2021-02-22 5 min read


Notes, 2021-02-22.

Many of my friends here in San Francisco dream of starting a company, getting investor money, and then somehow making the world better. I'm thankful for VCs -- without them I wouldn't have my cushy internet company job and spare change to pursue my own ideas. But I don't have any personal goals that VC money would help with, whether it's an idea for a product that I want to test, or a facet of a global system that I want to understand.

VC investing aside, the goal of a project might be best served by not starting a company at all, and instead working with or within governments, unions, non-profits, journalism, or activist groups. And then even within these other types of organizations, while some initiatives work well, it's not uncommon for a project to have completely the opposite effect than what was intended.

A friend once examined all of the people who he knew had been happy over a long time scale, and what they had in common was optimism, perseverance, a focus on relationships, and an appetite for risk. I wondered about the last one, and he told me, "I think it’s probably hard to develop deep held confidence that you’ll be okay in all circumstances if your appetite for risk isn’t high enough." Perhaps a parallel conclusion can be made about the structure of the organization that you work inside: It definitely matters, but without an attitude of flexibility and humor it’ll all be for naught anyway.

-Ruth Grace Wong

The most clicked link from last week's issue (~13% of opens) was on the "cross between the lasso of truth and a lightsaber" that is a steel cobble.

Planning & Strategy.

Making & Manufacturing.

Maintenance, Repair & Operations.

Distribution & Logistics.

Inspection, Testing & Analysis.


Physical features of alpaca fleece, and other fibers.

Thanks as always to The Prepared’s paid subscribers for supporting The Prepared. Thanks also to Jacob, Skyler, and Gabe for sharing links, and Jamie and Jon for their insight on long-term happiness. And shoutout to Dan and Tom of Studio Neat for mentoring me on product development this past half year. Their offer is still open for members of underrepresented groups.

Love, Ruth

p.s. - I'm developing breathable underwear for pregnant women. I'm due with my 2nd in June, and sweating like I'm going through puberty again. Commiseration welcome.

p.p.s. - We care about inclusivity. Here’s what we’re doing about it.

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