Pranay Prakash

I build reference implementations for unrealistic projects

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A case for Nihilism

Recently, I learned that my friends consider me very nihilistic. I don’t blame them. After all, I often say “I’m very nihilistic” or “life is inherently meaningless” in the first 5 minutes of a conversation.

Most people (or perhaps just in America or my social circles) tend to view nihilism as inherently negative. I sense that people often associate nihilism with being depressed, lacking energy, lacking ambition, and lacking morals and the ability to differentiate right and wrong.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. Here’s why nihilism leads to the opposite of all these assumptions -

Why nihilism does not lead to depression

“We’re all going to die anyway” is one of the best ways to kill the mood at a party (trust me, I know from experience). Nobody can fault you for thinking I’m depressed if I say this. However, I find this statement to be a rather pleasant thought.


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The thing about age

These are my thoughts on ageism - discriminating people, and more importantly, ideas, just because of someone’s age.

I’m 22 years old. If you’re older than me, don’t hang up. Give me a chance. Sure, I may not have as much experience as you, and a lot of what I say may be wrong and uninformed, but that’s fine. Mistakes are good because that means decisions are being made - and I can fix those mistakes, but I have to start somewhere - and that’s where this post comes in.

I’m going to pitch this idea in two ways. First, to someone younger than me, and then, to someone older. You’ll want to read them both to fully understand my view

To someone younger,
When I disregard an idea you have - it might be because it’s a terrible idea - but more often than not, it’s because I’m jealous. I see a better version of myself when I look at you. You bring with you so much enthusiasm and potential...

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[RFC - Request for Company] A Platform for Videobooks

Books (and more recently, blogs) are how people share knowledge. However Millennials and Gen Z find videos to be incredibly more accessible. 73% of US adults use Youtube (currently at 2B MAUs) and 1B hours of video is viewed per day. Personally, I’ve noticed I ask people if they read, but I usually ask someone what they watch on Youtube/Netflix instead - it’s a given they watch something. The problem is, an overwhelming amount of content on Youtube consumed is purely entertainment - games, vlogs, talk shows, etc. whereas books strike a better balance between fiction and non-fiction.

A videobook is a short (30m to 1.5h) production of a book that covers nearly everything. This would work well for non-fiction, and could be split into individual ~10min videos so each chapter is individually indexed. Fiction might not lend itself really well to this model, and readers likely prefer reading...

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Say their name

The sweetest sound in any language is one’s name

People are very diverse but there are a few universal truths. Everyone wants to feel understood. People need to belong. Nobody wants to be ostracised. If you can make someone feel understood, they’ll like you. The more you do it, the more they’ll like you.

Try this exercise - Think about a person you love. Think about their interests and their goals. Specifically think about the things they value that you don’t. What do you do when they talk about those interests? Shut them down? No. If your relationship is healthy and you’ve had enough time together, you’ve tried to empathise and maybe even get involved in what matters to them. It’s why they love you.

There’s a lot more to say here but I’m keeping this one short - say a person’s name when you talk to them. Say it a lot! Do it enough that it feels awkward and forced, because it will be...

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How to learn things at 1000x the speed

Throughout my schooling and career, I’ve impressed people over and over again with how quickly I pick up things, especially hard things. For instance, exactly 4y ago I did my first ever interview, got a simple question and failed miserably after spending 4h on it and finally asking the interviewer what “recursion” was. Since then I’ve created core UI components at Facebook used by billions, worked on the language spec for GraphQL and Relay, ported an optimization made popular by Haskell to JS by writing an optimizing compiler, built an extension for VSCode that has half a million installs and has been listed on multiple top 10 articles, scaled a botnet of over 2,000 bots that made money from a popular trivia game, shipped to production an IPFS inspired decentralized file server and the fastest Serverless Docker runtime, almost completed a design minor while successfully creating a brand...

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