Tag Archives: cope

Seeking Tribe #17: Dark Winter is Over


I am feeling quite optimistic at this moment (it may not be a coincidence that you receive emails from me on days when I’m feeling particularly positive and energetic,,,).

For those of you who are a bit tuned out, and I do not blame you:

One can certainly find reasons to temper our optimism. There’s a lot that we still don’t know and we’ve all just lived through 12 months of bad takes that seldom played out as expected. I am adding this little paragraph because I don’t want this email newsletter to end up on this feed in a year…

But personally, I think we’re about to have an amazing spring and summer. The past few days in Rochester have been moderately sunny and the temperature has been as high as 38F. While finding that to be good and remarkable is kind of sad, we learn to cope in Western NY. We’ll have some warmer days in the next few weeks and people will find it easier to socialize as we monitor the effects of mass vaccination.

My winter is over. I am leaving this Sunday to go visit Orlando for a week with a few of my friends. From there, I’m continuing on to Houston for a week and then Austin for a minimum of two weeks. It’s unclear exactly where I’ll go from there but it seems unlikely that I’ll return to Rochester before May. If you have any recommendations, connections, big ideas, etc that you want to share with me – please hit me up.

I’m looking forward to seeing the sun again and (re)connecting with friends and strangers alike.

Best of My Recent Read:

  • Bitcoin Dissidents: Those Who Need It Most by Anna Baydakova, Coindesk

    Bitcoin, like Amazon and Tesla, has benefitted disproportionately from the US’ (and other country’s) monetary policy response to the pandemic. As new dollars have flooded the market and short-term interest rates declined, people with a large amount of assets and the ability to borrow at near 0% interest have sought out assets with potential long-term growth and robust network effects. While it may not make sense for Tesla to be valued at $586/share, it would make much less sense to have seen a 500% rise in price of a robust, moderate-growth manufacturing company. Tesla, like Bitcoin, at least has a plausible narrative for how it could eventually earn its valuation. This article demonstrates the utility of Bitcoin beyond its role as a speculative asset class, or hedge as “Digital Gold”. It’s easy for Americans to forget that cryptocurrencies are of global significance.
  • How I Read by Slava Akhmechet

    TL;DR: Read ~40 pages/day, assume 30% failure rate. That’s 10k pages and ~20 books annually. Pick a problem, and read clusters of five books to study that problem from a unique perspective. Visualize each cluster as an instrument to inspect the world. Collect instruments into a mental lab, with various stations for related instruments. You can upgrade the instruments one book at a time. Have your bookshelf reflect this mental image. Win the decade, not the day. Start now and never stop.

    I recommend reading the full article. I’m still refining which clusters I want to focus on this year but community and localism will certainly be two of the topics. Lately I’ve been listening to more audiobooks as I’ve soured a bit on podcasts. If you have Audible, there’s a ton of interesting books that are available for free, “Included” FYI.
  • Enough Already: Time to End the War on Terrorism by Scott Horton

    If you have any opinions about American foreign policy, you need to read this book. Horton certainly has his clear biases, as we all do, but almost all of the most damning claims are from official, publicly available government documents. He does a great job of sharing a clear narrative about the madness of American Middle Eastern policy, from the Carter administration through to the book’s release date.

    As always, thank you so much for taking the time to read the newsletter and I’d love to hear from any and all of you. I think my trip will be quite energizing and I’ll have some interesting ideas and perspectives for y’all in the weeks to come. Have a great

This post was initially sent via Substack on March 5th, 2021.


Seeking Tribe #16: Coping With The Moderately Dystopic Time Machine


In Our Perspective Is Improbably Warped, we briefly explored how our perception of the world is altered and reinforced by our networks, feedback from algorithms, and media consumption choices. These forces and the wild events of the past year have given us all a lot of new information to consider as we think about what the future holds for us, our families, and our communities.

Personally, while writing has helped, I think it has been challenging to process all of this information without having novel experiences, meeting strangers, and, in general, living a life more conducive to serendipity. Living in different contexts seems critical to processing new information. Some days I barely feel like I exist outside of a digital persona.

The effect of our physical environment on our day to day experience can be easy to discount. Humans are highly adaptive (he said, during month 11 of quarantine) and we tend to filter out stimuli that doesn’t change or isn’t useful (I dug a bit more into this in Lead The Future).

During the first two months of quarantine, when I pretty much never left the house, it felt like I was riding in a moderately dystopic time machine. Each day mostly consisted of trying to navigate what the pandemic would mean for iZone and then consuming endless scrolls of tweets and takes. Back in a world where the deaths of hundreds of thousands of US citizens was a hypothetical, when people were still trying to get a grasp on what exponential growth would mean in this context. Every time I went to go into the shower I would think, “Didn’t I just do this?,” as another day had zoomed by, completely undifferentiated from the last.

Fortunately, that time machine effect waned as the sun returned and spring came to save me from, more or less, total isolation. I returned home and spent at least an hour every day out in the beautiful sunshine.

Unfortunately, I feel like the time warp effect has more or less returned as SAD has beaten me down, particularly the last few weeks. For me, this just means that I’m generally much lower energy. I feel grateful that I have good habits to help me persevere (exercise, diet, writing, and too-few long walks). In this way, many of us in Rochester are viscerally aware of the impact of our physical environment on our experience.

This is not a sob story. I’m writing this today because it has been a great day. I woke up ready to get after it and had a bunch of positive opportunities suddenly present themselves to me:

  • helped a friend identify and connect with a more lucrative market segment for his math tutoring business, after he mentioned his goal was to 3x his revenues this year
  • scheduled a call with a manager [hiring] in crypto after I publicly critiqued their comms
  • reconnected with a friend who is interested in collaborating on growing one of his businesses

The last few weeks have not been like that at all. They’ve been mostly filled with focusing on my healthy habits and doing the minimum I can to still feel like a functioning person. I’m going to be fine. You’re going to be fine. I believe in you.

But please:

  • reach out to your friends to check in on them, it’ll likely make you feel better
  • consider how your physical environment might be contributing to how you feel right now and try to make it a little nicer, ie. make a cup of herbal tea/coffee, put on your favorite up-beat album, and clean your desk/vacuum/windex that mirror; go for a walk even if it’s cold
  • try to plan something to look forward to, ie.a walk with a close friend, zoom game night, a camp fire for when the weather breaks

After months of not having not-much concrete to look forward to, I have plans to visit Houston and Austin towards of the end of March, beginning of April. I’m still finalizing what the exact dates will be but please reach out if you will be in the area and would like to try to find a time to meet up. I am so excited to see the sun again and find out if the hype is real (love to all my Texans, I hope you’re well).

This post was initially sent via Substack on February 19th, 2021.