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The Dangers of Evaluation, Impressive Humility, Defense Technology, and a Trip to the White Mountains

The Dangers of Evaluation, Impressive Humility, Defense Technology, and a Trip to the White Mountains
By Zack Jones • Issue #65 • View online

Article: The Evaluative Gaze of School
There’s something deeply resonant about this article. As someone who’s has pursued countless passion projects, evaluation, quantification and comparison have always haunted me. These numbers and simplifications are the enemy of creative and introspective work. I recognize the need to measure, but when we apply this lens to EVERYTHING a young person does, we kill passion and joy. 
For better or for worse, most deeply creative people draw lines between their freest forms of expression and the work that makes money. In my mind, that’s a veteran move. Young people don’t know to make that distinction. It’s not natural. So instead, they make something wildly creative, get judged and then decide not to do that ever again. 
We need to create spaces where kids can authentically express themselves free of judgement. I’m not saying that needs to exist 100% of the time, but everyone needs to experience it.  
Refreshing Humility from a Startup Founder
How I Built This - Bonobos: Andy Dunn
I can’t comment on Bonobos’ product, but I was amazed at the honesty and humility from Andy Dunn.
Many times he was asked “could this have worked back then” and Dunn responded “maybe if I were a better leader” or “we were too young then to know.” 
Oftentimes founders and leaders in general talk about every decision in a way that makes their story sound perfect and heroic. Rarely do you hear someone who built a wildly successful brand speak in such a humanizing way.
Podcast: Controversial Startup Founder Turned Defense-Tech Entrepreneur
The Human Code with Laurie Segall - Anduril Industries & Oculus VR Founder Palmer Luckey |
Thought-provoking interview with someone I’d never heard of. I knew about Oculus, the virtual reality company that sold to Facebook, but I didn’t know anything about Palmer Luckey.
He’s a pretty controversial figure for many reasons, but I think he presents some arguments worth listening to in this podcast. The one I found particularly interesting was that he identified a couple niches in the defense tech industry: one on the product side and one on the hiring side.
Product-wise, he felt like traditional defense contractors were creating incremental innovations - making existing tech 10% better. He envisions a future where soldiers have 10x more access to information so they can make better decisions and stay safer. He wants his company to be a place that can produce exponentially better products at a cheaper cost, thus saving lives and tax-payer money.
Hiring-wise, he found that there were top quality engineers in Silicon Valley who want to solve problems in the defense industry, but didn’t want to do it at a traditional contractor because the culture wasn’t the right fit. His goal is to build the company where Silicon-Valley style engineers go to work on defense technology.
Updates
I completed 60+ days of meditation on the Waking Up app. Not 60 days in a row, but pretty close. Definitely feeling more able to see a bigger picture of work, life, relationships. Trying to take it one moment at a time.
I visited New Hampshire this weekend to spent time with family and friends. My little brother and I went skiing and had beautiful conditions up in the White Mountains. I’m incredible sore and tired, but so grateful to have spent so much time outdoors.
 A still photo from snowboarding this weekend
A still photo from snowboarding this weekend
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Zack Jones

Thoughts about education, entrepreneurship and creativity. Updates from my journey along the way.

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