“Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing.” — Warren Buffett
You don’t go from zero to 100 real quick — no matter what Drake says.
Projects evolve in steps and this newsletter has just taken another one.
As you see above, I’ve renamed it FOR THE INTERESTED and launched a new website to feature an archive of every idea shared in the newsletter (eventually) as well as new original content.
I’m excited about it and hope you’ll check it out, continue to spread the word, and send me any suggestions you have for what you’d like to see on it.
But most importantly, thank you for helping get this newsletter to the point where it makes sense to take this next step. It’s nothing without you.
Now, on to this week’s ideas…
“You cannot push, that’s positively last century. Sure, you can grease the skids, pour some oil to get something started, but it’s only working if people are demanding more. And if they are not, you don’t have a marketing problem, you have a product problem. Marketing has never meant less.”
Based on the premise that attention is the number one commodity in today’s world and that it’s necessary for success, music industry analyst Bob Lefsetz shares a great breakdown of how attention works in the world today.
His observations include that you can’t spread the word, your users must; that you rarely feel like you’re winning; and that you must not launch before you’re ready because you won’t get multiple bites at the apple.
A previous idea I shared from Bob Lefsetz: Why We’ve Got No Protest Music.
“About 10 to 15 minutes of natural light within two hours of waking up will help ward off early morning grogginess and keep you feeling more awake throughout the day.”
If you have a hard time starting your day (or finishing it) with energy, then you’ll want to check out this collection of 12 simple things you can do to boost your energy throughout the day.
The Thrillist article explains the scientific research behind why things like cold showers, spending 20 minutes outside during the work day, eating cinnamon, and avoiding your work email after 9 pm can have a dramatic impact on your energy level.
“The other major hazard when it comes to worry and anxiety is that, unlike other negative emotions, they seem productive; chewing over a problem feels like doing something about it. And so we’d like others to share our worry; that way several people will be ‘working’ on the problem.”
Anxiety is contagious. Studies show we have an unfortunate tendency to adopt other people’s anxieties when we find ourselves in close proximity to them (on the bright side, the same is also true of others’ happiness).
This Guardian article breaks down the phenomenon and explains how to avoid adopting other people’s anxiety, including to react in a calm manner which not only protects you, but actually lessens the other person’s anxiety as well.
“The audience doesn’t know what they’re about to see. It’s the only moment you ever have them where their minds are as open as they’re ever going to be and they are truly ready to think of your work on the highest possible terms. You want to try not to fumble that ball.”
Damien Chazelle, the Oscar-winning director of La La Land has given a lot of thought to what it takes to create a memorable beginning and ending to his films.
But what’s interesting about this Vulture article is that his guide to beginnings and endings is also applicable to anything you create — even if it’s not a movie.
He suggests you get to the good stuff, lead with the most impactful images, and end early — advice likely to improve everything from your next Powerpoint presentation to your next advertisement or web video.
Clearly, it works well for movies too.
“Who else but a patent clerk could have discovered the theory of relativity? Who else could have distilled this simple central point from all the clutter of electromagnetism than someone whose job it was over and over to extract simplicity out of complexity.”
Here’s an interesting bit of Albert Einstein’s backstory I hadn’t heard before.
Due to his spotty university record, the only job he was able to land was as a clerk in the Swiss patent office. But it turns out that job taught him a crucial skill — how to simplify complex things.
During his seven years there, his job was to go through thousands of technical patent applications and for each one describe in a single sentence why the device would work or fail and why the patent should be granted or denied.
As this Farnam Street post explains, it wound up being the perfect training for later developing a simple theory culled from complicated science.
“Games are won by players who focus on the playing field (long term) — not by those whose eyes are glued to the scoreboard (short term).”
Each year Warren Buffett sends out an annual letter in which he shares his insights on the world and business in general.
The letters are packed with interesting observations and Seyi Fabode has compiled a dozen valuable lessons Buffett has shared in the past 12 years.
They include that there is wisdom in strong opinions, weakly held; to always keep it simple and transparent; that your most significant achievements don’t have to be financial; and that to succeed you must have a “pie-is-growing-bigger” perspective.
7. THE WORLD’S LONGEST RUNNING PERSONALITY STUDY FINDS WE BECOME COMPLETELY DIFFERENT PEOPLE AS WE AGE
“Over the course of a lifetime, just as your physical appearance changes and your cells are constantly replaced, your personality is also transformed beyond recognition.”
In 1950 a personality study was launched with interviews with 1,208 14-year-olds. Now, 174 of the participants in that study have been tracked down and given the same questions as 77-year-olds and the results are surprising.
Quartz details the findings of the world’s longest running personality studyand reveals that we become completely different people when we age, calling into question ideas of the “self” and pointing out our own younger self will likely be unrecognizable to our older self.
“Much has been said about the Democrats’ failure to reach Trump supporters, and I’d add that Trump’s demographic intersects heavily with the infomercial consumer, hence he used proven marketing techniques to reach his ‘buyers,’ a segment of the population the Democrats didn’t understand and ignored.”
O’Leary explains how tactics like building credibility through conspiracy theories, creating a problem we didn’t know we had, and establishing a mantra come straight out of the infomercial playbook and compares Trump’s tactics to those of legendary infomercial icons like Ron Popeil.
A previous idea I shared about Trump’s marketing approach: How Facebook Personality Quizzes Helped Trump Win.
“Neighbors have a significant impact on an employee’s performance, and it can be either positive or negative. We found that approximately 10% of a worker’s performance spills over to her neighbors.”
A recent study found one of the simplest ways to improve productivity is to pay closer attention to your seating chart.
Harvard Business Reviews explains that your productivity can be impacted — for better or worse — by who you sit next to and suggests the optimal mix is to pair people who have opposite strengths. It’s not as simple as just sitting productive people next to each other.
“Being a stand-in is simultaneously the coolest and most frustrating job you can have in this business.”
For the past six years I’ve had the opportunity to run digital media for The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and the Oscars which means I’ve spent plenty of time at the show’s rehearsals over the years.
It’s a pretty unique gig.