Things I Found Interesting #2

Jordan Peterson: Overcome your fear of death… with psilocybin mushrooms? [YouTube video]

Link to the original video lecture of “Biblical Series VIII: The Phenomenology of the Divine”. Couple interesting observations:

  1. Dose needs to be high enough so that it results in an experience of psychedelic effects (a trip), otherwise there are little or no benefits;
  2. Psilocybin-induced trip experience by the individual can be regarded of the same importance as a child birth or marriage;
  3. Trip experience results in a sustained increase of the Openness to Experience trait;
  4. Current leading thesis in psychology is that the best way to counteract depression, anxiety and fear of mortality is to increase the meaning in your life. Psilocybin has been shown to facilitate that.

Documented positive effects far outweigh negative ones, mainly a ‘bad trip'[1]. I am excited that in the recent years we have seen an increase of research in the field of psilocybin[2] and other psychedelics[3].

I am certain that we will see adoption of psychedelics in medical treatment this decade. However, recreational use will require a generation change to become socially acceptable.

There are many lessons to be learnt from current legal marijuana industry for obstacles to adoption or pitfalls in legal frameworks. I think that legalization of psychedelics will present interesting business opportunities in production (growth and manufacture) as well as associated product space (personal, medical, services).

UPDATE 16 Jan 2020: A good example of new products hitting the market:

The Lie That Helped Build Nintendo [YouTube video]

It’s a story of Nintendo in Scandinavia and a unique relationship that lasts to this day. While watching the video I could not stop thinking that we are seeing a great founder at work, who:

  1. Pushes limits of established conventions;
  2. Asks for forgiveness and not permission.

Looking back it’s easy to connect the dots, but the process of building a company is extremely convoluted and non-linear. As founders (or in fact in any career) we will no doubt make mistakes, potentially fatal ones – all we can do is:

  1. Hedge the odds of reaching your goal by making more positive-outcome decisions on average;
  2. Learn from mistakes we made and try to not repeat them.

Is SMS 2FA Secure? []

No, due to fundamental flaws in the protocol. And I am not even talking about coverage / connectivity issues… Please stop using it or at least allow / seek for an alternative method of choice.

There are more secure, sometimes cheaper and, subjectively, more convenient approaches, such as hard tokens (e.g. YubiKey), app push authentication requests and time-based one-time passwords.

Gandi filer issue on PAAS/IAAS LU-BI1 []

Long story short, Gandi had downtime on their PAAS / IAAS infrastructure and initially thought that it lost terabytes of customer data. This indeed happens to even the largest cloud providers[1]. But that’s not the point.

While observing the incident as it unfolded I could not stop thinking that Gandi’s reaction was poor and will result in lost business, not because of the downtime itself, but how it was handled. Their immediate position was not to take on responsibility and apologize, not to keep everyone updated to the detail, but instead they thought it’s a good idea to tweet the following:

Which brings me to the main point / observation I want to make: in a competitive or mature market the quality of your customer support is a strong differentiator. From my experience, companies with the best customer support tend to win even when they are lacking in other areas.

Programmers Should Plan For Lower Pay []

Right advice, but for all the wrong reasons. Programmers create value disproportionate to their input. Single software engineer’s work can serve thousands to millions of users. This directly and proportionally translates to profits. A single employee at a big tech company can generate as much as ~$600k in profits[1]. It’s then easy to see why programmers’ pay is justified.

However, it’s still a valid advice to plan for lower pay, as there is another issue, and this applies to many industries: age discrimination[2]:

“Initially, age increases earnings. That said, the annualized compound gain is quite meager — about 0.2% through 45–54 years of age — with most of that happening before a developer turns 25. More interesting is how the impact of age declines and turns negative (relative to a developer of 18–24 years of age) as a developer approaches 65”

Meet the Highest Paid Software Developer in America: Dev, by Nnamdi Iregbulem

It’s ridiculous that in an industry where mental capacity is absolutely crucial, the physical appearance can negate that, forcing some people turn to plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures as a solution instead [3].

To stay relevant one should plan to move to management and customer facing positions. There the age is perceived as wisdom (by teams, customers, etc) and plays to your advantage.

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