Friday Finds (Apple, Asia, Commitment, NBA, Movies)

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Hi friends,

Greetings from Austin!

I've been orbiting around some big news for a while, and today is the day to finally tell you about it (just some hints though).

We're adding rocket fuel to Write of Passage. Until now, it's been a 5-week course that we run multiple times per year. Now, we're expanding into two new product verticals: Business writing and “Liftoff” for ambitious high-schoolers.

That means we're hiring like crazy.

If you're ready to escape a soulless gig in the corporate world and join a team of obsessive builders with tons of autonomy in their work, we want to chat with you. Working with us will be some of the most fulfilling work you ever do.

Here are our open job positions:

  • Director of Student Experience (Liftoff)
  • Director of Operations (Liftoff)
  • Chief Evangelist (Liftoff)
  • Director of Product (Business Writing)

Oh, and one more thing: We have an internal rule that we'll instantly hire anybody we think is exceptional, even if they're not a good fit for an open position. So if top-tier writing instruction gets you fired up, reach out!

Here's what I want to share this week:

  1. The Commitment Crisis: People are afraid to commit to things and it leads to all kinds of trouble and lost potential. Here's my thread on the subject.
  2. Hugging the X-Axis: The thread above was inspired by this essay of mine. Our society has a commitment problem, and quite frankly, so did I. We love to celebrate youth and first dates, but forget to celebrate the wisdom that comes with age and the depth of love that emerge in long marriages.
  3. My Interview with Logic: Last year, I interviewed the Grammy-nominated rapper Logic about his creative process. We started with a focus on his writing and by the end, it felt as casual as a Saturday night hangout. For a preview, here’s a clip of him talking about his note-taking process. You can watch the full interview here.

Today's Finds

The Bull Case for Apple (2012): An early Michael Saylor prediction about why Apple was destined to hit $2,000 per share. He believed that Apple's stock would soar because they'd sell 1 billion devices per year and become a luxury company, which would prevent downward price pressure (which is what happened to the PC industry). Apple isn't a utility. It's like jewelry, a piece of clothing, or a handbag — a fashion statement and an extension of your personality. This line stands out: "If you're going to know a subject, know the subject. Because knowing only part of the subject is just enough to hurt yourself." The video is only 2 minutes.

Vanishing Asia: Kevin Kelly is one of the coolest people I've ever met (here's my podcast interview with him). Though he built his reputation as a futurist, he's long had a passion for photography and Asian culture. Vanishing Asia is a set of three books, each the size of my chest. It has instantly become one of my favorite ways to learn about Asian culture. It's a book to experience, not just read, and a great gift or coffee table book.

How Nike Lost Steph Curry: The greatest basketball shooter of all time was under-estimated for years. I know because I under-estimated Steph too. I was a Golden State Warriors season ticket holder when he joined the NBA and I wasn't very excited about Steph. He was constantly injured back then too. Turns out, I wasn't the only one who took him for granted. Nike sponsored Steph Curry early in his career but lost the deal when they disrespected him in a contract renegotiation. They mispronounced his name, sent a mid-level marketing person to the meeting, and had another player's name on the pitch slide. Oops! Since then, Steph's been the NBA's most valuable player two times and has appeared in the NBA finals six times. Explicitly, this is a story about Nike and Under Armour. Implicitly, it's a story about sales, recruiting, and talent evaluation. This Twitter thread offers a good summary. You can read the full piece here.

How Narratives Drive Prices: The public markets increasingly resemble private ones in the way that revenue multiples continue to spread. Founders who can articulate their company’s vision and persuade the public markets that they have a bright future have cheap access to capital. Elon Musk and Tesla is the perfect example. The author writes: “Thus Tesla’s PE ratio is in many ways self-fulfilling. If Tesla could get people to extend the access to capital it needs for long enough, it will be successful. If it could not, then it would have collapsed. Ironically, this means that far from Elon’s antics being distracting, his ability to maintain these high PE ratios might be the most important driver of the company’s ability to succeed.” The better a company can tell its narrative, the cheaper it can access capital and the higher its price-to-earnings ratio can become.

The Master Switch: As Hollywood continues to lose influence, I want to explore its history so I can make sense of where the culture industry is going. The Master Switch is my favorite book on this subject, and it’s time for a re-read. The writing is dry but the ideas are excellent. The thesis is that information industries are defined by a cycle between open and closed, centralization and decentralization. The book charts a series of histories in information technologies like radio, television, and the movie industry. Here’s a YouTube video the author gave about the book.

Have a creative week,

David Perell Logo 2x

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