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First principles thinking

When I was younger, I played the piano. My parents wanted me to do it, so I did it (begrudgingly), and I was just playing music over and over again. I became “good” at playing the piano through sheer repetition.

I never learned about music. I never learned first principles about why some music “sounds” good and others don’t. I knew nothing about theory, I was just an imperfect robot.

One day, during a house party, I was watching my (music theater) friend playing the piano and he was explaining simple music concepts to someone else. I was riveted. It was like someone explaining gravity and it all making perfect sense. That’s the power of understanding first principles and, probably, one of my first aha moments.

How Julia Child Used First Principles Thinking [Farnam Street] – “There’s a big difference between knowing how to follow a recipe and knowing how to cook. If you can master the first principles within a domain, you can see much further than those who are just following recipes. That’s what Julia Child, “The French Chef”, did throughout her career.”

If It Hurts, It’s Probably True [Steli Efti, founder of Close] – “The truth is always simple. If it’s complicated, it’s probably not the truth. When things seem too complex, it’s probably a mind trick you’re playing on yourself because you don’t want to face the truth.”

2020 has been a dumpster fire – and now you can email a dumpster fire. 🙂

Email a Dumpster Fire.Literally. – “Send an email to with whatever you want to torch. Use plain text or an image attachment. PG-13 rules apply.” They print out your email and drop it in a dumpster fire. Wheeeeee!

Happy Thanksgiving Apexian! (unless you are outside the United States, then happy Thursday!)