Oversimplified: Issue 81

Virtual friends, first principle thinking, and step function growth

Hey there 👋

Let’s get to the best links I found on the internet this week. If you’re enjoying the newsletter, share it with a friend. If this was forwarded to you, check out some previous issues and subscribe for future updates.

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📝 What I Wrote

Replika and Virtual Friends

I was on my phone the other day and came across Replika, an app that describes itself as your personal AI friend. This post digs into some of the ideas in the app and where “virtual friends” might go in the future.

📚 What I Read

Learning, and Doing, Strategy

I enjoyed reading this post from my former colleague, Andrew Bartholomew on how to instill and reinforce strategic thinking in organizations. The top-down vs. bottoms-up paradigm is a useful way to think about things.

Fuck Nuance

Sometimes I get a little exhausted by of all the “nuance” floating around online. I stumbled on this fun paper from Kieran Healy that argues against the efficacy of nuance in many circumstances.

Step Functions and One-percent Improvements

I bookmarked this blog post for a simple explanation of compound growth. I’m not totally sold on the conclusion that great companies need to experience a step change, but there’s a lot of good stuff here nonetheless.

🔥 What I Found Interesting

A Beginner’s Guide to First Principle Thinking

If you’re interested in the world of first principles thinking, check out this Notion doc with tons of resources.

Insist on Focus

Peter Thiel used to require employees to focus on one project, to the extent that he would only talk to them about that one thing. Without this focus, Rabois argues that we subconsciously substitute easier, yet less important problems and work on those instead.

🤔 Quote I'm Pondering

“Make sure you have something every day you’re looking forward to. Maybe it’s your job, maybe it’s a basketball game after work or a voice lesson or your writing group, maybe it’s a date. But have something every day that lights you up. It’ll keep your soul hungry to create more of these moments.” — Soman Chainani


Thanks for reading Oversimplified this week! Did anything stand out? I’d love to hear about it. Reply to this email or tweet at me and let’s chat 😁

Until next time,

Conor

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