Frank Chen

Frank Chen

email newsletter #5

energy audits, ai music, chicharron sushi

For those who have been recently added to this newsletter - it's mainly to share what's on my mind with friends and family on a weekly basis. No response necessary, but feel free to reply if something interests you. I'm very cognizant of spamming people's inboxes, so if you want out, let me know (seriously). I won't be offended.

energy audit

True to my year-in-review, I've started doing weekly energy audits. This entails taking a screenshot of last week's calendar and coloring it in - green gives energy, red takes energy, and yellow is neutral.

The color coding does wonders. It's basically emotional data about how I felt throughout the week. The example above immediately tells me:

  1. I dislike waking up early (reds before 6am)
  2. tons of meetings and meetings that drag on suck (Monday to Wednesday yellow mornings)
  3. I have a mid-afternoon slump (afternoon reds and yellows)
  4. time with Amy is awesome (green all the way)
  5. I'm getting back to "living for the weekend", a less than desirable trend (reds and yellows turn to green as the week progresses)
  6. Like any tool, it just tells you how to adjust. Try it. I'm sure you'll find something interesting about yourself.


I'm still halfway through Stanley Tucci's autobiography, Taste. I'm re-reading The Pathless Path by Paul Millerd as well, since I lost my notes. Lately, I've found biographies to be more interesting than traditional non-fiction because it's an anecdotal rather than a prescriptive telling of life lessons.

I did pick up another book - "The Making of a Manager" by Julie Zhou, mainly because there have been pressures at work that require a slightly different modality of thinking.

more ai stuff

This has been making the rounds through the web these days. AI can create music for you if you give it the right prompt. Same with art, same with food.

There's been a really strong trend of "cool AI shit that'll replace humans" making news headlines lately. My stance so far is that it won't replace us, but it'll help us avoid doing some of the mundane shit we don't like doing so we can exercise true creativity. There's a convo about how AIs can help remix recipes and create entire menus, which sounds like robots taking over the world, but it's a bit more nuanced than that. There's a certain artistic essence that they can't touch ... yet. But poke around, start thinking about how it might affect what you do on a day to day basis in several years. It's coming.

random ideas

  1. Sabbatical health insurance. Health insurance tied to employment can suck it, seriously. There's probably a fair number of people out there who don't take sabbaticals because they won't have employer health insurance and Cobra is cost-prohibitive.

  2. I love reading out loud. How about we make an AI read text just as expressively as a human does, and not resort to the creepy robot Google Maps voice?

chicharron sushi

Next time you get sushi to-go, make sure you get something where you'll have some leftover sushi rice. Get a bag of chicharrones and make chicharron sushi. If you want to be a true ass about it, put a dollop of wasabi on the bottom of the chicharron. I guess I'll amend the statement that this isn't cooking, it's assembling. 🤗

quote of the week

"If you believe something needs to exist, if it's something you want to use yourself, don't let anyone ever stop you from doing it." - Tobias Lütke