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.

Logging nov. 29th, 2023

8:59am

On my way from school to a coffee shop, I finished listening to this discussion with Yancey. I highly recommend it. They touched upon so many topics closed to heart. The overall thing questioning the idea of a 'long lasting cultural impact'.

Logging nov. 22nd, 2023

9:59am

Someone shared in a family whatsapp group a graph on the college tuition fees evolution for the top 5 french business schools; commenting "fortunately you've already graduated". Apparently, these fees have been multiplied by 1.7 since 2011.

Logging nov. 21st, 2023

11:37am

This morning while bringing the kids to school, I realised there were more bicycles than I first thought. Usually, when it rains and the temperature is cold, we're one of the very few on the road. But this morning was different. Not only were there more bikes than anticipated [which is great], I also noticed how well equipped for rain everyone was; with rain overpants, poncho and all. When you look at data around why people don't ride bikes, weather is one of the top [beyond security of course; and terrain]. So this morning was a great sign.

How I read

Someone asked me yesterday "how do you find the time to read so much?". This post is an attempted answer. It always starts with books. I read around 2/3 of them per month on average. I started posting lists of all of them for a given year. Here are the books I've read in 2022 typically. There is no secret. I make time for reading on an everyday basis. It's usually the last thing I do before going to bed. I don't read in bed though. I read in our living room - often with a hot tea - until I feel my body just wants to go to sleep. I usually read for an hour. Sometimes way less, sometimes more. I don't put any pressure on myself. The goal here is just to relax, and read. Across the day, I look forward to that moment.

Now is the greatest time to be alive

I've no idea if this is due to my age or the average age of the people surrounding me - mostly in their 30s - or my parents and grand-ma getting older - the former in their 60s, the latter in her 80s - but I hear more and more 'complaints' about how hard nowadays are, how doomed we are, and how better it was in the past. I know how inevitable it is to think such things when you grow up. This is genetically speaking how we work, how our brain is operating. Which is why we can find some exact same complaints by 'older people' about their youth and current state of affairs from centuries and millennium ago. Still, I find it challenging to watch myself and my closest people fall into this trap.

Costco is special

First time I heard about Costco was in 2014. I just landed in Los Angeles and settled on Venice Blvd and Walgrove Ave. A few blocks away on Washington Ave is Costco - I also discovered and became a regular at the In-N-Out on that block. I didn't fully grasp the power of Costco at first. As a european, it reminded me Metro. Metro is a food wholesaler. We go there to buy high quantity of things we know, at the best price. We needed a 'professional' card to enter the store though. We had one thanks to our society activity [organizing events and weekends]. I remember at school, it was well perceived to hold a Metro card. You could definitely leverage this.

History is storytelling

I read a wonderful - sometimes disturbing - article about history; more precisely about how storytellers (and their biases) crafted our history. I highly recommend it. It also made me realise there is 'story' in the word 'history'. Never really paid attention. By the way, in french, these are the same word: 'histoire' [pronounced his-too-ar]. So we could say 'raconte moi une histoire' [which would translate into 'tell me a story'] and when we're talking about history add something like 'l'histoire avec un grand 'H'' [history with a big H]. I realise now - deeply rooted in our language - how history is only a story of the past we collectively agreed upon.