Above: Squad happily soaking up sunshine, before their hacker house was taken back
Hi fam ✨
Before we get into this week’s content, I just wanted to say that we’re so excited to have you all here! We can’t believe so many of you have been quietly watching the squad blast each other on twitter for years and still signed up to hear more.
The updates from this week definitely have a strong theme:
Maria has discovered self-help books. Which she calls… “self-actualization time.” So we spent the week taking internet quizzes she sent us that measured our levels of things like “awe experience” and “light triad scale.” In this week’s post, she shares her learnings on psychological entropy (aka CHAOS).
Jomayra has recently gotten hooked on Billions, and was literally relaxing for the first time in her life. Maria then felt the need to then swoop in and ask Jomayra “why are you wasting time watching billions when you could be making billions” - leaving Jomayra to get un-relaxed 😂 and write a blog post revisiting her 200 page future of work slide deck from 2018.
This week, many of you sent me requests for the same 2 things:
1:1s to walk through your Big 5/Enneagram, and learn how to use it not as a horoscope, but as a working doc for yourself, in both professional and personal life. Not sure how so many of you figured out that I do these 1:1s, but I am IMPRESSED. Send me a DM on twitter if you have questions, or want to set something up 🤗 (@grlalx)
My Challah recipe…
After 9 weeks of iterations, I am ready to share my recipe. You’ll find it at the end of this post.
Maria says “think of it as the dessert after a heavy entree.” But tbh, I think she’s just a little insecure that her post is boring.
Try it out - DM me a photo on twitter (@grlalx), and I’ll pick a couple to feature over the next few weeks!!
PS. We’d love for you send this to a friend!
Jomayra’s Temple 🧘🏽♀️
You know how sometimes when you get bored you start to scroll through your old photos? And you basically remind yourself of the days where you took your good looks for granted OR you are very grateful for your #GlowUp?
Well I do that, but with some of my old writing. As I was going down the nerdy nostalgia lane (i.e. my dropbox account that still has my essays from my college applications), I was reminded of a project that I spent the better half of 2018 doing around the education-to-employment continuum.
And, in the spirit of living up to my #FutureofWerk (yes “werk” is intentional and here to stay) theme, I figured I’d share the TL;DR of what is a 100-slide deck here.
So when you think of the different components that make up the education-to-employment continuum, there are generally 4 broad categories
And if you map out each of these categories, there are gaps & challenges within each of them - of which I won’t into great detail in this post (enter in the other 99+ slides of the deck)
But what I argued 2 years ago was more important, is that the integration between the different components (i.e. how does one adapt when the other one does) is broken. That lack of integration and friction has always existed, but as we move into a world where the pace of change is happening faster than ever before (e.g. the half life of a learned skill is now estimated to be 5 years), the pain that friction creates for the broader labor market is really harsh. And, per usual, those who are most vulnerable and do not have a safety net are going to be the ones who are in most pain.
For example, even if we are able to get better data on what skills the labor market needs and learning pathways are nimble enough to change, we have to hope that existing financing mechanisms have adapted to cover the cost of those - ISAs are still fairly nascent and we will see how resilient they are as we go into this downturn and most public dollars are not yet by institutions that aren’t accredited. That’s just one way in which a lack of integration across the system makes it difficult for the labor market to react and prepare for change. In 2018, I felt we needed a resilient and integrated system that is set up to move into an era defined by volatility and change - today, as over 30M Americans are unemployed and we enter into the biggest re-allocation of talent in decades, I feel more strongly than ever that’s the case.
A lot more on this topic (especially on the gaps in each component), but that’s all I got for you this week Team #FutureofWerk.
Until next week,
Johmowa (you know someone really misspelled my name like this once?)
Welcome to Maria's corner! 🧠
This isn't a call to build; it's a call to think
Welcome back to my ~thinking~ corner. I spend a lot of my free time reading as much as I can within psychology, philosophy, and history genres. Expect my thinking corner to often be filled with this stuff because I’m an intellectual.
This week: psychological entropy.
Our brains are prediction machines. They constantly process incoming information and assess how it matches its own expectation models. With several end goals (many we are not actively conscious of like security, food, status, and reproduction) the brain makes sense of our environment and directs our behaviors, thoughts and emotions. This is where the concept of psychological entropy comes in. Entropy is a measure of disorder in systems; many of us first learned of entropy in relations to physical systems like ecology and physics. The same principles of entropy apply to all information-processing systems (this includes our nervous, immune, and psychological systems). All biological organisms (including you and I) survive so long as we are able to manage internal entropy. Our brains develop strategies to minimize entropy and restore balance. Like all antifragile systems, a certain degree of stress and unpredictability is healthy but persistent chaos can have detrimental effects.
So what does any of this have to do with consumer social tech? Most successful social products start simple. The best remain so while the rest become chaos as they scale. Think about how exhausting Facebook feels lately. As social creatures there are some core fears we have and our brains are constantly building prediction models for: fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of losing control, fear of losing status/reputation, and fear of losing emotional connection. Products that overwhelm our prediction models are bound to earn our distrust.
For the builders our there: optimize for simplicity, minimize psychological entropy, and as I wrote last week, encourage cooperation.
Girl Alex’s Challah
4 Cups flour (all purpose or bread)
1/2 cup lukewarm water (110-120 degrees, no colder)
1/4 cup honey
2 Large Eggs
6 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
1.25 tablespoons instant yeast
1 large egg with 1 tablespoon cold water
Mix ingredients for dough in a large bowl. I use a kitchenaid mixer on speed 2, and let it mix for about 5-7 min. Sometimes I have to go into the bowl and adjust the dough as it gets stickier.
If you don’t have a kitchenaid mixer, then roll up your sleeves because its time to knead dough for a good 40 min. Sounds terrible, but throw on an episode of that show you’ve been meaning to watch, put the dough on a lightly flour-ed pastry mat or cutting board, and just get in a rhythm.
How do you know your dough is ready to rise? If you pull it apart it should just stretch, it shouldn’t break immediately. What the kneading is doing is activating the elasticity of the glutens (THIS IS NOT A SCIENTIFIC EXPLANATION, DONT @ ME)
Place dough back in bowl and cover it. I use plastic wrap, some people use towels. The key to this step is that it should be in a warm enough place (think — a place where you can be in a t-shirt comfortably) Let it rise for TWO hours.
Split dough into equal chunks and roll each one out.
Put parchment paper on a cookie sheet, and double up that cookie sheet. (Yes, put another cookie sheet under the first one — it’ll keep the bottom of your challah from burning)
Braid the loaf on top of the parchment paper
Let rise for 90min-2 hours (does not need to be covered)
Preheat oven to 350/375 depending on your oven heat (I usually do mine at 350)
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and the tablespoon of cold water — brush that onto the loaf
Add salt to top of loaf if you want
Plop that sucker into the oven for 20-30 min.
If you have a top heating oven, have the loaf sit closer to the bottom
If you have a bottom heating oven, have the loaf sit closer to top
If you have an oven that heats from all sides, go for the middle rack
If its not browning yet then leave it in longer
The top will brown quicker than the rest of the loaf, to make sure its done lift it up and check bottom of loaf — some people like it doughier, some people like it fluffier — totally up to you.
BOOM, you made a challah