Tweets: Observations

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Huge fan of having role models in life. It can also be clarifying to have anti role models — specific people you do *not* want to emulate.
If you really understand something, you can: 1) explain it using a clear metaphor and 2) explain the strongest counter-argument to the idea.
Keep your identity small and avoid nouns. It’s fine to be introverted or extroverted but it’s limiting to *identify* as “an introvert.” #WDS
Are your friends (spending time with right people) the easiest route to self-improvement and a long, healthy life? Yes:
Buy experiences, not things. Experiences = memories = happiness for years later, whereas we quickly adapt to *things*.
Ask yourself: “What makes me angry?” It’s uncommon framing but can reveal a lot about one’s values, priorities, passions.
How to Avoid Burnout: Marissa Mayer – You can’t have everything you want, so protect the things that really matter –
Upside of taking a chance: we overestimate the value of what we have, underestimate the value of trying something new:
Christmas: The day on which Americans give thanks to China for making our favorite toys, electronics, and clothes.
“Competent” is often a better adjective than “smart” or “intelligent” when talking about a person because it forces specificity and context.
The POTUS doesn’t “run the country.” Such phrasing overstates prez power in the political system, negates vast decentralization of country.
I don’t get when ppl say they have “no regrets” in life. I understand “look forward, not backwards,” but still. Regret is a powerful teacher
Some *say* they’d rather be well-respected than well-liked, but for most people I think the desire to be liked by others is overwhelming.
A proximate reason a guy/gal marries: years of dating has led to neglect of friends, and with a breakup he fears being single AND friendless
“Opposites attract” remains a popular expression, but so wrong. Studies show we prefer people who look like us, think like us, agree with us
High IQ combined with high insecurity: a uniquely toxic one-two punch. (inspired by B. Horowitz blog post)
Some people can be passionate about the *process* of company building — what the company actually does is not as important.
Classic trade-off when hiring: someone who’s inexperienced yet hungry vesus someone who’s experienced but not as much to prove.
Some people work in non-profits because they’re not interested in money. But obsessing about money is what many non-profits have to do.
Fundamental questions to ask of someone: What are you doing? And why are you doing it? (via LessWrong)
Andy Grove’s suggested way to discover your business’s key competitor: Imagine you had a gun with one bullet. At whose head would you point?
If “public pensions” were popularly known as “government-employee pensions,” I suspect more people would become engaged / enraged.
Bad salespeople talk your ear off. Good salespeople know to shut up and listen.
It’s always helpful to specify times in the other person’s time zone, and it’s a must if you’re working for the person or are lower status.
Appearing unimpressed or uninfluenced by someone who’s more successful is a common way people try to raise their own status.
So much of writing is not writing the sentences themselves but organizing the sentences and paragraphs in a way that makes sense.
Reading is not just about the content of the text. It’s allocating quiet time / space to think and reflect on the issues raised by the text.
High capital costs, high switching costs, or huge network effects appear to be three reliable pillars of defensibility in tech businesses.
In most contexts, when people hear “reform” they think “progress in the right direction,” regardless of specific details.
Overheard: “The problem in education is that we have educators running the school systems. Pilots are not CEOs of the airline companies.”
A lot of times it’s better to catch the end of a big wave than the peak of a small wave.
Random writing thought: cut “very” in front of adverbs and adjectives. At times, perversely, it even weakens the next word.
There’s nothing wrong w/ not being “passionate” about your 9-5 job if it gives you plenty time to pursue ur serious, hard-to-monetize hobby
A litmus test for a good person in your life: can you be your truest and most natural self around him or her?
Lists of numbered points where the total number is too pat (5, 10, 15, 20, etc) usually have more fluff than a list of points w/ an odd #.
Preface an otherwise banal aphorism with “My father once taught me” and it becomes rich with generational credibility.
When you’re giggling, you know you’re doing something right. (Surprisingly profound advice from a friend.)
If frequency with which you cite an education credential does not decrease over the course of your life, you’re not accomplishing very much.
Sometimes we laugh because a joke is funny. Sometimes we laugh to show we’re smart enough to understand the joke in question.
Litmus test for mood: impatience when listening to music. In a good mood, everything usually sounds good. Bad mood, always clicking “Next.”
The airline you fly the most is the one you think is the worst.
“That’s such a huge generalization!” is not a rebuttal against a generalization, nor is identifying a random exception.
People who do not have a tidy, short answer to the question “What do you do?” are usually pretty interesting.
An ideal: work all day with entrepreneurs, but have your meals (and twice-daily conversations) with journalists and academics.
People too quickly assume that suffering, pain, and hardship “builds character.” Sometimes suffering is just….suffering.
The hardest type of criticism to take is about self-perceived strengths. Yet this is the most important to hear.
I’m amused by self-styled “busy” people. Busyness is as much a matter of identity as it is a reflection of time availability and schedule.
Looking back on experiences, we remember the highest or lowest moment, and how they ended.
Overheard: A key sign of maturity is realizing that *you* are not the baseline against which all opinions / behavior etc should be compared.
If a woman tells me she loved / had a great time in high school, I can predict many things about her. (The converse is not true.)
One of the best ways to improve a friendship with person X is to become friends with X’s friends. I.e, have mutual friends.
It’s strange that it’s easier to call someone geographically / physically closer to you, even though a phone call is a phone call.
Why say “indefatigable” if you can say “tireless?” Short, punchy words are best.
How many business brainstorming sessions include the phrase, “If we had scale…” Yes. Every idea is interesting at scale.
We learn about who someone is by the choices they make when the choice isn’t obvious.
Environmentalism is the leading secular religion.
“Learn by doing” – doing something yourself is almost always the best way to learn something. Extremely simple yet so rarely followed.
How many billion dollar companies started with the founder saying, “I want to start a billion dollar company.” My opinion: few.
When we’re unsure of how we feel, we often try to convince ourselves by trying to convince someone else of the point.
In an attempt to focus ourselves to make an important decision, we often overrate the stakes, causing unnecessary stress and add’l paralysis
Self-understanding, like happiness, is never fully achieved. It’s an on-going pursuit and sometimes excessive explicit focus hurts the cause
Why do we often say an essay or person is “smart”? When it/the person makes *us* feel smart. We love feeling like we “got it.”
Intelligent people have a remarkable ability to rationalize irrational actions, to re-tell history to fit their preferred, comfy narrative.
Formal school helps neuter your natural “what interests me” sensor b/c to succeed in school you cannot ask yourself that Q, you do as told.
Smart is like vanilla ice cream. There are thousands of really smart people. I value eccentricity, weirdness, interestingness. Black swans.
Most actively seek positivity and happiness. Another approach is to try to eliminate negativity and things that make you unhappy.

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