Sort by Controversial - Astukari Newsletter #85
🔨What I’ve Been Making
New writing: Still finishing up that book — I’ll have more info on it once I finally sit down and finish it: we’ll say 1-2 months. For the blog post, we got Stop Caring About Your Reputation (a big one!) and On Humility (not as big but still worth reading!).
New video/audio: This front is going back into hiatus, but I’ve got big plans for it later (you’ll see). In the meantime the podcast is still going up, this time with A Social Capital Theory of Management.
Other projects: This has been a real marketing-focused biweek, with some cool internal innovations on SEO and CRM strategies but not that much on the outside. The Apalla Docs Sub has shadow released (finally), and I’m thinking it may just take over as the main pricing model as a whole (who buys parts and pieces anymore?). At the beginning of the year I promised this would be a year of experimentation — I think I’m living up to that promise.
📚What I’ve Been Reading
Sort By Controversial - I usually don’t trust science fiction, especially ones written by a rationalist. They are always so devoid of life, focusing a lot more on “how would this crazy science thing work” rather than story and characters. But this one, against all odds, got through to me. Hell have I even recommended fiction on this newsletter at this point? Anyway, it’s worth the read. A little sci-fi, a little horror, all grounded in reality, surprisingly entertaining.
The Dave Portnoy Playbook - A lot of the best comedians around right now — Sam Hyde, Frank Hassle, and of course Dave Portnoy — blur the lines between the character and the person. In fact, one might argue they’re one and the same. Any person with even a cursory understanding of Dave Portnoy knows that his financial antics are a farce, a jab at the more “intellectual” side of investing. His sexual harassment allegations are… also in character. And this is where things get complicated. Obviously you cannot sexually attack people “for the memes”, so Dave Portnoy is clearly in the wrong here. But where this gets interesting is when we compare this to past actions. Was Portnoy always a misogynist, independent of his comedy? Or, more curiously — did his eccentric CEO persona consume him?
The Prisoner-Run Radio Station That’s On Death Row - At this point I’ve recommended The Marshall Project quite a few times in this newsletter, both for their quality structure and prose as well as the interesting moral quandaries their articles illicit. This one, however, I bring up for a different reason — economics and culture. Death row sections, and really prisons in general, act essentially like their own sovereign state, with little ability for guards and wardens to directly interfere (other than to keep that culture in). What’s even more interesting is that this is a culture designed by people who have committed heinous crimes. Sure, there are innocents here and there, but for the most part — especially on death row — these people really did kill others, or worse. Yet they have life, and culture, and a circular economy, and all the other things that make them just like us.
Wanna Buy A Radio Station? - I can’t say that I’ve seen an investment pitch quite like this. I mean, it makes sense that radio stations are going out of style. And it would in fact be pretty cool to own a radio station. Would it give you a good return? Absolutely not. But, I mean, I dunno. I’d buy a radio station after reading this.
Wordle-Solving Optimization Problems - Okay, when I saved this, Wordle was still big. I think it is still big among like, the over 50 population. But I think the concept of this article is timeless. I always get really big into solving optimization problems in games: how can I get the most X thing in the shortest Y time. Exploiting bugs and loopholes is a big part of that. Wordle is pretty bug-free but you can still do this sort of analysis and get some really interesting answers. This might even be a more optimal way to teach math to high schoolers — who knows.