What’s Next

by Jordan Gonen

What’s Nextby Jordan Gonen

by Jordan Gonen

Hey there 👋 hope you had a great weekend. This week’s edition has a ton of valuable content — let me know 📩 what you think of it.

Also, if you are trying to find a high trajectory company to work at, I generally direct people to Breakout List (not a paid advertisement). It is a really helpful list of exciting companies.

Question for you this week:
How often do you purposefully disconnect from technology? This website is a good and clever reminder on the importance of being present.


Articles to Read.

As humans, “we tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run” — Roy Amara.

In 1995, Newsweek confidently explained “Why the Internet Will Fail.” Here are a few excerpts from that article:

“Visionaries see a future of telecommuting workers, interactive libraries and multimedia classrooms. They speak of electronic town meetings and virtual communities. Commerce and business will shift from offices and malls to networks and modems. And the freedom of digital networks will make government more democratic. Baloney.”

“Then there’s cyberbusiness. We’re promised instant catalog shopping–just point and click for great deals. We’ll order airline tickets over the network, make restaurant reservations and negotiate sales contracts. Stores will become obselete. So how come my local mall does more business in an afternoon than the entire Internet handles in a month?”

Makes me think…what are we underestimating in today’s world? What is true but not obvious?

What are your thoughts on this? Email me: hi@jordangonen.com

The Most Intolerant Wins: The Dictatorship of the Small Minority

The main idea behind complex systems is that the ensemble behaves in way not predicted by the components. The interactions matter more than the nature of the units. Studying individual ants will never (one can safely say never for most such situations), never give us an idea on how the ant colony operates.

For that, one needs to understand an ant colony as an ant colony, no less, no more, not a collection of ants. This is called an “emergent” property of the whole, by which parts and whole differ because what matters is the interactions between such parts. And interactions can obey very simple rules. The rule we discuss in this chapter is the minority rule.

Facebook Figured Out My Family Secrets, And It Won’t Tell Me How:

Rebecca Porter and I were strangers, as far as I knew. Facebook, however, thought we might be connected. Her name popped up this summer on my list of “People You May Know,” the social network’s roster of potential new online friends for me.

The People You May Know feature is notorious for its uncanny ability to recognize who you associate with in real life.

Rebecca Porter, we discovered, is my great aunt, by marriage. Facebook knew my family tree better than I did.

[tweetstorm] Wasting Time:

Wasting money is more acceptable than wasting time. This shouldn’t be so.

We all see people throw away money and think to ourselves, what a waste.

Yet the person who throws away time is crazier than the person who throws away money. It’s even more insane to waste than money — we can’t make any more when it runs out!

On Token Value

“A question that I consistently hear from new entrants is: what is the value underlying cryptocurrencies and crypto tokens broadly?

The first thing to realize when thinking about this question is that there are different tokens that offer different types of fundamental value. The four major token types are: traditional asset tokens, usage tokens, work tokens, and hybrid tokens.

I am now of the belief that it’s generally far too early in the space for models and metrics to accurately quantify value.”

Ethereum took the Bitcoin concept one step further. It is a decentralized network of millions of computers that execute code at the same time. Efficiency is compromised in favour of security. When someone wants to send a transaction, all the nodes execute it and update the ledger. Unlike Bitcoin, where the capabilities are really restricted for security purposes, these Ethereum nodes can execute almost any program. Its code is defined in smart contracts. A smart contract is a set of promises, specified in digital form, including protocols within which the parties perform on these promises4. One of the direct applications is the digitalization of complex financial instruments like derivatives.

Also, see [tweetstorm] On Where Tokens Get Value:

I would argue that crypto tokens are an Oiled Pig.

What is oil and pig in the financial markets? They are both commodities in the financial markets.

[PODCAST] Long Distance: The hilarious/insightful story of telephone scamming.

[tweetstorm] Cleverness vs Grit:

A long time ago, I mistakenly valued cleverness over grit. I prided myself on getting the A- without cracking a book, over the A+ w/work.

It’s not fun to realize there are some things you’re simply not great at naturally. It’s a blow to the ego.

American Spring:

It’s a different world. YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook let one human broadcast to billions, without permission, without censors, without delay. Social media makes mass organization and resistance possible.

Hiring Outliers: Lions, Monkeys, Rabbits, Horses, and Cows. Oh my!

Q. So let’s say you’re interviewing me. How do you find out if I’m an outlier?

A. Well, one clear sign is if you’re difficult. Outliers are, by definition, always difficult.

Why Selection Bias is The Most Powerful Force in Education:

“What separates Connecticut, one of the highest academically achieving states and Mississippi, which is among the worst.

The key is participation rate, or the percentage of eligible juniors and seniors taking the SAT, as this scatter plot shows.

There is a strong negative relationship between participation rate and average SAT score. Generally, the higher the percentage of students taking the test in a given state, the lower the average score. Why? Think about what it means for students in Mississippi, where the participation rate is 3%, to take the SAT.”

We are Nowhere Close to the Limits of Athletic Performance:

Genetic engineering will bring us new Bolts and Shaqs.

We’re just scratching the surface of what genetic outliers can do. The normal distribution we see in athletic capabilities is a telltale signature of many small additive effects that are all independent from each other. The whole enterprise of competitive athletics has been, in effect, a search algorithm for genetic outliers, but it’s been running for less than a century, and it hasn’t been particularly efficient. Its approach has been to passively wait for random recombinations to produce those variants, and hope that athletic programs find the best individuals.

Now we are entering an era in which it will not be chance that configures DNA, but rather the human intellect via tools of its own creation.

From Struggling Actress to Successful Tech CEO:

If you asked me 10 years ago where I thought my career would take me, I would have answered with one word: “Broadway.” As far as I was concerned, I was on my way to becoming a leading stage actress, dazzling crowds each night with my acting and singing chops.

Fast forward.

We raised $1.6 million in funding after graduating from Y Combinator. For the next three years, we slowly but surely built a profitable, defensible business while staying lean and growing quickly. That performance helped us raise an additional $25 million from some of the best entrepreneurs in the world, including Dropbox CEO Drew Houston, AngelList CEO Naval Ravikant, and Reddit CEO Steve Huffman.


– YC Summer 2017 Stats
All 50 Startups from YC’s Demo Day 1
– The New SpaceX Spacesuit
How Memes Made One Student 6 Figures in 7 Days
– Medium introduces Claps, The Reaction
Elon Musk’s Snail

Companies to Watch.

ExtremeFOMO — I just launched this! Check it out on Product Hunt.

Mix — Discover, collect, and share the best of the web.

Speechify — Listen to anything you’d normally have to read.

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:

– Junior year starts today. Excited for the semester. Hopefully going to make it count.

– Would appreciate your support on ExtremeFOMO — a fun little project a friend and I put together. If you like it, please share it 🙂

Last week I published a guide to cold emailing and getting what you want professionally — check it out!

— —

Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed!

If there is anything I can do to help — please reach out (just reply to this email), happy to help

– Jordan
Personal Website

By jordangonen on August 28, 2017.

Canonical link

Exported from Medium on February 17, 2018.