Top articles of the week | October 24

October 24, 2020

Every week, we put together a list of our top 5 articles of the past week. Happy reading!

Computers Are Hard: building software with David Heinemeier Hansson Wojtek Borowicz (reading time: 14 minutes)

Understanding how software is built is ultimately understanding how companies will work. As the importance of software and its use grows, I’ve been trying to better grasp how it will affect company building. One of the leaders in software is of course Basecamp that have pioneered novel ways not only to build software but their company. This interview with one of the company’s founders DHH sheds some light on how they build.

Transitions Ryan Caldbeck (reading time: 17 minutes)

This is one of the intense and personal posts I’ve read. Ryan Caldeck is the former CEO of Circle Up, who stepped down from the role recently. He outlines in the past his personal and professional challenges in a transparent manner. This isn’t about strategy or technology but rather the real human toll and importance of mental health.

Big Ideas 2020 Ark Invest (reading time: 35 minutes)

Ark Invest is run by Catherine Wood who famously bet on Tesla in its early days. This presentation highlights key technological trends. What I really enjoyed about this deck is it simplicity; it doesn’t try to use buzzwords like Gartner.

Why category leading brick and mortar retailers are likely the biggest long term Covid beneficiaries. Gavin Baker (reading time: 13 minutes)

Despite all of these advantages conferred by owning a physical retail infrastructure, most brick and mortar retailers were painfully slow to embrace e-commerce and omnichannel. An entire generation of management teams effectively ceded the future to Amazon because of objectively incorrect beliefs about e-commerce profitability and internal cultural issues.

This is the single best article on ecommerce and retail I’ve read in years. Gavin Baker brilliantly summarizes the state of brick & mortar vs. ecommerce. His thesis is simple, category leading retailers stand the most to gain because of the pandemic. They are aggressively shifting to omnichannel capabilities and thus beginning to catch up with Amazon (for real).

Early work Paul Graham (reading time: 12 minutes)

One of the biggest things holding us back is fear of failure. In another terrific post, Paul Graham explains the importance of not criticizing early work. It some places like Silicon Valley, it has become an important part of the culture. People are often afraid of what others will say. The thing that holds up back the most is usually ourselves. There are some great tips on how to look at failure and the learnings from starting a project.