A new installment including small bits of disparate, very normal information.
In software there is a maxim of "Good, fast, cheap. Choose two." I like the pattern of this idea and we can use it to describe various optimization dilemmas. Take work for example. We might say you can optimize your job for pay, flexibility, and interest.
Maybe you have a high paying job that you enjoy, but it may require significant travel and long hours - low flexibility, high pay, high interest. Perhaps you love what you do and can work when and where you want, but your pay is low.
When we do work that is engaging, but neither remunerative nor flexible we run the risk of becoming martyrs for a cause.
Notion is Good Software. This past Thanksgiving I fell into the Notion.so rabbit hole. For the uninitiated, Notion is software for thinking, planning, and writing whose secret sauce is two-fold. First, the tool is very pretty. By default pages drafted in Notion just look good. Second, the team developed a very flexible data model that decouples information from presentation.
Why not just use Google Docs and Sheets? It feels like the folks at Google have been influenced by Notion because Docs are definitely getting more beautiful. Sheets is all time great software, but Notion databases basically are paired down sheets that look very good. When I don't need every sheets function, don't anticipate hundreds of thousands of rows of data, and I care about presentation, I reach for Notion. As a long time Google Docs and Sheets die hard, I'm very impressed.
Musashi is Worth a Read. We are nearly a month in to 2023 and I'm still in the middle of my first book of the year - Musashi by Eiji Yoshikawa. The Japanese Samurai classic was first published in 1935, which is noteworthy. Imagine reading a book written in 1930s Germany about the greatest German warrior.
The book follows a pattern where there is a lot of weird Japanese stuff followed by an brief episode of incredible badass Japanese stuff. It has been on my to-read list for a while, and there is nothing like January to pick up a big book. If you want to be transported to another place and time, take a look.
Consistency is Key. The only way to get better at running is to run consistently. Since September of last year I've had problems keeping my volume consistent week after week. Part of this was due to taper and recovery requirements of racing and part of this was non-running related health issues.
At the same time I've watched a close friend completely level up his running. His secret is simple: string together weeks, months, and years of consistent running. It doesn't need to be fast or hard, just get out the door and get miles on the board.
I'm grateful to report that as of this writing I'm over 150 miles on the year with four consistent weeks back to back.
Content that's got me excited. I'll share with you all a few pieces of content that I've recently been enjoying. First, The Pragmatic Engineer newsletter by Gregely Orosz is worth a look if you are interested in big tech. A second newsletter I've started to read is The FLUX Review about systems thinking. I've rediscovered Jaron Lanier, a computer scientist who spends some of his time as a critic of digital technology. I found this guy with my son and his Lego skills are impressive. This is the greatest ski trick of all time. This concert is a lot of fun - I know from firsthand experience.
Setting Content Creation Goals. Very Normal Info is about a quarter of a year old and we've been able to publish very normal information about every week. I want to get to 50 subscribers to this publication. If you know of any folks interested in receiving very normal information in their inbox on a near weekly basis, point them our way. If you have feedback on how to improve the quality of this publication or have content requests, reach out.