Ordinary Astronauts

Dan and Nathan discuss Instagram's recent shift towards becoming more like TikTok, the growing meme that advanced note-taking setups are "mid", and why psychologically, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.

Show Notes

Three topics this week:
  1. Instagram's Existential Bet — why do they think they need to become more like TikTok? Why isn't it working that well so far, compared to when they copied Snapchat Stories? The answer has to do with the purpose and structure of TikTok's network, and why it's less compatible with Instagram than Snapchat was. Also, an interesting addition from Dan on why we always dislike new things and sometimes it's worth sticking it out, based on his essay from awhile back.
  2. The Productivity Backlash — a few years ago everyone was super into advanced note-taking setups and productivity systems built in new software like Roam and Notion. Now, there's a growing meme online that these things are "mid". In other words they are for midwits that are avoiding doing the real work, and high performers just use Apple Notes. Dan and Nathan discuss why the backlash is happening now, and what is coming next. 
  3. You Grow From Your Edges — a lot of times we have impulses that are good when balanced, but become bad when we take them too far. For example, an environmentalist who cares so much about the planet that they alienate allies, get burnt out, and ultimately have far less positive impact on the ecosystem than if they had a more balanced and flexible approach. It's hard to see this about ourselves, but if we can learn to, it can lead to new levels of personal efficacy and happiness. 

What is Ordinary Astronauts?

Two friends explore tech, product building, and the psychology of work. Hosted by Dan Shipper and Nathan Baschez, co-founders of Every, a writers collective that feeds the minds and hearts of the people who build the internet. We study businesses and we study humans.