Nihilist Hiring

Malcolm Gladwell's Hamlet Was Wrong
Malcolm Gladwell’s Hamlet Was Wrong

I’ve often wondered if I was alone in my thoughts about hiring people and the hiring process. Take, for example, the NFL Draft whereupon millions of dollars in salary and millions more as a football organization are at stake as teams select amateur athletes to become professionals in the first round.

The process is absolutely grueling and, I promise, unlike any job interview you’ve ever had. After being picked over near-naked in a public venue in front of hundreds, you are tested in every aspect of your athleticism and physical body at the NFL Draft Combine. (X-rays, blood tests, EKGs, MRIs, drug tests…) You are interviewed in person for hours, but, with so much on the line, organizations have also taken to interviewing nearly everyone you’ve been associated with since you were old enough to throw a football. It’s a process a private investigator would drool over.

And yet?

Of the 223 first round picks over the past seven years, 120 have averaged an AV (Approximate Value) of 5 or more for their careers so far; that’s good for a 53% success rate.

Vincent Richardson
“First Round Picks Only Have a 53% Success Rate And Other Troubling Draft Thoughts,” The Riot Report

“Hamlet Was Wrong”

The phrase that Hirschman and Colorni would repeat to each other was that they hoped to ‘prove Hamlet wrong.’ Hamlet shouldn’t have been frozen by his doubts; he should have been freed by them. Hamlet took himself too seriously.

Malcolm Gladwell
“The Gift of Doubt,” The New Yorker

Your final decision is a coin flip. It turns out Malcolm Gladwell has a similar belief in hiring.

Photo via Revisionist History, captioned by Gladwell: “Hiring nihilism in action.”

The War on Information

Seventeenth Century English judge and politician Edward Coke
Seventeenth Century English judge and politician Edward Coke

Where the battle against an open society gets lost:

“In a society that depends on an informed citizenry to make reasonably intelligent decisions about self-governance, (fake news) is the worst kind of trouble. And the president — who knows exactly what he is doing — is making it far, far worse. His war on the nation’s traditional press is a part of the same scheme: information warfare, meant to mess with reality and sow as much confusion as possible.”

The most effective way to make citizens subjects, divide et impera (“divide and rule”) is ancient, seeing examples before Jesus Christ. Flavius Josephus wrote in The Wars of the Jews (Book I, 167) that Syrian proconsul Aulus Gabinius, in order to suppress Jewish revolt, ultimately parted the Jewish nation into five conventions, so “the people were glad to be thus freed from monarchical government, and were governed for the future by all aristocracy.”

Niccolo Machiavelli wrote in the Sixth Book of The Art of War in the 16th Century:

“A Captain ought, among all the other actions of his, endeavor with every art to divide the forces of the enemy, either by making him suspicious of his men in whom he trusted, or by giving him cause that he has to separate his forces, and, because of this, become weaker.”

Niccolo Machiavelli
Sixth Book, The Art of War

Edward Coke, 17th Century English judge and politician, recorded in the Institutes of the Lawes of England (Ch. 1, p. 35 [original]): Eritis insuperabiles, si fueritis inseparabiles. “You would be invincible if you were inseparable.”

Photo is Edward Coke attributed to Thomas Athow, after Unknown artist, after Cornelius Johnson (Cornelius Janssen van Ceulen), via the UK’s National Portrait Gallery

Visit Link: This Was The Week America Lost The War on Misinformation »

Straight Into The Pros

Peter Thiel Illustration By Garry Brown via The Manhattan Institute
Peter Thiel Illustration By Garry Brown via The Manhattan Institute

When you’re in a university, Gibson and Strachman tell me, you usually learn to think in a conformist way. “The medium is a message,” says Gibson. “No matter what you do, if you have people acting obediently and taking orders over 16-plus years, that’s going to produce a certain type of person no matter what you teach.” Further, he adds, “it’s striking just how biased and far-left universities have become.” Universities talk about “diversity as a value,” Gibson says, but in practice, he believes, they reinforce a strikingly uniform worldview, in which “all of us are to some degree the victims of forces beyond our control, individual initiative is overrated, and history is a long list of grievances (and) of moral atrocities.”

From Tara Isabella Burton
“The Gospel According to Peter Theil”

Peter Thiel Illustration By Garry Brown via The Manhattan Institute

Visit Link: The Gospel According to Peter Thiel »

The Only Constant is Change

An incredibly interesting breakdown of capitalism’s effect on the ego, the identity, and its ability to come to fruition less it self-destruct.

Featuring BuzzFeed founder Jonah Peretti and his pre-fame essay on Capitalism and Schizophrenia.

Accurate Weight Loss

"Subway Map" of Human Metabolism
“Subway Map” of Human Metabolism

We studied the process by which our Sun’s free energy powers blog posts via a transformation of nuclear binding energy to electromagnetic radiation to heat. The photons power the fixing of carbon in CO2 and hydrogen in H2O into C-C/C-H rich organic molecules in plants, which we digest and break back down via a “slow” stepwise combustion in our cell’s cytosols and mitochondria, which “charges” some (ATP) molecular springs, which provide the “umph” that fires the neurons and moves the fingers. Also, any excess energy is stockpiled by the body as fat, so we need to intake less of it or “waste” some of it away on movement to discharge our primary battery and breathe out our weight.

Andrej Karpathy,
“Biohacking Lite”

And did you know that when we lose weight, we lose 84% of it via our breath?

The carbon in that carbon dioxide you just breathed out may have just seconds ago been part of a triglyceride molecule in your fat. It’s highly amusing to think that every single time you breathe out (in a fasted state) you are literally breathing out your fat carbon by carbon.


Visit Link: Biohacking Lite »

A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked. A complex system designed from scratch never works and cannot be patched up to make it work. You have to start over with a working simple system.

John Gall
Systemantics: How Systems Really Work and How They Fail (1975), p. 71

This is how we took two steps back to take three steps forward.

I work on an incredibly complex product, and, inevitably, bugs were buried and (seemingly) impossible to root out. To hit our deadlines, we had to walk it all back to critical path and begin anew to be successful.

Now, I can see why some aristocrat might find coaching distasteful. People born on top always want for everyone else to just stay in their places. One way to do it is to make fun of people who try too hard and ban any edge that might help them to compete.

But the old aristocracy is dead. Now everybody thinks it’s good to try. Everybody competes. And the people who take their coaching most seriously? The aristocrats.

Michael Lewis
“The Unfair Coach”
Against the Rules, S2E6

Post-Mastectomy Tattoos

David Allen Post-Mastectomy Tattoos
David Allen Post-Mastectomy Tattoos

In 2004, I took an internship at HM Magazine. While there, David Allen was the Creative Director. I learned a lot from him, but he wasn’t tattooing (yet) and he hadn’t doubled down on his artistry (yet).

In 2020, he’s not only a full-on tattoo artist and, well, artist, but he is doing something incredible and beautiful, tattooing breasts post-mastectomy, giving women back control over their bodies.

Years of passion towards one visual goal had me prepared. She was there… ready and willing to trust my view. The weight was incredible, but together we created a work of art. Her scar was concealed, but more importantly, she took back control. I’ll never forget it. What was clinical became beautiful again… we turned sterile into sensual. We took back control.

David Allen
Post-Mastectomy Tattoos

My right forearm is tattooed by him, as well. Honored I’m permanently marked by someone doing such good for these women.

Visit Link: Postmastectomy Tattooing Helps Women with Breast Cancer Heal »

Twin Cigarettes

Cigarettes After Sex is the Twin Peaks soundtrack that never was.

Prince Reigns

In 2004, George Harrison was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. To celebrate, his son Dhani performed “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” written by The Beatles, alongside Tom Petty, Steve Winwood, Jeff Lynne… and Prince.

You can just see Prince, stage left, staring down an otherwise a formulaic, straightforward, undeserving cover – until it’s his turn at-bat, when he won’t let that happen. When you see the smoke start to rise off the fretboard. When he falls backward into the arms of a security guard and stares straight back at Tom effing Petty, bleeding swagger. When he finishes the solo by taking off his guitar without touching his hat, throwing it in the air, and walking off stage.

In a room full of Hall of Famers, Prince was the king.

‘We Work To One Standard, Which Is A Higher Standard’

The Rolls-Royce Phantom is my favorite car. The brand is infallible, and I have no doubt you’re aware of them despite only selling 5,152 of them in 2019 (which was the first time they’ve ever sold more than 4,000 in a year).

The 2020 Rolls-Royce Phantom EWB

Top to bottom, the company – from Joshua Liles (the Bespoke Embroidery Specialist who says there is “no tolerance” in the stitching and that it “can’t be out by a millimeter, otherwise it’s completely written off”) to Mark Court (the Coachliner who freehand-paints every pinstripe on every car) to Alexandra Benga (the Starlight Headliner Craftperson who oversees the building of fiber-optic dotted interior roofs) – is bought in, and no one wavers about their values: “Our strive for perfection guides us.”

Business Insider YouTube Channel

The Netflix Effect

Molly’s Game was released on Netflix on April 1.

There is no such joy in the tavern as upon the road thereto, said the Mennonite. He had been holding his hat in his hands and now he set it upon his head again and turned and went out the gate.

Cormac McCarthy
Blood Meridian, p. 41

It’s often said that life is about the journey and not the destination.

Drummer Matt Greiner on Zildjian Live

Matt Greiner is the drummer for August Burns Red and is also known as one of the most important and technically proficient drummers in metalcore. He also happens to be a friend, and I love being able to support his incredible talent.

His band’s latest album, Guardians, was released last Friday, and the week before he appeared on Season Two’s debut episode of Zildjian Live to perform “Pteranodon,” written by Robert Sput Searight and Mark Lettieri, with Ghost-Note.

It also happens to feature one of the most seamless and moving uses of a bass solo I’ve ever heard.

Dear UX Designers

Don’t stop designing.

You’re going through classes and teachers are giving you an incredible education. You start to learn about how important usability is to the experience a user has on your website, app, or concept. You’re falling in love with inventing personas and finding your core user types to understand their needs, behaviours, and goals. You have fallen in love with Post-it Notes® and you’re furiously organizing them on whiteboards. You’re learning how to work in functional teams. You’re learning about sprints and stories and features and requirements. Workflows. Wireframes. Information architecture and navigation. Storyboarding. Rapid prototyping…

That’s all fantastic stuff. It scratches the human-behaviour itch that might have gotten you into the user experience field to begin with. Those are integral parts of the approach and process any UX Designer should embrace.

But, if you’re looking for a job in digital product design and want to make yourself the most marketable, please – for the love of all people looking to hire a good UX Designer – don’t stop there.

Designing is hard. Really, really hard. Getting something ready for turnover to a development team that’s production-ready requires the most unique combinations of technological, psychological, and pragmatic thought and exercise.

Don’t forget about the design part of being a Designer.

“There is a certain mystique attached to products with geographical uniqueness. Maybe grapes from one little 80-acre vineyard in France are really the best in the whole world, but I have always had a suspicion that 99% of it is in the telling and about 1% of it is in the drinking.”

Warren Buffet in a letter to Chuck Huggins
Dec. 13, 1972

See’s Candies was one of the first companies Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway bought outright. Immediately after, Buffett installed Charles Huggins as the CEO and wrote him a letter.

The best don’t always win.

Letter from Saber Capital Management | Zach Crockett

Chris Turner tracking drums for Oceans Ate Alaska’s new album

Oceans Ate Alaska wrote the best metalcore album of all time: Lost Isles. A lot of it is due to drummer Chris Turner’s jazz-like approach to writing music. OAA subsequently wrote Hikari, but they did that in 2017. That means they’re due for new music.

Last week, the cymbal company Sabian release a video of Turner tracking drums for that new album. Turner is my favorite drummer in metal alongside Tool’s Danny Carey. Watching him work is pure inspiration.

“A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.”

Max Planck
German theoretical phycisist

The basis of Planck’s Principle, which comes from Max Planck’s autobiography, Scientific Autobiography and Other Papers, published in 1950.