What’s Next

by Jordan Gonen

What’s Nextby Jordan Gonen

by Jordan Gonen

Hey 👋 Cannot believe it is already October! Time is moving fast. What are you excited about lately?

Hope you enjoy! As always, email me if I can be of any help.


Articles to Read.

The Next Steve Jobs:

The next Steve Jobs isn’t buying an iPhone X.

The next Steve Jobs isn’t taking inspiration from today’s Apple.

The next Steve Jobs isn’t in the “tech scene”.

The next Steve Jobs isn’t at Techcrunch Disrupt.

The next Steve Jobs is already out there.

Working to surprise us.

With one more thing we never saw coming.

Playboy Interview with Steve Jobs from 1984 [long read]:

The point is that people really don’t have to understand how computers work. Most people have no concept of how an automatic transmission works, yet they know how to drive a car. You don’t have to study physics to understand the laws of motion to drive a car. You don’t have to understand any of this stuff to use Macintosh — but you asked. [laughs]

A Year of Cold Showers:

For the past 365 days, I have taken exclusively cold showers. Water temperature has ranged between 6°C (43°F) in winter and 13°C (55°F) in summer.

On every work day, I get up at 6:30AM, wake up my teenage children and then immediately go to the shower. I minimize as much as possible the time between getting up and starting the shower in order to limit the self-talk that tries to convince me not to go into the cold.

The difficult part is not to take a cold shower on a typical day, it’s to take one every day without having an end date.

10 Days of Silence for A Lifetime of Wisdom:

Three weeks ago, I returned from a 10-day Goenka Vipassana meditation retreat at Dhamma Dara in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts. Goenka (1924–2013) was a Burmese-Indian teacher of Vipassanā meditation.

By day six, I had reached an altered state of consciousness unlike anything I’ve ever experienced outside of limited experimentation with hallucinogens in college. I became so in tune with my body and mind that I could feel both pleasant and unpleasant sensations from my head to toes and even deep inside my body. Some pains and cramps were so intense that I had to learn how to develop equanimity which wasn’t in my vocabulary before the retreat. I completely underestimated the power and physical intensity of the Vipassana technique.

Despite being home for three weeks, I’m still processing my time at Dharma Dhara. I expect that it will take a few months to fully appreciate and internalize what I learned about my mind, body, spirit and ego.

Growing Up With Alexa:

When it comes to digital assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, my four-year-old niece Hannah Metz is an early adopter. Her family has four puck-like Amazon Echo Dot devices plugged in around her house — including one in her bedroom — that she can use to call on Alexa at any moment.

I wasn’t sure if Hannah knew whether Alexa is human. So I asked, and this is what she told me: Alexa is “a kind of robot” who lives in her house, and robots, she reasoned, aren’t people. But she does think Alexa has feelings, happy and sad. And Hannah says she would feel bad if Alexa went away. Does that mean she has to be nice to Alexa? Yes, she says, but she’s not sure why.

Street Life After Retail:

In one future scenario, pop-ups are no longer the exception but the norm. Short-term leases need not require months.

In another future scenario, as online shopping encourages most day-to-day purchases to go digital, shopping in physical locations becomes yet more extravagant. The in-store experience becomes a highly attentive and customized interaction, enabled by robots and artificial intelligence. As the store’s customer data gets bigger, its predictive insights get sharper.

In a third future scenario, the virtual networks of Etsy enter the real world. Lower retail rents, combined with anti-corporate sentiments, lead makers and local start-ups to band together and set up shop in one location, where they can create their wares and sell them direct to consumer. As a side gig, professionals might take advantage of fabrication tools to make furniture, and aspiring designers might craft (or print) the fashion of the future. The low barrier to entry, and the shared cost of equipment, means any one can enter the guild, collaborate, and invent.


1/If the primary purpose of school was education, the Internet should obsolete it. But school is mainly about credentialing.

4/ The more meritocratic an industry, the faster it moves away from false credentialing. I.e., the MBA and tech startups.

8/ The best teachers are on the Internet. The best books are on the Internet. The best peers are on the Internet.

9/ The tools for learning are abundant. It’s the desire to learn that’s scarce.

11/ Eventually, the tide of the Internet and rational, self-interested employers will create and accept efficient credentialing…

The Premium Mediocre Life of a Maya Millennial [long read]:

A few months ago, while dining at Veggie Grill (one of the new breed of Chipotle-class fast-casual restaurants), a phrase popped unbidden into my head: premium mediocre. The food, I opined to my wife, was premium mediocre.

Premium mediocre is the finest bottle of wine at Olive Garden. Premium mediocre is cupcakes and froyo. Premium mediocre is “truffle” oil on anything (no actual truffles are harmed in the making of “truffle” oil), and extra-leg-room seats in Economy. Premium mediocre is cruise ships, artisan pizza, Game of Thrones, and The Bellagio.

Anything branded as “signature” is premium mediocre of course.

At its broad, fuzzy edges, premium mediocre is an expansive concept; a global, cosmopolitan and nationalist cultural Big Tent: it is arguably both suburban andneourban, Red and Blue, containing Boomers and X’ers.

[video] Anywhere in the World, in Less Than An Hour (3 minutes) — Elon Musk

Maker’s Schedule:

One reason programmers dislike meetings so much is that they’re on a different type of schedule from other people. Meetings cost them more.

There are two types of schedule, which I’ll call the manager’s schedule and the maker’s schedule. The manager’s schedule is for bosses. It’s embodied in the traditional appointment book, with each day cut into one hour intervals. You can block off several hours for a single task if you need to, but by default you change what you’re doing every hour.

For someone on the maker’s schedule, having a meeting is like throwing an exception. It doesn’t merely cause you to switch from one task to another; it changes the mode in which you work.

We’re Waiting for the Peter Drucker of Machine Intelligence:

AI will change everything, yeah yeah. We’ve heard it, and it’s so true we no longer hear it.

Here’s the next big one: how leaders lead companies.

The old way was “leader as genius,” where a company’s job is to find a solution to a problem, and a leader decides on those solutions (mostly other people doing work), and introduces a process to solve the problem reliably (e.g., a workflow to make a car).

That way evolved to empower people “at the edge” to propose their own solutions (and sometimes decide on them), à la how Facebook is run vs. how Ford was run.

Machine Intelligence changes that. It enables software that remembers not only past data but also the results of past decisions — and distills them into a model. This is the secret concept for future AI management gurus to understand. Models go beyond automating workflows, they automate decisions.

Saving Money and Running Backwards:

Wealth has a curse. It’s called the hedonic treadmill. Its mission — and it is ruthless — is to move the goal post of your financial dreams, extinguishing the joy you thought you’d get from having more money once you attain it.


– YC’s Essential Startup Advice
– [guide] How to Get What You Want Professionally
Accelerating Evolution Through Forking
Conway’s Game of Life
Making the Call and Answering the Phone
Prodigy — Annotation ToolCurrent Book I’m Reading — Deciding What to Read Next…any suggestions?

Last Book I Read — Thinking Fast and Slow

See My Full Reading List

You made it to the end! Thanks for reading 👋

If you enjoyed, would really appreciate if you shared this link! 
Want to read more? I write daily, and tweet too!

My Update:

– 585 days of writing, in a row — [latest] — reminder to be present

– Let me know what I can do to improve this newsletter! How can I be helpful? What are you working on?

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Thanks for reading! Really hope you enjoyed! (If you did, would be really awesome if you could share this link with 5 friends)

– Jordan
Personal Website

By jordangonen on October 2, 2017.

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Exported from Medium on February 17, 2018.