10 Ideas Worth Sharing This Week

“You are what you share.” — Charles W. Leadbeater

I’m plotting.

Dreaming up new possibilities for what this newsletter and community can become.

Thinking about what’s possible, how to provide more value to you, and how to enable you to create value for each other.

Cool things are coming. But if you’ve joined our Facebook group, you already know that.

I’m excited. I hope you are too.

Now, on to this week’s ideas…

1. 20 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD BREAK THE RULES

“Most people don’t question rules, but most successful people do.”

This will only take you two minutes to read, but it just might change your life.

I’ve put together a list of 20 reasons why you should break the rules to encourage you to push the boundaries of your creativity, work, and life.

The reasons include that rules are created to protect the status quo as opposed to spur innovation, that the evolution of rules is driven by rule breakers, and that rules that restrict more than they enable deserve to be broken.

2. HOW TO TELL STORIES THAT GET PEOPLE TO TRUST YOU

“Stories are a ‘write API’ for humans — that is, a channel for inserting beliefs into other people’s brains.”

Every story we tell tends to be told in one of two ways — as a scene or as a summary.

Strategic storytelling expert Andy Raskin explains why the scene option is a much more effective way to get people to trust you.

For example, the story behind why a person starts a print shop business is going to be more compelling than simply stating that the person did so.

3. THE WAY BABY BOOMERS USE TECHNOLOGY IS INCREDIBLE, NOT EMBARRASSING

“Maybe we’re all looking at our boomer parents’ social media strategy (if you can call it that) the wrong way. Lack of gratitude for their love aside, maybe it’s refreshing that they don’t ‘get’ it, that they have no interest in curating some fake proxy version of themselves on the internet. It’s possible that they’re the last vestige of real purity online, and that’s probably why they make us so uncomfortable.”

If your parents use social media, you’re going to love this Alana Hope Levinson essay — and your parents might love it even more.

She breaks down the amusing/embarrassing/impressive way baby boomers use social media and points out while it may be easy to make fun of, it’s possible they’re actually better at it than most younger people.

Because while Boomers may not know what a GIF is, they do know how to be authentic online.

4. WHY THE BUSINESS OF LOCAL NEWS IS BROKEN

“It may be obvious that printing presses don’t make much sense with the Internet, and most websites have moved to ad networks for the obvious reasons; in fact, though, nearly all of the content in most newspapers is not just unnecessary but in fact actively harmful to building a sustainable future for local news.”

I’ve linked to technology analyst Ben Thompson work before and I’m doing it again because he once again has written a brilliant dissection of what’s happening in the media world.

In this case, he explains why the local news business has collapsed and how it can be reinvented.

He points out that the key to a successful local news business moving forward will be not only to separate it from the traditional idea of a newspaper, but also to hyper-focus it on local news only and build it on a subscription model as opposed to advertising.

5. HOW TO TURN YOUR GOOD IDEA INTO A GREAT ONE

“Every idea is based on a set of assumptions, but those assumptions are often incorrect. Question your idea’s assumptions — consider which may be false and whether inverting or removing some of them might improve the idea.”

It’s one thing to come up with a good idea, but another to come up with a great one.

In this post I share six ways to turn your good idea into a great one by asking yourself key questions such as is your idea unexpected, can it be simplified, and what’s its desired result.

6. WHY YOU SHOULD AVOID MAKING PROMISES

“Promises are like debt — they accrue interest. The longer you wait to fulfill them, the more they cost to pay off.”

When problems come up and we want to placate an upset customer or colleague, it’s tempting to make a quick promise to remedy the situation. But Basecamp founder Jason Fried warns that’s a slippery slope.

He explains why promises to placate rarely end well and suggests you’re often better off saying no to somebody up front and dealing with the short term pain than to set yourself up for a long-term problem.

7. HOW TO PREDICT IF PEOPLE WILL PAY YOU BACK

“Generally, if someone tells you he will pay you back, he will not pay you back. The more assertive the promise, the more likely he will break it.”

The next time you consider loaning somebody something, you might want to read this first.

New York magazine details a recent study that examined how likely borrowers were to pay back loans on a peer-to-peer lending site.

The study found that the words people use when asking for a loan can predict how likely they are to pay back the loan.

For example, if somebody uses words like “God, promise, will pay, thank you, and hospital” — you’re probably not getting your money back.

If they use words like “debt-free, minimum payment, lower interest rate, after-tax, and graduate,” then there’s a good chance they will repay you.

8. HOW TO MASTER NETWORKING IN FOUR EMAILS A YEAR

“For the past eight years, I’ve sent quarterly personal updates. Every January, April, July, and October, I send out an email to about 200 or so of my friends and colleagues.”

Last week I shared an idea about how to master networking without networking and here’s a similar idea — but this one simply involves sending four emails a year.

Fast Company lays out this email networking strategy, which involves sending out a lengthy, quarterly update to your contacts about what’s happening in your world.

9. YOU CAN’T BE CREATIVE WITHOUT MOVING YOUR BODY

“Blue light (i.e. that stuff that streams out of your computer and phone screens) boosts your convergent thinking ability while walking increases your divergent thinking ability.”

In order to be creative you need to tap into two different types of thinking: Convergent thinking, which is the process of evaluating and organizing ideas, and divergent thinking, which is the process of generating and exploring ideas.

Jocelyn K. Glei explains that these two types of thinking are triggered by different activities and therefore it’s impossible to be creative without moving your body, because divergent thinking is triggered by movement.

10. WHY YOU SHOULD STOP SAYING TWITTER IS DEAD

“The problem with this argument is that it’s one crafted by the media and Wall Street, not by the consumers who use the platform.”

The reports of Twitter’s demise have been greatly exaggerated and this Devon Zdatny post has some numbers to prove it.

She shares several stats that show Twitter is far from dead including that Gen Z is more likely to be active on Twitter than Snapchat, that African Americans are 33% more likely to have a Twitter account than Caucasians, and that Twitter is the launchpad for much of the content that’s seen on other social platforms.

BONUS IDEA: HOW TO GET STARTUP IDEAS

The following idea comes from Kyle Westaway, who shared it in his Weekend Briefing newsletter. It’s a great newsletter and you can subscribe to it here.

The very best startup ideas tend to have three things in common: they’re something the founders themselves want, that they themselves can build, and that few others realize are worth doing.

It sounds obvious to say you should only work on problems that exist. And yet by far the most common mistake startups make is to solve problems no one has. The verb you want to be using with respect to startup ideas is not “think up” but “notice.” The most successful startups almost all begin this way.

The clash of domains is a particularly fruitful source of ideas. If you know a lot about programming and you start learning about some other field, you’ll probably see problems that software could solve. If you’re at the leading edge of a rapidly changing field, there will be things that are obviously missing. What won’t be obvious is that they’re startup ideas. Live in the future, then build what’s missing. Get more tactics from YC Founder Paul Graham.