Thoughts and Ramblings 🧠

This project is more just a place for me to jot down the ideas and thoughts that I loosely develop. Anything that's big enough gets it's own project otherwise I stick it in here 👍

Updates 🔼

2021-01-02 - 2021-01-09

When explaining things you need to start with the universal knowledge your intended audience has. And work up the inferential path one step at a time until you reach your conclusion.

E.g. no Devs and explaining a task that is blocking someone else and has long term benefits by being written in the shared package. But the feature your implementing it on right now has dropped in priority from when you started. And the feature improves the ux. It doesn't make sense without it. But it is a minor feature

Need to start with ideas of

  • motivation (the blocking issue)
  • stress (long running PRS, mental load)
  • time now that saves time later (shared package)
  • consistent brand image and happy customers (don't let things going in if they don't make sense

If you want to improve your communication write or make videos explaining your points. Then get multiple people to write summaries of that content. Then see if your points are coming across.

Don't need too many people. Remember most of your information will come from the first data point.

The problem with this approach is that the summariser may correctly understand but may not be great at conveying that information back to you.

2020-11-30 - 2020-12-06

I'm now just keeping all the stuff that went in here in my diary project. Which isn't public, but is much easier for me to manage, than trying to go through and duplicate some of the things from there into here.

2020-11-25 - 2020-11-29

Tidy/cleaning should be part of my discipline. No known bugs -> no known mess.

Maybe should spend time researching and building a reading/watching/listening list. So that there's lots of inspiring things on there for different moods.

Want to stop just watching Netflix in the evenings. Playing board games is fun but would like some more things. Maybe we need some joint projects? Art ones? Silly ones?

Hosting learning sessions at work is a great way to brainstorm ideas and get new perspectives from others. How can I replicate this win other areas of life? Self development stuff, rationality etc?

Maybe should get a kindle to read more. Reading and writing are important. Especially reading more diversely and not just blogs. Read up on economics, science, history etc.

When tasks have deadlines. Do them early! Gives you the peace of mind and reduces the risks if it takes a lot longer than you think.

It's important to inspire people to work with you:

  • spending time on internal tools, make it smooth and easy to work
  • fun challenges - add devs tasks that people want to do. Like 1 fun one a week or something
  • write about the fun things we do
  • host events

2020-11-17 - 2020-11-24

The absence of something happening can be a learning in itself.

Never start coding until I've done my admin.

Organising stuff is very calming and satisfying.

Don't talk too much, give other people room. Learn to be more concise with my thoughts. Can talk a lot and get very enthusiastic. Am I acting too much like a programmer?

2020-11-07 - 2020-11-16

Cleaning up straight after dinner feels nice.

I don't like online games. Something about it doesn't feel right. Maybe it's because I mainly play solo story based games. Or spend all day on the computer.

Will my unwillingness of online games and social media be bad for accepting future society? Or being able to build things people love?

The strangeness of the future will be pretty impossible to predict.

There are some topics I should really get a base understanding for: Evolutionary biology, personality types, IQ, physics, history, economics

I want to start spending more time off screen, so got a physical sketchbook again. Feels good. And stick to building board games. Don't need to get into video game development.

At some point my job will be taken over by the machines. How much do I need to prep now for it? I could try and slowly move my focus, but that won't be as fun. It should probably be fine as long as I have my core skills: creativity, vision, management, entrepreneurship etc. And if my level of programming job goes, so many other things must have gone y this points that it would be fairly normal. And systems should be in place.

It seems like it's always a good idea to spend a reasonably amount of time on internal tooling and refining processes. For me personally it's my daily/weekly journaling and automating what I can. Checklists for everything!!!

2020-10-26 - 2020-11-06

Turns out its quite nice to chat with friends on the phone. Don't normally do that, but is surprisingly fun.

Working on the user experience of your habit forming can help improve doing it. Figuring out what is easy, looks good and encourages good behaviour. I guess most habit forming is about UX, but I've never heard of thought about it so directly before.

The Bayesian Conspiracy podcast is great. I have been stuck on a "meh" book for a while, so switching tacks and trying out this was good. Made me think that I should trail things more often to find the best.

Started a new private diary, as an extension to this project on my thoughts. This diary is more on feelings and trying to identify things that I should but don't normally think about. Going well and feels good. I think keeping it private helps to feel like you can write anything in it. Whereas in everything else I write I edit it a bit more even if I don't think it will get read.

You shouldn't feel bad about throwing things away that you don't want. Or that you want but are bad for you e.g. bad foods, alcohol, too much food etc. Health and happiness trump being wasteful.

Been very disciplined on my habits and drinking recently and it feels good. Need to ensure the motivation continues as I can already feel it fading.

Applause lights - the things we say that give no information but are essentially just signalling for applause. Appreciation. Saying ideas to look good rather than any other purpose.

Betting on things you think may happen is a good rationalist practice. Not normal betting. But betting on things like the flat will be clean by Monday, this person will get elected, this business will release this etc. Only for a £1 or something. You'll start realising how overconfident you are.

Obvious but: A clean home is much less stressful home.

Can only see downsides to spicy food except taste. Maybe should try and use discipline to avoid having spicy foods. It's never worth it in the end.

How do you help people who seem to refuse help or think they are above it? Tricky times.

Joined "The Improv Place" a premium social network for improvisers and it feels so nice to be part of the community again.

Having the right goals and motivation makes following them so much easier.

Those Jump bikes by Uber are so convenient!

Should you log your life in a way that makes it easier for AI to train itself on you? Then it may be able to help you think? What would the best kind of content be for it to train on? Writing, video, audio, communications? Images feel a bit limiting but would be interesting to see.

Tried mico dosing LSD, first time since the crazy trip. Outside of the initial scary placebo effect was quite pleasant. Things felt more amusing. Very minor effect, which I guess is the point.

It's important to be able to have privacy options available to you, even though I think you shouldn't use them most of the time.

Hangovers are feeling worse, although I am partying harder I guess.

Assume people are idiots when you have to rely on them. Spoon feed them.

Stop being too British and stand up for what's important. Don't make being polite stop you from getting what you want.

2020-10-19 - 2020-10-25

I came to think more specifically about how I don't think about a lot of important topics until I'm debating them with someone. I use the conversation as a way to explore ideas. I think a lot of the ideas I have were in my subconcious and I may have been passively thinking about them without realising. But it led me to the conclusion that I should try and figure out a way to more directly force myself to confront and think about some issues.

Drinking too much seems like the keystone habit I need to break, where all the other things I'd like to do would become easier and thus make drinking less easier in response. Positive feedback loop yo.

Asking other people how they're doing may not directly affect my mood, but the changes in their behaviour after this may end up affecting me positively.

Code linting is great at helping you learn to code better as you type. Editors like Hemmingway can do the same for writing.

Being hungry makes it easier to give into temptations e.g. drinking. Manage hunger to help.

Thinking very carefully about your rules and routines whilst making sure you have a very strong why for everything on that list may make it much easier to stick to. Especially if the progress is presented in a super easy and satisfying way. In regards to drinking and morning routine (meditation, yoga, exercise, admin and creative work). You need to think realistically about edge case scenarios e.g. exceptions, woke up late, hangover etc.

Should try microdosing properly.

Always assume people have forgotten plans. And remind them if it's important to you.

If you have a doubt about something just say it and look silly rather than keeping it to yourself.

2020-10-12 - 2020-10-18

Bit of a more relaxing week, less thinking more playing games and chilling. Had a lot of interesting thoughts around board game design from doing a development session with Rob on Zero to Hero

I think my background in product design -> UX -> developer leads quite nicely for board game development.

It's important to be very disciplined about the little things you want to do every day. Otherwise taking 1 day off makes it much easier to have the next day off etc. It's kinda obvious yet we still so it. So it can be useful to remember the power of this. As it's easy to recognise something but also easy to ignore it.

2020-10-04 - 2020-10-11

Been reading a book on philosophy and it's interesting hearing about a seemingly intelligent person specifically pointing out the flaws in their ideas and saying they can't believe something because it makes them uncomfortable. Just because something is uncomfortable to believe doesn't mean it isn't true.

Remember, nothing really matters. No reason to get stressed by anything and you can help reduce the potential for stress if you keep making sensible decisions in communication.

Dealing with timezones in programming is such a bitch. Why can't we all use UTC around the world?

I don't have a problem with companies having all our data, the issue is recommendation engines and positive feedback loops increasing polarization around the world. Unfortunately an easy way to stop that problem is by restricting the amount of data companies have on us. IT comes with downsides but the downsides of increased polarization are bigger. Maybe there's a better solution around regulating recommended information? But that sounds like a much more complex things to define. However as a believer in technology I'd assume that improved machine learning could still cope with building strong recommendation engines even with less data.

The predicted timeline on big negative climate change consequences seems worse that I anticipated. Solutions sound easy but how to enforce: renewable energy, don't eat meat (or much less so don't over fish and can reduce farmland)?

The biggest problems to tackle in my lifetime seem to be:

  • Stop people dying
  • Pull the global population up Maslows Hierarchy of needs. Not leaving people behind as you do so
  • Decrease the spread of polarization - Seems like an obvious way to mass civil wars otherwise. Reducing the capacity to work on the other issues
  • Prevent destructive climate change
  • Build colonies off of Earth

2020-09-27 - 2020-10-03

Unfair/unbalanced games (mainly board games) make me sad, especially when care so much for the Intellectual Property (Batman: Gotham City Chronicles in this case). The solution is to feel free to change the rules and keep adjusting into you're happy. Works well with enjoying game design as well.

Productive mornings feel so good. Good to identify your favourite times and situations for doing things. And make those happen.

It's easy to start looking down on people who don't think/try to think rationally. Don't be a dick. Maybe a nice balance is a mix of rationality, stoicism and mindfulness.

The board game community is great and has so many community made resources and ideas. Look on all the tabs on the BoardGameGeek page for a popular game.

Treat all games like you designed them yourself and iterate on them.

How do you surround yourself with the kind of people you want?

Don't feel bad about what you enjoy. Used to love working on projects but they never amount to anything. And it kept making me think badly about not finishing projects. Then I realised it's the start of projects I love, and there's nothing wrong with admitting that. Just needed a way to see the work I had done and feel good about it. Even when I stop without a product. This resulted in my keeping my project journal.

I shouldn't do personal coding projects when I code at work as well. Getting into code holes outside of work is bad for me.

Some philosophy questions just seem a bit pointless. E.g. how can a word have meaning? Not sure what I would change in my life by thinking a lot about that question.

Keep pushing on more pessimistic estimates. The planning fallacy is real.

Get rid of all alcohol in the house.

Just because something seems sad or depressing on the outside doesn't make it untrue. And doesn't mean you can't enjoy yourself.

2020-09-21 - 2020-09-26

When you know something works for you, make use of it. For example I've been trying to get back into writing since COVID-19 and an intense new job sent me out of whack with my projects. I know that writing 10 minutes everyday worked for me beforehand. So I should just push myself back into that pattern. Rather than trying a new pattern e.g. doing longer stints of writing once or twice a week.


I'm reading a fiction book from the point of view of an artificial intelligence that has multiple "characters" inside it's conciousness each with it's own very specific goal e.g. Wiki's goal is to learn everything there is, Growth is about mastering every skill, Face is about understanding humans and being adored by them, Heart just wants humans to be happy etc. Each of these characters trade in "strength" in order to control actions like speaking, moving and accessing resources. It made me think about our own internal goal systems and whether they could be thought of in a similar way.


It can be useful when contemplating decisions to think about what other people you respect would do in that situation. Even if that person is a fictional character. e.g. If you have a friend who you respect for their self discipline in looking after their body and exercising you may think what would Josephine do if contemplating a big fat pizza? Probably works better for less obvious decision making, but the point still stands.


Turns out hiring people is hard and time consuming. And you should really have a lot of plates spinning in case one falls down at the last minute.


It's so easy to underestimate how much communication is needed when working remotely. Especially when onboarding and working with people you don't know. Don't assume any knowledge and spell things out (unless the knowledge you assume they have is why you hired them, in which case fire them)


Writing about traumatic experiences can really help, but the anticipation of reliving it is super scary.


Writing out statements you believe in with a rough % of how confident you are in that belief is a good way of realising you haven't thought about these beliefs that much.


Why is it so hard to follow your own advice. Knowing what to do and how to live is easy. Doing it is way too hard.


There's an interesting difference in video games around solving problems and solving puzzles. Puzzles tend to have 1 of few valid answers whereas problems tend to have many or infinite.