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Polymathic Monthly - Issue #38: Stupas, Rusty Brown and Ohitorisama.


Polymathic Monthly

February 3 · Issue #38 · View online

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

Name one new company today that’s truly impacting our lives? Or one company using some new advanced technology to improve lives? Why do articles or opinion shows only focus on big tech companies (especially Bloomberg West!!)?
I’m not talking about centralization or regulation of big tech. That might be necessary but there is too much money at stake/being made by those who would normally regulate. I expect nothing to happen on this front.
And I’m not talking about innovation, the current lack of sustainable forms of it or value creation/capture. The bundling and unbundling cycles will continue. Even though as we sit here in early 2020 it feels like nothing will displace these companies and we are stuck with them, what we know about business cycles is that these they will not dominate the landscape for all of our lifetimes.
I still can’t quite put my finger on what bothers me about the current state of tech. It’ll be what I mull over and discuss with you all in 2020. Enjoy the articles below and there’s an announcement at the end.

  • Chris Ware’s graphic novel ’Rusty Brown’ is heavy. Literally and figuratively. It’s ~348 pages and you might have to check your luggage to get it through security at the airport. You might also have to load up on positivity before diving in; the masterful handling of the drudgery and mundane elements of life will leave you wondering what other sadness can the second part of this epic drown you under.
  • While I try not to alarm anyone about the state of the water systems in the US, fear is not a good motivator, I do think that we as a populace should be better informed about things. Troubled Water by Seth Siegel reads like a horror novel unfolding in slow ‘lack-of-regulation’ motion.
  • Competing against Luck’ by Clayton Christensen introduced us to the "jobs-to-be-done’ framework. If you’re building a company, developing a new product, exploring new markets etc do yourself a favor and read.
  • Turns out that some of the conclusions we drew from our scientific understanding of learning and expertise might have been wrong. Range, by David Epstein, purports to help us understand that it’s ok to be a generalist in a world of specialization. Ignoring an incorrect section about soccer, this book will provide folk like me with the comfort required to continue in our quest to ‘figure out what we want to be when we grow up’.
Polymathic Monthly has been a labor of love. And it has been free. But, while it was free to you the reader, it wasn’t quite free. It cost something. And, while I didn’t want to stop curating, it’s getting tough to justify bearing the cost solo. To balance out the cost, and ensure I continue doing this thing that I love and you’ve told me you love, I’ll be shifting to a $1/month subscription.
I’m certain I’ll lose some of you. Thanks for enjoying this labor of love up until now…but $1/month for this thing hundreds of you have told me you love shouldn’t be too much a cost to bear. The paid subscriptions will be active from next month. Blame the paywalls and newsletter service providers. Actually, don’t blame them. The internet has made us believe good or great things should be free. It’s not true.
Till next time!
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