Sim Show

By Sim Salis. Articles, Books, Podcasts, and More. This site hosts all my work on tech, psychology, philosophy, health, and improving yourself in general.

Entertainment, news, broadcast, and satire.

This is the full transcript of my second conversation as a guest on Cinedicate, a podcast sharing hidden movie gems by revisiting them through a conversation (for both old and first time viewers). After The Truman Show, I picked another one of my favorite movies... Network. Also Stephen Colbert's favorite movie, just saying.

The show js approaching the end of its first season, hosted by Armand: read it, listen to the audio, or subscribe via RSS, Apple, Google, and Spotify.

Download: audio (mp3)

Publication date: 2020-11

Link: https://cinedicate.com/network/

Transcript slightly edited for clarity.

Armand (host): Today, we are going to dive deep and discuss the moralities in the business broadcasting and news agency world, for today's episode recommendation is Network. Simone, what did you think of Network? What were your initial thoughts?

Sim (guest): It's one of those movies that I meant to watch for over a decade and it happened just a few months ago but I used to live in another country when I wanted to watch it. I thought it was really looking at the future in a way that maybe it wasn't understand at the time. I don't know. I wasn't around. But it did have a very clear vision of what merging entertainment and news and politics then would eventually become. I thought it was very insightful and incredibly, incredibly contemporary and tied to the present even though it's a movie from 1976, right.

Armand: Oh, yeah, yeah. Mid-70s and I would say a lot of the things that they talk about in the movie really hit the hallmarks of our today's world with media. How did you first hear about Network?

Sim: Through...

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“If you’re not having fun, you are the asshole.”

Susan Messing

Susan told me this in 2013, when she noticed I was overthinking a choice: waiting for the perfect moment to join an improvised scene while everyone else was already on stage, having fun.

She agrees that reality is more complex than that, and expanded further on her advice in a 2019 conversation we recorded together about her life, career, and navigating complex realities. But I still find this note useful when dealing with trolls (or people who criticize for destruction and sadistic self-enjoyment over constructive improvement).

It’s also a good reality self-check: are you having fun?

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Dropbox, and The Economist, sharing that no one will ever go back to “normal” and you better start to love it:

Even the holdouts who in March assumed things would go “back to normal” have accepted that these changes are now the norm. And more may be coming.

If you thought life would include some joy again: no.

Loneliness distracts WFH professionals even more than families and pets.

Being single and not in the office is even worse than those things you call “spouse”, “cat”, or “my son”.

Solving the problem could turn losses to profits: the potential upside of improving focus in knowledge work is an estimated $1.2 trillion in untapped employee output.

The problem: you eat and you sleep. If you stopped, we could have a decent product that resembles a roadmap users actually care about.

Nearly 40 percent of respondents cited “elimination of the daily commute” as a benefit of working from home. Importantly, it’s not just the extra work time or more free time that they’re enjoying—the lack of commute is actually enhancing their focus throughout the day.

Sorry, no more Joe Rogan or This American Life.

They can save their attention and energy for work.

Your commute is now +10hrs/week of work.

You don’t need us to tell you that family distractions, household chores, and the simple urge to chill are major challenges to at-home focus.

No Netflix & Chill at work—and you now Live At Work (LAW).

More than one in three general staffers cite feeling disconnected as a reason they have trouble doing their jobs.

Do you still miss people? 🤣

Tomorrow’s workers won’t always realize it, but few of them will thrive at either end of the focus spectrum—interrupted nonstop, or cut off from contact all day.

No you don't. 😏

Dropbox (“a feature, not product” according to Steve Jobs) is not even pretending there will be any partial return to “normal”. They commissioned a report (”sponsored by Dropbox”) to the Economist Intelligence Unit (“We work with our clients to help them navigate the increasingly complex global environment.”). The results support their permanent shift to WFH.

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If you blame someone else, there is no end to the blame. —Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching (public library) (free ebook)

Age-based shaming is just another way to keep one group of people angry at the other (your birth year turns into your sports team).

Fabricated generational hate creates the illusion of divisiveness to distract from real-world problems. It works by emphasizing subtle differences over relevant common ground.

News titles mixing generational hate and accusatory lines are cheap journalism. They fuel angry arguments whose only function is to gather more clicks and attention.

“Ok Boomer” is not different than shitting on “Millennials” (arbitrary labels in first place). One day, “Ok Boomer” will become “Ok Millennial”, “Karen” will be replaced by “Ashley”, or “Matt”.

“Why didn’t you notice that tech can be such a destructive force?”

Of course we didn't want to fuck something up for the next generation. Of course!

But we will. We are, now.

Can entire generations actually be in charge and held responsible of the future? Or is this idea an ultimate attribution error, where we ascribe the actions of few powerful ones to a wider (and much less powerful) group?

You have already been casted into social roles that you didn't ask for. Think about your gender, sexual orientation, skin color, religion, country, etc.

We can't keep increasing the number of Commedia dell'Arte characters to simplify how society really works.

And, whatever core of truth some stereotypes might hold, it's up to us to confirm it or to subvert it. It's certainly up to us to avoid one more version of groupthink and herd behavior to divide us.

Eliminating imaginary opponents is not required to achieve social change. Recognizing common ground is.

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Satire, free will, visual metaphors, Jim Carrey, and everyday heroes.

This is the full transcript of my interview with Cinedicate, a podcast sharing hidden movie gems by revisiting them through a conversation (for both old and first time viewers). I picked one of my favorite movies... The Truman Show.

The show just launched, hosted by Armand: read it, listen to the audio, or subscribe via RSS, Apple, Google, and Spotify.

Download: audio (mp3)

Publication date: 2020-10

Link: https://cinedicate.com/the-truman-show/

Transcript slightly edited for clarity.

Armand (host): What was your first impression when you saw The Truman Show for the first time?

Sim (guest): I actually remember being fearful of it, from the trailer.

Armand: Really?

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I believe that knowledge should be accessible to everyone, and anyone should be able to reasonably sustain themselves while working on their chosen job.

This is why my interviews podcast SimShow is available with absolutely no advertising or sponsorship—even as I share conversations recorded in person across the continent, from Chicago (The Second City) to the Bay Area (Pixar or Google), and more.

Now, this website (also free) supports Web Monetization. What does that mean? If you subscribe to a service like Coil, a portion of that will land into my pockets. In total transparency: the first month of Web Monetization earned me ~$0.98. It doesn't matter: I am convinced that it's important to support this kind of web by adopting new, fair technologies early.

So does Write.as, the service on which this site is based on. Soon, they should add the ability to share exclusive content accessible only via web monetization (in which case, expect an eBook featuring selected transcripts of my interviews). Matt does a fantastic job developing Write.as as a sustainable product, and that's why I signed up for their 5 years long subscription. When I joined, that costed about $180: it's now up to $240, but still worth every penny.

If you want to contribute to SimShow, and many other websites and blogs, check out all the ways that you can help via Coil.

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Friends panic when they glance at my inbox and notice tens of thousands of unread/unopened messages. They want to stay productive, and Inbox Zero might give them the impression to do so.

But it doesn't: about a decade ago, after noticing the insane amount of time I had to invest to keep my Inbox/text messages queue clean, I started ask myself “Why?”. Now, thinking about all the time people spend to keep their inboxes to zero makes me panic.

What's the real advantage?

I see no benefit from cleaning up every uninteresting piece of text/spam I receive, only a tremendous loss of time that you can reclaim if you just accept the fact that inbox numbers mean nothing. It's just another attention-stealing red sticker badge and, as such, I believe you should disable it, forget it, and never look back. It's much more effective to use separate aliases (one, for example, shared only with real human beings), and plus addressing.

I hide badges, and I simply forget about text messages/emails that did not deserve my actions in first place. Every action I do not take is more time, attention, and mental energy available for better goals.

You have no control over your incoming messages: spam, useless chats. So I stop trying to control them or let them use your time.

This approach is the opposite (and the same) of Inbox Zero. This approach is ∞ Inbox.

It requires a deep breath, ignoring numbers, and realizing that, in the end, zero and infinity are both undefinable.

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I reached a point in my life where I could buy enough of something and reasonably expect it to last until I die. Not a 4-pack of AA batteries or a single banana (well, I hope not) but something like shoes, or a colander. Mundane stuff.

How many pairs of shoes do you think a man in his 30s could ever need from today until he's done? 20? 30? 50?

Let's say that:

  • I go through 1 pair of gym shoes every 2 years.
  • On average, males live ~77.5 years.

Barring tragedies, and considering an average life expectancy (things I can't control), that's about 22 pairs of shoes.

I could walk out of a store, today, with 22 boxes of sneakers—retail workers assuming I manage 2 sports teams—and sing: “Boom. Last time I buy shoes. Fuck it, fuck shoes. I'm done with buying shoes. Never wanna think about shoes again”.

On a certain level, this thought feels oddly nice because it's liberating (“Fuck it: done with laundry quarters. I went to the bank and got $2,000 in quarters.“).

I'm not sure I ever want to get to the phase where I can play with this mental math using napkins, AA batteries... or a single banana.

But that's it: you will get to a point in your life where objects will last longer than you do.

So, the solution is: always buy really good batteries.

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I got a $70 iPhone SE and upgraded the battery with a nominal 2180 mAh one (the original had 1624 mAh of capacity). Then I added Qi wireless charging with an adhesive tag that lives between the case and the phone's back chassis (connected via the Lightning port).

How about performance?

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There's no secret to self-improvement. I can think of a few ways why other people might be making more progress than you do.

  1. Being a non-judgemental observer, especially of yourself. Observe, adjust, evaluate results.
  2. Don't care about other people's opinion, unless constructive.
  3. Understand that you are competing against yourself, not anyone else.
  4. Persist beyond disappointment.

If you succeed, let me know how you did it.

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