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Writing Day 34 – Nostalgia

But of a funny kind.

As I watch Poirot, I seem to have a strange longing for that period.
The 20s to the 50s.

I love the art of the age, the music, the food …

Everything seemed so … simpler, yet more elegant then.

Writing Day 33 - Akimbo


I’ve been raving to my friends about Akimbo and I’m surprised I haven’t written about it here.
It’s one of the reasons, I’m glad I’m alive at a time like this.
There’s no way without modern technology, I could learn from a master like Seth Godin for free!

Akimbo is Seth’s latest project and it’s podcast on all things Seth.
To me, it’s my real life MBA.
They’re weekly, punchy, 20 minute episodes on a topic.

Last weeks episode about Genius was genius.

This week was all about The Long Term.
Ponzi schemes, Bitcoin ponzi ICOs, Mr. Ponzi himself, Whales, Hippos, Fedex, Olive trees, Starbucks and even Superman make an appearance.

Here are a few scambled notes …

  • Emergencies feel like a matter of life or death
  • Every culture in every corner of the globe has adopted the mindset that tomorrow is too late!
    1. We’re impatient and want a quick return on our effort
    2. We want proof. We’re insecure that our effort will pay off
    3. We want excitement!
    4. All three of these create a ratchet, that quickens things up drastically (and on a personal note, makes things overwhelming)
  • Human beings are really shitty at the long run
    If you want prople to take action, you gotta compress it forward.
  • If you want to change the behaviour of a group of people, make it all about the now. Make it urgent, not important.

    • Make it painful and expensive in the moment, if you want to stop them doing something (e.g. hefty taxes of cigarettes)
    • Make it lucrative and fun when you want them to pay attention.
  • Stuff that matters, Mother Nature, everything actually takes a looooooong time.

  • We need to figure out how to build resilient organisations with a mission that goes out further than a week

    • Our mission statement can’t be about market share
    • But about the work that matters
  • Every one of us is capable of doing it

  • There’s a significant advantage to be willing to take a long time, to inexorably evolve bit by bit, day by day, to deal with the Long Run.
    We are capable of of building organizations and companies like this.
    You could use emergencies to our advantage, create positive ratchets.
    Drip by drip, day by day, we change the culture.

Don’t forget to catch the show notes for each episode. They’re delightful.
And yes, go subscribe!

Writing Day 32 – Live Hidden

Maybe the lucky ones are the hidden figures.

… The motto of the philosopher Epicurus, which was taken up by the great essayist Montaigne as well, was lathe biōsas. Live in obscurity. The French saying, Pour vivre heureux, vivons cachés: “In order to live happily, live hidden.”

This is not to say you must be poor or a failure. You can still be extraordinary. You just don’t have to be the most extraordinary. You don’t have to strive to beat out all the other broken people, to be the most well-known out of everyone who ever wanted to be known.

Because what is that actually worth in the long run? Do you think you’ll appreciate your fame and money after you die? You think Alexander the Great knows that Alexandria is still standing?

Know your enough!

via Ryan Holiday’s The Most Successful People Are The Ones You’ve Never Heard Of (And Why They Want It That Way)

Writing Day 30 – Experience as a Moat

I get both optimistic and a little lost and hopeless now a days.

What if I never do what I’m aiming to?
What if I can’t catch up with the young ones of DGPLUG?
What if the newer ones pass me right by as an old fogey?

And somewhile ago, I’d read this. And this.

And that got me thinking.

I’ve been working for 20 years now.
And when it comes to stuff I know, I know stuff.
It’ll take any johnny-come-lately tonnes of effort (not to mention, how many hours of their life) to know what I know.

And that got me thinking further.

Not everyone is an autodidact (like cough yours truly cough)
Not everyone loves to put in the work.

And that’s the meta skill I’m building right now.
To show up every day. To do the work.

If I do that, I will pick up skills.
And they will accrete.

And I will have my moat again.

Come to think of it, I have two moats now.

  • My experience (what I have and what I’m buiding)
  • My love of learning.

And that I think, will be the wind in my sails …

Writing Day 29 – Conspiracy


Started: 2018-03-18
Finished: 2018-03-19

I think most of my writing about books will be just short stabs like this.
Or I’ll never get to anything in time.

I was supposed to start with Perennial Seller and then this popped up and looked like less intensive, so I picked it up first.

Well, it’s an awesome, racy read.
And something only Ryan Holiday could have done justice to.
He writes almost objectively, never hiding his biases.

Sometime in late 2007, Gawker publication Valleywag, outed Peter Thiel as gay.
And nearly ten years and ten million dollars later, Peter Thiel burned Gawker Media to the ground by secretly backing another Gawker victim with his case against Gawker in court.

So what happened in between?
Well, that’s what the book is about.

The sheer amount of hopelessness, hubris, desspair, planning, plotting, conspiracy in the whole book is almost perversely delightful.

I don’t agree with Thiel on most of what he does. (Palantir … Trump … )
But when I put myself into his shoes, what would I have done, if I was violated and I had the means to strike back?
I know that feeling of despair when I have been wronged, and yet I couldn’t do anything about it
I would have done exactly what he did.

And while the book is about conspiracy, the part that I identified the most with, was the fact that Peter was the only one with the balls to call Gawker’s bluff.1
Gawker upset a lot of rich folk and large companies.
Yet, it was only Peter who did something about it.

And I identify with it, because I did exactly that after nearly 4 years of being bullied and blackmailed in high school.
Reading this brought back memories …
Driving an enemy into the ground, so completely that they’ll never do harm again, is exhilirating.
I’ve never let myself be helpless ever again.

And while I’ve taken Marcus Aurelius’ exhortation2 to heart, there is also a bit of truth to this quote from the book …

I couldn’t stand it. I still can’t stand it.
I can’t stand the way things are. I cannot tolerate this age.
What is more, I won’t.
That was my discovery: that I didn’t have to.
—Walker Percy, Lancelot

  1. And the fact that revenge is a dish best served cold. 

  2. The best revenge, is not to be like that