> Hello
> My name is Julian
> This is my lifelog
and digital playground  

Current interests (Q4 ’19)

This is a list of things and questions I’m currently interested in. I define these at the beginning of each quarter and then spend the next 3 months learning as much as possible about them. If you have any good resources (books, articles, videos, podcasts) on any of these topics, please let me know.

  • Charter cities
  • Payment processing infrastructure
    Related questions:
    • What explains the adoption of different payment methods across different countries?
    • Why is Germany so obsessed with cash?
  • Douglas Engelbart
  • Command line interfaces
  • Personal user manuals
    See Working with Claire Hughes Johnson & A Guide to Urs.
    Are there other good examples?
Oct 07, 2019  ×  Berlin, DE

Media Consumption (July 2019)

>_ Summary
  • Read 5 books (1355 min, +179%) and 27 long-form articles (-7%)
  • Listened to 521 songs (+62%), 0 audiobooks (same) and 8 podcast episodes (445 min, -10%)
  • Watched 7 movies (+600%), 3 soccer games (-25%) and 21 TV episodes (1141 min, -28%)
  • Played 0 video games (-100%)
>_ Books

The Power Broker (Robert A. Caro)
░░░░░░▓░░░░░░░░ Progress: 40-48%

The Revolt of the Public (Martin Gurri)
░▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ Progress: 7-100%

Snow Crash (Neal Stephenson)
▓░░░░░░░░░░░░░░ Progress: 0-8%

House of Leaves (Mark Danielewski)
▓░░░░░░░░░░░░░░ Progress: 0-2%

The Dawn of Eurasia (Bruno Macaes)
▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓░ Progress: 0-92%

>_ Recommended Articles

How I practice at what I do (Tyler Cowen)

The Economist Who Would Fix the American Dream (The Atlantic)

Liu Cixin’s War of the Worlds (New Yorker)

>_ Recommended Podcasts

Neal Stephenson on Depictions of Reality (Conversations with Tyler)

An Era of Stagnation & Universal Institutional Failure (The Portal)

>_ Music

Top Artists: The National, Thom Yorke, The Black Keys, James Blake, Van Morrison

Aug 20, 2019  ×  Berlin, DE

Media Consumption (June 2019)

>_ Summary
  • Read 5 books (485 min, +10%) and 29 long-form articles (+16%)
  • Listened to 321 songs (+21%), 0 audiobooks (0 min, -100%) and 8 podcast episodes (495 min, +114%)
  • Watched 1 movie (-80%), 4 soccer games (same) and 28 TV episodes (1577 min, +431%)
  • Played 1 video game (485 min, +52%)
>_ Books

The Power Broker (Robert A. Caro)
░░░░░▓░░░░░░░░░ Progress: 38-40%

How Asia Works (Joe Studwell)
░░░░░░▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ Progress: 42-100%

The Thief (Fuminori Nakamura)
▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ Progress: 0-100%

The Revolt of the Public (Martin Gurri)
▓░░░░░░░░░░░░░░ Progress: 0-7%

>_ Recommended Articles

It’s 2059, and the Rich Kids Are Still Winning (Ted Chiang, NYT)

You can handle the post-truth (Aaron Z. Lewis)

Kinky Labor Supply and the Attention Tax (Andrew Kortina)

>_ Recommended Podcasts

Joe Rogan Experience #1309 – Naval Ravikant

Feeling Superhuman with Rahul Vohra (The Art of Product Podcast)

Hal Varian on Taking the Academic Approach to Business (Conversations with Tyler)

>_ Music

Top Artists: The National, Hans Zimmer, Radiohead, Oasis, Thom Yorke

Jul 26, 2019  ×  Berlin, DE

My Notion Subscription Tracker

We now live in a world where pretty much everything is subscription based. Listen to music? Monthly subscription. Start a meditation habit? Monthly subscription. Faster Amazon deliveries? Monthly subscription. Life as a service, essentially.

While recurring revenue streams are great for the businesses offering them, as a consumer I find it increasingly harder to keep track all my active subscriptions. Free trials, different billing periods and automatic renewals have made it really difficult to stay on top of my finances.

So I created a little subscription tracker in Notion.

In this database I save all of my subscription services including their current status (active / paused / canceled), billing period (yearly / monthly) and calculate monthly and yearly costs.

Most importantly, I save the renewal date of each subscription and add a 1 week reminder so that I still have the option to cancel before a new payment hits my credit card.

I posted a public version of my subscription tracker here for you to copy.

Jul 25, 2019  ×  Berlin, DE

Media Consumption (May 2019)

>_ Summary
  • Read 2 books (440 min, -27%) and 25 long-form articles (+14%)
  • Listened to 266 songs (-31%), 1 audiobook (200 min, -86%) and 4 podcast episodes (231 min, -58%)
  • Watched 5 movies (+400%), 4 soccer games (-50%) and 5 TV episodes (297 min, +141%)
  • Played 1 video game (320 min, -3%)
>_ Books

Killing Commendatore (Haruki Murakami)
░░░░░░░░░░░░░░▓ Progress: 92-100%

The Power Broker (Robert A. Caro)
░░░░░▓░░░░░░░░░ Progress: 33-38%

How Asia Works (Joe Studwell)
░░▓▓▓▓░░░░░░░░░ Progress: 14-42%

>_ Recommended Articles

Why books don’t work (Andy Matuschak)

Understanding Abundance (Alex Danco)

Going Critical (Kevin Simler)

The Dark Forest Theory of the Internet (Yancey Strickler)

The making of Amazon Prime (Vox / Recode)

>_ Music

Top Artists: The National, The Black Keys, Queens of the Stone Age, Two Door Cinema Club, Deichkind

Jun 11, 2019  ×  Berlin, DE

Apr 25, 2019  ×  Berlin, DE

Quantified Julian 2018

This is my quantified self report for 2018. Since 2013 I’ve been tracking various life metrics to learn more about myself and improve my productivity, health and well-being. Last year I kept track of about 50 metrics across 5 categories. Some data are captured automatically via applications such as Last.fm (music), Fitbit (steps, sleep), RescueTime (productivity) or Moves (location) – I log the rest manually in a Google Sheets spreadsheet.

>_ Physical Activity
fig 01  Steps per day & Monthly Average

I took a total of 4,477,138 steps last year, which is an average of 12,226 steps per day. My most active day was May 19 with 30,147 steps. On 88 days I didn’t hit my daily step goal of 10,000. I walked less than average in colder months of the year (Jan-Apr, Dec). You can also see a dip in September where I was down with the flu for about a week.

fig 02  Swim distance per week

My 2018 goals included going for a swim at least once per week and increasing the total swim distance. I didn’t miss a single week in 2018 and I swam a total of 128.5 kilometers which is a 27% increase compared to 2017. I swam in 6 different pools and 1 lake across 6 different cities in 4 different countries. The London Acquatics Centre was the nicest pool I swam in this year.

>_ Media Consumption

fig 03  Time spent per medium per month

I consumed a total of 30 books last year of which I finished 18 (60% completion rate). I read 11 books on my Kindle (55% completed), 6 in paper format (33% completed) and listened to 13 as audiobooks (77% completed).

I spent 73.5 hours reading books on my Kindle, 14.5 hours reading paper books and 89 hours listening to audiobooks. That an average of roughly 29 minutes of book consumption per day.

My favourite books this year were The Elephant in the Brain, Finite and Infinite Games and Bad Blood.

Listening to 84 podcast episodes took up 85 hours of time last year, while watching TV and movies made up 193 and 56 hours, respectively.

Additionally, I read 361 long-form articles.

fig 04  Number of songs per day

I spent 21 days and 10 hours listening to 8.820 songs (of which 3.334 were unique) from 1491 different albums by 930 different artists.

I haven’t consumed this much music since 2013 (9403 songs), which is a positive sign since I suspect that music consumption is a good proxy for productivity (my job between 2014-2017 was quite meeting-heavy).

fig 05  Most popular artists & songs

More than 60% of the songs I listened to last year were electronic, ambient or contemporary classical music (ideal for productive work). I listen to most music on Fridays (a day that usually has less meetings).

Exactly half of the music I consumed were songs I listened to for the first time.

>_ Travel

I traveled 12,626 kilometers last year visiting 15 cities in 5 countries (DE, AT, CH, PL, GB). I spent the vast majority (+90%) of my time in Berlin:

fig 06  Berlin Movement patterns
Yellow: Walking / Red: Public Transport, Car, Taxi

I visited roughly 5 places per day (down 7% YoY) and explored 633 new locations that I hadn’t been to before.

>_ Nutrition

fig 07  Coffee consumption over time
Dark gray: Filter / Light gray: Espresso

I had 471 cups of coffee last year. 58% of which were filter-, 42% espresso-based.

fig 08  Beer consumption per month

I drank 113.85 liters of beer last year (which is less than I drank in 2017, but still above the average per capita consumption in Germany).

fig 09  Beer consumption vs. Soccer vs. Temperature
Left: Soccer Games (in min) / Right: Average temperature (in °C)

I compared the data to the time I spent watching soccer and the average temperature, which are the two factors I assume have the highest influence on my beer drinking behavior.

fig 10  Old Fashioned’s consumed per month

As if the number of beers wasn’t concerning enough, I additionally had 43 Old Fashioned’s and 101 glasses of wine. (I decided to cut down my alcohol consumption this year.)

I ate 12 bowls of Ramen, 15 Burgers, 14 Gemüsekebabs, 7 Bibimbaps, 2 Poke Bowls, 4 Schnitzels, 78 slices of Pizza and 82 dishes of Pasta.

I limited my meat consumption to 24 meals, but had fish or seafood on 83 occasions.

>_ Wellbeing

fig 11  Perceived Happiness
Daily Scores + Monthly average

I rate each day on a scale of 1-5 with 1 being “Very Unhappy” and 5 being “Very Happy”. I evaluate this in the morning of the next day. I’m aware that this method far from perfect (recency bias, etc) and will probably switch to a tool like Felix Krause’s Mood Tracker.

My average happiness score last year was 3.49. March and October were my happiest months, but I don’t have a good explanation for why this is the case.

I keep similar scores for Perceived Stress (1 = Very relaxed, 5 = Very stressed), Perceived Sleep Quality (1 = Hardly slept, 5 = Slept really well) and Perceived Back Pain (1 = No Pain, 10 = Very Painful).

fig 12  Perceived Stress
Weekly Average

On average I reported a daily stress level of 2.47. Unsurprisingly, weekends were less stressful (1.69) than work days (2.78). My stress levels also decreased whenever I took a vacation.

fig 13  Time Asleep
Weekly Average

I spent 2859 hours and 50 minutes asleep last year. That’s 32.64% of the entire year or 7:50 hours per day.

fig 14  Perceived Sleep Quality
Left: Monthly Average | Right: Weekday Average

I reported an average daily sleep score of 3.68. I slept best in March (4.03) and in nights between Thursday to Friday (3.92). May (3.26) and nights between Sundays and Mondays (3.36) received the lowest perceived sleep quality scores.

fig 15  Perceived Back Pain
Weekly Average

After suffering from chronic back problems for a few years, I started tracking my pain levels in 2017 to get a better understanding of which treatments actually had a positive impact.

In 2018, my average reported daily back pain was 1.45 – down from 4.2 in 2017.

fig 16  Backpain vs. Swim Distance vs. Stationary Time
Left: Swim Distance | Right: Stationary Time

I compared my back pain numbers to my swim activities (which seem to have some impact) as well as the time I spent stationary (no physical activity).

>_ Productivity

fig 17  Time Spent on Computer
Weekly Duration

I spent 1709 hours in front of my MacBook last year – that’s 19.51% of the entire year.

fig 18  Top Activities
Time spent per application / website

Twitter was by far my most used application in 2018: I spent (wasted?) a total of 161 hours on the platform last year (note that this doesn’t include phone screen time).

98 hours were spent reading and writing emails in Google Inbox – my second most used app last year. I switched to Superhuman at the end of last year and I’m curious if my 2019 data will support the company’s promise of making email faster and more efficient.

fig 19  Productivity Scores
Time spent per category

Every app and website is tagged with a productivity label ranging from Very Productive to Very Unproductive. I spent the majority of the time (907 hours) doing either Very Productive or Productive work. 602 hours were marked as Unproductive or even Very Unproductive.

fig 20  Productivity over time
Average Weekly Productivity Score

Based on the applications’ productivity labels and the time I spent in them, a productivity score between 0 (Very Unproductive) and 100 (Very Productive) is calculated. My overall 2018 productivity score was 56 – down from 62 in 2017.

fig 21  Productivity Scores vs. Perceived Stress vs. Perceived Productivity
Left: Perceived Stress | Right: Perceived Productivity

My productivity score follows a similar pattern to my perceived stress levels as well as my perceived productivity (which is an additional 1-5 score with which I rate each working day manually).

>_ Meta

I worked on this report for 13 hours and 25 minutes 🙂

Apr 16, 2019  ×  Berlin, DE

Media Consumption (Mar 2019)

>_ Summary

Read 3 books (465 min, -30%) and 31 long-form articles (+3%).
Listened to 843 songs (+9%), 1 audiobook (20 min, -66%) and 12 podcast episodes (554 min, -20%).
Watched 1 movie (-75%), 6 soccer games (-14%) and 23 TV episodes (415 min, -25%).

>_ Books

The Power Broker (Robert A. Caro)
░▓▓░░░░░░░░░░░░ Progress: 6-21%

Has the West Lost It? (Kishore Mahbubani)
▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ Progress: 0-100%

White (Kenya Hara)
▓▓▓▓▓▓░░░░░░░░░ Progress: 0-43%

>_ Recommended Articles

What The Hell Is Going On? (David Perell)

Mini (Asymco)

What Is Amazon? (Zack Kanter)

Life Capital (Erik Torenberg)

>_ Recommended Podcasts

Sam Altman on Loving Community, Hating Coworking, and the Hunt for Talent (Conversations with Tyler)

What Keith Rabois Thinks About Basically Everything (Venture Stories)


True Detective (Season 3) (HBO)


Jailbreaking the Simulation with George Hotz(SXSW 2019)

>_ Music

Top Artists: Modeselektor, Kuniyuki Takahashi, James Blake, Elskavon, Radiohead

Apr 09, 2019  ×  Berlin, DE

Media Consumption (Feb 2019)

>_ Summary

Read 6 books (665 min, -50%) and 30 long-form articles (-14%).
Listened to 772 songs (-5%), 2 audiobooks (58 min, -86%) and 12 podcast episodes (695 min, +9%).
Watched 4 movies (+300%), 7 soccer games (+134%) and 11 TV episodes (+267%).

>_ Books

Stubborn Attachments (Tyler Cowen)
░░░▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ Progress: 22-100%

The Gentleman’s Guide to Cocktails (Alfred Tong)
▓▓▓▓▓▓░░░░░░░░░ Progress: 0-40%

The Death and Life of Great American Cities (Jane Jacobs)
▓░░░░░░░░░░░░░░ Progress: 0-11%

Imbibe! (David Wondrich)
▓░░░░░░░░░░░░░░ Progress: 0-7%

The Dead Rabbit (Sean Muldoon, Jack McGarry, Jillian Vose)
▓▓▓░░░░░░░░░░░░ Progress: 0-21%

The Power Broker (Robert A. Caro)
▓░░░░░░░░░░░░░░ Progress: 0-6%

Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
▓░░░░░░░░░░░░░░ Progress: 0-7%

Killing Commendatore (Haruki Murakami)
▓░░░░░░░░░░░░░░ Progress: 0-4%

>_ Recommended Articles

Book Review: Zero To One (Slate Star Codex)

Entrepreneur First the Index VC Fund (Digitizing Biology)

What Happens When Techno-Utopians Actually Run a Country (Wired)

The Underground Worlds of Haruki Murakami (New Yorker)

The Most Powerful Person in Silicon Valley (Fast Company)

>_ Music

Top Artists: TV on the Radio, James Blake, Thom Yorke, Radiohead, Bob Moses

Mar 10, 2019  ×  Berlin, DE

Media Consumption (Jan 2019)

>_ Summary

Read 7 books (1320 min, +16%) and 35 long-form articles (-24%).
Listened to 814 songs (+61%), 1 audiobook (401 min, +∞%) and 11 podcast episodes (639 min, -12%).
Watched 1 movies (-50%), 3 soccer games (-50%) and 3 TV episodes (-80%).

>_ Books

The Courage To Be Disliked (Ichiro Kishimi & Fumitake Koga)
░░░░░░░▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ Progress: 45-100%

Radical Markets (Eric A. Posner & Glen Weyl)
░▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ Progress: 7-100%

The 2020 Commission Report on the North Korean Nuclear Attacks Against the United States (Jeffrey Lewis)
▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ Progress: 0-100%

Reality is Broken (Jane McGonigal)
░▓▓▓▓░░░░░░░░░░ Progress: 5-30%

Sprint (Jake Knapp)
▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓░░░░░░░ Progress: 0-62%

The Sovereign Individual (James Dale Davidson)
░░▓░░░░░░░░░░░░ Progress: 12-15%

Stubborn Attachments (Tyler Cowen)
▓▓▓░░░░░░░░░░░░ Progress: 0-22%

Men Without Women (Haruki Murakami)
▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ Progress: 0-100%

>_ Recommended Articles

The unbelievable tale of a fake hitman, a kill list, a darknet vigilante… and a murder (Wired)

The Founder’s Guide to Discipline: Lessons from Front’s Mathilde Collin (First Round Review)

My parents are Flat-Earthers (Jim Fisher)

2018 Predictions: Calibration Results (Slate Star Codex)

Predictions for 2019 (Slate Star Codex)

>_ Recommended Podcasts

Keith Rabois on the future of innovation in Silicon Valley (Recode/Decode)

Tyler Cowen: Two Blundering Fools (North Star Podcast)

Matt Levine: Money Stuff (North Star Podcast)

Keith Rabois: Accumulating Advantages (North Star Podcast)

>_ Music

Top Artists: Jóhann Jóhannsson, James Blake, Radiohead, Thom Yorke, Max Richter

Feb 15, 2019  ×  Berlin, DE
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