Siddhartha Mukherjee Writes In Bed

I sang his praises here. He won a well-deserved Pulitzer for general nonfiction for Empire of All Maladies. And he deserves a Nobel Prize for science writing for helping a knucklehead like me (mostly) understand cellular biology.

I’m just settling in with The Song of the Cell: An Exploration of Medicine and the New Human.

Here’s the backstory to the book and his writing process.

Wednesday Required Reading

Thinking Slow Together

That’s how an excellent colleague of mine describes her teaching philosophy. It perfectly encapsulates what I strive to do with my students as well.

The phrase “thinking slow together” echoed in my mind while reading David Sims’s review of Dave Chappelle’s SNL appearance

When watching Chappelle, I vacillated from unconsciously laughing at many of his punch lines to consciously questioning how he set up a few others. A singular talent, I thought he was very funny, but I also experienced some uneasiness and couldn’t give completely in to him.

I didn’t understand why until thinking slowly about it with Sims’s help. And there is the power of the printed word. In a world where faster is always seen as better, writing and reading force us to take time to ponder things, to consider others’ viewpoints, to formulate tentative ideas, and to clearly communicate them.

And as in the case of Sims’s review, that slowing down results in more profound, longer lasting insights than live audio or television generate by themselves.

Hurray, META’s Failing

I have good news. META Platforms, Inc., also known as Facebook, has lost 70% of its value in the last year. Zuckerberg’s gamble on creating on-line, virtual reality work places (and entertainment), is off to a terrible start. Zuckerberg, who seems convinced people want to spend more time on-line, is calling for patience and additional investment in the “metaverse”.

Zuckerberg is making a classic mistake, generalizing from his own experience. Because he wants to spend more or most of his time on-line, he thinks others do too. Surrounded by sycophant’s who depend upon him for their livelihoods, he doesn’t have anyone to tell him to snap out of his on-line fantasy world.

No one, two months from now, is going to say their 2023 resolution is “to spend more time on-line”.

Pre-pandemic, there were a lot of snake-oil salespeople promoting distance learning. All will be well, they proclaimed, if we just move school on-line.

Aspects of hybrid learning obviously make sense, but maybe with the exception of Zuckerberg himself, we are an intensely social species. We desire stronger social connections, involving all of our senses, in real life.

That is the lesson of the pandemic and Meta’s swan dive. Couldn’t be happening to a nicer corporation.

Postscript: Marques isn’t rooting for META either, but for a completely different reason (start at 9:00).

Apple Does It Again

Wednesday’s Apple event was just the most recent reminder that when it comes to marketing, everyone else is competing for the red ribbon or the silver medal or the consolation bracket title. They are the LA Dodgers. Best in class and it ain’t close.

They’re so good they are going to convince a huge cross-section of the population that they need something they’ve been fine without their whole lives–satellite coverage in case of a car crash or other emergency. Hell, when we crashed our cars and got lost in nature before we had cell phones we were almost always fine. There were pay phones, people assisting one another, smoke signals.

Now, Apple is amping up everyone’s anxiety with a bunch of WHAT IFs with infinitesimal odds. And I have no doubt it’s going to work. Sometime soon, people will question your sanity if you venture into your car or the woods without satellite coverage.

And because Apple is going to leverage your anxiety so expertly, my AAPL stock is going to keep increasing in value. Thank you in advance.