Highlights from Quora

Great answer on Quora, about company culture, from Chamath Palihapitiya. The post is the final email he sent out, the day he resigned from Facebook. The question and the answer where this quote came up can be found on Quora.

“i leave with incredible hope for how you will continue to make this place awesome. every tuesday, i talk to the n00bs. and i generally tell them the following, which i leave for you as a reminder:

its easy to get distracted. everyone thinks we are much better than we actually are. be humble and honest about the fact that more is left to do than has already been done. keep moving quickly and don’t get bogged down in the things that don’t matter.

we risk becoming like everyone else. the only chance we have is the discipline and resolve of the silent majority who needs to and MUST become more vocal as the company gets bigger. fight for the culture the way it should be…not the way it was or the way its becoming.

be afraid of the company you don’t know. there is someone out there lurking with a small idea that will grow into a giant. don’t ignore that which you don’t immediately understand and keep pushing to evolve faster than what people expect. it can create unease at times but its our only path to long term relevance.

speak the truth. its too easy to “manage” – upwards, sideways, downwards and be rewarded for it. this is death. speak candidly especially when it means it won’t be well received. respect the person but don’t let bad ideas go unchallenged.

their is more valor in failure than success. success is hard to define and hard to isolate root causes when it happens. its rare to learn much of anything from success except to conflate luck and skill, but you learn tons in failure. take enough risks that you continue to fail…and celebrate those so that it becomes the battle scars you talk about when you do eventually succeed.

don’t be a douchebag. this is pretty self-explanatory but its not about the right to ripstik or the quality of the candy bars in the office. its about winning. everything else comes second….a distant second. and the perceived correlation between winning and the rest is only in your mind. interestingly so is the resolve and focus to win.

i’ve really enjoyed my time here. thanks again for the chance to always say what’s on my mind. its a rare place that allows everyone to do that and our results speak to the values of risk taking, openness and transparency. don’t betray them as we move along.

good luck. make it rain.

The worlds tallest building during the medieval ages – and why they actually got shorter

A recently wrote an answer on Quora, regarding the worlds tallest buildings during before the industrial revolution and the modern times. Interestingly enough, it turned out they actually got shorter for a very long time!

The Question:
What were the tallest buildings during the Middle Ages, and what are the tallest buildings today?

The answer, as I wrote it:

Wikipedia has the answer, of course there is a list for this… :) See: Timeline of three tallest structures in the world.

  • For a very long time the Pyramid of Cheops was the tallest building / structure.
  • 1300-1549 the tallest building in the world was the Lincoln Cathedral in London – 160 meters
  • 1549-1625 St Olafs Church in Tallin – 159 meters (actually shorter then the Lincoln Cathedral, but the top spire at the Lincoln Cathedral collapsed in 1549 and was not rebuild)
  • 1625-1647 During this short time it was the St. Mary’s Church in Stralsund – 151 meters (also shorter, because St Olafs Church was hit by lightning and burned down, not rebuild at the same height)
  • 1647 and for a couple of hundred years Strasbourg Cathedral was the tallest buidling – 142 meters (also shorten then the previous record holders – as the St. Mary Church in Stralsund was struck by lightning in 1647, and burned down. It was rebuilt with a baroque dome, which, completed in 1708, is only 104 meters tall).

So those are the tallest structures during the middle ages. At least according to wikipedia… And somewhat unexpected that the tallest building actually got shorter during this long period of time.

As for the tallest today, that is rather simple:

  • Burj Khalifa – 829.8 meters
  • Tokyo Skytree – 634 meters
  • Shanghai Tower – 632 meters

I really like the way Quora makes it possible to find interesting topics and questions. And also makes you research things yourself, even if you do not know the answer – such as in this case.