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I’ve interviewed hundreds of people for numerous companies over the past 20 years of building businesses. I’ve experimented with many interview questions and most are only semi useful, but one, above all, has been the most useful. A thread...
About halfway into the interview, when the candidate seem a bit more relaxed, I always ask them: “Think about something you deeply love. Take a few minutes to prepare and then teach it to me in a few minutes.” What do I get from this?
First, everyone has something they are passionate about. It could be a book they’ve read, a game they play, a side hustle...whatever. Everyone has something. Putting people on the spot isn’t a strong look but when you do it about something they have mastery around, it gets fun.
Now everyone has a chance to be a teacher and you see the clarity, enthusiasm and lucidity of someone. Are they a learner? Do they dig beyond the obvious? Will they unpack the thing they love from first principles?
What does this question EXPLICITLY minimize yet maximize focus on: 1. School 2. Gender 3. Race 4. Upbringing Labels fall away and you see a person who cares about something to know it better than anyone else in the world (in their mind).
Ivy League grads suddenly look like boring, box-checkers because they are boring and checking boxes too much to have a passion so they talk about something safe. Random kid from Spain talks about the aerodynamics of a plane and beyond his accent or his lack of credentials...
...is a really smart guy. PoC isn’t a diversity hire but a lifelong learner about something technically obscure. Their mastery jumps off the page and you realize she’s a genius hiding in plain sight. Bro from a crappy school just taught me about nuclear reactors.
Modern interviewing sucks for everyone. It’s fast-paced, pressure filled and more mistakes are made in hiring and also NOT-hiring. You need to find ways of seeing past the superficial and find a comfortable way for someone to demonstrate what they are good at.
Abstract these and see how they can apply those same skills to your company and you will find a much more diverse, happy, productive and engaged workforce. 🙏🏽🙏🏽
Also, I should appropriate this properly: I heard secondhand that Larry and Sergei at Google did this pretty religiously in the early years. I didn’t know them at the time but thought “If it worked for them, who am I to second guess it!” It worked for me, too.

My Notes:

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Chamath Palihapitiya
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How to love yourself (a thread):
1. Get to know yourself. What are your likes and dislikes? What are your nonnegotiable needs? What makes you feel most like yourself? Loving someone involves knowing them. Deeply. And accepting them. So how can you fully love yourself if you don’t know who you are?
2. Reaffirm what you love about yourself daily. What are you better at than most people you know? What would you never want to change about yourself? Self love is a choice. Are you going to focus on what you love about yourself or focus on what you don’t?
3. Be kinder to yourself when you fuck up. Replace “That was so stupid of me” with “That was so human of me." Followed by asking "What lesson of self growth is in this moment?” And apply that lesson in the future.
4. Earn your respect. Doing the right thing when no one is watching allows us to have a better reputation with ourselves. When we build that self image within, we can stand more firmly in who we know we are, even if we're misunderstood by others.
5. Own your strengths and weaknesses. Accepting where you are now, even if you don’t love what you see, can open yourself up to future growth. Owning who you are, flaws and all, is one of the most powerful things you can do for yourself and the people in your life.
6. Invest in future you. Often we chase the pleasure of the moment, taking away from the peace in our future. Work out when you don’t feel like it. Read something instead of scrolling for an hour. Do what's good for your future self, even if you don’t feel like it in the moment.
7. Feel freely. Your current state of mind isn’t permanent. Releasing added guilt for what we feel allows us to let things flow through us rather than holding our feelings hostage. Whatever you’re feeling is alright. You have to let yourself feel it to move past it.
8. Ask yourself: What does self love look like for me? Get specific. Pay attention to what you’re doing when you feel your best. What are you wearing? What’s around you? Is it warm? Tune into those moments and make time to create that for yourself regularly, alone or with others.

My Notes:

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We’re Not Really Strangers
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Streetlight Effect: People tend to get their information from where it’s easiest to look. E.g. the majority of research uses only the sources that appear on the first page of Google search results, regardless of how factual they are. Cumulatively, this can skew an entire field.
Belief Bias: Arguments we'd normally reject for being idiotic suddenly seem perfectly logical if they lead to conclusions we approve of. In other words, we judge an argument’s strength not by how strongly it supports the conclusion but by how strongly *we* support the conclusion.
Pluralistic Ignorance: Phenomenon where a group goes along with a norm, even though all of the group members secretly hate it, because each mistakenly believes that the others approve of it. (See also: Abilene Paradox)
The Petrie Multiplier: In fields in which men outnumber women, such as in STEM, women receive an underestimated amount of harassment due to the fact that there are more potential givers than receivers of harassment. (See also: Lotka–Volterra equations)
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Woozle Effect: An article makes a claim without evidence, is then cited by another, which is cited by another, and so on, until the range of citations creates the impression that the claim has evidence, when really all articles are citing the same uncorroborated source.
Tocqueville Paradox: As the living standards in a society rise, the people’s expectations of the society rise with it. The rise in expectations eventually surpasses the rise in living standards, inevitably resulting in disaffection (and sometimes populist uprisings).
Ultimate Attribution Error: We tend to attribute good acts by allies to their character, and bad acts by allies to situational factors. For opponents, it’s reversed: good acts are attributed to situational factors, and bad acts to character.
Golden Hammer: When someone, usually an intellectual who has gained a cultish following for popularizing a concept, becomes so drunk with power he thinks he can apply that concept to everything. Every mention of this concept should be accompanied by a picture of @nntaleb.
Pareto Principle: Pattern of nature in which ~80% of effects result from ~20% of causes. E.g. 80% of wealth is held by 20% of people, 80% of computer errors result from 20% of bugs, 80% of crimes are committed by 20% of criminals, 80% of box office revenue comes from 20% of films
Nirvana Fallacy: When people reject a thing because it compares unfavorably to an ideal that in reality is unattainable. E.g. condemning capitalism due to the superiority of imagined socialism, condemning ruthlessness in war due to imagining humane (but unrealistic) ways to win.
Emotive Conjugation: Synonyms can yield positive or negative impressions without changing the basic meaning of a word. Example: someone who is obstinate (neutral term) can be “headstrong” (positive) or “pig-headed” (negative). This is the basis for much bias in journalism.
Anentiodromia: An excess of something can give rise to its opposite. E.g. A society that is too liberal will be tolerant of tyrants, who will eventually make it illiberal. I explain more here: https://quillette.com/2018/09/30/alex-jones-was-victimized-by-one-oligopoly-but-he-perpetuated-another/
Halo Effect: When a person sees an agreeable characteristic in something or someone, they assume other agreeable characteristics. Example: if a Trump supporter sees someone wearing a MAGA cap, he’s likely to think that person is also decent, honest, hard-working, etc.
Outgroup Homogeneity Effect: We tend to view outgroup members as all the same e.g. believing all Trump supporters would see someone wearing a MAGA cap, and think that person is also decent, honest, hard-working, etc.
Matthew Principle: Advantage begets advantage, leading to social, economic, and cultural oligopolies. The richer you are the easier it is to get even richer, the more recognition a scientist receives for a discovery the more recognition he’ll receive for future discoveries, etc.
Peter Principle: People in a hierarchy such as a business or government will be promoted until they suck at their jobs, at which point they will remain where they are. As a result, the world is filled with people who suck at their jobs.
Loki’s Wager: Fallacy where someone tries to defend a concept from criticism, or dismiss it as a myth, by unduly claiming it cannot be defined. E.g. “God works in mysterious ways” (god of the gaps), “race is biologically meaningless” (Lewontin’s fallacy).
Subselves: We use different mental processes in different situations, so each of us is not a single character but a collection of different characters, who take turns to commandeer the body depending on the situation. There is an office “you”, a lover “you”, an online “you”, etc.
Goodhart’s Law: When a measure becomes a goal, it ceases to become a measure. E.g. British colonialists tried to control snakes in India. They measured progress by number of snakes killed, offering money for snake corpses. People responded by breeding snakes & killing them.
Radical Phase Transition (my term): Extremist movements can behave like solids (tyrannies), liquids (insurgencies), and gases (conspiracy theories). Pressuring them causes them to go from solid => liquid => gas. Leaving them alone causes them to go from gas => liquid => solid.
Legibility: We see a complex natural system, assume that because it *looks* messy that it must be disordered, then impose our own order on it to make it “legible”. But in removing the messiness we remove essential components of the system that we couldn’t grasp, and it fails.
Shifting Baseline Syndrome: Frog says to Fish, “how’s the water?” Fish replies, “what’s water?” We become blind to what we’re familiar with. And since the world is always changing, and we're always getting used to it, we can even become blind to the slow march of catastrophe.
Availability Cascade: When a new concept enters the arena of ideas, people react to it, thereby amplifying it. The idea thus becomes more popular, causing even more people to amplify it by reacting to it, until everyone feels the need to talk about it.
Gurwinder Principle: It is often necessary to eat chocolate cake.
Reactance Theory: When someone is restricted from expressing a POV, or pressured to adopt a different POV, they usually react by believing their original POV even more. For a detailed example read my piece on my attempt to deradicalize a neo-Nazi: https://areomagazine.com/2017/10/28/how-not-to-de-radicalize-a-twitter-neo-nazi/
Predictive Coding: There is no actual movement on a TV screen; your brain invents it. There are no actual spaces between spoken words; your brain inserts them. Human perception is like predictive text, replacing the unknown with the expected. Predictive Coding leads to…
Apophenia: We impose our imaginations on arrangements of data, seeing patterns where no such patterns exist. A common form of Apophenia is…
Narrative Fallacy: When we see a sequence of facts we interpret them as a story by threading them together into an imagined chain of cause & effect. If a drug addict commits suicide we assume the drug habit led to the suicide, even if it didn’t. Another form of Apophenia is…
Pareidolia: For aeons predators stalked us in undergrowth & shadow. In such times survival favored the paranoid—those who could discern a wolf from the vaguest of outlines. This paranoia preserved our species, but cursed us with pareidolia, so we now see wolves even in the skies.
And that’s it! There are many other ideas but these are the ones that came to mind first (availability bias), and I think they provide good springboards for understanding a wide range of phenomena. Feel free to reply with your own, and see if you can explain them in 1 tweet!

My Notes:

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Gurwinder

What’s your most important life lesson that you wish you learned ten years earlier?

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Julie Zhuo

What’s your most important life lesson that you wish you learned ten years earlier?

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A good friend once told me: “life changes at 40: before 40 life is about making decisions, after 40 is about living with the decisions you made.” I am turning 40 today, so I wanted to share 8 “nuggets of wisdom” I learned during my 30s. (Thread!)
1. The only goal that makes sense is learning. When you are younger, you want to grow up to be rich, beautiful, popular, or in love. But achievable goals make no sense. It is all about the lessons you get while trying to reach goals. Soon u realize that learning is THE only goal.
2. Leadership is not about telling people what to do, but about understanding what people are trying to achieve and helping coordinate different interests towards a common goal. If you transition to a leading role, make your first conversation about those you lead, not you.
Once you understand what people want, solve the puzzle. You can’t force people into roles for too long. Solve forward from the people you lead, and not backwards from an intended blueprint or plan. Adapt the plan to the people, not the people to the plan.
3. Those working on related things are not competitors. Many good efforts are destroyed because of people being too greedy with credit, or wanting to be “the” one. Share, promote & encourage people working on similar things to you. Support your peers!
4. If you get screwed, or betrayed, learn to forgive. I was betrayed by a senior colleague & suffered anger & lack of sleep for years. I had to learn to forgive (although I never interacted with that person again) to regain my peace. You forgive for you, not others.
5. There is nothing that gets me more tired than emotional conflicts. People run on some “emotional energy” that is drained by disagreement, pessimism, egos, etc. Don’t pick every fight. Let go quickly. Double down on emotionally supportive friends if u find them.
6. The easiest way to gain support in a political situation is to criticize the person or situation that everyone already hates. Do that from Monday to Friday, and you’ll loose your independent thinking by Sunday.
7. What babies need more than anything is attention. Being a parent is the best, but the hunger for information that a child has is voracious. Kids get bored in seconds and grow on parental attention more than on porridge and milk. Parenting requires constant entertaining.
8. Don’t take yourself or others too seriously. Allow yourself the chance to explore, make mistakes, and have a good laugh. How YOU see life is the only thing you truly control.

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César A. Hidalgo
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Learn to sell. Learn to build. If you can do both, you will be unstoppable.
Arm yourself with specific knowledge, accountability, and leverage.
Specific knowledge is knowledge that you cannot be trained for. If society can train you, it can train someone else, and replace you.
Specific knowledge is found by pursuing your genuine curiosity and passion rather than whatever is hot right now.
Building specific knowledge will feel like play to you but will look like work to others.
When specific knowledge is taught, it’s through apprenticeships, not schools.
Specific knowledge is often highly technical or creative. It cannot be outsourced or automated.
Embrace accountability, and take business risks under your own name. Society will reward you with responsibility, equity, and leverage.
The most accountable people have singular, public, and risky brands: Oprah, Trump, Kanye, Elon.
“Give me a lever long enough, and a place to stand, and I will move the earth.” - Archimedes
Fortunes require leverage. Business leverage comes from capital, people, and products with no marginal cost of replication (code and media).
Capital means money. To raise money, apply your specific knowledge, with accountability, and show resulting good judgment.
Labor means people working for you. It's the oldest and most fought-over form of leverage. Labor leverage will impress your parents, but don’t waste your life chasing it.
Capital and labor are permissioned leverage. Everyone is chasing capital, but someone has to give it to you. Everyone is trying to lead, but someone has to follow you.
Code and media are permissionless leverage. They're the leverage behind the newly rich. You can create software and media that works for you while you sleep.
An army of robots is freely available - it's just packed in data centers for heat and space efficiency. Use it.
If you can't code, write books and blogs, record videos and podcasts.
Leverage is a force multiplier for your judgement.
Judgement requires experience, but can be built faster by learning foundational skills.
There is no skill called “business.” Avoid business magazines and business classes.
Study microeconomics, game theory, psychology, persuasion, ethics, mathematics, and computers.
Reading is faster than listening. Doing is faster than watching.
You should be too busy to “do coffee," while still keeping an uncluttered calendar.
Set and enforce an aspirational personal hourly rate. If fixing a problem will save less than your hourly rate, ignore it. If outsourcing a task will cost less than your hourly rate, outsource it.
Work as hard as you can. Even though who you work with and what you work on are more important than how hard you work.
Become the best in the world at what you do. Keep redefining what you do until this is true.
There are no get rich quick schemes. That's just someone else getting rich off you.
Apply specific knowledge, with leverage, and eventually you will get what you deserve.
When you're finally wealthy, you'll realize that it wasn't what you were seeking in the first place. But that's for another day.

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Naval
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One particular night I was drunker than drunk and I got into it with some guys at the bar. It was pretty bad. I was arrested and charged with 2nd degree assault. I spent 8 months in county jail fighting the case and ultimately I was sentenced to 12 years in prison.
The length of sentence was primarily due to the fact that I had inflicted “serious bodily injury”. I am not a bad-ass and I hate confrontation but I AM ex-military and I have had some martial arts training. I can usually control myself but not while drunk.
It was like I was outside my own body and I was watching myself do what I was doing but I couldn’t stop. Anyway, I spent 8 years in prison and was released in 2013.
I was released to a half-way house. It was super hard to get a job but I would go out each day and put in like 20 applications. After 2 months I finally got a job at Carl’s Jr. and I thought that this was going to be it for me.
Even finding an apartment as a felon is tough. Most people don’t want me in their community and I totally get it. One of the things I hope you get out of this thread is that you shouldn’t just assume the worst when you learn someone has been in jail or prison.
I eventually got an apartment after 9 months and I left the half-way house to start my 3 years of mandatory parole...ankle monitor and all. I wasn’t allowed to drive so I biked EVERYWHERE. It was pretty common for me to bike 100 miles in one day.
Part of me wanted to just give up and consign myself to working fastfood and living in a crappy apartment. In prison, I quit smoking cigarettes and I quit drinking (obviously). But even to this day 16 years later I still have not had one drop of alcohol. I digress...
I was starting to get depressed again. I had a suicide attempt in 2001 which partially spurred my move from Seattle to Denver. I was hospitalized at Harborview for 2 weeks and after I left my parents urged me to move out here.
I met my wife about this time and she was the light that pulled me out of the darkness. She always encouraged me to not give up and she stuck by me no matter what decisions I made, (more on that later). I had gotten a job at Home Depot and I worked my ass off.
After three short months I was sent to their training program to become a department supervisor. Ultimately, I was given the Garden department. I couldn’t believe how far I had come in a year. Ok now for the part you probably care about.
I started programming again. I already knew some .NET from way back so I decided to pick that up again. I was working 40-50 hours a week at HD and I was coding in ALL of my spare time. I actually met my wife on a dating site.
In my bio I wrote, “Dept supervisor at Home Depot and I develop software one the side. I mean in my spare time, not like on the side of the Home Depot” She thought that was funny so we started talking. Dammit! I digress again!!!
A lot of the coding came back to me...parameterized constructors, inheritance, polymorphism, garbage collection, abstraction, etc. But it was a totally new paradigm for me having been out of the game for 10+ years.
I was not happy at HD and they had put me on the overnight shift which really cut into my coding practice so one night I just walked away. I grabbed my stuff and went home.
I was sure my wife was going to divorce me, (oh yeah we were married a month after we met and we’re still going strong after 5 years...so SUCK IT statistics). But she was like, “follow your heart” and all that junk.
I was applying to a bunch of tech jobs, entry level and up. I finally got a break and got a job at a fintech company. I didn’t mention my background and they found out two weeks into the gig. They said that they liked me and they were going to do whatever they could to keep me.
They took my badge and sent me home. They preceded to call and talk to EVERYONE I had ever been in contact with. I gave my therapist permission to tell them her honest feelings about me. They called me the next day and said I could come back to work.
They said they could not find a single person in my past that had anything bad to say about me. My therapist said that in her professional opinion my offense was a one time alcohol induced incident and she was confident that I wouldn’t do it again.
She had never done that, given a client a recommendation before. She said she was THAT sure. I am on my third tech job in 5 years, still married to a nurse that I love more than anything and I have an adorable 3 year old daughter. Just last week we bought a brand new house.
Ran out of tweets. Anyway, I’m not saying this to brag. My point is that if I can go from Prison to Fast-Food to Retail and get a job in fintech with a felony record then there is no reason it can’t happen for you too.
Don’t get me wrong. I have worked my ASS off over the past 6 years. I have cried myself to sleep on more than one occasion. I have considered giving up more than once.
I was under a ton of pressure. Money issues, failed businesses, bankruptcy, almost losing my daughter when my wife was in labor, almost losing her again because she wasn’t gaining weight, feelings of being a fraud and inadequacy.
But if I can do this and change my life and change my family history then you can too. I want to tell each and every one of you that I am 100% here for you with whatever you need. I promise to try my best to give some time back to others in the community.
So especially if you have a “checkered” past and need some help especially with finding a job I can probably help.
I was so scared to post this even though I’ve wanted to for so long. Mostly because I didn’t want it to hurt my employment prospects. Part of the reason for doing so now was that I was fully open and honest with my current employer and they accepted me 100% with open arms.
I love working there and I don’t plan on leaving EVER so I think I’ll be ok.
I also want to give about 99% of the credit to my wife. She has stood by me through all of this. She was evicted from her apartment and told she had 3 days to move out because they found out we were married even though I had my own apartment across town.
I had previously applied to get on her lease and they told me ABSOLUTELY NOT. We have had to move around alot, (4 times in 5 years), because of me. But not anymore.
I don’t think I could have done all of this on my own...so those of you that are struggling with life you can borrow my wife. 😂 But I get her back though....... 😬
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The real mind-fuck of it all is that had I not gone to prison I would never have met my wife and I wouldn’t have the perfect daughter that I have now. My life would have sucked ass had I not spent almost a decade behind bars. Wrap yourhead around that. 😉

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Tim Myers
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School: A House of Mediocrity Content: wholly irrelevant Time: a tyrannical overtaking of a human's time, virtually assuring mediocrity in all pursuits Social: most negative social influences have their origin in school.
School is a sanctified concept all around the world Children who have real talents (proficiency in test taking is not a real talent) are asked to forego them in order to study and get good grades Budding Picasso's and Jordan's are turned into factory workers
School is an enormous convenience for working parents It is a warehouse for academics who would struggle in the private sector It is a parallel universe that suits its own end It charges hundreds of thousands for that which can be had for free with an internet connection
School is the ultimate example of the power of societal conditioning Make something sacred, and one can get away with anything
Ask any teacher who is willing to speak the truth: "What can you possibly teach me that will benefit me in the real world, and that I cannot learn online, for free?"
True education occurs on the pavement, rather than the blackboard Humans do not learn via classroom settings Particularly not those things which add almost zero value to their lives
Proponents of school hide behind lofty phrases that incite fear in the uninitiated "Don't you want your child to have an education?" "Do you not wish to be educated?" Have a look at the syllabus and the social environment And one quickly recognizes what "being educated" means
Apprenticeship is education Jumping into the deep end and learning how to swim with water rising above your head is education Learning the nature of human beings is education Seeing patterns that others have not seen is education
Every child who seeks to achieve something in his life Must learn at a young age what he naturally gravitates toward, and what talents he has been given Then every egg that he has, and a few from the neighbor, must be placed in one basket To be continued . . .

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Siddha Performance

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