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Weekly Review #52: Quantified athletics, robot job poaching, and the best tacos on the peninsula

I attended an Andreesen Horowitz book event with Mark McClusky, the author of Faster Higher Stronger, a treatise examining recent athletic advances. Some thought provoking factoids:

  • Sleep is so important that top athletes travel with their own pillows, because it has a material effect on their performance.
  • There’s a new trend towards ‘random practice’, where practices simulate game environments. For example, basketball players practice 3 pointers after doing sprints, just like in a game
  • The athletic version of the significant/happy question: would you take a drug that guarantees you an olympic medal but will kill you in 5 years? Many athletes would.
  • Quantified self is reaching the athletic world – australian rugby players have sensors in their jerseys that track vital stats in real time. Looks bleak for the weak team members….

Reid Hoffman says we have moved from the Information Age to The Networked Age, noting that people now look to their network for answers, rather than Google. Take job hunting or venture capital, for example. I fully agree with him, in that there’s too much information out there nowadays and the only trusted curators of it are your network.

Marc Andreesen doesn’t think robots will eat all the jobs. He admits they will eat the jobs of today, but notes that once all needs are taken care of, humans can focus on art and science at leisure, in a consumer utopia where are good are cheaply made by robots. Plus, robots aren’t even close to being able to doing everything we want them to do.

Jason Shen waxes on Lessons learned at an Enterprise SaaS company – it’s harder to adopt new software, documentation is king, and marketing serves sales. His take on blogging to increase your luck surface area is intriguing as well – luck is proportional to your passion and how many people you share it with.

Startups/tools: Starry is like Rapportive for web browsing – you can see startup stats and competitors all from their homepage. Assistant to aims to fix personal scheduling by allowing you to select mutually compatible times from within Gmail, and Wordsift brings up the most used words in a passage within a word cloud. Also, Boxouse is a really cool story about an Oakland couple living carbon neutral out of a shipping container, and they’re aiming to sell the units soon.

Fun stuff: All the Taquerias of Redwood City is an exhaustively researched guide to the best mexican on the peninsula, and this homeless guy who looks for one night stands just to get a bed has me shaking my head in equal parts awe and disgust.