251: TZ Discussion – In Accordance with the Prophecy

Justin and Jason discuss the animated series Archer and why it’s no longer going to be about spies, how the NSA is attempting to build a quantum computer, how France-UAE satellite deal is shaky after NSA spy tech was discovered onboard, how California legislators are attempting to banish the NSA from the statethe mysterious Mac and PC malware that jumps airgapsthe impending death of Facebook, how little western culture and styles have changed since the 80’s, Digedu’s upcoming technical challenges, how Assembly is crowdsourcing the development of startup ideas and Justin’s “venture matrix” concept, the difference between money and wealth, Paul Graham’s belief that a lack of energetic execution is one of the primary reasons why startups fail, the difference between college and NFL players, Jason’s desire for two weeks of solitude every quarter, last week’s Catalyst session and why Jason is so excited about coaching Colby’s math team, how Zappos is saying goodbye to bosses, some ideas on how to create an attribution platform based on layers of footprint, Simon Holmes’ new book on Mongo, Express, Angular and Node, Sebastian Thrun’s belief that the current incarnation of MOOC’s are falling short, the importance of teaching intuition, Stephen Wolfram’s remembrances of Richard Feynman, Justin’s responses for his job posting on We Work Remotely and Fallacy Man.

  1. I noticed that everyone talks about facebook lately, trying to analyze the influences of the older generation, which services are the teens joining, etc. But I think that there are more uses for FB than the usual big social network. For example I never used it until I joined a local club which pretty much organised all trips / communication using a FB group. This was true for any group/society I was a part of for the last couple of years. Sure, bigger events go for eventbrite, or similar services, but all the local happenings seem to be on FB only.

    And that’s the only context in which I ever experienced a social network really – my family will call, friends will IM directly, people I work(ed) with will email most of the time, people I went to school with will not even contact me unless they’re in any of the previous categories.

    I think FB still has a place where you don’t care about the generations – your “friends” who belong to some group can be anywhere between 10 and 90 – as long as they are part of a real-world group that wants to organise themselves in some way, share pictures from the previous events, or exchange some news related to what they’re doing. It seems like those kind of use cases are ignored in almost any FB-related article. Or maybe what I experience is very far from what other people use it for… what do you think?

  2. Jason says:

    @Stanisław Pitucha – You make a good point. FB will likely retain a lot of users for a long time (15 – 20 years) simply due to inertia and it’s value as an organizing / communication tool, however … if a high percentage of young people continue to defect, then it is destined to become the next AOL.

  3. Matt S says:

    New year, new segments, just hit an episode milestone (250) – I say now is the time to go ahead and change the name to Generation Zero 🙂

    Keep the old feed URL around, introduce the show as “formerly TechZing” for 5 episodes and then make a clean break!

  4. Thanks for the shout-out guys, appreciate it!

    Keep up the good work.

  5. Hey! What’s up with the pot shot, J?

    j/k, I actually do feel guilty asking your help because I know you are always busy. If it helps, the advice you give and often just talking to you helps tremendously. I think you would agree that I would not be where I am today without your advice. I only hope that I can repay you in some way in the future for all that you have done.

  6. Stanisław Pitucha says:

    The part about teaching math quickly reminded me of the “There’s no speed limit” blog post. Not sure if it was ever mentioned in the podcast before: http://sivers.org/kimo

  7. Alfie says:

    Have you guys thought about introduction some speed arithmetic to the Math Team? Even before all the tricks have been mastered, it definately is a confidence booster. I’ve done a couple back in high school, but the one I would is recommend is Trachtenberg’s method:


  8. Jason says:

    @Matt S – I’ve been thinking a lot about it and you might be right! God, I hate the name of this show! 😉

  9. Jason says:

    @Simon Holmes – Our pleasure! Luck surface area for the win!!! 😉

  10. Jason says:

    @Jeff Whelpley – Hey, no worries and I apologize for the name check. 😉 Also, you should know that I very much enjoy our talks and that I’ve been getting great pleasure from just watching your success.

  11. Jason says:

    @Stanisław Pitucha – Absolutely! I’m pretty sure we’ve talked about that specific article at least once or twice.

  12. Jason says:

    @Alfie – It’s really interesting that you bring that up. My mind had been wandering in that area already, but your suggestion had really got me researching it as a possibility. It seems like it would be the kind of thing the kids would love.

    Would you mind telling me what exactly your experience has been with mental math stuff. How hard was it to learn, how old were you, how did you learn it, were you able to remember the techniques, in what ways did it prove useful, etc? Also, why did you like the Trachtenberg method best? I’ve been browsing through a number of similar books, so I’m very curious about how the methods might differ and what might make one superior to the others (assuming they differ much at all).

  13. Alfie says:

    The first system I tried was when I was around 13 called “Turn on the Human Calculator In You” by Scott Flansburg. Interesting guy btw:


    It was an audio cassette course which I did by myself along with the work book in a couple of hours. I thought the tricks were cool and I definately remember using them throughout high school, but I saw them more as party tricks.

    I was lent a copy of Trachtenberg by a friend when I was around 15 and was blown away. Take for instance the “Multiplying by 11” rule (the Wikipedia page doesn’t give it any justice):

    “Add the digit to its neighbor (on the right)”

    e.g 3425 x 11 (in reverse order):

    – 5 + 0 = 5
    – 2 + 5 = 7
    – 4 + 2 = 6
    – 3 + 4 = 7
    – 0 + 3 = 3

    So the answer is 37675. The calculation is almost as fast as reading out loud the number being multiplied! Show that to Colby and tell me he’s not impressed 🙂

    How hard is it to learn? Even though 15 is a lot older than the kids in the Math Team, it should be a piece of cake if they know their times tables (i.e. have instant recall) and have you guys to walk them through the rules. It’s not complete magic though as they’ll have to do lots of excercises to drum it in and it does take time getting used to juggling numbers in your head. But I do think that Trachtenberg is a better alternative to standard artithmetic once fundamentals are solid.

    Do I remember them now? Not really. Once I started going into higher math, I generally relied on a calculator unfortunately. Laziness catches up. But now that we’re talking about it, I feel inspired to add it to my Amazon list 🙂

  14. Jason says:

    @Alfie – Interesting. Thanks so much for the in-depth response. I’m sure we’ll talk about it on an upcoming show once I’ve had a chance to research it a little bit.

  15. Gordon Oppenheimer says:


    To add to what you said about not getting a reply on the high frequency trading job, it seems to be the norm today that employers don’t respond to applicants. This is true even after interviews!

    Since it would only take them 2 minutes to send a form letter rejection E-mail using their online application tool, I can only conclude that they just don’t care about employees.

    I have narrowed down my target companies to only those that have sent me rejection notices.

  16. Jason says:

    @Gordon Oppenheimer – Yeah, that sounds like a good strategy. It’s depressing how dismissive and disrespectful people on the Internet can be as soon as they reach a point of leverage, or rather, if it just becomes obvious to them that they don’t or won’t need anything from you. That’s why I’m always pleasantly surprised whenever I encounter people who don’t behave that way.

  17. It was another -20F day here in Ottawa. I guess I will go to hibernate and dream about California weather. See you all in spring 😉

  18. Love the new “Here’s looking at you kid” segment – so I added it to the “regular segments” page on the TechzingWiki! 🙂