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Weekly Review #75: Bali book retreats, Ex-con incubators, and not spoiling your kids

I got around to reading Ben Horowitz’s modern tech classic The Hard Thing About Hard Things and found it surprisingly riveting. The story of how he weathered CloudFlare’s ups and downs during the tech bust is incredible and a helluva story. The second half of the book is almost entirely actionable advice directed at public executives and therefore not helpful to anyone who’s not one, but definitely check out the first half of this book.

I sat down with Jack Smith, former founder of Vungle and Shyp and all around smart guy, who just got back from a month vacation in Bali. Sound fun? He went solely in order to read books! No talking, nothing else, just reading. Apparently its a common strategy for Bill Gates and the like to go on similar ‘Think Weeks” where you do nothing except think or read. Crazy. Another fun fact about Jack – the only Linkedin endorsements he accepts are for ‘Hustle’. He certainly deserves it!

Tech:

Festify is a clever app that lets people at a party vote on the next song using their smartphones.

This beautiful archive of User Onboarding Flows is a great resource for any designer.

Defy Ventures is a cool concept: an incubator for ex-con entrepreneurs. They recognize that street dealers have a lot of entrepreneurial qualities and help them ‘transform the hustler’.

This take on the Future of Facebook Messenger is a prescient look into the future of messengers in general. In a world where Wechat lets you book doctor appointments, get visas, and pay for electricity, Facebook is lagging, but you can bet they’ve got their plans ready.

Lifehacks:

This guy has a long manifesto on living that boils down to “give fucks, but give them sparingly“.

Some Tips for emailing better from Fortune – don’t use folders at all, and recognize when you’re procrastinating.

Fun:

Louis CK’s Crabby Love Letter to NYC is a great read into a grounded man’s ascent to stardom. Two passages I especially liked:

“The difference between LA and NYC is that the whole city of L.A. is given to this industry. It’s a community of artists, but there’s also an old-fashioned, almost plantation-y feeling to California. There’s a whole, huge [class] of people — the El Salvadorans, the Guatemalans — who make the city run, and they’re invisible to people. So when you go to L.A. and your liberal friend is rude to the valet guy or the busboy, it can be a little shocking. In New York, everyone is so mixed together that there’s less of a feeling of class here. Outside some fancy office building, you see a CEO getting his cigarette lit by a cleaning lady. Everybody is dealing with the same shit, everybody is on the subway elbow-to-elbow.”

“The thing that keeps me stable now more than anything is my kids. They’re who I bring the Emmys home to, and they’re excited for me and proud of me. But I also make them aware of what it takes to get to these places. I talk to them about work, and I hope they both have shitty minimum wage retail jobs when they’re old enough. I really try to be aware of not letting them grow up weird or spoiled, which is easier to do here than it is in L.A. My 13-year-old daughter leaves the house at 7:15 every morning and takes a smelly city bus to school way uptown. It’s like 8 degrees out, and it’s dark and she’s got this morning face and I send her out there to take a bus. Meanwhile, my driver is sitting in a toasty Mercedes that’s going to take me to work once both kids are gone. I could send her in the Mercedes and then have it come back to get me, but I can’t have my kid doing that. I can’t do that to her. Me? I earned that f—ing Mercedes. You better f—ing believe it.”