The Four Stages of Life

Mark Manson wrote a piece on the four different stages of life.

Stage Three is the great consolidation of one’s life. Out go the friends who are draining you and holding you back. Out go the activities and hobbies that are a mindless waste of time. Out go the old dreams that are clearly not coming true anytime soon.

Then you double down on what you’re best at and what is best to you. You double down on the most important relationships in your life. You double down on a single mission in life, whether that’s to work on the world’s energy crisis or to be a bitching digital artist or to become an expert in brains or have a bunch of snotty, drooling children. Whatever it is, Stage Three is when you get it done.

I'm still working hard to find out what I'm best at. I call it Stage 2.5.

★ Apple Watch: My Thoughts

I've had my Apple Watch for two weeks. There has been much written about this product and I certainly have read most of those articles while trying to decide if I wanted one for myself. My wife graciously bought me one for my birthday so the decision was made for me.

I got the 42mm Space Gray Aluminum Apple Watch Sport. It comes with the black sport band but I also purchased a white sport band. I think the gray aluminum contrasts nicely with the white band. I've worn watches on and off since I was a kid. My dad handed down my first watch, a Timex Ironman Triathlon with Indiglo. Most recently, I've worn a Kenneth Cole watch, and a couple of Nixon watches; The Banks and The Chronicle. Whether I realized it or not, I've always enjoyed wearing watches, as both an accessory and as a gadget with the Timex. When the Apple Watch was announced, I wasn't completely sold on it. As I read the initial reviews and a few more in depth ones, I changed my mind.

From L to R: Kenneth Cole, The Banks, The Chronicle, Apple Watch

From L to R: Kenneth Cole, The Banks, The Chronicle, Apple Watch

The Banks. Wearing Space Black since 2006.

The Banks. Wearing Space Black since 2006.

The Chronicle

The Chronicle

I stopped wearing a watch around the time I got my iPhone. It was cool to have an iPhone in those early years and I didn't mind taking it out to check the time. You don't realize it but it is very inconvenient to have to reach into your pocket and take out your phone just to check the time. Often, my hands are full while out running errands and pulling out my phone to check the time is impossible. Looking at my wrist to check the time instead of reaching for my phone is MUCH easier when you're out and about. The raise your wrist action to activate the screen has been accurate about 90% of the time. Annoying when it doesn't turn on, but not a deal breaker. I also tend to activate it while driving when I make turns. Not a big issue, but I do notice it when it turns on.

Receiving notifications was another feature I knew I would appreciate. Here's a real life scenario that happened this week. My family and I were out to lunch. I waited in line to order while my wife took my stepdaughter and our newborn son to find a place to sit. She told me what she wanted and left to find us a table. Right before I got to the cashier to order, I felt a noticeable tap on my wrist. My wife texted me their drink orders. We were in a loud food court and I definitely would not have heard my phone go off in my pocket. And if I did, I'd have to reach in and unlock it to read her text. With the watch, all I had to do was raise my wrist and the text was right there. No need to tap or hit any buttons.

Modular Face

Modular Face

X-Large Face

X-Large Face

Simple Face

Simple Face

Utility Face

Utility Face

I also wanted the Apple Watch because I think it's a really nice looking watch. Even with the display off, the all black face looks understatedly attractive. I love that you can switch faces as you please and there is sure to be one that you like. I've been switching between the Modular face and the Simple face. The watch complications are also extremely useful. If checking my phone for the time was the number one reason I took it out, the number two reason was to check the weather. I can now do it from my wrist with a quick glance. This by itself has saved me so much time.

There are so many other features that I haven't had a chance to play around with. The health and fitness aspect is one that Apple is marketing and one that I haven't tested out extensively. Third party apps are currently limited but that will change once the next version of watchOS comes out in the fall. For now, I use Dark Sky, Swarm, Do Button and Clear the most. I like to use Swarm check into restaurants and other venues to keep a record of what I do everyday. I no longer have to reach for my phone; I can do it from my Watch without seeming rude. I can control the lights in my apartment with Do Button which is linked to my WeMo Switch. Using Clear on Apple Watch for crossing off items on my grocery list is SO much better than taking out my phone each time to cross off an item.

The watch has seamlessly fit into my life and even at this early point, it would be a pain if I left home without it. This is NOT an iPhone replacement; it is a cool watch that does cool things. If you set your expectations like so, you'll like the Apple Watch.

★ Clyde Jaymeson Torres

On May 19, 2015, Clyde Jaymeson Torres was born. For almost nine months, I've been wondering what my son would look like, what he would be like.

There's nothing that can prepare you for the moment that your child is brought into the world. I could feel an overwhelming sense of love and urge to protect this helpless, flailing newborn. I was shocked at how closely he resembled me when I was younger. It was like looking at the past, present and future, all at once. He is a little version of me that I want to create the best life for.

He is everything I had hoped for without even knowing what I wanted.

Dunkin' and the Doughnut King

Yet Mr. T’s is more than it appears. It is one link in a network of nearly 1,500 independent doughnut shops that anchor strip malls and brighten main streets from San Ysidro to Arcata, and that for more than three decades have pummeled chains like Winchell’s, Krispy Kreme, and, during its first California expansion, Dunkin’ Donuts. Perhaps the most surprising thing about these ubiquitous shops, and a significant contributor to their resilience, is that almost all of them are owned by Cambodian Americans.

Fascinating read on the history of donut shops in California. 

Technology Vs. Fashion

Gavin B. Keilly, chief executive of GBK Productions, a marketing firm in Los Angeles that specializes in putting high-end items in the hands of trendsetters, says that Apple is giving its watches to celebrities because the masses adopt fashion in a very different way than they do technology.

With gadgets, consumers seek out the advice of experts. With fashion, trendsetters often set the agenda. “If a celebrity is wearing something, it’s going to make someone want to go out and buy it,” Mr. Keilly said. “Celebrities: They sell.”

Simple Rules For Healthy Eating

I knew a lot of these before I read the article. The last one was unexpected, but totally obvious.

Eat with other people, especially people you care about, as often as possible. This has benefits even outside those of nutrition. It will make you more likely to cook. It will most likely make you eat more slowly. It will also make you happy.

Via Jason Kottke.

Cellphone Or Drivers License?

Today, more and more sixteen year olds are yearning for cellphones rather than drivers licenses.

While teenagers may be less free to move around and explore, she said, the independence that a driver’s license once symbolized has been replaced by the cellphone.

I remember signing up to take my learner's permit at fifteen and my driver's test at sixteen as soon as I was able. Times have changed.

Via Justin Blanton.

A Million Origami Lobsters

A thought experiment designed to illustrate how difficult it is to deliver millions of products efficiently and profitably.

There’s no rush; you can deliver your million lobsters any time during the month, provided that you don’t mind people complaining that you are way too slow at getting this done. Oh, and you’ll be criticized in the international press for every failure to produce perfect lobsters.

And now, imagine this same plan, except with this twist: no one has successfully folded this particular type of Origami lobster before, so you really don’t know how it’s all going to turn out. And your reward if you are successful will not be praise, but demands that you build even more next month.

Congratulations. You’ve just imagined the scenario that Apple executives had to create for the launch of Apple Watch, except that Apple products are orders of magnitude more complex than paper lobsters. Also billions of dollars of revenue hang on you getting this process right the first time; if you don’t, your company and possibly the entire category of smartwatches will be deemed a failure. No pressure at all, really.

Logistics are hard.

Chef

For his movie, Chef, Jon Favreau enlisted Kogi founder Roy Choi in an advisory role to help make the movie feel authentic; to make everything on screen look "real." As Favreau dove deeper into the role, he started learning how to cook and started experiencing things that happen only in a restaurant kitchen.

"But everything takes on a different meaning once you see the work that goes into a dish," he says. For Favreau, this soul-expanding moment came in a tiny prep area of the Sunny Spot kitchen. "There was a woman sitting next to me peeling fresh avocados," he says, "building a guacamole from scratch. I watched every tender step: putting the citrus in; seasoning, mashing, making it the right texture. Then she turns to me. I don't speak any Spanish, but we got to know one another, and she goes to hand me what she's made. It's not even something I think about. It's just like, 'Thank you! My gosh! What you've put into this!' I never eat guacamole, and it was one of the best things I ever ate in my life."

Two years ago, I worked in a kitchen in San Carlos for a few months. On the line, I worked next to someone who spoke very little English. The small Spanish I retained from high school and hand gestures were all we had to communicate. Even during the craziest shifts, we were able to work together to get food out quickly and efficiently. At the end of our shifts, we usually found ourselves sharing a beer while we cleaned up our stations. I'm sure there are thousands of these types of interactions that occur in kitchens every day.

Be sure to watch these behind the scenes clips of Chef Choi and Jon Favreau.

Phan Girl

Natasha Phan is the Head of Business Development and Marketing at Kogi. She recalls when she was hired on full time:

I don’t remember how many conversations it took, but eventually Roy asked me what it would take for me to join the team full time. I was leaving a corporate gig that gave me a 401K, health insurance, an expense account—it was a cushy job. I gave him a number, and he matched the number, and it’s been six years since.

I had a strikingly similar conversation with the owner of Dos Chinos four years ago.

Tidal and the Future of Music

Ben Thompson on Tidal, a new streaming service backed by several popular artists, including Jay-Z, Kanye West and Beyoncé:

"This ultimately is why Tidal will fail: it’s nice that Jay-Z and company would prefer to garner Spotify’s (minuscule) share of streaming revenue, but there is zero reason to expect Tidal to win in the market. Tidal doesn’t have Spotify’s head-start or free tier, it doesn’t have Apple’s distribution might and bank account, and it doesn’t have any meaningful exclusives3 — and to be successful, you need a lot of exclusives; it’s too easy and guilt-free to pirate (or simply skip) one or two songs."

I'm a fan of Jay-Z and Kanye but I see no other outcome for Tidal but failure. 

San Francisco from 7,500 feet

Vincent Laforet takes amazing pictures of cities from 7,500 feet in the air from a helicopter. He's done pieces on New York and Las Vegas. He recently photographed San Francisco. 

"And then there's the grid of downtown... WOW is all that I can say.  This is such a truly linear city on the one hand -  yet this perfect 45 degree clash of grids is unlike anything I've ever seen before!


Some city planners clearly had a wicked sense of humour when they clashed the two grids near Market Street.  I've never seen anything like it yet anywhere else..."

image.jpg

Wait, But Why?

Tim Urban writes at the awesome site, Wait But Why. He's written some of my favorite pieces, including: The Fermi Paradox, Artificial Intelligence (Part 1 and Part 2), and the 10 Types of Odd Friendships You're Probably Part Of. He was interviewed at Fast Company and talks about the Buzzed-ification of the Internet and what it takes to obtain and retain loyal readers.

If you can blow someone's mind—really, genuinely blow it, again, in a really well-written way—then that's something they want to share.

I discovered Wait But Why by stumbling upon their series of visiting random places. I found the articles super interesting and signed up for their newsletter. Every article they post is a must read. Since adding this to my RSS feed, I've read a lot of their articles. I could seriously spend a whole afternoon reading, and rereading, their posts. If you're in any way fascinated by North Korea, if we are alone in the universe, or the future of the human race, look no further.

The Evolution of Steve Jobs

There will forever be books and pieces written about Steve Jobs. He was the Henry Ford of my generation. Most portray him as a harsh dictator who wasn't afraid to tell people what was on his mind. Fast Company looks at how Steve evolved as a CEO, especially in his second act:

Despite his reputation as a tyrannical micromanager, Jobs maintained an excellent and relatively stable executive team during his second tenure at Apple. The more mature and confident he became, the more he surrounded himself with strong, opinionated executives who felt comfortable arguing with him. This was something he had learned during his exile from Apple.

Serious Eats on Chicken Arroz Caldo

First lechon kawali, now Serious Eats tackles arroz caldo, one of my favorite Filipino dishes.

There were a lot of attractive elements to the dish. For starters, it was quick to put together: from store to plate, I had it done in under an hour. The flavor was appealing, even to my then uninitiated palate—with the addition of ginger, garlic, and fish sauce, it basically tastes like a really good chicken and rice soup with a distinct Filipino/Asian profile. It was also incredibly hearty, making it suitable as an entire meal or a starter or snack in smaller portions.

New Theory Suggest Humans and Wolves Eliminated Neanderthals

A new theory suggests that the combination of modern humans and newly domesticated wolves helped wipe out Neanderthals.

Modern humans formed an alliance with wolves soon after we entered Europe, argues Shipman. We tamed some and the dogs we bred from them were then used to chase prey and to drive off rival carnivores, including lions and leopards, that tried to steal the meat.

“Early wolf-dogs would have tracked and harassed animals like elk and bison and would have hounded them until they tired,” said Shipman. “Then humans would have killed them with spears or bows and arrows.

“This meant the dogs did not need to approach these large cornered animals to finish them off – often the most dangerous part of a hunt – while humans didn’t have to expend energy in tracking and wearing down prey. Dogs would have done that. Then we shared the meat. It was a win-win situation.”