🌈 🧙‍♀️vol. 24 / learning the magic of life /

We want to be in places where creating new potion is encouraged.

“Most people never think about the fact that you only ever get one life to live, and a business is just a part of that life. If you don't think about how your business fits into your life as a whole, one day you're going to wake up and find you sold away the only life you were ever going to get for the sake of the bottom line. Well, there's only so much money you can spend in this life, and the thing you've got to remember is, the one thing you can't buy back, no matter how much money you have, is time. A billion dollars won't buy back one single minute.”

— A quote that I failed to trace its source

Hi, beautiful people — 

Today is my second to last day of college classes. Then it comes tomorrow, then life becomes infinite.

I remembered before coming to college, someone showed me a diagram of a triangle: social life, good grades, and sleep, you choose two. Friends debated for an hour which two they'd choose. The triangle never once crossed my mind for the past four years.

I explored many different things and met some very cool people. I was disillusioned by the quality of education and the next day enlightened by a professor's lecture. I was disappointed by the collective worship for the corporate narrative and the next day fascinated by the creation of such narrative.

I messed up my health a couple of times, fell in love and fell out of love, sacrificed sleep for my passion, just like any coming of age story without the alt bands playing in the background. I listened to a shit ton of podcasts instead.

Overall, I had a blast in college. It wasn't perfect, but I've grown more than I'd ever imagined.

We often hear that life is all about tradeoffs. Unsolicited advice is firing at me from all directions, and that's when I see another diagram that attempts to formulate life. This one is scary. They map life on a burner.

Four Burners Theory of Work-Life Balance

Consider your life consisting of these four burners. Now, the theory says that to be successful, you can only turn on three burners at a time. If you want to be exceptional, it's just two.

The consequences sound dreary. James Clear, who popularized this concept, offered four views on what you can do about this problem.

Be imbalanced. Sacrifice your health, or friends, or work and say "screw it; that's just what it is."

Be mediocre. Do turn up all burners, but just enough to get by. As a result, you'll go long in life, just never far.

Outsource stuff. If you make more money, you can hire a chef, or a trainer, or pay a nanny to take care of your kids. All of these have limitations of their own, of course.

Set constraints. "I'll work 70 hours a week on becoming a millionaire, but not a single one more." "Monday night is date night."

I find this approach unsatisfactory and anxiety-inducing. It's constructed on the premise that the four are entirely independent variables, and one's life is a zero-sum game. When work thrives, health has to suffer.

I wonder if it's better to think of life as one burning flame instead. Work, health, family, and friends are the potions that keep this flame burning bright.

The effectiveness of these potions varies from person to person, and the environment determines the abundance of supplies to create these potions. The "work" potion may work better for someone's flame, but not so much for the other. We want to be in places where creating new potion is encouraged.

You can alchemize these potions to create new recipes. The more you invest in experimenting with new formulas, the more likely the flame will grow brighter.

There's no limit on how bright the flame can shine, no limit to how many other lives it can brighten up. Maybe I'm presenting two sides of the same coin, but I get to choose the one I like better. It’s appropriate to pull some Kurt Vonnegut here.

"Live by the harmless untruths that make you brave and kind and healthy and happy."

Stay real,


Golden: Our Brains in the Future = Wikipedia 2.0

Golden attempts to map and generate human knowledge. They claim to use machine intelligence to build the world’s first self-constructing knowledge database, by doing so making it easier to explore and contribute to public and private knowledge.

Unlike Wikipedia that relies exclusively on human editors, Golden’s machine learning models are trained to identify, extract, and validate key information from web resources added by Golden’s community of contributors. While Wikipedia doesn’t have all the entries due to its “arbitrary notability threshold”, where pages are deleted for not being notable enough, Golden aims to have EVERYTHING.

In his blog post outlining his vision for the site, the founder Gomila wrote:

We live in an age of extreme niches, an age when validation and completeness is more important than notability. Our encyclopedia on Golden doesn’t have limited shelf space — we eventually want to map everything that exists. Special relativity was not notable to the general public the moment Einstein released his seminal paper, but certainly was later on — could this have been the kind of topic to be removed from the world’s canon if it was discovered today?

I’ve always been fascinated by the possibilities of making knowledge discovery, creation, and acquisition easier and more fun. Google and Wikipedia have been playing the role, and its’s time for the newcomers to make the experience even better.

Some of the things I wish to see more:

  • Syllabus created by top professionals to learn a certain topic — read x, y, and z, and listen to y, x, z to master crypocurrency

  • Easily create projects that leverage these knowledge (publishing or developer tools integration) — extract a timeline to put in my blog post or extract a database to do a d3 visualization

  • Knowledge management tool to synergize knowledge on platform — a notebook feature to craft thesis on a subject without having to leave this platform

I also want to highlight this exchange on HackerNews that raises some interesting questions.

I might be writing more about this in the future. Meanwhile… I will probably spend way too much time browsing entires.

Generic Tips For Emailing Busy People

I’ve been getting lots of email and sending lots of email.

I never know how to respond to very vague email like “Can you give me some advice on succeeding in college?”" or “how do I get good at design?”

Yet I sometimes find myself making similar mistakes when I’m emailing busy people. So this is also a note to self.

I found a really good post on emailing busy people. Here are some of my favorite tips:

  • Specific questions are better than vague requests. **Here’s a vague request: “I was wondering if you could mentor me.”  What does that mean?  It sounds like an unbounded time commitment on my part, and I have no clue how I could provide value to you. Here’s a specific question: “I have a new SaaS in the $FILL_IN_THE_BLANK space. We’re investigating customer acquisition methods, and having read your posts on SEO, I see that I need more links to rank for competitive queries. I’ve got three ideas for linkbait: $IDEA1, $IDEA2, and $IDEA3. Can you give me any suggestions on how I can get the maximum bang for my effort-based buck on these?  Do you have any other suggestions for linkbait pieces in this space?  Thanks!”

  • Don’t apologize for contacting me or wasting my time — avoiding that is the whole purpose of giving you an engraved invitation to contact me. Don’t minimize your own experience, competence, success, or chances. 

  • People love to back underdogs but they hate backing losers.  In other words, underrepresentation shouldn’t be used to justify incompetence.

  • Conciseness is a virtue. Keep it short.

You can read the whole thing here.

🚨Alert: this is the 100000th prototyping tool, but this one looks kinda nice.

Official tagline with my reaction: A new design tool that works directly with your production code components. It’s responsive, built for design systems and provides live collaboration in the browser and desktop apps.

If you are interested, sign up to the beta list.

🌏Make the public sector beautiful.

The new Norwegian passport design is breathtaking. When shone under UV light, the landscapes within the pages transform to show the northern lights in the night sky.

I find this quote very beautiful:

The documents need to ensure identification for its holder and for controlling authorities – domestically as well as abroad. This implies that the ID documents are both a private and a public matter. The document’s holder should feel proud ownership, thus treating the documents carefully and with respect. 

the norwegian passports by neue with a landscape of fjords

📰 Interactive Newsletter

I hope newsletters can be interactive, so I can comment on the things I read and also start a discussion with you guys right away.

It’s like Google Docs on Comment mode with more options for interactivity.

Anyone interested in building this?

This newsletter has serendipitously become a community that discovers and connects impact-driven makers.

Reply if you want to be a part of this.

I’m also looking for individuals who are passionate about defining what the future of this community could look like. Let me know if you have any ideas.

That’s it. I love you. 💙

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