Recommended Reading on Startups, Investors, and Your Personal Thing
When you surround yourself with others who are also all-consumed in that thing they love, whatever it may be.
I was traveling in September and October - the first real vacation that I’ve taken in nearly 3 years, and the first real travel I’ve taken since the pandemic. A friend’s wedding took me to London and the English countryside (for the first time since 2015!), where I got to visit friends I have known for nearly 15 years. My hop over to the other side of the pond turned into Sugar-tours-the-English-West-Country when I then left London to visit a friend in Reading, then of course had to wander around Oxford for a day drinking some beers; took the train to reunite with one of the first friends I made at Burning Man, at her home in Somerset; visit Glastonbury with her and her partner; meet fabulous new Burner friends at MicroBurn in Wales!; and then jet off to Greece for a proper holiday. All this to say - I have photos to edit! And share! When? Some day.
Do you, too, have that feeling that, since you are all-consumed in that thing that you do, whatever niche it may be, and surround yourself with others involved in that thing, then everyone else in the world must know about that thing/community/niche? What is your thing?
Whether it’s how globally well known Burning Man actually is, or how many people in the U.S. actually read poetry, or know that women-founded startups raised a meager 1.9% of all VC funds in 2022, I hope that you help me share this information that I live and breathe and mistakenly assume everyone else lives and breathes as well. I’ve gotten back into the startup hustle, so expect to see more articles on that going into the new year. For now, please please please read the articles in my Top of Mind linked below!!
Listening To: Tycho - Sanctuary - Burning Man Sunrise 2023
To Watch: What happens to your brain as you age? - The Economist
RECOMMENDED READING - Top of Mind
‘Friends’ and ‘Seinfeld’ knew the cure for loneliness Eliza Relman (Sept. 2023)
**NOTE** This click-bait title is TERRIBLE - this is a good article that is NOT about Friends or Seinfeld - it’s in depth and worth reading!
For decades, Americans reported spending about 6 ½ hours a week with friends. But from 2014 to 2019, it suddenly dropped by 37%, to four hours a week. (2014, not coincidentally, was the year smartphone ownership in the US passed 50%.) Instead, we spend much more time online, alone. Instagram, Twitch, and podcasts are the new, placeless third places.
Where Have All the Girlbosses Gone?: The girlboss era is decidedly over, but many of its most emblematic figures, and those who aspired to their ranks, are still in their career-prime years. Marisa Meltzer (Sept. 2023)
"Understanding what was wrong about the girlboss is less about identifying who was a girlboss but who was not included in the media narrative. “What about all the CEOs working hard who were people of color, or didn’t live on the coasts, or didn’t have consumer-facing products?” one female tech founder said to me with an eye roll when I asked her about the mania for girlbosses. What about the women who were older or founded B2B companies that weren’t easy to describe to the masses or who lived outside of the coasts or whose bodies didn’t fit into designer clothes or who didn’t bother paying a retainer for a publicist? They were made to appear accessible, but accessibility can backfire. Parasocial relationships—following someone prominent via the public sphere, getting involved to the point where very real emotions arise and stick—are tricky. At some point one party, usually the regular person following it all, is left disappointed."
An Incomplete History of Trans Immortality Zeyn Joukhadar (June 2023)
I wanted a different history, which would have ensured a different future
Sign with future to the right and past to the left.
NEWS / LONG-FORM JOURNALISM
Bumble, Grindr, and Hinge Moderators Struggle to Keep Users—and Themselves—Safe Niamh Mcintyre (Nov. 2023) An investigation reveals that workers dealing with user reports on dating apps struggle with “unattainable” expectations and traumatic content.
America’s Electrical Grid Is an Incredible Feat of Engineering—And Its Biggest Bottleneck Here’s what it’ll take to modernize the country’s power grid Anna-Sofia Lesiv (Aug. 2023)
In Tanzania, Beijing is running a training school for authoritarianism Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian (Aug. 2023) The school's programs present strong evidence that Beijing is exporting its model in a clear departure from its previous, more subtle attempts to peddle influence.
BUSINESS / STARTUPS / INVESTING
What happens when a company sells for less money than it raised in funding? We explain Lexi Grant (Oct. 2023) Do founders get anything when they sell the business for little more than they raised? Here’s what those cases typically look like for founders and investors.
3 Ways Our Brains Undermine Our Ability to Be a Good Leader Cian McEnroe and David Rock (July 2023)
Bankrupt and loving it: Welcome to the lucrative world of undead brands Alina Selyukh (Nov. 2023)
Gas Gas Revolution Tomasz Tunguz (Oct. 2023)
AI / WEB 3 / CRYPTO
OpenAI has just fused its corporate ‘kill switch’ John Thornhill (Nov. 2023)
The Sudden Fall of Sam Altman Ross Andersen (Nov. 2023) What it means that the world’s most powerful AI executive is out of a job.
AI ‘breakthrough’: neural net has human-like ability to generalize language Max Kozlov & Celeste Biever (Oct. 2023) A neural-network-based artificial intelligence outperforms ChatGPT at quickly folding new words into its lexicon, a key aspect of human intelligence.
The Other Bankman-Fried Heather Tal Murphy (Nov. 2023) Does Sam’s brother Gabe have to return the money his pandemic charity got? (Probably.) Is he in trouble too? (Maybe.) And did he really want to buy an entire island nation? (Funny you should ask …)
The Real SBF Stood Up An open-and-shut case finally revealed the criminal behind the legend. Kevin T. Dugan (Nov. 2023)
Sam Bankman-Fried gambled on a trial and his parents lost Elizabeth Lopato (Nov. 2023) Over five weeks, the FTX founder’s parents watched from the galleys — deluded, humiliated, and finally, defeated.
Absorber in the Court: What We’ve Learned From the SBF Trial’s Cast of Characters Katie Baker (Oct. 2023) From an exasperated judge to a shushing marshal to the most interesting witnesses, we take you inside the courtroom as the trial of Sam Bankman-Fried gets set to resume
Sam Bankman-Fried was a bad friend, too Elizabeth Lopatto (Oct. 2023) Nishad Singh says he tried to get Bankman-Fried to do the right thing — but he wouldn’t listen.
BRAIN / MIND / HEALTH
Your Friends Don’t All Have to Be the Same Age Annie Midori Atherton (Nov. 2023) When the young and the old befriend one another, everyone can benefit. So why doesn’t it happen more?
How many friends do Americans have? A survey crunched the numbers
Manuela López Restrepo (Oct. 2023)
I Was Vegan and Craving Bacon. I Had an Epiphany Kara Panzer (Nov. 2023)
Brain States Influence on Decision-Making (Nov. 2023)
Flies neglect food and endure shocks to seek a dopamine reward Waddell Group paper published in Nature (Oct. 2023)
ART / LITERATURE
How to Live Forever Cazzie David (Oct. 2023) A new Netflix series visits the world’s “blue zones” to unlock the secrets of longevity. Our intrepid columnist puts the show’s mandates to the test.
The Queer Witches of Appalachia Emma Cieslik (Oct. 2023) We have not given up our traditions and our culture just because we are witches or LGBTQ! We are proud Appalachians; we are proud witches.
Once Again, the History of Witch Trials Has Inspired the World’s Most Annoying Merch Eleanor Janega (Oct. 2023) No! You are not the “granddaughters of the witches they couldn’t burn”!
OTHER / PERSONAL INTEREST / RANDOM
6 Stories of Aliens and the Unexplained That Are Just Out of This World April White (June 2023) Centuries of strange tales, from ETs to flying saucers, to celebrate World UFO Day.
A Brazilian Poltergeist Nick Ripatrazone (2023)
Why Are There So Many Female Ghosts? Nathaniel Scharping (Oct. 2023) Female ghosts seem to dominate the afterlife. Whether the spirits are real or not, the reasons for the disparity could be revealing.
Cats have nearly 300 facial expressions, including a 'play face' they share with humans Jennifer Nalewicki (Oct. 2023) Researchers recorded hundreds of facial expressions in cats, finding they're not quite as aloof as previously thought.
House Cats Will Rule the World Jonathan Losos (Oct. 2023) Domestic cats may evolve into the alpha predators of the future.
I Told My Mom I Wanted To Get My Tubes Tied At Age 20. Her Response Changed My Life. Lydia Paar (Oct. 2023)
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