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May 2020 Codex

By May 3, 2020May 26th, 2020No Comments

(Semi-random things I learn or think about in May 2020)

May 22

Learning Chinese

I’ve been on a 8-day unbroken streak of using Memrise to learn Traditional Chinese characters. I’ve discovered the Heisig Method and am using it, and I believe in it. After all it won’t be a waste of time in any way!

The plan:
– Learn to recognize and recall 3000 traditional hanzi, learning 20 per day.
– After reaching 1500, start reading and listening to Chinese texts in parallel using LingQ to acquire spoken vocabulary.
– After learning Chinese, I’ll learn Japanese again. It will be much easier.

Learning to draw

I’ve purchased multiple courses on Udemy to teach me how to draw. It seems like drawing is not a talent! And if it was, I already have it. I’m gonna be a really great artist. And be able to make sketches like Leonardo da Vinci or Charles Darwin’s painter Conrad Martens.

A cool thing I learned was that even in the paper drawings of great artists like Michelangelo, they start with very soft lines as the backbone of each sketch and then improve/refine as they go along! They don’t just make perfect strokes from the first go. There is nothing special about being able to draw well, it’s just the hours and hours of drawing practice and learning how to “see” like an artist.

Audio recording software project

I am gripped by the idea of a software that can act as a perfect reading and audio recording tool for narrators and authors (including voice actors?) Wait what about a software that can be used by both the narrator/actor as well as the director?

The basic idea of the software is that being able to do retakes, and manage the retakes process by adding annotations/comments and saving them in separate files, would make the editing process very easy. Also a teleprompter with easy highlighting and splitting the audio at line breaks automatically would be very helpful.

I’ve conducted 3 user interviews by posting around on Reddit etc, and found a lot of input on what would be helpful.

May 3

Lessons from an ad-man Rory Sutherland

“Over the next 50 years, the greatest source of new wealth may come from finding choices we didn’t know we already had.”

Poetry is when you make new things familiar and familiar things new.

We are perishing for want of wonder, not for want of wonders.”

Every problem has two kinds of solutions – the rational, and the irrational. If there was a logical solution to every problem, it would already have been found. If a problem has persisted across time, it’s likely that logic has failed.

You can change people’s behaviour by either changing their reality, or changing their perception. Changing perception is often much less expensive and allows you to safeguard more resources.

This one talks about how “choices” work. Must remember!


Most often when we’re faced with a choice, we focus on making the right choice from among the ones we’re given, instead of thinking, “how did we arrive at these two choices?”. We need to ask this question more often.

Warren Buffett Notes

Read a twitter thread about Warren Buffett’s story. Key insights:

1. Power of compounding
2. Pricing Power as the single biggest measure to evaluate an investment. If a business can raise its price without losing competitors, it is a good business. If you have to do a prayer meeting before raising prices by 10%, your business is not as good.
3. Magic of self-financing: when a business generates enough cash to finance its own growth.

You only have the luxury of not needing external financing if the above conditions are met. If your business can’t invest in itself, someone else will have to!

Zoom founder Eric S Yuan

On disrupting a crowded space – if customers aren’t happy with any of the solutions they work with, it means there is an opportunity. So you have to think like a product/solution person.

On co-founders: if you are a product-oriented founder, you don’t have to have a cofounder. You can just hire people who will help build the product, and then figure out the other stuff along the way.

On finding investment: you should find investors who want to invest in YOU, not your business. Because the business will go up and down. Also find investors who can help you with problems that you foresee coming down the line, not just the ones you have right now. So it’s important to have self-awareness and foresight.

May 1

Thinking about the Cinema Business

Movie business is going to change like never before. Trying to identify the stakeholders:

  1. Theaters
  2. Distributors
  3. Producers
  4. Studios
  5. Directors
  6. Editors
  7. Crew
  8. Actors
  9. Censors
  10. Streaming Platforms
  11. Customers

What will happen to each of the above stakeholders?

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