Time, Tesla, and Rainmakers

10/15 – What’s Next

This was originally published in my newsletter on 12/10

Hey there!

a quick update re: this newsletter

I’ve now been writing “What’s Next” for over a year, 52+ weeks in a row! Thanks so much for sticking around. I’m playing with a new design (and publishing platform). Let me know what you think…hopefully things keep evolving and getting better from here.

Lots of interesting content below, enjoy!

Articles to Read.

The Shortness of Time

“A man who dares to waste an hour of time has not discovered the value of his life.” – Darwin

If we see someone throwing money away, we call that person crazy. This bothers us, in part, because money has value. Wasting it seems nuts. And yet we see others—and ourselves—throw away something far more valuable every day: Time.

Unlike the predictable reaction we have to someone throwing away money (they’re crazy), we fail to think of the person who wastes time as crazy. And yet time is a truly finite, expendable resource: The amount we get is uncertain but surely limited. It’s even more insane to waste than money — we can’t make any more when it runs out!

Mental Models

This is a list of dozens of mental models you can experiment with.

The Worst Day Of My Life Is Now New York’s Hottest Tourist Attraction

Nearly 13 years after my sister’s death, a reluctant Sunday visit to the 9/11 Memorial Museum, where public spectacle and private grief have a permanent home together.

The Recovery Threw the Middle-Class Dream Under a Benz

When the bubble burst, the bedrock investment for many families was wiped out by a combination of falling home values and too much debt. A decade after this debacle, the typical middle-class family’s net worth is still more than $40,000 below where it was in 2007, according to the Federal Reserve. The damage done to the middle-class psyche is impossible to price, of course, but no one doubts that it was vast.

Everything You Know About State Education Rankings Is Wrong

We fixed two serious problems common to traditional rankings. First, we removed factors that do not measure K–12 student performance or teaching effectiveness, such as spending per student (intentions to raise performance are not the same as raising performance), graduation rates (which often indicate nothing about learning, since 38 states do not have graduation proficiency exams), and pre-K enrollment.

Our second and more important change was to disaggregate student performance data so that we could compare likes with likes. Traditional rankings effectively reward states for not having many minority students. States do well simply because they are populated by families from more socioeconomically successful ethnic categories—not because they are actually doing a good job educating their various categories of students.

Automating the Wall Street Rainmaker

Wall Street pours billions of dollars into technology every year, looking for ways to replace many of its money managers, research analysts, and traders with machines. But there’s one job that few believe can be automated—that of the investment banker. Investment bankers weave together complicated mergers and acquisitions, pitch initial public offerings to investors, and serve as confidants and counselors to chief executives. They’re also rainmakers, cultivating relationships that bring in business.

Wall Street executives have said they don’t believe their rainmakers can be replaced by algorithms because of the importance of negotiation, judgment, and relationship building. “There are still going to be people getting on airplanes, going to meet with boards and clients,” says Brian Healy, chief operating officer of Morgan Stanley’s investment bank. “That’s what we do.”

Tesla, Software, and Disruption

First, it does have to learn the ‘old’ things – it has to learn how to make cars at scale with the efficiency and quality that the existing car industry takes for granted, preferably not in a tent, and preferably without running out of cash on the way. But, solving ‘production hell’ is just a condition of entry – it’s not victory. If it can only do this, it’s just another car company, and that’s not what has anyone excited. It’s what the cars are that matters.

More to Check Out: 
– Healthy mice from same-sex parents have their own pups
– Apple’s Third Act
– the Community Keeping Obsolete Supercomputers Alive
– Over 80,000 Americans Died of Flu Last Winter
– Apple’s Supplier List


  • Thanks to Nathan Bashaw – a friend who works at Substack (this newsletter platform!) for helping build an awesome product.
  • My friend Vince who is working on Nabis went on the YC podcast to talk about navigating the cannabis industry.

My Update.

  • In Chicago this weekend! My second time in the city.
  • 2000+ of you have signed up for this newsletter over the years…thanks so much for sticking around and please do let me know if there is anything I can do to be uniquely valuable for you.
  • I have been tweeting a lot more lately…
  • Held another dinner this past week, was awesome and still plan to do more!