What’s Next — Bicycles, High School, Uncertainty

by Jordan Gonen | 1.15.2018

What’s Next — Bicycles, High School, Uncertaintyby Jordan Gonen | 1.15.2018

by Jordan Gonen | 1.15.2018

Hi there 👋 How are things going for you?

Hope you enjoy this week’s newsletter. Writing this from Barcelona! Articles to Read.

What You Will Wish You’d Known:

When I said I was speaking at a high school, my friends were curious. What will you say to high school students? So I asked them, what do you wish someone had told you in high school? Their answers were remarkably similar. So I’m going to tell you what we all wish someone had told us.

I’ll start by telling you something you don’t have to know in high school: what you want to do with your life. People are always asking you this, so you think you’re supposed to have an answer. But adults ask this mainly as a conversation starter. They want to know what sort of person you are, and this question is just to get you talking. They ask it the way you might poke a hermit crab in a tide pool, to see what it does.

If I were back in high school and someone asked about my plans, I’d say that my first priority was to learn what the options were. You don’t need to be in a rush to choose your life’s work. What you need to do is discover what you like. You have to work on stuff you like if you want to be good at what you do.

The Thrill of Uncertainty:

B.F. Skinner made a pigeon lose its mind.

Skinner, a Harvard psychologist, studied the science of incentives. He did this by giving thousands of animals different incentives to be rewarded with food. Sometimes the animal just had to hit a lever, and a food pellet popped out every time. Sometimes it had to learn a pattern — two lever taps, or a long tap, or a tap and a delay and another tap. Pigeons and rats are remarkably good at figuring this stuff out.

The Bicycle Program That Nearly Broke Mathematics:

Jim Papadopoulos has spent a lifetime pondering the maths of bikes in motion. Now his work has found fresh momentum.

Making Uncertain Decisions:

All decisions involve potential tradeoffs and opportunity costs. The question is, how can we make the best possible choices when the factors involved are often so complicated and confusing? How can we determine which statistics and metrics are worth paying attention to? How do we think about averages?

Expected value is one of the simplest tools you can use to think better. While not a natural way of thinking for most people, it instantly turns the world into shades of grey by forcing us to weigh probabilities and outcomes. Once we’ve mastered it, our decisions become supercharged. We know which risks to take, when to quit projects, when to go all in, and more.

The Complete Guide to Circadian Rhythms:

Two leading scientists explain how circadian rhythms work and offer advice on lifestyle changes to improve your health.

The Year of Twitter, the Fear of Facebook:

To many, what I’m about to say will sound crazy. Bear with me for just a thousand words or so. I think Twitter is going to have a good year in 2018, while Facebook has a bad one.

Will Cryptocurrencies Be the Art Market’s Next Big Thing?:

The online gallery describes itself as the first to specialize in “blockchain-based artwork and exhibition.” It invited bids for the work, starting at one Ether, equivalent to about $650 at the time. (As of Friday, one Ether was worth about $1,200, according to ethereumprice.org.) The timed auction ends on Monday.

Some Thoughts on Equity Compensation:

A hallmark of startup companies, the tech sector more broadly, and certainly our portfolio companies, is that they include equity in their compensation packages for their employees, often all employees.

If you work for a tech company, chances are good that you will get options as part of your compensation package. The truth is that equity comp has its disadvantages. You can’t pay your rent or take a vacation with your options. They might be worthless if the company fails or is sold in a fire sale. You have to pay taxes when you exercise and if you can’t sell the underlying stock that can be painful. If you leave and can’t exercise, you could lose the equity.

More to Check Out:
Are Aliens Plentiful?
Lambda School (super cool startup)
My 2017 Year in Review
Umbrella (another cool startup)
– A Sim Switch Account TakeoverSee My Full Reading List

My Update:

– Made a really hard business decision this past week. I think it was the right one!

– NYC was awesome. Ate really good food and saw a ton of new things.

– Have been in Barcelona for the past few days and it has been really fun. Awesome city and great to be back in Europe.

Photos from my traveling.

By jordangonen on January 22, 2018.

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Exported from Medium on February 17, 2018.