For the past few weeks, I've been dabbling with a version of Open AI's GPT-4. My company gave me access to a screen like the old AIM instant messenger: along the left column are a few conversations and in the main area I type in text and wait for a response from the other party. It's just like high school, except the other side of the conversation uses some automation and a large language model to create its replies.
Here you’ll find an archive of Nathanael’s weekly email. In it, he features an essay and curated reading on technology + marketing + simplicity.
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On Monday, I start a new role at HubSpot: I'll be a solutions architect, having wrapped up five years as a consultant. It's a big change for me: I spent June saying goodbye to clients I'd worked with for years. At the same time, it's a relatively small change: I'll still be advising HubSpot customers on solving their problems with technology.
Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in! I was homeschooled, as was my wife, as are our kids. We watched the Amazon documentary Shiny Happy People in one sitting. It was about a different kind of homeschooler: hyper-conservative, fundamentalist, afraid. And yet, many parts of the documentary hit far too close to home, especially its final episode, where we saw rooms we’d been in and people we knew. And then the Washington Post published a long profile on one of our college classmates.
Today's link is just a fun and funny read. The writing is good and the topic is interesting: how's a small, somewhat self-governing island going to fare in the modern world? Sark reminds me of where I grew up.
I don't like puns, but I do like the name of this little email. This week, I have a lingering thought and a fun read. I hope you enjoy both.
A fun thing about the internet is how quickly things pop up and how quickly they fade away. It's all the usual human trends, but faster. It decades for T.V. to become the anchor of pop culture, its 3-channel heyday lasted for decades, and even in its current, sports-addled twilight, you still can't miss T.V.'s influence. Meanwhile, in the internet, Twitter's had a similar arc in about ten years.
In March and April of 2023, I celebrated my fifth anniversary of working for HubSpot with a 30-day, paid sabbatical. The five-year sabbatical is HubSpot’s signature benefit. On our first day, way back in September of 2017, my new hire group talked about what we’d do if we had a month off from work. Finally getting to the five-year mark and scheduling the month off was a great moment.
Since my sabbatical, I’ve been thinking about the experience, what I learned, and how it changed me. It wasn’t quite what we’d envisioned five years ago: a month of not working was unexpectedly tricky and there were some surprising realizations. In the end, I’m better for the rest and a reset of my work. Here's the story of my sabbatical and what I learned from it: thoughts about traveling, working from home, an information diet, and the practice of simplicity.
Last week, our Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy released an advisory on social media and mental health for the young. He referenced that there are 'ample indicators' that social media potentially harms mental health and well-being, especially among children and adolescents.
Here's a quote, attributed retired Massachusetts congressman Barney Frank: "Government is simply the name we give to the things we choose to do together." The attitude behind that quote has caused all manner of mischief, but I think the sentiment is reasonably construed as a way of understanding the political process. When the people who earn the most votes make some decision, we can reasonably describe the political process as achieving some kind of consensus. Politics is a way of deciding to collectively do things.
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