I wrote a short post during my train commute on my eight
Google anniversary. Little did I know, or even expect, that it
will get a bigger reach than initially planned. Text and
After exactly eight years at Google and YouTube, and all that
time in one amazing team (YouTube Ads), I have an announcement
Let me show you a paradox that has bothered me for many years.
Imagine a square. The width of the square represents a unit of
time and the height a unit of improvement in skills.
Let’s draw a thick line over the bottom side of the square. It
means that your skills stayed the same over the period.
However, if you learned something new, your skills increased.
In that case, let’s connect the bottom left and upper right
corners. The angle of the connecting line can vary depending
on the skill increase, but let’s keep it simple.
rm -rf /bin/vim in ten years and tell me that I
was right.” In non-technical terms, a friend said that I’d
stop using an ancient text editor named Vim and switch to
something better. That was ten years ago on this day. I’m
typing this post in Vim.
The exchange reminds me of the Copernican principle, which
assumes that there is nothing special about our place in space
and time. Astrophysicist John Richard Gott thought through the
principle’s implications and deduced that it’s unlikely that
we observe a random thing at its beginning or end—we should
be closer to the middle of its existence on average. If a
thing existed for two years, it would likely exist for two
more; if it existed for two hundred years, that’s probably two
The principle doesn’t apply to living or perishable entities.
If you see a puppy, you can safely conclude that it is just
starting out. But software is different. vi, the precursor
to Vim, was created and published in the middle of the 70s
and Vim at the beginning of the 90s; that’s half a century
from today. So, following the reasoning above, there are many
more decades in front of the ancient text editor.
It’s been slightly over two years since the COVID-19 pandemic
started and almost two since the first lockdowns in Europe.
The governments around the world are finally loosening up
restrictions (Switzerland did it two weeks ago), many people
are vaccinated, and life seems like it’s going to continue in
a way that it’s closer to pre-pandemic times.
The bliss lasted for a week. Then Putin invaded Ukraine,
started committing war crimes, and threatened to use nuclear
weapons. And the world changed again, and nobody knows where
we’re heading. The only thing that’s clear for sure is that
the next several years will be hard. Aside from completely
unecessary human suffering, this war will have political,
social, and economic consequences worldwide for years to come.
I was looking to boring times ahead, not more historic events.
Late last year and early this year, I went deeper into
exploring critical thinking and decision-making. I was a
reasonably proficient practitioner until then. Nevertheless, I
wanted to improve my vocabulary further and see how other
people structured those topics because I was preparing an
internal company course on the subject. The first three books
in the list are related to that effort.
If you want to read more, check out the