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TED Talk by computer scientist Cal Newport

(I’ve watched this several times. It’s great.)

Summary / Notes:

  • In a world where everyone is told that the optimization of social media profiles is critical to success in the professional world, Cal Newport makes a convincing counter argument.
  • I’ve spent a decent amount of time thinking about Cal Newports ideas, and more generally, about the dichotomy of creation and advertisement. All creators are faced with a choice in how they spend their time and effort, with regards to whatever it is they are creating. Some choose to focus mostly on making their product, be it a piece of writing, a collection of photographs, or an album of music, but put little thought into advertising it. Others do the opposite. While there are good arguments for both strategies, and I tend to feel that one should err on the side of putting effort into the product. Still, there is a lot to be said for making one’s work public, at least to some degree. Having an audience changes the creative game in some very important ways. It makes one think far more about structure, wording, and general quality (In the case of writing). It also fills the creative process with more highs, when the audience gives its attention or approval, and more lows, when one’s work is ignored or criticized. All in all, I think this type of feedback is a very good thing, as long as the creator doesn’t let the cheers get to their head, and continues to push forward when certain pieces of their work are not received with much enthusiasm.
  • Some very successful companies do not market on social media. Tesla, for example has spent exactly zero dollars on ads of any kind, and relies entirely upon word of mouth and news outlets for publicity.



Recommended Reading

Ethiopia Plants more than 350 million trees in 12 Hours

  • This tree planting effort set the record for most trees planted in a single day


In Norway, electric cars outsell traditional ones for the first time

  • 58.4% of cars sold in Norway during the month of March were battery powered


CRISPR used in human trials for the first time in U.S  (This is really big news)

  • CRISPR is an incredibly powerful gene editing technique that was first used on humans, controversially, in China last year.



“Some people are more certain of everything than I am of anything.”

– Robert Rubin


Photo of the Week (Shot in Nepal)