“The web is very much the first draft of history, a rough-cut, it still has to be good journalism, well-sourced, reliable. Clearly, the printed form is going to have more effort put into it, going to be more reflective and relevant.”—
FT editor Lionel Barber on the difference between web and print. WTF.
“For a brand to have value today, it must be seen to be honest. So to me it makes sense for companies to embrace truth and transparency, not just because it’s inevitable but because it’s good for you. I believe open institutions will perform better. They will have higher trust and be able to build better networks. Transparency drops transaction costs in supply chains. It increases loyalty with employees. It helps create good value—because value is evidenced like never before. And if your company is buff, you can “undress for success.” Transparency is a new form of power, which pays off when harnessed”—Q&A with Don Tapscott, author, speaker and adviser on media, technology and innovation | JWT Intelligence (via futuristgerd)
“There’s nothing more invigorating than being deeply involved with a small company and a young team of founders out to do something incredibly special. And everybody’s betting against us. It’s another mission impossible.”—Michael Moritz to Charlie Rose (via sequoiacapital)
Here are some ways to get your idea muscle stronger from blogger James Altucher’s post How To Become An Idea Machine.
You do this by developing the idea muscle:
A) Every day, read/skim, chapters from books on at least four different topics.
B) Write down ten ideas. About anything. It doesn’t matter if they are business ideas, book ideas, ideas for surprising your spouse in bed, ideas for what you should do if you are arrested for shoplifting, ideas for how to make a better tennis racquet, anything you want. The key is that it has to be ten or more.
You want your brain to sweat.
To hurt to come up with more and more ideas. One possibility right now is to list ten ideas that are “too big for me” and what the next steps might be. For instance, one idea might be “launch solar panels into outerspace to more efficiently generate solar power”. Another idea might be, “genetically engineer a microbe that sucks the salt out of water”. I have no idea if that’s even possible. Another idea might be, “within one year I am going to write a book and give away a million copies for free”.
You don’t ever have to look at these ideas again. The purpose is not to come up with a good idea. The purpose is to have 1000s of ideas over time. To develop the idea muscle and turn it into a machine.
C) Be a transmitter. Two farmers live side by side and drink their water from wells they’ve each built on their property. One farmer’s well runs out of water and he needs rain to come quickly or he will die of thirst. The other farmer did the work and dug his well so an underground stream ran right into it. So his well was always filled with water and he never had to worry.
How do you create this underground stream?
By making sure the other parts of your life are in balance: you have no bad emotional situations/relationships happening or you are doing your best to stay disengaged from them. You are keeping physically healthy, no drinking, eating well, sleeping well. And spiritually (a word I hate because of 200 years of meaningless connotations that have been applied to it but I can’t think of a better word), you realize that you can’t control everything in your life, cultivating a sense of surrender to the present moment as opposed to time traveling to your regrets of the past and your fears of the future.
D) Activate another part of your brain. I write every day. So sometimes I am drawing too much water from the well, from that underground stream. Just like I wrote you need to diversify all aspects of your life, you also need to diversify your brain. The other day Claudia and I took a watercolor class. I haven’t watercolored in my life. We got there and the next thing I knew it was three hours later. My brain didn’t even notice the time passing. What did I have to show for it? The worst excuse for a sunset, some mountains, some clouds, ever watercolored. But my brain felt good.
E) No pressure. This is similar to the “burnout” question that came up in my last post. Sometimes you plant seeds and not every seed works out and grows into a beautiful plant. In fact, very few do. If you pressure yourself that every seed will be the most amazingly beautiful plant in the world then you are going to set yourself up for burnout and disappointment. Sometimes I have to work on something and it’s enough to just jot down some ideas, or look at what I’ve done so far, and then set it down again. Get my subconscious working on it. (see below)
F) An exercise to get you get your subconscious working on an idea: I have a very strict routine every day. I wake up, read, write, exercise, eat, meetings (phone or live), then reverse the process: eat, write, read, sleep.
But sometimes when I need to rejuvenate a little bit I have to shake things up. Do something different.
Maybe take a walk at 5 in the morning instead of read. Maybe sleep in four hour shifts one day instead of eight hours straight. Maybe spend a day writing handwritten letters instead of going on the computer. Shaking things up makes the brain say, “what the hell just happened?” And while the conscious brain is confused the subconscious slips in and drops off what it’s been working on while your conscious brain has been too busy. Write down your routine. Make it as detailed a possible. What can you change today?
H) List your childhood passions. When I was six years old I was passionately interested in both comic books and Greek mythology. In high school and college I took five years of French and spent some time in France (even had an office there with my first business). Right now I can’t remember a single word of French except for maybe “oui”. But I remember vividly almost every comic and book I read about Greek myths from when I was six. From the very first comic (the “legion of superheroes” had to come back in time and stay with Clark’s parents in Smallville) to every comic afterwards.
We only ever remember the things we are passionate about. Ultimately, these become the fields where ideas bloom and are harvested. Everything else dries up inside and dies.
Try to think back and think of all the things you ever were passionate about from the age of five on. You’ll be surprised how many things there were. And how many ways these passions can now be cross-fertilized and mate with each other to provide your next set of passions and ideas.
I) Surf the Internet. I just saw an “infographic” (Infographics are quickly becoming the new blog posts) on how to be creative. It said “turn off the computer”. Sometimes this is true. Sometimes not. With the entire world of knowledge at our fingertips it sometimes is fun to get sucked down the rabbit hole like Alice and drift around in Wonderland. Some good places to start are braindroppings, thebrowser.com, and (not safe for work), extragoodshit.phlap.net. I might not get any ideas from what I see but seeds might be planted. I find that I get a similar feeling to when I go into the book store at a museum, pick out a bunch of books and sit down and skim through them. It tickles the brain and lights things up that may have been dormant.
When I turned 25 a few months ago, I wrote down some of the things I’ve learned over my short time on earth. The last year has been a crazy roller-coaster ride which has enabled me to see certain things like never before. Last year during this time, I was working at what I would consider my “dream job” - well, before I discovered my current “job” (I don’t think I can even call it a job). Over the last year, I’ve tried to learn from people who have “made it” in life - entrepreneurs, figureheads, lawyers, bankers and even politicians. I’ve realized that there is no formula to success in life, but there are definitely lessons that can be learned to help along the journey. I came up with the following list which I hope to someday come back to - but for now, I think it’s a pretty accurate depiction of how I think ;) So without further adieu:
Take risks when you’re young. The older you become, the harder it gets. But they should always be calculated.
The most important thing you learn in school is how to learn. Once you master that, nothing will stand in your way. Never stop learning.
I would rather say that I tried and failed than live a life of regret. You miss every shot you don’t take.
Dream big. Life is too short to only be mediocre.
Music is the cheapest and simplest cure to life’s problems. Queue up your favourite play list, put on some headphones, and take a walk. You’ll instantly feel better.
Drink beer. Lots of it. It makes you think more creatively. Oh, and wine too.
Join clubs and put yourself in as many different social settings as possible. It will help you understand people and make you a better communicator.
Start your own business as young as possible. Even if it’s a lemonade stand, it will teach you business lessons you’ll use for the rest of your life.
If you’re going to fail, fail fast and make it public. Don’t drag it on. Then pick yourself back up. Knowing that others watched you fail will encourage you to prove them wrong.
Meet lots of different people. Life is serendipitous in many ways and you never know what can happen.
When life throws lemons at you, make lemonade. Then pour it for all your friends. Be optimistic. It spreads like wild fire.
Success does not lead to happiness. You need to be happy first before you can become successful. Find what makes you happy. Don’t stop until you find it.
Many people don’t want to start businesses because they are scared. Successful entrepreneurs got to where they are because they were willing to tread where others wouldn’t. If you’re too scared to leave your 9-5 job, entrepreneurship is not meant for you.
Surround yourself with people way smarter than you. That is the only way you will be challenged to grow.
Only those who are with you during the struggles deserve to be with you when you celebrate the successes.
Pick and choose your battles carefully. There are only 24 hours in a day. If something isn’t worth your time, just say no…or outsource it to India ;) (thank you 4 Hour Workweek)
The most important asset to invest in is yourself. Take classes to make yourself a better person and never stop learning. Buy books. Lots of them.
True friends will never question why you disappeared off the face of the earth. They will be there for you unconditionally.
The more comfortable you are with a job you don’t want to be doing, the harder it will become to leave it and chase your dreams. Learn what you can, then go change the world.
A dream job does not exist. You have to create it.
Travel as much as you can. You will come back with a wider perspective of the world and more ideas on how to change it.
"Thank You" - the most powerful two words in the English dictionary.
God gave us all a purpose. Don’t settle until you find yours. I didn’t think mine was to sit in front of computer screens and trade foreign exchange, so I kept looking.
The world may seem big and scary. But the older you get, the more you realize that everything is man-made. Nothing is set in stone. Don’t stick with the status quo.
Life is not easy. But having the right support group with you during your journey goes a long, long way.