Dustin Getz




Reading his aphorisms


Opportunity is the space between your competitors’ assumptions


Intuition is the antonym of reason

Agreed. But I wonder whether those terms are meant to be value-laden. Is one better than the other?

I would say quite strongly no.

Engineering is done with numbers. Analysis without numbers is just an opinion

Oooooh. So theory needs to be composed out of numbers?

(Interlude - I feel myself actively trying to find holes right now. Not out of malice, but out of curiosity and ambition)

I think David Deutsch would disagree.

Though if we substitute “numbers” for “objectively falsifiable theory and observation”, I’m inclined to agree.

Being understood is too big an ask because it requires controlling the other person’s perspective. Try instead to communicate


Communication usually fails, except by accident

🤔 I think this one might be right.


  1. Trust must be built, it cannot be assumed.
  2. Communication requries some degree of trust.
  3. Trust requires an initial charitable action. Someone must allow it to grow.

You Can’t Tell People Anything (you have to show them)

:) I think https://electric-examples-app.fly.dev/ is a GREAT example of this principle applied.

You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.

Agreed. Your habits set your baseline. Habits ~ system.

Also, this is psychologically safe, and protects against burnout. If you’re feeling bad, just don’t destroy your systems+habits today. That’s enough. You can be exceptional later.

The goal is not to avoid mistakes; the goal is to achieve uncorrelated levels of excellence in some dimension — Nat Friedman

I have no idea what Dustin/Nat mean by “uncorrelated levels of excellence in some dimension”. Uncorrelated -> cosine similarity is 0, so that each “axis” of excellence is independent? Not sure.

Though I’d guess that it’s about

  1. Baseline novelty – what’s actually new here?
  2. Orthogonality – how can we decompose that novelty into simple parts?

But then, why “in some dimension”?

Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. — Muhammad Ali


Climb that mountain! Prove them wrong!

If a system is to serve the creative spirit, it must be entirely comprehensible to a single individual. Human potential manifests in individuals. — Dan Ingalls

Hmm. I think I agree with this one. Yet, I don’t think I completely understand it. Nor have I internalized it.

Civilization advances by extending the number of operations we can perform without thinking about them

Yes! This is a Karl Popper quote, right?

13:59 edit: no! It’s Alfred North Whitehead.