“You can be passionate about anything.” — Jerry Seinfeld
This isn’t my post— it’s ours.
I write it because I like to help people and want to share the inspiration I get from the ideas I discover each week with people who appreciate them.
People like you.
But I’m not the only one with ideas to share so I’ve added a way for you to share something with me and the thousands of others who read this.
At the bottom of this post, you’ll see a Question of the Week — I invite you to respond with an answer and I’ll include the best of them in next week’s issue.
It’s an experiment, but hopefully will become a way to make these posts even more valuable and to bring our growing community together in a fun way.
I can’t wait to hear from you. Now, on to this week’s ideas…
1. 50 BENEFITS OF FORCING YOURSELF TO THINK OF 50 IDEAS
“You realize how rarely you do deep thinking. You realize most people don’t do this and few ever have.”
I dare you to come up with 50 ideas for a problem you want to solve or a challenge you want to overcome. In this post, I detail the benefits you’ll get from doing this simple exercise.
2. WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU USE
“If you want something to be seen and used, don’t make people look for it. Put it where they’re already looking.”
This post is about design, but its lesson applies just as much to any habit you want to develop to improve your life.
In it, Facebook product designer Julie Zhuo uses a great analogy (why she uses her home patio more than she used her nicer rooftop deck) to explain the importance of visibility in design and influencing our behaviors.
She also demonstrates how this concept impacts Facebook’s design choices.
3. JERRY SEINFELD’S 12 RULES FOR DOING YOUR BEST WORK
“Find the thing people want you to spend a lot of time on wastefully. Your work should feel unreasonable for anyone else but you. You should spend time on details that others don’t see.”
If you know anything about comedy, you know Jerry Seinfeld’s success has as much to do with his work ethic as it does his sense of humor.
This Robert Williams post does a great job summarizing the things he believes are key to doing great work including to find the torture you’re comfortable with and to get rid of the bottom 20% of your work every year.
4. THREE THINGS THE BEST BRANDS DO
“Branding has now become a profound manifestation of the human condition. It’s not about marketing or advertising — those are executions. On its best day, branding is a human-centered behavior created to construct meaning, and it’s about belonging.”
This talk from branding expert Debbie Millman includes a fascinating history of branding and one of the best explanations I’ve seen for why we’ve become so obsessed with brands.
Plus, toward the end of the talk she shares the three key things all great brands must do: Help people feel connected, inspire people to feel ok as they are, and a make a difference in people’s lives.
5. COMPARE YOUR QUICKNESS TO USAIN BOLT’S
“Usain Bolt’s reaction time out of the starting blocks in the 100-meter final in Rio was 0.155 of a second. Try to beat it.”
There are three reasons I’m sharing this New York Times interactive piece.
First, it’s one of the most clever bits of interactive digital journalism I’ve seen.
Second, it’s mind-blowing to discover just how quick Bolt actually is.
And finally, it’s really fun and addictive — you should definitely try it.
6. THE SIMPLEST THING YOU CAN DO TO BE HAPPIER
“Touching someone on the upper arm for just a second or two can have a surprisingly significant effect on how much help they then provide.”
If you were looking for an excuse to touch more people, this is it.
This Time magazine article breaks down the huge impact that touching can have on just about every aspect of our lives.
Kissing your wife before you leave in the morning makes you 50% less likely to get in a car accident on your way to work, teams that touch the most wind up winning the most, and the more you hug, the happier you will be.
7. HOW TO BUILD A BETTER TWITTER NETWORK
“Following cool people isn’t enough. It turns out that the ability to find, identify, understand and repurpose novel ideas is the key to unlocking innovation at work — a development prompt for smart leaders.”
I love Twitter (connect with me here) and am a huge proponent of the benefits you can get from it so this Fortune article seems right on point to me.
It discusses the value Twitter can provide to your career, explains how to build a more diverse network on the platform and why you should do so.
8. MAKE YOUR WORK PUBLIC OR YOU DON’T EXIST
“If you don’t market yourself on the internet, you’ll suffer from the comparison with those who do.”
This Antonin Archer post is a nice companion piece to the article I shared a couple weeks ago about how building an audience is the best thing you can do for your career.
In this case, Archer breaks down why it’s important to share your work online — no matter what your career field is — and how it can get you to a point where you never have to apply for another job again.
9. HOW TO PRICE ANYTHING
“People love physically small numbers. Studies have shown that placing your price in the bottom of the page rather than the top makes people perceive it as lower. Even crazier, the physical size of your font can influence peoples’ understanding and feelings about it. Smaller fonts seem smaller in price.”
This Jory MacKay post is full of great tips about how to approach pricing your product or service — and, for that matter, how to understand the way others are deciding what to charge you for things.
He explains how to use anchoring to change people’s perceptions of your pricing, how to reduce the pain of a purchase, and how you can increase your prices up to 10% before customers notice.
10. APPLE’S “FAILURES” OF SIMPLICITY
“Apple Watch and Apple Music lacked simplicity. This produced a situation in which the product’s key attributes and value propositions resonated with some customers while others saw nothing more than unfinished products.”
The Apple Watch is already a $10 billion business. Apple Music got 15 million people to pay nearly twice what the average user spent annually on iTunes.
Yet both are considered failures by many.
This Above Avalon article explores what happened and puts forth the theory that the real issue was Apple failed at the art of simplicity in these products.