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Just Roll With It
Hello! I’m Aaron Kardell. In this Sunday newsletter, I pick one random topic weekly to go deep on and have some disparate quick hits at the end.
Don’t Break the Chain
The main problem with writing a weekly newsletter is that some weeks it is harder to push out content than others. The last several weeks have been a struggle for me. Life’s been busy. I decided to take last week off while we were traveling rather than force it.
It’s been said one of the things Jerry Seinfeld cites as a crucial part of his success was that he literally writes material every day. He has a calendar and puts a red X on it every day he writes. He doesn’t want to break the chain. I have many things in my life where I really don’t want to break the chain.
Most nights, I get in a few minutes of Spanish practice on Duolingo. They’ve gamified that app so well. I usually only get in 5 minutes a night, but it’s better than nothing.
A friend encouraged me to journal when I wake up for 20-30 minutes every morning. Although I rarely make it to even 20 minutes, I’ve done this for 21 days straight. It’s helped me clear out any thoughts I was wrestling with overnight and set out some intentionality for the day ahead.
Each day I want to know the big thing I need to accomplish that day. I’m slightly less bummed about everything I don’t get done if I know I’ve made demonstrable progress on that one big thing.
And this newsletter. I really don’t want to miss a Sunday. But sometimes, it’s a grind, and I’m unsure how much I want to force it.
An Unusual Trip to Palm Springs
We found ourselves near Palm Springs last weekend. Kate left early to go to a work conference. The kids had a four-day weekend, so I took Friday off of work and flew out together to join her.
There was a comedy of errors the entire weekend. It all started on Friday morning. I realized we needed a car and had forgotten to reserve one. After numerous travel site searches, it became apparent that no car rental company had any cars available.
I’ve had good luck renting from others via the Turo app, so that was my next step. I was thrilled to find someone to deliver a car to the airport within an hour of our landing. It was even a Tesla. Back in business!
The guy renting me the car shows up and texts me a link to pair the Tesla app on my phone with the car. I ask for the key, and he says I don’t need one. He showed me how to start the car in the app – it was slightly different than the auto-start that happens via Bluetooth with my own car. This mostly made sense as a regular Tesla driver but also seemed a little weird. Nevertheless, the kids and I drive off to meet Kate.
We get to the hotel, which was supposed to have free charging on-site, and I drive around for 20 minutes and never find the chargers. I later ask. Turns out that if you valet your car, they charge it for you. Guess what? You can’t valet a car without a key.
I called the hotel many weeks back to ensure we would have adjoining rooms. Turns out they couldn’t make that happen. The rooms were close – but this was the first time traveling our kids weren’t in an attached room to us. On the other hand, my daughter thought this was the coolest thing ever.
The next day, the kids and I headed to Palm Springs in the morning. We decided to charge the car at a supercharger while we went to get breakfast. We then planned to go on a hike. Breakfast was great. We arrived at the place to go hiking, and warnings on the signs about rattlesnakes scared both of my kids. We didn’t go hiking.
Late in the afternoon, friends drove in and joined us, and we decided to check out the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. The website didn’t have tickets available but suggested you could show up and get on without issue. So we drove the 35 minutes there. And then learned it was a two-hour wait. That was a bit much for our weary family and definitely wasn’t going to work for the two-year-old of our friends.
The next day was to be the highlight of the vacation. We were going to go check out Joshua Tree National Park. Our friends drove separately, and we agreed to meet up at Jumbo Rocks Campground. We drove for about 40 minutes and entered the park. But a sinking feeling started at about 50 minutes into the drive. My cell phone had no service. The Tesla also had no cell service. Fortunately, I had previously put two and two together that with the way the Turo renter had given me the car, the only way the Tesla would start was if both the car and my phone had cell service. We drove another 40 minutes from there on pins and needles. We were hoping there might be cell service at Jumbo Rocks Campground and that there wouldn’t be an occasion where we would have to shut the car off. Long story short, there was no cell service for most of the park, and there definitely was not where we wanted to go hiking. So, we drove through the park and out the other side.
At this point, I was feeling awful. I had two days in a row of botched plans with my family, and worse off, I had had my friends drive to two locations where things didn’t work out.
And yet, there were several fun takeaways from the weekend. I got to see friends I hadn’t seen in a long time and meet their daughter – who my kids absolutely loved playing with. We got out of the harsh Minnesota winter for a few days. My kids had a lot of fun playing in the hotel’s arcade. I’m sure I’ll return to Joshua Tree someday to really experience it. But now we have a story about the one time we drove through Joshua Tree and couldn’t leave the car because we couldn’t turn it off. That ain’t happening again.
Sometimes, you’ve just got to roll with it.
This Week’s Quick Hits
Data now suggests that startups that have employees in offices grow 3.5x faster. I don’t think the vast majority of knowledge workers (especially in startups & tech) will return to offices soon. That said, something magical happens when small teams can collaborate in person. I miss it. What do you think?
Has anyone else been playing around with Artifact? It’s a new news app made by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, the co-founders of Instagram. It uses AI to learn what kind of news articles you want to read and then presents more of them to you. It’s kind of cool, although it’s still early. I swear every 10th article it shows me is from McSweeney’s. While funny, it’s a bit … much. Still, I’m bullish on services like Artifact being an alternative to Twitter for getting the news you want.
I just learned that Netflix is pulling Arrested Development off its service on March 14th. If you know me well, you know I think this is the greatest show of all time. You may even know I often fall asleep listening to an episode of Arrested Development. On the one hand, Netflix pulling it isn’t a significant loss – it’ll just be moving to Hulu. On the other hand, Seasons 4 & 5 will presumably be lost forever. Netflix partnered to make these additional seasons long after Arrested Development was off the air. And like most fans, I rarely watch Seasons 4 & 5. They lost a lot of the magic of the first three seasons. Still, I’m binging the seasons now, as there’s a real chance they’ll never be seen again.
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