LEGO, long-term, and the cockroaches

I read something yesterday mentioning LEGO and their exceptional rebound, 20 years after being near bankrupt when they were close to 1 billion dollars in debt. I instantly thought: they deserve their spot in the cockroaches page. Which then sent me back down the memory lane and their incredibly rich story.

Memory lane cause we spent a day at Legoland in The Hague last Xmas. The kids loved the place, obviously. Mathilde and I were disappointed but I'd say it's more because we were expected something more 'grandiose' - a la Disneyland - than just the space not being cool. It still reminded us countless hours of playing with bricks coming from our parents childhood. Our own kids are now crazy about it. I spent a few hours the other day building with them a 15-bedroom house for all their super-heroes toys.

A few month ago we spent a weekend at some very close friends house and the guy is still obsessed with LEGO. He got a whole collection of old cars, sport ones, the Millennium Falcon and other artefacts in his basement, proudly displayed next to his collection of wine. It's pretty impressive.

Assorted links from week5, 2024

👧👦 It feels like I’ve been on a ‘kids spree’ lately. Maybe this is the ‘I want to be a better Dad’ thought kicking in. It started with Henrik’s great recommendation — following my own ‘Our relationship to children’ — Derek Sivers asking: Who is parenting really for?

Because I realized that the parenting things I do for him are also for myself. And that’s an idea worth sharing.

PG detail some of the lies we [adults] tell kids. He starts with ‘Protection’:

If you ask adults why they lie to kids, the most common reason they give is to protect them. And kids do need protecting. The environment you want to create for a newborn child will be quite unlike the streets of a big city.

That theme fits perfectly with Etienne’s take on ‘risky play’. I can’t agree more with him when he writes:

society has moved towards an overabundance of caution around kids

I do have many stories to tell here. I also think there is an asymmetry of caution between the physical and online world.

Children of the Internet

Since kids go to school only in the morning on Wednesdays, my routine is to drop them off and then head to a nice coffee shop in the neighborhood before picking them up and heading back home to have lunch. I really like spending some time observing people in the coffee. And everytime, I'm quite disturbed by the omnipresence of our smartphones.

Typically yesterday, due to noise that was bothering me and a few loud discussions I didn't want to follow, I took out the earpods and started listening to music. While doing it, I realised how I was [intentionally in that case] disconnecting myself from the surroundings. I was putting myself in a 'physical bubble'.

Our relationship to children

Two weeks ago my oldest had some fever. Result is he didn't go to school and stayed at home with us. Since Mat went to Paris I was alone with both kids on Thursday. We dropped the youngest at school and then, I spent the whole day with the oldest. There were many scenarios for this specific day. The most common one being: putting the kid under the 'digital nanny' supervision -- aka movies on the laptop -- and trying to work as much as possible in the meantime.

I chose another one: dropping everything I 'had to' do for work and spend the whole day playing, discussing, cooking, exploring with him. We're still early 2024 but I can tell this was my best day of the year so far.

Assorted links from week4, 2024

I decided lately to bookmark the best pieces of content I was coming across. You can find everything in this collection on Sublime.

🎶 Yancey talks about Pitchfork, music criticism, and culture after prestige in The prestige recession.

Instead, art and culture have been safely neutralized as interchangeable commercial objects just like everything else. […]

At its best, cultural criticism is love and art that exists to give love to other expressions of art. It’s beautiful in its indulgence. A positive feedback loop that gives everybody exactly what they desire. Gods, scribes, muses, an audience, a culmination. This is what we want out of art. Something that feels grand, meaningful, connected to the ages. That doesn’t happen on its own. It needs context, dedicated space, deeper knowledge, appreciation.

Assorted links from week3, 2024

I come across a lot of content during the week. I detailed some of my habits in how I read. I decided lately to bookmark the best pieces. So if you're curious or want to dig more, you can everything in this collection on Sublime.

✈️ Mat gives some backstory about her, Max and I and how our relationship with obects got impacted by our lifestyle during the past 15 years: 18 moves across 4 continents. Which also lead to Objet at the end.

What I've read in 2023

I don't really remember why exactly I started such a list back in the day but it is now a ritual I'm eager to go through. It makes me reflect on the past year through unexpected ways and discover some hidden trends about me, or see the impact of some changes in my life. Previous years are here: 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022. Numbers wise it goes like this: read 21 books in 2019, 26 in 2020, 28 in 2021, 30 in 2022, and 31 in 2023. Last year being still fresh in my mind, I do remember last quarter was more challenging. I was at 24 books read by the end of August -- typically I read 6 books in 2 months during my summer in the US -- and then only 7 between Sept. and Xmas. Which is not that big of a deal in terms of number or anything, just a reminder to me than the last 4 months of the year, back home, with both kids back to school, were more agitated than planned initially.

I detailed how I read recently. I start 2024 with a little change: no more online reading during weekends; magazines only. I'm loving this already.

Week2, 2024 assorted links

👨‍👩‍👦‍👦 Welcoming a bunch of my oldest friends home for Christmas, and talking with them about all their family dynamics, I realised some impacts of the current trend: less kids in total; that you start having later in life.

A study recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences explored how the size and structure of families will change by the end of the century.

And yes, it’ll mostly mean: “smaller family networks, more great-grandparents, and fewer cousins.”

Some intentions and desires for 2024

Happy new year y'all. I don't really know what to think about the New Year's resolutions tradition. Which made me curious about the whole thing in the first place: where did New Year's reolutions come from? I learnt a few things:

  • Ancient Babylonians might have been the first people to make New Year's resolutions 4,000 years ago
  • Romans apparently did the same in 46 BC. Something I had no idea: January's name was inspired by Janus, the God with two faces -- one symbolically looking back, and one looking ahead

Your decision-making skill, focus and working hard

I decided to launch my first startup I was still a young 20-ish student. Back in 2011 in France, there weren't much to rely on. Which - in retrospect - was most probably the beauty of it all. And I've to say this kind of wild-west created very strong and authentic bonds between many 'players'. Typically in my case, we rented out one little room in the basement of the first office of a fresh brand named Jimmy Fairly [still around and thriving -- think of it as the french version of Warby Parker] and that's also where I met Stan; now Dust co-founder.