10 Ideas For The Interested This Week

“A lot of people don’t appreciate their moment until it’s passed.” — Kanye West

I seek out depth.

Because depth is where value and knowledge are found.

The new season of the Dissect podcast has depth. And it’s awesome.

It’s a 13-episode analysis of Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy album and even if you don’t love Kanye or hip hop music, I bet you’ll love this podcast.

That’s because its depth makes it about more than just the album.

It’s about creativity, insecurity, confidence, art, culture, society, politics, race, fame, passion, life, and of course, music.

What more can you ask for?

Now, on to this week’s ideas…

1. WHY FACEBOOK SHOULD FUND LOCAL JOURNALISM

“This week’s Congressional hearings about the influence of social media, fake news, and misinformation campaigns has Facebook promising to do better. But while it searches for a silver bullet algorithm to solve these problems, here’s something Facebook can do to immediately improve its platform and our country. Facebook should fund local journalism throughout the United States.”

The power and problems associated with social media platforms are complicated, and there’s certainly no simple solution to them. But here’s one thing that could be done immediately to help.

In this post I suggest if Facebook really wants to help America, it can start by funding local journalism.

Doing so would generate more real news on its platform to combat fake news, benefit the public with a media more representative of its reality, and help Facebook deliver on its mission to strengthen communities.

2. 10 WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR MEMORY

“If you have read an interesting article, do not wait until you want to talk about it to revive your memories. The time to revive them and make them permanent is within half a day after the first impression has been made.”

If you read this, I bet you’ll remember it tomorrow.

The Art of Manliness spells out 10 ways to improve your memory, borrowed from the book Increasing Personal Efficiency.

The tips include to memorize meanings, revive your recent memories, and make “overmemorizing” a habit.

3. HOW TO SEND EMAILS TO VERY BUSY PEOPLE

“The worst emails for Very Busy People are those that are written well but have no clear ask. ‘Hop on a call,’ ‘collaborate together,’ ‘would love your feedback,’ and ‘interested in connecting,’ are all terms that infect these cancerous messages. They just signal, ‘Time Suck!’ to the Very Busy Person but look like clear asks to the sender.”

This will increase the chances your next email actually gets read — and gets a response.

Zak Slayback explains how to send emails to very busy people and offers specific tips you can implement in your next email.

The advice includes to incorporate multiple choice responses into your email, be ultra-specific in your asks, and make your emails easier to respond to now than to come back to later.

4. 22 WRITING TIPS FROM STEPHEN KING

“Stopping a piece of work just because it’s hard, either emotionally or imaginatively, is a bad idea. Optimism is a perfectly legitimate response to failure.”

Stephen King’s book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft has become something of a bible for writers, but if you’ve never read it here’s a crash course.

The Independent breaks down 22 writing tips from Stephen King found in the book including to tackle the things that are hardest to write, not get caught up in grammar, and write primarily for yourself.

5. HOW TO TEACH YOURSELF ANYTHING

“For at least twelve years, you’re trained to regurgitate and apply information that’s pre-packaged for you but never trained to find that information on your own. There are no classes where the professor shows up and says ‘figure out how to build a website by tomorrow,’ and then leaves.”

We’re lucky to live in an era when it’s possible to learn anything on your own — if you know how.

Nat Eliason explains how to teach yourself anything using the Sandbox Method, which involves learning how to experiment, push your abilities, and respond to feedback to create a self-education loop.

6. THIS WILL MAKE YOU FEEL BETTER ABOUT THE WORLD

“Saying things are fine doesn’t get any likes. Nuance doesn’t get any retweets. Hope is a losing strategy online. So we all keep getting sucked into this vortex of misery.”

If the apparent chaos of the world these days is getting to you, this is the post you need to read — it will make you feel a LOT better.

Matt Ruby offers a reminder that things are not that bad and points out, “In the history of the world, we’re the richest, safest, healthiest, luckiest people who’ve ever lived.”

7. HOW TO WORK LESS AND FEEL MORE ACCOMPLISHED

“We all waste much more time during the working day than we realize. Putting hard limits on the hours you work, and not giving yourself the ‘out’ of being able to jump back on the laptop in the evening means you get very ruthless with how you spend your time.”

For The Interested reader Fiona Adler recently had a great idea for a blog post — she reached out to six people whose work she admired (including me!) and asked how they limit their working hours.

The result is this collection of advice about how to work less and feel more accomplished.

The tips include to measure your effective hourly rate, adapt your working hours to your energy level, and avoid wasting time on things that don’t make an impact.

For more of my own thoughts on the subject, check out how I stopped working so much and what I learned from doing so.

8. EIGHT LESSONS YOU CAN LEARN FROM GOOGLE’S FOUNDERS

“Find a powerful trend that you think is true but most people don’t. Being contrarian and right is where you will find the most outsized outlier opportunities.”

Ever wonder what you could learn if you read all of the Google Founders’ Letters that have been published since 2004? Well, you’re about to find out.

Because Li Jiang did just that and turned it into this collection of eight lessons you can learn from Google’s founders.

The lessons include to focus on continuous innovation instead of instant perfection, understand culture is not an afterthought, and it doesn’t matter how smart you are if you can’t execute.

9. HOW TO FIX FACEBOOK

“The single most important step Facebook — and its subsidiary Instagram, which I view as equally important in terms of countering misinformation, hate speech and propaganda — can take is to abandon the focus on emotional signaling-as-engagement.”

Apparently I wasn’t the only one thinking about what Facebook should do to address its problems this week.

The New York Times reached out to nine technologists, academics, politicians, and journalists to ask how to improve Facebook and got some great responses.

The suggestions include to reduce anonymity, increase transparency, and optimize for “time well spent.”

10. HOW TO WRITE A NEWSLETTER PEOPLE WANT TO READ

“The right way is to focus exclusively on the kind of people who make up your specific audience and deliver content that only they will appreciate.”

Obviously, I’m a big fan of newsletters and believe there are a lot of great ones out there — unfortunately there are even more bad ones.

But this post can help change that.

Margo Aaron shares tips on how to write a newsletter people want to read, including to focus on a specific niche, provide context and personality, and include plenty of white space.