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Clarity Lab Issue 86
Doing Your Good Read For The Day
If you’re reading this, you like learning and know the value that being a perpetual learner has for your business. We all have our preferred methods of taking in new information. For many of us, it’s reading great books. There’s a thing that happens, though, when you read large numbers of non-fiction fiction books: it’s hard to remember the business-changing insights in them. (I can only seem to remember the parts of business books that tell stories about Elon Musk.) Eva Keiffenheim shares three practices Bill Gates uses when he reads books that can help you remember all the bits of wisdom you want to remember.
I’d add one thing not present on this list, however: although I love reading physical paper books, reading on a Kindle allows me to highlight passages that are then automatically synced with my Readwise account, which stores all the notes I highlight from the books I read. I can then print those notes out, re-read them, add them to my digital mind garden, and Readwise sends me daily or weekly emails with random highlighted notes from all the books I’ve read. It’s a great way to remember more than just Elon Musk stories.
“The best thing about realising that there is no blueprint, is that it puts you fully in charge. The biggest problem I’ve found with founders is that they don’t want to be founders. They don’t want to do things first, they don’t want to take risks, they don’t want to fully own the outcome of their actions. They want to be shown the way. Be shown a blueprint.” That’s Dan Norris, founder of WP Curve (which sold to GoDaddy for an undisclosed amount in 2016), laying out a truth that many online information marketers don’t want you to know: there are no blueprints. In other news, my son is now asking for his allowance to be deposited directly into his account in large, undisclosed amounts.
The Gmail Fallow Tab
Newsletters are supposed to be the new Wild West of content marketing. Email is sexy again. There’s just one small problem: Google. 61% of Americans use Gmail. Maybe folks in other countries are smarter than us Americans and don’t use Gmail as much, but here in the States, Gmail has a monopoly. And their sorting algorithm makes it incredibly difficult for our newsletters to reach the Gmail Primary tab. That means large portions of people aren’t seeing or opening our newsletters because they get sent to the Promotions tab in Gmail, right alongside Wayfair furniture promo emails in the area of Gmail that most people ignore. The LA Times has the scoop on why this matters and one old-school niche technology that could save us from Google’s hegemony.
Ever feel like your business to do list is forever never ending and that no matter how hard you try to cross things off, more things get put on? Or that you have to reach inbox zero, even if reaching it means that you don’t get any of the deeply meaningful creative work done that you really want to get to? If you’ve felt that way, as most of us have, you might be drawn to try any of the dozens of productivity techniques taught in expensive productivity courses to help you get more done.
If you’ve tried all the productivity hacks and still aren’t getting everything done, author Oliver Burkeman has a take that you might find relieving, if a bit depressing: we’re going to die never having completed all that we want to complete. (Wait, WUT!?) In the process of facing that reality we can find a new way to manage our time and focus on what really matters.
Should I Stay Or Should I Grow
Start your own business and you’ll quickly realize that being an entrepreneur involves an endless string of rapid choices. Some choices are easy, like what topic to write about this week in a blog post. Others are incredibly hard, like trying to decide between starting a new revenue stream in your existing business or starting an entirely new business.
Making hard decisions about big things is…hard. We often try to put off big decisions as long as possible, particularly when the options you’re weighing feel like they each have their upsides and downsides and that overall, none is better than any of the others. Ruth Chang shares an unexpected perspective on these kind of hard choices, whether they come in business or life outside of business, in her TED talk on how to make hard choices. Let this talk unfold and watch until the end. It’s worth it.
I hope the rest of your week goes swimmingly well!
I’m raising a glass (of water) to your business!