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Polymathic Monthly - Issue #37: Fisher, Limewire, and a town called Roundup.


Polymathic Monthly

November 24 · Issue #37 · View online

A curation of articles, tech, books and innovation strategy to enrich your career and personal lives.

When was the last time you changed your mind about a major belief or perspective? Something political, related to faith, etc? Something major. Or when was the last time you admitted you were wrong about a big decision you made? I’m finding that I suffer a lot from confirmation bias. Even though I’ve always considered myself open-minded. Maybe not so much…
One of my favorite statements (that I borrowed from someone whom I can’t remember) for startup friends/founders is ‘strong opinions, loosely held’. And sometimes I also throw around the ‘be firm in your vision but flexible about the path to get there’. Profound statements. Easy to share, difficult to implement. Especially since we are so emotional about our beliefs. Even in the face of compelling evidence to the contrary. There must be a hack for this?
So when was the last time you changed your mind about something you strongly believed in? And how did you convince yourself?
I hope you enjoy PM this week!

  1. It’s delightful to see who eats what and what dinner looks like for 18 families across the world.
  2. Another WeWork story. If only we could all be allowed the hubris here…
  3. The American Dream involved owning your own home. Much like the movies that glorified the ‘house with good bones’, that dream has become a nightmare. Those dreams were buoyed by coal, steel and the auto industry. We know how they’re doing…
  4. Next time someone uses the behavior of the stock market as a proxy for the economic condition of the US/World, remind them that not everyone participates in the stock market!!! 84% of all stock is owned by the wealthiest 10% of American households. And, yes, that includes pension plans, 401k’s, etc.
  5. No surprise here; a disproportionate number of Native Americans lack access to clean water.
  6. And why in the world are we running out of sand?!? It all boils down to our love for ‘aggregate’, computers (precisely chips) and man-made cities.
  7. Phineas Fisher needs your help to hack banks and oil companies.
  8. I grew up listening to the music of the Lijadu Sisters (cousin’s to Fela Kuti). Sadly, one of the sisters recently passed away. Maybe Nas’ll finally pay some royalty for jacking a sample without paying.
  9. A partial data-driven response to the question of ‘what’s going on with infrastructure?’
  10. Limewire was as important as Napster and it was around for much longer. Here’s the oral history. We stopped using it when we realized folk were getting sued here in the US…
  11. It’s quite shocking how little we all know about coding pioneers like Barbara Liskov. We know why though…
  12. The story of Amazon, the town of Roundup, preppers, and the logistical underbelly of that product you clicked and bought from Amazon.
Considering the epidemic of loneliness people are facing, it’s such a joy to see a service like MonAmi in the world.
  1. The Poisoned City, by Anna Clarke, tells the detailed story of the Flint water crisis. It’s the most in-depth account of how the city ended up with what is now the (unfortunate) reference point for the decaying state of our water systems and the intentional ignorance of our political leaders.
  2. Since I’m not (erm) watching Watchmen on HBO, it felt like a good time to reread the Watchmen graphic novel.
  3. I now rely (almost exclusively) on the frameworks provided in Stories That Stick (Kindra Hall). Short but instructive read.
  4. Water (The Epic Struggle For Wealth, Power, And Civilization) is just under 500 pages of historical accounts of advancements in water and our civilization. I probably wouldn’t have picked this up if I wasn’t working in the space, and it was recommended to me by an advisor whose opinion I truly value.
I’m thankful for every single one of you who reads this newsletter. I hope you have a great week.
Best, Seyi.
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