Best of Web, Dec 20, 2020
This week, while helping a local business, I realized how hard setting up an online presence is. Each task is relatively easy but the collection (setting up a website, getting noticed by search engines, establishing your social accounts, claiming your business in Yelp and Google , setting up FB, IG and Twitter accounts) is daunting and will deter all but the deeply committed. This experience has led me to consider starting “free digital checkup days” for local businesses, with volunteers from tech companies. If you are in the bay area and would like to volunteer or develop this idea further, send me a note.
I was blown away by this conversation between Tim Ferris and Dr. Martine Rothblatt, a polymath who in a single lifetime has achieved more than many over several lifetimes. While her brilliance shines through the entire podcast, pay attention to the story (starts at 15.30) that led to the formation of United Therapeutics, a company that she started, in a field that was new to her, to save the life of one of her daughters. After listening to her, I renewed my resolve to regularly go deeper in hard engineering topics.
Dr. Martine reminded me of one the most famous polymaths of all time, Leonardo da Vinci, and after following a tweet, I got hooked on to reading Walter Isaacson’s biography of Leonardo.
For a collection of excellent articles this year, checkout Bloomberg's annual jealousy list. These are articles from other publications that Bloomberg’s journalists wish they had published. Perhaps, large tech companies should consider publishing an annual "Products they wish they had built" as a way to encourage and give free publicity to startups.
Ars Technica explores this improbable story of how ARM became the hottest commodity in the chip industry. The short version is that they were spurned by Intel and by accident built chips that were ideal for Smartphones decades before they were needed and were prototyped in the infamous Apple Newton. This is a good example of the “corridors of indifference” idea that Dr. Martine discusses in the above podcast.
This week’s example of “Action speaking louder than words” comes from the Australian PM, interrupting a woman MP, when she was asked directly about how the culture was for women in Parliament.
I deeply appreciate any suggestions or feedback you have. And with that, here is a photo taken last week of the Pacific ocean swallowing the sun, only to spit it out on the other side.