Your Instructions

I’ve collected important questions and put them on this page, in the hopes that a kindly stranger (you!) might offer a compelling answer, or perhaps a promising lead or book recommendation. Please contact me if you have something to share!

How do you make teaching a high-status profession in the U.S.?

Doctors and lawyers perform service jobs that are well-respected in society. Teachers are just as important, but they don’t get the same respect or pay. If teaching were a high-status profession, it would be more competitive to get into, it would pay better, and teachers would have more latitude to be creative and autonomous. Children would benefit enormously as a result.

How do you create a successful mass movement for greater housing density?

Many well-meaning folks are against developing more housing, often because of misguided environmentalism, anti-developer sentiment, or anti-change conservatism. What efforts could convince a majority of Americans that making cities more dense is good for everyone? If you did this, we could ease rent burdens, reduce wealth gaps, lower carbon emissions, and live in a more egalitarian and integrated society.

My work on the board of California YIMBY’s educational arm fits with this goal.

How do you bring about universal programming literacy?

I was lucky to teach myself programming starting around age 13. Most children never learn to program a computer, and increasingly live at the mercy of the relatively small priesthood of programmers. In a world run by software, programming literacy should be on par with math and reading as a basic skill taught to everyone. If we did this, we’d live in a more empowered society and we’d be more capable of understanding and shaping the changes brought by software.

Two of my favorite investments are working on this problem: Replit by lowering the barriers to entry to programming, and Dynamicland by redefining computing itself.

How can I solve my chronic sinus infections?

I have had low-grade sinus infections my whole life. I’ve tried sinus surgery and a variety of other things and nothing seems to help. This doesn’t stop me from doing most things, but it is an annoying issue I would love to fix.

Why is buttery toast so unreasonably good?

It just doesn’t make sense.