Patrick McKenzie writes in "The Hardest Adjustment to Self Employment"
I wanted to have AR in beta six weeks ago. Between consulting, vacation, and BCC, I haven’t made almost any forward progress on engineering.
I know that to be true for AR because code isn’t getting written, but I always think it to be true for BCC. It turns out that I am smoking something: I ran a shell script to compare my productivity (commits, A/B tests, etc) prior and post quitting. I thought it would show me spinning my wheels. Turns out I am getting more done than ever. ... Sales are up, too. Why doesn’t it feel this way?
I've been thinking about this since I read it this morning. Could it be that work you dislike and are being mandated to do feels more productive? I did about six hours of great work today, but most of it was talking to people I enjoy talking to and learn a lot from and playing around in Google analytics. I felt like I got nothing done until I looked at my list at the end of the day - tons of good stuff checked off.
One of the greatest things about working for yourself is that you can focus on what you want to do, and often that's work-that-feels-like-play-but-also-pays-you. Isn't that magnificent? Work that doesn't feel like working that's highly productive? Just, it's easy not to feel productive afterwards, since it felt like playing all day... what do you think?
One of the most rare mixes of people is someone that can do strategy, do tactics, and teach well. This kind of person understands big picture thinking and working on the right things, can experiment and solidify how to make those big things work in the real world, and can meet a potential student at their currency competency level to bring the person up.
This person is extremely rare, one of the most valuable people to all of society. They make great works, and can show others how to make great works. Whenever I encounter such a person, I try to dive in and learn whatever they're working on - I don't care if it's something totally unrelated to what I'm working on, anyone that has a mix of strategy/tactics/teaching is incredibly valuable. If I meet someone who is a highly skilled strategist-tactician-teacher in cooking, or singing, or dancing, or meditation, or mechanics, or crafts - I'll spend some time learning what they're studying. Carl von Clauswitz and Adam Smith both fit in the mold of strategist/tactician/teachers. Miyamoto Musashi, as well. Bruce Lee. In business, Michael Gerber definitely, Chet Holmes as well. In productivity, David Allen. In motivation/planning/goal-setting, Tony Robbins and Brian Tracy.
It's something I aspire to - a mastery of high-level figuring out how to win and what to win at, ability to put together quickly actionable plans to get there from here, and then after all that - being able to explain how you did it so others can follow in your footsteps. Truly, quality strategists are rare, quality tacticians are rare, and quality teachers are rare. The mix of all 3 - quality strategist/tactician/teacher - is one of the most rare and important people, and one of the most valuable to learn from.
Via Hacker News, I came across Danial Odio's site. He comes across to me as the rare breed of strategist/tactician/teacher. I've been going through his site at a crazy pace the last few days - his insights are simply remarkable. He understands the high level of being an entrepreneur and businessman and technologist, he understands the tactical level of generating value and spreading it through the world, and he communicates it in an elegant and straightforward way.
My biggest time consumer - completing the editing of my first book - is now done, so I'm looking to add a new creative campaign to what I'm doing. Odio writes here that people who spend time around him wind up getting DROdio-ized: Working from everywhere, getting efficient, becoming tenacious. The things Mr. Odio's working on and writing on line up very closely with what I'm working on, so I've got my next mini-project - I'm going to DROdio-ize over the next month or so. Looking at his site, Odio's written a number of articles that are very clearly actionable with detailed specifics on what to do. Tomorrow I'll summarize my rough plan and start getting more DROdio-ized - working everywhere, efficiently, being tenacious, all while becoming more strategic, more tactical, and showing others the way forward once there.
On 16 August, I wrote, "Why Isn't My Book Done?" I committed to editing it and having it edited by August 25th.
August 25th: -Proofable -Cohesive -Able to sell the book without blushing
I set these goals with a friend of mine who is also a writer - it was a pretty ambitious goal, because I finished the rough draft back in February, and not much has happened in the six months since then. Now, I was going to get it to the point where my work is proofable and cohesive in just two weeks?
And yet, it's done. Actually, I'd still blush a little if I went to sell a copy, since I should clean up the formatting, add a title page, things like that. But content wise it's solid enough that I'd take a USD $20 note from someone and hand them a copy bound in hardcover, and I'd feel they got a really good deal.
If I hadn't set this goal and been accountable publicly, to my friend and to everyone who reads here, I wouldn't have done it in two weeks. Honestly - I'm pretty internally motivated, but I've had a lot of stuff going on the last two weeks, it wouldn't have happened. But it did happen, largely because I was publicly accountable.
Sleep at 3:30AM, wake at 6:50AM, business call to States at 7AM. Groggy, but good call. Very solid planning.
Business research, tech stuff in the morning. Editing book. Get tired. Can't be tired. Go for run. Eat curry, bread, salad, fruit juice, iced tea. Wake up. Book is edited. Book is edited? Book is edited! Book is edited.
Why do I have 21 emails in my box? I cleared it two days ago, and I've been answering at least half the incoming email. Note: clear inbox after morning routine and most important thing tomorrow.
Happy. Tired. I wish I was strong enough to sleep 3.5 hours per night and do high level output without crashing, but I crash now. Answer emails tomorrow. I hate sleeping. Tired. Happy.
To be or not to be– that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles And, by opposing, end them. To die, to sleep No more – and by a sleep to say we end The heartache and the thousand natural shocks That flesh is heir to – ‘tis a consummation Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep To sleep, perchance to dream. Ay, there's the rub, For in that sleep of death what dreams may come, When we have shuffled off this mortal coil, Must give us pause. There's the respect That makes calamity of so long life. For who would bear the whips and scorns of time, Th’ oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely, The pangs of disprized love, the law's delay, The insolence of office, and the spurns That patient merit of th’ unworthy takes, When he himself might his quietus make With a bare bodkin? Who would fardels bear, To grunt and sweat under a weary life, But that the dread of something after death, The undiscovered country from whose bourn No traveller returns, puzzles the will And makes us rather bear those ills we have Than fly to others that we know not of? Thus conscience does make cowards of us all, And thus the native hue of resolution Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought, And enterprises of great pitch and moment With this regard their currents turn awry, And lose the name of action.—Soft you now! The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons Be all my sins remembered.
Two days ago, I went to a high end tailor for the first time in my life, Dung Tailor in Saigon, Vietnam. I got measured and ordered a shirt and a pair of pants. Cost: 1,020,000 VND, or a little more than $50 USD total.
This reminds me of when I was in Chengdu, China five years ago. In Chengdu, I bought a beautiful red leather suitcase for $100 USD, and got shirts and shoes for about $5 each.
So, would it be cheaper for you to fly to another country to buy your items? Here's the calculator I'd use:
1. Figure out what you're going to pay on clothing, shirts, shoes, and hand-crafted gifts in the next year.
2. Assume you can get that at between 40% and 70% off in Vietnam, China, or a relevant part of South America if you live in a Western country.
I'm really lucky to have the friends I have. (Well, luck doesn't exist, but I'm very... blessed/fortunate/something...)
My friend Brendon and I correspond pretty regularly, keep each other on track with goals/projects, share ideas, share science papers/books. He taught me how to play Go and how to sysadmin a Linux box, and we've had lots of great chats about business, philosophy, martial arts, combat, science, learning, winning, lots of stuff. I told him my book is almost done and though isn't imperfect in some ways, it's close enough, I'm going to finish it up, and that'll free me to work on my next book, on art, on business and entrepreneurship, etc. I could re-write this sucker 3 or 4 times over the next 10 years and it'd get better each time, or I could write a book or two per year and each book I'd improve in skill. I'm going the latter route.
Still, I'm nervous and uneasy over this to some extent, actually to a very large extent, and I'm not too shy to say that. Bren wrote this to me in an email:
Incredibly exciting. Given your commitment to keep writing, I think pushing it out is a great move. The victory of achieving that will be tremendously inspiring, and you can start to get your ideas in front of people to see how they react with no further delay. Enjoy the push across the finish line. You're a great man with a great mind full of great ideas. You will do great good, which will be greatly rewarded, as greatness is all too rare a gift in this world. You will achieve great scorn, which will be promptly forgotten, as there are far too many things for a Hater to Hate in this world.
First, man, I'm so fortunate to have such great friends. Thanks, man. Intellectually I understand most of what you write, but doing it in the real world is something else entirely. Thank you for the encouragement, you couldn't possibly know how valuable it is to me and how even a few words like that help make me stronger and keep me going
I was always pretty frugal with money - I'd spend on good tools, lessons/training/classes for myself (including lots on books), on having unique or developing experiences, and on showing appreciation for people who make me successful. One of my good friends helped me finish an important business deal once that made me a lot of money, and I bought him a plane ticket to Japan to say thanks.
But I never liked spending money on comfort or luxury that doesn't serve a higher purpose. I eat very simply, I sleep simply, I don't need or want much.
Lately though, I've been thinking about how this conflicts with another goal I have - constantly improving my environment. I want every room to better because I was there. And not a little better - a lot better.
I was always a decent tipper, I'd go out of my way to tip great service in particular. But I'm thinking lately I should be an exceptional tipper, even at businesses where I don't want a long term relationship with the establishment.
Not sure why I'm starting to think this way, I'm just starting to think it's correct. I was going through Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics - in particular, there's sections on liberality and magnificence.
I've got some interesting photos to share, and I was researching whether Flickr, Photobucket, or something else is the best way to go.
After about 30 minutes, I realized I could just join both, upload my photos to both, try both out, and figure out which one is better faster than I could research. And it'd give me a more accurate understanding of how both work.
So, that's where I'm at. I've got some interesting Vietnam photos. Also, I'm not sure about crash-proofing a blog, but I get the impression that high resolution images hosted on site don't help. So I'll look to do more embeds and less uploads directly to the site, I think.
Takeaway for the day - when it's free or the cost is nominal, choose both options. Buy both guides to investing or learning a new programming language. Sift through both of them. Thinking about which sites to sign up on? Just sign up and tool around on all of them until you find one that suits you. Why not? You'll be better informed, and you'll be learning by building actively instead of just reading passively. Why do we over research things anyways? It's no good. Decisiveness. Decisiveness is good.
Well, this is cool and flattering. "Hey You - Yeah YOU - You can be an entrepreneur" was featured in The 22 August 30Startups Weekly Link Roundup.
Looks like a great site - I like the article 65+ Resources for Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses, I see a couple tools in there I'm going to check out. Particularly, I've been in touch with a lot of people recently and I'm juggling a few different projects, so I'm going to check out some of the management and CRM tools linked up. It looks like a pretty carefully selected list, so I'm excited to go through that.
I dropped the site owner David Glassanos a line, I'd like to find out more about what he's up to and doing. I'll see if I can get some observations from him and share them with you - he spec'd out a concept and put some pretty interesting content and a cool design to it very fast. I'd love to hear more about how and what he's doing.
Happy to be featured there! I'll report back if I can twist Mr. Glassanos's arm into sharing some of his wisdom with us.
About three weeks ago, I recognized a common phenomenon that's hard to describe.
A lot of times, you know something, but you're not doing it. Or you're not living it regularly.
When you come across information you've already read or seen, the temptation is to say, "I already know this." Okay, you know it - but are you living what you know? If not, you might want to keep studying and practicing on that topic, even if you feel like you "know" it.
When I start reading a book on managing money, or managing time, or setting goals, sometimes I have a reaction. I say, "I already know this." But then I stop myself. Stop. And I ask, "Am I living it?" Okay, I need some goals and I need to look at them regularly. Am I doing it? If not, I'll re-read the section, or watch another video on it.
I'll be honest - it's somewhat boring going through information you've already come across. But it's necessary if you're not doing/living it.