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Weekly Thing

Weekly Newsletter from
Jamie Thingelstad

Issue #96 / Mar 9, 2019


It’s been another week filled with much activity. I made a quick trip to Toronto this week to visit TeamSPS there. 🛩 It was a great trip and I got time to connect with a bunch of people, including over board games. 🎲 It also is going to kick off a pretty sustained burst of travel for me in the coming weeks. I’m bracing for several flights coming up. I’ve gotten back to my meditation practice and I’m reminded how impactful that is. I’ve also recommitted myself to keeping a gratitude journal. Both of those habits are at record long streaks right now. Gotta keep the streak going! 👍🏻


Featured Links 🏅

The Tesla Model 3, reviewed (finally) | Ars Technica

This review is much more sedate than the one I would write, something like "It’s awesome!" Simple, and just two words. It’s a decent review however I don't agree that the touch screen is so inconvenient and distracting from driving. I continue to 💙 my Model 3!


Status as a Service (StaaS) — Remains of the Day

This might be one of the best takes I've ever read to understand dynamics in social networks. The fundamental idea of "social capital" and "network utility" and how they play together is a very interesting.

What ties many of these explanations together is social capital theory, and how we analyze social networks should include a study of a social network's accumulation of social capital assets and the nature and structure of its status games. In other words, how do such companies capitalize, either consciously or not, on the fact that people are status-seeking monkeys, always trying to seek more of it in the most efficient way possible?

This calls out the Facebook News Feed as a sea change in how social capital is accumulated.

It's difficult to overstate what a momentous sea change it was for hundreds of millions, and eventually billions, of humans who had grown up competing for status in small tribes, to suddenly be dropped into a talent show competing against EVERY PERSON THEY HAD EVER MET.

As I read this I kept thinking of LinkedIn. LinkedIn is largely a utility network. However, in recent years they have gotten into the news feed game and added a lot of "like" functionality. They have added a bunch of features that are clearly ways to build "social capital". And, notably, their user metrics shot up as soon as they did that stuff.


My Weekly Photo 📷

This guy with the lit roller skate wheels had some serious moves.

This guy with the lit roller skate wheels had some serious moves.
Mar 2, 2019 at 2:21 PM
Roller Garden, 5622 W Lake St, St. Louis Park, MN 55416


Notable Links 📌

Cool to see the Financial Times making their chart generation software available. This is nice since you can just paste in some data and download a nice looking static image.


Facebook’s Privacy Cake – Stratechery by Ben Thompson

Mostly I read this as Facebook has surveilled it’s users so much, and continues to spy on them in every way possible, that they can easily forego spying on some part of your communication and add encryption to it. Said another way, if the cigarette company has you addicted to nicotine, they can completely afford to put warnings on the packages without impacting sales.


Book: Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe - Feld Thoughts

This book is on my reading list. I enjoyed to the Recode Decode episode with Roger McNamee.


Big Idea Famine

Shuffling status updates in social networks isn't a big idea. This is one where I give Elon Musk credit, he's working crazy hard on things that he has identified as big problems.



I like the basic concept here that the "lock in" cost of a solution is more complex than just the migration expense. However, I would also add to this that migration cost tends to trend down over time. So, in addition to the opportunity gain referenced here, I think that you compound that on a shrinking migration cost as time moves forward. Why does migration cost shrink? Because software gets more sophisticated over time, and solutions should get easier to replicate. Over a very long time that may actually go back up as the software becomes brittle, but in the first several years I would argue it trends down.


People Call My Photos Fake... But They're Not

Fun read on the planning and background, and sometimes serendipity, that go into some amazing photographs. Many people have no idea of the amount of planning that has to go into getting shots like this.

Also, many locals shoot the Milky Way there. The fact is that this shot was technically not that hard. It is not a single shot but was rather a panorama to get the whole valley in the frame. I planned the alignment and the shot, and “just” needed the volcano to erupt. The planning and the whole trip was the most difficult, but being there was simply executing and enjoying the spectacle unfolding in front of my eyes.

Neat. 📷


Book: Digital Minimalism - Feld Thoughts

Feld and I seem to be reading some similar books lately. I enjoyed reading this book as well. It was fun to read Feld's comments on it as well.


How to get better at estimating your time

I like the 2nd recommendation in here of having other people estimate for you. In a way, that is what agile teams do when they do Planning Poker.


Camille Fournier on Scaling, Structure, and Growing as an Engineering Manager

I like how much Fournier focuses on the "integrator" role of managers in a growing company.

Fournier emphasizes that managers will need to develop strong peer relationships to stay connected with everything that’s going on in their growing organization. Equally important, she says, is developing relationships with higher-level directors or executives. These relationships will allow you to be more efficient in communicating and getting work done, while also building trust for your team.

Very true.


Why I’m into meditation | Bill Gates

My view on meditation is very similar to how Gates positions this.

I now see that meditation is simply exercise for the mind, similar to the way we exercise our muscles when we play sports. For me, it has nothing to do with faith or mysticism. It’s about taking a few minutes out of my day, learning how to pay attention to the thoughts in my head, and gaining a little bit of distance from them.

Via Patrick Rhone.


Mailist App – Save links for later and get reminded

What if you took a bookmarking or read-it-later service and combined it with a newsletter capability? You get Mailist.


Microsoft Excel will now let you snap a picture of a spreadsheet and import it - The Verge

What a cool idea! Kudos to Microsoft for putting something truly innovative in like this. This will be a "magic" feature for many people. It did make me wonder about security, but there isn't a new security risk here, it might just make it easier to take a picture of a screen and not have to type it in.


10 Breakthrough Technologies 2019, curated by Bill Gates - MIT Technology Review

I love that Bill Gates has turned his attention to technology areas that are much more impactful to human health and happiness. You'll notice social networks and advertising algorithms are nowhere on this list.


Give Back 🎁

Creative Commons helps you legally share your knowledge and creativity to build a more equitable, accessible, and innovative world — unlocking the full potential of the internet to drive a new era of development, growth, and productivity. I have been a supporter of Creative Commons for years. Larry Lessig, the founder of Creative Commons, has done the world a great thing by creating a legal structure to help authors and creators encourage remix culture. In addition to donating, you should consider making your content under a Creative Commons license. Donate to Creative Commons today!


Yet More Links 🍞


Microposts 🎈

Thursday @ 8:22 PM

My daughter lost her iPhone while skiing today. Quick action with Find my iPhone and Lost Mode got it recovered from a couple feet down in the snow! ⛷❄️👀


Tuesday @ 6:45 PM

Heading home. Great time visiting #TeamSPS Toronto. CRJ-900 taking us back. 🛩


Monday @ 10:49 PM

I had a fun evening joining #TeamSPS Toronto for some board games! I came in a distant 4th in Ticket to Ride. 😢



Monday @ 9:43 PM

Nice dinner out with #TeamSPS in Toronto!


Sunday @ 11:08 PM

We got to see some 3-3 OT hockey along with a shootout! Only way it could have been better would have been for a Wild win! 🏒 Great game though!



Sunday @ 8:09 PM

Tyler had a game puck land (softly) right in his lap at tonight’s Wild game! 🥳🏒


Sunday @ 8:08 PM

Minnesota Wild v Nashville Predators tonight! 🏒


Sunday @ 8:05 PM

Olympic Gold medalist Lindsey Vonn dropped the game puck at tonight’s Wild game! 😎


Sunday @ 8:03 PM

Time for some Minnesota Wild Hockey! 🏒


Sunday @ 12:15 AM

Went axe throwing for the first time tonight and did this!


Saturday @ 6:32 PM

We visited the 80’s this afternoon with a trip to the Roller Garden! 😁



Saturday @ 6:24 PM

We had a great morning helping pack over 250 boxes of food at Feed My Starving Children!


Saturday @ 9:17 AM

We had a fun time playing the Primetime Showdown at Game Show Battle Rooms last night! Lots of laughs! 🤣 Why couldn’t I think of a vegetable that starts with a “B”? 🙄



Fortune 🥠

You've made it all the way to the end! 👏 Here is your fortune for this week.

Cold hands, no gloves.

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All content in the Weekly Thing is placed here at my discretion. There is no advertising or promotional content. Links that are featured are found from a variety of sources, and there is no attempt to provide attribution to the source as I would inevitably get it wrong or forget routinely. In some cases links may have affiliate codes associated with them.

This work by Jamie Thingelstad is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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