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August 2022 - Your Own Drum 🥁

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August 2022 - Your Own Drum 🥁
By Nathan Thomas • Issue #9 • View online
Hey everyone.
How have you been in the last 31 days?
I hope you’ve been crushing it. 🔥
Like I’ve said before here, I always save this section for last. I write it a few minutes before I send this newsletter out and I don’t edit.
This month taught me the value of proactivity. If your life feels like it’s in stasis, trust me - I understand how you feel.
A guy I follow on YouTube always says that “Inaction is a slow death.” I think that’s right. Sometimes the best choice is just to make one. If you need to adjust later, trust yourself to handle those problems when they come up.
If you’ve been waiting to put yourself back out there (whatever “out there” is for you), take a page from Nike and just do it. It’s okay if it’s awkward at first or if you mess up big time; you’ll take a second step and it will be firmer and steadier than the first because you’ve already learned some lessons.
If you do this enough times, I think you’ll be stunned to look backwards in a few months and see what you’ve accomplished.
As always, enjoy this newsletter issue.
Nathan ☕️

Articles/News
FIDO Alliance Password-less Sign-on
The first thing I want to talk about this month is the incoming password-less sign on pattern that we’ll all likely be using in the future. The FIDO Alliance is a group of companies that you’d recognize (Apple, Google, etc.) and others.
The goal is to develop a system that uses private-public key pairs (private stored on a device like your phone while public is stored in an app’s databases) in order to allow you to securely log in from your device without needing to maintain passwords. It would use the biometric (face/finger scanners) that you already use.
YC Article on “MVP is not a Product, It’s a Process”
Many of you subscribed to this newsletter know my ultimate goal is to have my own company. To that end, I like finding more philosophically-oriented articles like this one from Y Combinator about how a minimum viable product is really about the process to build something successful.
“Be Good Argument-Drive, Not Data-Drive” by Richard Marmorstein
As someone who has seen many features/products in tech that didn’t need to exist still get built behind the guise of “the data shows this is a good idea,” you should read this article about the dangers of being only data-driven and not good argument-driven.
Books
“Bullshit Jobs: A Theory” by David Graeber
My friend recommended this book to me recently. I have to say that it hasn’t arrived yet in the mail, but I talked with them for long enough about it that I’m very excited. If you’ve ever been frustrated by jobs where things seem to be done just to check boxes, this may be the book for you.
Code
My Monthly Coding Challenge Articles
Once again, I have a 🤌🏻 set of coding challenge articles that you may want to read. They’re all in Python so everyone here who codes should be able to grok them:
  1. Implement Trie (LeetCode #208)
  2. Jump Game (LeetCode #55)
  3. Longest Increasing Subsequence (LeetCode #300)
  4. Course Schedule (LeetCode#209)
Learn Rust 🦀
Once of the things I’m going to be doing in the next 12 months diving into Rust (especially since so much of the infrastructure tooling in the JavaScript ecosystem is being re-written in it). I’ve only written it briefly while coding smart contracts on the Solana blockchain.
I asked some old coworkers/friends at Twitter what they’re using to learn Rust, and this is what they recommended to me:
  1. Official Rust GitHub learning projects
  2. Official Rust Documentation
That’s right.
They said the official stuff is so good that you shouldn’t look anywhere else.
tRPC
I discovered tRPC at random this month. It’s a complete replacement for GraphQL in a full stack application and monorepo that uses TypeScript.
FastAI Course on Deep Learning and Neural Networks
If you take nothing else away from this newsletter, look into this course (it’s all in Python).
Last night, I trained a model on different dog breeds and it was then able to correctly identify images of a golden retriever. I plan on going deep on artificial intelligence and machine learning in the coming year. It’s the future and I want to learn how to be a part of it.
Games
The Pirate’s Flag (Board Game)
I’m soooo psyched to bring you this game recommendation this month. Imagine that you could play a game where you and your friends race to capture a pirate flag in your ships; then, you race back while broadsiding each other and backstabbing the entire way to steal the flag.
Welcome to The Pirate’s Flag; it’s the most fun I’ve had playing a board game in a while.
Parks (Board Game)
On top of being a very, very fun game, Parks also has the distinction of being the most beautiful looking board game I think I’ve ever seen.
You simulate hiking a trail with your friends. On the way, you compete to visit the various United States national parks. The people who made this game paid a massive amount of designers to design the various national park cards, and it shows.
The expansion is also totally worth it too. I bought both. It’s fantastic.
Music
“Steeeam” by Shelly
I discovered this song randomly through TikTok, and it’s been my ear worm ever since (Apple Music and Spotify).
“Ali” by Vieux Farka Touré & Khruangbin
I fully credit Khruangbin’s music with helping me through many late nights while learning to code years and years ago, and this new upcoming album looks so good that I can’t wait. You should check it out or at least listen the single(s) at the moment (Apple Music and Spotify).
Videos
Flexport CEO Ryan Petersen on scaling from zero to $8B
This interview was so raw and honest that I had to include it here. Flexport is a tech startup going after the global shipping industry. I’d definitely recommend watching it during one of your lunch breaks this month.
Steve Jobs presentation at MIT in spring of 1992
I think this interview gives a very particular slice of the way Jobs thought. It’s recorded during his time at NeXT when he still hadn’t learned all the lessons from being banished from Apple. However, there are sparks of what would become his return and cultivation of Apple towards the trillion dollar giant we know it to be now.
Time Management Advice from Principal SWE at Amazon
I discovered this channel about a year ago and have consistently enjoyed the videos on it; it doesn’t hurt that you’re receiving advice from a Principal SWE at Amazon. This video in particular is chock full of great advice on “how to have time for everything.”
Did you enjoy this issue?
Nathan Thomas

I spend a lot of time learning, reading, and researching everything I'm interested in. Signing up for this newsletter will send all my tech, book, article, and media discoveries (and learning resources) directly to you.

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Written in San Francisco, California