“A lot of people dream. And while they are busy dreaming, the really happy people, the really successful people, the really interesting, powerful, engaged people? Are busy doing.” — Shonda Rhimes
It happened in the shower.
The co-founder of Tinder’s inspiration for the app’s swipe functionality came to him when he forgot to turn on a fan while taking a shower.
He had to “swipe” the fogged up mirror to see himself.
It’s a reminder that ideas don’t only come when we seek them. Work doesn’t only happen when we’re working.
We must be open to ideas and aware at all times. That’s how we discover connections between seemingly unconnected things.
Those connections are often the key to innovation.
And sometimes, they even help people get laid.
Now, on to this week’s ideas…
1. STOP OBSESSING ABOUT “CONTROL”
“Control is an illusion we create to justify what happens to us. If things go well, we believe our control led to that outcome. If things go poorly, we assume forces outside of our control conspired against us. Neither assessment is true.”
It’s easy to obsess over control, but that’s a waste of time.
We are simultaneously always and never in control of situations in our life and therefore the concept of control is really just an illusion.
In this post I explain why control isn’t an all-or-nothing game.
2. HOW A YEAR OF SAYING YES TO EVERYTHING TAUGHT SHONDA RHIMES WHAT MATTERS
“The more successful I become…the more work there is to do. The more balls in the air, the more eyes on me, the more history stares, the more expectations there are. The more I work to be successful, the more I need to work.”
TV titan shonda rhimes loves producing shows like Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy, but in this TED Talk she reveals how she lost her passion for her work and what she did about it.
She embarked on a year of saying yes to everything — in particular spending time playing with her children — and in the process rediscovered her “hum.”
3. SOCIAL MEDIA IS CREATING A POST-LITERATE WORLD
“People wonder why their daughter is taking 10,000 photos a day. What they don’t realize is that she isn’t preserving images. She’s talking.”
The invention of reading and writing forever changed the world from an oral world to a literate one.
This Bloomberg article suggests the rise of social media has caused an equivalent shift and created a culture more reminiscent of an oral world than a literate one.
The article points out the similarities between an oral world and our current social world include that we reward redundancy, put greater emphasis on verbal jousting, and reward ideas that are easily memorized and repeatable.
4. FIVE KEYS TO A SUCCESSFUL MOVEMENT
“While we usually notice successful movements after they have begun to attract large crowds and hold massive demonstrations, those are effects, not causes, of successful mobilization.”
Whether it’s in business, politics, or anything else there are five characteristics that successful movements have in common.
This Harvard Business Review article breaks them down including the importance of a clear purpose, why values are more important than slogans, and how movements overcome thresholds of resistance.
5. YOUR PRODUCT IS ALREADY OBSOLETE
“People like what’s out there today, but what’s out there today is actually already history. The thing you should be worrying about is that there’s probably going to be a newer, faster, quicker way for your customers to achieve what they want to do in this world, and that it doesn’t involve you.”
If you want to avoid your business being disrupted, you should read this. And if you think your business could never be disrupted, then you REALLY should read this.
In it, Intercom co-founder Des Traynor makes a compelling case for the idea that your product is already obsolete and offers some suggestions of how to cope with that reality.
6. WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE A STAND-UP COMEDIAN
“Standing in front of a room full of people who are judging you every night changes you. These people might be idiots as individuals, but together they have a wisdom. They see through you.”
Even if you have no interest in the comedy business, this one’s worth a read.
Comedian Matt Ruby chronicles the 10 years he’s spent building a comedy career in a post that not only offers a fascinating glimpse at what that’s like, but also a relatable read about trying to figure out if the choices you’ve made in your life are the right ones.
7. HOW TO FIND AND SUPPORT TRUSTWORTHY JOURNALISM
“Now more than ever, it is important to our democracy that we seek out and support good journalism.”
As a former journalist, it’s been sad to see the collapse of journalism in recent years. It’s also been frustrating because that collapse is largely the industry’s own fault, but that’s a rant for another day.
Regardless, the better our journalism, the better our country can be so I appreciate Josh Stearns putting together this great list of ways you can find and support trustworthy journalism.
He points out that three of the best ways to do so are to support local news, a mix of media, and journalism about causes you care about.
8. SILICON VALLEY HAS AN EMPATHY PROBLEM
“Silicon Valley’s biggest failing is not poor marketing of its products, or follow-through on promises, but, rather, the distinct lack of empathy for those whose lives are disturbed by its technological wizardry.”
It’s not that major tech companies like Facebook don’t do things to improve the world — it’s that they’re not currently in touch with the needs of everybody.
This New Yorker column from Om Malik calls out Silicon Valley for its lack of empathy and in particular its lack of effort to better understand the impact its products have on many people and their livelihoods.
9. A MESSAGE TO THE ARCHITECTS OF OUR FUTURE
“Time giving innovation. That’s what it means to be truly technologically advanced. The future is not all screens, it’s humanity enhanced.”
This video’s actual title is “This Panda Is Dancing” and I was tempted to title it as such just to get you to click since I’m sure that would likely get more clicks than the title I chose.
But getting clicks isn’t the point.
If you watch this video, you’ll be entertained, but not by a dancing panda. In a clever short film, Max Stossel demonstrates the impact app designers have on our lives and pleads with them to do better.
10. HOW AN IDEA BECOMES A BUSINESS
“My sister Jeanette — then a marketer at Google — asked an interesting question: is it possible to make books that are more engaging than an iPad for young kids?”
This is one of the best simple, step-by-step explanations of how to launch a startup business I’ve come across.
This Sitepoint article tells the story of how children’s book startup Read Your Story came to be, with details including how they validated the initial idea, built a customer base before launching the product, and optimized their Facebook ad campaigns and landing page designs.
In the June 19th edition of this newsletter, I shared ideas about why you have to be ok with being ok to become great, the 23 laws of interesting, how to build a habit that sticks, and more.
BTW, HAVE YOU SEEN THIS?
The most elaborate 4.2 seconds you’ll ever see.