From my favorite comments

Stop looking for more of this stuff

“There a lot of great points on this thread. We need more distinction between contextual and non-contextual advice. If one is ‘at the board’ working through a problem — then a hint or solution, moves the problem forward. On the other hand, if one is just ‘leisurely browsing advice listicles’ without being at the board, facing the problem, then most likely you are just ingesting dopamine-flavored noise.
Advice without context from anyone — whether it is PG, pmarca or Richard Feynman or {your_fav_successful_survivor} - would be useless, unless you are working/thinking about the problem that they are giving solutions for. Help only works if you are looking for something. Also sometimes it is good to just enjoy problem-solving and figuring things out. We are too quick to look for advice — and I get why: because no one wants to “reinvent the wheel”; There are too many standardized administrative things with startups that can be just solved by looking up advice; no problem with that; but sometimes it is worth struggling through a problem even though geniuses like PG and pmarca can give a solution quickly.”

stop hitting the dopamine boosts

“You are drinking from the water hose. Do this long enough and your ability to concentrate will atrophy, it is a muscle that needs regular exercise. The first step is to understand what you are doing to your brain.
Try this: instead of merely skimming articles, make it mandatory to summarize everything you read in a few sentences. You’ll very soon figure out that most what you read does not really interest you. Understanding requires work and deeper motivation to do so.”

human width

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”

-Robert A. Heinlein

seeing the world

Don’t believe your thoughts. The voice in your head sounds like your voice but that doesn’t make it yours. Trust your inquisitive nature and question things., people and choices, especially if they feel off.
Most people fake it, most of the time.
Remember what your inner compass feels like. Use that feeling.
Remember that you exist.
Anyone who tries to sell you your own divinity is a scammer.
Anyone who tries to define you sees themselves your master.
Anyone who tries to punish or reward you sees themselves your master and wants you to accept that role.
Your parents (and guardians) are often piloted by the blind forces of trauma patterns. What they do at these times is not parenting but seizures of madness, of which you are the audience and often the victim. This is not your fault, not your doing, and is not right. You are good to the core, but happen to be on the receiving end of these seizures.
This is true for every occurrence of unkindness, humiliation, or abusive interaction by a person who has power over you.
Sometimes it’s helpful to see beliefs, stereotypes, even language and habitual ways of thinking as forces that have colonized humanity. There’s space and life beyond these. Follow your curiosity about that dimension. It exists and is vast — infinitely more expansive than the mind’s ability to think.
Humanity/society is multilayered. The shittiest layers get most of the publicity. There are many, many awesome people living in integrity, creating with open hearts and rich imagination. You can be one of them; the easiest way is to join their communities and friendships.
Friendships are sacred, and deserve your utmost integrity, attention and honesty.
You’re good and you are able to recognize the people who have not broken/fallen to the dark side. Trust that.

What do you want?

“Are you staying an engineer all your life or eventually be an exec? Do you want to be well paid or influential? Are you a PhD who likes doing one thing in depth, or are you a get-sh*t-done person who likes multiple interesting projects? Do you plan to change jobs a lot or stay one place for a long time?”

physical health

get fit, seriously

“Advice to my younger self: Get really fit. Like do upside-down-handstand-push-ups fit. Fitness is an easy way to get status that requires essentially no luck. Women are attracted to high status individuals. It shows you are a hard worker, a trait that people respect. It gives you energy and health, and is much more fun than being on a computer.”

food intake

no sugar. it’s addictive. gives energy. not easy, but needed.

“whole fruit, salad, no dressing, chicken, steak, salmon and water.”
“your taste buds adjust over time”
“My energy levels jumped when I changed my lunches from carbs&protein (pasta, potato etc) to salads with protein.
You can put vinegar, salt and a dash of olive oil as seasoning into a salads - still no sugars.”

“Keto + intermittent fasting is a great combo. You just feel better and less bloated day to day.”

fasting is good

“There is another way that recently gets a lot of attention, and it is drug-free. It’s called “fasting”. The practice is very old (holy books speak of it). Only recently one of fasting’s method has been understood as “autophagy”, which means “self-eating”. When your body is starved for nutrients it turns to it’s own tissues, and eats the weak/unhealthy cells first.”

exercise routines

“I cancelled my gym membership. Now I just do 3 sets of: - 1m30s plank - 20 situps - 5 leg lifts - 15 pushups

I try to add a few reps to the sets every week or two and another exercise was a recent innovation. I started out at: - 1 minute plank - 15 situps - 10 pushups

In addition I walk 35-40 minutes to and from work every day.”

“It’s really easy to get overloaded with information when first starting out. Keep it simple, figure out what works for you.”

mental health

On hardship and dealing with feelings

1) Even if you feel like a failure, you are not. You are a success. Our feelings are not a reliable indicator of personal value, especially after burning out.

2) Try to do something where you can feel small improvements every few days, with enough runway before productivity plateau. Running, meditation, skateboarding, playing guitar, rock climbing — whatever looks the most interesting to you, and looks easy enough (it’s important). Regularly feeling improvements in any activity is the best therapy I know.”

(2) is very important advice.
Don’t worry about the big picture.
Every day, find yourself some wins and celebrate them.
Maybe it’s something as small as brushing your teeth. Dental hygene rocks – go you!
Or leaving the house and going to Starbucks, even if only to browse Reddit. Hey, getting out that door can be a big challenge.
Maybe it’s going for a run or a hike. You totally owned that half-mile.
Whatever it is, write it down in a list, and look at yesterday’s list every morning.
Every accomplishment, no matter how small, is a step forward.
Celebrate the fact that you made that step, and didn’t give up.

“Remember that failure is an event, not a person.” Zig Ziglar”

“Folks: eat healthy, get a bit of exercise, read good books, and most of all, develop relationships with people you truly trust. If you find yourself needing to rely on smoking or drinking to get you through the week, take a step back and garbage-collect your life and decide if you’re living the life you want, or if it’s a life that’s in need of radical restructuring.”

not only capturing thoughts for logical processing, but also emotional processing

The key takeaway I got from GTD was just in capturing the thought, and therefore stopping it from cropping back up in thinking, and causing stress about stuff NOT getting done. This, in an of itself, helped me greatly. Then, one random morning, as I was thinking in the shower (as one does), I had a sudden revelation: As someone who frequently suffered from intrusive thoughts over past pain (as many of us do), could this “mind like water” approach be applied to these thoughts as well?

I started writing out all the things that bothered me on a continually recurring basis. All the bad things I had done. All the bad things that had happened. This wasn’t anything special; I just journaled the events, with an attempt to identify why these memories stuck with me, and still caused me pain, and what, if anything, I had learned from the experience. Within weeks, I was mostly finished. It’s a Word doc, weighing in at about 25 pages, last I checked.

The difference was nearly miraculous. There’s very little else that has changed my life so profoundly, and none so quickly. It’s been, probably, 8-10 years ago now. I almost never have intrusive thoughts now. I still do things I regret, of course, but, with experience, I make smaller mistakes now, and my maturity in handling them has caught up to their magnitude, and there’s no longer a huge gap between the action and reaction. To use a computer analogy, I cleaned out all my old core files, and now I use a garbage collected language anyway, so I’m not wasting all that disk space any more.

I’m relating this in the off chance that someone like me could see it, and benefit from this as well.

Stoicism quotes

“Your soul takes on the color of your thoughts.” P59

“Awaken; return to yourself. Now, no longer asleep, knowing they were only dreams, clear-headed again, treat everything around as a dream.” P76

“It’s normal to feel pain in your hands and feet, if your using your feet as feet and your hands as hands. And for a human being to feel stress is normal - if he’s living a normal human life. And if it’s normal, how can it be bad?” P76

“You can hold your breath until you turn blue, but they’ll still go on doing it.” P102

“Leave other people’s mistakes where they lie.” P122

defining success

“Redefine “success” to center around fulfilling relationships and “enough to live on without constantly worrying” instead of around money and possessions and glory and adulation.”

“happiness comes from within. There is no sense wondering about the past since it cant be changed. The question is what will bring you happiness today to the rest of your life. I graduated in the top 50% of my high school class and had a 3.2/4 GPA at a state EE program. I hear about high school kids studying 3 hours a day, I don’t think I ever studied much more than 3 hours a week. Definitely not stellar academic credentials.

I ended up entering an md phd program where I washed out after 5 years. Fast forward a few years (20…) and I have my own company and will make about $800k-$1M this year.

Yet at no time was I unhappy, even when I was digging for change out of the couch to have enough money to buy food. I remember savoring the ridiculousness of the situation and reveling in it. Yet I’m no happier now than I was at that moment.

Part of life is figuring out what truly makes you happy. For most of us it ends up being bringing happiness to others in some way, not achievement and material possessions.”

goals are not happiness

“The hedonic treadmill is very real. If you are trying to get to happiness via achievement you will either fail to achieve the things you want, or you will realize after achieving them that they haven’t made you happier. I’ve achieved things in my life. I didn’t have any major failures until I was in my mid-20s. But no matter what achievements I had (or failures), the changes to my happiness were always temporary. I pulled on that intellectual thread and learned that this is exactly what you would expect based on the research. Achieving your goals only achieves short-term happiness, and if you base your happiness on that, eventually you are going to reach a goal that stops your happiness dead.

You have to find the things that make you happy, and none of them have a long-term impact. They are the things you can do to maintain a consistent level of happiness, if you put in the consistent work. For me, the biggest impact on my happiness is regular meditation and regular exercise. Research also supports gratitude journaling and philanthropy. Simple. But NOTHING has a long-term impact.

To reiterate, the things that work are the things that give you a little boost of happiness every day, and if you find the right ones you can get to a level that is good for you through constant maintenance.

This doesn’t mean achieving your goals is unimportant. Anyone who knows me knows that I have a dogged persistence when it comes to achieving goals. But I don’t expect them to make me happy. The key is to recognize that your goals reflect your values, the things you believe are important whether or not you expect them to make you happy.

Purchase your happiness separate from your goals, it’s much cheaper that way.”


  • Leave work after 8 hours without making excuses
  • Go to bed at the same time every night

  • Get at least 7 hours of sleep. Try for 8.

  • Stop drinking alcohol and using drugs

  • Eat better. Cook your own meals. Do meal prep to make it easier.

  • Start exercising. Start 3x per week, 15 min of HIIT per day.

  • Drink a large glass of water when you wake up. Drink water throughout the day.

  • Don’t drink more than one cup of coffee per day

  • Don’t use sleeping pills

  • Work hard during your 8 hours and let it go when you leave.

  • Say “No” more at work. Do it with a smile.

  • Do a few minutes of stretching and meditation every day.

  • Start looking for another job. Put the feelers out. Set up notifications. Take it easy and schedule one or two phone calls per week. Think of it like fishing. You’re just chilling out and casting your line and reeling it in. Sooner or later you’ll hook something nice.

  • Go for a 30-60min walk every day

  • Get off of social media. Do more things in the real world.

  • Spend more time at work conversing with people you like. Invite them to lunch. Go for walks with them. Go for drinks occasionally.

  • Don’t be in a rush to quit. Keep earning your good money until you catch the big fish.

  • Eliminate all stress-inducing things and people in your life with extreme prejudice.

  • When you feel fatigued, rest.

  • Reconnect with true friends and family who lift you up. Disconnect with those that bring you down.

  • Pick a hobby that makes you happy and do it at least 2x per week.

  • Push back on everything possible at work. Does someone REALLY need “all the work [you] have to do” or are you taking it on unnecessarily. Again, say “No”.

  • Talk to your boss about taking a break or reducing workload. Let them know you’re feeling overwhelmed. Ask for help and/or possibly a change.

  • Reconsider meds from your therapist unless you have been diagnosed with an actual condition. Meds fix one thing and break several other things. Self-medicate with sleep, food and exercise but commit to not missing your “medication”.
  • Sit and stand with your back straight. (This raises your confidence and assertiveness; then makes you feel in control; then reduces anxiety, and finally improve your health).
  • Do some martial arts its a good confidence booster. It doesn’t have to be MMA, even aikido can be good. And you get to socialize(with a different mindset crowd) at the same time.

be intentional with time

  • Working on being really intentional with my time and who I spend it with
  • Working on health in all aspects (physical, mental, emotional, and financial)

being happy all the time is NOT the goal.. but satisfaction is important

“Well, you can’t be satisfied all the time. That’s not how brain chemistry works in healthy individuals. You can enjoy what you do most of the time though. Thanks to your brain also. I find it harder when working for somebody because money is not necessarily a good enough motivator. But when working on my own project and faced with a tedious task (writing tests, fighting dependencies or whatever it is that you despise), I think why do I want to do it (e.g. I want my project to succeed it and it needs it). You can try to achieve your goal without the thing that you don’t like. If you think that this is not possible, then wanting your project to succeed and wanting to do this task are the same thing. They are connected.

Once you realize this it makes things much more simple. Most of suffering seems to come from some semi-conscious story in your brain: I want A but without doing B. Either it’s possible to do that or it’s not. If it’s not then it’s just wishful thinking that is only bringing you misery.

The way you think and wire your brain really matters. Instead of “I must do X even though I don’t want it”. Think “If I want A then X comes with it - do I still want A?”. Or find a way to A without X.

For me at least, having that stated explicitly in my mind alters my perception of X. Because it really is hard to hold two logically inconsistent beliefs in your mind when you bring them both into focus. Your brain quick fix is usually some “but..”. That’s where you need to eliminate wishful thinking. Wishful thinking is imagining reality in some other way than it really is and only leads to frustration.

Accepting things that already are should come pretty naturally though. You may want to change something. But you can’t change the past.” “I agree, but you’re not going to counter bumper sticker phrases with multi-paragraph quasi-Buddhist philosophy. :-) So I just stick with “what a load of crap”. But you’re coming at it from a different angle, I feel. Instead of “finding your passion”, I hear you advising a different way of looking at it such that one can find fulfillment (for lack of better phrasing) in whatever job by matching the story in one’s head to reality. I’m on board. Hell, I’ve been happy doing janitorial work. Was it my passion? Well, no. But it needed to be done, and I could do it, they’re paying me, and in the end there’s something satisfying about a clean floor. That was enough for me at the time.” “You guys are both right. You’re saying “crap work” and “load of crap” figuratively, by my wife deals with it literally! She has a masters degree in marketing but rather run her own business than work for a boss. It’s a dog kennel and three times a day she walks around the property poop-scooping. Her business is her passion, but it comes with some crap work. She’s very happy.”

do other stuff

My gut feeling is most of us would be better off doing something completely different in our spare time, ideally something that doesn’t involve sitting behind a keyboard.
Your gut wants you to exercise and take hikes looking at green things every once in a while.

“Stay the course, but be sure to have interests and hobbies that don’t involve sitting in front of a computer. I wouldn’t change anything about my career trajectory. I’m glad I spent four years in a huge corporation, and I’m glad that I’ve had the opportunity to work in (and create) companies of all different sizes subsequently.

It’s not even a regret, per se, but I wish I’d gotten more serious about photography in/around 2007 instead of dithering for another six years.” > email this guy

the joy of missing out

“I’ve regained a lot of mental peace once I quit Instagram. When you have hundreds of friends and follow random influencers, you get the impression that every single person is always on a beach in Bali, eating at Michelin star restaurants, riding Lambos and partying with attractive, successful people in the most exclusive venues in exotic locations. In the meanwhile you’re a corporate drone stuck in traffic to get to your grey cubicle, dealing with a shitty boss, trying to figure out how to pay rent. The reality is that those people who FOMO you, don’t have that lifestyle. They’re simply marketers, but our brains aren’t super good at seeing past that. And your friends? Sure, they go to a cool place once in a while individually, but you’re just being exposed to hundreds of them all signaling at the same time. Statistically speaking you WILL see your extended social circle doing something cool multiple times a day. This used to be manageable in the 150 person village age. Bob got a new goat, son of a bitch.. oh well. But at social media scale our brains simply can’t handle it.

It’s analogous to how regular people don’t realize just how much Photoshop and photographic skill goes into making someone look as good as they do in magazines and on their IG feed. We look at them and immediately conclude that we’re some kind of a sub-human degenerate species compared to them, whereas in reality it’s all bullshit.

It feels SO much better to swim in one’s lane (basically JOMO), not looking around to see how everybody else is doing, especially when it’s not real.

I’m not a religious person, but there’s something really powerful in the admonition not to covet your neighbor’s spouse, house, animals… which is what I sense my brain doing on social media.

The genius of IG is that it makes people willingly subscribe to hours of marketing every day. Zuckerberg got one hell of a deal on that company, 1 bil for it has to be the greatest deal of the century.”



We are living in the tail end of most of our cherished relationships (with family and childhood friends). “1) Living in the same place as the people you love matters. I probably have 10X the time left with the people who live in my city as I do with the people who live somewhere else.

1) Priorities matter. Your remaining face time with any person depends largely on where that person falls on your list of life priorities. Make sure this list is set by you—not by unconscious inertia.

2) Quality time matters. If you’re in your last 10% of time with someone you love, keep that fact in the front of your mind when you’re with them and treat that time as what it actually is: precious.”

Be kind and caring - with effort.

“My uncle died suddenly this year. He was unbelievably caring - and not just to family - but to everyone he ever met. His funeral was jam packed with everyone from homeless people to executives of multi-billion dollar companies. I always thought that his ability to always have you, and whatever you had last talked about with him, on his mind at any moment was some kind of supernatural gift. I was surprised to find out at his funeral that he actually kept an excel spreadsheet of everyone he met and what they needed and were going through. He reviewed this constantly.
It didn’t lessen his genuine love for everyone, just let him be a little more super human.”
Appreciate people.
“Most of us get told how special and amazing we are by our parents and family all the time growing up. Often times the praise isn’t really deserved since we’re special snowflakes. When a stranger, family friend or anyone not related gives praise or reward it can be extremely impactful and reinforce that we’re on the right path and that it really does matter. Those moments get seared into our memories.”

Be nice

“It’s probably a mix of all of it, but there are more people struggling than it first appears. Relevant quote from a prominent leader in a church I attend:

When I was a young man, I served as counselor to a wise district president in the Church. He tried to teach me. One of the things I remember wondering about was this advice he gave: “When you meet someone, treat them as if they were in serious trouble, and you will be right more than half the time.”

I thought then that he was pessimistic. Now, more than 40 years later, I can see how well he understood the world and life.”

Communication is hard

“I was thinking about communication the other day and came up with an aphorism: “We can’t even understand other people when we speak the same language - what hope do we have of communicating with an alien life?”

By which I mean we wouldn’t even recognise the nature of the intelligence presented to us, never mind work out how to exchange information.”

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place” -GBS

“It’s a bit sad we can’t yet fully communicate with other life here effectively. I wonder what ethical implications it would have if we ever got there. An analogy to the current state may be that of a man from another language trying to ask for directions to an autistic kid.

What does it mean to understand?”

sounding board, not advisors

“For a founder, this means picking a single adviser who can inform your thinking, rather than someone who makes decisions for you. I would call this a sounding board. A good sounding board is really valuable. It should be someone you trust, like talking with and communicate well with. They don’t necessarily need to know your problem space all that well.

I often serve as a sounding board for my 31 year old son. He talks a lot, I occasionally comment on something he said and he walks away with a valuable insight on where to go next. I’m not even in a position to give advice per se because I don’t really know what he’s talking about. But even in the course of trying to understand what he is saying, I can ask questions that help clarify something in his mind.

I’m really not a big fan of either getting nor giving advice. I try to get people to engage me in discussion in a meaty way, but advice per se presumes one person knows what is best for another and I think that is generally not true. The person seeking advice typically has “local” information that simply never really gets shared and this means the person giving advice is frequently doing so without knowledge critical to the decision-making process.

When I was raising my kids, I operated on the assumption that they knew a bajillion things about their little world that I would never know – if they were hot, if their tummy hurt but they were too young to communicate it, etc – but I knew a lot more about life, the universe and everything generally. I tried to bridge the gap between my larger knowledge base and their smaller one for the problem space in question while leaving as much decision-making in their hands as possible.

So, for example, the summer my oldest turned two and we got a hand-me-down winter coat in the mail that perfectly matched his new shoes and he was enamored that they matched and wanted to wear them together, I didn’t tell him “No, you can’t wear a winter coat in summer.” (It was Germany and it was fairly cool that summer anyway.) Instead, I told him “Don’t put the hood on and don’t zip it closed. Half your heat escapes from your head. If you leave the hood off, you should be okay.” And he then put the hood on and off a dozen times to test what he had just been told.

Because of this incident, years later in elementary school in Kansas – which was colder than Germany – he was better at keeping himself warm while playing outside in winter than his classmates. He was typically the last child still outside for recess. Everyone else went in before recess was over because they were too cold.”

How to deal with my ADHD tendency

Step 1: Figure out where the problems are. This means, before you make any changes, record when things go right / wrong and map out places that need change. (and I know, making ADHD people carefully analyze and wait it out is the most ridiculous thing ever but…)

Step 2: Change your environment and the way you live your life. Automate, externalize, or delegate all nonessential tasks and change your set/setting to accommodate you instead of struggling to behave. If it’s not something you do without thought or effort, automate, externalize, or delegate it.

Step 3: Relax! You’ve made it, time to kick back and… Oh, no, sorry, continue to repeat steps 0-2 on a weekly/monthly/annual basis, largely for the rest of your life. It’s a little bit like weight loss - getting there is only about 10% of the battle. Getting consistent about it is the other 90% and that’s the part that clearly people with ADHD struggle with the most.

Anyway, it’s really key to understand it as a process, a skill, and one that you can improve at over time. Don’t let missing things or being unsuccessful get you down, just pick it back up and learn from where you made the problem. Don’t blame yourself any more than you’d blame yourself for being colorblind or tall.

More about the changes in step 2:

1) I automate and delegate everything even more heavily than I did before. All bills go on autopayment, anything that can be set up to be routine is. Yard service, cleaning service, whatever it is, if it can take things off my plate, sold. Can’t overstate how critical it is to not let your own execution problems trap you. Focus on strengths and accept your weaknesses.

2) Calendaring is absolutely essential. He recommends paper, I do it digitally, whatever works for you. I have things set to remind me, and I use it religiously. I have reminders for any recurring activity - daily, weekly, monthly, if it can’t be automated, don’t try to remember it, instead use reminders. It also must be with you 100% of the time. Literally chain it to your arm if you need to. Which sounds less ludicrous when you call it a ‘smartwatch’ but…

3) Externalize everything. Draw pictures, flowcharts, checklists, plans, or sketches; set timers, write notes, make boxes and organizers; put gold stars on a chart; whatever it takes, but you can’t rely on your own brain to provide feedback. You need things to be concrete and outside of your own mind.
Most importantly, the things you need have to be at where you perform the task, not in the office. I have 3 whiteboards in my house and they are constantly full with relevant, localized info, plans, lists, schedules, etc. I use painter’s tape and markers to label everything. Do not label the cats. They do not like it. I routinely go through ~3 rolls of tape a month.

4) You need your environment to fit you, not the other way around. If you can’t focus at work, either make changes to where / how you work or find a new job. If your home/neighborhood/city is the wrong size, shape, or activity level, change it. It’s that simple, and that serious. A significant undertaking and one that I’m definitely still working on.

Organizing thoughts

Trello boards

“I have a trello board with a card for each idea. I have 4 lists:

  • Braindump: New ideas go here as I think of them.

  • Graveyard: Archive of bad ideas.

  • Research: Potentially good ideas that need fleshing out.

  • Ready: Ideas where I’ve thought through and documented market fit, timeline, tech stack, marketing, or whatever the project needs. And crucially: first thing to do when I start the project, which makes it easier to get going.

When I have free time I look down my Ready list and pick something interesting, and I’ve done the prep already to get stuck in straight away.”

Evaluating Ideas

“Here’s what works for me:

  1. Give each idea a quick title and write them down

  2. Write down the following questions:

  • Does this solve a problem for me/am I the target audience?

  • Am I part of an online/offline community that are also like me and would likely love this idea because it solves a problem?

  • Can I easily get 3 paying customers within the next 5 days, because I have easy access to the target audience?

  • Is this something I can launch by myself quickly?

There are more stuff you could ask to the list of questions, but basically the idea that has ‘Yes’ to all of these questions, is the one you should be jumping on right away. Cross away the other ideas that have No’s, or try to figure out how to turn it into a Yes. But your time is limited, so don’t waste it bouncing around with ideas that aren’t a good fit.”

prioritizing list

“I create two lists: needs and wants. I prioritise them as such: 1 = no harm if not done; 2 = annoying if not done; 3 = disappoint someone if not done; 4 = financial or emotional harm if not done; 5 = financial and emotional harm if not done.

This is applied to both sets of items on each type of list.

Now I know what I NEED to do above all else, and then I can get to what I WANT to do later.”

Doing stuff

build relationships, quickly

“I am a bit surprised all the comments so far are tech or process oriented. On my side, I try to say “Good morning” to everyone and get to know them a bit better. It allows me to quickly identify the key resource I need to get answer and being friendly usually make them reply faster.”


In Sanskrit, there’s a poem about hand gestures: “Yato hasta stato drishti”…“Where the hand is, the eyes follow”

“Yato drishti stato manaha”…“Where the eyes go, the mind follows”

“Yato manaha stato bhava”…“Where the mind is, there is the feeling”

“Yato bhava stato rasa”…“Where the feeling is, there is mood”

just start doing

“I still remember a comment - which was almost equivalent to a dozen books, around why some people are successful - something to the effect that it is not that we lack information, or lack access to information but the fact that our mind is so full of input that we don’t act on what we already know we need to do.”

On Side Projects

The way I see it there are only a few reasons that I would ever do a side project.

  1. To make more money now by freelancing.

  2. To make more money in the future by learning new skills or heck at the point, just to keep up with the technology to stay employable.

  3. A great idea that I think I can make money on.

  4. For fun

Taking those reasons into account:

  1. We make enough now to be comfortable and I’m not willing to prioritize making more money over exercising or spending time with my family and friends.

  2. I try to make sure I have a job that lets me keep learning. I’ll spend extra time at work trying to figure out a new to me technology to incorporate in my job. That’s the quickest way to learn how something works in a real world environment.

  3. I really don’t have any great money making ideas.

  4. I find coding and problem solving “fun” That’s why I enjoy my job. If I’m not enjoying my job, it’s time to get a new one.

But I do spend maybe 5-6 hours a week studying and watching tech videos in my downtime or when I’m working out in my home gym.

diminishing returns to preparation

“There are diminishing returns to preparation: focus less on preparation (to include going to prestigious institutions and working for prestigious companies) and more on launching, learning, and iterating. This is true in business and a variety of other fields.”

On presenting

build a story, and focus on visuals

“I found when I applied the principles I use for software, it helped me make much better presentations. Build a (user) story. Why are presenting? What do you want to accomplish by taking to these people? Based on what they already know, how much background do they need? Your don’t build features by adding buttons and sliders - you figure out user stories by asking why a dozen times. It’s not quite the same dynamic but you can roughly go through the same exercise, even if it’s just in your head.

The other big thing is to reduce text content to the bare minimum. Remove sentences (move them to speaker notes, if you want). Keep rephrasing things to make it shorter. If you have lots of text on screen people read it and don’t pay attention to you. If you’re reading the text verbatim, you might as well just email your content and not waste the time talking.

Visuals are good when possible. Even dumb stock photos can work: for example, if you’re making an argument that your onboarding process is too complex, a photo of a crazy highway interchange can help reinforce that. It certainly leaves a more lasting impression that a 9-point bulleted wall of text.”

again, visuals. pared down visuals.

“The best-constructed talk i ever saw as as scientist was by a medic who considered himself far too busy and important to spend time mucking around with Powerpoint. The only slides he had were figures of his results - photomicrographs of tissue, graphs of drug effects, etc - probably lifted from a paper in preparation, and so probably done by his graduate students anyway. This meant that there were only a handful of slides, so very few distracting transitions to distract from his talking, and the screen was always full of important content. Needless to say, that this guy’s combination of laziness and arrogance had led to him to have a much better presentation than me with much less effort left me absolutely furious.”,

Interesting business model


  • Article curation for the Chinese Audience
    • Based on reading articles on Pocket (..which I do everyday anyway)
    • 5 articles with comments
  • No code written until 8 months
    • Audience have already existed
    • Written on Wordpress until then
  • Code for what? Easiness
    • posting by sending a link to slack and making a summary
    • When ready, automatically posted to SocMed and push notifs
  • pattern of “Proficient in X and Y”

Random Reading/Watching

Hannu Rajaniemi (on privacy and identity), (quotes from Meditations), (Black Mirror),

Book list

Manual of the Mercenary Soldier (1988), Paul Balor,
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert Pirsig,
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Robert Cialdini,
Meditations, Marcus Aurelius (find a suitable translation),
How to Lie with Statistics, Darrell Huff,
Fooled by Randomness, Nassim Nicholas Taleb,
Antifragile, Nassim Nicholas Taleb,
The Black Swan (2nd edition), Nassim Nicholas Taleb,
Man’s Search For Meaning, Viktor Frankl, “How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They’re Built”, Steward Brand(?),
“The Influential Mind”, Tali Sharot,

On Programming

Three boks I’ll recommend you read as soon as possible. 1) The Mythical Man month

3) The Pragmatic Programmer

3) Code Complete.


Product Design Course on edX, TU Delft,


Update-Crispr, Radiolab,

What I’ve watched but want to recommend to people

Fictional World War 3 Documentary,

Random Quotes

on fulfillment

“When something competes with established channels for individual fulfillment, the people who control those channels (politicians, manufacturers, priests, ministers) will oppose, vilify, and demonize it.”

“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.” - Douglas Adams

“What someone doesn’t want you to publish is journalism, all else is publicity.” - Paul Fussell

don’t program in vacuum

“I didn’t realize this until after college, but outside of a CS 101 class you can’t be just a programmer. Programming doesn’t happen in a vacuum - it must be applied to a domain.

For some people, a lot of whom are on this website, the domain can be computer science. Writing a compiler, database, or operating system would fall into that category. Things on the cutting edge like VR or AR would also fall into this category. This particular kind of programming has never appealed to me personally. I don’t much care for programming itself or even computer science itself.

However, there are a lot of interesting problems to be solved in other domains that require programming. Economic models, biotechnology, digital synthesizers, etc.

Unfortunately, without the domain knowledge required in those fields, it’s pretty hard to find a job solving those problems. All that’s left is CRUD work where the domain is opaque business logic that requires little to no expertise but is dreadfully boring.”

“I think development is one of the coolest jobs out there. With dev skills, you can do everything from building websites to physics models to game development to data science… I’m not saying all you need is coding, but you can’t do most of these things without code!” “I personally support your point 100%. If you asked my wife she would reply: “Meh, in the end you are sitting in front of a screen all day and just typing on your keyboard for 40 years“

Perspectives… :)”

not burning out while being a creator

“I dunno, I’ve been absolutely delighted that Patreon has made it possible to pay my rent by drawing arcane comics about robot ladies with Phillip K Dick problems and cartoon animals in space. Especially since I don’t have to crank out product every single day without any break like these Youtube kids do; I can actually have downtime to go for a walk in the park, watch a movie, play a video game… these folks sound absolutely miserable in part because they are constantly working on stuff for their channels, without a chance to build up a buffer, or ever do anything else besides bars survival necessities. To extend your analogy, these folks have to ride that horse all day, every day, from dawn to dusk, and they are starting to get some serious saddle sores.”

interesting projects

host simple websites!

host your own video stream

code structuring

“I reproduce the relevant part:

Dependencies (coupling) is an important concern to address, but it’s only 1 of 4 criteria that I consider and it’s not the most important one. I try to optimize my code around reducing state, coupling, complexity and code, in that order. I’m willing to add increased coupling if it makes my code more stateless. I’m willing to make it more complex if it reduces coupling. And I’m willing to duplicate code if it makes the code less complex. Only if it doesn’t increase state, coupling or complexity do I dedup code.

State > Coupling > Complexity > Duplication. I find that to be a very sensible ordering of concerns to keep in mind when addressing any of those.” “> Existing code exerts a powerful influence. Its very presence argues that it is both correct and necessary.“

static sites

csv data manipulation using SQLite and csvkit

computer setups


vm and setup stuff,
wine + windows vm,

automating house searching

on learning unix utility shells

advice to the past

“You don’t need to make a relationship without a solid foundation work just because you had a child. You can be a great single dad.

You can have a healthy relationship with your entire family, ex included, even after separating.

Negotiate your salary, as far as income is concerned negotiation skills can often be more important than technical skills.

Follow the breadcrumbs that come along, talk to people, everyone, listen to their advice, look for opportunities, seize them. Believe in your ability to execute.

Life can change incredibly fast. Six months can take you from bottom to top or the other way. Sometimes this may involve a perspective change more than anything.

Work Hard. Be Kind.

At 25 I was barely supporting my little family, with very little hope of living beyond check to check..

At 33 now, I am doing better than I ever imagined possible”

“We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology.”

deconstructing bullshit business speak

visceral experiences on killing animals

why art self-destructed

“Before 1914, it was still possible to be naive in the West and believe that everything happens for some sort of supreme purpose. Then we saw the mass destruction of humans on a society-wrecking scale, senseless deaths among the shells and gas; an entire generation returning with unacknowledged PTSD. Then this power got turned on civilians. The only possible response artistically to Guernica was a sprawling, fractured, ugly painting. Inevitably the catastrophe scaled up: everything “traditional” was appropriated and turned to Fascism, and Fascism destroyed everything that it could reach that didn’t support it. Finally we built the Bomb, and realised that there wasn’t really anything standing between us and the power to destroy entire civilisations in an afternoon.

We were standing in the wreckage of our own ethical systems, and have had to gradually rebuild them. This gave us the principles of human rights, and the realisation that equality of respect was the only real moral imperative. If we allow humans to deem other humans to be inherently inferior, this will be used to justify mass atrocities. Nobody is coming to redeem us and there is no final judgement to look forward to; we have to liberate ourselves in this lifetime.

In the face of this challenge, philosophy could either collapse into post-modernism, an endless hall of mirrors of signifier and signified; or it could mobilise and be used to deconstruct power relations and correctly label injustices. That gave us post-colonialism, queer theory, multiple generations of feminism, and so on. We have to live with the Other, and the question is how.”

no, work does not have to be (and improbably is) interesting

Ask HN: What do you live for?

“Must one have something to live for? I expect it’s pretty common not to know, and to keep going from day to day driven by base animal instinct to survive. Many of the common answers are just rationalizations.”

religion as a set framework

“It’s an interesting question, one that has been bothering me as I get “older” (I’m a few years short of turning 30). The short answer is I’m not sure. There was a set of paths ahead of me in life and I chose one, more or less arbitrarily. I’m not sure how cognizant of it I was. I think most people operate in this manner.

The long answer is that I’m not sure nor am I sure where to start. This is one of the areas where I think religion proves incredibly useful in that it gives followers a set framework and rules for existing in the world. Finding meaning in your own life is a messy and complicated task. I see the appeal of giving that power away to some sort of authority. In return you don’t have to think about these challenging questions.”