The Subtle Art of not giving a Fuck, Book Notes

A suprisingly fantastic book I recently read. Here are my unedited notes

 

on it:

The Feedback Loop from Hell
Wanting positive experience is a negative experience; accepting negative experience is a positive experience.
Not giving a fuck works in reverse. If pursuing the positive is a negative, then pursuing the negative generates the positive. The pain you pursue in the gym results in better all-around health and energy
Being open with your insecurities paradoxically makes you more confident and charismatic around others.
avoidance of suffering is a form of suffering. The avoidance of struggle is a struggle. The denial of failure is a failure. Hiding what is shameful is itself a form of shame.
To not give a fuck is to stare down life’s most terrifying and difficult challenges and still take action.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck
Subtlety #1: Not giving a fuck does not mean being indifferent; it means being comfortable with being different.
There’s absolutely nothing admirable or confident about indifference. People who are indifferent are lame and scared. They’re couch potatoes and Internet trolls
Because here’s another sneaky little truth about life. You can’t be an important and life-changing presence for some people without also being a joke and an embarrassment to others.
The Misadventures of Disappointment Panda
We suffer for the simple reason that suffering is biologically useful
Happiness comes from solving problems. The keyword here is “solving.” If you’re avoiding your problems or feel like you don’t have any problems, then you’re going to make yourself miserable
Happiness is therefore a form of action; it’s an activity, not something that is passively bestowed upon you
Emotions Are Overrated
if you feel crappy it’s because your brain is telling you that there’s a problem that’s unaddressed or unresolved. In other words, negative emotions are a call to action.
When you feel them, it’s because you’re supposed to do something.
Positive emotions, on the other hand, are rewards for taking the proper action
Choose Your Struggle
“What pain do you want in your life? What are you willing to struggle for?” Because that seems to be a greater determinant of how our lives turn out.
I wanted the reward and not the struggle. I wanted the result and not the process. I was in love with not the fight but only the victory. And life doesn’t work that way. Who you are is defined by what you’re willing to struggle for.
But a true and accurate measurement of one’s self-worth is how people feel about the negative aspects of themselves.
Entitled people exude a delusional degree of self-confidence
Things Fall Apart
It just means that you’re not special. Often, it’s this realization—that you and your problems are actually not privileged in their severity or pain—that is the first and most important step toward solving them.
The Tyranny of Exceptionalism entitlement
Is a western world epidemic. Every one thinks he is special, the next bill gates etc. while no one really is.
if everyone were extraordinary, then by definition no one would be extraordinary—is missed by most people
The rare people who do become truly exceptional at something do so not because they believe they’re exceptional. On the contrary, they become amazing because they’re obsessed with improvement. And that obsession with improvement stems from an unerring belief that they are, in fact, not that great at all. It’s anti-entitlement. People who become great at something become great because they understand that they’re not already great—they are mediocre, they are average—and that they could be so much better
The Self-Awareness Onion
the first layer of the self-awareness onion is a simple understanding of one’s emotions. “This is when I feel happy.” “This makes me feel sad.”
The second layer of the self-awareness onion is an ability to ask why we feel certain emotions
The third level is our personal values: Why do I consider this to be success/failure? How am I choosing to measure myself? By what standard am I judging myself and everyone around me? This level, which takes constant questioning and effort, is incredibly difficult to reach
Honest self-questioning is difficult. It requires asking yourself simple questions that are uncomfortable to answer. In fact, in my experience, the more uncomfortable the answer, the more likely it is to be true.
Take a moment and think of something that’s really bugging you. Now ask yourself why it bugs you. Chances are the answer will involve a failure of some sort. Then take that failure and ask why it seems “true” to you. What if that failure wasn’t really a failure? What if you’ve been looking at it the wrong way?
Rock Star Problems
Our values determine the metrics by which we measure ourselves and everyone else.
If you want to change how you see your problems, you have to change what you value and/or how you measure failure/success
Shitty Values
  1. Pleasure. Pleasure is great, but it’s a horrible value to prioritize your life around. Ask a man who almost ate himself to death how pleasure helped him solve his problems
  2. Material Success
  3. Always Being Right
  4. Staying Positive. Denying negative emotions leads to experiencing deeper and more prolonged negative emotions and to emotional dysfunction. Constant positivity is a form of avoidance, not a valid solution to life’s problems
Defining Good and Bad Values
Good values are 1) reality-based, 2) socially constructive, and 3) immediate and controllable. Bad values are 1) superstitious, 2) socially destructive, and 3) not immediate or controllable.
like: honesty, innovation, vulnerability, standing up for oneself, standing up for others, self-respect, curiosity, charity, humility, creativity.
Bad values are generally reliant on external events
This, in a nutshell, is what “self-improvement” is really about: prioritizing better values, choosing better things to give a fuck about. Because when you give better fucks, you get better problems. And when you get better problems, you get a better life.
 You Are Always Choosing
when you chose it freely and prepared for it, it was a glorious and important milestone in your life. When it was forced upon you against your will, it was one of the most terrifying and painful experiences of your life.
Often the only difference between a problem being painful or being powerful is a sense that we chose it, and that we are responsible for it.
The Choice
 
We don’t always control what happens to us. But we always control how we interpret what happens to us, as well as how we respond
The more we choose to accept responsibility in our lives, the more power we will exercise over our lives. Accepting responsibility for our problems is thus the first step to solving them
It might not be my fault but my reaction to it is my responseability
(What he didn’t realize was that he had chosen the value that was hurting him: height. Women, he assumed, are attracted only to height. He was screwed, no matter what he did.)
As you reassess your values, you will be met with internal and external resistance along the way.
 You’re Wrong About Everything (But So Am I)
Growth is an endlessly iterative process. When we learn something new, we don’t go from “wrong” to “right.” Rather, we go from wrong to slightly less wrong.
Our values are our hypotheses: this behavior is good and important; that other behavior is not. Our actions are the experiments; the resulting emotions and thought patterns are our data.
It’s easier to sit in a painful certainty that nobody would find you attractive, that nobody appreciates your talents, than to actually test those beliefs and find out for sure.
Certainty is the enemy of growth. Nothing is for certain until it has already happened—and even then, it’s still debatable.
Architects of Our Own Beliefs
Most of our beliefs are wrong. Or, to be more exact, all beliefs are wrong—some are just less wrong than others
tThe human mind is a jumble of inaccuracy. And while this may make you uncomfortable, it’s an incredibly important concept to accept,
Be Careful What You Believe
experiences is to interpret them in such a way that they will cohere with all of our previous experiences, feelings, and beliefs
our beliefs are malleable, and our memories are horribly unreliable.
If we’re all wrong, all the time, then isn’t self-skepticism and the rigorous challenging of our own beliefs and assumptions the only logical route to progress?
The Dangers of Pure Certainty
It’s the backwards law again: the more you try to be certain about something, the more uncertain and insecure you will feel.
But the converse is true as well: the more you embrace being uncertain and not knowing, the more comfortable you will feel in knowing what you don’t know.
Manson’s Law of Avoidance
The more something threatens your identity, the more you will avoid it
If I believe I’m a nice guy, I’ll avoid situations that could potentially contradict that belief
How to Be a Little Less Certain of Yourself:
Questioning ourselves and doubting our own thoughts and beliefs is one of the hardest skills to develop.
  1. Question #1: What if I’m wrong It’s worth remembering that for any change to happen in your life, you must be wrong about something
  2. Question #2: What would it mean if I were wrong?
  3. Question #3: Would being wrong create a better or a worse problem than my current problem, for both myself and others?
if it’s down to me being screwed up, or everybody else being screwed up, it is far, far, far more likely that I’m the one who’s screwed up. I have learned this from experience
That’s simply reality: if it feels like it’s you versus the world, chances are it’s really just you versus yourself.
The Failure/Success Paradox
Improvement at anything is based on thousands of tiny failures, and the magnitude of your success is based on how many times you’ve failed at something.
Better values, as we saw, are process-oriented. Something
Pain Is Part of the Process
pain is part of the process. It’s important to feel it. Because if you just chase after highs to cover up the pain, if you continue to indulge in entitlement and delusional positive thinking, if you continue to overindulge in various substances or activities, then you’ll never generate the requisite motivation to actually change.
Learn to sustain the pain you’ve chosen. When you choose a new value, you are choosing to introduce a new form of pain into your life
The “Do Something” Principle
If you’re stuck on a problem, don’t sit there and think about it; just start working on it. Even if you don’t know what you’re doing, the simple act of working on it will eventually cause the right ideas to show up in your head
Action isn’t just the effect of motivation; it’s also the cause of it.
Action → Inspiration → Motivation
Simply do something
 The Importance of Saying No
Ultimately, the only way to achieve meaning and a sense of importance in one’s life is through a rejection of alternatives, a narrowing of freedom, a choice of commitment to one place, one belief, or (gulp) one person.
Rejection Makes Your Life Better
The act of choosing a value for yourself requires rejecting alternative values.
Honesty is a natural human craving. But part of having honesty in our lives is becoming comfortable with saying and hearing the word “no.” In this way, rejection actually makes our relationships better and our emotional lives healthier Boundaries
The difference between a healthy and an unhealthy relationship comes down to two things: 1) how well each person in the relationship accepts responsibility, and 2) the willingness of each person to both reject and be rejected by their partner
In general, entitled people fall into one of two traps in their relationships. Either they expect other people to take responsibility for their problems
Or they take on too much responsibility for other people’s problems, victim and saver
Instead, victims and savers both use each other to achieve emotional highs. It’s like an addiction they fulfill in one another. Ironically, when presented with emotionally healthy people to date, they usually feel bored or lack “chemistry” with them.
 
How to Build Trust
Because honesty in my relationship is more important to me than feeling good all the time.
When our highest priority is to always make ourselves feel good, or to always make our partner feel good, then nobody ends up feeling good.
Freedom Through Commitment
Commitment gives you freedom because you’re no longer distracted by the unimportant and frivolous. Commitment gives you freedom because it hones your attention and focus, directing them toward what is most efficient at making you healthy and happy
The Choice Paradox = More Options make us go crazy. Less make us focused on them. Also I am a maximizer
death is the light by which the shadow of all of life’s meaning is measured. Without death, everything would feel inconsequential, all experience arbitrary, all metrics and values suddenly zero.
The Sunny Side of Death
You too are going to die, and that’s because you too were fortunate enough to have lived. You may not feel this there is nothing to be afraid of. Ever. And reminding myself of my own death repeatedly over the years—whether it be through meditation, through reading philosophy, or through doing crazy shit like standing on a cliff in South Africa

How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big, Book Notes

How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big by Scott Adams

A surprisingly fantastic read, that had some great point. Scott Adams Scott Adams is the creator of Dilbert, one of the most popular cartoons out there. So here are some great life lessons from a cartoonist.

The Six Filters for Truth:
Personal experience (Human perceptions are iffy.)
Experience of people you know (Even more unreliable.)
Experts (They work for money, not truth.)
Scientific studies (Correlation is not causation.)
Common sense (A good way to be mistaken with complete confidence.)
Pattern recognition (Patterns, coincidence, and personal bias look alike.)
In our messy, flawed lives, the nearest we can get to truth is consistency. Consistency is the bedrock of the scientific method.
When seeking truth, your best bet is to look for confirmation on at least two of the dimensions I listed.
Failure always brings something valuable with it. I don’t let it leave until I extract that value.
Failure is where success likes to hide in plain sight. Everything you want out of life is in that huge, bubbling vat of failure. The trick is to get the good stuff out.
So sometimes passion is simply a by-product of knowing you will be good at something your job is not your job; your job is to find a better job
 
Systems vs Goals
Let’s agree that goals are a reach-it-and-be-done situation, whereas a system is something you do on a regular basis with a reasonable expectation that doing so will get you to a better place in your life. Systems have no deadlines, and on any given day you probably can’t tell if they’re moving you in the right direction. My proposition is that if you study people who succeed, you will see that most of them follow systems, not goals.
In the exercise realm, running a marathon in under four hours is a goal, but exercising daily is a system. In business, making a million dollars is a goal, but being a serial entrepreneur is a system.
Warren Buffett’s system for investing involves buying undervalued companies and holding them forever, or at least until something major changes.
One of my systems involves continually looking for patterns in life.
“If you want success, figure out the price, then pay it.”
Manage your Energy not Time
Maximizing my personal energy means eating right, exercising, avoiding unnecessary stress, getting enough sleep, and all of the obvious steps. But it also means having something in my life that makes me excited to wake up.
My proposition is that organizing your life to optimize your personal energy will add up to something incredible that is more good than bad.
Simplification frees up energy, making everything else you do just a little bit easier
Exercise, food, and sleep should be your first buttons to push if you’re trying to elevate your attitude and raise your energy
increasing your ratio of happy thoughts to disturbing thoughts
working on projects that have a real chance of changing the world, helping humanity, and/or making a billion dollars.
“Success at anything has a spillover effect on other things”
The Success Formula: Every Skill You Acquire Doubles Your Odds of Success merely good —not extraordinary—at more than one skill.
It helps to see the world as math and not magic, success is a numbers game the more trys the more chances for success.
  • Skills worth learning:
  • Public speaking
  • Psychology
  • Business writing
  • Accounting Design (the basics)
  • Conversation
  • Overcoming shyness
  • Second language
  • Golf (one of the best ways to network with powerful people “The thing that golf does well is that it allows males, especially, to bond.”)
  • Proper grammar
  • Persuasion
  • Technology (hobby level)
  • Proper voice technique
What are common traits in successful people?
  • Lack of fear of embarrassment
  • Education (the right kind)
  • Exercise
People who enjoy humor are simply more attractive than people who don’t.
Affirmations: 
 
Affirmations are simply the practice of repeating to yourself what you want to achieve while imagining the outcome you want.
You can write it, speak it, or just think it in sentence form. The typical form of an affirmation would be “I, Scott Adams, will become an astronaut.” The details of affirmations probably don’t matter much because the process is about improving your focus, not summoning magic.
Luck
The biggest component of luck is timing.
But I did make it easier for luck to find me, and I was thoroughly prepared when it did
Luck won’t give you a strategy or a system—you have to do that part yourself.
I find it helpful to see the world as a slot machine that doesn’t ask you to put money in. All it asks is your time, focus, and energy to pull the handle over and over.
If your gut feeling (intuition) disagrees with the experts, take that seriously. You might be experiencing some pattern recognition that you can’t yet verbalize.
Happiness:
The only reasonable goal in life is maximizing your total lifetime experience of something called happiness.
I’ve transformed work into pleasure simply by having control over when I do it.
Happiness has more to do with where you’re heading than where you are
When you choose a career, consider whether it will lead to a lifetime of ever-improved performance, a plateau, or a steady decline in your skills.
Never waste a brain cell in the morning trying to figure out what to do, always have the day planed out in advance. Have Routines that you follow.
Recapping the happiness formula: Eat right. Exercise. Get enough sleep. Imagine an incredible future (even if you don’t believe it). Work toward a flexible schedule. Do things you can steadily improve at. Help others (if you’ve already helped yourself). Reduce daily decisions to routine.
Focus on your diet first and get that right so you have enough energy to want to exercise. Exercise will further improve your energy, and that in turn will make you more productive, more creative, more positive, more socially desirable, and more able to handle life’s little bumps. Once you optimize your personal energy, all you need for success is luck.
You can’t directly control luck, but you can move from strategies with bad odds to strategies with good odds. For example, learning multiple skills makes your odds of success dramatically higher than learning one skill. If you learn to control your ego, you can pick strategies that scare off the people who fear embarrassment, thus allowing you to compete against a smaller field. And if you stay in the game long enough, luck has a better chance of finding you. Avoid career traps such as pursuing jobs that require you to sell your limited supply of time while preparing you for nothing better.
Happiness tends to happen naturally whenever you have good health, resources, and a flexible schedule. Get your health right first, acquire resources and new skills through hard work, and look for an opportunity that gives you a flexible schedule someday.
Develop a habit of simplifying. Learn how to make small talk with strangers, and learn how to avoid being an asshole
If you control the inputs, you can determine the outcomes, give or take some luck.
Look for patterns in every part of life, from diet to exercise to any component of success. Try to find scientific backing for your observed patterns, and use yourself as a laboratory to see if the patterns hold for you.
Most important, understand that goals are for losers and systems are for winners. People who seem to have good luck are often the people who have a system that allows luck to find them.
And always remember that failure is your friend. It is the raw material of success. Invite it in. Learn from it. And don’t let it leave until you pick its pocket. That’s a system.

Summary: Getting Things Done by David Allen

Getting Things Done outlines a process called the “5 Stages of MasteringWorkflow”. Here are the key steps:

1. COLLECTING YOUR WORK

Collecting all your work together and getting everything out of your head is the first stage of mastering your workflow. By gathering everything together like this, you don’t need to actively try and remember to do things. Instead you’re collecting it so it can be put into a system that will do the reminding for you.

In a Basket:

The in-basket represents a place where you can collect all of your work and open loops. For example, this could be your email inbox, a physical inbox or apps like Evernote and to-do lists. When collecting your work, it’s important to get everything out of your head and into one of these baskets, even if this means jotting down a note on a piece of paper and physically putting it somewhere.

2. PROCESSING YOUR WORK

Processing your work is all about taking everything in your in-baskets and working out what needs to be done with those items. A lot of people make the mistake of thinking they have to do things straight away when they arrive in their in-basket. Or if they don’t do them straight away, they promise to come back to them later, but fail to organise those things correctly which is when tasks can slip through the cracks. Processing your work and mastering this stage of GTD allows you to prioritise tasks and empty your in-basket (including your inbox) without necessarily having to do any work.

Questions to Ask:
  1. What is It? This is a simple, yet important step. Answer the question, “what is the thing your’e dealing with?” Perhaps it’s an email from HR but what is it actually about? Is it an unimportant update about employee contracts, or is it some boring reminder about health and safety?
  2. Is it Actionable?
    • Yes – If an item is actionable, you must first identify the “project” it’s part of and the “next action” required to move that item towards completion.
    • No – Often, the stuff in your in-basket requires no further action required. In which case, you can do one of the following three things: Trash /Someday /Maybe /Reference
  3. What’s the Next Action?  It’s the next thing you need to do to take that item towards completion. For example, you might have a completion goal to write a blog post, but the very next action might be to simply draft a topic.
    • Simple Rule: If something takes less then two minutes do it then and there 

 

3. ORGANISING YOUR WORK

For all of the non-actionable stuff from above, you can organise these items into one of the following areas:

  • Someday /Maybe
  • Reference. These are the useful things that don’t require any action, but might come in handy later.
  • Trash
  • Projects & Project Plans. A project is literally anything with more than two action steps that need to be completed e.g. planning a trip, buying a new TV or running a marketing meeting. When you identify an actionable item, you should record this on your master projects list which then gets reviewed on a regular basis.
  • Waiting. Keep a track of things you’re waiting for by creating a “Waiting” list. This could be as simple as a tag in your email for messages you are waiting for a reply for. You can also set a reminder on your calendar to follow up with someone at a later date.
  • Calendar. Deferred work that is time sensitive goes on your calendar to be completed at a specific time. GTD stresses the importance of ensuring that your calendar is only used for these time sensitive items and nothing else. This could be things like: call John on Friday (day specific) and attending meetings (time specific).
  • Next Actions. Any deferred work that isn’t time sensitive goes onto your “next actions” list. These are the items you will do when you have some spare time during the day.

 

4. REVIEWING YOUR WORK

Review your “next actions”, “calendar” and “waiting” lists on a regular basis. It’s likely that you’ll refer to your calendar first as this will play a big part in your day. Then during your discretionary time you can review your “next actions” for anything that you can do before your next appointment. Finally you can check up on your “waiting”, “projects” and “someday” lists for anything that you might want to address. You only need to review these last few lists as often as you need to so that you ensure they don’t get too long and unmanageable.

As well as these daily reviews of your lists, it’s important to schedule a “weekly review” in your calendar. During this time you can address all your lists to ensure you’re happy with how everything is organised. Often things can get a bit messy over the course of a few days and the weekly review is a chance to tidy up those lists

 

5. DO THE WORK

Based on your review you will be able to decide what to do. You might have an appointment, or you could address some items on your “next actions” list. When deciding what on this list to tackle first, you can consider the amount of time/energy you have, the context you’re in and it’s priority. Perhaps there’s an item on your list that can only be done when you’re at the computer or on the phone (context). Or maybe there’s something on your list which is going to be more beneficial than others if completed (priority).

 

 

 

Growth Hacker Marketing by Ryan Holiday

Here are my extensive notes on the book Growth Hacker Marketing by Ryan Holiday which I can highly recommend to any entrepreneur. These notes are for the most part directly taken from the book.
What is Growth Marketing?

It is a illusion that we need a huge budget to market effectivly.

Growth Hacking is a Mindset!

“A growth hacker is someone who has thrown out the playbook of traditional marketing and replaced it with only what is testable, trackable, and scalable. Their tools are e-mails, pay-per-click ads, blogs, and platform APIs instead of commercials, publicity, and money. While their marketing brethren chase vague notions like “branding” and “mind share,” growth hackers relentlessly pursue users and growth—and when they do it right, those users beget more users, who beget more users. They are the inventors, operators, and mechanics of their own self-sustaining and self-propagating growth machine that can take a start-up from nothing to something.”

What growth hackers do is focus on the “who” and “where” (Customers) more scientifically, in a more measurable way. Whereas marketing was once brand based, with growth hacking it becomes metric and ROI driven. Growth hackers trace their roots back to programmers—and that’s how they see themselves. They are data scientists meets design fiends meets marketers.

The new marketing mind-set begins not a few weeks before launch but, in fact, during the development and design phase.

Step 1: It Begins with the Product Market Fit

Product Market Fit (PMF). That is, the product and its customers are in perfect sync with each other. Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup , explains that the best way to get to Product Market Fit is by starting with a “minimum viable product” and improving it based on feedback—as opposed to what most of us do, which is to try to launch with what we think is our final product.

Socratic method: We must simply and repeatedly question every assumption. Who is this product for? Why would they use it? Why do I use it?

Example: Authors
Writing about in the book on their blog and when they speak in front of groups. They ask readers what they’d like to see in the book. They judge topic ideas by how many comments a given post generates, by how many Facebook “shares” an article gets. They put potential title and cover ideas up online to test and receive feedback. They look to see what hot topics other influential bloggers are riding and find ways of addressing them in their book.

Step 2: Finding Your Growth Hack

How to pull Customers;
“We’re trying to hit a few hundred or a thousand key people—not millions. That’s a relief, right? Better still, it actually works. In other words, launching does not need to be an enormous campaign we’re expected (too often) to produce out of thin air so much as an initial boost or a shot in the arm. Not a blowout grand opening, but a strategic opening or a stunt that catches the attention of our core audience.”

Not All People—the Right People
Growth hackers resist this temptation (or, more appropriately, this delusion). They opt, deliberately, to attract only the early adopters who make or break new tech services and seek to do it as cheaply as possible. Ignoring the urge to appeal to the mass market, at least to start with.

Methods:

  1. You can reach out to the sites you know your potential customers read with a pitch e-mail: “This is who we are, this is what we’re doing, and this is why you should write about us.
  2. You can upload a post to Hacker News, Quora, or Reddit yourself.
  3. You can start writing blog posts about popular topics that get traffic and indirectly pimp your product.
  4. You can use the Kickstarter platform for exposure and bribe your first users with cool prizes (and get some online chatter at the same time).
  5. You can use a service like Help a Reporter Out (www.helpareporter.com) to find reporters who are looking for people to include in stories they are already writing about your space.
  6. You can literally find your potential customers one by one and invite them to your service for free or with some special incentive (that’s how small we’re talking).
Strategies;
  1. You can create the aura of exclusivity with an invite-only feature (as Mailbox did).
  2. You can create hundreds of fake profiles to make your service look more popular and active than it actually is—nothing draws a crowd like a crowd (as Reddit did in its early days).
  3. You can target a single service or platform and cater to it exclusively—essentially piggybacking off or even stealing someone else’s growth (as PayPal did with eBay).
  4. You can host cool events and drive your first users through the system manually (as Myspace, Yelp, and Udemy all did).
  5. You can bring on influential advisers and investors for their valuable audience and fame rather than their money (as About.me and Trippy did—a move that many startups have emulated).
  6. You can try to name a Planned Parenthood clinic after your client or pay D-list celebrities to say offensive things about themselves to promote your book.
“Instead, we are intensely focused on driving an initial set of new user sign-ups and customers, right now. It doesn’t matter how many people know about you or how they find out about you. It matters how many sign up. If handing out flyers on the street corner accomplishes that, then consider it growth hacking.”

The most insidious part of the traditional marketing model is that “big blowout launch” mythology and “build it and they will come” assumption that too many people associate with the web. Both are too simple and rarely effective.

STEP 3: Turn 1 into 2 and 2 into 4—Going Viral

Vitality needs to be build into the product.

Vitality at its core is asking someone spend their social capital recommending or linking or posting about you for free. The best way to get people to do this enormous favor for you? Make it seem like it isn’t a favor. Make it the kind of thing that is worth spreading and, of course, conducive to spreading.
If you want to go viral, it must be baked into your product. There must be a reason to share it and the means to do so.

Build in Vitality Examples:
Dropbox, for instance, offered its customers a 150 megabyte storage bonus if they linked their Dropbox account to their Facebook or Twitter account. Think of Hotmail, whose early attempts at growth hacking we looked at earlier. It turned every e-mail its users sent into a pitch to new customers. Think of Apple and BlackBerry, which turned their devices into advertising engines by adding “Sent from my iPhone” or “Sent from my BlackBerry” to every message sent.

STEP 4 Close the Loop: Retention and Optimization

Forget the conventional wisdom that says if a company lacks growth, it should invest more in sales and marketing. Instead, it should invest in refining and improving the service itself until users are so happy that they can’t stop using the service (and their friends come along with them).

Getting the most out of the leads we were already generation. Follow Up.

Growth hacking is about maximizing ROI—about expending our energies and efforts where they will be most effective. Well, the facts are in. You’re better off rolling out new features that get more out of your customer base, that turn potential users into active users, than going out and pounding the pavement for more potentials. You’re better off teaching your customers how to use your product—spending time, as services like Facebook and Amazon do, to get users to supply more personal information and make them more engaged—than chasing some new person who doesn’t really care.

“One Bird in the Hand is worth more then two in the bush”

The Future of Marketing;
Tactics that no one would have previously described as “marketing” turned out to be the marketing steroids behind their business growth.

Putting it into practice; Four Hour Body:
We had to be creative. We had to be analytical. We had to think outside the box. We had to use our relatively limited resources extremely carefully.
Data-driven approach, however, meant we actually looked at what worked and what didn’t.

How to Win at the Sport of Business by Mark Cuban

Here is my Summary of the book “How to Win at the Sport of Business” by Mark Cuban. Which I highly recommend to every Entrepreneur. Most quotes are directly taken from the book itself.

 

“Most people won’t put in the time to get a knowledge advantage. Therefor it is a hugee competitive advantage if you learn continuously. “Even know most information is free most people pass on it. They dont put in the time.”

Lessons Learned
  • Lesson #1: Always ask yourself how someone could preempt your products or service. How can they put you out of business? Is it price? Is it service? Is it ease of use? No product is perfect and if there are good competitors in your market, they will figure out how to abuse you . It’s always better if you are honest with yourself and anticipate where the problems will come from.
  • Lesson #2: Always run your business like you are going to be competing with biggest technology companies in your industry

“The edge is being able to confidently call out someone on a business issue because you have done your homework. The edge is recognizing when you are wrong and working harder to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Career Advice:

“Being focused at 21 is way overrated . Now is the time to screw up, to try as many different things as you can and just maybe figure things out. The thing you do need to do is learn. Learn accounting. Learn finance. Learn statistics. Learn as much as you can about business. Read biographies about businesspeople. You don’t have to focus on one thing, have to create a base of knowledge so you are ready when it’s time.”

Financial debt is the ultimate dream killer.

Drowning in Opportunity:
  1. Everyone is a genius in a bull market. 
  2. Win the battles you are in before you take on new battles.
  3. You can drown in opportunity. As an entrepreneur you have to know what the core competencies of your business are and make sure that your company focuses on being the absolute best it can be at executing them. Bottom line is this: If you are adding new things when your core businesses are struggling rather than facing the challenge, you are either running away or giving up.
The Best Equity Is Sweat Equity
  • Rule #1: Sweat equity is the best startup capital The best businesses in recent entrepreneurial history are those that began with little or no money. There are only two reasonable sources of capital for startup entrepreneurs: your own pocket and your customers’ pockets.
  • Rule #2:Let people critic the idea.

“Treat your customers like they own you. Because they do.”“You have to re­earn your customers business every day.”

Whining is the first step toward change . It’s the moment when you realize something is very wrong and that you have to take the initiative to do something about it.

Customers want it simple. Let people go the way of least resistance. (Think Amazon = BuyIn­One­Click)

 

Here are some related posts:

Twelve Cuban Rules for Startups

Mark Cuban Twelve Mantras for Success

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Manage Your Day-to-Day, 99U Book Series Summary

BUILDING A ROCK-SOLID ROUTINE
Laying the Groundwork for an Effective Routine by Mark McGuinness Focus on great work before everything else. Do your most meaningful creative work at the beginning of your day, and leave “reactive work”—like responding to e-mail or other messages—for later. Follow the building blocks of a great daily routine:
1) Start with the rhythm of your energy levels. If you work better in the morning, dedicate this time to your most important work.
2) Establish “associative triggers”—such as listening to the same music or arranging your desk in a certain way—that tell your mind it’s time to get down to work.
3) Manage to-do list creep by limiting your to-dos to what you can fit on a post-it note.
4) Capture every commitment that you make somewhere that you’ll see it.
5) Establish hard edges in your day i.e. When do you start and finish your workday?
Harnessing the Power of Frequency by Gretchen Rubin
Commit to working on your project at consistent intervals—ideally every day—to build creative muscle and momentum over time. Frequency makes starting on a task each day easier, keeps ideas fresh, keeps the pressure off and sparks creativity. Making steady progress towards a goal is the best way to sustain productivity. Don’t wait for your mood to be right, show up for work each day regardless of how you feel.
Q&A: Honing Your Creative Practice with Seth Godin
The best way to create a daily routine is to have a practice which means regularly and reliably doing the work in a habitual way. One of the reasons our short-term routines can not align with long-term goals comes down to fear. People fear putting themselves out there and instead practice self-sabotage. They are afraid of being a fraud and don’t position themselves as experts because putting yourself out there opens you up for criticism.
Building Renewal into Your Workday by Tony Schwartz
Move rhythmically between spending and renewing your energy by working in ninety-minute bursts and then taking a break. Make sure you get enough sleep at night. With lower energy it’s easy to prioritise smaller, easier to complete tasks to make it feel like you’re being productive. This is like having a sugar high. Instead, spend the first part of your day working on your most important or difficult task that is going to contribute to your long-term goals.
Making Room for Solitude by Leo Babauta
Make a point of spending some time alone each day. It’s a way to observe unproductive habits and thought processes, and to calm your mind. Doing this allows you to work out what really matters and unlock your creative voice. Block out some time early in the morning when others are asleep or get into the office early. Incorporate some meditation into your day. This allows you to better control your thoughts on not get distracted by them.
 
FINDING FOCUS IN A DISTRACTED WORLD
Scheduling in Time for Creative Thinking by Cal Newport. Block out time for creative thinking or a specific task and defend it. Respect those blocks of time as you would any client meeting. Start with a smaller amount of time if you need to and work up. It’s also a good idea to use a different environment for this creative thinking. I go further into this here.
Banishing Multitaksing from Our Repertoire by Christian Jarrett
Studies show that the only time you can effectively multitask is when you’re doing automatic tasks like walking. For activities that require conscious attention, there’s only task-switching. Kill the background noise; turn off your phone, e-mail, and any apps unrelated to your task. Even the presence of background activity (and temptation) can drain your focus. Even if you’re not using the Internet, because it’s there it requires willpower to ignore it, which reduces our mental power. i.e. Ignoring distractions isn’t enough, we have to remove them. Tackle the projects that require “hard focus” early in your day. Our Willpower to do the hard stuff is the highest in the morning. More about Willpower here.
Q&A: Understanding Our Compulsions with Dan Ariely
Often we make bad decisions unintentionally. For example, most people get into work and check email first thing to make it seem like they’re doing work. Email is so tempting because we can literally push the refresh button and often something exciting will come up. Instead of opening your email first thing, leave it until later. If it’s open and you see an email come in, it’s going to be very hard to ignore. One way of combatting our compulsions is to make progress visible. With email it’s easy because you can see all of the replies. But with problem solving you may be thinking for 30 hours before the idea hits you and it doesn’t feel like progress. Marking progress is a huge motivator for long-term projects. Make your daily achievements visible by saving iterations, posting milestones, or keeping a daily journal.
Learning to Create Amidst Chaos by Erin Rooney Doland
Use positive distractions to help you ignore the negative distractions (e.g. Social media or email). For example, race the clock to see how quickly you can do a task or reward yourself with 3 minutes social media time as a reward for focused work. Practice strengthening your willpower to help you ignore negative distractions. Your concentration levels and the amount of time we can focus for weakens throughout the da. Give your brain a break. Alternate challenging creative work with more “mindless” tasks to give your brain time to rest and refuel.
Tuning In to You by Scott Belsky
These day, when a meeting, movie or lecture comes to an end we immediately check in to social channels to see what’s going on. Take a break from checking your smartphone during transitional moments, and open yourself up to opportunity and serendipity. Take the time to see how you’re feeling, be in the present and chat to someone you don’t know.
TAMING YOUR TOOLS
Making E-mail Matter by Aaron Dignan
The average office worker now spends approximately 28% of their time sorting, responding to and sending email. No matter what kind of work you do, chances are you spend too much time in your Inbox. Keep your long-term goals in view by posting your complex, long-term goals by your workstation to keep them top of mind when prioritising your tasks. Then connect the dots between the emails you receive and the goals you’ve set. Let go of anything that doesn’t advance you towards these goals. Be conscious of your own bandwidth and practice letting go of certain e-mail and social media conversations. There will always be more opportunities than you actually can take on.
Using Social Media Mindfully by Lori Deschene
Be mindful when logging on to social media by clarifying your intention. Being mindful allows you to engage authentically and reduces our dependency on the connection which can otherwise limit our effectiveness and ability to be present. Part of being mindful with social media is using it consciously vs compulsively.
Q&A: Reconsidering Constant Connectivity with Tiffany Shlain
Be sure to take a technology break every now and then (aim for once a week). Make a ritual of unplugging on a regular basis. Turning everything off is like hitting the “reset” button on your mind—it gives you a fresh start. Don’t take technology into the bedroom. Sending emails right before bed or as soon as you wake up isn’t healthy. It doesn’t set you up well for sleep or for your day.
Awakening to Conscious Computing by Linda Stone
“Information overload”? More like “information over consumption”. In most areas of our lives we’ve learned how to filter and select. But in the digital sense, we’re still very inexperienced. It’s time to open up to the idea of conscious computing. Studies have shown that by many people actually hold their breath or breath very shallowly when sitting in front of a screen. This lack of oxygen contributes to many stress related diseases. The body becomes acidic, the kidneys begin to reabsorb sodium and the imbalance of oxygen and carbon dioxide throws off our biochemistry. This all leads to poorer quality focus and decision making.
Reclaiming Our Self-Respect by James Victor
It’s now quite common to be expected to work at home, after hours and eve on vacation. People expect their emails and phone calls to be responded to immediately. This has lead to the problem that we cannot make a distinction between urgent and important. Everything is now urgent. It’s often easier to do the trivial things that are urgent vs. the important and more difficult things. This results in us spending more time on other peoples goals than our own. A healthier  relationship with your devices is to take ownership of your time and invest in your own life. Don’t trust technology over your own instincts and imagination. Doing busywork is easy; doing your best work is hard. You have a choice in where to direct your attention. Choose wisely. The world will wait. And if it’s important, they’ll call back.
SHARPENING YOUR CREATIVE MIND
Creating for You and You Alone by Todd Henry
Most of the time, creatives are asked to produce a creative outcome for a client that is being paid for. Remember that it’s important to take time to create for yourself as well. Block out some time each week to pursue unnecessary creative projects that enhance your skills and allow you to take risks. Without these risks you can’t push your boundaries and hone your skills (which can later be applied to on-demand creating).
Training Your Mind to be Ready for Insight by Scott McDowell
As a beginning it’s easy to think you can beat, pummel and thrash an idea into existence. In reality this isn’t the case. So what do you do when you need to be creative but creativity isn’t coming? The most successful creative minds consistently lay the ground word for ideas to germinate and evolve. They are always refine their personal approach to hijacking the brains neural pathways, developing a tool kit of tricks to spark creativity. Often when working on a tricky problem, often the solution is to become disengaged with the problem. For example going for a walk to take a time out. If you’re always working, you don’t allow time for new ideas to come to fruition. Down time it key for letting this happen. Creating limitations can also be an effective route forward. Whether these come from a client or yourself, they can help give parameters to your creativity.
Q&A: Tricking Your Brain into Creativity with Stefan Sagmeister
This Q& A with Stefan Sagmeister focuses brain hacks that can be used to lead us to aha moments and why it’s important to map creative projects into your daily schedule. The first tip is to start with the difficult tasks first thing in the morning. It’s hard to later refocus and convince yourself to do something hard if you’ve started with the easy things like email. Secondly, your brain naturally wants to think in repetition as it’s easy. This means it’s harder to find new ideas as your brain uses these shortcuts. Try thinking of a problem from a different perspective in order to trick your brain into breaking this repetition and spark creativity. Start with an endpoint that has nothing to do with the project. It’s important to carve out time in your schedule to work on your own. Don’t touch this time, for example, block out Friday’s and if anyone asks for a meeting on Friday at 10am you can suggest an alternative. Be precious and protect these clocks of time.
Letting Go of Perfectionism by Elizabeth Grace Saunders
As a perfectionist, if you achieve the perfect outcome you’re looking for, you feel on top of the world. On the flip side, if you fall even just a little bit short perfect you are crushed. An overemphasis on perfection can lead to an enormous amount of stress which can make you hesitant about taking on new projects, or even worse you abandon creative pursuits due to the physical, mental and emotional stress it brings. Ironically, perfectionism can inhibit your ability to reach your full potential. The trick to overcoming this is to recognise that there’s no perfect time to start a new project instead of waiting for the ideal moment. Instead of sweating over every detail, recognise the amount of time that’s been allocated to a project and the steps involved for completion and evenly divide your time between these steps. At the even bear in mind that you are doing your best with the time given vs. spending an eternity going back trying to improve each element again until perfect. By taking the less-than-perfect approach you’re able to do more and far better work than taking a perfectionist approach that may mean you do nothing at all.
Getting Unstuck by by Mark McGuinness
When you get stuck and are suffering from a creative block, just remember that it happens to the pros all the time and try and think about what’s causing the problem. The most common problems are: 1) Inspiration drought. This can be solved by taking a break for a while and letting your subconscious find the answer. 2) Emotional barriers. Give yourself permission to write, draw or express what you like, without worrying about peoples opinions. Once you have the first draft done you can refine your work. 3) Mixed motivations. Once the deal is done, put all motivations out of your head and focus on nothing but the work. 4) Personal problems. Use your work as refuge and give yourself credit for showing up and doing some work, even if it’s just a small amount. 5) Poverty. Set yourself the creative challenge of doing the most with what you have; whether that’s time, energy or money. 6) Presentation problems. This is where creativity blends with communication. You need to be able to communicate your ideas, so beef up your presentation skills.

Crush It by Gary Vaynerchuk

In Gary Vaynerchuks Book “Crush It” he gives a blueprint to monetize your passion online. This book is probably the reason I started this website in the first place. I highly recommend everybody to read it, here are some of my notes.

Passion is Everything
  • Golden rules to success: 1) Love your family. 2) Work hard. 3) Live your passion. 4)Self Awareness know what you good at and go all on your strengths. You can’t build success on your weaknesses.
  • “The Internet makes it possible for anyone to be 100 percent true to themselves and make serious cash by turning what they love most into their personal brand.”
  • “Storytelling is by far the most underrated skill in business”
Build Your Personal Brand
  • “Developing your personal brand is key to monetizing your passion online.”
  • When you’re selling a very similar product/service/content to someone else, it’s your personal brand and likeability that will set you apart and keep people coming back.
  • Build authenticity through your content.
  • Know what you are good at to decide which platform to use primarly. If you are outgoing, Video would be your medium. If not try writing a compelling Blog.
  • Summarise your personal brand in a sentence. How are you different?
Create Great Content

“To everyone who is freaking out because they fear the noise and distraction of all the additional content on the Internet, you can relax. Quality is a tremendous filter. Cream always rises, my friends, no matter how many cups of coffee you pour.”

 “To monetise your personal brand into a business using social marketing networks, two pillars need to be in place: product and content.”

“Great content is what you’re going to pump into your social media networks to draw eyeballs to your blog. It exists as a result of passion plus expertise, so make sure you can talk about your product like no one else.”. If you could talk forever about it then you’ve picked the right product. No matter what it is. Stories are a great way of communicating content.

The bottom Line: Don’t talk about something you don’t really care about people will detect your Bullshit.

Keep it Real

AUTHENTICITY: “being authentic, and being perceived as such by your audience, relies on your ability to make sure that every decision you make when it comes to your business is rooted in being true to yourself.”

HUSTLE: “I’ve said over and over that if you live your passion and work the social networking tools to the max, opportunities to monetize will present themselves.”“With one exception. Someone with less passion and talent and poorer content can totally beat you if they’re willing to work longer and harder than you are. Hustle is it. Without it, you should just pack up your toys and go home.”

PATIENCE: Building a business and success takes time. You have to live your passion. Think of building a business as a marathon, not a sprint. You have to love what you do as it’s the only way you’ll keep going. And even if you fail, you won’t have any regrets because you were doing what you loved.

Legacy is Greater Than Currency
  • “This is why every decision I make is weighed in terms of currency and legacy. Will this business deal make me money? Yes? Good. Will I be proud of how I made that money? Yes? Okay, then, let’s do this. If the answer is no, I don’t go there, ever. Legacy always wins.” 
  • Now that you’re in the public eye, you have to be careful with how you interact and respond to people. The internet does not forget anything.
  • Think through every business decision before you make it. Take a long term view.

Your first Million by Dan Pena

Here are my notes on the book “Your first Million” by Dan Pena, the problem with this book is that its not really available anywhere to buy, you have to ask the staff of Dan Pena about the ebook version of the book to get it.

 

“Make every decision as if it’s your drop-dead final word on the matter. “

Make the sacrifices… Take massive Action ….Take risks… Don’t fear failure … Listen to your intuition … Avoid conventional wisdom… Ignore what others think… and never look back.

“Find an industry in chaos, go in and bring order, emerge with a company that provides leadership… and you will make a lot of money!”

“I may be wrong but I’m never in doubt.”

“The quickest way to begin your quest for super success is to take action. Make a decision you’ve been putting off. Don’t let it ride another day”

“You can expand your comfort zone by pushing its limits, by having experiences beyond its perimeter.”

Prepare for success by looking like one. Dress for success.

But beyond thinking about it you must visualize the details of your future ~ not just the generalities.

  • Dream about it visualize every aspect of every deal you do, see yourself doing it.
  • Learn to think and act like the high-performance person you’ll become, so you’ll be ready.
  • Act as if there are no limits to your abilities.
  • Enthusiasm is essential !!
You need to get out of your comfort zone there aint an other way to success.

Mentors:
Most high people have never been asked, they would mostly gladly help you.

  • We should share a common interest! Out of the business world.
Summary:
get comfortable with super success before you achieve it, by practicing to expand your comfort zone. Clarify your vision, without focusing on how you’ll bring that vision to reality. Instead, focus on the details of how that reality will look and feel. As a step toward clarification, write down your vision and carry it with you, so that it becomes part of your being.

Build your own team of advisors
“Your board ideally should include a financial person, an accounting specialist, and one or two other individuals who have already achieved what you’re trying to achieve in your field of endeavor, particularly in growing a company geometrically through acquisition.”

Negotiation:

  1. Wear a suit
  2. Do it under your roof
  3. Draw the contact yourself
  4. Nobody leaves until the deal is done
  5. All decision makers need to be present.

Dont be afraid to leave the table if need be.

Bankers go with them out for a dinner they value relationships more than blank facts.

What to ask every banker:

  1. What is your personal lending limit?
  2. Secured and unsecured?
  3. Who do I have to go to for an approval on the next level of financing?
  4. Is your bank presently in a lending mode, or in a downsizing mode?
  5. What was the last deal your bank turned down?And Why?
  6. What type of ventures do you like to make loans on?
  7. What is your bank’s policy on “asset lending (loan depends on my current assets”) versus “cash flow lending
  8. Could you give me some recent examples of companies for which your bank has approved business loans?
  9. Do you anticipate any conflict with your present clientel in handling my banking business?

Do the business plan exactly how they want them. Tell them about your business and its potential.

“So how do you overcome fear of rejection or fear of presentations? Practice. You at some point need to make presentations anyway so practice it.”

Buying a business:

What kind of Business to buy?

  1. Stick to what you know
  2. Something you like doing
  3. A industry big enough for expansion
  4. Margins of 20-40%

“If you arent prepared to die for your dreams, you aren’t prepared to live for them. “

Revenue:
You want a company which has shown increasing profits over at least the past three years. Look for a trend, rather than a sudden spurt of profit growth.

“A good rule to remember is that if cash flow will not service the debt, you’re paying too much!”

Never apply short-term solutions to long-term problems.

Take actions that assume you are successful. Act as if there are no limits to your abilities. Put yourself in risky situations and work your way out. Build your confidence. Expand your comfort zone. And all the time, visualize your dream down to tire smallest detail.

Action really is the key to making it big in this world littered with lay-abouts and armchair dreamers. Anyone can say they want super-success. Anyone can set goals for super~success. Anyone can dream of super-success. But the rewards come only to those who actually DO SOMETHING, not talk about doing something.

Fantastic book sadly it is out of print and very hard to get.