Conan’s Newsletter: No. 6

The pass-away of “Notorious RBG”

  1. The “Notorious RBG” Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the second woman who served in the Supreme Court and a pioneering advocate of women rights, has passed away this week. Her pass-away is a very big loss for both her families and the whole country.
  2. Although the Supreme Court is supposed to be insulated from politics, the replacement of her position likely will stir another round of political drama in the country. This great article from the Guardian explains what does Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death means for the supreme court. The US supreme justice nomination is critical for both parties because supreme court justices have life-terms thus could influence policies over a long period. Trump has already made two nominations in his first term.
  3. Given there is only one-and-half month to the upcoming election, Republicans have no intention to wait. In his mourning statement to RBG, the majority leader McConnell has stated that President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote in the Senate. Ironically, during the case of Merrick Garland Supreme Court nomination in Obama’s last year in the office, the republican refused to consider Obama’s nomination citing it was an election year despite that there were still eight months to the election. However, the gamble move will likely provocate more liberal voters and may swing some conservative voters in the upcoming election.

TikTok and WeChat Ban

  1. The drama of TikTok continued this week. TikTok rejected Microsoft’s bid and partnered with Oracle. The details of the TikTok-Oracle “deal” change by the day, the latest update is that Oracle would only be a partner to provide technical support. At the same time, Bytedance will keep the majority stake but will appoint an all-American board and seek a public listing in the US. At the same time, the department of commerce issued the WeChat, TikTok US shutdown order. Users won’t be able to download both apps from Sep. 20. Wechat won’t get “any provision of internet hosting services enabling the functioning or optimization” immediately from Sep 20. TikTok, however, will be treated differently and its deadline for service shutdown was thoughtfully delayed to be after the election, indicating the current administration has put the problem under the re-election calculus.
  2. Contrary to what most people think, the owner of Instagram–the largest competitor of TikTok–ardently opposed the ban. His point is valid. The US companies have thrived because of the borderless nature of the Internet that past US administrations have supported. In contrast, the Chinese government ardently supports the “Internet sovereignty” concept and wishes to control information flow in-and-out of its borders. The ban has put the US and China in the same camp, and more and more countries may follow the lead and two countries. When that happens, it will be the US rather than Chinese companies to take a toll.


  1.  Bessemer Venture Partners has released its investment memos for its top investments, including big names like Shopify, Pinterest, etc. The well-written memos contain a lot of useful information about the BVP’s investments and the early history of the invested companies. I highly recommend every further entrepreneur or investor to read those memos.

Interesting facts

  1. How to Chart Your Success Through Life, Week By Week. It is shocking to see that our life could be viewed as filling boxes in a table and how much my life has passed even if I am still in the early stage of my career.
  2. Zanclean flood – Wikipedia. The Mediterranean Sea has been the cradle of civilization. It was the remains of an ancient sea but dried up after being cut from Atlantic Sear due to the high evaporation in the area. Scientists believed that at about 5.33 million years ago, the strait of Gibraltar was open and created a river whose volume is about a thousand times larger than the discharge of the Amazon River. The river filled the sea in a few months to 2 years of period. It is fascinating to see that an area of 1 million square miles could be filled in such a short amount of time.

Fun tweets

  1. Erik Rasmussen 👨🏻‍💻🇺🇸🇪🇸 on Twitter: “When the Senior Developer arrives to fix the bug…… “.

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Conan’s Newsletter: No. 2

Recommendations for this week:

  1. Highly recommend this video created by Phil Libin, the co-founder of Evernote and recently the mmhmm app, to explain the motivation behind the new app’s name. The mmhmm app has been generating a lot of buzzes recently but its name sounds ridiculous to many people. In this video, Phil describes his philosophy of the naming: A ridiculous yet interesting name is way better than a boring one. It is better to create a product that is loved by someone and hated by some others than a product that nobody cares about. Besides, mmhmm is really fun to use. If you haven’t tried it out yet, you should!
  2. The Passion Economy and the Future of Work. We are in a world that the definition of jobs has changed significantly, and the process has been accelerating since the pandemic. In the new world, individuality is respected and encouraged, and people could and should earn their living from their individuality.
  3. Defining Interactive Ecommerce – Pinduoduo [53 slides] – Recommendation driven China e-commerce”. Pinduoduo is a miracle: Imagine the chance of someone in the US builds a second Amazon in only 3-4 years, which is what Pinduoduo has done in China. This detailed report gives great insights into why Pinduoduo could make a dent in a market with a strong incumbent.
  4. An article about Steve Blank’s Customer Development Manifesto. I love Steve Blank’s opinion that “A Startup Is a Temporary Organization Designed to Search for A Repeatable and Scalable Business Model”. Can’t agree more!

Funny tweets:

  1. Impressive commit history. Hope you won’t start to count tiles next time when you take showers!

Other interesting facts:

  1. In 1901, President Theodore Roosevelt officially named the Executive Mansion the “White House” . This is much later than I thought.
  2. This is a 393-years old Greenland Shark that was located in the Arctic Ocean. It’s been wandering the ocean since 1627. It is the oldest living vertebrate known on the planet.