Alex's Notes

A collection of notes organized in the Zettelkästen style to foster creative thinking.

  • Rule of 72

    Estimate how many weeks it will take for a value to double if it continues to grows at a certain rate e.

  • Formal System

    A formal system consists of axioms (statements that are true) and rules (how axioms can be manipulated).

  • Gödel Incompleteness for Startups

    An essay that relates Gödel’s incompleteness theorem (along with the Halting Problem) to startup disruption–arguing that all successful startups discover one or more G-statements and extract value by building a formal system around it.

  • G-Statement

    An unprovable, but true statement as described in Gödel’s incompleteness theorem.

  • Org-Mode

    A package built into Emacs which combines outlining, task management, scheduling, code execution, spreadsheet, and much more.

  • EBNF

    A context-free grammar can be described using Extended Backus–Naur form (EBNF) notation.

  • Graphviz

    A declarative language for describing diagrams and an environment that renders .

  • Nomenklatura

    The Soviet Ruling class, members of the communist party that control everything.

  • Modelica

    A modeling programming language and environment that provides a way to express, simulate, and optimize systems (usually physical).

  • Consignment

    Giving a thing to someone else, while still retaining ownership, for the purposes of selling the thing.

  • Zoonotic Virus

    A virus that passes from animals to humans. Examples include: SARS, Swine Flu, and COVID-19.

  • Visitor Pattern

    A pattern for traversing a tree of heterogeneous objects. Decoupling the algorithm for traversing the tree and the code operating on the objects leads to a much cleaner (and easily extensible) code.

  • Homeostasis

    A state of equilibrium for an organism that is the optimal condition.

  • COVID-19

    A corona virus that became a global pandemic. The number of cases has surpassed 2MM and over 500 thousand people have died (at time of writing).

  • Literate Programming

    Intertwines documentation and source code which emphasizes the need for code to not only be understood by the compiler, but also by future engineers trying to reason about your code.

  • Decision Log

    A document that keeps track of critical decisions made by a team to raise awareness and provide a reference for future discussions that involve some form of ‘why did we decide to do x?

  • R Value

    A rating for the ability of a virus to spread. R of 1 would indicate each infected person infects one person.

  • Lean Startup

    A framework for starting companies that focuses on better understanding of customers and markets by building minimum viable products to validate assumptions.

  • Epistemology

    The understanding of knowledge and distinguishing between truth and beliefs.


    A shell holding company goes public with the intention of raising money to merge with a private company—effectively making the private company public without having to go through the listing process.

  • Plutonomy

    In finance, the plutonomy is the small group of people that control most of the wealth.

  • Tacit Knowledge

    Knowledge that can not be transferred through words alone. For example, it won’t help someone learning to ride a bike to make them read an instruction manual and expect they can flawlessly ride a bike afterward.

  • Sigmoid Function

    A mathematical function that produces an ’S’ shaped curve when plotted and is used to transform a number into a value between 0 and 1 (also -1 and 1).

  • Planck's Principle

    Scientific change doesn’t happen because because people change their mind, but because the next generation of scientists have different views.

  • Substituted Economics for Racism

    Thurgood Marshall made the comment that we have “substituted economics for race” in his dissent to the San Antonio Independent School District v.

  • Structural Racism

    Racism that has been deliberately built into systems that govern and organize our lives including education, courts, laws, constitution, law enforcement, etc.

  • Pyrrhic Victory

    A victory that results in self-inflicted devastation equivalent to defeat.

  • Tyler Cowen

    Thoughtful economist from George Mason University, author, blogger, and podcast host.

  • Lindy Effect

    A theory that states, the future of an idea or technology is proportional to how old it currently is so that every additional period results in longer life expectency.

  • Hobson’s Choice

    An illusion of a choice between two inequivalent options. Hobson ran stable filled with many horses.