Between the Piers! Made with Leica SL2-S & Leica M f2/35mm APO-Summicron. Photo by Om

There are some days when the view outside your window aptly reflects your state of mind. And sometimes those days turn into weeks. This week, I found myself in a foggy state of mind, all too often. The whole mess around the pandemic, the abortion ban, and the general malaise in the planet, added to my broodiness.  

And as a result, I was too contemplative and unable to untangle a lot of thoughts and ideas spurned on by conversations with many smart people.  I hope to finalize a few bigger pieces in the days ahead. In the interim, as always I am sharing what I am reading — and find important & interesting on the link blog They are also shared on my Twitter account. 

September 5, 2021, San Francisco


Sticks & Smoke! Made with Leica SL2-S & Leica M f2/35mm APO-Summicron. Photo by Om

Sept 3: I have been trying to track down my former boss from a while ago. There was a time one could call “directory assistance” and get a phone number. How I am trapped in a spider web of broken/outdated links. What progress we have made with technology.

Sept 3: “The hypocrisy is not lost on any of us that a bunch of people running around shouting about bodily freedom when it comes to vaccination—are the same ones who think women shouldn’t be able to decide whether or not they wish to be pregnant.”  @abbygardner 

Sept 3: “CEOs have political power, particularly in Texas. Maybe they shouldn’t, but they do. Right now they’re abdicating it.” @danprimack  is so spot on!

Sept 2: Just coming across  @seanlock  video clips on @YouTube  is such a mindfk and makes me sad. This genius is gone, taken too soon. RIP.

August 31: “A key to making meetings more productive for me has been providing my meeting agenda items to the other person in advance.” 

 @bump  A very good productivity hack!

August 31: So  @danprimack says we are in the “age of dragons” and you are a member of the club with a minimum valuation is $12b. I wonder how many former unicorns are now “dragons” in public markets, as public markets better barometer of valuation. [Also: Someone just DM-d and said, when things don’t work, they will become drag-ons.] 

August 30: It is somewhat ironic that I find myself doodling about NFTs, networked society, memes, and narratives on paper using an old-fashioned fountain pen & ink.

August 30: Who is willing to trust this line of reasoning from a company that lies more often than being upfront about “anything.”  

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August 29: Starting the Sunday right: new photo book. New coffee. New (old) Coltrane on the music system. Let the day of rest begin!

grayscale photography of people walking in train station
Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

Ambition means different things to different people, but in the capitalist framework I am talking about, I think its defining feature is its linear trajectory. Think of all the highly driven and ambitious people you know working long after their basic needs are met: Are they ever “done” or satisfied with where they’ve ended up and ready to call it quits on achieving? Of course not. Ambition is an unquenchable thirst.

Since the Industrial Revolution launched a large subset of humanity into the illusion that we could conquer nature for our own purposes, linear ambition has been a kind of survival strategy. In recent decades, that’s certainly been true for privileged, knowledge-economy workers like me: We’re always trying to keep up in a world of work that seems to constantly get faster and expect more of us, leaving us too burned out and apathetic to deal with anything that doesn’t directly affect us or our families.

This is a wonderful read and a good reminder of lessons from the pandemic, that we have already started to forget.

Read article on Rosie Spinks

Gotham Gal, aka Joanna Wilson, and partner of Fred Wilson, is a well-known angel investor in New York. She has been a prolific investor, but she is hanging up her boots. Why?

Valuations have become out of control. VCs began investing in every single sector. It makes sense because technology, health, how we eat, next-generation consumers, etc., have changed everything. Yet to value a company that sells mattresses like a software company makes zero sense to me. The amount of money just tossed around and lost without care is mind-boggling.

This one paragraph is enough to really sum up the current state of investing in technology, the spectacle of technology, and everything related to it.

Read article on Gotham Gal

smartphone on brown wooden surface

Given the state of the markets, Tiernan Ray, a veteran journalist who has followed technology stocks for decades, tries to answer this most pertinent of questions. While reading the piece, you might encounter jaw-dropping statements like Apple stock is still undervalued despite being a trillion-dollar company.

Stock analysts started to value tech stocks by simply comparing them to other stocks. Almost everything became relative value. Now, once stocks become unhinged from the earnings power of assets, and become merely a comparison of relative valuations of assets, one has valuations that are all over the map.

Everything is worth not what the business generates, but rather whatever someone wants it to be priced at relative to whatever is similar that has recently been priced at whatever multiple. 

Where once tech companies reported merely revenue, earnings, and maybe an adjusted figure for earnings, backing out stock compensation expense, every single company now has a strange brew of reported figures. 

I don’t want to quote the whole damn piece. It is so good, and it is worth reading. Please do yourself a favor, and do it right now!

Read article on The Technology Letter

Wow! Now this puts emoji art to shame!

It’s like writing at school: In English class you’d write in your book and you can’t erase what you’ve written. It’s easy in Microsoft Word to be so pedantic and look at a blank screen. With typewriters, there’s more permanent to what you put on paper. Sometimes that leads to more creative outcomes because you can’t delete what you’ve put on the page. The whole process of making the art in itself, you have to think.

Drawing with a typewriter is one of the only ways of making art where you use both hands: You’re typing and you’re moving the cartridge at the same time. If you’re on location, you’re looking at what’s in front of you. I hope that if typewriters make a resurgence, it’s because it’s an analog way of creating something — be it a written piece or drawing. 

MessyNessyChic

James Cook, a 24-year-old artist from Essex (U.K.) uses typewriters to create some amazing artworks. He should be a good role model for any one of us who falls in the trap of thinking about a new tool — a new camera, a new lens, a new pen, new paper, new ink — as an excuse to procrastinate about creating. Since Cook has about 30 typewriters, I am not saying you shouldn’t be acquiring different tools. All I am saying is don’t use tools as an excuse to not create.

I enjoyed this interview with Cook, about his creative process. Highly recommended!

Read article on MessyNessyChic