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Friday, July 31st 2020
Fri, Jul 31st 2020

Personal Blogposts
7AllAmericanBreakfast9dI'm annoyed that I think so hard about small daily decisions. Is there a simple and ideally general pattern to not spend 10 minutes doing arithmetic on the cost of making burritos at home vs. buying the equivalent at a restaurant? Or am I actually being smart somehow by spending the time to cost out that sort of thing? Perhaps: "Spend no more than 1 minute per $25 spent and 2% of the price to find a better product." This heuristic cashes out to: * Over a year of weekly $35 restaurant meals, spend about $35 and an hour and a half finding better restaurants or meals. * For $250 of monthly consumer spending, spend a total of $5 and 10 minutes per month finding a better product. * For bigger buys of around $500 (about 2x/year), spend $10 and 20 minutes on each purchase. * Buying a used car ($15,000) I'd spend $300 and 10 hours. I could use the $300 to hire somebody at $25/hour to test-drive an additional 5-10 cars, a mechanic to inspect it on the lot, a good negotiator to help me secure a lower price. * For work over the next year ($30,000), spend $600 and 20 hours. * Getting a Master's degree ($100,000 including opportunity costs), spend 66 hours and $2,000 finding the best school. * Choosing from among STEM career options ($100,000 per year), spend about 66 hours and $600 per year exploring career decisions. Comparing that with my own patterns, that simplifies to: Spend much less time thinking about daily spending. You're correctly calibrated for ~$500 buys. Spend much more time considering your biggest buys and decisions.
6mr-hire9d"Medium Engagement Activities" are the death of culture creation. Expecting someone to show up for a ~1-hour or more event every week that helps shape your culture is great for culture creation, or requiring them to wear a dress code - large commitments are good in the early stages. Removing trivial inconveniences to following your values and rules is great for building culture, doing things that require no or low engagement but help shape group cohesion. Design does a lot here - no commitment tools to shape culture are great during early stages. But medium commitment tools are awful, a series of little things that take 5-50 minutes a week to work on - these things are death to early stage cultures. It's death by a 1000 cuts of things they can't see clear immediate benefit for, and which they can see clear immediate cost for. I don't know why exactly this is, and haven't really mapped out what's behind this intuition, it's something about the benefits of building identity vs. the time required, it's ushaped, the tails are a much more effective tradeoff than the middle.