303: TZ Discussion – Managed Chaos

Justin and Jason discuss why Justin wants a Vive and why he’s excited about the future of VR, Justin’s new swimming routine and his super-low heart rate, Jason’s “new” New Man Plan, the show’s Patreon campaign, how Jason is learning to play the piano using the app Yousician, the Nugget pivot of 2017, Mr. Robot, the latest with the Math Academy and some related publicity.

  1. Great you guys are back.

    Sounds like Jason is getting back into the gym. I found this youtube channel to be pretty good. The guy seems very knowledgeable


  2. Danilo Celic says:

    Enjoyed the conversation yet again (and the previous one, too, just downloaded it after the comment period was closed).

    I was in the middle of writing a note about how musical notation is encoding or compressing the data when Justin mentioned compression, so now I don’t have much else to say. 🙂

    @Justin, interesting to hear about the pivot for Nugget, as it seems rather natural given how you were previously describing what you wanted to accomplish (such as the customizable checklists, reading material, next steps, and gamification of the system). Of course, you’ll always need to balance that against your customers actually becoming successful, such as the customer that latched onto an idea and you helped with the logo…if they succeed, they won’t need the service any more, or the service won’t deliver the same value. You may need to consider expanding into post-launch services. A space station will always need new supplies and on going maintenance.

    @Jason, Amazing to hear how Math Academy has progressed. I liked how you talked about learning from the teaching of the kids and tweaking as you go along. I’m sure that there are things that had you been trained in how to be a teacher that some things would have come earlier, perhaps a bit like how some people learn how to play an instrument, but not how to read music, or know music theory from an academic perspective. Perhaps you would have thought earlier about what foundational topics weren’t being properly addressed, or perhaps you would have been too worried about getting everything covered well that you wouldn’t have made it as far as you did.

  3. Ignacio says:

    Music can relate to math in many ways. One very known concept is this thing called “The Circle of Fifths” (could be geometrical) which is a way of organizing the notes in a circular pattern where each note is the fifth note of the previous one. And basically with this circle you can come up with chords, notes or even keys. You could for example create music programmatically with it. But most people use it like a cheatsheet.

    Some musicians take a very mathematical approach to music, like this guy Pat Martino (Jazz guitarist). He basically takes core notes from a chord and by creating operations like multiplications he generates tons of chords (that actually exist) out of one single chord. He even made diagrams to explain this. He has a course called Linear Expressions where he explains how he comes up with these formulas.

    I’ve seen people do matrix operations like organizing scales in the form of an Identity Matrix and transform them to create new scales. It’s crazy.

    And of course many will say that music relates to math in terms of oscillations and vibration etc, but to me operations with notes sounds more interesting.

  4. Joe Stech says:

    Awesome episode! Math academy and Nugget are two of my favorite things to hear about.

    @Jason, please let us know if/when you start the non-profit, that’s definitely a cause I want to support. My wife and I would like to have a kid soon, and I’m hoping that the program takes off across the country before my kid gets old enough to participate.

    Also, I wanted to comment on your music discussion — I was classically trained on the piano for 8 years of my childhood, and I can say that music notation contains a HUGE amount of granularity. In addition to the notes, rests and time signatures, there are tempo signatures, dynamics indicators (varying levels of intensity, plus gradients — crescendos and diminuendos), and various forms of accent marks (staccato, tenuto, fermata, grace notes, etc). So while each pianist always has some unique expressiveness, music notation (especially for classical music) contains everything you need for a pretty accurate reproduction of the music as the composer intended it.

  5. Paco says:

    Stranger things is amazing, and its not for teenagers its for everyone. Its a mix of all the 80’s culture with scifi. Pretty cool show. Mr Robot hacking is VERY realistic, no Swordfish (H Jackman) nonesense.
    Haha every time you guys have to explain a show I get so frustrated because you don’t give enough info! : )

  6. Jason says:

    @Mark Studebaker – Yep, I’m three weeks in now and making steady progress. I have a long way to go, but I’m on pace. Thanks for the link!

  7. Jason says:

    @Danilo Celic – In general, I think you’re right that it’s helpful to learn the theoretical / foundation knowledge first, but the way I do things is fundamentally different than the way every teacher I’ve talked to does things. Part of it is that they’re tackling a different problem than me, but they’re also much more constrained by what they’re even allowed to do.

  8. Jason says:

    @Ignacio – That is interesting! I don’t know enough music theory yet, but I’ll come back to this once I do. Thanks so much for the explanation.

  9. Jason says:

    @Joe Stech – Thanks for the positive feedback on Math Academy. I realize I probably talk about it a little too much, but I just can’t help myself. 😉

    That’s interesting about the expressiveness of music notation. I’m really looking forward to being able to read it. I’m currently just reading and playing five notes on the treble clef (A – G) and three on the base clef (G, A & B), so I have a long way to go. But Sandy is already pretty impressed that I’ve come this far in just a few weeks of learning from an iPad app. That said, I think she’s about had it with listening to me practice songs like Yankee Doodle Dandy over and over. 😉

  10. Jason says:

    @Paco – Yep, Sandy just suggested that we start watching Stranger Things. Man, there so many good options on TV these days. The tyranny of choice!