P.S. You Should Know... | Issue #323
Check those references
my story 🚀
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i’ve been thinking 💭
Reference calls are fun! This week, I had a chance to call references for a candidate who is on track to join our team. I really enjoy these calls because I get to learn on a few different levels.
I get to learn about the candidate from people who have worked with them! I always assume they’ll say nice things, though I have been surprised before. Reference calls often help add context to information and behaviors that we discovered during candidate interviews. And of course everyone has weaknesses, so with good questions (that I stole from someone on the internet) we can sometimes speak openly about those.
There’s also “metadata” to learn from. Who from their network did the candidate choose to provide as references? Who was left out? How quickly do references respond to my note asking for a call? How do they describe their relationship with the candidate?
Finally, and most broadly, I get a view into how other companies and teams operate. You’ve probably heard “you have to see it to be it" in reference to personal role models. I think it’s also applicable to organizations. We are by default limited by our personal set of experiences. For example, those who have only ever worked at one firm have usually only seen one way of doing things. So I take these opportunities to learn as much as I can about how other companies do things like structure teams, processes, and goals.
fun facts 🙌
3 hearts, 9 brains, 8 arms — the octopus. “The octopus is a creature of complexity and mystery, that serves as a symbol of creativity, expansion and unpredictability. … These artists have studied the form and symbolism of these amazing sea creatures in depth — here are their individual interpretations.” ~ learn more
Just one company is allegedly responsible for 7.5 billion nuisance calls. “Dozens of state attorneys general have banded together to sue a telecommunications company, alleging that the company is solely responsible for 7.5 billion calls to people on the US’s federal Do Not Call registry.” ~ learn more
The case of the fake Sherlock. “Richard Walter is largely a poseur,” McCrary says. “What I say about Richard is he’s an expert at being an expert, at playing one and convincing people that he is.” ~ learn more
oh, austin 🤠
Meet your new nightmare, the Hammerhead Worm. “If you try to kill it with a shovel, it’ll just split into two.” Despite the alarmist headline, there’s no need to have nightmares. ~ learn more
tech, startups, internet ⚡
Sergey Brin has a secret plan to put airships back in the skies. When I visited Google’s campus, I wondered what was going on next door at NASA’s Ames Research Center. This article about the airship company Lighter Than Air sheds some light on it. “Built inside a giant hangar in Mountain View, California, the Pathfinder 1 is 122 meters long (400 feet) and 20 meters in diameter at its fattest part.” ~ learn more
All the hard stuff nobody talks about when building products with LLMs. “To be blunt, a lot of that [LLM] hype is just some demo bullshit that would fall over the instant anyone tried to use it for a real task that their job depends on. The reality is far less glamorous: it’s hard to build a real product backed by an LLM. Here’s my elaboration of all the challenges we faced while building Query Assistant.” Don’t let this turn you into an AI bear. Hoards of developers are working on making the hard stuff easier! ~ learn more
Microsoft is putting AI Copilots in everything. An interview with Microsoft CTO Kevin Scott, “who as of this week also has the new title executive vice president of AI, oversees Microsoft’s AI efforts, including the big partnership with OpenAI and ChatGPT.” ~ learn more
better doing 🎯
The biggest myths about emotions, debunked. This was relevant to me because I’ve been on a years-long journey to be less reactive and more deliberate in the face of emotions. “Contrary to the notion that emotions are inherently fixed in our brains from birth, Barrett contends that they are primarily based on past experiences and the brain’s predictions of future events. This means that emotions aren’t merely reactions thrust upon us, but something we actively participate in creating.” ~ learn more
The Johari window. I learned this technique when I joined Entrepreneurs Organization years ago. It’s an interesting way to learn about yourself. The name sounds foreign and interesting, but it’s really just named after its creators Joe and Harry. ~ learn more
How to be great? Just be good, repeatably. “The first step in becoming great is recognizing that you’re likely not already great. In fact, it comes from recognizing that there is no such thing as greatness at a specific instance in time. Greatness is instead a reflection of a period of effort, since greatness in a single instance can be reduced to luck.” ~ learn more
under the microscope 🔬
A soft robot unfurls inside the skull. “The novel gadget may lead to minimally invasive ways to investigate the brain and implant brain-computer interfaces, researchers say.” ~ learn more
big ideas 📚
Earth's microbial diversity may be underestimated. A recent survey of 99 coral reefs found 500k species, which is kind of a lot. “The immense diversity of the microbes on the reefs may offer "ecological insurance" for coral, fish and other inhabitants, Pierre Galand, a researcher at Sorbonne University in France and a co-author of the study, said in a press briefing." ~ learn more