Discover more from bits that stick
Starship, India, how to pitch, & more
10 per 10 #2
Event: SpaceX Starship Success
On the 20th of April, SpaceX did a test flight of their Starship + Super Heavy Booster combination.
If you've heard about this event through mainstream media, the message might've focused on how the rocket blew up. This is a disingenuous way of framing the event. It was a test flight, the first launch into orbit of the Starship + Super Heavy combo. Of course it blew up! No experts were expecting it to go without a hitch.
It's more useful to focus on what was achieved, and what the implications are for SpaceX, the US, and the world. Briefly, what was achieved:
Successful launch from the pad. An explosion here would've been catastrophic both monetarily because of damage to the facility, and for the morale of the team
Successfully endured through the MaxQ point, where there is the most pressure on the vehicle.
Every second of flight means a lot of valuable data for the team. And this isn't even the most up to date model! They've already made dozens of discrete improvements in the time between when this giant rocket was manufactured and the launch.
If you want to dive more in depth about why this is so important, I highly recommend Tomas Pueyo's post, which has both frameworks for thinking on how transformative this is, and cold hard numbers, dollars and tonnes, in great data visualisations.
The first ~30 minutes of All In Podcast ep. 125 are also about this, though more big picture than the above post.
Concept: Design for the extremes
"The extremes define the mean but not vice versa"
From the wonderful Derek Sivers episode of the Tim Ferriss Show, included further down in the Podcast category.
It's meant mainly for the domain of product design: if you have a good grasp of both/all extremes (in terms of your potential customers), then if you satisfy them you will also satisfy the mean. If you design your product with the average person in mind, you will get a lot more complains and miss huge segments of the market.
Statistic: Meta per user revenue
Tweet: The role of a founder
Blog post: Here...comes...INDIA!!!
Rise of India as a superpower, great rundown of factors playing into this and how this is different than China's rise. For more data on this, Science Is Strategic on Twitter has a great thread of charts.
Video: How to easily memorise numbers
Dead easy system for making use of our brain's predisposition for visual and grounded-in-physical-reality memories. Here is the tldr, though I recommend the video as it's short and gives a helpful mnemonic for remembering the system:
Every digit has an associated sound
Each sound corresponds to one or more letters, for example 7 is kuh, which can be c, k, ck, even g in some words.
You split the number into two digit pairs, and use vowels as necessary to translate the sound pairs into words. For example, 36, with sounds muh juh, is the word 'mage' for me.
You turn the words into a visual tied to what you're trying to remember, for example 3657 is my PIN code, 3657 → mage lick → a bearded mage in blue robes and a pointy hat is happily licking my phone like it's ice cream
Most of the "cost" of the system is in the setup phase, getting used to switching between sounds and numbers, and assigning images to two digit numbers. Since you only need one image per digit pair, eventually you have all the needed images, and get used to switching from image to number, and you can skip the intermediate image → word → sounds → numbers translation. A mage will always be 36 for me, etc.
If this sounds intriguing, go watch the video! It's a joy to watch, Ron is a 2x US Memory Champion and you can tell he's used his understanding to make the video and the method very memorable.
Podcast: Derek Sivers on the Tim Ferriss Show
Derek is such a fascinating thinker and the podcast is so full of gems. If you like thinking about thinking, and hearing about how other people think (and why, and how they got there), this is a must listen.
A minor caveat is the 22:59 to 59:39 segment on tech independence. If you want to pursue this topic and gain more control over your data, a better way is to go to https://sive.rs/ti , where Derek compiled his instructions, and it's easier to follow along than in audio format.
Book: Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff
Oren shares his deep understanding of business pitching, with several key concepts that changed my thinking on this topic. You can tell that Oren's skills at keeping attention and telling a story have been used in writing the book, and it's a joy to read, with concepts clearly explained and his real life experiences used to underscore points and improve retention of the information.
Here are a couple key concepts:
Your pitch has to get through a person's lizard brain, it's not neocortex talking to neocortex
We all frame conversations in certain ways to benefit us, frames get into conflict on contact, and achieving and maintaining frame control is crucial for a successful pitch. Oren also demonstrates several frame archetypes and how they interact, bringing into focus an otherwise murky concept
Local status is a fluid thing, and being able to deflect attempts to lower yours as well as knowing how to raise it is incredibly helpful
When you get someone's attention, you also have to keep it. Oren's view of attention as a combination of novelty and tension informs how to do both
Narrative and analytical thinking can't coexist
It's better to talk about motion than show the 'Before' and 'After' state, and how to use this in your pitch
Being needy is like holding a live bomb, scaring your audience off
For a pitch to be a success, you have to close the deal, and Oren doesn't neglect this critical part of the process
AI: Transcribe 1 hour of audio in 15 seconds
Imagine how much data is audio/video, and therefore useless for current LLMs. With this transcription speed & cutting edge models like GPT-4 being multi modal (text and image understanding), you are now able to tap into the whole internet & every modality of human communication and expression.
Health: Feldenkrais method for neck tension/pain
Around a month ago I started having constant headaches. They were localised to my left side, above my ear. I was worried about the worst case scenarios, like a tumor or a blood clot. Two CT scans failed to find anything. Finally, a neurologist diagnosed that these were cervicogenic headaches: headaches caused in the neck. My neck was so tense, it was causing my head to hurt. Crazy how interconnected and interdependent the body is!
I started doing stretches and strengthening exercises, as well as taking some muscle relaxing pills the doctor prescribed, with moderate success. Finally, desperate to stop the annoying pain, I found Taro Iwamoto's YouTube channel, and the Feldenkrais Method of relieving muscle tension.
If you have neck pain or tension problems, or even headaches like myself that might be caused by the neck, I highly recommend you try these. Practically overnight they helped with my pain, where precious approaches had sporadic effect. Watch the full series demonstrating 7 exercises, then tailor a routine based on your perceived problem areas.
That's it! If you want more interesting content, follow me on Twitter for RTs and such. See you again on the 9th of May.
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