On Deck: June 2022

Inspired by Jim Nielsen, here’s a shortlist of things I’ve found, read, listened to, or watched over the last month that I think are worth sharing.


How To Avoid A Climate Disaster by Bill Gates

A technophile takes a technical approach to a wicked problem… which is refreshingly practical.

A lot of other folks’ criticism seems to be about Gates’ billionaire persona. That criticism is naïve about the challenge ahead and addressed several times by Gates throughout the book. He distills the situation into tangible goals and plans, mainly around getting to net zero by making ‘Green Premiums’ on zero carbon alternatives small enough to be competitive on price to their polluting equivalents.

I hope you’ll spend more time and energy supporting whatever you’re in favor of than opposing what you’re against.

Bill Gates

The most intangible parts are the not-yet-achieved innovations we need to make, say, zero-carbon cement a reality and with a low enough Green Premium for governments and industry to switch to. Yet all of these technological challenges are addressed, explained simply, and primed for action.

Why Waste Food by Andrew F. Smith

A little book that does well to break down a big issue. Food waste is divided into two overarching categories: production and consumption waste, which are further divided into six subcategories (e.g. farmed waste, restaurant waste, consumer waste).

This book balances density with accessibility. Chapters necessarily touch on macroeconomics and chemistry but I never felt too out of depth. The constant mention of commercial and government applications was helpful. My only gripe is that some of these (restaurant, scheme, startup) examples are already out of date since the book’s publication only two years ago.


Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson Helps You Find Your Climate Superpower

A recent episode of Gimlet’s How to Save a Planet podcast that wraps Ayana’s recent TED Talk. It has a eye-roll-ey title but stick with it.

...averting climate catastrophe: this is the work of our lifetimes.

Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, How to find joy in climate action

My favourite piece of advice is doing the Venn diagram exercise, where you’re prompted to find the intersection of the following:

  • What are you good at?
  • What is the work that needs doing?
  • What brings you joy?

That intersection is where you should put your climate action effort.


Writing One Sentence Per Line

One of the few suggestions that became part of my writing practice soon after reading.

My advice to anyone who writes: Try writing one sentence per line. I’ve been doing it for twenty years, and it improved my writing more than anything else.

Derek Sivers

As mentioned further down in Derek’s blog post, Markdown (in most configurations) cleans up line breaks automatically. That means you can publish straight from this writing method without needing to do any cleanup.

Touch Screens in Cars Solve a Problem We Didn’t Have

Tactility is king. I dream of a bubble future.


Prehistoric Planet

One of those “holy shit I can’t believe this is CGI” experiences made all the more real (and unsettling) with David Attenborough’s narration.


Prototyper for Figma

High-fidelity prototyping within Figma done by wrapping the open source Framer Library in a paid plugin. I say that with only a little snark: it bridges the gap between high-range and high-fidelity in a way that is much neater than previously possible.