I like the number three. Not too much, not too little.

So I bring you “The Sunday 3”, three articles I’ve read this week. One dealing with health, one dealing with business, one dealing with learning.

Health: 

If You’re Always Working, You’re Never Working Well by Michael Harris

TL;DR: Working more doesn’t mean working better. Multitasking is impossible. We’re always at work, but that means we’re never at work fully.

Favorite Quote: Everyone who thinks they’re good at multitasking is wrong. We’re actually multiswitching [and] giving ourselves extra work.” – Douglas Gentile, professor @ Iowa State

Harris discusses the outrage at the (wildly incorrect) reporting last week that the “lazy” French had passed a law banning people from working hard. Although this was untrue (it was a labor agreement between media companies and journalists aimed at improving health of professionals), it “revealed a set of abiding values subscribed to by the folk who perpetuated it.”

I’m fascinated by debates about how people work, especially the value they ascribe to “working hard”. This goes for how people think of themselves and how their bosses assess their value to the company.

There’s a fundamental bias at work as we believe that outcomes are directly correlated with effort. Researchers paint a much more complex picture. Organizations should be much more sensitive to the “sweet spot” of productivity for workers. While accountability is obviously important, if you hire the right people, you don’t have to stuff them in a regimented box.

Business

You Don’t Need To Be An Engineering Genius To Start A Billion-Dollar Company

TL;DR: In the past, technology costs were expensive. Engineering resources were cheap. Recently, these trends have flipped. In the future, it might be that engineering resources will be unnecessary.

Favorite Quote: In other words, there has never been a better time to be average.

I love history, especially when it comes to speculating on the future. I love it because history is important, but also because speculation is usually wrong. Although there’s a lot of really important elements of startup costs this article ignores, it paints an interesting vision of the future for non-engineering entrepreneurs. I wonder if the VC market will make a similar shift towards undervaluing startups with strong “hacker teams”. My speculation is that it’s the “hacker mentality” that VCs value AND the value they can immediately create (anyone can be a “biz dev resource” not everyone can write objective c.

What I think these trends DO allow for is more “average” people to start companies. People aren’t 10x coders, but understand technology enough to lead excellent products. People who aren’t Wharton MBAs, but want to learn about their market, their customers, and their business.

It’s not just that the cost of engineering resources is coming down for startups, the cost of ALL RESOURCES for startups is coming down. This is encouraging.

It’s always been hard for “jack of all trades” people to find jobs, since the corporate market requires high degrees of specialization. However, for a startup, you don’t have to be really really good at a specialization. In fact, it might do some harm (more on this in a later post).

Learning

Chemex Brew Guide – By Sumptown Coffee

I love coffee. I love learning about coffee. I love drinking coffee. I love the way it smells.

Well then why don’t you marry it? – My niece would say

I make espresso and chemex, both labors of attention to detail.

It had been a while since I had made chemex, so I did a quick search for the mass of coffee and water (forgot what the specifics were). I found one of the best descriptions of the chemex I’ve seen: http://stumptowncoffee.com/brew-guides/chemex/.

Sumptown makes great coffee, and I’m glad to see they care enough to teach people how to make it right.

 

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