10 Ideas For The Interested This Week

“What I do is make the big things small and the small things big.” — Larry David

 Do you know there’s a searchable archive of (almost) every idea I’ve featured in this newsletter over the past year on the For The Interested website?

Probably not.

Because when I asked readers in our FTI Facebook group last week, most of them didn’t realize that existed.

It’s a reminder to never assume your audience knows about everything you do.

And it’s never their fault for not knowing — it’s a creator’s responsibility to make sure their audience is aware of the things created for them.

So I’m mentioning it here. If you dig this newsletter, you’ll dig the website.

Now, on to this week’s ideas…

1. THE BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION PEOPLE HAVE ABOUT BUILDING AN AUDIENCE

“Your audience isn’t the number of people who consume your creations — it’s the number of people you can count on to consume your NEXT creation.”

One of the biggest reasons creators struggle to build an audience for their work is because they often misunderstand what it means to have an audience.

In this post I share the biggest misconception people have about building an audience and break down how your mindset about what an audience impacts your ability to attract one.

2. HOW TO FIND WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW YOU’RE LOOKING FOR

“I often don’t know what I’m looking for, and even if I do, what I actually find is more often than not better than what I set out to find.”

Here’s your excuse to be a little disorganized.

Austin Kleon points out examples of creative people who developed the art of finding what you didn’t know you were looking for and explains how doing so can help you in your creative pursuits.

His examples include successful artists who leave their notebooks, albums, and folders purposefully disorganized in ways that enable creative serendipity.

3. HOW STORES TRICK YOU INTO BUYING THINGS

“People don’t know what anything is worth, so we need clues. But stores control the clues we see.”

There’s a lot of science and psychology that goes into what you see on a restaurant menu or what products are featured on a grocery store endcap — and most of those decisions are designed to trick you into doing what the store wants you to do.

This four-minute video from The Atlantic breaks down three ways stores trick you into buying things including to personalize prices, create cues to tell you what to buy, and associate the word “free” with things that aren’t actually free.

4. HOW TO DEVELOP A CREATIVITY ROUTINE

“Whether it’s play, visiting places like junk shops, constraining ourselves (the exact position we found ourselves in), experiencing working with others — all these leading Creatives are making time for new experiences. Creativity doesn’t flow from sitting head down at a desk.”

Creative inspiration becomes less elusive if you develop some sort of routine to help you tap into it.

James Qualtrough shares how leading creatives find their inspiration in this post which includes suggestions from designers, photographers, and the executive creative director of Google’s Creative Lab.

5. THE TWO WORDS THAT ALWAYS GET YOUR AUDIENCE’S ATTENTION

“‘Remember when’ instructs your audience to search their memory banks. Your follow up story creates a picture in their mind.”

Nostalgia works. Especially when you use it in your writing.

Barry Davret explains why the phrase “Remember when…” can be a powerful copywriting tool to capture somebody’s attention and shares several effective ways to use the phrase.

As he says, “The wonderful thing about nostalgia is that it triggers selective memories, usually the good ones.”

6. HOW NORMS CHANGE

“The voice of authority speaks not for the one but for the many; authority figures have a strong and rapid effect on social norms in part because they change our assumptions about what other people think.”

Have you ever thought about how social norms change and the speed at which they sometimes do?

This Maria Konnikova Hamilton The New Yorker article offers a fascinating look at how norms change.

She explains we’re all born with bias, but the extent to which those biases impact our behavior is determined by our culture and social environments. This article explains why so many of us feel like the world’s been turned upside down lately.

7. HOW TO ACHIEVE ONE FOCUSED HOUR OF WORK A DAY

“Our perceptions of time are largely illusions. And one of the biggest of those illusions is the relationship between time and our ability to create value. We can do far more in a far shorter about of time than we think.”

You’d be amazed what you can accomplish in a single focused hour of work each day.

Srinivas Rao suggests six things to do in order to complete one focused hour of work each day including to make sure your creation time is uninterrupted, plan your day the night before, and avoid starting your day on the internet.

8. HOW ONLINE DATING IS CHANGING SOCIETY

“Research into the strength of marriage has found some evidence that married couples who meet online have lower rates of marital breakup than those who meet traditionally.”

Online dating is now the second most popular way for heterosexual couples to meet and by far the most popular way for homosexual couples to meet.

That popularity is having a broader impact on society than you may realize.

The MIT Technology Review details new research that shows how online dating is changing society including leading to a rise in interracial relationships and an improvement in the strength of marriages.

9. A 5-WEEK PLAN TO START A SIDE HUSTLE ON YOUR LUNCH BREAK

“Whatever you do, don’t just set up a side gig that amounts to a part-time job. The key is to create an asset that will work for you. It takes less time than you probably think.”

If you don’t have a side hustle, reading this might convince you to start one.

Fast Company shares advice from Chris Guillebeau (author of the excellent book The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future) about how to start a side hustle on your lunch break in five weeks.

His plan includes to spend two weeks choosing and testing your idea, followed by two weeks to develop and launch it, and a week to regroup and refine it.

10. WHY THE CREATOR OF FACEBOOK’S LIKE BUTTON HAS STOPPED USING IT

“It is very common for humans to develop things with the best of intentions and for them to have unintended, negative consequences.”

Nobody knows the impact of social media platforms quite like the people who created them.

That’s why this Guardian article about why social network employees are unplugging is worth a read.

It explains how many of the creators of these addictive platforms have become wary of them and in many cases are now warning others about their potential impact.

I’m not ready to give up on social media yet, but I do recommend changing your phone habits.