Synth: Weekly Notes

  • Found Summerian through Brief book summaries on a subscription service. On Sunday morning I read the summary of Man’s Search for Meaning, because . . . it’s great. I might sign up for this.
  • Roam Research: I’ve know about them for a while but when I found out they raised at a $200M post-money valuation I realized I may need to dig in a little more (no offense, Notion). So I read this great article from Nat Eliason on why it’s so great. From what I can tell, it looks like Roam’s key innovation is essentially organized tagging. I can # something and it creates a page of that topic that I can always reference or search for.
  • Podcasts — “Storytelling is the most important aspect regardless of medium. Interesting people have interesting friends. Interviewing is a creative process. A lot of it is just asking the right questions and then getting out of the way. People remember the ending, so end on a high note. A good podcast can sound a lot like a good therapy session.”
  • Funnels — Match the length of funnel to the size of sale. Start simple and optimize each stage.
  • Personal Blueprints — See below in Articles but these are basically your quirks and habits around how you work and how people can best collaborate with you.
  • Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) — Amazon Pay Later, PayPal Pay Later, AfterPay, Affirm, Klarna, QuadPay, Sezzle, FuturePay,
  • I finally got back on Twitter a few weeks ago and I’m already reminded of why I am so hot-and-cold on social media. I have ZERO passion for politics and, for better or worse, every third tweet seems to be about politics. Maybe it’s just the election year, but I’m already tired of it and remembering why I had previously excluded it from my information diet.
  • I have run across Waking Up by Sam Harris about 5 times in the last few weeks. Looks to be in the Mindfulness genre and several people I like have recommended it. Not sure how it dovetails with my faith, but my faith isn’t fragile. Added to wishlist.
  • Also added the new book from McSweeney’s because McSweeney’s is hilarious.
  • I also added Mandela’s Way to my cart because 2020 needs some Nelson.
  • Which leads me to — When do people make time to read all this stuff? I heard a young CEO interviewed on The Hustle podcast and he reads in bed for an hour every morning. I wondered how he did that and then found out he was 23 years old. Then both my 5 and 3 year old came in and needed something, my wife texted me for something, and I got ten new emails. Right about then I realized why he can read an hour every morning and I can’t seem to find the time. Hence the appeal of Summerian and Audible (and podcasts, I suppose). Maybe that’s my middle ground — a Summerian summary every morning at 5 am and one audiobook per week (fewer podcasts!).
  • Roam Research. Duh. From Nat Eliason (not me):
  • Poolside FM. Always nice to have upbeat, chill music to work to.
  • Airr podcasts. Allows me to take audio notes and save them/reference them.
  • “Write for an audience of one.” — Maria Popova + Tim Ferriss
  • I realized that writing is a virtuous cycle with thinking. The better you are at one the better you become at the other. Write better = think better. Think better = write better. They are a self-reinforcing positive cycle. Probably why the most famous and successful thinkers in history were almost all writers . . .
  • I want to start including private videos in my weekly newsletter. Might need to use Vimeo to keep them private but it looks like those are supported. I can just paste a blurred video image in the free version and keep the videos for subscribers only.
  • Should I write a book about AirBnB a la Super Pumped? I probably have the network. Not sure I have the time or skill . . .
  • In listening to a few podcasts, I have realized that some of the best hosts always ask questions about habits and routines. You could argue that the entire premise of Tim Ferriss’ podcast is about “teasing out the habits” of world-class performers. I think that is because he realizes what I realized a while ago: In a sea of intelligent, hard-working people, she with the best habits wins. It’s why people always praise the attention to detail of people like Nick Saban and “trust the process.” That’s all a process is — a collection of sequential tasks or actions. And tasks/actions become habits over time.
  • Since we are moving this week, I have to be creative on feeding the fam. All our cookware is packed and I’m thinking about breakfast this morning (Sunday) and not quite sure how I am going to cook the last few eggs. I have microwaved eggs before but that was in small ramekins and I’m not sure it’ll work in a bowl or something larger. #Eggsperiment
  • I still like the idea of getting a food planner. Like, an actual human person. Not an app. I’ve fiddled with the apps before and while some of them are pretty good at integrating with grocery list apps, that’s not my main problem. I want a creative person who knows I hate onions and mushrooms and have two small boys to pick 4 meals per week for me to cook. Pick them, give me the list of ingredients and cooking time and I’ll do the rest. I need to find a service (maybe Fiverr and UpWork) that does this? Meal Planner on Demand results in this. (Which is why I say it’s all about the apps and not the nutritionists who I really want to meet.)
  • I need to find an expert on software integration. If integration with certain systems is table stakes in most sales cycles, then this process needs to be streamlined and automated as much as possible.
  • “Two is one and one is none.” — Navy seal on always having back ups and spares of important gear
  • “Be passionate about the opportunities and clinical about the results.” — Josh Elman
  • “Blitscaling is prioritizing speed over efficiency is the face of uncertainty.” — Reid Hoffman
  • “A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed at some indefinite time in the future.” — George Patton
  • “So, if you take the sort of prototypical consumer founder, they tend to have more empathy for how people behave. Whereas if you take the classic enterprise founder, they tend to be more rational because in some ways you can just go and ask your customers what features do you want and go build them.” — Charlie Songhurst
  • “at sort of pre seed to seed, you basically have a failure to achieve labor productivity, which is just a polite way of saying the team doesn’t come together. Doesn’t gel and produce good output. Usually a team that just produces good work will generate enough sort of kinetic energy to get continuing funding.” — Charlie Songhurst
  • “There’s a term in micro economics called managerial diseconomies of scale. And I think in some ways the angle of the decline of productivity per person is the difference between the sort of the Stripes, the great startups, and the failures. And maybe if you’re a great startup, as you go from 10 people to 100 people output per person drops 15%. And if you’re a bad startup, it actually drops over 90%” — Charlie Songhurst
  • “The difference between a great company, is one where the execs spend only 25% of the time playing politics, and a bad company is where they spend 50% of the time playing politics. And that delta is the entire gaussian bell-curve from the best Fortune 500 company to the worst.” — Charlie Songhurst
  • “One of the things that I see correlate very well with successes is how quickly they exit their first employee that doesn’t fit.” — Charlie Songhurst
  • “We don’t announce our funds because we see it as a non-event.” — Josh Kopelman
From Charlie Songhurst on Investor Filed Guide




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