Why Does Creation Happen in Silence?

This morning I read Creation happens in silence, a short and sweet blog post about how the vital moments of the creative process happens in silence, and often in isolation.

I think there are advantages to sharing your work as quickly as possible, but I agree that the initial synthesis should be done alone with one’s thoughts.

Procrastinators like me often don’t realize the importance of this space and may not understand why it’s so hard to get started. The reason why we need this tranquility to begin the process is because the first steps are messy and weak. You see, procrastinators are perfectionists who see this grand perfect vision, and the first draft never lives up that expectation. 1

But you can’t get started without making a first, ugly move, and so you just get stuck.

ChatGPT Pro Gamer Tip

So if you know me, you know I love self-help books and I collect too many and don’t read enough of them (as they’re overfilled with anecdotes and only a few actual points). Also I keep finding new ones I’m interested in.

Well, ChatGPT solves this problem. You can ask it for a summary of a book that you don’t have any access to, and it will miraculously generate the contents for you. And that’s with as much detail, in whatever format. For example:

Thanks again, ChatGPT!

3 Tips for Navigating the Startup Journey: Lessons Learned from a Former Facebook Engineer

Mindset Books

I started my career as an engineer at Facebook before leaving to build a startup. Transitioning from a well-defined engineering individual contributor role to a nebulous startup leadership role meant a lot of falling on my face and a lot of lessons learned.

Here are 3 tips to keep in mind if you’re starting on this journey and want to fail less than I did.

1. Focus on What Matters by Zooming Out

In every context, it’s important to not get stuck on unimportant details.

When building an early stage startup your time is one of the few resources you can spend, so you better be spending it wisely.

The Process Is the Goal

It’s January 1st 2023, so I imagine everyone is making their New Years’ Resolutions. I want to talk about setting these goals and how it helps us.

Setting Goals for 2023

I recently read a blog article titled The Power of Starting Again, which talks about the invigoration of restarting the new year with a clean slate. I appreciate the sentiment of encouraging action, but I think the reasoning is off.

Specifically, I’d like us to not focus as hard on the goals themselves.

I Miss MSN Statuses

MSN Logo

Anyone else remember setting their status on MSN Messenger before Facebook took over?

Everyone was on that platform at the time, and if you were online you were expected to reply instantly. Crazy times.

For your status you’d usually just write what you were doing, or passive-aggressively signal that you were mad at someone. Definitely fun as an adolescent.

Good Conversations Have Lots of Doorknobs

Link to article. My thoughts below.

This is an article by a psychologist relating improv techniques to conversational patterns.

The piece is interesting because it explores some archetypes of people in conversation, how we might conceptualize what we’re doing in conversations, and how we might improve our conversational skills to bring out the best in each other.


Givers think that conversations unfold as a series of invitations; takers think conversations unfold as a series of declarations. When giver meets giver or taker meets taker, all is well. When giver meets taker, however, giver gives, taker takes, and giver gets resentful (“Why won’t he ask me a single question?”) while taker has a lovely time (“She must really think I’m interesting!”) or gets annoyed (“My job is so boring, why does she keep asking me about it?”).

Blogging as Structured Thinking

Thinking about Blogging

When’s the last time you just sat down and thought about stuff?

For me, it’s not a regular habit, but I think it should be, and I think formalizing it as “blogging” is the way to make it happen.

While it could be just a me-problem, I suspect in the advent of the Instagram and TikTok eras I’m not the only one constantly on a media-powered serotonin high.

Early Stage Product Questions

Product Roadmap

Who What When Where Why and How - A Short Silicon Valley Poem

  1. The CEO looks at the market conditions to identify a problem that a user segment has.

    Consumes: when, where

    Answers: who, why

Loss, Grief, Sadness

Link to original comment on Reddit. Quoted in full below.

Alright, here goes. I’m old. What that means is that I’ve survived (so far) and a lot of people I’ve known and loved did not. I’ve lost friends, best friends, acquaintances, co-workers, grandparents, mom, relatives, teachers, mentors, students, neighbors, and a host of other folks. I have no children, and I can’t imagine the pain it must be to lose a child. But here’s my two cents.

I wish I could say you get used to people dying. I never did. I don’t want to. It tears a hole through me whenever somebody I love dies, no matter the circumstances. But I don’t want it to “not matter”. I don’t want it to be something that just passes. My scars are a testament to the love and the relationship that I had for and with that person. And if the scar is deep, so was the love. So be it. Scars are a testament to life. Scars are a testament that I can love deeply and live deeply and be cut, or even gouged, and that I can heal and continue to live and continue to love. And the scar tissue is stronger than the original flesh ever was. Scars are a testament to life. Scars are only ugly to people who can’t see.

As for grief, you’ll find it comes in waves. When the ship is first wrecked, you’re drowning, with wreckage all around you. Everything floating around you reminds you of the beauty and the magnificence of the ship that was, and is no more. And all you can do is float. You find some piece of the wreckage and you hang on for a while. Maybe it’s some physical thing. Maybe it’s a happy memory or a photograph. Maybe it’s a person who is also floating. For a while, all you can do is float. Stay alive.

The Future Historians of Silicon Valley

One of the most common university majors for past presidents is History. In fact, students of history find their way into some of the most “influential” professions, with careers in politics, policy-making, and law.

Those who study history learn of the decisions that were made in the past, the reasoning behind them, and the results thereafter. Thus those who study history might have a better understanding of policies that they are working on, the options available to them, and the potential consequences.

Although this kind of history-based work sits firmly in the humanities, it’s not all that different from what we do here in Silicon Valley.

Lists of Startup Tools Are Not Useful

There’s a common trend among companies, blogs, and even Github repositories to create a list of “tools” for startups. Here’s a startup built on that premise: Startup Stash. Here’s a Medium article: 400 Free Resources And Tools For Entrepreneurs, Freelancers and Startups. Here’s a Github: Awesome Startup. Here’s a VC resources page: Antler Toolbox.

I too love being overwhelmed with options.

When I saw the first of these appear, I think it was a list on GitHub, it was pretty cool and I even bookmarked the site. But by now, these resource lists are becoming incredibly useless and boring.

Why Video Games Aren't Art

I play a fair amount of video games, including emotional, aesthetic games like Florence and complex, open games like Dwarf Fortress. Over the years there are periodically discussions about whether video games are art. For example, here are articles from Time and London Review of Books on the subject.

Florence, an interactive story about love and life.

These discussions tend to ask about the aesthetic and entertainment values of the medium, trying to address the question of what exactly makes art, art. But to peel back the layer of indirection, art at its core is anything that is culture; It is a shared experience.

And interestingly, that’s what disqualifies video games.