Linking Out Loud #17

By David Laing

David Laing

Hey everyone,

Last week my friend and I, both being Canadians who work for an American company, had Thursday and Friday off for U.S. Thanksgiving. We took the opportunity to visit Salt Spring Island, staying for two nights in an Airbnb that turned out to be part of a lakeside resort. It was wonderful:

Aside from a few frosty jaunts around the island, I mainly curled up by the fire and read William Finnegan’s memoir, Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life. I picked it up after seeing Paul Graham’s rather extreme endorsement of it. So far I can’t give that same endorsement, but it is a compelling portrait of an obsession. Check it out if you’re into that kind of thing. The guy really, really likes to surf.

// made by me

Covers shouldn’t just be for musicians

5 minutes | me | 2019

I wish writing covers were considered totally normal. I'm not talking about adaptations, like Joyce's Ulysses (an adaptation of The Odyssey, set in 20th century Dublin), although I would love to see more of those too. By "covers", I mean high-fidelity recreations of other people's written works—comprehensive paraphrases.

>>> Read it

// recently read

Laws of tech: commoditize your complement

40 minutes | Gwern Branwen | 2018

An encyclopedic collection of examples and reflections on the economic concept of complementary goods. If you run Spotify, you want headphones to become cheaper and better. If you manufacture headphones, you want music streaming services to become cheaper and better. This phenomenon can explain a lot of company behaviors that would otherwise seem odd.

>>> Read it

The conquest of ubiquity

5 minutes | Paul Valéry | 1928

A prescient piece from 1928. Here’s an excerpt:

Works of art will acquire a kind of ubiquity. We shall only have to summon them and there they will be, either in their living actuality or restored from the past. They will not merely exist in themselves but will exist wherever someone with a certain apparatus happens to be. A work of art will cease to be anything more than a kind of source or point of origin whose benefit will be available and quite fully so, wherever we wish. Just as water, gas, and electricity are brought into our houses from far off to satisfy our needs in response to a minimal effort, so we shall be supplied with visual- or auditory images, which will appear and disappear at a simple movement of the hand, hardly more than a sign.

>>> Read it

The Cactus and the Weasel

40 minutes | Venkatesh Rao | 2014

You may have heard the maxim, “strong views, weakly held.” What about the converse–“weak views, strongly held”? Venkatesh Rao, in his signature 2x2 style, explores this question in the context of Isaiah Berlin’s cognitive archetypes of the hedgehog and the fox.


>>> Read it

Blackstone's Byron Wien Discusses Lessons Learned in His First 80 Years

5 minutes | Byron Wien | 2013

I had never heard of Byron Wien before I came across this article, but I found his life lessons thought-provoking. Here is one:

When meeting someone new, try to find out what formative experience occurred in their lives before they were seventeen.  It is my belief that some important event in everyone’s youth has an influence on everything that occurs afterwards.

>>> Read it

// top tweets

Have a great week!


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