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Weekend Briefing No. 488
A Saturday morning briefing on innovation and society.
Welcome to the Weekend. Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there.
If you’ve been reading the briefing for a while, you know that I make country playlist every Summer. It’s called the Lake House Playlist because we listen to it when our family is on our annual lake trip in Tennessee. I kinda went overboard this year. The playlist is over 7 hours. It includes my favorite country songs from 2023, plus the top 1 or 2 songs on Billboard’s Hot Country List going back to the early 2000s, lastly it has some solid 90s country classics. If you’re looking for a single country playlist, this is probably it.
Here’s the Lake House Playlist 2023. Enjoy! Let me know what you think.
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$397,707 — I was surprised to hear that the highest median salary among big tech companies is not Meta or Google. It’s Okta, whose median salary is $397,707.
146 — One of Saturn's 146 moons harbors the fundamental elements required for the development of organic life, according to new data from NASA published yesterday.
4% — The consumer price index, which measures price changes for a basket of goods and services, rose in May by 4% year-over-year; data mark the slowest rate increase since March 2021.
If you could spend five years going out for coffee with some of the world's most successful people and ask each of them for advice, your notes would probably look a lot like Polina Marinova Pompliano's new book Hidden Genius: The Secret Ways of Thinking That Power the World's Most Successful People. This book is highly readable and enjoyable, yet packed with wisdom on each page. Each chapter is centered around an idea and features an eclectic mix of perspectives, from astronauts to movie stars to investors, on that particular idea. This week, I had an amazing conversation with Polina about some of the key concepts in this book, including: (1) Why we should stress-test ourselves with regular hardship. (2) Competence breeds confidence. (3) The difference between a soldier and a scout mindset. (Spoiler alert: We could use more scouts in this world.) (4) Trust = Consistency + Time. I think you’ll really love this video. There are so many nuggets of wisdom from start to finish. It’s worth viewing / listening to the whole thing. (You could probably have it on while you’re working in the garden or doing the dishes today.) While you’re there, if you haven’t done so yet, subscribe to my channel to make sure you get great content like this as soon as it goes live. YouTube (51 minutes)
Imagine playing chess but only being able to see a few squares on the board. That’s what working with most artificial intelligence (AI) software code completion tools is like now. Conversely, Magic AI’s tool allows software engineers to describe what they want in natural language, and it generates code. It’s software that builds software. In this fashion, the AI and the developer can work together to find code, consider its use, reuse it and then collaborate on code changes. Last week, they announced a huge breakthrough: LTM-1, an LLM with 5 million prompt tokens! That's ~500K lines of code or ~5K files, enough to fully cover most code repositories. Ultimately it gives the large language model (LLM) much more context on your code base, which results in much more relevant / accurate output. (Just as a comparison, Open AI’s big announcement this week was that it was increasing to 16,000 tokens.) Using Magic AI is like playing chess while being able to see the whole board, not just a few squares. We’re proud to support the cutting edge work the Magic AI team is doing. @magicailabs (2 minutes)
We All Need Second Chances
Fathers have a profound impact on their children's lives, yet an estimated 10 million kids in the United States see their dads less than once a month. Through his advocacy and mental health center, therapist Dr. Charles C. Daniels Jr. empowers fathers to be more present by providing mentorship and community so they learn to forgive their own shortcomings and, most importantly, learn how to reconnect with their kids. Fathers’ Uplift, a DRK Foundation portfolio organization, has helped reconnect relationships for over 13,000 families — giving fathers back their self-worth and dignity so they can re-engage in the lives of their children and families. DRK Foundation (Sponsored)
This article features 14 charts that tell the story of AI right now. Here are some key takeaways: (1) Open-AI’s LLM is the first ranked, but Anthropic (founded by Open-AI defectors) takes the second and third spots. (2) If there’s a chart in this collection that serves as a word of warning to the AI hype, it’s this one: Companies gobbled up “.ai” domains in December and then really chilled out on the domain land grab. (3) The most competitive sectors in AI are marketing, audio and customer support. (4) At least 36 generative AI companies have raised more than $100 million. Newcomer (14 minutes)
The Second Space Age
It’s difficult to exaggerate Elon Musk’s role in reviving space tech. Before SpaceX successfully launched a rocket into orbit in 2008, the United States lost both the capability and the desire to go to space. The cost of sending anything into orbit was astronomical. Building and launching a satellite was a feat only a nation or a massive corporation could do. Despite their usefulness, only a thousand or so of satellites were orbiting the Earth in the 2010s. Today, that number has jumped to over 7,000 active satellites. In large part thanks to SpaceX, we find ourselves undergoing a massive transition in which entrepreneurs and tinkerers can launch machines into orbit. Satellites are playing increasingly critical roles in navigation, weather monitoring, telecommunications, national security and more. As the number of satellites and space-based services continues to grow, many aspects of our world will change — how we connect to the internet, use our technology devices and even farm. This essay explores life amid this satellite renaissance and the opportunities on the horizon. Every (8 minutes)
Algorithms and Poverty
An algorithm funded by the World Bank to determine which families should get financial assistance in Jordan likely excludes people who should qualify, according to an investigation published by Human Rights Watch. The algorithmic system, called Takaful, ranks families applying for aid from least poor to poorest, using a secret calculus that assigns weights to 57 socioeconomic indicators. Human Rights Watch identified several fundamental problems with the algorithmic system that resulted in bias and inaccuracies. Applicants say that the calculus is not reflective of reality. It also oversimplifies people’s economic situation, sometimes inaccurately or unfairly. Takaful has cost over $1 billion, and the World Bank is funding similar projects in eight other countries in the Middle East and Africa. MIT Technology Review (6 minutes)
Generations of Dads
Father's Day offers the perfect opportunity for the generations to pause and share stories from family history. And when your grandfather is World War II Gen. George S. Patton and your dad is Major Gen. George Patton, a decorated veteran of the Korean and Vietnam wars, many of these stories are already well-known. But there's another, more personal side to the Patton family — one documentarian Benjamin Patton reveals in this NPR interview. NPR (8 minutes)
Should We Work Together?
Hi! I’m Kyle. This newsletter is my passion project. When I’m not writing, I run a law firm that helps startups move fast without breaking things. Most founders want a trusted legal partner, but they hate surprise legal bills. At Westaway, we take care of your startup’s legal needs for a flat, monthly fee so you can control your costs and focus on scaling your business. If you’re interested, let’s jump on a call to see if you’re a good fit for the firm. Click here to schedule a one-on-one call with me.
Check out Founder Fridays — A Friday morning briefing helping founders scale smarter.
A warrior is not a person that carries a gun. The biggest war you ever go through is right between your own ears. It's in your mind. We're all going through a war in our mind, and we have to callus our mind to fight that war and to win that war. – David Goggins