Aug 15, 2021
Current Interests - Aug 2021
I'm currently interested in four things: The Web, San Francisco, cellular meat, and organizations.
The Web is fascinating because it's old enough to have a history, but young enough that its historians are still around and active in the community. This thread about Internet Explorer is just one of the examples of this interplay:
25 years ago Microsoft released Internet Explorer 3.0, its first real salvo in the “Browser Wars”. This launch taught taught me how a giant corporation could move at the speed of a startup. Here’s the story: pic.twitter.com/ZEYcxYrUgI— Hadi Partovi (@hadip) August 14, 2021
It's an amazing opportunity to learn from this history in high fidelity.
San Francisco is a fascinating place because of how good it could be, but how bad it actually is to live in today. How did it get this way? Recently, I read Steven Buss's When did things go wrong in San Francisco?. I'm aware there are complicated reasons for high rent in San Francisco that are not simply supply and demand economics, and I want to learn more about the part politics has played. In the same vein, how is San Francisco public transportation So. Far. Behind. NYC? A recent interview with Jeffrey Tumlin, the Director of the MTA helps shed some light, but there's so much more to understand.
But even with its problems, there's a lot more to San Francisco than tech and startups and the Golden Gate Bridge and I want to discover it all. I've been maintaining a Twitter list with local businesses, organizations, and other enthusiasts to help.
I read Clean Meat in 2019 and I still haven't lost interest, which is saying something. Briefly:
The meat industry is bad for a number of reasons. It's bad for the environment, it's cruel to animals, it propagates diseases, etc. "Clean meat" is a way for scientists to grow animal cells in a lab to produce meat without all of these side effects. A restaurant in Singapore is already serving this meat on the menu. A Bay Area company is growing milk proteins to make delicious lactose-free ice cream. It's inevitable that more things will follow. I try to stay up to date by following the CellAgri newsletter.
After working at a big company for close to 10 years, I've learned that a surprising number of hits and misses start innocently. Critical bug in production? It's possible that someone just missed an email. Delightful feature? Could have been a throwaway comment in a meeting that sparked someone's curiosity. It's interesting to me how fragile organizations are and how much they aren't setup for success. Apple is the canonical example of sustained success, so I'm still learning. As someone who hates dysfunction, but also loves serendipity, I'm learning how those may be two sides of the same coin. How teams come together and the archetypical roles that are part of this is a really interesting from an observational standpoint.
I'm currently reading Staff Engineer by Will Larson, and hope to learn more about how engineers like myself can play more impactful role in organizations.