Check your Pulse #55 - Check your Pulse

But thus far, the conversation around “curation” has been too focused on the content – “what should I read?” – and not enough on the structure – “how do we collect, store, and contextualize the information we consume?” We seem to have forgotten that the goal is not to consume more information. The goal is to think better, so we can achieve our goals.

There’s a whole economy around knowledge organization available for the taking.

Three intersecting problems remain unsolved:

  1. Our feed-based information architecture is obsessed with the present.
  2. We consume information recreationally, not as a way to achieve our goals.
  3. Curation has been too focused on the information and not enough on architecture; how we collect, store, augment, and utilize what’s already in our minds.

The potential to build community-curated knowledge networks remains largely untapped. There are reasons to be optimistic; the economic feasibility of paid communities, a renewed interest in curation, a slow move away from big social, and an improved understanding of platform incentives. All combined, this will lead to communities that are more sustainable, aligned, and intentional.

The intersection of content curation, knowledge management, and community. 👀 this space.

OnlyFans Flywheel

20/ To recap, OnlyFans grew by:

  1. Focusing on a specific creator segment

  2. Helping those creators make more money by engaging their super fans.

This flywheel can work for any startup in the creator economy, as I'll explore in a future post.


There Is A Maximum Human Bandwidth And We Have Reached It. Every Computer Technology Moving Forward Is Impacted. – @ReadMultiplex

Out of all the millions of bits that enter all of our sense organs from our eyes to our sense of smell only a very tiny fraction is made available to your consciousness. Most of the data and information is lost to your conscious mind. To put it simply only about one millionth of all the data and information from your senses make it into your consciousness.

Human consciousness is not really about data and information, it is the opposite, it is about order out of chaos. Consciousness consumes data and information and discards what is not useful as exformation. Although today we think of data and information as ordered, in a primary sense it is not. It is disordered atoms to your conscious mind.

A direct brain interface that fills the human bandwidth channel is maximized to 41 bits per second will be all that any of will take and at that point nothing else will be conscious to us.

“Oh but we will pipe all this into the unconscious?” not if you want to stay sane. Sanity requires assimilation of data and information. This digestion is how our neurons and neuropeptides encode the data and information into human knowledge. And the steps to distill the information for the exformation is as important as the data and information itself. Thus to try to inject this into the subconscious without holographically also creating all the antecedent steps to build that memory, we will create artificially induced mental illness. We will have disconnected ideas, images, sound, video and voices that have no anchor to our consciousness we would become the definition of what it is like to be insane.

Digital Gardening

Having blogged and written more formally for a number of websites in the past, my public output of writing has gone way down in the last year or so, partially because of personal circumstances, but also because I was increasingly finding the time commitment as well as stricter format of blogs and articles more constrained. I want to start experimenting with less structured writing and notes, as well as incorporating other mediums such as audio and video. The digital garden format, requiring less commitment in order to get started, may also help me as I begin to explore different topics and trails of curiosity.

Scott Davies




From Frameworks To Flywheels

Ever-increasing disconnection within organisations between the domains of business and brand is leading to decreasing effectiveness across the board, because the two key component parts aren’t working in tandem, or even in some cases, in the same reality.

Meanwhile, the rapid pace of cultural and technological change is butting up against brand and communications practices that haven’t evolved for a decade or more, focusing on static and structured processes, rather than dynamic and organic approaches.

Audience > Brand > Product

TLDR; You build an engaged and passionate community, which in turn helps to slowly but surely build your brand (often based on an individual persona), from which you can create products to sell back to them, especially as often, they would have felt involved in the creation process based on ongoing feedback loops. Rinse, repeat.

Creators, new media companies, esports teams, entertainment franchises and beyond; the most successful emerging brands and businesses of the moment are embracing the power of the flywheel approach.

They understand that the self-sustaining, ever-evolving cycle represents a powerful form of connective tissue that can and will shape their success in a far more profound and durable way.

Ensuring that for every input, there is an energetic and comprehensive ‘spin’ that takes place and that once you start it up, you’d do well to keep it turning.

A Pretty-Good Mathematical Model of Perfectionism | Measure of Doubt

I’ve come to see perfectionism as a mindset with a particular calibration between the quality of your work and your emotional reaction — with decreased sensitivity to marginal differences in lower-quality work and increasing sensitivity as the quality goes up.

In a “Balanced” mindset, you become happier in linear proportion to how much better your work is going. (y = x)

In a “Satisficing” mindset — taking a pass/fail test, for example — you care about whether something is “good enough”. Most of your emotional variance comes as you approach and meet that threshold. ( e^x / (1+e^x) )

In a Perfectionist mindset, the relationship between quality and emotion is polynomial. You feel almost equally bad about scoring a 40% on a test vs. a 65%, but the difference between a 90% and 93% looms large. (y = x^7)

The main reason for the uneven management sex ratio is our inability to discern between confidence and competence

the main reason for the uneven management sex ratio is our inability to discern between confidence and competence. That is, because we (people in general) commonly misinterpret displays of confidence as a sign of competence, we are fooled into believing that men are better leaders than women. In other words, when it comes to leadership, the only advantage that men have over women (e.g., from Argentina to Norway and the USA to Japan) is the fact that manifestations of hubris — often masked as charisma or charm — are commonly mistaken for leadership potential, and that these occur much more frequently in men than in women.

The paradoxical implication is that the same psychological characteristics that enable male managers to rise to the top of the corporate or political ladder are actually responsible for their downfall. In other words, what it takes to get the job is not just different from, but also the reverse of, what it takes to do the job well. As a result, too many incompetent people are promoted to management jobs, and promoted over more competent people.

Unsurprisingly, the mythical image of a “leader” embodies many of the characteristics commonly found in personality disorders, such as narcissism (Steve Jobs or Vladimir Putin), psychopathy (fill in the name of your favorite despot here), histrionic (Richard Branson or Steve Ballmer) or Machiavellian (nearly any federal-level politician) personalities.

Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic

Google-Doc style Gutenberg Block Commenting

WordPress plugin for Google-Doc style Gutenberg Block Commenting

Conversion isn't about a single strategy.

Conversion isn't about a single strategy.

When someone is unsure, use social proof When someone is incredulous, use guarantees When someone is interested, use loss aversion When someone is excited, use incentives


The tweet is the brrrcore of the blogpost.

brrrcore: the thing that goes brrr, assuming it exists, when you remove deadening constraints, complexity, ornamentation, and superfluity from a thing, and distill the rest to it’s essence. The id or kundalini of the thing. For eg, the tweet is the brrrcore of the blogpost.

Eg. a blogpost isn’t working. You throw away the headline, all the pipe laying and hedging. Unbury the lede. Then tweet it to test the brrrcore quality. Tweak and test till it goes as brrr as possible. Then add back everything you threw away.


Cloud Countries

  1. Cloud Countries

And finally we arrive at our preferred method: the cloud country. Our idea is to proceed cloud first, land last. Rather than starting with the physical territory, we start with the digital community. We recruit online for a group of people interested in founding a new virtual social network, a new city, and eventually a new country. We build the embryonic country as an open source project, we organize our internal economy around remote work, we cultivate in-person levels of civility, we simulate architecture in VR, and we create art and literature that reflects our values.

Unlike micronations, however, they are set up to be a scaled LARP, a feat of imagination practiced by large numbers of people at the same time. And the experience of cryptocurrencies over the last decade shows us just how powerful such a shared LARP can be.

Could a sufficiently robust cloud country with, say, 1-10M committed digital citizens, provable cryptocurrency reserves, and physical holdings all over the earth similarly achieve recognition from the United Nations? A cloud country with a population of this size would fit right in the middle of the pack globally, as about 75 existing nations have a population of less than 1M and 140 countries have a population of less than 10M. With 233 UN-recognized countries globally, that means 32% of countries have less than 1M citizens and 60% of countries have less than 10M citizens. This includes many countries people typically think of as "real", like Luxembourg (615k), Cyprus (1.18M), Estonia (1.3M), Ireland (4.8M), Singapore (5.8M), and so on.

1729 Project

Digital gardens let you cultivate your own little bit of the internet – MIT Technology Review

Beneath the umbrella term, however, digital gardens don’t follow rules. They’re not blogs, short for “weblogs,” a term that suggests a time-stamped record of thought. They’re not a social-media platform—connections are made, but often it’s through linking to other digital gardens, or gathering in forums like Reddit and Telegram to nerd out over code.

Avoiding stupidity is easier than seeking brilliance.

It is not enough to think about difficult problems one way. You need to think about them forwards and backward. Inversion often forces you to uncover hidden beliefs about the problem you are trying to solve. “Indeed,” says Munger, “many problems can’t be solved forward.”

Inversion helps improve understanding of the problem. By forcing you to do the work necessary to have an opinion you’re forced to consider different perspectives.

Spend less time trying to be brilliant and more time trying to avoid obvious stupidity. The kicker? Avoiding stupidity is easier than seeking brilliance.

Headers CSS

I needed a way to quickly build a header component without doing it from scratch for each new project. I don’t think I’m the only one who thinks in the same way.

As a start, I created 17 headers with slight differences between them. This is an ongoing project so expect more headers coming your way.

Twitter is a multiplayer real-time virtual world

Twitter is a multiplayer real-time virtual world, primarily text-based with limited multimedia support. It combines elements of role-playing games, hack and slash, player versus player, interactive fiction, and online chat.


A broad thesis for the future of consumer — the white label of everything.

A broad thesis for the future of consumer — the white label of everything.

Individuals with engaged audiences will opt to create their own (white labeled) products. I think this translates over to consumer software as well.


Privacy is a human right

Privacy is a human right. Encryption is a human right. No qualifiers. No ifs or buts; No reservations or restrictions.

The surveillance culture we have created is immoral. No amount of good done with surveillance makes up for the evil that surveillance itself causes.


Open Transclude for Networked Writing

People often get carried away when they discover the original vision of hypertext, which involves a network of documents, portions of which are “transcluded” (included via hypertext) into one another. The implication is that readers could follow any reference and see the source material—and granted, this would be transformative. However, there’s a limit to the effectiveness of the knowledge network as a reading experience. “Hypertext books,” online books which are made up of an abundance of interlinked HTML pages, are mostly unpopular. The failure of this experiment is, in my opinion, very revealing.

Knowledge is not an accumulation of facts, nor is it even a set of facts and their relations. Facts are only rendered meaningful within narratives, and the single-page document is a format very conducive to narrative structure. The hypertext books that have gained popularity (I’m thinking here of have largely conformed to this in two ways: 1) there is an intended reading order, and 2) the longer essays within the project do most of the heavy lifting in terms of imparting the author’s perspective to readers.

Toby Shorin

Be your own first, best customer

Ant's playbook looks much like Amazon's: they are their own first-and-best customer in each market. For every product marketplace they build, they bootstrap it by providing their own offering, first. Be it an SMB neo-bank (though MYBank was also initially part of Alibaba before being subsumed into Ant) or an asset management fund. You can even see this in the growth of Ant itself: Ant's first-and-best customer is Alibaba, whose needs and data drove subsequent innovations at Ant.

This makes a lot of sense. Firstly, it's hard to convince legacy financial institutions to become tech-first. Secondly, the platform gets well-tested before being opened to third parties. Thirdly, once the doors are opened, Ant transforms from financial entity to platform, freeing the company from pesky financial regulations (the reason behind the initial rebrand from Ant Financials to Ant Group). Lastly, it gives Ant a first-mover advantage with customers. It's not surprising that Tianhong is still the largest asset manager on the platform.

alipay yeild

Yu'ebao (“Leftover Treasure”) lets consumers generate yield on un-utilized cash in their Alipay e-wallet, while still allowing the funds to be instantly available for everyday purchases. The minimum investment threshold to participate is RMB 1 ($0.15). It's a simple proposition but powerful given that the yield of ~1.7% is higher than most current account's interest rates. It is the biggest money fund product in the world by AUM as of June 2020.


  • all advice is context-dependent to a degree people don't realize until they encounter a different context
  • each great piece of advice often has a valid counterpoint that applies in a different context advice can often be weaponized in some way to justify getting back on your bullshit any sufficiently caveated advice is indistinguishable from chaos

  • taking advice literally can be more damaging than any particular piece of advice:
  • if you follow anybody's advice down to the letter, then you are condemned to be limited to the letter
  • other people's advice can be a psychic prison if you're not careful

Decolonizing Mars: Are We Thinking About Space Exploration All Wrong?

Standing Rock as an Earth-based example of interests colliding, where you have indigenous people opposing a large-scale project that, much like space exploration, features cooperation between private industry and the government...

Private-public partnership isn’t a new thing. It’s baked into the history of space exploration. Today, a lot of the rhetoric about new space companies is that people have the impression that the billionaires at the helms are dumping their own money into it, which might be true in part, but they’re also contractors getting money from federal governments to fund what they’re doing. It’s harmful for them to imply that they’re not working with public funds.

There’s a matter of inclusion—space exploration is something that we all take part in. That’s true of public missions and not private companies. Their aims are often different from what people think about. We have to think about the way we talk about who goes to space—who’s included in the conversation in who’s not. One of the fundamental things to do is just include [those normally left out of these discussions] in the conversation in a real way, such that they’re actually listened to.

We are living through the emergence of a new business category: community-curated knowledge networks 

We are living through the emergence of a new business category which I believe will become an important part of our digital lives: community-curated knowledge networks 

(a thread on why)


Stop trying to sell wholesome meals to people who've chosen to live on chips

So, know your audience. Stop trying to sell wholesome meals to ppl who've chosen to live on chips -- hell, half the reason they're doing that is to spite you. Focus on folks who claim to want good food but are eating a lot of crap. Remind them that salt is not a food group.