Listener #6: Surfing mediums and diversifying your interests

Sketchbook spread — Aaron Draplin and Krang sketches. I don’t want to give the impression that I just drew these freeform, especially the Krang stuff because I was re-drawing while looking at image search results. (One step up from tracing though!)

Here are some things to listen to this week. The theme is diversifying your interests. Sort of inspired by… okay so I watched half of the first season of Cobra Kai (more on this below) and there’s a scene with young Johnny Lawrence where he’s asking his parents if he can start learning karate. His awful dad says basically Oh, like all those other interests you gave up?

Yes! He’s a kid.

And I’d argue that you should never stop learning about things that interest you.

Leading to…

…things to listen to that are tenuously linked to the idea of diversifying your interests

Ralph Macchio and Michael Lewis (separately but on the same episode of The Bill Simmons Podcast) — I finished watching Moneyball this week after reading the book earlier this year. Moneyball has some of the best sequences involving spreadsheets and humans. If you love The Social Network’s programming scene you’ll have something to like in Moneyball. Great movie.

I’ve got into the habit of starting the day with Cobra Kai (preview). I want to watch more TV and can fit one episode in with a kettlebell workout in the morning. Which I’ve been capturing on these cards.

Each card has:

  • That morning’s workout (currently walk duration + kettlebell movements)

  • Things I read (on the treadmill), watched (during the kettlebell workout), and listened to (usually put a podcast on when finishing up + showering and transitioning to the rest of the day).

As for staying sane during quarantine (beyond Maslow’s hierarchy) and summarizing it into an on-base-percentage-esque single metric, I’d go with: the number of things you know how to do over webcam.

Scott Galloway (on The James Altucher Show)

“Your ability to surf mediums is hugely important.”

Both of them have created successful blogs, books, podcasts, and videos. They’ve built up audiences in a variety of ways over the years. A couple good ways to create more leverage are writing code and creating media. Being a full-stack developer means—okay so it means different things depending who you ask—you can write back-end and front-end code. Galloway and Altucher are full-stack media creators. Again, depending on what you’d think of as the full stack. They’re not equipped to create a hollywood blockbuster by themselves the same way any one full-stack developer still hits limits in what they can make alone. But they can make a great living for themselves.

Jimmy Kimmel (on Conan' O’Brien Needs a Friend)

Conan: “I can think of many hosts and comics who, if they walked away from it, they’d be screwed. Because they’re antisocial and they’re narcissists and their whole life is built around this show and doing this show even if it pains them. You are different. You are an incredibly gregarious guy who has a lot of other interests. You’re a great chef and cook and you love to live life. you love to have fun. You love to make friends.”

This is another benefit of being able to surf mediums and surf different interests. If you have one interest and it disappears then there’s a chance a big part of your identity goes with it.

In their book, Designing Your Life, Bill Burnett and Dave Evans encourage thinking about three paths for your possible future.

  • What if you stayed in your current career?

  • What if your current career disappeared altogether?

  • What if you could pursue something without being laughed at or judged by anyone?

Writers are well equipped to surf mediums. Writing is such a foundational skill. Plenty of writers could become podcasters. If podcasts disappeared, podcasters could transition to video.

  • TV in front of live audiences disappeared: everyone’s doing their at-home episodes.

  • Live shows disappeared: Altucher has plenty of things to do while his comedy club is closed.

Any way, gonna wrap this up with links to some things I made this past week: How I use my iPad Pro (video), IG sketches of Krang and Aaron Draplin, IG sketches of scenes in Parasite, Workout logs (tues, weds, thurs).

I also finally did my taxes.