A Thousand Words
Tippets by Taps #162: Stripe, vocaloids, noticing, and more. Enjoy!
A warm welcome to new Tippets readers who are getting this for the first time. Thank you for letting me be a small part of your week. Tippets is where I share my thoughts on topics I find interesting, usually centered around technology and psychology, with some fun pieces here and there to mix it up!
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A picture is worth a thousand words. Today, I offer you a picture instead of my thousand words because I haven't been able to capture them.
This is the first Father’s Day I am getting to spend with my dad (and mom) as a dad myself. I consider myself very lucky, and am incredibly grateful. We’re inching ever closer to normal.
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads and soon-to-be dads out there! Now excuse me while I go eat my burger.
Other Tippets from Around the Web
Stripe is building a behemoth. Now valued at almost $100b in the private markets, the company continues to defy already lofty expectations. This write-up by Mario Gabriele in The Generalist is one of the most in-depth and well researched pieces on the company I’ve ever read. It goes through the founding story, the subtle differences between the brothers Collison and how important those differences are to the business, product development, future plans, and some fun facts (did you know Stripe was almost going to be called Forge?) For anyone working or interested in startups and technology (payments interest or not) this is a worthwhile read. Buckle up, because it’s a long one!
Back in 2012 Tupac headlined Coachella. How, you might ask, since Tupac was murdered in 1996? It was his hologram resurrecting the fallen artist, appreciated by the crowd who enjoyed listening to the classics from a legend. Fast forward nine years and what do you have? Up and coming pop superstars who aren’t people at all. Vocaloids (a computer-generated, voice-synthesized pop star) are hosting concerts streamed by hundreds of millions of people.
To actually see Luo, one of China’s rising superstars, some 150 million tuned in to the livestream on their TVs and mobile devices. The teen singer is a vocaloid, the first Mandarin-speaking, computer-generated, voice-synthesized pop star.
Japan’s Hatsune Miku, the best-known vocaloid offers a window into the potential opportunities -- and limits -- for China’s rising stars. In the 14 years since her debut, she’s amassed more than 100,000 songs and a wide range of endorsement deals, she offers a window into the potential -- and limits -- for China’s aspiring stars.
Vocaloids like Luo are promoted alongside human celebrities, appearing on variety shows, singing programs, shopping festivals and livestream content.
I loved this NYT Interactive article launched this week, a close read of the poem One Art by Elizabeth Bishop. Scrolling through site, you’re first presented with the poem get to read the poem. You’re then plunged into analysis, shown why a 19 line villanelle can be so moving. There’s background on the author, insight into why she was feeling this sense of loss, early drafts of the poem and where it could have gone, other examples of villanelles (Do Not Go Gentle Into that Good Night anyone?) It took me right back to high school English class, only without the test at the end! Strong recommend on this one.
For all my fellow (attempted/aspiring) writers out there, I encourage you to read this wonderful piece by Sam Apple on the power of noticing. Noticing is “the combination of close observation and insightfulness.” Full of clear examples illustrating the difference between writing that observes versus writing that notices, as well as some helpful exercises to get your juices flowing, the piece serves two functions: develop your writing and remind you, as cliché as it may be, to stop and smell the roses.
For the writer, the aim is to notice in a way that makes the object of the noticing feel suddenly new, suddenly more interesting than it has any right to be
Great writing typically involves more than description or a simple narration of events. Writing is also a search for meaning.
When we turn to the noticing of others, it can lead to remarkably empathetic writing. It is hard to truly hate people if you’ve spent enough time observing them and wondering about them. The celebrated fiction writer George Saunders captures this notion perfectly in this essay on “what writers really do when they write.”
This week I had the pleasure of joining as a guest on the Unlikely Journey podcast. We had a great time and talked about everything from investing and startups to fatherhood and the importance of the people in navigating a career. Thanks to Steven, Natalise, and Jess for having me!
Quote I’m thinking about: “Most of what we say and do is not essential. If you can eliminate it, you’ll have more time, and more tranquillity. Ask yourself at every moment, “Is this necessary?” - Marcus Aurelius
Special thanks to Tippets readers Piyali, Marianne, and Gene who sent some amazing science fiction recommendations following the last issue. I’ve got a long list to work through!
Please share what you’re reading! If you have insight on anything mentioned above or have any interesting links/papers/books that you think would be worth sharing in future issues of Tippets, please reach out! Click here, reply to this email, or DM me on Twitter at @taps.
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