Back in 2014, I was a student at Fullstack Academy, a coding bootcamp. The way these bootcamps usually work is, the first six week you have lectures and do exercises, and the last six weeks you apply what you’ve learned in personal and group projects. When it was time for us to do our group projects, we all got together in front of a white board and brainstormed ideas. There was a point in this brainstorming session where I spoke up and basically said “I think we’re going about this all wrong”.

People were trying to think of ideas that…

Raw footage:

I love basketball, but I always find myself frustrated when I watch it. I always think, “That was a terrible possession, what were they doing?”

But maybe that’s just because the bad possessions stand out to me more than the good and average ones do. So I wanted to actually go through some film, one possession at a time, and see how I would grade them.

Of course, the sample size of 25 plays isn’t too large. And the fact that it was the second game of the season for each team, and that each team is…

I just read something interesting on Mr. Money Mustache’s blog. A typical middle class family that brings home $50,000 in income and saves 10% of it can retire eight years earlier if they just get rid of cable TV and Starbucks. The question occurred to me:

Does anyone actually prefer TV and Starbucks to an eight year vacation?

It’s hard for me to imagine an answer of “yes”. Is TV really that good? Even if it is, there are just so many other forms of entertainment — books, music, internet, cards, sports, board games, friends, cooking, magic, comedy, outdoors stuff.

Some people will take the plunge and start a startup. Some will even try again if they fail the first time. But I’ve never met someone who plans to spend 20 years trying again and again and again until they succeed.

I’m going to argue that spending 20 years trying again and again and again until you succeed is a good idea for a lot of people. Not for everyone, but for a lot of people.

My argument has three main components:

  1. It isn’t nearly as daunting as it seems.
  2. You have a good chance of succeeding.
  3. The reward for…

Clean code takes time. It requires thinking, refactoring, code reviews, discussion, research, and sometimes even a rewrite.

Many project managers hate it when developers spend time on “clean code”. Where are the concrete results???

This is silly. Of course there are concrete results: increased velocity. With clean code, it takes less time to develop new features, make changes, fix bugs, and onboard new developers. These results may be realized over the long run rather than immediately, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t concrete.

Many project managers realize that there is a cost-benefit at play here, but unfortunately, they aren’t incentivized…

For the purpose of this article, think of a computer as a filing system. There is a big cabinet of drawers that hold instructions (ROM/RAM), another big cabinet of drawers that hold data (RAM), and a filing clerk (CPU).

Consider an example. The computer belongs to the CEO of a company that sells widgets. He needs to calculate how much money he needs to pay out to his employees. So the instructions say things like:

  1. Open up drawer #76 and get card #4. It’ll be a card for an employee.
  2. Open up drawer #80 and get card #1. That’s the…

Your brain lies to you.

Your brain tells you that A and B are different colors, when in fact, they aren’t.


  • Is incredibly disproportionate.
  • Stems from evolution.
  • Is inconsistent.

Does understanding this change how you feel?


Adam Smith famously wrote of a man of humanity in Europe who would not sleep tonight if he was to lose his little finger tomorrow but would snore with the most profound security if a hundred million of his Chinese brethren were suddenly swallowed up by an earthquake, because he had never seen them.

Most people have “life mountains” that look somewhat similar to this.

Take aways:

  • Relative to the current tier, the tier below it is much bigger. …

The 2017 MVP race is an interesting one.

  • Harden and Westbrook are putting up historic numbers and are carrying their teams.
  • LeBron is LeBron — one of the greatest players ever, having a typical season.
  • Durant, Curry and Leonard are all having fantastic and ultra-efficient seasons on 60+ win teams.

Not only is this particular race interesting, but I think it says a lot about MVP races more generally.


If you interpret the term “valuable” literally, then you have to give the award to Harden or Westbrook. Think about the value that Durant adds to the Warriors. They already have…

The asset pipeline does three main things:

  1. Concatenate
  2. Minify
  3. Preprocess


Suppose you have three different CSS files:

* app
** assets
*** stylesheets
**** navbar.css
**** posts.css
**** footer.css

Normally, you’d have three separate <link> tags:

<link href="navbar.css" rel="stylesheet">
<link href="posts.css" rel="stylesheet">
<link href="footer.css" rel="stylesheet">

This would instruct your browser to make a separate HTTP request for each of the three files:

Requests over the network are slow. It’d be better if we could just combine them all into one file, and just make one request:

// application.css/*
navbar.css styles…

Adam Zerner

Rationality, effective altruism, startups, learning, writing, basketball, Curb Your Enthusiasm

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