Hi, I’m Jamie Thingelstad, and this is the Weekly Thing! At some point, you decided to join me on this exploratory journey of technology, culture, leadership, privacy, and many other topics.
Buckle up. The intro is a long one this week. Only two topics, but I have some stuff on my mind. Or feel free to jump down to the other sections. That is cool too!
This has been an incredible week. Think back just seven days. It wasn’t that long ago, take a moment. Consider what was on your mind then, and compare that to now. Coronavirus, Covid-19, is dominating everything. And I mean everything. All media, all conversations.
This is a worrisome time, for multiple reasons. One observation, we humans do not understand exponential growth. This virus is spreading fast and getting faster. We are meaning-makers and are about stories. Stories have linear progressions. Non-linear is non-sensical to us. You know how computer storage increased in size so fast over the years? You can get unbelievable gigabytes in such a small package. That is a better model for thinking about this virus. I also believe that this virus is hitting on three specific pressure points.
First, the health concern is real. It’s dangerous. We all know people that are in the high-risk category of this disease. A lot of people are likely to get sick. I’m not anywhere near qualified to have an important observation on this part, and it’s clear that those that are qualified are worried. They all are saying we are in the early days of this. In the storage example, we are in the megabyte stage right now.
On another level, the economic concern is enormous. The markets have been devastated in the last two weeks, and the amount of fluctuation is profound. Mostly a plunge down with a couple of whiplash-inducing spikes. This brings memories of the housing crisis and watching the market falling every, single, day, and not having any idea when it was going to stop. I’ve had many people say in casual conversations that this is a buying opportunity. Sure, but have we found a floor yet?
And while we are on the economic angle, let’s remember all the people that are already just getting by, just making ends meet. Hourly employees will have nothing to do, and no income, if there are massive quarantines. Now is the time for some empathy and caring. A little less me, and a little more us.
There is another level more rooted in the subconscious that I feel the events this week have triggered. This is the part that made me feel like I understood a little bit better what might be driving some behavior we are seeing.
We are not in control.
Before I dive into that, let me talk about a book I read called Ishmael by Daniel Quinn. This book has stuck with me over the years. I find that I go back to the concepts in it frequently. It was a delightful and profound philosophical novel. The story starts with a newspaper ad.
“Teacher seeks pupil. Must have an earnest desire to save the world. Apply in person”
The person arrives to find the teacher is a gorilla named Ishmael. The book proceeds with dialog between this teacher and the student. The lessons unfold that the student, mankind, decided at some point to no longer be part of nature, but to rule over nature. The first break discussed in the book is around the agricultural revolution and how that allowed mankind to defeat the effects of drout and famine.
We’ve gotten so used to control that we don’t even think about it. We control the temperature we need, the light we have, and so many things about our environment.
But we cannot control Covid-19. At least not now, and not anytime soon. The best we can do is adapt. We can attempt to be that reed in the wind. But we are not in control of this. When I considered this, it helped me think about how Covid-19 was making me feel. While I didn’t necessarily feel better, I felt like I understood it a little better.
It also made me wonder what else might feel like this, and my mind went to global warming right away. But that is an entirely different thought.
I debated putting no Covid-19 links this week. Last week I gave it a section all of its own. This week I think it’s everywhere and nobody needs more. Maybe a Covid-19 free issue? I ultimately decided to include a plain list of links without any commentary. I didn’t feel like spending my energy there, but if you are curious to see some links, they are there.
Speaking of energy, that has been my focus this week. Onto the second thing making this introduction really long!
I was in Orlando this week for a 2.5-day workshop at the Human Performance Institute! How did I get there? I’m glad you asked. Two things.
A while back, my friend Garrick recommended I read The Power of Full Engagement. I read it and really liked it. He made the suggestion when I shared with him that I had been struggling with having energy for everything I wanted to do. I had optimized and brought efficiency to tasks. With that efficiency, I had created windows of time, but when I got to that time, I was tired and unable to capitalize on it.
The second thing was showing up at my brother-in-law’s for his kids’ birthday party and nearly being tackled at the door by Hector to tell me about this program he had been researching. He had read the HBR article on the Corporate Athlete and found that one of the authors had gone deeper and built this program. Why did he want to share it with me? Both of us have done endurance sports in the past, and he recognized that the corporate athlete is an endurance activity.
Jim Loehr, one of the co-authors of The Power of Full Engagement, and also of that article, was one of the founders of the Human Performance Institute. I did some research on my own and decided this would be an excellent program for me!
The thing I appreciated about the program was its integrated nature, combining on the concepts of a physical base that you build on, with emotional and mental layers on top of that, and ultimately a spiritual aspect at the very top. The critical part for me wasn’t the specifics in each one of those, but how they are tied together and reinforce each other.
I had a powerful workshop. I’ve got an action plan. I even coined myself a hashtag, #FitByFifty! More on this in upcoming newsletters, but it was very worth it.
That is enough for the most extended intro ever in the Weekly Thing. Let’s get on with the rest of it, shall we?
Eating: Best pizza in Minneapolis might possibly be Young Joni. We went there on Monday, and yes you need a reservation weeks in advance, but it is absolutely delicious food and drinks. Korean BBQ pizza for the win!
Drinking: I spent three days this week at the Human Performance Institute and they had this awesome open kitchen area where you can come up and get snacks and something to drink. They had Nitro Cold Press Coffee on tap, which took a tremendous amount of willpower for me to have only one (or maybe just over one) glass of it. Nitro Coffee is so delicious. But even better than that was this BEVI machine! I had never had one of these but let me tell you still or sparkling water with watermelon flavoring flowing endlessly is a truly wonderful thing!
Large metal dog sculpture placed at corner of parking ramp with binary encoded message on the wall. 🤓
Learning from this email? 🤔
Help others learn by sharing on LinkedIn.
We took a run at doing this and struggled to get momentum around it. I share the observations made here that many (most?) of these are not all that great.
At a high-level, the compelling engineering blogs had processes that shared the following properties:
- Easy approval process, not many approvals necessary
- Few or no non-engineering approvals required
- Implicit or explicit fast SLO on approvals
- Approval/editing process mainly makes posts more compelling to engineers
- Direct, high-level (co-founder, C-level, or VP-level) support for keeping blog process lightweight
It’s great to see some common practices for the good ones. ✍️
Practical advice for something that I find, and I’m guessing a lot of people fine, very difficult. I’ve sadly lost a couple of friends and I really struggled with this.
Deeper dive on some of the less obvious features of the Brave browser.
The focus of this article is on the other feature of Brave that distinguishes it from other web browsers: its built-in advertising network and Ethereum-based crypto token exchange system.
I know some very smart folks that use Brave and have for a long time. If I weren’t so comfortable and happy with what Safari gives me on every device, along with various privacy blockers I use with it, I might make the switch. If you are using Chrome? Give Brave a go.
I’m not sure we need more evidence of this, but why not.
Personal impacts were measured with online surveys administered at regular intervals. To summarize the paper’s main findings:
“Life satisfaction significantly increased, and depressive symptoms significantly decreased. Moreover, frequency of physical activity such as jogging or cycling significantly increased, and number of daily smoked cigarettes decreased. Effects remained stable during follow-up (three months). Thus, less time spent on Facebook leads to more well-being and a healthier lifestyle.”
Delete your account and you’ll be happier and have more time for other things. What is the downside?
Major rebuild of Things for watchOS. I’m not a Things user, but I like to see this investment. Sync without phone is a huge deal!
Starting today, Things for Apple Watch depends on Things Cloud for its syncing. With a free Things Cloud account, which most Things users will already have, the Watch client now gets its data directly from the cloud rather than relying on its iPhone companion; you’ll see this in action thanks to a helpful cloud icon that indicates syncing is in progress.
Your turn now OmniFocus team. The OmniFocus watchOS app has gotten little to no attention. I’d love to be able to do more with OmniFocus on my watch.
Humorous and cutting essay on the sad state of advertising on so many media website.
I seriously had to look at this multiple times to figure out if it was an April Fool’s joke or something, but it isn’t. It’s real.
Dialup is a voice-chat app that connects you serendipitously to the people you want to stay in touch with.
Essentially it’s a sort of social network that coordinates telephone calls?
Focus for the rest of the week!
Celebrating International Women’s Day 2020! 👍 #IWD2020 #EachforEqual
Nice 5-2 MN United win over San Jose! 🙌⚽️ #MNUFC
Family movie night with Mr. Popper’s Penguins. 🎬
Interesting approach to making journaling easier, particularly for starting out.
More benefit to carbohydrate restriction?
I love deep dives like this.
So much amazing stuff happens in sleep!
Learning from this email? 🤔
Help others learn by sharing on LinkedIn.
You’ve made it all the way to the end! 👏 Here is your fortune for this week.
Don’t kiss an elephant on the lips today.
Thank you for subscribing to the Weekly Thing!
The Weekly Thing highlights helpful, engaging, or insightful articles from the week. I am a voracious reader of technology, culture, leadership, privacy, and many other topics as my interests roam. Each item I share is framed with personal commentary combining my decades of experiences. My goal is to positively impact your journey with knowledge and insight.