Paras Chopra Profile picture
A generalist | founder of @wingify aka @vwo
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21 Sep
Capitalism rewards rare and valuable

(a short thread on this mental model)

🎉 It's also the first chapter from my new book invertedpassion.com/capitalism-rew…
1/ You create value when you fulfill the unmet desires of people better than the alternatives they have (from competitors).
2/ The idea that capitalism rewards things that are rare and valuable was proposed by @ScottAdamsSays in his essay on career advice where he recommended readers to master various skills until no one else has the mix that you have.

dilbertblog.typepad.com/the_dilbert_bl…
Read 11 tweets
14 Sep
So I spent my Sunday evening training a neural network to generate 🎥 movie plots, and the results are...

Intriguing and hilarious.

Read on for examples.
1/ Movie plot involving 👽 ALIENS:

"Aliens land in the California coast to find a way to fight against the machines."

"Aliens land on Earth, kidnap young people, make some money selling drugs and end up in the desert where they live."
2/ "Aliens land in our city and kidnap people to keep them in it. Their leader is an alcoholic cop, and the people of the city try to get him into custody and take revenge."

"Aliens land on earth and the moon in pursuit of an extraterrestrial scientist"
Read 11 tweets
6 Sep
Top 10 🎥 underrated movies you can watch.

Just did this analysis on IMDB dataset with minimum 1000 votes.

Look at the column underrated_rating. It is: % of people voting 10 or 9 / % of people voting 8 or 7.

How many have you seen from the list? I've seen none! Image
The topmost one is an indie movie that has won many awards.

imdb.com/title/tt673574…
Then there is this horror movie with an interesting plot

Two assassins-for-hire have an hour to kill before their next hit. To help pass the time, they entertain themselves by sharing horror stories to one another.

imdb.com/title/tt473022…
Read 12 tweets
21 Aug
All 🧮 models are wrong, but some are useful.

(a thread unpacking this brilliant idea)
1/ What did the British statistician George Box mean when he wrote these now-famous words in 1976, and how is it relevant to you?

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_E.…
2/ Whenever we try understanding the world around us – be it our customers’ behavior, or how stars circle the center of a galaxy, or how coronavirus affects the human body – we never have direct and full access to the underlying reality.
Read 16 tweets
17 Aug
A short thread on 📔 deep work.

(based on my personal experience)
1/ First of all, the definition of deep work.

Deep work happens when you are able to work with an uninterrupted focus on typically a hard or complex problem.

The term comes from the eponymous book by Cal Newport amazon.in/Deep-Work-Focu…
2/ Increasingly, the super-power is not access to information. It's the ability to prioritize, focus, and internalize.

Yet modern work is all but conducive to focus. You have emails, meetings, slack and constant firefighting.
Read 18 tweets
3 Aug
Tried GPT-3 to explain some memes.

Used old idioms and their meaning as a prompt Image
Idiom: Talk dumb, get the thumb
Meaning: If you talk too much, you will be punished Image
Idiom: Task failed successfully
Meaning: A task that was not completed successfully, but the failure was not due to the person’s lack of effort Image
Read 8 tweets
25 Jul
Reading this #book by @paulg.

Will keep sharing notes in this thread as I go along. Image
1/ The first chapter is on why nerds are unpopular.

The key insight: groups with a clearly well-defined adversary (sports teams, companies) form hierarchy based on ability, while groups without an external adversary (teenagers in school) form hierarchy based on who can rise more
2/ Because teenagers yet don’t have economic value, they’re kept in schools so that adults can go about their day.

In such an empty place, being popular is a full time job and has less to do with what you can do but rather your ability to do things that “popular” kids do.
Read 20 tweets
19 Jul
I made a fully functioning search engine on top of GPT3.

For any arbitrary query, it returns the exact answer AND the corresponding URL.

Look at the entire video. It's MIND BLOWINGLY good.

cc: @gdb @npew @gwern
I will likely be releasing it for public use in the next few days.

To get informed when it launches, leave your email here: docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAI…
The most amazing this is that this is powered by EXACTLY the same API that I used yesterday for a very different use case: talking to famous people

This obviously isn’t AGI but a glimpse of it.
Read 4 tweets
18 Jul
I am talking to famous people on GPT3.

Here's what they're saying.

(a short thread)
1/ Asked @RichardDawkins on GPT3 to explain the central idea of his book "The Selfish Gene".

Here's what it said.

(Everything after Dear Paras is GPT3).
Wrote to @paulg on GPT3 to guide me on starting a startup.

Here's what it said.
Read 13 tweets
16 Jul
Twyman’s law

(a short thread on why you can't always trust data)
1/ Twyman’s law states that any data or figure that looks interesting or different is usually wrong.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twyman%27…
2/ Sounds unbelievable, isn’t it?

But, it’s true. I saw this in action recently and wanted to share that story with you.
Read 10 tweets
29 Jun
Whenever you're at a crossroads and are wondering what to do next, here's how to think.

(a short thread on horizon based thinking)
1/ The first thing to ensure is that you acknowledge that a lot of your decision-making will be driven by how you're feeling *right now* and not how you'll feel once you choose a path.

The need to escape can make us choose things that we won't like long term.
2/ The way to keep emotion-driven decision at bay is to *force* yourself to think in three horizons:

1. Short term goals
2. Long term goals
3. The path between the two
Read 10 tweets
26 Jun
We just went remote-first at @wingify

Here's the email we sent to our team.

(it's long, so this is a thread)
1/ What does remote-first organization mean
2/ What does this mean for you and your career
Read 12 tweets
19 Jun
One big mistake that founders and managers do is regarding “micromanagement”.

This is an overloaded word that can easily misguide.

(a small thread)
1/ I’ve seen managers absolutely scared of giving detailed feedback to their teams because they’re afraid of coming across as “micro managers”.

That’s not just harmful to the company but also to the team too — feedback is how everyone improves.
2/ You have to realise that the amount of attention to detail needs to be directly proptional to how valuable / core is the work to your company’s existence.

The more important something is, the more obsessive, detailed you *have* to be as a manager.
Read 10 tweets
17 Jun
Not winning does not imply losing.

(a thread on perils of 🔀 binary thinking)
1/ We recently ran an A/B test and here were the results.

In the test results we still don't have 95% statistical confidence (probability to be the best) but we're going ahead and implementing the variation on homepage.

Why?
2/ Because, and here's the key idea.

Not getting a winner is different than having a loser!

Allow me to unpack..
Read 10 tweets
9 Jun
How do you bootstrap a $20mn+ 💰 business in 10 years?

Without any VC/angel funding.

(A thread on how @vwo's evolution)
1/ We celebrated @VWO's 10th birthday last week.

In 2010, VWO was launched as the world’s first A/B testing tool with the now industry-standard visual editor for making website variations.

Here's a story of how that happened.
2/ Not may know, but the reason my company's name is @wingify (which is different than the product name VWO) is because the first product was actually called Wingify.

It looked like this (2009 screenshot)
Read 25 tweets
7 Jun
Just finished this #book on the history of Bayes theorem and I highly recommend it.

In case you’re wondering what is it, keep reading.

(A thread on Bayes theorem)
1/ Statistics is all about calculating probabilities, and there are two camps who interpret probability differently.

Frequentists = frequency of events over multiple trials

Bayesians = subjective belief of outcome of events
2/ This philosophical divide informs what these two camps usually bother with.

Frequentists = probability of data, given a model (of how data could have been generated)

Bayesians = probability of model, given the data
Read 11 tweets
2 Jun
Reading messages from strangers at thiswebsitewillselfdestruct.com
Çagla, hope you get to see this!
Welcome to the world, Max!

Hope you do amazing things :)
Read 5 tweets
3 May
What’s the secret of humanity’s success?

Hint: it’s not our intelligence.

(A review of a review of a book)
1/ If you think it’s intelligence, here’s a challenge for you.

Go out and try to create a fire. I bet that even if you’re big brained, if you’ve never learned to create a fire, you won’t be able to do so.
2/ History is full of examples where European explorers struggled to survive when they got stranded in unfamiliar environments.

Raw intelligence didn’t amount to much.
Read 10 tweets
2 May
Notes from this classic #book on architecture that I read recently.

(A thread)
1/ This book is actually about design of anything and not just architecture.

More than a practical how-to manual, it’s really about the spirit and philosophy of good design.
2/ The central idea is that things - buildings, objects, interfaces - have a quality that’s hard to describe.

Terms like comfortable, whole, free, exact, eternal, egoless come close. The closest term to this quality without a name is “alive” but that still doesn’t capture it
Read 18 tweets
11 Apr
My notes and interpretation of the #book “Being Ecological” by @the_eco_thought

It’s a short book that I read back to back, twice. I highly recommend it.
1/ The first thing that struck me was the fact that we find photos of nature mesmerising and arresting.

But that’s only because we take the safety of civilisation (hospitals, food, phone service) for granted.

Imagine being thrown in nature naked. That’s terrifying.
2/ This suggests that “loving nature” is a bit vacuous and dishonest because it assumes that nature is that picturesque thing that can be observed and appreciated from a distance.

Nature, rather, is actually everything - including the hospitals, food, plastics and phones.
Read 28 tweets
8 Apr
Rule 1 of writing well: ONLY write on things you have a strong opinion on.

And strong opinions come from expertise.
Rule 2 of writing well: in first few sentences, tell the reader things that she doesn’t already knows but is likely to care about a great deal.

Which means really aiming to give genuine insight and not making the writing about you, but rather make it about the reader.
Rule 3 of writing well: assume the reader is smarter than you but extremely impatient.

This means not talking down or using jargon. It also means structuring your writing with headings, images and bullets so it is easy to scan.
Read 5 tweets