Breakfast Notes #89 (Second Jobs, Letters, Smarter Reading)

Breakfast Notes #89 (Second Jobs, Letters, Smarter Reading)
Photo by Thought Catalog / Unsplash

Hello friends,

This is the 89th serving of the Breakfast Notes.

Happy reading!

The Second Job of A Startup CEO

Ali Rowghani, former CFO of Pixar and part-time partner of Y-Combinator, argues that every startup must go through two phases.

In the first phase, he must be obsessed with building a product. You build the product and acquire users. Everything you do is dedicated to improving the product.

But, there comes a time- he must focus on building the company. He must transition into doing the jobs that only CEOs can do. He must hire people who replace him well.

I believe his analogy scales almost to every occupation.

The one striking example I keep thinking about is Lee Kuan Yew.

In his early days, he was obsessed with making Singapore independent. He would be campaigning and striking with workers around the clock. His life was exclusively political.

But, when he became Prime Minister of an independent Singapore, he focused on cultivating his ‘company culture’.

When you read Ali in his words and think about how LKY built early Singapore’s culture, you realise much of our success came from his ability to transition into the second phase. (A feat not many of his Southeast Asian peers could accomplish)

Letter to Hume Logan

Hunter S. Thompson, at the ripe old age of 22, tells his friend that it is not necessary to accept the choices handed down to you by life as you know it.

No matter what he does, even if he does something he hates, he must not rob himself of agency.

He has to do it like Sinatra.

Neil Gaiman on the Collectibles He’s Auctioning

Neil Gaiman is auctioning a ton of his collectables.

Part of it is to raise funds for distressed artists, part of it is probably to ‘Marie Kondo’ his life.

I love his ironic yet strangely wholesome take on the custodial nature of art ownership.

“It’s your job to keep it safe and hope the house doesn’t burn down while it is in your care,” he said. Then someone else can do the same, he said, and “hope their house doesn’t burn down.”

Smarter Book Reading

The biggest problem with reading about new things is that you cannot parse the signal from the noise.

You may enthusiastically embrace a big idea after reading a thick ass book, only to realise you might be completely wrong.

In this essay, Scott Young offers one practice you can implement immediately to be a 2x better reader.
(Please read it! It will be worth your while.)

Bidenomics is still working well?

Paul Krugman argues that President Joe Biden’s economic policies, which focus on public infrastructure investment and empowering the middle class, have largely been successful.

Disappointing numbers in January were a statistical blip and not a significant worsening in inflation trends.

Life must be all good and dandy, right?

That’s where Krugman’s good friend, David Brooks, writing for the same publication, The New York Times, argues that his term has been a political failure.

The biggest reason? Not addressing the yawning cultural gap between the urban and rural Americans.

Visualization Of The Week

Frank Sinatra in 1974

An era before smartphones and Instagram.

Notice how the crowd is completely immersed during his performance.

It's a beautiful song that still hasn't gotten old 50 years on.

May the sun shine upon your face,


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