A newsletter for thinking deeply about complex puzzles worth pondering
Very excited to see where you go with this! Since I dropped my twitter account the one thing that I’ve missed most has been your commentary. Quickest subscription I have ever bought.
I am so happy to have "found" you! Finally, someone who incorporates Heisenberg indeterminacy principle into analysis and commentary. Plus much more. Thank you for being there!
Your posts early in the pandemic on masks convinced me of their importance. In my head I had you pigeon-holed somewhere in the public health space. That was clearly incorrect! Your proposed range of topics and nuanced coverage of their complexity has a high overlap with my own interests. After 20 yrs as VP Corp strategy at IBM I retired a few yrs ago and now spend my time writing and consulting on topics related to business strategies, economics and politics. I often describe my perspective as rooted in a progressive sense of values combined with a deep understand of modern business practices and economics. One of my prime motivations is that the vast majority of commentary we all consume simply has no idea how the modern world actually works.
I am hopeful about the possibilities for this. I find your writing and thinking exceptionally compelling. I first noticed you when I would read an article of yours in the NYTimes, reach the end, and want to look back at who wrote such an outstanding piece. After that happened a few times I recognized your name and would seek it out. You're still the only writer I have ever searched for on the NYTimes site just to see whether you'd written anything else.
The subscription pricing seems high for a somewhat amorphous experiment, but after reading through, I decided that a critical thinking community is something important that I am interested in supporting. We'll see if you (and we) can build and foster a community of real value.
Last year I told my granddaughter, who is graduating from college soon, that she should follow you. Well, here I am taking my own advice.
I'm looking forward to engaging with you on a broad swath of issues and ideas! As an academic researcher, my main focus is on "discovering" new knowledge, but as a former scientist at a government regulatory agency, I also know the importance of application, implementation, and communication. But the path from knowledge to positive impact seems so easily lost in endless loops and mazes, both through intentional misdirection as well as through many unintentional means. Looking forward to the discussion!
After listening to your podcasts with Eric Ries and with a strong, and long tech history, I'm eager to see where this goes. I'm at the stage in life where I can choose to apply my energy where I want and believe that most of our society underestimates the implications of us having enabled an attention economy instead of an intention economy. There is much for us to accomplish.
I too have followed your writing from early on. It was easy to remember your writing, because the topics (technology and society) were important, the writing was sound and, most of all, you are lucky to have a unique name. Once, long ago, an airline clerk helped me lookup my US Air frequent flyer # on her computer, by name and address. There were over 250 with my name in her database.
I have other important issues than technology and epidemiology (agriculture, immigration), but the solutions to complex problems share root aspects: that they are well thought out, parsimonious, empirically supported, and identifiable by the public at large. Policy could come from this process, or we can continue to let it come from hacks and ideologues. No thanks.
Looking forward to the newsletter. I signed up because I've found your writing to be remarkably insightful and useful throughout the pandemic (thanks so much), and hope to get this kind of insight (ha) across a range of topics.
I read (and underlined much of) Twitter and Tear Gas for research on my book, which was about walking but really ended up being about human connection and community, including protests and how we relate to one another in physical life when the internet--particularly social media--have distorted much of our relations with one another. I always find your insights valuable! I look forward to being a part of this community, and to listening to others who find themselves here.
Craving this. Weary of oversimplification, lemming think, misrepresentation, and the blah blah blah. Optimism is waning: Looking forward to your 'Vit O'
Desperately needed. Academic studies are either so hopelessly arcane or so hopelessly siloed that they're next to useless outside the tenure-seeking machinery still clanking along in our university factories. Most of our serious (give me an effing break) media outlets have long since transformed themselves into gossip mongers/clickbait factories, presumably because Facebook or Twitter told them that it was the only viable path to financial or reputational survival in the internet era. You and Ben Thompson have the right idea. The good news is that if we can find you, others can too. It won't take forever, either. As your readers, we'll just have make sure that even people who don't know they're looking for you get wind of what you're offering.
I'm excited to be a subscriber to this new newsletter. Your writing has been deeply influential for me as an organizer and technologist. The framework you lay out in Twitter and Tear Gas have influenced how I do organizing work around racial justice and involvement in whirlwind moments like last summer. I was so excited when the NY Times wrote their profile about you. It was like having a band you've been following years finally get the recognition it deservers. Thank you for your work!
So delighted you are doing this! My background and interest areas are similar to yours, and I've followed your writing avidly for years. Am totally with you on the frustrations around trying to have substantive conversations in the typical social media atmosphere. I look forward to being part of this community you are creating. Thanks, Zeynep!
Done and done. Can't wait for this. Your writing has been a *massive* influence on how I approach our work at Important, Not Important -- that is, trying to understand the massive scientific and social forces underway right now, how they connect, the role we all play, and how leaders and scientists -- but also, and especially, "regular" readers -- can learn to think and make decisions with an educated, generalist perspective, with a rapidly changing set of facts on the ground. All of this for themselves, their constituents, their families, their investments, businesses and industries -- and of course, for all of those affected by that decision making. Let's go!
I am promoting the idea that Biden should run for VP.
So far, I have received several "good idea" reactions, not a single negative response. The common wisdom is that it is impossible to persuade someone with much power to let go, even if the job is VP of the USA. Biden would do it to save his family; how about saving the country/world?
If you like the idea, please use it or direct it to someone influential who can promote it.
Biden is an excellent president; we love him, but he is too old in the eyes of most Democrats and
independents. I am precisely his age, in good form, and know well what it means to be 80. Any decent Democratic candidate should win over Trump. Worst case scenario, God forbid, if something happens to Biden close to the election and Kamala becomes the candidate. She can not win. The stakes are incredibly high, so there is no room for sparing Biden's feelings. The example that comes to mind is Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Despite being old and sick, she was not pressured hard enough to resign, and here we are. The best solution under the circumstances is for Biden to run for VP. His stated main concern is to be able to complete the projects he started. He can do it as a VP under a younger Democratic president.
Thanks, and all the best,