Breakfast Notes #83(Graham on Reading, Generating Ideas, Butts)

Breakfast Notes #83(Graham on Reading, Generating Ideas, Butts)
Photo by Lilly Rum / Unsplash

Hi friends,

I recently wrote a post highlighting my experience of working in Enterprise Singapore, a Singaporean government economic development agency. It got a little bit of traction on Linkedin and even my 'big boss' reposted it.

Singapore has over 150,000 public officers working in 16 Ministries and more than 50 Statutory Boards. But, one can hardly find a sufficiently sincere blogpost of any civil servant on the internet as to why Singaporeans should join their cause.

The work we do is important, and the work we do requires top talent. To do that, we need evangelizers. But, why are we so allergic to such a notion?

My hope is that my little post would inspire more civil servants to share more candidly about the joys and costs of their work.

If you are interested, you may read it here.
  • The Need to Read. The Father of Y Combinator, Paul Graham asserts that writing well is essential for solving complicated, ill-defined problems (Something all great companies aspire to solve). While some problems can be solved without writing, those that are complex and require deep thinking almost always benefit from the process of writing. Therefore, leaders who are not skilled at writing may be at a disadvantage when it comes to solving these types of problems. How to write well you may ask? Paul’s answer: ‘Read good things.’
  • Heuristics to Generate Startup Ideas. Most people neglect the importance of ideas. "It's all about execution!" So they say, but ideas are crucial starting points that can turn into great businesses. These are 20 ways you can generate ideas to help you start your journey.
  • Music to 10x Your Focus. Recently, I have been focusing on building my focus muscles. I listen to the first 30 minutes of Ludwig Göransson's Oppenheimer sound tracks and then shut off the music. Trust me, you will feel zoned in.
  • A Solution Looking For A Problem. The virtue of inexperience is verve, enthusiasm and initiative. The vice of it is that you tend to propose cosmetic changes that have little or no real value. Wikipedia faced this problem where new volunteers are all too eager to make their mark. To tackle this, they get contributors to write down their proposals and prominently address the question of why the proposal is necessary and what issues it aims to resolve. The elegance of such a solution is that it compels people to work their suggestions through to a logical conclusion first. Then, any radical changes will have to make sense.

Visualization of The Week

Professor Butts and the Self-Operating Napkin (1931)

The problem is clear here.

Professor Butts has too much on his mind.

Don't build a napkin machine to do what the hand can do with less.

May the sun shine upon your face and may you stay curious,


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