You may wonder what you can contribute. And sure some actors are massively more agentic. I never thought I’d be in that rare class and yet I can contribute meaningful to dozens of aligned projects. It’s important to avoid dickriding. Don’t make up stories about your betters. Or at least try not to believe them.
You can be personally better yourself. You can accelerate. Now is the time to arm yourself with leverage as the world shifts. Be wary of messiahs and mercenaries but also know action is expensive.
Strong organizations have healthy value memetics. “Just Do It” frames a broader truth that humans take in a context of millions of other agents. Action is disproportionally powerful when people just play their role.
I fight nihilism. I’m not eager for the end of humanity or our civilizations. I want our flourishing. But neither am I attached to a static vision of my humanity or yours. In the image of God gives quite a bit of latitude for our species’ evolution.
I am energized by my day. Any residual pain from the challenges of travel have been mitigated by rest, exercise, meditation and lots of medication.
If I could to give only one argument in favor of acceleration, it would be our capacity to improve medicine. I’d like to find a cure to my ankylosis personally, but it’s bigger than all that. I believe we should do everything we can to improve the health and well being of humanity.
I do so much to balance my own health and wellbeing just so I can keep working and contributing to the startups I love so much. Often I miss so much of life that others take for granted like socializing together. Hobbies, socializing and much of the tapestry of living together is off limits to me as energy budget is too high.
I’d like more capacity in life so I can chose not only to work, but to go to meetups, dinners and whatever else folks get up to in their leisure and community hours.
I am not one for FOMO while I’m in bed recovering, but on the occasional day where I get to do leisure activities I am reminded that I could have more of life if we agreed to prioritize the acceleration of medicine. My energy budget is only limited by the state of our healthcare.
On that note I’ll be at an e/acc meetup tonight in San Francisco. If you think you see me do please come up and say hello. I’d love to meet you. I’ll be wearing the leopard dress I have come to think of as the “spot me in the wild” outfit as well as three distinct wearables.
The hardest part of any holiday for me is the socializing. I enjoy spending time with our friends, neighbors and family. It’s just such a high cost activity.
The twinge of jealousy that I feel towards the extroverted and able body is real. I don’t necessarily want to change who I am. I’ve come to terms with my body’s limits and my own preferences. But I sure wish I could turn myself into a high energy extrovert without any health issues when I need it.
I feel drained from the short round of social interactions I had over the past few days even though I enjoyed every minute of it. I just see it in my biometrics.
My heart rate variability dipped into the teens. I got blinking reds on on stress, energy and health on my Welltory monitor. Whoop is recording high strain scores despite me doing little but sitting and talking. I have been sleeping 9 to 10 hours a night for over a week.
I suppose acceleration is tiring. But oh how I long to not have the normal pleasures of life be so damaging. Because I am going to chose my passions over socializing. It’s much easier to justify my work and spending my energy on my portfolio of startups. Advocating for causes close to my heart. If I have a limited budget I rarely chose to spend on the pleasures of company or socializing.
I spent the night in Helsinki after taking the ferry from Tallinn. Amusingly the hotel heavily advertised having once been a prison. The receptionist informed me that I stayed in a suite that would have been home to seven juveniles. A Finnish prison is apparently an ideal boutique hotel for millenials and is part of the Marriot telegraph family.
In thoroughly international manner, I ordered Indian from Wolt. The hotels breakfast buffet was inside another set of cells in the basement. Nothing like eating chia pudding contemplating prison.
I was able to walk through several intersecting islands from Katajanokka through to Market area to the Esplanade and ended up next to a brutalist train station.
Naturally I made a stop at the Moomin store to pick up half a dozen postcards and trinkets as I’m a huge man of the children’s series by Finnish author Tove Jansen. I am a Little My person. Think of it as a Nordic version of picking which Winnie the Pooh character suits your personality.
I ended my day at the Helsinki Port on the excellent ferry. I may have overdone it a bit by booking a cabin but I am comfortably paying down on a bed while I write my post for the day. It’s probably best to buy the business lounge tickets as it has an excellent meal service but for a once in a lifetime trip it’s pretty lovely to write from bed in your own cabin on a boat. It’s like being transported to another era.
I am in a pocket of personal heaven that I did not know existed until just now. I’m on the Tallinnk ferry to Helsinki. It’s just before sunset and briskly cold. The wind is whipping small white caps as we exit the bay.
I had not expected the serene calm that overtook me. The many shades of grey and blue where the sea meets the horizon’s soothe my autonomic nervous system. Watching the small waves crest as we roll ever so gently sends me into parasympathetic. I feel cozy.
I decided at the last moment to go to Helsinki for a day. I wanted to visit for my birthday but didn’t feel well enough. Since actions define who you are, I booked myself a business lounge ticket on Tallinnk ferry. It’s fifty miles and about two hours.
I have a lounge chair at the very front of the ferry. It’s as large as a cruise ship and feels as smooth. It’s clearly a premium experience. I paid 60 euro for the privilege and was rewarded with an excellent dinner of poached trout and chocolate mouse. I have a lingonberry juice in a proper glass.
We are passing other ferries with some regularity. There are routes to every imaginable Nordic destination. There is even a ferry to St. Petersburg. Google maps lists out the routes as I peel out of Tallinn Bay. Twitter mutuals note that the Nordic ferry system is the envy of the world. And I can see why. What a pleasurable way to travel.
I feel lulled into a peace I hadn’t considered possible with travel. My Bose headphones are playing Endel’s AI generated relaxation music. I have my Apollo Neuro set to relax. And I have an hour or so to contemplate the beauty of the ocean. If you ever find yourself with the opportunity to take one of these ferries do it.
When I first started writing every single day I had modest goals. I wanted to instill a habit of writing more often. My initial goal was to write daily for one month as that seemed both significant but also manageable. But I deliberately didn’t put any pressure on what I would write or for how long I’d keep at it.
Once I had reached my first milestone of writing daily for an entire month, I began considering extending the habit. Maybe I could do it for two months? Maybe I could do it for 100 days? Every new milestone made me excited to reach for a new one.
Once I got to 500 days, I began to feel confident discussing the possibility of reaching 1000 days of writing. I even called that blog post my halfway point. Still I wasn’t sure even then that I’d actually make it to a thousand days. A lot can go wrong in a year or two. But as I learned, with a little bit of perseverance, a lot can go right. Or if you will indulge the pun, a lot can go “write” too.
Still, even as I became accustomed to the habit, I didn’t want to do anything to jinx it. Locking myself into an outcome seemed like a recipe for disappointment. But locking myself into a daily habit? That seemed like a recipe for success. I knew I could keep showing up.
My philosophy for writing has been to take it one day at a time. Habits compound just like money. Small change over time can have a dramatic outcome. I committed to showing up and putting the proverbial pen to paper every day.
And here I am a thousand days later with enough writing for any number of other goals. I’ve got answers to most of the regular questions I encounter in my personal and professional life. I’ve got enough content to turn into a book if I’m so inclined. The volume of my writing is so extensive I could easily train my own artificial intelligence agent.
I don’t know what I’ll do with this body of work other than continue to hyperlink it together and see where it takes me.
And to answer the most obvious question, I do plan to keep writing. I don’t have any desire to stop. I enjoy this practice. It’s conceivable there are other milestones ahead of me. Maybe I double it. Or maybe at the end of the year I decide three years of writing daily is enough.
Who can say? I reached the stretch goal I set for myself. It’s an unbounded journey from here.
I was doing some fall shopping today. I’ve got upcoming trips for work in the next two months for which I am excited to dress.
In my past life I worked in fashion. While I mostly worked with luxury brands, I did a stint in-house at one of the heritage American sportswear brands Ann Taylor.
American Sportswear or the American Look doesn’t refer to athletic or athleisure wear. Rather it’s specific historical movement in which American fashion designers freed themselves from British and Parisian norms of Saville Row custom suiting and haute couture
Sportswear is an American fashion term originally used to describe separates, but which since the 1930s demonstrates a specific relaxed approach to design, while remaining appropriate for a wide range of social occasions. The American Look included garments whose modesty, comparative simplicity, and wearability treated fashion as a “pragmatic art” which was lived in.
Sportswear was designed to be easy to look after and an expression of various aspects of American culture, including health ideals, democracy, comfort and function, and innovative design.
You probably think isn’t this just how clothing is made? Not until the Americans democratized fashion. Easy to wear and simple to look after separates (as opposed to matched suits & evening gowns) which could be mixed and matched into many outfits was it’s hallmark. It includes items like dresses designed to be easy to put on and wear in many social situations
American Sportswear was a unique style born out of burgeoning middle class wealth and a desire for more active independent lifestyles that included leisure time, a concept previously reserved for the upper classes. No ladies maids or butlers are required for a Claire McCardell popover dress.
Ann Taylor become a dominant best selling brand in the American Sportswear style beginning in 1954 and rose to prominence in the 70s and 80s. Unlike other designer who went for a slightly pricier market like Donna Karen, Calvin Klein, or Ralph Lauren, Ann Taylor stayed true to the history of The American look by serving the aspiring middle class throughout.
It began by offering tailored dresses in its first store in New Haven. It’s name comes from the Ann dress which was its best seller. It eventually grew to become the choice for women balancing office jobs and home life.
When I worked there in house, Ann prided itself on quality fabrics in quality cuts. You could get fully lined wool suit jackets and silk blouses for under $250. A leather kitten heel could be had for $150. Those prices now recall fast fashion brands likes Zara and certainly wouldn’t involve cashmere or Italian leather.
But the great bifurcation of American classes had already begun. In 2010 when I was there a dwindling vestige of working girls and upward mobility demanded versatile clothing that still put quality fabric, pattern work, and cuts at the forefront.
There was demand for looking professional and not simply just being “trendy” as there were still professional women & financially secure housewives looking for polish over flash and seasonal novelty. Instagram was only just stirring and yes I was the one who put the brand on Facebook, Instagram and blogs.
I left for greener pastures. The pioneering brand president dedicated to revitalizing the brand was fired . Eventually Ann Taylor was bought by a private equity firm which just a few years later went bankrupt. The middle market of middle class women was dwindling. And hollowing out the margins for PE didn’t help much.
Now if you are looking for clothing in that price point of $150-$350 you will struggle. A suit jacket from other middle market brands like Theory now $850 for something with poor fit and no lining. You can pull off something that looks like a suit jacket from a fast fashion retailer but if you want natural fabrics like cotton, silk or cashmere the chances are good you have to trade up into the luxury market.
Fashion has bifurcated in the social media fast fashion age. And what constitutes a luxury brand isn’t particularly luxurious in its fabrics or patterns. Just it’s price points. You can go cheap or you can go for pricey but the struggle to find something that is actually a decent garment meant to last has become much worse.
I’d tell you where I did my shopping but I’m afraid the brand might not be long for this world just like Ann Taylor. It’s eponymous designer is in her seventies. And she prefers a technical fabric to a natural fabric so has been able to maintains her price points. If you DM in private I’ll tell you. If I needed a decent suit jacket I don’t think I could find one at a middle class price point anymore. The bifurcation is here with us to stay.
I’m enjoying watching the fall social season kick into high gear. It’s much more enjoyable to take some many events remotely as so much signaling is done in real time. Between actual live feeds and television coverage and social media feeds you can take a lot in without exhausting yourself.
Burning Man and the U.S Open are the end of summer staples in Yuppieland though very different types of yuppies. And both events are showing us a lot about the current moment.
I’m sure Burners would insist that the experience is about the in person but so many social media influencers burn for content that you’ve got more visibility on the aesthetics and the vibes than ever before.
Tennis is more about strictly about the sport than Burning Man is about the art. But you learn as much from player style, who is sitting where, and what is being covered in the media. The stories behind the event are as important as the event. An outfit can dominate headlines for years becoming iconic.
And then of course we have New York fashion week. It’s an event that used to dominate my life. There was a time before social media at the tents. Women’s Wear Daily claims I’m the first person to have live-blogged a show. I’m skeptical it’s true but I do have the receipts. I snuck in with a photographer and made a whole business of making fashion shows a live social media spectacle before some of these influencers were out of Gap Kids.
So naturally as I age and race to exit my thirties into middle age I’m thrilled I don’t need to be at the shows to know what’s happening in fashion. We may no longer pour of Style.com shots the next day but we’ve got an infinite complex that has emerged to show you every kind of style that’s been imagined.
I’m grateful I didn’t need to go to any of these events. I keep my one on one time for founders and my investors. If I had the spare energy for any of these events I’d probably prefer to use it on one one time with folks. In the past I’d be missing out on all of it. Now there is no fear of missing out. Only deciding what signals you want to separate from the noise.
I’ve come to believe a good day off must involve a balance of work and rest. I take a seven day a week approach to my own professional work personally but I love a weekend for doing work of a more personal nature.
My husband loves homestead chores. While we had some nerves about how much work maintaining property would be after years of city renting, it was clearly unwarranted. There are few things more pleasurable than puttering about your own land and making improvements.
We’d planted apple, plum and cherry trees over the year but Alex had learned a few things he’d done sub-optimally so he went to the town mulch pile this weekend, loaded up over two trips, and with a friend redid the entire mulch on our young orchard.
Not all the chores are quite so wholesome as tree planting. The drive away in front of our barn has a lot of weeds growing up after a very wet summer. We’ve got more green growing things than we did last summer by a wide margin. We probably got three hay cuttings this season versus two last year and the final one wasn’t all that green. So Alex took a torch and a fuel and burned down the weeds. Sounds a bit silly but keeping growth under control before it comes a fire hazard is a critical landscaping need in high country mountain terrain.
A final chore for the day? We have a very advanced filtration system on our water. We have our own well so we don’t rely on the town to do treatment. As you can see the filters need regular changing. Not an activity that’s without its disgust factor. Clean water is good and ours benefits from regular filter rotation.
As you might imagine I’m not the one doing most of the heavy lifting. But I did contribute one crucial thing to moral. Cheerleading and and a reminder to get in a nap. Sunday afternoon naps are a must if you’ve been up since sunrise enjoying choring.
I’ve never really understood why Labor Day weekend was meant to mark the end of summer.
The fall solstice is still three weeks away but kids have back in school for an awkward amount of time that’s too short to appreciate time off. And to not too put too fine a point on it, America doesn’t give a fuck about celebrating labor.
It’s a stupid time for a long weekend. Maybe I’m just always rushing to be out of summer as I find it to be a miserable season. And yet Labor Day is still this iconic last hurrah of a summer with BBQs, time at the beach and long weekend travel as the dominant imagery in America.
Jimmy Buffet passed away today. The Margaritaville singing Boomer beach bum soft rocker making his final exit during Labor Day weekend is an aesthetic I hope brought him and his loved ones some joy. If my legacy was summer, I’d like to go out at the most “end of summer” possible moment.
It’s always sad to lose a cultural touchstone but maybe putting a final note on escapism should tell us all something. Perhaps it’s time to let go of the season of escapism. And I don’t just mean for this year. Maybe it’s time to shoulder the burdens of harvesting what we’ve sown.