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The Desire to Be Liked is Rotting Your Brain

One of the main things standing in the way of people’s success is their desire to be liked, making them sacrifice objective correctness for social acceptability. In effect, that means that whatever goal people claim having, their actual goal — the one revealed by their actions — isn’t to be

You Must Fuck Around and Find Out

You should take much more risk, and try new things much more often. Much of your comfort with risk is hard-coded genetically, a variable carefully tuned by millions of years of evolution, balancing the upside and downside of risk. But this is one of these cases where the modern world

Don't Build a Mine Before You Struck Gold

The best analogy I’ve heard for startups is that they’re like looking for gold. Not because of the adventure, or the camaraderie, or the riches awaiting you on the other end. But because a gold-seeking expedition has two very different phases: first, you look for gold; then, you

Evaluating interpersonal skills

At this point, I've conducted thousands of interviews, and if there's one thing I've learnt, it's the vital importance of evaluating interpersonal skills. This might be a blind spot for us in tech — we inhabit a sphere where the ability to code,

Changing my mind on remote, moving the team back to San Francisco

This is a memo I sent to the Lindy team last month, with slight edits. Thoughts on Remote I’ve made a 180º on remote. I think everyone here can attest to the fact that we tried harder than anyone else. And I’m more bummed out about it than

Reasons to worry about AGI

We can't even reason about the problem, because humans are bad at reasoning about exponentials; even if we could, we wouldn't worry about it (and the folks closest to the problem are least likely to worry); and even if we did worry, we probably wouldn't be unable to do anything about it.

Co-Founding Considered Harmful

“Hell is other people.” Sartre I’ve come to view the idea that you absolutely need a co-founder as one of the most harmful memes in Silicon Valley. It’s probably killed more companies than any other misconceptions out there. Instead, I think one should go solo if they can,

The Dictatorship of the Articulate

“The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” — Shakespeare A few years ago, Silicon Valley was buzzing with the reverberations of Marc Andreessen’s epic essay, It’s Time To Build. In case you haven’t read it, It’s a formidable pep talk, a call to

UX > EX: the painful truth about customer obsession

Publishing this memo I shared with Teamfellows. Everyone agrees with good-sounding principles until they experience their downsides. “Working out is healthy!” Haha, yes! Yes! “So hit the gym!” Well this sucks. “Hire slow!” Yes! Yes! “There’s this seat you’re dying to fill. And it’s going to remain

General Magic and Silicon Valley Common Wisdom

I strongly recommend General Magic, a documentary about the eponymous company, founded in 1990 with a clear vision of what smartphones could be, and how huge they could be. It built one of the most impressive teams in Silicon Valley’s history to make this vision a reality: its alumni

How Apple Sells Software At Hardware Prices

I ran this poll the other day on Twitter: Which would you prefer, assuming both cost $700 (and no dual boot) — Flo Crivello (@Altimor) September 12, 2019 The answers highlight a point I often make: that when people buy an iPhone for $1,100, they’re really paying $600 for

The Efficiency-Destroying Magic of Tidying Up

In his seminal book Seeing Like a State, James Scott describes what he calls “high modernists:” lovers of orders who mistake complexity for chaos, and rush to rearrange it from the ground up in a more centralized, orderly fashion. Scott argues that high modernists end up optimizing for a system’

Software, the Tough Tomato Principle, and the Great Weirdening of the World

Marshall McLuhan’s theory that “the medium is the message” famously describes how media are not neutral. Rather, a medium’s nature has a deep impact on the very content of its messages. One misunderstood aspect of the theory is that it applies to all technology, not just media: any

Five Promises of Micromobility

Disclaimer: I’m a product manager at Uber. This piece represents my views only, and not those of people working on behalf of Uber. A wave of electric scooters and bikes has been taking over American cities in the past year. People have been dismissing them as toys (which alone

The best companies to start a career in tech

Every time someone, and especially a new grad, asks me for recommendations of companies they should apply to, I point them to the excellent yearly “Career Launching Companies List” from Wealthfront. It’s become somewhat of a truism in the Bay Area that the best companies aren’t the super

Own the Demand

Disclaimer: I’m a product manager at Uber. This piece represents my views only, and not those of Uber, fellow employees, managers, customers, clients, suppliers, investors or people working on behalf of Uber. In The Internet Economy, Chris Dixon remarks that: When evaluating an internet company’s strategic position (the

Go West, Young Man

If you’re in tech, you need to move to San Francisco. The advice holds especially if you’re a student, not having dug your roots too deeply anywhere yet. There are several reasons why you want to come here: The Opportunities All the coolest companies you’ve heard about

Mind the Moat, a 7 Powers Review

The Lindy Effect has become my top heuristic to decide what to read next. This phenomenon describes how some things tend to live longer, the longer they’ve lived — to speak plainly, if something has stood the test of time it must be important. When you’re tempted to read

Nobody Cares

A friend was commenting on how active I was on Twitter, telling me how he held back from posting anything online, out of shyness. I answered that that was my default mode as well, and, I suspect, that of most people. I get shy and afraid of what people could

A Long Week-End in Mexico

I took a trip to Mexico City over the long weekend — it was my first time there, and I absolutely loved it. The city surprised me in many ways, and didn’t match at all the picture in my mind. I was expecting dry landscapes scattered with cacti, and instead

Favorite Books of 2017

Biographies Einstein: His Life and Universe Definitely the best biography I’ve read this year. It combines details into what’s probably the most incredible intellectual adventure of the 20th century — we’re talking of a guy who single-handedly upended physics as it was understood, alone from his patent office

Heroes on the Shoulders of Giants

Epistemic status: I’m outside of my circle of competence when it comes to AI. That said, most of this post is just logical reasoning, independent of AI-specific knowledge. François Chollet (whom you should definitely follow on Twitter) writes about “The Impossibility of Intelligence Explosion.” Here’s his TL;DR,

Book Review: Exit, Voice and Loyalty

Exit is an important part of capitalism: by allowing consumers to take their money anywhere they please, it trims out inefficient firms, drives productivity and quality up, and prices down. “One thing people underestimate is how markets don’t allow anyone to do anything except make better and better products.