Riddle)


Some words of wisdom to ponder:

From a recent Recomendo newsletter, these have stuck with me.

  • “If all you did was just looked for things to appreciate, you would live a joyously spectacular life.” ― Esther Abraham Hicks
  • “Let go or be dragged.” — Zen Proverb
  • “Be messy and complicated and afraid and show up anyways.” — Glennon Doyle Melton
  • “”No.” is a complete sentence.“ — Unknown

https://www.getrevue.co/profile/Recomendo


What I’m grateful for:

  • Sam’s updates on the last hours’ activities when I come out of the office to grab a coffee or snack. “Daddy, we just saw a poisonous caterpillar outside!”
  • The early spring weather. Still cold but the long days and warm sun are a godsend at this point.
  • My afternoon walks and adventures with the kids. We literally spent an hour playing on hills of rocks in the back of the farm where we live. It was our favorite activity last week.

Lastly, check out what we’re up to now.

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What I learned last week

What I learned last week (#66)

Favorite quote:

To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children . . . to leave the world a bit better . . . to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived; this is to have succeeded.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

You can still succeed now, maybe more so.


Cool videos to share with your kids:

I mean, just look at some of these:

Tilly the golden eagle flies above the Scottish highlands: https://thekidshouldseethis.com/post/tilly-the-golden-eagle-soars-above-the-scottish-highlands

Hummingbird frenzy: https://thekidshouldseethis.com/post/hummingbird-frenzy

Science experiments to do with kids: https://thekidshouldseethis.com/post/ten-easy-home-science-experiments-kids

Using YouTube as a platform for serving video but collecting it in a way that’s fun and better than using YouTube.


My favorite new for me sites/resources on the pandemic:

The Corona Virus explained:

Our World in Data, a brilliant site for interesting facts:

https://ourworldindata.org

(the Coronavirus page I find particularly good: https://ourworldindata.org/coronavirus)


A blast from the past:

The origin of the name SEGA and other surprises in this strange-but-cool commemoration to 60 years of SEGA. I was such a huge fan of the Sega Genesis and SEGA ruled the arcades as well (another thing I was a huge fan of).

https://60th.sega.com/en


Music to revisit:

Lots of good new music out now (hi Caribou, Jay Electronica) but the Radiohead Public Library made me go back and revisit their discography.

https://www.radiohead.com/library


Writing process that I was thinking about:

This is what I do for everything I post:

Write all of my thoughts on a subject.

Argue against those ideas.

Explore different angles until I’m sick of it.

Leave it for a few days or years, then repeat those steps.

Hate how messy these thoughts have become.

Reduce them to a tiny outline of the key points.

Post the outline. Trash the rest.

From Derek Sivers: https://sivers.org/7

(also be sure to check out How to ask your mentors for help: https://sivers.org/ment)


Everything is going to be ok:

Is it? That depends.


Lastly, check out what we’re up to now.