The Listen #12

Currently prepping for a move from New York to San Francisco. While I’ve hired movers before, this was the first time I paid for the packing service also. Some things I noticed.

  • You don’t feel progress leading up to moving day — This was weird. You want to get ready for things as you get closer to when you’ll be moving. If you have packers, the amount you do leading up to the move is a magnitude less. Yes, it’s good to be organized and get some stuff ready for the packers. But it takes so much less time than actually doing the packing yourself.

  • You really see how much faster you can do stuff if you know what you’re doing and completely undistracted — Which is to say: the movers know what they’re doing and were completely undistracted. As we watched them do their thing, I just thought of how long any single part would take me. Packing a TV without a box took one person maybe 3 minutes. For me, this would’ve involved like 20 minutes deciding which box and wrap to order online then a few minutes unpacking that when it arrived then probably 10 minutes actually doing it. Repeat a few more times for monitors I don’t have boxes for anymore.

  • Packing is faster when nothing sparks joy — The movers don’t sit there and reminisce thinking about all the good times with this spatula and whether it’s worth keeping it or if the new spatula is enough. They don’t have to consider if something should go or if now is a time to de-clutter it. There’s just a pile of stuff to take and they go through it, very quickly, with all the right supplies. More than enough boxes, wrapping paper, and tape. No second guessing the amounts to use to preserve some for some other thing.

How does this apply to writing newsletters or making a podcast? Probably something about focusing on the task at hand and using the right tools and mise en place and all that.

Still need to get rid of a couch and mattress (and, oh yah, actually get across the country). But for right now, I’m just happy to be done with the big part of the NYC side.

On to this week’s links!

Tiago Forte (The Unmistakable Creative Podcast) — 2017
Apple | Spotify | Unmistakable Creative
I’ve been trying to apply his PARA system. I took David Perell’s Write of Passage earlier this year, which is closely related to Tiago’s Build a Second Brain course. I sat around thinking about enrolling in Build a Second Brain and then sort of sat around too long and didn’t notice the deadline pass until a few days after it passed.

Now I’m kicking myself.

But I’m piecing a system together with the free material. Here’s the PARA setup I have in Evernote right now.

Anyway, something I found interesting in this interview was that Tiago had a bit of a hot take on deep work. (He shared similar thoughts in this thread.)

At some point in the past few years, I think I went too far on the end of thinking deep work is the only valuable work. I leaned into that at the cost of not actively seeking out opportunities with others and building more relationships. 

And also getting overly frustrated by small distractions knocking me out of flow. You cant eliminate all distractions. Things will come up. So it can be just as important to practice getting back into a working state and to set up systems to help with that. (Know what you’re working on. Write a note as a reminder to shortcut yourself back into the context you were at. Etc.)

Guy Raz
Tim Ferriss Show | Apple | Spotify
Here’s a combination of two of my favorite podcasts through the years: Guy Raz talking about how he built “How I Built This” on “The Tim Ferriss Show”.

Raz and Ferriss discuss the art of interviewing, Raz’s ability to pull vulnerability out (mostly through long pre-interviews done months in advance) of guests, how he picked the name of the show, what his goals were aiming to get away from the soothing vibe that NPR was known for, and more.

They discussed Raz being told that he had the wrong personality for a radio host:

Tim Ferriss: What was lacking or wrong with your personality for radio?

Guy Raz: I was too much of a military war correspondent. If you can believe that nobody who hears How I Built This today would even knows that I did that, but that was how I was perceived.

And I think this is very common in a lot of.. For a lot of people, they work somewhere and there's a perception that's developed around them or about them. And it's hard to shake that. You know, sometimes the only way to shake that is to leave. And in my case, that was my reputation.

I was seen as like a very serious... you know: an NPR host had to like a vaudevillian actor. And I didn't have... whatever it was."

Michael Seibel (Lessons from Thousands of Startups)
Invest Like the Best | Apple | Spotify

I really liked this comparison between startup success and making it to the NBA.

"Imagine if the first day you went to Yale law school, the professor told you like only one or two of you are going to become lawyers. You'd be like, wait, why am I paying all this...? And be like, Ooh, this is not what I signed up for. Our startup game is a lot more like sports. The Duke coach can probably say only one or two of you are going to ever have a real starting rotation job in the NBA."

It’s likely that your startup will fail. Everyone seems to understand that, but many still think “but it won’t be me”. (And that’s a good thing.)

Alex Lieberman (“Future of the Founder’s Journal”)
Apple | Spotify

Lieberman answers a question from his co-founder Austin Rief about sticking with the podcast project, even with a small listenership (compared to their Morning Brew audience):

“So to your question: What makes you stick with it? When, how come takes so long to realize?

And I think it just becomes having a love for what you're doing and feeling intrinsic value out of it. I love doing this every day.

Because one, I love talking to you [co-host] and as the company has grown, we don't talk as much.

The second is, I love the idea of memorializing things. I'm a huge fan of photography because you can look back in life and recall memories with so much more specificity than if you just try to recall them with your brain. This is that.

And the third is hopefully this builds my brand in a way where I can provide more opportunity for Morning Brew. And ultimately this becomes big enough such that we can promote it in our newsletter."

That’s it for this week. Thanks for reading. See you in a week (from San Francisco!)