Fun Review Thoughts

Learning to Row

Well this post has been sitting as a draft since the end of last summer. I started classes again, so now seems like a good time go over notes from last time!

On learning a new skill

It’s almost commonplace in Seattle, for people to have read or remembered the story of The Boys in the Boat. The book tells the history of the University of Washington rowing team that competed in the Berlin Olympics in 1936. It captures the feel of the sport through the teamwork, bonds, and drive of those on the UW crew, but also recounts what life what like in Seattle years ago.


How to do a triathlon

The lazy person’s way*.

There are tons of resources online that will help you go from 0 to 27.2 miles in some amount of time, but I’ve been running and biking for longish distances for a while now. Working up from a 1 mile run wasn’t something I needed. I wanted a plan that would help me go from running most of the way for 10km to running the entire 10km (after swimming a mile and biking for 20). That’s not to say I ignored all advice out there. I read this book and also heard this one was good too.

For me the swimming was going to be the hardest leg of the race. Starting out, I had never swam in open water for any significant distance (other than wading around in the ocean). I knew how to swim, but going for a mile seemed impossible.

I also have been exercising, weight training and playing sports consistently for several years now. So this is more of a guide detailing how to work training for a triathlon into your usual exercise routine with some tips and tricks for doing the best you can in the race.

Getting Started

Here’s my steady state training routine:

Cold/Wet Weather

Weight lifters use this time to “bulk”, eating anything and everything to assist gaining muscle (and fat) in preparation for the spring “cut”. But we’re here for lifelong health, so you don’t have to do anything too extreme. Just keep to your normal diet and adjust your workouts for the weather.

When it’s dreary outside it’s mentally tough to go for a run or a bike ride. You can do it, and if you do, it will give you a psychological boost for warm weather. If, you’ve done it in the rain, you can definitely do it in the sun. In recent years, I’ve invested in cold weather and water proof training gear, so I can ignore the weather and exercise outside all year round.

Inside, the winter is for weight training and cardio in the pool. Use the opportunity to build or maintain strength and work on your swim technique. I exercise 4 to 6 times a week and keep to a ratio of 3:1 strength to cardio in the winter. My rotation generally progresses through legs/shoulder, chest/triceps, back/biceps, and swimming. I find this to be a good balance in the winter as I’m not a fan of cardio on stationary bikes or treadmills (they just remind me I’d rather be outside). I also include abs most days and like to warm up on the rowing machine (or erg, as I recently learned they are called). I try to keep my workouts from getting too repetitive, but center my training on bench press, squat, deadlift, and shoulder press variations.

Swimming is the fun part. I am terrible. Up until I really started focusing on getting better for the triathlon, I could not string together many laps in the pool. I blame my inability to float (although I am now certified for the capability, see week 13), but it’s really that I don’t swim enough to develop into a strong swimmer. That didn’t discourage me from trying. Swimming is tremendous cardio exercise and it’s low impact. Plus it’s humbling watching people many (many) years older than me out stamina me, swimming for what seems like days, while I struggle to do four laps in a row. Every time I jump in the pool, I’m determined to do a little bit better than I did last time. It’s exhausting, both physically and mentally, but rewarding, when I finish swimming faster or longer than I had before.

Warm/Sunny Weather

In the summer I flip the weight training to cardio ratio, opting to spend as much time outside as possible. I’ll bike two or three times a week, run once or twice, and go to the gym only once or twice. Swimming isn’t generally part of my summer work our routine, as I hadn’t started open water swimming until this summer, and I despise being in a stuffy indoor pool when it’s nice out (outdoor pools are hard to come by here).

Training Schedule

With that background in mind, here’s how I’ve adjusted for the triathlon.

I signed up for the triathlon three months ahead of the race day. The race is Olympic distance, which in this case, entails a 1 mile swim, 20 mile ride, and 10 kilometer run (the standard Olympic distance has a 40km/25 mile bike ride). I knew from the beginning that swimming was going to be my weakest link, and it would be the hardest leg mentally for me to train.

Feel no compulsion to stick to this schedule. I know I will do something completely different for my next race. This is just a way to show how you can do a triathlon at your own pace when starting with a solid background.

Week 1 (4/15-4/21)

Sign up for the race. (Take the week off and start training on Saturday)

Strength training (legs & shoulders)

Strength training (back & biceps)

Strength training (chest & triceps)

14mi bike ride (50 min) and 6km run (32 min)

Week 2 (4/22-4/28)

Ultimate frisbee (90 min)

11.6 mi bike ride (56 min)
11.9 mi bike ride (55 min)

7.5 km run (38 min)

Strength training (legs & shoulders)

Strength training (back & biceps)

Week 3 (4/29-5/5)

Strength training (chest & triceps)

Ultimate frisbee (90 min)

1250 yd (.7 mi) pool swim

1400 yd (.8 mi) pool swim

Strength training (back & biceps)

1800 yd (1 mi) pool swim

5.5 km run (26 min)

Week 4 (5/6-5/12)

12.1 mi bike ride (52 min)
11.7 mi bike ride (50 min)

Ultimate frisbee (90 min)

5 km run (32 min)

Mother’s Day weekend:
Take a few rest days (maybe 4)

Week 5 (5/13-5/19)

12 mi bike ride (53 min)
11.8 mi bike ride (57 min)

6km run (28 min)

11.9mi bike ride (51 min)
11.8mi bike ride (55 min)

Strength training (legs & shoulders)

Week 6 (5/20-5/26)

Strength training (chest & triceps)

1225 yd (.7 mi) pool swim

Ultimate frisbee (90 min)

13 mi bike ride (1h 1m)
Volleyball (60 min)

28.6 mi bike ride (1h 48 m)

2325 yd (1.3 mi) pool swim

6.5 km run (32 min)

Week 7 (5/27-6/2)

5 km run (30 min)
Strength training (back & biceps)

6.75 km run (36 min)

2025 yd (1.1 mi) pool swim

11.8 mi bike ride (54 min)

17ish mi bike ride (1h 34m)

Week 8 (6/3-6/9)

2000 yd (1.1 mi) pool swim

Ultimate frisbee (90 min)

11.9 mi bike ride (52 min)
11.8 mi bike ride (52 min)
7 km run (34 min)

Volleyball (60 min)

0.5 mi open water swim

Week 9 (6/10-6/16)

Ultimate frisbee (90 min)

8.5 km run (50 min)

11.9 mi bike ride (59 min)

14 mi bike ride (1h 4 m)

Week 10 (6/17-6/23)

Ultimate frisbee (90 min)

1775 yd (1 mi) pool swim

7 km run (37 min) do this at noon on the hottest day of the year

2000 yd (1.1 mi) pool swim

7 mi hike

Week 11 (6/24-6/30)

0.25 mile open water tubing

Ultimate frisbee (60 min)

1 mile open water swim (44 min)

10 km run (50 min)

Week 12 (7/1-7/7)

11.7 mi bike ride (52 min)
11.4 mi bike ride (49 min)

(do the a trial tri just for kicks)
1 mile swim
20.1 mi ride (1h 13m)
10 km run (57 min)

6.5 mi hike (~3 hr)

Week 13 (7/8-7/14)

This week I started to taper my training. I didn’t want to feel depleted for the race, but I still wanted to stay in form. It was odd to limit strength and conditioning training for means of consistency instead of progression. If you’re used to keeping a regimented workout routine, it may feel strange to ease off for a while (it did for me), but the process paid off. I felt strong on race day, with the energy to make it through each leg.

1.4 mi bike (46 min)

2000 yd (1.1 mi) pool swim

10 km run (53 min)

10 minute pool float (0 mi)

Week 14 (7/15-7/21)

11.3 mi bike ride (47 min)
11.6 mi bike ride (51 min)

1800 yd (1.0 mi) pool swim

Race day (Sunday 7/22)

1 mile open water swim (25 min)
20 mile bike (1hr 6min)
10 km run (53 min)

Post race thoughts

Only wear a wetsuit if you really need it for the water temperature. It will save you valuable minutes and seconds if you can run out of the water and jump on your bike. For me it helped with training in the weeks leading to the race as the water warmed up, but on race day, the water was warm enough to swim without a wetsuit. I decided to wear the suit given I mentally prepared to wear it, but for the next race I think I’ll go with just the tri-suit.

Energy gels are nasty and leave a weird taste in your mouth. Stick to the energy chews for a quick burst carbohydrates to restore glycogen. And go with an electrolyte water for your bike ride. Sugary sports drinks can weigh you down.

Did you get one of those neon buoys for swim training? If you didn’t you should (and go with one that has an insulated pouch for your keys). But they also come in handy for wearing your bib number across the finish line. I’m not sure this is the case for all races, but for mine, it was required to have your number on your bike and helmet, and to wear your bib number `during the running leg. I pinned the number to a shirt that I put on for the run, but others pinned their number to the belt of their swim training buoy. It was an interesting idea I hadn’t considered.

Bring a towel to lay down at your transition spot, so you can quickly dry your feet. And only bring the bare essential accessories with you into the transition area. For me that included water, snacks, headphones (for getting in the zone during warmup), extra goggles, and a towel. Of course you also need your bike, helmet, cleats, running shoes, number, swim cap, and goggles. I brought everything in a reusable mesh grocery bag so it could collapse down easily.

Rapid-fire miscellaneousness: Get to the race an hour before it starts (and at least an hour before your start time). Bring headphones to keep you focused and calm. Eat a regular breakfast, but not heavy (I had eggs and pb&j). Stay hydrated the day before. Don’t eat dinner tool late the night before; give yourself time to digest. Stay mindful of the start time of the race and using the restroom beforehand. Inflate your bike tires either the night before or at the race (I didn’t bring a pump, but some people did). If you are cheering on a racer, bring a giant poster cut out of their face. Prep your bag the night before, so you can wake up grab the bag and go. Enjoy the race! Once it’s starts, it will be over in an instant. Take count of everything going on and have fun.

Looking forward to the next one

I’ve always exercised to enjoy the outdoors and strive for lifelong health. People think I’m crazy, but I actually like to go for a run or bike ride. Because of this, it didn’t feel like I did much different outside of my normal routine. Going into it, I had never swam in open water, let alone continuously for a mile. With a little coaching and a lot of practice, I was able to complete the swim, and was congratulated by my screaming fans “YOU FINISHED THE SWIM!” as I ran out of the water.

For the next race, I need to work on the running most to yield the most improvement for the effort. The biking was fine, but it took a while for my legs to warm up. Combined with cutting down the transition times I could be in pretty good shape for a 10-15 minute improvement. Always something to keep pushing for.

So that’s it! Completing a triathlon takes mental and physical preparation, but with a little determination you can do it without deviating too much from your normal routine. You just have to stick with it!


*By lazy person, here I mean person who doesn’t want to stick to a new, strict, and  regimented schedule because said person has been exercising for consistently for a few years and already has a good routine going. So more of an “avoiding change” lazy, than a “sit on the couch all day” lazy (although said person enjoys that kind of lazy too).

News Feed Technology

Intentional Technology

Would it be easier if we carried around devices devoted solely to one function instead of our multifaceted gadgets? There’s no reason we couldn’t go back to pocket calendars, contact lists, photos, wallets, and pens, other than that it wouldn’t be quite as convenient. Video game consoles are great at just playing video games, and we still put up with them. You wouldn’t be distracted by mail delivered to your door when writing down the date of your next dentist appointment, so why should you settle for that experience in a phone?

Katie Reid wonders if we can relearn to live without using smartphones. What will it take for us to feel comfortable being bored? We gotta think of some weird slow activities to fill the time.

My smartphone obviously helped me with a great number of cognitive tasks. It communicated with my friends. It managed my finances. It delivered work emails. It alerted me to emergencies in the area. It reminded me of appointments. It captured and stored memories. But this sudden and overwhelming awareness of its physical absence indicated that it had become just as important to my body as it had to my mind. If I’m honest, much of what I did on my phone could be characterized as mindless. I can’t count the number of times I pulled out my phone just for the feeling of unlocking the screen and swiping through applications, whether out of comfort—like a baby sucking her thumb—or boredom—like a teenager at school, tapping his fingers on a desk. In those cases, I sought not mental stimulation, but physical release.

Dear iPhone—It Was Just Physical, and Now It’s Over by Katie Reid

It can be fun to mindlessly watch YouTube videos for hours or scroll endlessly through your friends’ Instagram feeds, but when the action becomes habitual and reactive, it can be problematic. Reading the New York Times is a similar experience online and in print, but did anyone ever self distract themselves by picking up a newspaper and scanning the headlines for 30 seconds? There’s a more intentional decision making process to read the physical paper. It’s a single task you mindfully opt into for the course of reading a few articles (or cover to cover).

What happened is that the internet stopped being something you went to in order to separate from the real world — from your job and your work and your obligations and responsibilities. It’s not the place you seek to waste time, but the place you go to so that you’ll someday have time to waste. The internet is a utility world for me now. It is efficient and all-encompassing. It is not very much fun.

I Don’t Know How to Waste Time on the Internet Anymore by Dan Nosowitz

Maybe it’s time to stop wasting time on the internet and start using the tool to accomplish what we want to do. In their own ways, people are beginning to realize the many of the most popular services online have been designed to keep us amused rather than help us develop.

Here’s the reality:

– there are more interesting independent blogs now than there were pre-Facebook/Twitter. Maybe less “per-capita” of total online usage, but there’s still a higher volume

– every single person is capable of making an online community using cheap tech, and using corporate social media to promote it; way easier than it was in the past

– developers are still “allowed” to make sites in plain HTML/CSS that look great and load fast

Comment from Hacker News

It ironic how engrained these services are in our lives that companies trying to help us be more mindful are leveraging the same platforms they warn us about.

The addictive qualities of these platforms make them the best place to reach potential new customers or fans. Kindred notes that she’s proud of Mindful Technology’s Instagram account. “It’s blowing up,” she says. “I think a lot of people like me are fed up and over it.”

Tech Addiction and the Business of Mindfulness by Erin Griffith


But they still provide some overly simplistic tips for dealing with tech overload.

Conveniently, they have five tips for mindful sharing on social media. For starters, don’t just suddenly drop into phone-mode around other people. Tell your companions, “I’m going to do a social post right now,” and step aside. Next, tap into your inspiration, asking yourself, “What about this feels special to me that I want to build up as part of my world?” Don’t forget to check yourself. So much of posting on Instagram can be an exercise in vanity and proving one’s self-worth; instead, pause and “find the place where you’re inspired.” The fourth tip – “have fun with it”—seemed obvious, but Instagram can be an anxiety-inducing place for many. And lastly, let it go. “There is a nice moment where you can say, ‘I kinda don’t care if anyone likes it … I’m just gonna I hit send and then move on,” Pettit says.

In your mind, will telling your companions you are going to do a social post right now really fix your social media concerns? What about following another account on Instagram. I don’t think so. We need steps to remember how to leverage technology as a tool. It’s meant to help us be more productive, connect with people and build new things. Perhaps the internet really is just a utility that isn’t so much fun anymore, but we need to be intentional about our use of technology instead of slipping into mindless habits. We can use the internet to create and not just consume.

Articles Books Review Thoughts

Week in Review – October 8, 2017


Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Thich Nhat Hanh via Lion’s Roar

Teach tech with cartoons by Julia Evans

Why We Contradict Ourselves and Confound Each Other with Daniel Kahneman via On Being (listen)

On Overuse of Technology

Follow Cal Newport. He lead me to Jony Ive’s talk at the New Yorker Tech fest. Here’s the transcript

Jony Ive’s thoughts on Focus

I tend to be so completely preoccupied with what we’re working on at the moment. That tends to take the oxygen. Like any tool, you can see there’s wonderful use and then there’s misuse.

This isn’t a new phenomenon that we have to exercise a modicum of self-control to try and find the right balance. I do think sometimes, it’s just nice to have space. I think we fill space because we can and not because we should.

If I get to sit down for two hours with one of the world’s best silicon chip designers, I could not be happier. And what connects us is a curiosity, and also sort of sense of the authentic pursuit of excellence.

The art of focus is even if it is something you care passionately about, focus means ignoring it, putting it to the side. And often, it’s at real cost. And [Steve Jobs] was remarkable at that. And there have been a few occasions, a few periods where I felt have achieved that focus, and it’s a little eerie. You do have a sense — boundaries before impedance, before that seems insurmountable, seems trivial. And it takes so much effort and is exhausting to sustain, but all of the good things we’ve done have required that sort of focus.

If you’re going to do something new that means that the reason it has not been done before is that is there’s 55 reasons why it hasn’t been done before. And so you have to be so focused and so resolute, and in some ways almost blinkered, but you have to be so determined, but then you have to move between these two behaviors that are almost on the polar opposite.

I am confident that the mistakes weren’t born from laziness or some self-satisfied belief that it’s inevitable that they will be successful. I think we’re bunch of very anxious, worrying individuals who generally assume it’s not going to work unless we can prove otherwise.

Smartphone habits and addiction transforming into information dystopia

via The Guardian

This is classic Nir Eyal

One morning in April this year, designers, programmers and tech entrepreneurs from across the world gathered at a conference centre on the shore of the San Francisco Bay. They had each paid up to $1,700 to learn how to manipulate people into habitual use of their products, on a course curated by conference organizer Nir Eyal.

His book Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products is a recipe book to shows how to game human psychology to get people addicted to your product, or as he puts it:

“Just as we shouldn’t blame the baker for making such delicious treats, we can’t blame tech makers for making their products so good we want to use them,” he said. “Of course that’s what tech companies will do. And frankly: do we want it any other way?”

But there is a line between solving a problem through satisfying a need and engineering products for more usage. Read Don Normans’ The Design of Everyday Things instead.

And push notifications, turn them off:

Brichter says he is puzzled by the longevity of the feature. In an era of push notification technology, apps can automatically update content without being nudged by the user. “It could easily retire,” he says. Instead it appears to serve a psychological function: after all, slot machines would be far less addictive if gamblers didn’t get to pull the lever themselves. Brichter prefers another comparison: that it is like the redundant “close door” button in some elevators with automatically closing doors. “People just like to push it.”

Sometimes psychology can make boring situations a little more convenient, even elevator rush hours and grocery store queues.

On the Open Office

Open offices are overrated via Vox

The idea is worth executing well because it matters too much to stop trying to fix it. By that we mean the 40 hours a week, the 8700 hours, the nearly 10 full years of your life you spend inside the four walls of one room.

The Office Gets Remade Again via NY Times

Salesforce’s new skyscraper campus in San Francisco, for example, has areas on every floor for meditation, partly inspired by the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist monk.

Create things so others can create

Getting to the Future Faster from Exponent

The conversation starts with a discussion on long term thought development via writing on a blog instead of cementing a momentary mindset in a book. In a blog, the audience can learn and grow with the author, while the author can support writing with a subscription business model. They move into universal basic income, single person businesses with an audience of 100s and Etsy as a model for unlocking creative potential of people across the world. Also, Instagram and YouTube stars are entrepreneurial in a job that did not exist five to ten years ago. How can we build technology that enables more people to create?

Articles Podcasts Review Technology Video

Week in Review – September 17, 2017

A couple readings and listenings this week

Anil Dash’s Reflections of 9/11

John Gruber’s Daring Fireball

Stratechery & Exponent on the iPhone

TED Radio Hour The Power of Design

And a new video

Gothic Basin by Air

Review Thoughts


A Culture of Think
(via Smithsonian and Wikipedia)

And two songs for the week

Week in Review will continue next Sunday.

Articles Podcasts Thoughts


Some of the articles and podcasts that came through my feeds recently had similar themes. It got me thinking about a few things.

  1. The idea of using misinformation as a way to hack one’s mind and shape one’s view of reality.
  2. How we carry out our lives differently. We surround ourselves with people we like and ideas we agree with.
  3. And after reading of Russia’s influence into the discussions of fake news and alternative facts, when we are all content in our filter bubble (how many buzzwords can I fit into one sentence?), slight white lies that confirm our beliefs go unnoticed.

The Invisibilia podcast episode called The Culture Inside explored feedback in the real world and confirmation bias in what we experience.

COX: Human brains are very good at learning things and not so good at unlearning things.

SPIEGEL: Because of the way that our minds work, it is just much easier for a stereotype to perpetuate itself than to be overturned because to change a concept you need to get extremely consistent feedback that the concept is incorrect. But most of the time we get no feedback at all.

COX: You know, imagine you’re walking around downtown and you see a guy in a pink shirt who’s maybe listening to Britney Spears, maybe talks with a lisp. And often people will see that and what’ll pop to mind is the idea that he’s gay. They’ll make an assumption. Oh, look at that gay guy. But they’re not going to run up to him and ask him, oh, are you gay? I had the thought that you were gay, but I just want to, you know, confirm or disconfirm it.

SPIEGEL: If you instantly found out that the man wasn’t gay, that stereotype wouldn’t gain power. But you don’t, so just the assumption strengthens the stereotype.

COX: The way it gets stored in their memory is that that was a gay guy, that having a pink shirt means he’s gay because that’s how our learning happens. It happens by the activation of these associations.

SPIEGEL: In other words, the deck is kind of stacked in favor of whatever stereotype is already in there.

From an early episode of Better Call Saul (I can’t find the episode, but here’s a montage and reddit post), I posited that in today’s world it is impossible hustle people and too easy to call BS (baloney sandwich). They can simply look up the answer on the internet and believe it as true. But what happens when we run into truthiness and the things we take as fact are not quite so?

This part of the TED Radio Hour Truth and Lies episode about credibility of what we see online makes novel connections between the real world and the web. How to hack your mind, reality, truth, and lies via misinformation on the internet.

The dependence that we have for not just our news but really for how we’re thinking about our collective experience as people and as a country and as a world is just so intensely derived from the Internet right now. Your smartphone is more your reality than walking down the street. So it’s now time to figure out what seems fake, what seems real, why that’s the case. And you don’t yet have the same Spidey feeling or, you know, goosebumps on the back of your neck that you get when you’re walking down the street and there’s a shady character walking down and, you know, you’re not going to trust something that they say or take it at face value. You don’t have that feeling yet on the Internet.

As our realities are increasingly based on the information that we’re consuming at the palm of our hand and from the news feeds that we’re scanning and the hashtags and stories that we see trending, the Russian government was the first to recognize how this evolution had turned your mind into the most exploitable device on the planet. And your mind is particularly exploitable if you’re accustomed to an unfettered flow of information now increasingly curated to your own tastes. This panorama of information that’s so interesting to you gives a state – or anyone, for that matter – a perfect back door into your mind.

It’s this new brand of state-sponsored information operations that can be that much more successful, more insidious and harder for the target audience – that includes the media – to decipher and characterize. If you can get a hashtag trending on Twitter or chum the waters with fake news directed to audiences primed to receive it – all tactics used in Russian operations – then you’ve got a shot at effectively camouflaging your operations in the mind of your target. This is what Russia’s long called reflexive control. It’s the ability to use information on someone else so that they make a decision on their own accord that’s favorable to you.

Ben Thompson discusses truth vs beliefs in his post Not Ok Google:

Deciding how to respond to fake news is a trade-off; in the case of Facebook, the fact that fake news is largely surfaced to readers already inclined to believe it means I see the harm as being less than Facebook actively taking an editorial position on news stores.

Google, on the other hand, is less in the business of driving engagement via articles you agree with, than it is in being a primary source of truth. The reason to do a Google search is that you want to know the answer to a question, and for that reason I have long been more concerned about fake news in search results, particularly “featured snippets”

Facebook may be pushing you news, fake, slanted, or whatever bias there may be, but at least it is not stamping said news with its imprimatur or backing it with its reputation (indeed, many critics wish that that is exactly what Facebook would do), and said news is arriving on a rather serendipitous basis. Google, on the other hand, is not only serving up these snippets as if they are the truth, but serving them up as a direct response to someone explicitly searching for answers. In other words, not only is Google effectively putting its reputation behind these snippets, it is serving said snippets to users in a state where they are primed to believe they are true.

And finally, in The Stories We Tell Ourselves, Todd May discusses the complicated lives we all lead:

Why might this matter? Here is one reason. The presidential election has displayed in stark terms a phenomenon that many have commented on in recent years. With the proliferation of various cable news channels, the internet, niche marketing, clustering in communities of like-minded people, most of us live in echo chambers that reflect the righteousness of our lives back to us. We are reinforced to think of ourselves as embodying the right values, as living in ways that are at least justified, if not superior. Reflecting on the stories we tell about ourselves might reveal to us other aspects of who we are and what we value, aspects that would complicate the simple picture provided by our echo chamber.

And that complication, in turn, could lead us to another revelation: that those who live outside our echo chamber might also be more complicated than we have imagined. While the values we take them to be expressing might be mistaken — or even abhorrent — to us, there are perhaps other aspects to their lives as well, other values those lives express, values that would become manifest to us if we listened to some of the stories they tell about themselves. If we are more complicated than we like to think, perhaps others are also more complicated than we would like to think. (And also more complicated than they would like to think.)


Books Podcasts Review Thoughts

Week in Review – July 30, 2017


Bot framework, bot services, LUIS, and text sentiment

You can make a conversational chat bot in less than a week. It may not understand everything you say, but with some added intelligence, the bot can be very chappy!


Some progress on Sapiens, and my reading list expanded

programming blogs from a YC post


Julia Galen on how to argue better and change your mind more

(from: The Ezra Klein Show)

The first half of this podcast contained some thought provoking ideas on arguments and point of view. Biases can influence the way we view ourselves and learning about biases can make us more worse at fixing our our biases. It was discussed how paradoxes lead us to develop deeper labeling of people and ideas. For example, you say you are of one camp, but you fall into the other camp for certain things. The more you associate with the other camp, the more people will think of you as in that camp. I don’t think this is that bad, but we need to realize we are not so simple creatures. Black and white does not always tell the story.

Casey Neistat

(from: The Tim Ferriss Show)

Two of my three inspirational people on a podcast (throw in Ryan Holiday, and it would be quite the show)
Make it count. Always motivational, Neistat inspires me to write more, create more, do more.

The stupidest thing people can do with their money

(from: Freakonomics Radio)

I do not listen to Freakonomics much anymore, but this episode caught my eye. On the Marketplace Morning Report episode from this Tuesday, they talked about the risks of more people moving to passively invested, low cost index funds. I wanted to learn more about the downsides (as I am onboard with the upsides), and by chance, this week’s Freak podcast was all about the topic! Dubner interviewed John (“Jack”) Bogle, the 88 year old and founder of Vanguard. Definitely worth a listen or two. The contrast between Bogle and Buffett is both similar and remarkable.

Odds and Ends

  • Went for a 10 mile run and made sure Strava was working this time before starting.
  • Edited Iceland Day 2 for half a day. Final video coming soon! Watch Day 1 (which is really day 2)
Random Thoughts


Fox sleeping in a tree

Relax. Be mindful of my breathing and body positioning. Rest my muscles and let all tension melt away. Start at the top of my head and slowly scan down how I am holding each part of my body. Relax the mind and loosen the neck and shoulders, slow my heart rate, expand my stomach, stretch my legs, spread my toes, and open my mind.

Random Thoughts

Test Yourself

work harder blue neon sign

Over the next few days put your learning to the test. Along with over coming the fear of exposing yourself as an imposter, you will also attempt to keep you ego in check and build relationships with others. That sinking feeling you get when encountering a difficult social situation will be redirected to external action rather than receding inside yourself. Most importantly, you should remember to be yourself, live small, build up others, and keep learning. You’ll be great.

Random Thoughts


Person jumping on the beach

Passionate players will give it their all while winning, but play discouraged when losing big. Purposeful players will see the challenge as an opportunity to show determination, resolve, and sportsmanship. Displaying their grit to continue playing, even when all hope seems lost.

Passion inflates you. Purpose defines you.