10 Ideas For The Interested This Week

“You can plan a pretty picnic, but you can’t predict the weather.” — Andre 3000

It’s one thing to create something people value today.

It’s another to create something people will value a year from now.

Or, as Outkast might say, “Forever ever.”

With my writing (and this newsletter) I try to share ideas that will be as valuable down the road as they are the day I first share them.

Because of that, I’ve built a library of content full of value you may have missed if you only recently became one of The Interested.

So, starting today, the 10th idea in which week’s newsletter will be a flashback to an idea I originally shared more than a year ago, but that’s every bit as relevant today.

For those of you who were with me when I first shared it (you’re awesome!), I hope you enjoy seeing it again with fresh eyes.

And for those of you seeing it for the first time (you’re also awesome!), I hope you dig it.

Now, on to this week’s ideas (and one from a year ago)…

1. HOW TO GET MEANINGFUL ATTENTION FOR YOUR WORK

“In an increasingly cluttered media landscape, we need attention that moves the needle and not just our ego.”

Not all attention is created equal.

In this post I suggest six ways to get meaningful attention for your work and break down some common mistakes I see people make when it comes to promoting their creations.

The suggestions include to measure metrics that matter, tell shareable stories, and not overrate the value of legacy media brands.

2. HOW TO BE A BETTER MENTOR TO OTHERS

“Your most important role as a mentor is to help the mentee find what’s missing.”

Whether you’re a formal mentor to somebody or just occasionally point people in the right direction, here are some good ways to help people get more out of your advice.

Tim Denning shares six ways to become a better mentor to others including to challenge your mentee, introduce them to others, and use leverage to get them to take action.

3. WHY A FOCUS ON “AVERAGE SPEED” HELPS YOU DEVELOP BETTER HABITS

“Anyone can feel a burst of inspiration, head to the gym, and push themselves for a single workout. That’s maximum speed. We waste a lot of time obsessing over it. How hard was your workout? How motivated are you? How fast are you pushing it? But what if you were to average all of your days in the last month? How many of those days included a workout? How about the last three months? Or the last year? What has your average speed been?”

The tortoise is going to like this post a lot more than the hare.

James Clear explains why a focus on your average speed can help you develop more impactful habits and suggests your goal should be to gradually increase your average speed instead of aiming to work at an unsustainable “maximum speed” pace.

This concept is applicable to just about any habit you hope to develop — from writing, to working out, to eating healthier.

4. FIVE QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR CUSTOMERS THAT REVEAL YOUR NARRATIVE

“The strategic North Star guiding every great startup is a story — not about its team or its products, but about its customer. If that sounds trite, remember that most of the stories leaders traditionally tell — like mission, vision, and positioning statements — are structured as self-centered narratives.”

One of the reasons businesses struggle to pitch themselves and their products is because they make a false assumption — they assume they know what their customers think without ever actually asking them.

Andy Raskin suggests great pitches come from talking to customers and shares five questions to ask your customers to discover your strategic narrative.

The questions include, “How have we changed your life?,” “What does winning look like to you?,” and “What are your biggest obstacles to winning?”

5. WHAT IT’S LIKE TO ONLY GET NEWS FROM PRINT NEWSPAPERS FOR TWO MONTHS

“Now I am not just less anxious and less addicted to the news, I am more widely informed (though there are some blind spots). And I’m embarrassed about how much free time I have — in two months, I managed to read half a dozen books, took up pottery and (I think) became a more attentive husband and father.”

This one’s (ironically) been spreading around the Internet and for good reason.

In a New York Times column, Farhad Manjoo explains what he learned from only getting news from print newspapers for two months.

He calls it a “life changing” experiment and breaks down his three main observations: Print newspapers primarily deliver news while online outlets primarily deliver commentary; the delay involved in getting news a day after it’s happened comes with the unexpected benefit of knowing what you read is more likely to be true; and it’s not that newspapers are necessarily so great, it’s that social media is so bad.

6. THE 101 BEST PODCASTS FOR 2018

“No matter what your interests or goals are, you’ll find the podcasts here to help you live a healthier, wealthier, and wiser life.”

There’s nothing scientific about this list and I can’t vouch for most of the podcasts listed here because they’re new to me.

But, The Mission compiled this list of the 101 best podcasts for 2018 and it does look packed with podcasts that may be worth checking out.

It also includes helpful summaries of each podcast and recommended episodes.

7. THE MOST SUCCESSFUL BRANDS FOCUS ON USERS INSTEAD OF BUYERS

“Purchase brands focus on the ‘moments of truth’ that happen before the transaction, such as researching, shopping, and buying the product. By contrast, usage brands focus on the moments of truth that happen after the transaction, whether in delivery, service, education, or sharing.”

Here’s a subtle difference between digital/newcomer brands and traditional/legacy brands that I’ve never considered before — legacy brands try to position themselves in the minds of their customers while the newcomers position themselves in the lives of their customers.

Harvard Business Review breaks down the different approaches and explains why the most successful brands now focus on users instead of buyers.

It also points out how the different approaches can be seen when you compare brands like Airbnb to Hilton/Marriott, Red Bull to Coca-Cola, and Tesla to BMW.

8. HOW TO START INVESTING IN 2018

“Your road to success as an investor is less likely to hinge on whatever hot stock your friend thinks you should buy ASAP — and depends more on how smart a portfolio you put together today, as well as how you gradually tweak or rebalance it over time.”

Want a crash course in how to invest your money if you’re not exactly a financial wizard? This one’s for you.

Mic shares simple answers to five basic investing questions including how to start investing, what investments to choose, and how to protect your invested money.

9. WHAT IT’S LIKE TO USE TWITTER WITH NO METRICS

“You may tell yourself that you don’t care about the statistics, but tech companies know that when you are forced to see them, it is impossible not to care.”

The Twitter Demetricator is a Chrome browser extension that removes all metrics (followers, likes, retweets, etc.) from Twitter when you use it.

It’s an interesting experiment in how these metrics shape our usage (and enjoyment/anxiety) of social platforms.

David Zweig recently tried it out and shares his experience with it in this The New Yorker piece about what it’s like to use Twitter with no metrics.

Here’s one of his observations:

“My experience with the Demetricator vividly exemplifies what my research suggests — that the ultimate function of Twitter, like nearly all social-media platforms, is to make its users insecure, because insecurity compels engagement. And nothing turns up the dial on our insecurity like viewing our communications, and ourselves, as mere numbers.”

10. THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION IN ANY PROJECT

“Ask ‘What if…’ as often as possible. Ask it of yourself, your collaborators, customers, and audience. Use it to shape what you create, how you create it, and how you present it.”

It’s amazing what a difference a single question can make.

In this post I explain why “What if…” is the most important question to ask in any project.

I explain how you can use it to think bigger, remove your assumptions, and make it easier to say no to things.

WHERE I FOUND THIS STUFF

I discovered some of this week’s ideas from the newsletters of Tina Roth Eisenberg, Kyle Westaway, and Ann Friedman — they’re awesome and worth your time.