Consumption Week 1

My very rough notes from some of the media I consumed this week.


[Article] The 10 Best Ideas I Learned in 2022 [Gurwinder]

  1. Solomon’s Paradox
  2. Cunningham’s Law
  3. Bonhoeffer’s Theory of Stupidity
  4. Anattā
  5. Gibson’s Law
  6. Surrogate Activities
  7. Shirky Principle
  8. Babble Hypothesis
  9. Noble Cause Corruption
  10. Noise Bottlenecks

  • In India, a country focussed on status, there is 3x margin on living room products (seen by visitors) vs bedroom products (unseen by visitors). A living room (partial) renovation product gets more traction than home (whole) renovation product. Extending this - what is the core driver? [Kunal Shah]
  • Impulse control and go/no-go functions: Train no-go circuitry by stopping yourself doing unconscious behaviours/habits e.g. picking up phone without a purpose, changing a plan spontaneously, grabbing a snack. Trained through meditating (”no, I won’t explore this thought right now”). Relates to sitting and focussing on one thing for extended period without any distractions (deep work). [Huberman]

  • Do the right thing - you know what it is.
  • Dyson: Be obtuse, unconventional, determined
  • Benevolent dictatorship is optimum. Almost impossible for a country, but possible for a company.

  • Brookfield Canadian investment firm, owner of Westinghouse - one to watch?
  • Questions stimulate thinking. Even if you know you don’t know the answer, regularly ask yourself the question anyway.
  • Start small and simple - “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”.
  • Fix small problems and the larger ones may fix themselves.
  • Visualise what you want to achieve. If you find visualising hard, start small. For example, in an interview. What will I be wearing?

  • Green funerals exist e.g. woodland with a tree instead of gravestone.
  • Intrigued to listen to back catalogue.

[Article] Visualized: Who Americans Spend Their Time With

[Article] Animated Chart: The Smartphone Effect on the Camera Market

[Article] Can Planting a Trillion New Trees Save the World?

  • Nearly half the land involved was slated to be turned into plantations of fast-growing commercial trees. The carbon these monocultures store is mostly released in a decade or so, when the trees are harvested, the researchers wrote.
  • Grassland scientists argue that such areas are not degraded forests, but rather ancient, biodiverse and carbon-rich ecosystems, worthy of protection in their own right. By directing the attention of tree-planting campaigns toward those grasslands, he thought, the map could threaten the existence of countless species and ecosystems.
  • Drastically overestimated the climate-mending effects of planting trees. “They did the carbon-accounting equivalent of you or me buying a house for $100K, fixing it up with $50K of improvements, selling it for $200K, then bragging about how we made $200K in profit,” he says.
  • They are planting seeds or seedlings, which offer few benefits and are not tough at all. Every year, he recalls, the government provided seedlings for the class to plant, and all their planted seedlings always died. “We should be growing trees, not planting trees,”
  • The movement’s success or failure in restoring the world’s forests will be judged not by the number of trees planted, but via satellite imagery, viewed over the long term, and discussed the old-fashioned way — in hectares.

[Article] Protecting Ourselves From Inflation [10-K Diver]

  • 3 economic characteristics that tend to make companies robust to inflation:
    • Pricing power
      • A company has pricing power if it can raise the price of its products and services – and still not see a reduction in demand for them. Usually, this happens when customers consider the company’s products/services essential – with NO adequate substitute.
      • Companies that have such pricing power tend to leave clues in their financial statements:
        • High gross margins and operating margins,
        • High returns on invested capital, and
        • High Free Cash Flow conversion (ie, owners can take out most of their earnings in cash)
    • Capital lightness, and
      • If capital heavy, much of their “earnings” may simply go towards increasing their own “capital” – which is required for these very earnings!
    • Judicious use of debt.
      • Inflation helps borrowers. That’s because they get to borrow money in today’s (more valuable) dollars – and pay it back using tomorrow’s (less valuable) dollars.

[Article] The Right Way To Calculate Inflation-Adjusted Returns [10-K Diver]


[Article] Pixels make the picture: A guided tour through the granular world

[Article] What’s next for batteries

  • Solid-state batteries can use a wide range of chemistries, but a leading candidate for commercialization uses lithium metal.
  • Sodium-ion batteries may not improve performance, but they could cut costs because they rely on cheaper, more widely available materials than lithium-ion chemistries do.
  • Form Energy is developing an iron-air battery that uses a water-based electrolyte and basically stores energy using reversible rusting.
  • This year could be a breakout year for one alternative: lithium iron phosphate (LFP), a low-cost cathode material
  • Most anodes in lithium-ion batteries today, whatever their cathode makeup, use graphite to hold the lithium ions. But alternatives like silicon could help increase energy density and speed up charging.

[Article] This Is Why Global Warming Is Responsible For Freezing Temperatures Across The U.S.

  • Closed loop - plastic bottle to plastic bottle (in about 2 weeks).
  • Bottle is ~50% recycled but only because not enough recycled material available.
  • Waste management is 8% of UK emissions.
  • Single material packaging is key - even if all plastic.
  • Business model: Paid to process by government, but some profits from end products sold go back to government.
  • Tips: Rinse in cold water; don’t remove labels; keep plastic lids on (colour and type sorting machinery handles); leave plastic on cardboard box/envelope (machines separate).
  • Listening made me positive about achieving something?

[Article] New EV entrants disrupt Europe’s automotive market

[Article] World’s largest vertical farm is being built in the UK and it’s the size of 96 tennis courts

[Article] Grid capacity – the bottleneck on net zero?

  • Had no job, was pressured by his friends to start writing about his hobby (pickup), people offered to pay him to teach them.
    • Put yourself out there - you never know what will happen. Create.
  • Also wrote a load of bullshitty scammy blogs through which he learnt the industry.

  • Brain dumps: write or record
  • Break mindset: I will <achieve goal/not experience negative> because [do daily]
  • Lifestyle and habits auditing: Record all daily actions, were they done by the best you or the worst you? You become what you do.
  • Daily reflection: What drained me? What did I learn? What am I grateful for? What excited me? How did I push the needle forward?
  • To make a decision - Rather than pros and cons, imagine worst and best possibly outcomes/experiences
  • To stop catastrophising - Which is the most likely outcome? Would I put money on it?

[Article] Proposal: A founder-focused climate tech taxonomy