Listener #5 — Making hobbies your main thing (by choice or by situation)

Things I learned listening to people on podcasts: Ali Abdaal, Jim Collins, Amy Hoy, and David Chang.

Like many other people with all this extra time at home, I've started playing more video games. Mario Kart has been a go-to along with Overcooked. I got IE 5 flashbacks leaving the Xbox One idling overnight for the 100 GB install of Call of Duty: Warzone. I played Sekiro and died over and over (and over and over).

I even fired up Brood War for a bit. I had plans to draw something for each of the podcasts in this episode and instead just drew this Vulture.

I’ve found it comforting revisiting a hobby that was my main source of leisure for a good portion (most?) of my life.

Leading me to this week’s set of links…

…podcast episodes that made me think about hobbies and work and the blend of things between

As mentioned in last week's issue, I got one of the new iPad Pros.

My primary use case: Drawing 2-5 second animations.

Most of the popular iPad reviews are tech spec overviews updating people on where things stand for it being a MacBook replacement. I prefer the ones from people who actually use the things all day for drawing or writing things longhand.

Ali Abdaal uses an iPad day in and day out

He makes some of the best videos about using an iPad for notes. His conclusion (and one I've seen in a few other videos): don't upgrade if you have the 2018 version.

Ali was recently on Sara Dietschy on That Creative Life and they talk about evolving as a creator. In his transition (using an iPad all along the way), he went from medical student to doctor while being a creator on the side the entire way through.

Through his experience as a student, he knew he'd be able to make something useful for other students. He talks about building a library for viewers to explore once he had something really popular for them to land on:

So I'd planned that I was going to have like a back catalog of content. And then like eight months later I was going to do a video about how to study for exams because that was something I was really passionate about and knew a lot about. I knew that I could make a good video out of it. So like that whole initial eight months of doing one or two videos a week was in preparation for this video that I released in April the following year, which is about how to prepare for exams. And that video was the first that really popped and that, sort of, was the... Sort of started the hockey stick growth at the time.

Now Ali's swapping his side thing as his main thing, taking a year off as a doctor to go full-time as a creator.

It's a great example of finding harmony in your interests. The path between doctor and tech reviewer isn't exactly well-trodden.

Another way to think of harmony? A flywheel.

Your interests work together and you get them aligned so that momentum from one interest carries over to a second interest that carries over to the third which can then align back to the first. (Or however many.)

Removing friction from one removes it from all.

Jim Collins has written a lot about the flywheel in business. On The Knowledge Project, he talks about his personal flywheel:

"And then if you actually get some really good insights---like Level 5 or the Flywheel, or, you know, the Hedgehog concept, or the whole framework---whatever the insights are and they're put together in a way that is deeply satisfying and true to the data... Well, then you can't help but want to write and teach. Which is what we're doing right now.

I love sharing the ideas. This is what I love to do. I want you to understand this. Let me write it. Let me share it. Let me teach it. Let me put it together in way that people can digest it."

Gain some insights. Write to practice expressing those insights clearly. Then teach to share them with other people.

Amy Hoy has helped teach tons of people the fundamentals of starting businesses. In an interview about surviving a recession as an indie hacker, she talks about hobbies and why that might not be the best place to mine for business ideas:

"It's fine to make hobby projects. I think everyone should do it if they enjoy it. And I think you shouldn't ruin your hobby project by pretending it's going to be a business. 'Trying to make your hobby your jobby' is something I've been saying and hating myself for."

Going the other way, you might find that your jobby has turned into your hobby.

From world renowned restaurateur to mostly making baby food in a Magic Bullet.

David Chang talks about going through 10 pounds of turkey like it's nothing, missing tofu, and becoming personal chef of the household:

I thought honestly, I was like: I'm going to be reading, I'm going to be watching all the TV that I wanted to watch. There's been none of that. Nothing. I have two books that I wanted to finish--- the Van Gogh bio and the Jackson Pollock--- nope. The only thing that's happened is Hugo's rip Pages out of the book. But... There's been nothing.

All I've done is: I wake up... I wake up… this is my day: I wake up. I make Hugo breakfast and then I have emails and calls. Also I make everyone breakfast and then I have the calls and then I make everyone lunch and then I take some more calls and emails and then around 4 o'clock I make Hugo's dinner and then around 4:45 I make everyone else's dinner and then... and then I gotta help spend time with Hugo and then I give him a bath at 6:30, and then my day is done and I don't know what's going on.

Make salmon rice for your family. Help other people start businesses as their side thing. Dissect big businesses and explain how their systems work. Teach people to take digital notes. Draw doodles and animate them. Paid or not.

Take the groceries inside, run them through your makeshift processing plant, wash your hands. Then keep going.

(See you next week!)