Sunk costs

Let go of sunk costs. Don’t dig a deeper hole. Increasig commitment to a losing action will not save you. If a project is failing, no amount of time or money will save you.

Notes from To Sell is Human, by Daniel H. Pink

to-sell-is-human

To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others by Daniel H. Pink

Notes from To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others by Daniel H. Pink.

– We all sell- sellers and buyers have access to roughly the same info. Buyers are not as informed in and idealized what experts think, but the balance has shifted.

– Anyone can master the basics of moving others.

– Attunement, buoyancy, clarity – requirements for moving people. Attunement is about locking in on with what’s being transmitted. Being in tune with others. Selling yourself hinges on 3 principles.

  1. Increase power by reducing it. A study where people were given a slight sense of power and then asked to do the E test (snap five times then write e on forehead) where more likely to write the letter e gave themselves. Thus reducing their ability to a tune to others. IOW be humble and you will be in tune. It is not about being a pushover or sacrificing more than needed
  2. Use your head as much as your heart. Feeling and emotion are critical. Perspective, imagine what the other is thinking vs what they’re feeling. It will help you better negotiate deals
  3. Mimic strategically. It’s social glue, when you mimic others. Be subtle when mimicking others. You’ll be more likely to create a deal that benefits both parties. Mimic carefully and wait 10sec before doing so. Touching is mimicking seconds cousin

– Percentage of closing jumps when buyers are lightly touched and quality perception goes up too. Atonement is about being human. Humility. There is no evidence to suggest extroverts are better at sales than introverts. Ambiverts perform the best. People right in the middle of extroversion and introversion. Extroverts are too aggressive and bug people to much. Introverts, not enough. Ambiverts know the balance of knowing when to listen and when to speak up. Most people are ambiverts. “Where are you from?” Is a great opener for meeting someone new. It’s open and triggers more questions. Some say where they were born and some where they work.

– Stay buoyant in a sea of nos. we talk to ourselves all the time. Some is critical some is positive. But be like bob the builder. He is always on predicaments but asks ” can we fix it.” It shifts linguistic categories. Self question groups solve 50% more of puzzles. It beats declarative talk. “Can I make a good pitch?” “Can I close the deal?” You mind digs deep for the answer. Positivity is key.

– problem finding then problem solving. Good sales people find problems by asking questions and digging deep. Understanding customer workflow and their pain.

– Compare and contrast. It’s summer time and I’m blind. More choose gets more visitors but fewer sales. Limited selection gets 30% sales while huge selection gets 3% sales. Compare and contrast. Focus on what their life will be like with new product. Cars = freedom to go on trips, visiting old friends and family. Experiences are easy to talk about and spread. Needs to come after positives

– Blemishes can boost perception

– Emphasize your potential. Not what you have done but what you will accomplish.

– Ask irrational or misdirection questions. Not binary questions. If they have faint desire to move, ask to put on scale 1-10 their desire to move or buy. Then ask why number isn’t lower. This allows them to question their motives and more likely to buy. They move to why they want to behave differently if their number is low

– Use rhymes for people to easily understand your offering. It helps you be easy to understand and easily compared to competitors. Also easier to describe to others.

– People open email based in utility and curiosity. Utility is such as work email and curiosity when they have down time and not much email. Blank email subject can be good sometimes. But being specific in subject line is best. For light email: “things I learned about marketing” for heavy email inbox: “3 tips on getting your email read first”

– 4 types of tweets:

  1. Me now: “I’m eating sushi!”
  2. Maintenance: “Good morning!”
  3. Complaints: “My Uber is late”
  4. Twets with questions rate the highest! And those that contain links and useful info.

– Practice. Practice. Practice

– Review your inbox for good and bad email subjects

– Get your pitch from a paragraph to a few sentences toa sentence to. Few words to one word

– Get to one word. Anchor you company to one word. Search=Google

– Answer 3 questions to prep your pitch: 1. What do you want them to know 2. What do you want them to feel 3. What do you want them to do. Strong answers to these lead to stronger pitch.

– Pay attention to others pitch. Practice. Act like an artist. Practice, do, review and copy.

– Salesmen are good at improv. Which means they are good at listening. Listening means attunement and not predicting response, but hearing and taking conversation based on what is said

– Nos are rare. “No I can’t invest now”. “Now” is an offer. Hook on to it. “When will you be ready?” Or “what holding you back right now?”

– Say “yes and”. Don’t say “yes, but how will people who can’t afford the conference attend?” Rather say “yes, and people who can’t afford to attend we will host a fundraiser “. Five people in a group each come up with a business idea. Others comment with only “yes, and”.

– Yes and no people. Yes people get to bask in new experiences, no people get to bask in their safety.

– Servant selling. Serve first, sell last. Benefit others first, then sell. It’s about them not you. You need commitment that product offers more and is altruistically good so much so that the cost is minimal to the value

Distraction kills

Do work that’s hard. Push through until it’s done. Most people stop half way through, telling themselves it’s plenty for now, or they just can’t do anymore.

But push through. Go to completion. Set goals and go.

Freeletics has created a near perfect tool for getting you to push through. Complete 5 sets of 30 climbers, 30 sit-ups, 20 push-ups and 30 squats no matter what. Even if it takes hours.

Write a blog post, even if it takes hours to get out want you want to say.

There are more distractions today than ever. This means fewer people will be diving deep into skills and topics. This is opportunity for anyone to do the hard work and master the skills and talents in need.

Distraction kills. Find the pleasure in the pains. Find the joys, the rewards. When you focus on the bad that pain can bring, you stop. When you focus on the pleasure, you’ll be shocked to see how far you’ve gotten.

Total Recall by Arnold Schwarzenegger, Part I

Notes from the first half of Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story by Arnold Schwarzenegger

#TotalRecall

Discipline. Don’t give in to short lived wants.

Take advantage of the system is subversive ways.

Break the rules, they weren’t made for you. They’re there to keep others inline.

Be inspired. Find a mentor. Find a leader to model after.

Know who you are. What you’re capable of. What your interests are. How to push yourself.

Greate a goal and lay down a path to it.

Split sets. Break workouts in two. One in morning. One at night.

People will sabotage you, but others will come through. E.g the guys owner threw his application for Mr. Universe out, because he did not get what he wanted out of Arnold. But a competitor of the gym owner came through and paid for Arnold to go the contest. Even though his application was late, friends rallied the Mr. Universe organization to let him in.

Focus on the end goal. Envision it. Knew what it looks like. Know what it feels like. Arnold envisioned himself at the top of the pedestal. He could feel what it would feel like.

Focus on winning. Talk to yourself saying you’re going to win. Don’t compete. Go to win. He learned this after losing Mr. Universe but realizing that he made a big splash. It made him wonder if he had changed his mindset from one of “competing” to one of “winning.”

Focus on others.

Don’t be a robot. Engage with people.

Leave no stone unturned. Use any advantage you can find and think of. Otherwise, you’re at a disadvantage.

Arnold took steroids because top guys did. He learned they Russians and East Germans were experimenting with them.

Train and work early. Before the day starts. There are no distractions. There are no responsibilities. No one asking anything of you. Working during normal hours is a distraction.

Your mind limits you. Realize you can do more, lift more. Put things in context and you’ll realize it to be true. You walk everyday, carrying 100s of pounds. This means you need to lift more to make any progress.

Expose your weakness. It will ensure you don’t neglect it. Hide your strengths. Otherwise you’ll indulge in areas you’re good at and ignore the rest.

Eat all the proteins.

Hard work is all you can rely on.

Get in the path to somewhere. Join and become part of communities.

Losing is fine. But only if you had truly dug deep. Did everything you could have.

You can view obstacles as challenges or opportunities. When Arnold was competing for Mr. World, Sergio showed up as a surprise contestant. This terrified Arnold at first, but then he realized he had an opportunity to beat him.

Arnold played all sorts of psychological mind fucks. He even tricked Sergio into leaving the stage while they were competing. He felt it was s primal move, done in the heat of the battle.

Push things out of your mind to get on with your goals.

Wanders in like a puppy. Not knowing much, but also not overly concerned with what could go wrong. Focusing on what could go wrong will just prevent you from getting what you want.

Always be smiling. Every action is one more step towards your goal.

Art and movies in the US is formulaic and lacks creativity.

Actors worked out in secret. Bodybuilding was still a small group of people. It took long to take off with everyday people. Seems like it’s split off into all sorts of sports that encourage weightlifting of some kind.

Presentation. Presentation. Presentation. It’s about educating people.

Though highly of Lou Farigno. Felt if he had Lou’s body, he’d be able to beat himself.

He made sure he had money coming in so he didn’t have to take parts simply because he had to pay the bills. He had a goal to be a big star and didn’t want to jeopardize that.

Peculiarities can be an asset.

Every dollar spent is two that could have been earned.

He always stayed with a friendlier style.

In working with special needs kids, teaching them weightlifting, he discovered that lifting weights was great at building confidence. With soccer, sometimes you made a good kick, other times not so much. It was inconsistent. With weight lifting, you could always rely on matching or even beating your last training session.

Sell in unconventional places. To an audience that is ignored, but still your core.

Get training throughput it your life and career. You can’t do it on your own and you can’t know everything.

He kept his goals attainable. He never reached beyond his grasp.

Arnold lived in multiple worlds and loved it. Republicans. Democrats. Surfers. Bodybuilders. Etc. His immigrant background meant he did not understand the vernacular subtleties. He just saw the good in every group.

Have to vs get to. Arnold saw every moment in his life as an opportunity to do something, vs. having to do something.

Mileage. Get mileage. Put in the hours. It’s the only path to mastery.

The more you know about something, the less likely you are to do it. Just stumble into things.

Acting was half the job. Selling was the other half. He traveled the world selling his movies. He didn’t understand why artists just painted and didn’t sell their work.

Notes from Decisive by Chip Heath

Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work by Chip Heath.

Voting is not a choice. It’s yes or no. It ignores options.

Biases influences our research efforts more than we realize. We look for ways to make the decision we want or evidence that supports a belief.

The goal should be to widen your choices, not narrow them. If you are choosing where to go to school, don’t think between two choices, think about what you want out of life. Better to get to know yourself and what you want, then you’ll realize the options will widen.

Opportunity cost decisions: picking between an expensive stereo or a mid range stereo and $300 of new albums. Choices widen.

It’s not much of a decision if you think options between buying something vs not buying something. You could realize the money could be used elsewhere. Now you’re options have widened and better decisions will be made.

“Whether or not” should be an alarm signal that options have not be well thought out.

Get in the habit of generating options. Otherwise you’ll stay fixated on narrow options. Even metaphorically (rather than literally) widening options works.

Why Silicon Valley has high failure rate. A narrow view of options.

Likeness and metaphors. Not physical attributes when naming products. Light vs small. Eg Colgate whisp.

Multiple options allow people to see the landscape and make better and faster decisions.

Know when to ask open ended questions and when to probe. Probe with specific questions when being interviewed “when did you last have dinner with friends and family” “did you work afterwards?”

Trust base rates of reviews and success rate. Eg. Opening a restaurant. Base rate of failure is 60%. Doesn’t matter if it’s a hot dog stand or a 5-star restaurant. It does not mean you give up, it’s just a factor in your decision process. Maybe you’re not betting all your savings. And the upside is huge. Then maybe it’s ok.

Ooching. Great way to make small bets to test hypothesis. Eg try to sell a new product rather than tons of market research. But is bad if total commitment is required such as mastering an instrument or major career change.

Notes from To Sell Is Human by Daniel H. Pink

My personal notes taken while reading To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others by Daniel H. Pink.

– We all sell- sellers and buyers have access to roughly the same info. Buyers are not as informed in and idealized what experts think, but the balance has shifted.

– anyone can master the basics of moving others.

– Attunement, buoyancy, clarity – requirements for moving people. Attunement is about locking in on with what’s being transmitted. Being I tune with others. Rubin yourself hinges on 3 principles. 1. Increase power by reducing it. A study where people were given a slight sense of power and then asked to do the E test (snap five times then write e on forehead) where more likely to write the letter e gave themselves. Thus reducing their ability to a tune to others. IOW be humble and you will be in tune. It is not about being a pushover or sacrificing more than needed 2. Use your head as much as your heart. Feeling and emotion are critical. Perspective, imagine what the other is thinking vs what they’re feeling. It will help you better negotiate deals. 3. Mimic strategically. It’s social glue, when you mimic others. Be subtle when mimicking others. You’ll be more likely to create a deal that benefits both parties. Mimic carefully and wait 10sec before doing so. Touching is mimicking seconds cousin. Percentage of closing jumps when buyers are lightly touched and quality perception goes up too. Atonement is about being human. Humility. There is no evidence to suggest extroverts are better at sales than introverts. Ambiverts perform the best. People right in the middle of extroversion and introversion. Extroverts are too aggressive and bug people to much. Introverts, not enough. Ambiverts know the balance of knowing when to listen and when to speak up. Most people are ambiverts. “Where are you from?” Is a great opener for meeting someone new. It’s open and triggers more questions. Some say where they were born and some where they work.

– stay buoyant in a sea of nos. we talk to ourselves all the time. Some is critical some is positive. But be like bob the builder. He is always on predicaments but asks ” can we fix it.” It shifts linguistic categories. Self question groups solve 50% more of puzzles. It beats declarative talk. “Can I make a good pitch?” “Can I close the deal?” You mind digs deep for the answer. Positivity is key.

– problem finding then problem solving. Good sales people find problems by asking questions and digging deep. Understanding customer workflow and their pain.

– compare and contrast. It’s summer time and I’m blind. More choose gets more visitors but fewer sales. Limited selection gets 30% sales while huge selection gets 3% sales. Compare and contrast. Focus on what their life will be like with new product. Cars = freedom to go on trips, visiting old friends and family. Experiences are easy to talk about and spread. Needs to come after positives.

– blemishes can boost perception

– emphasize your potential. Not what you have done but what you will accomplish.

– ask irrational or misdirection questions. Not binary questions. If they have faint desire to move, ask to put on scale 1-10 their desire to move or buy. Then ask why number isn’t lower. This allows them to question their motives and more likely to buy. They move to why they want to behave differently if their number is low.

– use rhymes for people to easily understand your offering. It helps you be easy to understand and easily compared to competitors. Also easier to describe to others.

– people open email based in utility and curiosity. Utility is such as work email and curiosity when they have down time and not much email. Blank email subject can be good sometimes. But being specific in subject line is best. For light email: “things I learned about marketing” for heavy email inbox: “3 tips on getting your email read first”

– 4 types of tweets: 1. Me now “I’m eating sushi!” 2. Maintenance: “good morning ” 3.complaints “my uber is late” 4. Tweets with questions rate the highest! And those that prove links and useful info. Practice practice practice

– review your inbox for good and bad email subjects

– get your pitch from a paragraph to a few sentences. To a sentence to a few words to one word

– get to one word. Anchor you company to one word. Search=Google

– answer 3 questions to prep your pitch: 1. What do you want them to know 2. What do you want them to feel 3. What do you want them to do. Strong answers to these lead to stronger pitch.

– pay attention to others pitch. Practice. Act like an artist. Practice, do, review and copy.

– salesmen are good at improv. Which means they are good at listening. Listening means attunement and not predicting response, but hearing and taking conversation based on what is said

– “No” is rare. “No I can’t invest now”. “Now” is an offer. Hook on to it. “When will you be ready?” Or “what holding you back right now?”

– say “yes and”. Don’t say “yes, but how will people who can’t afford the conference attend?” Rather say “yes, and people who can’t afford to attend we will host a fundraiser “. Five people in a group each come up with a business idea. Others comment with only “yes, and”.

– yes and no people. Yes people get to bask in new experiences, no people get to bask in their safety.

– servant selling. Serve first, sell last. Benefit others first, then sell. It’s about them not you. You need commitment that product offers more and is altruistically good so much so that the cost is minimal to the value.

Notes from Originals, by Adam Grant

Just a collection of notes I took while reading Originals, by Adam Grant

– Originals. Bad/inaccurate title? Profiled ideas aren’t original, but founders had guts. Not new ideas, but original implementations.

– It’s best when you hedge your bets- Employees who accept the default call in sick and perform lower than those who set their own defaults. Choose their browser, choose their own sales script. Ie users are 19% more likely to call in sick.

– make big balances bets. Use $5k of your own money, but keep your job.

– procrastination preserves originality. It lets first movers die and you succeed

– originals are poor judges of their ideas. To get around this they make up likes of ideas. Make more. More variation. Then choosing becomes the objective. Just like artists are the last to understand their own work. Make more. Make more. Kind of explains why SNL is not funny. Every week the comedians pump out work over and over again. Doesn’t mater if it’s good or bad. But then sometimes it’s good and their standup then becomes good and their movies become good.

– test in the wild, not a controlled environment. Controlled environments like focus groups change the setting and mindset too much. Test in the home or on live production. This way people are in their natural state and right mind set. Peers are best for testing, 2nd to in the wild. They are more open to genuine opinions. Pure artists are best judges. Once an artists become judges, they become less open to novelty.

– outsider status: working in a field or on a project that you do not have much experience with. You are more likely to ignore the “rules” because you didn’t know they existed.

– people who are interested in art are more inquisitive and open to new ideas and in fact seek them out.

– intuitions are accurate in fields in which we are experts. It beats data because you can make faster analysis based on gut from years of navigating patterns.

– Good ideas need to be new and useful. Segway was new, and a great technological advancement, but stupid. It was not practical.

– the better people perform in the past, the least likely they will perform well in a new field.

– assess peoples desire for business and brining products into the market. Are they 100% engineer? Or more 50/50? Dean Kamen was an engineer who liked technology. Segway was a technological advancement looking for a problem. Not a problem looking for a solution. Let others define the problems then respond with a solution. Never start with a solution.

– HOW people become successful is more important than IF they’ve become successful.

– the more people speak up with suggestions, the less likely they are to receive promotions or raises.

– people who speak up are perceived as argumentative and difficult to work with and self serving. People need to earn respect and status first. Then your ideas will not be dismissed.

– accentuate your weakness, especially when speaking with people who are not likely to be supportive. It’s sincere. It’s honest. It’s not about selling but sharing. It makes you trustworthy. It shows you’ve done your homework. It shows you are open about the flaws that you are self aware and not blind to flaws.

– avoid the middle. Middle level work and jobs. You are likely to get stuck and your originality will suffer.

– people who get things done stand out. If you’re advocating for your company. Others will turn to you when you get things done and offer help and advice.

– if you work somewhere that allows for mobility, a place you can leave, and that place is not producing originality, leave. Speaking up will not get you further. If it is a place that you cannot leave or is a place that does create originality, speak up and you will create more originality.

– procrastination can be a key to success. The Advantages of moving first do not outweighs the disadvantages. Procrastination, when done with thought and care, is a virtue. Most originals are rarely first. They are usually late to the party, but get to use their time to better understand the party. And are not stuck with a worldview. Procrastination is not laziness. You’re thinking more and thinking with clarity and with originality. Ie put out a lot of ideas and take your time. Studies show that procrastination improves novelties of ideas are 28% more novel.

– laziness vs waiting for the right time. Da Vinci, Apple, etc. people think Da Vinci wasted his time but his studies were key to his originality.

– when sleepy, you are more open to original ideas and are less structured with your time.

– pioneers vs settlers. timing is 40% of the success of new ideas. Not team, not money, not market. But timing. First mover does not matter. Discoveries don’t matter. Patents don’t matter.

– 47% of pioneers fail. 8% of settlers survive. Pioneers only capture 10% of market, vs 28% of settlers. think carefully before entering a new domain. Even with this knowledge, we only think of the first movers and move first. Original means different and better. Think Blue Ocean Strategy – Adjust the knobs so you are different and what the customer wants. Be original not first.

– average tech founder age is 38.

– youthful and wise. Both cycles generate original ideas. Experiment your way to originality

– relationships, coalitions, are inherently unstable. It’s up to you to ensure they remain intact.

– experiences are emphasized when experienced together with others.

– common experiences bind people more than common goals

– be moderate with your asks. Occupy Wall Street was an extreme ask. Even though lots of people agreed with it, it required camping out on Wall St. Getting engineers to make small improvements with light reason, rather than challenging what they strongly believe e.g. wireless power.

– when you scrutinize people’s ideas, when they win you over their ideas will seem more valid to them – since you will appear to be considerate and a tough judge.

– originality is a balance. Push envelope with new ideas that have hints of familiarity. But don’t tear the envelope.

24 Game Solver

My girlfriend is a bit obsessed with 24 Game and has gotten me addicted. The rules are simple: Given four numbers, use simple math to make 24.

Here’s an example with a solution, given the numbers 8, 12, 9, 3:

9 – 3 = 6
8 – 6 = 2
2 * 12 = 24

It’s simple and fun, but every time I’d play I knew there were solutions that I was not thinking of. So, I created 24 Game Solver, which you can find over at:

http://24solver.us-west-2.elasticbeanstalk.com/

Enter in your four numbers, click “Solve” and the app will show you all the possible solutions.

24-game-solver-screenshot

Tip: Click “Highlight similar solutions” to see which solutions are unique.

Where’s the article?

Opened an article on Quartz and this is what I was greeted with:

QZ.com

I spent a good 3 seconds looking for a skip-this-ad link until I realized that the article was below the ad. Disrupting users and giving up valuable real estate seems foolish. But at least I now know about Jaguar.

Steps For Pleasing Upset Customers

So you can ensure you never feel aggregated again.

  1. Listen. Understand the issue or problem
  2. Verbally relate to their pain, apologize, and own it
  3. Tell the customer how you’re going to solve their problem and make things right
  4. Follow up at regular intervals with status updates
  5. Inform the customer how the issue was solved and why it will never happen again

If they’re still pissed: Lock them out, deactivate their account, put them in your black book, or block their number.

Feature X

Customers will give you any number of reasons why they won’t buy, whether they’re true or not. Maybe they’re shy or don’t want to hurt your feelings, as so often it’s “your product is missing feature X.”

Nonsense. They just don’t want to buy. They may not even know the reason why. They just know the answer is no. There’s often little you can do about it. 

And that’s good! You don’t want them as your customer. 

What’s dangerous is using their no to decide the strategy and direction of you product. I.e. Adding feature X to your product. 

So, two options:

  1. Foolishly add the one feature the customer wants, hoping they bite
  2. Play the long game by setting a product identify from day one and never steering away

The problem with #1 is that it rarely, if ever, helps you create a product anyone actually wants. Okay. One person. But that’s it. You’re stuck pandering to that one customer.

Better to go after a well defined group of people, and make something that benefits them all. Why make one person happy when you can make thousands extatic. 

Urgency

It’s easy to get caught up with a sense of urgency, giving in to the demand and pressure around you to get things done. But it is rare that these things actually are urgent.

You can either do lots of shallow things as fast as possible. Or you can focus on deep problems, knowing that it will be okay when the little stuff does not get done.

You can either do things without much thought. Or you can be considerate and methodical with your efforts and time.

You can either constantly flip between tasks, not quite remembering where you left off. Or you can only take on new tasks and projects when they can be given the proper attention they deserve.

You can either do things not knowing whether are are necessary or not. Or you can do things that solve real problems.

You can either set an arbitrary deadline, that you know can’t be met. Or you can break things up in to smaller, more manageable stages.

Helping Strangers

While at Powells, I heard a young boy asking his grandfather where the computer book section was. The grandfather did not know, nor could he offer any advice on book recommendations.

A middle aged man stepped in, overhearing, and directed the couple, as well as offering  two book recommendations. The man didn’t have to step in, offer his insight. But he did. 

Judging a Book by Its Title

I’ve found myself judging books by their title. Determining if I want to spend my time learning the one thing a book has to offer. As if a title can reduce a book’s value Ono a few words. Or if that’s all it offers.

Now I jump and skim books before I buy and if I take just one tiny nugget in that minute or so, I buy it. 

No Coding Skills Required

While this sales phrase may eventually fade, the need and growth for solutions that require coding skills will not. This means more and more coding opportunities for coders, but also a less of a need need to learn to code (because coders will make more and more things that no longer require one to know how to code to get what they want).

So you can either make and sell things that require no coding skills, but depend on people to make things that require no coding skills. Or you can take matters into your own hands, pure freedom, and code things for everyone.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

This is a bad question. When asked, you invariably look backwards, wondering whether you’ve done enough of worth the previous five years.

Better to think and worry about today, the here an now. Dismissing expectations from mind is the easiest way to extend your life.

Proximity to customers

If you’re creating something for others to use, you need access to at least a small sample of those people. If you do not have direct and immediate access, you will never understand their needs. Understanding their problems is the easiest way to create good solutions.

A good way to do this is to be in proximity of your customers. Go where they go. Read what they read. Think like they think. It’s hard to do and takes time, but it can be done.

An even better way to be in proximity of you customers is by being a customer yourself. It may be difficult to think of yourself in this way, since you can get in the way. But it’s just a matter of see yourself in context. Recognizing the things you do or say that make you part of a group.

Is finding meaning important?

In life. Is it important to have an understanding of our own purpose, to have purpose, or make sense of the things around us?

Or should we live in the now? Ignore the bigger picture. Move forward. Ignore context. Try new things. Focus on the granular. Take a step forwards.

Often times, meaning entails looking back or spending time figuring out the environment in which we live. Figuring out or examining the conversation. This doesn’t propel us further.

Maybe it’s better to join in the conversation. Better to grab your own soapbox from which to speak.

Meaning may or may not motivate us. But curiosity surely does.

Defining yourself loosely is the greatest way to live

In the modern world we define ourselves based on an idea that was created during the industrial revolution. The idea of a highly specialized workforce. Everyone has an area of focus, and you master it to get ahead.

While this is still true, and easy to benefit from, it will not last for much longer. Even looking at software development job postings, we see a high demand for full stack developers. It’s not enough to specialize, you need to not be able to define yourself easily. You need to be a complete human being.

Travel the world. Learn another language. Get into trouble. Increase your vocabulary. Exercise more.

These things matter more than being an expert in one, narrowly defined thing.

Technological advantages only matter if we have more choices

Does knowing how to send an email give you an advantage? No.

Does knowing how craft a convincing and persuasive letter give you an advantage? Yes.

Does knowing how to use Yelp find a restaurant give you an advantage? No.

Does knowing how to write an advanced recommendation AI engine give you an advantage? Yes.

It’s interesting to think about technology in terms of giving us advantages. Really, technology is just us, sped up. It’s there to complete tasks in a more efficient way.

Knowing how to use something, any tool, is not what is critical. It’s an important baseline, a minimum bar to meet, but does not inherently improve things.

Having more choices and knowing how we can help others and improve who we are, with the help of technology, is what matters most. The more choices we have the more advantages we have.

Having good ideas when you’re young

When you’re young, your ideas often times look strange. Especially to those around you. They’re dismissed as being naive, innocent, or ill informed. The unfortunate side affect is the sense that you’re wrong or your ideas will not spread. Then you either give up or adjust your idea to match how others perceive the world.

Of course, what’s great about being young and having young ideas is that you are actually more in tune with the current conversations going on in the world. It’s should not be about changing your ideas or molding them to be more palatable. It’s about finding the people who will listen. People who want to hear from you.

As adults, if this is true, what can (should!) we do? How can we help? Sit back and listen.