Breakfast Notes #68 (USSR, Bezos, Prioritisation)

Breakfast Notes #68 (USSR, Bezos, Prioritisation)
Photo by Tengyart / Unsplash

Hello friends,

Here is the 68th serving of the Breakfast Notes.

  • The Soviet Union’s Most Famous Game Designer.  A 9-minute sit-down interview with one of Russia’s most renowned game designers. Alexey Pajitnov, who lived behind the iron curtain, found a way to programme a computer game in a country where the means of computing was with the Communist Party. How did he do it? While working at the Dorodnitsyn Computing Centre, he had to design programmes to test if computers were still working. So he wrote several small games. The one that went viral was Tetris. If work sucks, and you can’t quit your job. Smuggle fun into it.  Here's a three-minute trailer of the upcoming Apple TV special on Tetris that sent me down the rabbit hole.
  • Why Did Jeff Bezos Start With A Book Store? You know Amazon started as a bookstore. But have you ever asked, “Why?” There were 1000+ other things he could go into. Why books? His answer was, “ I picked books as the first best product to sell online because books are incredibly unusual in one respect. There are more items in the book category than in other categories.” If you are interested in how Jeff Bezos started and built his empire of e-commerce, you will enjoy this well-produced documentary.
  • Ruthless Prioritization. Andrew Bosworth is the Chief Technology Officer of Meta. He uses his blog to be brutally honest with himself and to invite others to do the same. I particularly liked this piece on ruthless prioritisation. He insists that “it is not enough to work on good ideas. You must only work on the best ideas.” He stated that it requires zero judgement to let go of those failing. However, it takes judgement to wind down a team when the potential of other opportunities is outpacing its success. You don’t have to agree with him, but this post reminds you of the harsh truth - prioritisation takes sacrifice.
  • Career Advice For Millennials. Min-Liang Tan is the Co-Founder and CEO of Razer. He is one of those entrepreneurs that has placed Singapore on the map. In his commencement speech at the Singapore Management University in 2019, he taught the young graduates the importance of optimising for growth and an empowering work environment over pay. This is how you discover your passion. If you are into career advice, check out this 13-minute clip of Cal Newport’s mini-masterclass on lifestyle-centric career planning.

Visualisation Of The Week

Encyclopedia Britannica

The School of Athens is a fresco painting by the Italian artist Raphael, housed in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican. The painting is not just a depiction of the classical philosophers of the ancient world but a visualisation of scholarship in practice.

To understand this painting, you must watch this video.

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