TLDR 2023-09-14

Starlink financials leak 🛰️, becoming a staff engineer 👨‍💻, how consumers are using AI 🤖

Big Tech & Startups

SpaceX’s Starlink made $1.4 billion last year (2 minute read)

Starlink generated $1.4 billion in revenue last year, up $222 million from 2021 but $11 billion short of its original projections. The company is no longer incurring losses from producing satellite antennas. Elon Musk initially predicted in 2015 that Starlink would have 20 million subscribers by the end of 2022. The service reported 1.5 million users in May 2023. Starlink was losing about $20 million a month maintaining its services in October 2022.

Stability AI debuts Stable Audio bringing text to audio generation to the masses (5 minute read)

Stability AI has announced the public release of Stable Audio. The technology allows anyone to use text prompts to generate audio clips. It uses a diffusion model trained on audio rather than images. The model is not able to generate new music in the style of specific artists. The free version of Stable Audio will allow 20 generations of tracks up to 20 seconds per month, while the Pro version will allow 500 generations of up to 90 second tracks for $12 per month.
Science & Futuristic Technology

A NASA astronaut will finally spend a full year in space (5 minute read)

Frank Rubio was planning to come home from the International Space Station around spring break of 2023, but a micrometeoroid struck the Soyuz spacecraft that was supposed to take him, causing his return to be delayed. This resulted in Rubio completing two six-month increments instead of just one. Rubio is now the NASA astronaut with the longest continuous period of time in space. He will have spent 371 days in space when he lands later this month.

Moderna CEO on AI’s potential to cure cancer (9 minute read)

Moderna was using AI to create new drugs years before ChatGPT came out. The technology was used to create drugs like its Covid-19 vaccine. Moderna's experimental mRNA flu vaccine did well enough in a Phase 3 study that it could potentially gain regulatory approval. It is now planning a Phase 3 trial of an mRNA-based therapy for a certain type of lung cancer. This article contains an interview with Moderna's CEO where they discuss AI, management challenges that the tech poses, and how artificial intelligence is being used to help find a cure for cancer.
Programming, Design & Data Science

Pagefind (GitHub Repo)

Pagefind is a fully static search library that aims to make websites with tens of thousands of pages searchable in the browser while consuming as little bandwidth as possible. It exposes a JavaScript search API that can be used anywhere. Pagefind can run a full-text search on a 10,000-page site with a total network payload of under 300kB.

How I Became An $800K Meta Staff Engineer (9 minute read)

This article details one engineer's experience working with Meta and how they increased their compensation from $390,000 in 2017 to $823,000 in 2021. It covers their actions throughout the years and discusses the main lessons learned. The article discusses how to become a high earner and provides direct advice on how to achieve similar levels of success.

How Are Consumers Using Generative AI? (10 minute read)

This article looks at how consumers are interacting with generative AI (GenAI) products. ChatGPT currently has a massive lead in the space. Assistants are dominating use cases, but companionship and creative tool use are on the rise. Most product categories are still up for grabs. Acquisition for top products is entirely organic. Consumers are willing to pay for GenAI.

Millionaire Biohacker Says Algorithm Runs His Life: ‘My Mind No Longer Decides’ (15 minute read)

Bryan Johnson is a 46-year-old tech millionaire famous for his longevity project, Blueprint. He takes more than 100 supplements a day, submits himself to constant medical assessments, keeps to a strict diet, goes to bed at 8:30 p.m., and takes a dizzying array of experimental treatments. Johnson has spent around $2 million per year on the project and he openly shares the findings on his website. This article features an interview with Johnson where he talks about the project, the time airport security flagged him for having too many powders, and why he wants to maximize his urination speed.
Quick Links

Some notes on Local-First Development (15 minute read)

Local first development means shifting reads and writes to an embeddable database in each client via sync engines that facilitate data between clients and servers.

Lunar (GitHub Repo)

Lunar brings e-commerce functionality to Laravel.

Google is cutting hundreds of jobs in its recruiting organization (2 minute read)

Affected employees in Google's recruitment group will be notified through email.

Lessons from 139 YC AI startups (6 minute read)

This year's YC Demo Day featured a record-breaking 139 startups that were in some way related to AI or ML.

Omens of exceptional talent (3 minute read)

A collection of signs that someone might have exceptional talent, created more as a brainstorming exercise rather than as a list of requirements.

Nine wild details from the new Elon Musk biography (10 minute read)

Walter Isaacson's biography of Elon Musk's life covers everything from Musk's early childhood through to his purchase of Twitter and recent decision to launch X.
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