Discover more from Liberty’s Highlights
295: Permanent Loss, Apple's Neural Engine, Aerospace Recovery, Business Survival, Systems Thinking, Great Reshuffle, Heat Pumps, and DALL-E 2
"Business is harder than you think"
The world isn't run by weapons anymore, or energy, or money. It's run by little ones and zeroes, little bits of data. It's all just electrons.
There's a war out there, old friend. A world war. And it's not about who's got the most bullets. It's about who controls the information. What we see and hear, how we work, what we think... it's all about the information!
–Cosmo, Sneakers (1992)
🏃♂️ Running update after my first 3 weeks of running (er, of being a runner — gotta use those James Clear tricks! Make it part of your identity, because we all naturally attempt to keep our actions coherent with our identity): I ran 9 times so far (I’ll do my 10th after publishing this).
After reading ‘Born to Run’, I changed my running mechanics based on some descriptions in the book, and it was a big improvement.
I now try to run with a straighter back, keeping my feet under me and taking smaller steps at a higher BPM.
My first big objective is running the loop I’m doing all the way through without walking at all. I’m getting close. I know that pacing is my challenge — if I just slowed down a bit I could probably do it…
At some point, I should probably get a smartwatch to do precise real-time pacing and such, but so far, I just go by feel. I’m probably making a bunch of newbie mistakes, but I’m learning a lot, and I can already see some improvement.
I haven’t received my Xero HFS shoes, so can’t comment on them yet.
🏚 Many businesses don't get better over time, they get worse. So just the passing of time doesn't necessarily mean that legacy incumbents are catching up to the best-of-breed newcomers in whatever industry.
💚 🥃 There are now around 9,000 people in this steamboat. 🚢
When I started the newsletter, I looked at Byrne Hobart’s excellent The Diff and saw he had 12,000 subscribers at the time (which equals to 1 Hobart, my unit of measurement).
I remember thinking that this was an impossibly high number of subscribers.
23 months later, and we’ve reached 3/4th of a Hobart!
I don’t know how long until we get to a full Hobart, but it’s the journey that’s fun, and the milestones are just markers to celebrate and pause and reflect along the way, not goals in themselves.
I don’t want a destination anyway, I want an infinite game that I can just keep playing as long as I find it fun and rewarding!
All this rambling to say: Thank you for joining me here, let’s keep finding interesting stuff and have fun! (that’s a cheesy line, right? oh well)
Liberty’s Highlights is reader-supported. To support my work, consider becoming a paid supporter. 🤹🏻♀️
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📉 Who survives, who thrives… 💸
Business is harder than you think.
The above is for companies that were successful enough to become publicly traded in the first place, a high survivorship bias to begin with! And that’s just a 10-year period, it gets worse after 20, 30, 40 years…
h/t Friend-of-the-show WTCM (📑)
The other kind of “permanent loss” ⏺ 📼
Friend-of-the-show Tom Morgan wrote a beautiful piece with two aspects that I really like. I’ll let you read it for yourself because I can’t summarize the personal aspect, but I’ll highlight the second one:
We’re used to the entirety of human knowledge being a couple of clicks away. So the idea that we will permanently lose information of priceless value when our relatives die is pretty jarring. Although we’re all abstractly aware of death, too few of us take the concrete steps to preserve our stories. In not wanting to confront our own mortality, we avoid doing something that could ensure we’ll be remembered after we’re gone. [...]
Mike Boyd runs the Business of Family podcast, where he interviews parents and advisors to talk about ways to preserve material and moral inheritances. [...]
So. A suggestion.
Stop reading. Close this page. E-mail or call your parents/children. Set up family interviews in person. Or get a professional to interview you. Get the memories down, you don’t know when or how you might lose them. Forever.
‘2022 total flights at ALL TIME HIGH’ 🛩 🌤
Friend-of-the-show C.J. Opel writes: “2022 total flights at ALL TIME HIGH. Top chart includes everything - commercial, private, military etc.”
🎓 Teaching systems thinking 👩🏫
If there’s one thing I’d add to primary and secondary school curriculums everywhere, it’s systems thinking.
(I know that if you add up all the “one things” I talked about over the years, it’s a lot more than one thing…)
I’m sure that a primer like Donella Meadows’ could be adapted to younger audiences, with concrete examples and puzzles, maybe even educational video games.
It may help future generations more easily understand how groups of variables, factors, stocks & flows, all work together, rather than look at each thing in isolation.
It doesn’t mean that everything in the world would suddenly make sense and be legible — there’s plenty of complex adaptive systems that are impossible to predict even when you know their structure — but at least you could get closer to understanding, or at the very least, you understand better why you don’t understand.
I bet that exposure to these concepts at a young age would also lead to more kids eventually going into STEM fields, because it’s a lot more fun to work on these problems when you understand the larger picture than when you think it’s all just a bunch of equations and rules to memorize.
The Great Reshuffle (Part 1)
Friend-of-the-show and supporter (💚 🥃) Jim O’Shaughnessy has released the first video in his series on how our world is changing, with new challenges and opportunities to be conquered.
It’s a very good overview of his model on this, and I’m looking forward to more!
🎧 Interview: Tyler Cowen on Talent 🎯 🤺 🤹🏻♀️
Good interview by Chris Williamson, mostly about talent: finding it, fostering it, developing it, coordinating it.
Tyler’s advice on doing interviews is refreshing. His point about the current system being too geared toward finding the ability to do homework and conform and missing on other markers of talent is spot-on.
“The way to hire talented people is not only to look for them, but to have them look for you.”
Russian Exports 🛢🛢🛢🛢
Kamil Galeev: “The bulk of the export revenue is earned by few gigantic raw materials exporting corps who are controlled by the most powerful interest groups directly subordinate to Kremlin. There's nearly zero independent fortunes. Kremlin controls all”
🧪🔬 Liberty Labs 🧬 🔭
What is this? Heat pump corner? 🥶↔🥵
The 6 blue graphs on the left show the annual installation of heat pumps in the US, France, Germany, Finland, Poland, and Switzerland.
In the center is a graph showing the share of homes with heat pumps in various European countries versus the average January temperatures.
Globally, just 177m heat pumps had been installed by 2020, according to the IEA’s data. Most of these heat pumps were in China (33%), followed by North America (23%) and Europe (12%).
Interestingly, the highest penetration of heat pumps can be found in the coldest climates, as the chart below shows. In Europe, the four countries with the largest share of heat pumps are Norway (60% of households), Sweden (43% of households), Finland (41% of households) and Estonia (34% of households). These four countries also face the coldest winters in Europe. (Source)
On the left is a graph showing yearly heat pump installations in the Netherlands (with preliminary 2021 data).
🍎 The Evolution of Apple’s ‘Neural Engine’ AI/ML Accelerator 📲 🤖
When Apple released the iPhone X, they announced that a new machine learning accelerator module was now built into the SoC, alongside the CPU and GPU.
At the time, this was primarily used to enable the facial recognition feature (aka FaceID) that debuted on that phone.
Since then, this accelerator has seen massive improvement (26x in 4 years! 🔥):
“Flops” are “floating point operations per second”.
The A11’s Neural Engine could do 0.6 trillion of them per second.
The A15 from last fall can do 15.8 trillion, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see another healthy bump in the upcoming A16.
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The AI future will be *weird* 🧐
Imagine when we get to the point where we can generate video with matching sound of all this stuff?
Even if it doesn't come out perfect and has to be hand-tweaked by humans a lot, it’s still an *incredibly* powerful tool.