Per My Last E-mail #3
We're becoming commodified supply for AirBnB in Athens, NY! Plus Range, Links, Listens and Why Girls Rule.
Hi Friends 👋,
Belong in Athens, NY
Happy Monday. Today's Per My Last E-mail is a day late because Puja and I spent the weekend in Athens, NY closing on, and launching, a soon-to-be AirBnB. (For more on Brooklyn people migrating upstate, check out the NY Times piece, Is the Hudson Valley Turning into the Hamptons?)
Pictured: The two newest Brooklynites in the Hudson Valley
We're going to try to optimize our way to the top of the Athens' search results by the end of summer. If we learn anything particularly helpful or interesting, I'll share some insights here.
Puja is a superhero - she led the negotiations, locked in a mortgage rate so low that it was a topic of conversation among our lawyers at closing, designed the house, ordered all of the furniture, invited her parents to visit and help out (thank you!) and coordinated deliveries so that seven different vendors brought everything we needed to Athens, NY in a 48-hour window. Because of everything she's pulled off, our place will be live on AirBnB and ready for guests by the time I send next week's email.
My sister, Meghan, stopped on her road trip back from Boston to deliver some furniture and lend a hand. Less than 24 hours after graduating with an MPA from Harvard Kennedy School, Meggles spent an hour sanding a hole in our door with a drill bit to make our smart lock fit after I couldn't figure out how to make it happen.
My biggest takeaway from the weekend: Girls rule and boys drool.
What I'm Reading
I'm about 3% of the way into Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein, the author of The Sports Gene. 3% in is probably too early to comment on the book, but Epstein's interview on Invest Like the Best whet my appetite when he argued that the 10,000 hour rule is bullshit and dove into the research on effective learning. If I were a betting man (I am), I’d bet I’m going to like it.
If you're reading Range or want to start now, let me know and I’ll set up a mini-book club discussion (looking at you, Coop and Evan).
Links & Listens
🍔 Joe Beef and the Excesses of Restaurant Culture by Hannah Goldfield for The New Yorker
Restaurant culture - specifically, how top chefs can perform at the top of their field while drinking and doing drugs to excess and barely sleeping - has fascinated me since reading Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential. And Joe Beef is perpetually #1 on my “Restaurants I need to go to next time I’m in Montreal” list.
Goldfield’s piece captures the Joe Beef’s wine-fueled ride to becoming one of the world’s best restaurants, and more interestingly, the sober realizations of its partner-chefs David McMillan and Frédéric Morin. The piece asks the reader to reflect on the question of whether people who have perpetuated a certain culture should be lauded or scorned for later calling out the evils of that culture.
🙅🏻♂️ Google Chrome, the Perfect Antitrust Villain? by Alex Danco
On the eve that news that the DOJ would be investigating Google’s search practices broke, Alex Danco wrote a piece on why Chrome isn’t just the most logical target for antitrust action within Google, it’s the most logical target for antitrust action in the entire tech industry.
Double-whammy from Twenty Minute VC this week.
As I was searching for a protagonist for a final case study in my upcoming post on Natively Integrated Companies, Harry Stebbings’ interview with Kulveer Taggar of Zeus Living landed in my podcast feed like manna from heaven. Taggar clearly describes the many competencies that successful tech-enabled companies must build and the tools and systems they use to manage the related complexity.
I first listened to this 20 Minute VC interview with Rebecca Kaden of USV a few months ago. As I started writing about Natively Integrated Companies, her ideas kept coming back to me. In the podcast, she talks about why startups aren’t going to beat Amazon at its own game, and how they can build great businesses despite that by building direct customer relationships and products that people love and share.
🔬 Science: The Endless Frontier by Vannevar Bush
It’s rare (read: never) that I finish reading a book and decide to dive into some of the source material. But in Loonshots, Safi Bahcall makes a bold claim about Science: The Endless Frontier, Vannevar Bush’s proposal to President Truman to continue government support of science after WW2:
“Since the end of World War II, hundreds of industry-changing, or industry-creating, discoveries originating in the US - including GPS, personal computers, the biotechnology industry, the internet, pacemakers, artificial hearts, magnetic resonance imaging, the chemotherapy cure for childhood leukemia, even the original Google search algorithm - sprang from the system Bush’s report inspired.
Given everything the report has given us, it is well worth the two-hour read.
🖍 Sketched Books by Sacha Chua
I first stumbled on Sketched Books on Sam Hinkie’s website a couple of weeks ago, and have gone down a sketched rabbit hole ever since. Chua condenses popular books into one-page sketches that visually outline the key ideas, giving you the insights without the repetition and fluff common in business books. Her sketch of How to Read a Book is meta, and a good place to start.
This week, I’ll be publishing The Rise of the Natively Integrated Company. It will be the longest piece I’ve written yet by a wide margin, and I’m looking forward to feedback on it, even if the feedback is “You should probably stop publishing what you write, bud.” After that, I’ll be working on creating a mini-course based off of Loonshots. And we’ll be hitting the launch button on our Athens AirBnB. (You better believe I’m going to use the massive reach and power of this e-mail list to push that thing.)
In the meantime, if you have any thoughts on what you’d like to see more or less of in this e-mail, let me know! And if you have friends who would enjoy getting this e-mail, they can subscribe here.
Thanks for reading,
P.S. Saturday was my parents' 35th anniversary. They continue set a great example of a successful marriage that is an equal partnership in every way. Happy anniversary, mom and dad!