356: Kill Meetings, Nvidia's DC, Disney Intrigue, TSMC 3nm in US, College Regrets, Solar Power, Diablo Canyon, and SK Bridges
"It is not an accident that fraudsters frequently get defrauded."
The main fuel to speed the world's progress is our stock of knowledge, and the brake is our lack of imagination.
I think the thing about Twitter that's hardest for other places to reproduce is that it's one of the few places people can learn from in-group conversation from groups they're not a member of.
This was even more true in the early days of the bird, but even though it has diminished, it’s still more present than anywhere else.
💾 ← I wonder if we've reached the point where most people who see this icon wouldn't be able to say what it originally represents.
To my 22yo readers, let me show you something:
*Nothing* will make me feel older than if your reaction is: “Oh wow, someone 3d-printed the ‘save’ icon” 😬 👵🏻
🌯🍝🥘🧑🏻🍳 I enjoyed this video by Ethan Chlebowski about a kind of in-between approach to meal prep for those of us who like meal prep in theory, but don’t have the discipline and organizational skills to pull it off…
Ethan’s approach is to make a large quantity of a central ingredient (f.ex. he braises a big piece of meat on Sunday) and then use it to make a bunch of different recipes over the week, like sandwiches, pasta, tacos, etc.
There’s still more cooking involved than with meal prep, but you trade that off for variety and fresher meals. I think I’ll try it out.
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Business & Investing
Nvidia’s data-center segment ⚖️ 🏋️ / 🤕
This graph shows perfectly why Nvidia’s data-center segment is so important to the company right now. If you look at the black line, it went from almost zero 6 years ago to the majority of revenue today.
One interesting theory about China: To compensate for the slower A800 GPUs, Chinese companies/clouds may just buy more units and build larger, more power-hungry data centers.
🤴🐭 🏰 There’s some serious palace intrigue going on at Disney 🤔
According to a report by David Faber, Disney’s board reached out to Bob Iger on Friday, made the decision to replace Bob Chapek on Sunday, notified him on Sunday night that he would be replaced “effective immediately”, and announced publicly pretty soon after that. Then, less than 24 hours on the job, Iger booted out Chapek’s lieutenant and announced a cost-cutting restructuring…
This timeline makes my 🤔 detector go 🚨
Iger is a busy guy and must’ve had things planned for the foreseeable future. I seriously doubt this was the first time he heard of this. I don’t know if he initiated all this or if the board came to him, but this must’ve been brewing for a while.
Is it possible that there’s something that we don’t yet know about Chapek that made the board want to get rid of him that quickly? On Friday you go home as Disney’s CEO, on top of the world, and on Monday you come back to the office to put your personal effects in a cardboard box? 📦🖊🏞💼
The CNBC piece does mention:
Disney chose to rehire Bob Iger as chief executive after receiving internal complaints from senior leadership that Bob Chapek was not fit for the job, according to people familiar with the matter.
But it’s not clear exactly what that means and why it required overnight regicide.
Maybe we’ll find out in the fullness of time, these stories have a way of coming out….
TSMC planning 3nm fab in Arizona 🐜
Taiwanese chipmaker TSMC is planning to produce chips with advanced 3-nanometre technology at its new factory in the U.S. state of Arizona but the plans are not completely finalised yet, the company's founder Morris Chang said on Monday.
Coming from Morris Chang, I think it’s pretty reliable.
"It has almost been finalised - in the same Arizona site, phase two. Five-nanometre is phase one, 3-nanometre is phase two."
The US is getting leading-edge, but it isn’t from Intel….
‘What Happened When Zapier Cancelled Meetings for a Week?’ 🗄🖇👨🏻💼📅
I remember a CEO saying on a podcast — I think it was Tobi from Shopify, but I’m not 100% sure — that they had an automated process that canceled every recurring meeting after a certain period (6 weeks or something like that).
It was the only way to fight the bureaucratic imperative of always adding more stuff than is removed, which culminates in almost every employee spending all their time in pointless “let’s touch base” meetings, or sending emails and calendar invites back and forth to coordinate said meetings.
Zapier recently did an experiment: For a week, they canceled every meeting for the whole company.
Here is a blog post about it. You can get a lot more details there, but the very bottom line seems to be this:
89% of respondents found communication to be about as effective during GSD week as during a typical week.
80% of employees said they’d like to do this again, and I bet a good part of the 20% are people who like meetings because they’re a lot easier than doing real work, or they’re particularly extroverted and just enjoy them on that level. Or maybe they’re managers who feel that their work *is* to be “managing” people by talking to them constantly, despite what this may do to productivity.
People often forget that meetings are multiplicative.
A 1-hour meeting with 8 participants is not taking 1 hour, it’s taking 8x1 hours (think about huge meetings with 40+ highly-paid, highly-skilled people).
The survey also showed that 56% of participants canceled 1-5 hours of meetings, and 26% canceled 5-10 hours. That translates to 1,000-3,000 hours (!) of meeting time saved across the company—in just one week.
Meetings aren’t all pointless, but so many of them are — remember, a meeting doesn’t have to be worth literally zero to be bad, it just has to be worth less than the alternative uses of that time, that’s the opportunity cost — that the burden of proof should be against meetings, and you should need a really good reason to create them, and they shouldn’t be automatically recurring, at least not for very long.
Via Cal Newport
‘The top 10 most-regretted college majors’ 😬
Well, sunk costs are sunk, but if you’re young and haven’t decided what to study yet, make sure you give this decision the appropriate amount of thought. Don’t be pressured into things by your peers, don’t do it because of vague, amorphous “expectations”, and don’t make a choice for superficial reasons.
Gather real data about what doing certain jobs is like, talk to people who are actually doing what you’d like to do, and make sure that to you it’s an infinite game you’d like to play in an open-ended way for a long time and not just a passing interest. Don’t do things just for the money, because having money matters a lot less if you’re miserable.
Don’t try to plan too far ahead, that rarely works. Just do your very best now, keep improving your skills, and maintain optionality.
If I could go back, I’d certainly make different choices than my late-teen self made.
⚔️ Live by the Sword, Die by the Sword 🏴☠️
Words of wisdom from Patrick McKenzie:
It is not an accident that fraudsters frequently get defrauded. It is baked in! You can’t go to an aboveboard financial institution and say “I need you to build a way for me to cheat my quarterly attestations by, for example, moving in money immediately before them.”
Science & Technology
☀️ Solar Power — Made in China™️ 🇨🇳
Russia’s war is a good reminder of how important not depending on tyrants for your energy can be for freedom and sovereignty.
Energy is life, quite literally (can you imagine if Ukraine had been fully dependent on Russian gas rather than having built a bunch of nuclear power plants?).
Let’s be careful not to make the same mistake when it comes to solar power and China:
China produced 90% of polysilicon, 99% of wafers, 91% of c-Si cells and 85% of c-Si modules.
I wonder if there’s a dynamic similar to TSMC going on, though with much weaker effects because there’s not the super-esoteric unique supply chain (ASML, etc). But it would still take many many years to replicate a fraction of this supply elsewhere.
As China’s solar industry gets bigger and bigger, it gets so much scale that it becomes harder and harder for new entrants to compete with — to make a dent and reach scale, you need such gigantic manufacturing plants that there aren’t that many entities with the capital to plow into it (not to mention the distorting effects of government support and the use of slave labor…).
Just getting permits would take years and cost a lot…
The solar PV industry is forecast to produce 310GW of modules in 2022, representing an incredible 45% year-on-year increase compared to 2021
The market in 2022 was production-led and ultimately sized by the amount of polysilicon produced across the year. Demand at times likely ran 50-100% higher than what could be produced.
There will be enough polysilicon produced in 2022 to support the manufacturing of about 320GW of c-Si modules (Source)
On the pricing side, things are still 20-30% higher than a couple of years ago, in good part thanks to high polysilicon prices.
☢️ Diablo Canyon gets $1.1bn federal grant for life extension
The case for nuclear power as a climate solution got a big boost Monday when the Biden administration announced it’s giving Pacific Gas & Electric Co. a $1.1-billion grant to help the company keep operating California’s last nuclear plant. [...]
The federal money doesn’t guarantee Diablo Canyon will stay open longer. But it’s looking increasingly likely California will rely on the plant for at least a few additional years [...]
PG&E Chief Executive Patti Poppe noted that Diablo Canyon supplied more than 8% of California’s electricity last year — and 17% of the state’s climate-friendly, carbon-free electricity.
Why would you shut down 17% of the state’s clean electricity for… what reasons exactly?
California has 33 GW of natural gas capacity, so I’m sure the gas operators would love for Diablo Canyon to shut down. But I don’t see how that helps anyone else.
Unfortunately, the Pallisades plant in Michigan wasn’t as lucky and hasn’t received funding to reopen.
“DOE's announcement came after Holtec International announced that its bid for funding to reopen the Palisades plant in Michigan had been unsuccessful. The plant closed down in May after more than 50 years in operation.”
The Arts & History
🇰🇷 Accidental Brutalist Cathedrals 📸
Beauty can be found anywhere. It can emerge from anything. A great example I stumbled upon recently: The underside of bridges in Seoul, South Korea!