Per My Last E-mail #25 🎉

Happiness Class, WeDivest, War on Loneliness, L&D-, Infinity, and Beyond

Hi Friends 👋,

Happy Monday!

Last week, I saw this tweet in a thread on advice for people new to newsletters.

Perfect timing. Per My Last E-mail has made it to Week 25! Thanks to all of you for subscribing, reading, discussing, sharing, providing feedback, and sticking with me. It means a lot. I’m really enjoying this and will keep going past Week 25.

If you know anyone who you think would enjoy getting this e-mail every week, let ‘em know by sharing from this link:

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Now on to the good stuff…


This week’s Product of the Week is not like the others. This week’s Product of the Week is a class.

Image result for the science of well-being

My mom recently introduced me to Dr. Laurie Santos’ excellent podcast, The Happiness Lab. Dr. Santos teaches the most popular course at Yale, The Science of Well-Being, which over a quarter of Yale students sign up for. Good news for all of us non-Yale students: the course is available for free on Coursera, too.

In the course, Santos calls out things that we think will make us happy, but don’t, and highlights the things that have been proven to create life satisfaction. She mixes the theory of happiness with exercises we can do to avoid the G.I. Joe problem - knowing isn’t half the battle, doing is what makes the lessons stick.

If you believe Coursera, 36% of people who completed the course ended up switching careers afterwards. And Santos has said on her podcast that early results show measurably increased levels of happiness among the thousands of people who have completed the course. It seems to be doing something for people.

I just started it this past week, so I can’t speak for the whole thing, but the first few lectures and exercises have been great. I’m recommending it early because online courses suffer from low completion rates (only 3.13% of people complete EdX courses), and I want to stick with this one. There’s a lot in here that can be applied to community-building, and I’d love the accountability of having some of you take it with me so I actually finish it.

You can sign up for the course here. Let me know if you do!

Links & Listens

📉📈WeWork Details Its Turnaround Strategy Including Divestments And New (Old) Focus by Alex Wilhelm & Sophia Kunthara in Crunchbase

WeWork rolled out its plan to turn itself around on Friday. It’s mostly boring and predictable - get back to selling desks, control costs, sell the existing pipeline, blah blah blah.

It’s nowhere near as inspiring as SoftBank’s take on the situation, which is more like a Biggie lyric (cuz I went from negative to positive and it’s all good) than a real plan.

For the record, I think the plan to cut costs while trying to continue to attract Fortune 500 companies is doomed to fail. One of the main reasons that companies have flocked to WeWork is that, flush with cash, they were happy to give free rent, cover the majority of custom buildout costs, and eat any cost overruns. Delivering a worse product and charging more for it is going to be a hard thing to sell.

In the presentation, WeWork also confirmed that it’s selling off many of its recent investments and acquisitions (even the wave pool company!).

I’m particularly interested in what happens with Meetup and The Wing. If any of you has $100 million lying around, let’s talk.

(Side note: WeWork is in talks to hire T-Mobile CEO John Legere as its new boss)

🛡 Let’s Wage a War on Loneliness by Nicholas Kristof in The New York Times

Loneliness is more lethal than smoking 15 cigarettes a day, or than obesity.

That quote is crazy, particularly when you consider that obesity is associated with 300,000 to 600,000 deaths per year in the US alone.

In response, the UK has appointed a minister for loneliness, the very Britishly-named Baroness Barran. Most of the minister’s work has been about enabling

I’ve written about what loneliness is doing to us here, and Kristof’s piece further strengthened my belief that building community and connection is one of the most important opportunities in front of us. Another good reason to take The Science of Well-Being course!

🎚 Coaching and Intangibles by Aashay Sanghvi

Corporate Training is a $336 billion industry globally ($166 bn in the US). Within that, $3.4 bn was spent on leadership training, one of the fastest-growing learning and development segments. Millennials rate training & development as their #1 desired job benefit, beating out flexible work schedules and cash bonuses, and High Impact Learning Organizations grow profits 3x faster than non-HILOs.

Despite that, L&D programs have an abysmal -8 Net Promoter Score. For context, Verizon has an NPS of 7 and Tesla’s is 96. People hate the training they’re getting more than they hate waiting for the cable guy to inevitably miss the 8-hour appointment window.

Given all of that, the increased startup activity in the space that Aashay points out seems inevitable. There is a ton of money out there looking for more personalized, enjoyable, and effective ways to help employees grow, through software, coaching, and learning communities.

Timelapse of the Future by John Boswell of MELODYSHEEP

When I was little, like 5 or 6 little, my biggest fear was INFINITY. When I went to bed, I would start thinking about the fact that it just never ends. I would tell myself, “OK, but in 10,000 years,” and then freak out about the fact that even in 10,000 years, it just kept going. Then I would run into my parents’ room as if I’d just had a nightmare about being kidnapped and stay there until they calmed me down.

So this video, which illustrates our best guess as to what happens to the universe over the next 5 thousand trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion years, was for me what watching a horror movie is for you.

(A friend sent me the video last week, along with The Egg and What Makes You You? as a follow-up to a conversation we had about who we are and what we’re doing here. If you want to go deep and make your head hurt, these are good places to start.)

What I’m Reading

Thanks to Polina Marinova, author of Fortune’s Term Sheet and her own The Profile, I now have enough great books to keep me busy for a couple of months. Check out the books she chose here:

What’s Next?

We’ve locked in November 20th for Debate Club #2, and we currently have two spots open to fill out an eight team bracket. If you’re interested in joining or have any questions, reply to this e-mail and I’ll try to convince you to get involved.

Thanks for reading!