Most end of year cards I saw this year were wrapped in thick, unrecyclable plastic so I ordered recycled paper postcards and got out the watercolours.
If you’d like a treat in your postbox, reply with your postal address before 16 December. Let’s have fun.
I’ve had a great surprise this week: a bird’s eye view of a new, massive street art being painted and seeing focused artists Fintan Magee and Jason Parker. They’re painting in all kinds of weather, up and down and across in the cherrypicker (effortlessly working at heights) and their iPhones are getting workouts to check their plan. Seeing them write the original grid with numbers on the empty cement wall then filling in each section with such attention to the shading and colours has been so inspiring. Imagine doing a paint by numbers of this size, to this level of detail and with such success. Whoah! Talent!
Great to see they’re supported by Taubmans (I enjoyed reading links to street art and their history) with loads of paint rollers, brushes and sooo much paint.
If you’re in Melbourne, head down Little Bourke Street, just before Spencer, to see this and others painted. Otherwise, here are the photos as it comes to be (I plan to add photos to this link until the art is completed).
Thanks to Juddy Roller & crews for bringing this to be and to Sarah Moran for helping me track down the artists’ names.
“Fin uses a combination of human and machine intelligence to provide high quality, on-demand assistance so you can focus on what is most important to you.”Product Hunt newsletter.
Fin could save you time and give you more ease. It’s a great time to try it out as “Fin is waiving the $120 monthly minimum spend for the Product Hunt community — you can signup here to pay per request.”
Once again Cal Newport (author of “Deep Work”) has me captivated. In “So Good They Can’t Ignore You” he shares his observations of the 3 core traits in people he’s interviewed that love doing exceptional work:
(1) Impact Creativity (2) (3) Control
He debunks the passion hypothesis (that you need to follow your passions to find work you love) and courage culture (that you need to be emotionally brave too) and instead highlights people who have developed their experience and skills (career capital) prior to using it for greater autonomy, income, flexibility and more.
These summarised notes are worth a scan if you’re not going to read the book (the Audible version is short & engaging).
It’s a fascinating time as always. I’m curious to see what happens with Facebook’s Messenger for Kids and will be looking on to see what the main character in this street art has in his left hand (will let you know)! Haven’t yet mentioned anything about the Apple Watch 3 – after a couple of months I’m a fan!
That’s all from me for now. As always, shoot me a reply with topics you’d like to read – they add extra spark.
What’s on your mind? What could I help you with? Shoot me a reply with:
~ a question
~ a query on a current challenge
~ ideas of topics you’d like to read in future newsletters
Amazingly a month after finishing Cal Newport’s “Deep Work” book the learnings, reminders and productivity tips have continued to (usefully) pop into my mind.
Turns out this book and Kevin Kelly’s are my favourites in the past year.
Did you enjoy them too?
Industries of the Future ~ Alec Ross
Another recent read was Alec Ross’s “Industries of the Future” which went deeper than his TED talk. The main outtake: get your unique life/career/work purpose very clear and start profiling and marketing yourself online.
Get to it!
Here’s a favourite quote:
In case of overwhelm (“more books to read!”)
Any of the books I recommend have quotes on the Good Reads website. If you’re wondering about reading something, type into Google:
“good reads quotes [name of book / author]”
…and then click through to the Good Reads quotes page where you’ll gain a quick overview of the book. These days this helps me decide whether to read a book.
Welcome to the 22nd edition of this email. Did you know you can read all past editions in our archive?
The subject this time round is Life Beyond Productivity.
It’s a slight change of format, inspired by what I’ve been researching. Let me know if you like it.
Have you ever wondered what your life will be like in 10 years time?
I’ve written a story of a day in February 2027, complete with possible tech (robots, house help, passenger drones, health data and more). I’ve referred to it as “Life Beyond Productivity” as we’ll be integrating robots / AI / machine learning into our lives within the next 10 years and I imagine by 2027 we will have learnt a lot about how we best operate in life, work and any other aspect.
This story is a playful look on this subject and I wonder if it may be easier for people to understand what could be coming through this ‘a day in the life’ style. The first part of the day is below (click on the link to read the full story) and perhaps as you’re reading it wonder:
“What will my life be like in February 2027?”
A Day in February 2027
New tunes wake me. It’s 6am. The music is new to me and was chosen from analysing my body’s morning brainwaves. It has the desired effect: I’m feeling ultra-calm. A great way to start the day.
My partner is sleeping in today so the music is playing through my ear implant. I get out of our ultra-comfortable bed. It dynamically moulds to each of our bodies and is made from materials that aid sleep (we used tech that matches our health data and personal preferences). Plus the bedding regulates our temperatures. I daresay if I checked my overnight sleep data I’ve had a deep, high quality sleep which is a regular occurrence, on-par with others of similar DNA and age.
The blinds automatically open showing the view and I glance at the superimposed weather and surf forecast for today as I pad into our ensuite. The lights come on at the morning brightness setting. I brush my teeth with a comfortable toothbrush and floss – they’re both designed for my specific mouth conditions and their sensors take another reading on my health. On the mirror, I see there’s only one preventative health measure prescribed (tablets, food or exercise) – there’ll be a slow release Vitamin D supplement in my morning juice.
Being increasingly aware of my health data over the past 10 years has been a blessing and a curse. The past 3 years I’ve actively worked on improving my body’s nutrient absorption, gave up coffee and I’ve increased my bone strength. The blessing is all that comes from better health, the curse is the extra logistics to do what’s prescribed – this is part of the reason we invested in Marta (She’s our house help (robot)) and since then, things have been super easy, assisted by ultra-fast home-delivery of such a wide selection of specific foods that are good for our health – raw, pre-prepared or fully-cooked.
I change into workout gear that has the usually sensors and temperature-regulation and head downstairs, saying “Hi” to Marta – she’s preparing our breakfasts. I can hear the kitchen 3D printer creating my Vitamin D supplement.
Popping my slim headset on I see our spare room transform to a workout room with my (virtual) personal trainer. My implants and house sensors accurately track my vitals and workout results. As my workout finishes my favourite beach surrounds me as the environment changes for a guided meditation. The technology has worked out from my current brainwaves, recent moods and today’s schedule that the meditation length will be 9 minutes.
I head into the kitchen ready for Marta’s green juice. She’s just started making my cooked breakfast in our tiny kitchen with it’s few, multi-functional gadgets. Cooking from scratch these days is a novelty with so many accessible, delicious, healthy, quick options. Since the identification of so many health-affecting germs over the past 10 years and home help that can eradicate them real-time with sustainable products, everything on the food front is so easy.
Marta suggests I chat with my cousin who’s free. While I eat breakfast we chat generally then notice the suggested discussion topics on our hologram screens that then strengthen our conversation (recent birthdays, family activities, new health innovations and her recent virtual build of another use for their spare room). At the end of the call I see that my productivity tech picked up a couple of actions we talked about and is already making them happen (namely logistics for our next catch up and booking in time to try out my cousin’s new virtual room that could be useful in our home). It’s great to be in regular contact which is now easier owing to less work hours these days.
After the call, my mobile hologram switches to my fun, daily checks of today’s selections for travel (air/passenger drones and ground/self-driven capsules), clothing and meals. A quick scan has me aware and satisfied. There’s nothing to alter and I’m mindful that my (artificial) assistants are constantly learning and their suggested selections and automated choices are amazingly helpful now both as time savers, productivity enhancement and to free my mind of mundane decisions. I review Marta’s list of suggested actions to have our life running smoothly and agree to most and answer outstanding questions via verbal comment. Marta receives this information immediately and starts working on it while she’s sorting the washing.
I pad upstairs to our wardrobe and see today’s outfit suggested by my stylist. She’s had such a fast knack of finding great clothes that are ultra-comfortable, made of sustainable fabrics (my tech identified I’ve a sensitivity to certain dyes), and incorporate useful new tech. She’s cleverly integrated tech and data to complement her work skills and experience. She’s based in Tel Aviv.
Her process starts by her tech analysing (pretty much) the world’s outfits based on my measurements, my personal and health data (including my skin toning) as well as all of my data on the internet (much of this shows my preferences for style and lifestyle). It then gathers 1,000 outfits and as you skim through the first 20 many are discarded with respect to what you don’t like. – saying what you do and don’t like – it has worked out a wardrobe. I particularly like the colour pallets, the consistent geometric tailored necklines with a hint of femininity from the 20’s, and that every outfit has a pocket (I remember a time when women’s fashion didn’t). Over the following three weeks and then the following seasons, the stylist checks in with suggested tweaks. Now it constantly receives measurements via my sensors and fast communication connections and combines it with a vast database of new clothes and fabrics. She’s saved us time and money as my clothes and wardrobe is actually pretty small and much has been printed at home – including accessories from the library she has installed on our 3D printer.
My clothing style is quickly solidifying. It’s been an enlightening process as I was never that interested in clothes before though my style is now clear and we’ve co-designed unique pieces that work so well that they’re being sold and I gain a small commission. Who knew there were others who wanted similar pieces to me!
I head down to my office where there’s a standup desk with VR 3D sensors around it, and (old school style) a physical A3 sketch pad with a few colourful pens ready to go for jotting ideas. A tea (tailored for concentration) is atop my standup desk. I sip it while I look at today’s list aside my computer. There’s not much to do before my surf this afternoon.
I voice activate my virtual office and the team appears around me. We’re a specialised think tank that finds current and future opportunities for subscribed companies. It’s fast, focused, fascinating and exhilarating work. The team (from Madrid, Yemen, Paris, Boston, Argentina and Melbourne) is a lot of fun. Practical jokes are a regular occurrence. Today we’re scoping the impacts and the opportunities from a potential new piece of software to incorporate through an organisation. If it works for this organisation, we’ll include it as a quick-to-implement bonus report for other relevant customers. We do a quick brainstorm for 30 minutes, then 20 minutes to see how far we can implement / analyse on our own, onto a 20 minute focused debrief with next steps. Dynamic, fun and interesting.
We check in with each other and see what’s happened overnight on other projects and ideas. A new system we suggested for a client has worked well (all implemented by specialised robots). After a high five (that feels real!) and a check in about other plans we say bye, leaving our virtual assistant (robots) to sort out the details of our next meetings and some of the actions we agreed on. I write a few notes, send a few messages to gain more information on a few things, check in with my assistant to answer her questions.
Marta calls out that my transport is here to take me to a new cafe for lunch. It’s 15 minutes by passenger drone. I’ve heard it has the latest tech to integrate personal taste preferences and health data into their menu which is co-designed each day by a local chef, a coastal nutrition expert, and the latest health AI. Marta uploaded my health data and personal preferences this morning.
I hope you enjoyed the story and perhaps your reflection. What will your life be like? I’d love to hear your perspective. Shoot me a reply with ideas, challenging comments, or even questions to expand parts of this story. I’ll be fascinated.
Here are aspects I wanted to incorporate: – constant experimentation – feedback loops – shared collective data – it’s more interesting and useful to share data and experiences – consistent, startling innovation that reduces life friction – less work – an individual’s refinement of style, productivity and attention – smaller houses as VR transforms spaces
Deep Work, Self-Driving Cars, Automation & Great Online Presence
Welcome to the 21st edition of this email. Did you know you can read all past editions in our archive?
The subject this time round is Deep Work.
Ready? Let’s focus…
Hi from Torquay, overlooking the waves rolling in. I’m freshly inspired from listening to Cal Newport’s “Deep Work”. These words are interesting:
“In this new economy, three groups will have a particular advantage: those who can work well and creatively with intelligent machines, those who are the best at what they do, and those with access to capital.”
“To remain valuable in our economy, therefore, you must master the art of quickly learning complicated things. This task requires deep work. If you don’t cultivate this ability, you’re likely to fall behind as technology advances.”
Cal’s book is fascinating with quickly actionable tips and this is a great list by Ryan Holiday on how he does deep work. Fascinating.
Things getting too heavy?
“Piaggio recently unveiled the company’s first product, a personal cargo robot named Gita. The bot can carry up to 40 pounds autonomously using maps, or by following a human operating the bot’s path… It’s fast enough to keep up with you on a bike (22MPH), and [has] the “human agility” needed to navigate sidewalks.” via Peter Diamandis
Gita and other helpful-to-humans technology excites me! You too?
Self-driving cars: coming sooner
Recently in conversations I’ve suggested we’ll use self-driving cars sooner than expected, for a couple of reasons:
With so many other things to do, see, read, watch, catch up on (including sleep), car driving will start to be less of interest compared to other things we could do.
As more images of newly designed car interiors (movie cinema, sleeping pod, working space / shared office) appear the idea of the car being a location to do other things than drive will grow on us… quickly.
These are the best podcasts and audiobooks I’ve found for top performance, emerging technology, and business trends from listening to hundreds of podcasts and a couple of years worth of audiobooks.
Best Podcasts for Top Performance
1. Anatomy of Next
One of the things I love about online content at the moment is greater access to the ‘good news stories’. The Anatomy of Next is a treat. It showcases current, upcoming and longer-term technology and the effects on humanity through storyline and interviews with world experts in genetics, tech, and beyond. What’s rad about it is that it’s dispelling many of the dystopian/destruction future storylines often in Hollywood blockbuster movies (think: Terminator). It’s useful in seeing the future brightly.
Tim Ferriss podcasts are interviews with people who are operating at best-in-the-world level. Learn from the best! Enjoy their wise and calm perspectives. Tim is the author of the ‘Four Hour’ books that are really useful for developing your mindset to identify greater productivity, performance and to be globally-aware. Access podcasts through searching for Tim Ferriss in the Podcasts app on your smartphone or head here. These are my favourite interviews with top performers across various professions in suggested listening order:
Bryan Johnson Naval Ravikant Kevin Kelly (#164) – AI, Virtual Reality and The Inevitable Joshua Waitzkin (all episodes) Tara Brach Caroline Paul Maria Popova (especially useful if you do Social Media production) Charles Poliquin Derek Sivers Wim Hof Chris Sacca Ryan Holiday James Altucher Ramit Sethi Pavel Tsatsouline Peter Diamandis Noah Kagan Seth Godin Phil Libin Joshua Skenes Tony Robbins Walter O’Brien BJ Miller Marc Andreessen (#163)
If you’re interested in productivity and gaining increased focus, Tim Ferriss also provides insight beyond his book (which is a great introduction) through these podcasts where he shares his personal experiments and what has worked:
Episode 13: “Productivity” Tricks for the Neurotic, Manic-Depressive, and Crazy (Like Me) Magic of Mindfulness: Complain Less, Appreciate More, and Live a Better Life Episode 6: 6 Formulas for More Output and Less Overwhelm Episode 9:The 9 Habits to Stop Now – the Not-To-Do List Episode 17: The Power of Negative Visualization Lazy: A Manifesto How to Earn Your Freedom How to Practice Poverty and Reduce Fear How to 10X Your Results, One Tiny Tweak at a Time How to Avoid the Busy Trap (And Other Misuses of Your Time)
“VR” stands for Virtual Reality = Next big thing. Get on it: the Voices of VR podcast 🙂
8. The Future of the Internet
This Freakonomics podcast investigates “Is the Internet Being Ruined”. Interesting analysis of the big players such as Facebook and aspects of privacy, as well as potential solutions. Well worth a listen.
9. No Such Thing as a Fish
“The QI researchers (known as ‘elves’) host a weekly podcast to half a million subscribers, where they discuss the most interesting facts they’ve unearthed that week.”
Fascinating, witty and good fun. Really diverse topics, you’re sure to learn something new. This episode (iTunes Ep 127 here) covers objects left on the moon, the earthquake-proof bed, men-only flights and comic sans font.
Amy Hoy and Alex Hillman help creatives, consultants, small business owners, entrepreneurs and freelancers grow their online presence, business and set up their online marketing systems to attract relevant leads by first finding a niche group of customers and deeply researching and analysing their needs.
Cal’s “Be So Good they Can’t Ignore You” is fabulous too. “He debunks the passion hypothesis (that you need to follow your passions to find work you love) and courage culture (that you need to be emotionally brave too) and instead highlights people who have developed their experience and skills (career capital) prior to using it for greater autonomy, income, flexibility and more.” Although the audiobook is repetitive, its concise length and clearly presented arguments make it well worth the listen.
Kevin Kelly’s “The Inevitable” – within 6 hours of listening you’ll be up to date with the 12 tech forces that are shaping our future. I found listening to this at 1.25 speed worked well and the 6 hours took me about 3 week in amongst listening to other media.
“Ready Player One” immerses you in a VR future – great for strategists and future thinkers to better imagine aspects of what could come to be. Have a bit of fun!
Love yourself like your life depends on it by Kamal Ravikant (Kamal’s brother Naval mentioned above) is soothing (well done Kamal!) and basic and strengthening. Kamal and Naval are successful entrepreneurs and Silicon Valley’s investors.
Grit by Angela Duckworth hones in on attributes and activities that can build perseverance.
Pop over here for favourite blockchain and cryptocurrency audiobooks.
I download a few at a time to my iPhone so I can listen whether or not I’m connected to the internet.
Oh! And I’m a fan of Jaybird headphones and Apple Airpods so learning can happen quickly, anywhere. Clever earphones have had me learning many more hours a week for a while now.
Have a favourite? Let us know so this list continues to be alive with useful tips.