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Philip I. Thomas

I own The Contraption Company, where I craft tools that help people work online. I studied physics and systems engineering at Washington University in St. Louis. After graduating, I moved to San Francisco to work at OpenDNS, then started the contractor-focused workforce management startup Staffjoy while a Y Combinator Fellow. I then co-founded Moonlight to help engineers find remote work, and PullRequest later acquired the company. After traveling and working at various startups, I started The Contraption Company to reimagine work in the Information Age. There, I develop two main products, Postcard and Booklet, serve as an advisor for Dawn Health, and offer limited consulting services. In my free time, I love exploring cities and visiting innovative cafes and restaurants. Contact me at

What I'm up to - February 2023

✨ What I've been up to Hello from Cozumel, Mexico! It's 80° F here - a welcome break from the Chicago Winter. Since last Summer, I've been taking a "solo week" trip every quarter as a creative recharge. This trip to Cozumel is one of these solo weeks, and I've been spending a lot of time in cafes exploring new Contraption Company projects. It's a ritual I plan to continue - I've already scheduled solo weeks over the next year to Copenhagen, Mexico City, And Tokyo. Postcard continues to do well. I built new features and did a short interview with GoSolo.  Robin Sloan mentioned Postcard in his newsletter. I enjoyed Robin's book Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore while living in the San Francisco neighborhood where the story is set. 🤔 Things to share • Articles: Nash Equilibria and Schelling Points. Underutilized fixed assets and how marketplaces inevitably shift from retail to professional sellers. The Digital Workplace Is Designed to Bring You Down. The uncovering of a real Tom Cruise-style dogfight between US and Soviet fighters during the Korean War. All of Bits about Money (like Money Stuff for financial systems).  • Books: Intrigued recently by the Nordics, I read every book by Kay Xander Mellish - even a guide to American culture for Danes (!).  • Trends: Starlink is popping up on Airbnb listings. • Listening: Creativity by John Cleese. A 2019 interview between Lex Friedman and Donald Knuth (personal takeaway: seek simplicity in tools I build, but embrace complexity in tools I use). • Fun fact: Many Russian submarines have a sauna. • Apps: Obsidian replaced Notion as my personal organization tool. Quitter closes my calendar, messages, and email after 5 minutes of inactivity.  • Cool infrastructure: Chicago Deep Tunnel project. • Coffee I'm drinking: Metric Costa Rica La Bandera Geisha. 📫 What I'm up to this month • Writing a post about the AI hype cycle • Launching some new Postcard features • Researching online communities • Prototyping a new project 📍 Where I'll be (Let me know if we overlap!) • Feb 18-24: 🗽 NYC
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Philip I. Thomas ·

I just published "What I'm up to - February 2023" on my website - check it out:

What I'm up to - February 2023
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Write once, share everywhere

1 Make a site in minutes
Add your photo and biography, then publish to your own domain.
2 Feature it on your social profiles
Add your homepage as the bio link on your social profiles. It both looks legit and helps people find your site.
3 Write on Postcard, then share everywhere
When you have something to share, post on Postcard. Email subscribers will get it in their inbox. Then, share an enhanced link on sites like Twitter and LinkedIn.
4 Grow your mailing list
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Personal homepage + newsletter

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