astukari Newsletter #74 - How to design in every language at once

Hi friends,

It’s November again, which means I’m once more participating in National Novel Writing Month! To be fair, this feels more like a first time go at it — last year I *may* have cheated a bit, and counted “edited words” (word count to pages of mine I edited, not wrote) thus leading to my word count for the year to be 80,000 (it was more like 10k). But beyond that, most of the rules for myself are the same: any words count, as long as they are public by the end of the process. That means Knowledge Docs, blog posts, books, publications, and yes — this newsletter. Let’s get into it!

Try a mystery article!

🔨What I’ve Been Making

Taste on the Margin - Usually, people agree on what art is great and what art sucks. But what about art stuck in the middle? What decides the quality of art when nuance is everything?

Top 10 Tools I Use in 2021 - I won’t lie, this is already somewhat out of date (I stopped using Habitica, Tweetdeck, & Obsidian, plus put my MEGA stuff into GDrive) but I wouldn’t say my opinion of any of these tools have changed. They’re still good tools I can all recommend, even though the descriptions for each of them come from an old introductory email for this very newsletter :)

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📚What I’ve Been Reading

Meet the people pursuing the pleasure of leisure - The past few years people have really spun the idea of retirement on its head, and I do think it’s a valid point. The logic of pushing all your life freedom back to when you’re at your physically weakest is… not particularly sound. There have been a few solutions to this posed, such as mini-retirements, but I think the time millionaires described in this article follow a whole different path entirely.

How to design in every language at once - User-friendly design has always been the central focus of product UX in general, but one idea that has always really caught me in design is the ability to create a product such that it speaks its own language. In other words, any person, from any language or culture, and immediately pick it up and understand exactly what it’s used for and how to use it. This, in my opinion, is the endgame of design. The article here from Canva is more focused on software development, but the same idea applies.

On Medici and Thiel - Really? Are we actually giving internet posts pretentious names like this? Listen — whatever. It’s fine. I used to do it too. Anyway, one thing that I have always agreed with Thiel on is that making is a viable alternative to getting educated, especially in the era where the Internet is virtually a free commodity. The whole point behind Apalla is just to give people direct access to the resources to help them figure it out themselves. Education might be better for structure seekers, but for those who have always hated school there really isn’t a good excuse anymore to keep them locked within the system.

The Most Precious Resource is Agency - This article is mostly supplementary material to the one I mentioned above. Read this one if the one up top has too many words.

Starbucks, Monetary Superpower - Starbucks has the most popular gift card system in the world, and to this day I don’t really know why. This article doesn’t explain it either. However, what it does explain is how powerful the Starbucks gift card is — the company has essentially built a system where they’ve turned their gift cards into little tiny interest-free loans, and all those tiny loans add up to quite a massive sum of money.