Monday Miscellany 15 Apr 19

  1. Ship work

Last week, Seth Godin shared the video from one of his talks and Q&A sessions. It is almost two hours long but super interesting – well worth grabbing a coffee and sitting down to enjoy this talk, available at:


One of the questions that resonated the most with me, came at around 35 minutes. A woman in audience asked: “How do you constantly motivate yourself to accomplish projects?”. To which Seth replied:

How do you ship stuff that you are proud of? Ship stuff you are not proud of! Keep shipping bad work, over and over and over again. For two reasons. One, practice will help you get better. And, two, shame will push you to improve.


Shipping was my word of the year for 2017. And it was nice to be reminded of the benefits of shipping stuff.


2. The journey to great research

Last Wednesday, we saw the first ever image of a black hole. Here it is:

Black hole image


Behind this historical image is a very interesting lesson about great research. Namely that great research is slow and that great research is collaborative.

The BBC reported that:

Prof Falcke had the idea for the project when he was a PhD student in 1993 (…) After arguing his case for 20 years, Prof Falcke persuaded the European Research Council to fund the project.


Not only did it take 20 years for this project to come to fruition, but it also involved the coordinated effort of many people. Namely, the project was funded by several agencies in Europe, the US and East Asia; involved a team of 200 scientists; and required the coordination of eight telescopes in the US, Mexico, Spain, Chile and Antarctica. A key piece of this project was the algorithm that pieced together the data collected by the network of telescopes, and which was led by a MIT doctoral student, Katie Bouman, whose role the BBC described as “Without her contribution the project would not have been possible.”


3. What I am reading

I finished the book ‘Deep Work’ by Cal Newport. I have mixed feelings about this book – I might do a book review at some point. Not sure.



As I was approaching the end of this book, I popped to Brunel University’s (where I work) library, and picked up two more books. I have now started reading the one on the right, which has been on my reading list for a while.



Here is to a great week. I am balancing marking, paper writing, kids’ school holidays and house hunting. #frazzled

2 thoughts on “Monday Miscellany 15 Apr 19

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