10 Ideas Worth Sharing This Week

“People of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.” — Leonardo da Vinci

It amazes me how many people expect something to happen for them while they do nothing.

That’s not how it works.

You may not know the exact path to get where you want to go, but you won’t get there by standing still.

Take a step. Make a mistake. Do…something.

It might not take you where you want to go, but it also might take you somewhere better.

Now, on to this week’s ideas…

1. HOW TO GET WHAT YOU WANT IN A NEGOTIATION

“You’re not going to ‘trick’ people into getting what you want.”

Everything’s negotiable, but not everything should be negotiated.

Whether it’s a job opportunity, business partnership, or product purchase, your ability to get what you want in a negotiation can be improved by following a simple process.

In this post I explain why being honest with yourself and others about what you want — and what you’re willing to give up — is a key to ultimately getting it.

2. IS NON-CURIOSITY THE NEW STANDARD?

“The decline of thoughtful media has been discussed for a century. This is not new. What is new: A fundamental shift not just in the profit-seeking gatekeepers, but in the culture as a whole.”

I write this newsletter as an antidote to the junk food diet most media has become. It’s my small attempt to shine a light on quality, interesting, deeper ideas that are put into the world.

This Seth Godin post does a great — although slightly depressing — job of assessing the state of our media and worries we’ve made things so simple that we’ve established non-curiosity as a new standard.

He also offers a bit of hope in the form of a call to action: “We can lead our way back to curiosity, inquiry and discovery if we (just a few for now) measure the right things and refuse the easy option in favor of insisting on better.”

Amen.

3. HOW TO RETIRE IN YOUR THIRTIES

“The most important thing you need for early retirement is an ability to break out of conventional societal programming — the persistent notion that a person has to work for four or five decades and retire at 65 or later to live a productive, fulfilling, “normal” life.”

Even if you’re already past your thirties, this Vox article is worth a read.

It features advice on how to retire early from a group of people who managed to do so. Tips include to save most of your money — many early retirees saved 50% or more for years — and rethink your core values.

One of the key pieces of advice is to stop focusing on small cost-saving measures and instead focus your savings efforts on the “big three” — housing, transportation, and food.

4. MODERN ART BECAME FAMOUS BECAUSE THE CIA SECRETLY FUNDED IT

“Why did the CIA support [modern artists]? Because in the propaganda war with the Soviet Union, this new artistic movement could be held up as proof of the creativity, the intellectual freedom, and the cultural power of the US.”

You never know what the CIA’s up to and this Independent article tells the story of how the organization secretly funded modern art from legendary artists such as Jackson Pollock for more than 20 years starting in the 1950s.

Despite a political climate that hated the new artistic style, the CIA viewed it as a “weapon” it could use against Russia and a way to showcase the creative freedom of the United States. How they went about secretly funding and legitimizing it is quite a story.

5. THE 7 BIGGEST CAREER MISTAKES YOU CAN MAKE

“There’s a big difference between skills and experience. A 25-year-old who has been reading, learning, and implementing new information for five years will have more skills than an “experienced” 35-year-old who spent 10 years coasting.”

No matter what your career is or how far you are into it, you’ll find this list of the 7 biggest career mistakes you can make to be valuable.

Raghav Haran shares some universal common mistakes people make in their careers including to assume your career should be linear, to assume what got you to level 1 will get you to level 2, and to chase after status.

6. WHY SECRETS DON’T LEAK AT FACEBOOK

“‘People would be pissed if someone else leaked something,’ explained one former employee. ‘You don’t betray the family.’”

Each week, Mark Zuckerberg addresses 16,000 Facebook employees — including interns — and openly discusses what the company is working on including countless secret projects.

But barely anything ever leaks.

This Recode article looks into why secrets don’t leak at Facebook and credits a combination of factors including employees appreciation of Zuckerberg’s willingness to share information and the collective pressure that fellow employees put on each other to keep Facebook’s business in-house.

It’s a good read and reminds me of another great look inside the company I shared back in June.

7. 12 NEW WAYS TO THINK ABOUT LIFE

“If the lesson is more valuable than the pride and shame of making the mistake itself, then it wasn’t truly a mistake at all.”

Hollywood talent manager (and 10 Ideas newsletter reader!) Brian Medavoy wrote this great post about 12 new ways to approach life in the new year.

In it, he suggests you own your mistakes, surround yourself with people who have strengths in areas you know nothing about, and focus on finding memorable moments for yourself, among other things.

8. EIGHT THINGS THAT HAPPENED IN 2016 THAT NOBODY NOTICED

“Tech executives began to both realize that they can’t just ignore regulatory and political issues and that not all politicians and regulators are inherently stupid, lazy, and corrupt.”

Eric Newcomer reached out to a bunch of tech investors and entrepreneurs with a simple question: What happened in 2016 that nobody noticed?

Their answers are chronicled in this post, including that the rate at which the internet sped up this year was overlooked, that the battle for the last mile of delivery is on, and that machine learning has become the hottest transformative technology in years.

9. WHY BRANDS NEED FACES AND FRANCHISES

“Attention has flipped. It’s no longer optimal for brands to just demand it. Attention now must also be earned. It’s about relationships over reach.”

Brands increasingly need to rely on authentic influencers (or develop their own) and create ongoing franchises in order to successfully market their wares.

This Ad Age article from Steve Rubel explains the need for faces and franchises in the platform age and credits it to three cultural shifts: an inversion of influence, the upending of attention, and the rising importance of distribution over content creation.

10. A FIELD GUIDE FOR CONSULTANTS

“Asking for money is weird. But you’ll get over it.”

This is a nice companion piece to the article I shared in last week’s newsletterabout how to reverse engineer your niche.

In this post, strategy consultant Tom Critchlow shares some thoughts about building a consulting business based on his recent experiences.

He touches on everything from how to find clients (90% will come through your referral network), to how to position yourself, to pricing and more.

FLASHBACK!

In the August 7th edition of this newsletter I shared ideas about how to figure out what you want, why inspiration doesn’t work how you think it does, how to get 44,000 Facebook fans in three months, and more.

BTW, HAVE YOU SEEN THIS?

If you have any interest in hip hop or how cultural movements form, this documentary is worth checking out on Netflix.

A RECOMMENDED READ

Hugh MacLeod’s “Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity” is one of the quickest, smartest, most inspirational books I’ve read.

It will make your creative work better and help you do more of it.