Per My Last E-mail #19
Amsterdam, Finding Our Place, Debate Club, and Rethinking RE
Hi Friends 👋,
Happy Tuesday! I'm a day late because Puja and I spent the long weekend celebrating our second anniversary in Amsterdam.
First, Amsterdam. What an incredible city. Before we went, everyone told us that it’s their favorite city to the point that it became almost clichéd, but often, clichés exist for a reason. The architecture was mindblowingly and consistently beautiful. Every new block was more stunning than the last. The food is like a grownup kids menu. We ate fries with mayo, burgers, pancakes, pizza, and stroopwafels, most at least twice. Amsterdam is a peaceful and happy place, and we’ll be back.
Then, Puja. I feel so lucky to be married to someone who is multiples smarter and more beautiful than me, who never stops impressing me, who has taught me to love travel, and who is endlessly supportive even when I want to do embarrassing things like send a newsletter that our friends will see or start a debate club. I could go on and on, but I’ve gotten feedback that my writing is too wordy, so here’s to hoping that she doesn’t realize how far out of my league she is for at least another two years 🥂
Finding Our Place
Good news: I think we’re all going to start hanging out together more, IRL.
I wrote Parts 1-3 of the series, Finding Our Place, last week to put some structure around my thoughts on why we’re coming back offline and why this is just the beginning. You can check them out here:
In the next week or so, I'll be finishing Part 4, an exploration into what the world might look like when we do what's best done online, online, and what's best done IRL, IRL.
I am going to keep exploring the ideas that I'm writing about in this series, so if you've taken the time to read them: 1) thank you! and 2) I'd love to hear what you agree with, what you disagree with, where you think it doesn't go deep enough, and what you think potential applications could be. Hit me up!
Speaking of hanging out together IRL, Debate Club actually happened, and it was better than I could have possibly hoped for.
This past Wednesday, eight brave souls (plus one intrepid timekeeper and one fearless content guy) screwed in their courage, outlined their cases, and got up in front of other people with only their wits to protect them. They battled it out in our first Debate Club Debate.
And they were awesome. Fueled by pizza and beer/seltzers, each debater brought his or her A game. Everyone was new to formal (or in this case, informal) debate, and I was shocked at how quickly everyone figured out not only the rules, but the winning strategies and tactics.
What made me happiest to see, though, was that everyone had a blast. I caught people looking at each other with "Woah, I'm impressed" faces when someone made a particularly compelling argument, we got to see a philosopher debate a data scientist on whether General AI should have rights, everyone offered suggestions on how we can evolve the format to make it even better next time, and the group hung around just chatting for more than half an hour after it all ended, at 10:30pm on a Wednesday.
Huge thanks and shoutout to Shital, Jon, Joe, Pamela, Kristian, Ben, Dan, Mike, Puj, and Nickmo, for giving this a shot.
Congrats to our first champions, Mike Madonna and Dan McCormick, who beat out Ben Rollert and Kristian von Rickenbach in the finals by winning the Con side of the resolution: Unions are good.
I'm even more excited to keep this going than I was to start it. The next debate will be in a month or so (details to come), with new rules, new topics, and new people - join the list here if you want to get involved!
Links & Listens
💵 The Right Price of Money by Ben Hunt
Interest Rates and the powerlessness of central banks
👾 Novelty Decay in Digital Celebrities, AI Artists, and Synthetic Media by Michael Dempsey
Scarcity, abundance, and celebrity
🏢 The Sun Sets on We by Reeves Wiedeman in NY Mag Intelligencer
The fall of WeWork
👨👩👧👧 Imagined Communities by Web Smith in 2PM
Brand communities are filling the hole left by the shift away from religion
What I'm Reading
PLUG: Pre-Order Rethinking Real Estate by Dror Poleg
Dror is a great friend, a former co-worker at Breather, and one of the smartest people in real estate. I had the pleasure of reading and commenting on drafts of the book, and even though I’ve spent nearly six years immersed in real estate, I learned something new and interesting on every page.
Dror gives the reader an understanding of how each of the asset classes - from houses to warehouses - works, frameworks for understanding the impact that technology has on each of them, and insights on how to take advantage of the changes.
Dror didn’t ask me to write this, I just really think it’s great and that you should go pre-order his book today.
The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe
You know that voice that all airline pilots make - the matter-of-fact drawl with a slight smug pilot inside-joke slant? Because of The Right Stuff, I know where that schtick comes from: Chuck Yeager.
Yeager was the first pilot to break the sound barrier. Because of his status at Edwards Air Force Base, where he was a test pilot, other pilots there began copying his cavalier drawl. Because of Edwards' status in the flight hierarchy, when its pilots left to go to other bases, the pilots at the new bases began imitating them. And because most commercial pilots at the time got their training in the military, what they picked up at their bases has spread across airlines and decades to become the recognizable pilot voice that we all know.
Like a fighter pilot, Wolfe is comfortable diving in and out of a variety of altitudes at dizzying speed, all while maintaining a sense of control and pace. He zooms all the way in to the emotions of particular pilots' wives and all the way out to the geopolitical causes of the first manned spaceflight, dropping knowledge bombs like the Yeager story the whole time. I'm only a quarter of the way through, but can already recommend it to anyone who's interested in psychology, planes, or American history.
Big week this week. More to come in next week's newsletter!
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Thanks for reading!