The Reis Release #8

What I’m watching…

Free Solo a National Geographic Documentary featuring the world’s best free solo climber

This movie is actually all about risk management. Alex takes on the most dangerous and iconic climb — free soloing (i.e. using no rope) the face of El Capitan (i.e. a behemoth granite monolith in Yosemite that is likely the most famous wall in the world). Everyone warns Alex that every free climber winds up dead but Alex believes “there’s risk and there’s consequence.” He explains there’s high consequence but he works to ensure it is low risk. His level of practice and meticulous study is incredible (memorizing minute details of the wall) to accomplish this 10-year long dream. I was also impressed by his mindset: his ability to walk away with confidence if feeling a slimmer of doubt and his raw honesty in his approach to life and climbing. His friend and co-climber, Tommy Caldwell described this climb as requiring him to win the Olympic gold medal but one tiny misstep resulting in his life rather than the bronze. By the way, this human Spiderman is a vegetarian (for primarily environmental reasons he states and a little bit of ethics). He also founded the Honnold Foundation (pledged 1/3 of his annual income), which seeks to reduce environmental impact and address inequality by supporting solar energy initiatives worldwide. This doc received a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and in case you were wondering, I also really enjoyed it.

Spoiler alert: When I think about human advancement, it is amazing to think not long ago El Cap used to take days to complete with the aid of ropes, safety gear, and a partner but Alex ascents in 4 hours without a rope!

What I’m reading to…

Raised by YouTube in The Atlantic

Traditional cable TV / movies are commonly thought of being disrupted by the likes of Netflix and Amazon but as described in the article, one Indian media startup, ChuChu, has attained astounding viewership…more than 19 billion views on YouTube, making it a top 25 most watched channel. The catch is, the viewers are all children. Meanwhile Sesame street only has 5 billion views on YouTube. I found it humorous how the article called YouTube, “the world’s babysitter – an electronic pacifier during trips or when adults are having dinner”. It is quite interesting (or concerning) that “parents are seeking out videos that soak up more time. So nowadays what’s most popular on Toddler YouTube are not three-minute songs, but compilations that last 30 to 45 minutes, or even longer.”

Preview: “YouTube analytics show exactly when a video’s audience falls off. ChuChu and other companies like it—whatever their larger philosophy—can see exactly what holds a toddler’s attention, moment by moment, and what causes it to drift. If a video achieves a 60 percent average completion rate, ChuChu knows it has a hit. Using these data doesn’t let it “crack the algorithm”; everyone has access to a version of these numbers. Instead, Chandar uses the analytics to tune his and other creators’ intuition about what works.”

What I’m pondering…

Should I purchase the Halo Sport? Lately I’ve been fascinated by the mixing of technology/biohacks with human performance and Halo Sport’s headset stimulates the part of your brain responsible for muscle movement. This accelerates training by employing neurostimulation to induce a state of hyperlearning. For those skeptical, there are testimonials from a plethora of professional sports teams, they have a formidable team of Stanford neuroscientists who previously used similar technology to treat epilepsy, and they’re also backed by Lux Capital (a well-respected VC firm) whose founders was featured in one of my all-time favorite interviews (This is Who You Are Up Against).

Quote I enjoyed…

In theme with climbing…“We cannot lower the mountain; therefore we must elevate ourselves.” – Todd Skinner (another free climber)




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