More on Productivity
David G Chen
2 months ago
If you want to earn money, stop writing for entertainment.
When you stop blogging for a few weeks, your views and profits plummet.
Because you're writing fascinating posts for others. Everyone's done ithat…
If I keep writing, the graph should maintain velocity, you could say. If I wrote more, it could rise.
However, entertaining pieces still tend to roller coaster and jump.
this type of writing is like a candle. They burn out and must be replaced. You must continuously light new ones to maintain the illumination.
When you quit writing, your income stops.
Instead of producing amusing articles, try solving people's issues. You should answer their search questions.
Here's what happens when you answer their searches.
My website's Google analytics. As a dentist, I answer oral health questions.
This chart vs. Medium is pretty glaring, right?
As of yesterday, it was averaging 15k page views each day.
How much would you make on Medium with 15k daily views?
In SEO, this is called evergreen content.
Your content is like a lush, evergreen forest, and by green I mean Benjamins.
Do you have knowledge that you can leverage? Why not help your neighbors and the world?
Answer search inquiries and help others. You'll be well rewarded.
This is better than crafting candle-like content that fizzles out quickly.
Is beauty really ephemeral like how flowers bloom? Nah, I prefer watching forests grow instead (:
1 month ago
Effective Technical Book Reading Techniques
Technical books aren't like novels. We need a new approach to technical texts. I've spent years looking for a decent reading method. I tried numerous ways before finding one that worked. This post explains how I read technical books efficiently.
What Do I Mean When I Say Effective?
Effectiveness depends on the book. Effective implies I know where to find answers after reading a reference book. Effective implies I learned the book's knowledge after reading it.
I use reference books as tools in my toolkit. I won't carry all my tools; I'll merely need them. Non-reference books teach me techniques. I never have to make an effort to use them since I always have them.
Reference books I like:
Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software
Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code
You can also check My Top Takeaways from Refactoring here.
Non-reference books I like:
Technical books might be overwhelming to read in one sitting. Especially when you have no idea what is coming next as you read. When you don't know how deep the rabbit hole goes, you feel lost as you read. This is my years-long method for overcoming this difficulty.
Whether you follow the step-by-step guide or not, remember these:
Understand the terminology. Make sure you get the meaning of any terms you come across more than once. The likelihood that a term will be significant increases as you encounter it more frequently.
Know when to stop. I've always believed that in order to truly comprehend something, I must delve as deeply as possible into it. That, however, is not usually very effective. There are moments when you have to draw the line and start putting theory into practice (if applicable).
Look over your notes. When reading technical books or documents, taking notes is a crucial habit to develop. Additionally, you must regularly examine your notes if you want to get the most out of them. This will assist you in internalizing the lessons you acquired from the book. And you'll see that the urge to review reduces with time.
Let's talk about how I read a technical book step by step.
0. Read the Foreword/Preface
These sections are crucial in technical books. They answer Who should read it, What each chapter discusses, and sometimes How to Read? This is helpful before reading the book. Who could know the ideal way to read the book better than the author, right?
I scan the chapter. Fast scanning is needed.
I review the headings.
I scan the pictures quickly.
I assess the chapter's length to determine whether I might divide it into more manageable sections.
Skimming is faster than reading but slower than scanning.
I focus more on the captions and subtitles for the photographs.
I read each paragraph's opening and closing sentences.
I examined the code samples.
I attempt to grasp each section's basic points without getting bogged down in the specifics.
Throughout the entire reading period, I make an effort to make mental notes of what may require additional attention and what may not. Because I don't want to spend time taking physical notes, kindly notice that I am using the term "mental" here. It is much simpler to recall. You may think that this is more significant than typing or writing “Pay attention to X.”
I move on quickly. This is something I considered crucial because, when trying to skim, it is simple to start reading the entire thing.
3. Complete reading
Previous steps pay off.
I finished reading the chapter.
I concentrate on the passages that I mentally underlined when skimming.
I put the book away and make my own notes. It is typically more difficult than it seems for me. But it's important to speak in your own words. You must choose the right words to adequately summarize what you have read. How do those words make you feel? Additionally, you must be able to summarize your notes while you are taking them. Sometimes as I'm writing my notes, I realize I have no words to convey what I'm thinking or, even worse, I start to doubt what I'm writing down. This is a good indication that I haven't internalized that idea thoroughly enough.
I jot my inquiries down. Normally, I read on while compiling my questions in the hopes that I will learn the answers as I read. I'll explore those issues more if I wasn't able to find the answers to my inquiries while reading the book.
Best part: If you take lovely notes like I do, you can publish them as a blog post with a few tweaks.
This is my learning journey. I wanted to show you. This post may help someone with a similar learning style. You can alter the principles above for any technical material.
Jano le Roux
14 days ago
My Top 11 Tools For Building A Modern Startup, With A Free Plan
The best free tools are probably unknown to you.
Modern startups are easy to build.
Start with free tools.
Web development — Webflow
Code-free HTML, CSS, and JS.
Webflow isn't like Squarespace, Wix, or Shopify.
It's a super-fast no-code tool for professionals to construct complex, highly-responsive websites and landing pages.
Webflow can help you add animations like those on Apple's website to your own site.
I made the jump from WordPress a few years ago and it changed my life.
No damn plugins. No damn errors. No damn updates.
The best, you can get started on Webflow for free.
Data tracking — Airtable
Airtable combines spreadsheet flexibility with database power without code.
Airtable is modern.
Airtable has modularity.
Scaling Airtable is simple.
Airtable, one of the most adaptable solutions on this list, is perfect for client data management.
Clients choose customized service packages. Airtable consolidates data so you can automate procedures like invoice management and focus on your strengths.
Airtable connects with so many tools that rarely creates headaches. Airtable scales when you do.
Airtable's flexibility makes it a potential backend database.
Design — Figma
Better, faster, easier user interface design.
First, design in Figma.
Export development assets.
Figma lets you add more team members as your company grows to work on each iteration simultaneously.
Figma is web-based, so you don't need a powerful PC or Mac to start.
Task management — Trello
Tacky and terrifying task management products abound. Trello isn’t.
Those that follow Marie Kondo will appreciate Trello.
Everything is clean.
Nothing is complicated.
Everything has a place.
Compared to other task management solutions, Trello is limited. And that’s good. Too many buttons lead to too many decisions lead to too many hours wasted.
Trello is a must for teamwork.
Domain email — Zoho
Free domain email hosting.
Professional email is essential for startups. People relied on monthly payments for too long. Nope.
Zoho offers 5 free professional emails.
It doesn't have Google's UI, but it works.
VPN — Proton VPN
Fast Swiss VPN protects your data and privacy.
Proton VPN is secure.
Proton doesn't record any data.
Proton is based in Switzerland.
Swiss privacy regulation is among the most strict in the world, therefore user data are protected. Switzerland isn't a 14 eye country.
Journalists and activists trust Proton to secure their identities while accessing and sharing information authoritarian governments don't want them to access.
Web host — Netlify
Free fast web hosting.
Netlify is a scalable platform that combines your favorite tools and APIs to develop high-performance sites, stores, and apps through GitHub.
Serverless functions and environment variables preserve API keys.
Netlify's free tier is unmissable.
100GB of free monthly bandwidth.
Free 125k serverless operations per website each month.
Database — MongoDB
Create a fast, scalable database.
MongoDB is for small and large databases. It's a fast and inexpensive database.
Free for the first million reads.
Then, for each million reads, you must pay $0.10.
MongoDB's free plan has:
Encryption from end to end
field-level client-side encryption
If you have a large database, you can easily connect MongoDB to Webflow to bypass CMS limits.
Automation — Zapier
Time-saving tip: automate repetitive chores.
Zapier simplifies life.
Zapier syncs and connects your favorite apps to do impossibly awesome things.
If your online store is connected to Zapier, a customer's purchase can trigger a number of automated actions, such as:
The customer is being added to an email chain.
Put the information in your Airtable.
Send a pre-programmed postcard to the customer.
Alexa, set the color of your smart lights to purple.
Zapier scales when you do.
Email & SMS marketing — Omnisend
Email and SMS marketing campaigns.
This is an excellent Mailchimp option for magical emails. Omnisend's processes simplify email automation.
I love the interface's cleanliness.
Omnisend's free tier includes web push notifications.
Send up to:
500 emails per month
60 maximum SMSs
500 Web Push Maximum
Forms and surveys — Tally
Create flexible forms that people enjoy.
Typeform is clean but restricting. Sometimes you need to add many questions. Tally's needed sometimes.
Tally is flexible and cheaper than Typeform.
99% of Tally's features are free and unrestricted, including:
Tally lets you examine what individuals contributed to forms before submitting them to see where they get stuck.
Airtable and Zapier connectors automate things further. If you pay, you can apply custom CSS to fit your brand.
Free tools are the greatest.
Let's use them to launch a startup.
You might also like
Jussi Luukkonen, MBA
2 days ago
Is Apple Secretly Building A Disruptive Tsunami?
A TECHNICAL THOUGHT
The IT giant is seeding the digital Great Renaissance.
Recently, technology has been dull.
We're still fascinated by processing speeds. Wearables are no longer an engineer's dream.
Apple has been quiet and avoided huge announcements. Slowness speaks something. Everything in the spaceship HQ seems to be turning slowly, unlike competitors around buzzwords.
Is this a sign of the impending storm?
Metas stock has fallen while Google milks dumb people. Microsoft steals money from corporations and annexes platforms like Linkedin.
Just surface bubbles?
Is Apple, one of the technology continents, pushing against all others to create a paradigm shift?
The fundamental human right to privacy
Apple's unusual remarks emphasize privacy. They incorporate it into their business models and judgments.
Apple believes privacy is a human right. There are no compromises.
This makes it hard for other participants to gain Apple's ecosystem's efficiencies.
Other players without hardware platforms lose.
Apple delivers new kidneys without rejection, unlike other software vendors. Nothing compromises your privacy.
Corporate citizenship will become more popular.
Apples have full coffers. They've started using that flow to better communities, which is great.
Apple's $2.5B home investment is one example. Google and Facebook are building or proposing to build workforce housing.
Apple's funding helps marginalized populations in more than 25 California counties, not just Apple employees.
Is this a trend, and does Apple keep giving back? Hope so.
I'm not cynical enough to suspect these investments have malicious motives.
The last frontier is the environment.
Climate change is a battle-to-win.
Long-term winners will be companies that protect the environment, turning climate change dystopia into sustainable growth.
Apple has been quietly changing its supply chain to be carbon-neutral by 2030.
“Apple is dedicated to protecting the planet we all share with solutions that are supporting the communities where we work.” Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environment.
Apple's $4.7 billion Green Bond investment will produce 1.2 gigawatts of green energy for the corporation and US communities. Apple invests $2.2 billion in Europe's green energy. In the Philippines, Thailand, Nigeria, Vietnam, Colombia, Israel, and South Africa, solar installations are helping communities obtain sustainable energy.
Apple is already carbon neutral today for its global corporate operations, and this new commitment means that by 2030, every Apple device sold will have net zero climate impact. -Apple.
Apple invests in green energy and forests to reduce its paper footprint in China and the US. Apple and the Conservation Fund are safeguarding 36,000 acres of US working forest, according to GreenBiz.
Apple's packaging paper is recycled or from sustainably managed forests.
What matters is the scale.
$1 billion is a rounding error for Apple.
These small investments originate from a tree with deep, spreading roots.
Apple's genes are anchored in building the finest products possible to improve consumers' lives.
I felt it when I switched to my iPhone while waiting for a train and had to pack my Macbook. iOS 16 dictation makes writing more enjoyable. Small change boosts productivity. Smooth transition from laptop to small screen and dictation.
Apples' tiny, well-planned steps have great growth potential for all consumers in everything they do.
There is clearly disruption, but it doesn't have to be violent
Digital channels, methods, and technologies have globalized human consciousness. One person's responsibility affects many.
Apple gives us tools to be privately connected. These technologies foster creativity, innovation, fulfillment, and safety.
Apple has invented a mountain of technologies, services, and channels to assist us adapt to the good future or combat evil forces who cynically aim to control us and ruin the environment and communities. Apple has quietly disrupted sectors for decades.
Google, Microsoft, and Meta, among others, should ride this wave. It's a tsunami, but it doesn't have to be devastating if we care, share, and cooperate with political decision-makers and community leaders worldwide.
A fresh Renaissance
Renaissance geniuses Michelangelo and Da Vinci. Different but seeing something no one else could yet see. Both were talented in many areas and could discover art in science and science in art.
These geniuses exemplified a period that changed humanity for the better. They created, used, and applied new, valuable things. It lives on.
Apple is a digital genius orchard. Wozniak and Jobs offered us fertile ground for the digital renaissance. We'll build on their legacy.
We may put our seeds there and see them bloom despite corporate greed and political ignorance.
I think the coming tsunami will illuminate our planet like the Renaissance.
1 month ago
By Engaging in these 5 Duplicitous Daily Activities, You Rapidly Kill Your Brain Cells
No, it’s not smartphones, overeating, or sugar.
Everyday practices affect brain health. Good brain practices increase memory and cognition.
Bad behaviors increase stress, which destroys brain cells.
Bad behaviors can reverse evolution and diminish the brain. So, avoid these practices for brain health.
1. The silent assassin
Introverts appreciated quarantine.
Before the pandemic, they needed excuses to remain home; thereafter, they had enough.
I am an introvert, and I didn’t hate quarantine. There are billions of people like me who avoid people.
Social relationships are important for brain health. Social anxiety harms your brain.
Antisocial behavior changes brains. It lowers IQ and increases drug abuse risk.
What you can do is as follows:
Make a daily commitment to engage in conversation with a stranger. Who knows, you might turn out to be your lone mate.
Get outside for at least 30 minutes each day.
Shop for food locally rather than online.
Make a call to a friend you haven't spoken to in a while.
2. Try not to rush things.
People love hustle culture. This economy requires a side gig to save money.
Long hours reduce brain health. A side gig is great until you burn out.
Work ages your wallet and intellect. Overworked brains age faster and lose cognitive function.
Working longer hours can help you make extra money, but it can harm your brain.
Side hustle but don't overwork.
What you can do is as follows:
Decide what hour you are not permitted to work after.
Three hours prior to night, turn off your laptop.
Put down your phone and work.
Assign due dates to each task.
3. Location is everything!
The environment may cause brain fog. High pollution can cause brain damage.
Air pollution raises Alzheimer's risk. Air pollution causes cognitive and behavioral abnormalities.
Polluted air can trigger early development of incurable brain illnesses, not simply lung harm.
Your city's air quality is uncontrollable. You may take steps to improve air quality.
In Delhi, schools and colleges are closed to protect pupils from polluted air. So I've adapted.
What you can do is as follows:
To keep your mind healthy and young, make an investment in a high-quality air purifier.
Enclose your windows during the day.
Use a N95 mask every day.
4. Don't skip this meal.
Fasting intermittently is trendy. Delaying breakfast to finish fasting is frequent.
Some skip breakfast and have a hefty lunch instead.
Skipping breakfast might affect memory and focus. Skipping breakfast causes low cognition, delayed responsiveness, and irritation.
Breakfast affects mood and productivity.
Intermittent fasting doesn't prevent healthy breakfasts.
What you can do is as follows:
Try to fast for 14 hours, then break it with a nutritious breakfast.
So that you can have breakfast in the morning, eat dinner early.
Make sure your breakfast is heavy in fiber and protein.
5. The quickest way to damage the health of your brain
Brain health requires water. 1% dehydration can reduce cognitive ability by 5%.
Cerebral fog and mental clarity might result from 2% brain dehydration. Dehydration shrinks brain cells.
Dehydration causes midday slumps and unproductivity. Water improves work performance.
Dehydration can harm your brain, so drink water throughout the day.
What you can do is as follows:
Always keep a water bottle at your desk.
Enjoy some tasty herbal teas.
With a big glass of water, begin your day.
Bring your own water bottle when you travel.
Bad habits can harm brain health. Low cognition reduces focus and productivity.
Unproductive work leads to procrastination, failure, and low self-esteem.
Avoid these harmful habits to optimize brain health and function.
3 months ago
Say goodbye to Ponzi yields - A new era of decentralized perpetual
Decentralized perpetual may be the next crypto market boom; with tons of perpetual popping up, let's look at two protocols that offer organic, non-inflationary yields.
Decentralized derivatives exchanges' market share has increased tenfold in a year, but it's still 2% of CEXs'. DEXs have a long way to go before they can compete with centralized exchanges in speed, liquidity, user experience, and composability.
I'll cover gains.trade and GMX protocol in Polygon, Avalanche, and Arbitrum. Both protocols support leveraged perpetual crypto, stock, and Forex trading.
Why these protocols?
Decentralized GMX Gains protocol
Organic yield: path to sustainability
I've never trusted Defi's non-organic yields. Example: XYZ protocol. 20–75% of tokens may be set aside as farming rewards to provide liquidity, according to tokenomics.
Say you provide ETH-USDC liquidity. They advertise a 50% APR reward for this pair, 10% from trading fees and 40% from farming rewards. Only 10% is real, the rest is "Ponzi." The "real" reward is in protocol tokens.
Why keep this token? Governance voting or staking rewards are promoted services.
Most liquidity providers expect compensation for unused tokens. Basic psychological principles then? — Profit.
Nobody wants governance tokens. How many out of 100 care about the protocol's direction and will vote?
Staking increases your token's value. Currently, they're mostly non-liquid. If the protocol is compromised, you can't withdraw funds. Most people are sceptical of staking because of this.
"Free tokens," lack of use cases, and skepticism lead to tokens moving south. No farming reward protocols have lasted.
It may have shown strength in a bull market, but what about a bear market?
What is decentralized perpetual?
A perpetual contract is a type of futures contract that doesn't expire. So one can hold a position forever.
You can buy/sell any leveraged instruments (Long-Short) without expiration.
In centralized exchanges like Binance and coinbase, fees and revenue (liquidation) go to the exchanges, not users.
Users can provide liquidity that traders can use to leverage trade, and the revenue goes to liquidity providers.
Gains.trade and GMX protocol are perpetual trading platforms with a non-inflationary organic yield for liquidity providers.
GMX is an Arbitrum and Avax protocol that rewards in ETH and Avax. GLP uses a fast oracle to borrow the "true price" from other trading venues, unlike a traditional AMM.
GLP and GMX are protocol tokens. GLP is used for leveraged trading, swapping, etc.
GLP is a basket of tokens, including ETH, BTC, AVAX, stablecoins, and UNI, LINK, and Stablecoins.
GLP composition on arbitrum
GLP composition on Avalanche
GLP token rebalances based on usage, providing liquidity without loss.
Protocol "runs" on Staking GLP. Depending on their chain, the protocol will reward users with ETH or AVAX. Current rewards are 22 percent (15.71 percent in ETH and the rest in escrowed GMX) and 21 percent (15.72 percent in AVAX and the rest in escrowed GMX). escGMX and ETH/AVAX percentages fluctuate.
Where is the yield coming from?
Swap fees, perpetual interest, and liquidations generate yield. 70% of fees go to GLP stakers, 30% to GMX. Organic yields aren't paid in inflationary farm tokens.
Escrowed GMX is vested GMX that unlocks in 365 days. To fully unlock GMX, you must farm the Escrowed GMX token for 365 days. That means less selling pressure for the GMX token.
These are the fees in Arbitrum in the past 11 months by GMX.
GMX works like a casino, which increases fees. Most fees come from Margin trading, which means most traders lose money; this money goes to the casino, or GLP stakers.
My personal strategy is to DCA into GLP when markets hit bottom and stake it; GLP will be less volatile with extra staking rewards.
GLP YoY return vs. naked buying
Let's say I invested $10,000 in BTC, AVAX, and ETH in January.
BTC price: 47665$
ETH price: 3760$
AVAX price: $145
BTC $21,000 (Down 56 percent )
ETH $1233 (Down 67.2 percent )
AVAX $20.36 (Down 85.95 percent )
Your $10,000 investment is now worth around $3,000.
How about GLP? My initial investment is 50% stables and 50% other assets ( Assuming the coverage ratio for stables is 50 percent at that time)
Without GLP staking yield, your value is $6500.
Let's assume the average APR for GLP staking is 23%, or $1500. So 8000$ total. It's 50% safer than holding naked assets in a bear market.
In a bull market, naked assets are preferable to GLP.
Short farming using GLP
Simple GLP short farming.
You use a stable asset as collateral to borrow AVAX. Sell it and buy GLP. Even if GLP rises, it won't rise as fast as AVAX, so we can get yields.
Let's do the maths
You deposit $10,000 USDT in Aave and borrow Avax. Say you borrow $8,000; you sell it, buy GLP, and risk 20%.
After a year, ETH, AVAX, and BTC rise 20%. GLP is $8800. $800 vanishes. 20% yields $1600. You're profitable. Shorting Avax costs $1600. (Assumptions-ETH, AVAX, BTC move the same, GLP yield is 20%. GLP has a 50:50 stablecoin/others ratio. Aave won't liquidate
In naked Avax shorting, Avax falls 20% in a year. You'll make $1600. If you buy GLP and stake it using the sold Avax and BTC, ETH and Avax go down by 20% - your profit is 20%, but with the yield, your total gain is $2400.
Issues with GMX
GMX's historical funding rates are always net positive, so long always pays short. This makes long-term shorts less appealing.
Oracle price discovery isn't enough. This limitation doesn't affect Bitcoin and ETH, but it affects less liquid assets. Traders can buy and sell less liquid assets at a lower price than their actual cost as long as GMX exists.
As users must provide GLP liquidity, adding more assets to GMX will be difficult. Next iteration will have synthetic assets.
Best leveraged trading platform. Smart contract-based decentralized protocol. 46 crypto pairs can be leveraged 5–150x and 10 Forex pairs 5–1000x. $10 DAI @ 150x (min collateral x leverage pos size is $1500 DAI). No funding fees, no KYC, trade DAI from your wallet, keep funds.
DAI single-sided staking and the GNS-DAI pool are important parts of Gains trading. GNS-DAI stakers get 90% of trading fees and 100% swap fees. 10 percent of trading fees go to DAI stakers, which is currently 14 percent!
When a trader opens a trade, the leverage and profit are pulled from the DAI pool. If he loses, the protocol yield goes to the stakers.
If the trader's win rate is high and the DAI pool slowly depletes, the GNS token is minted and sold to refill DAI. Trader losses are used to burn GNS tokens. 25%+ of GNS is burned, making it deflationary.
Due to high leverage and volatility of crypto assets, most traders lose money and the protocol always wins, keeping GNS deflationary.
Gains uses a unique decentralized oracle for price feeds, which is better for leverage trading platforms. Let me explain.
Gains uses chainlink price oracles, not its own price feeds. Chainlink oracles only query centralized exchanges for price feeds every minute, which is unsuitable for high-precision trading.
Gains created a custom oracle that queries the eight chainlink nodes for the current price and, on average, for trade confirmation. This model eliminates every-second inquiries, which waste gas but are more efficient than chainlink's per-minute price.
This price oracle helps Gains open and close trades instantly, eliminate scam wicks, etc.
Other benefits include:
Stop-loss guarantee (open positions updated)
No scam wicks
Highest possible leverage
Fixed-spreads. During high volatility, a broker can increase the spread, which can hit your stop loss without the price moving.
Trade directly from your wallet and keep your funds.
>90% loss before liquidation (Some platforms liquidate as little as -50 percent)
Directly trade from wallet; keep funds safe
GNS-DAI liquidity providers fear the impermanent loss, so the protocol is migrating to its own liquidity and single staking GNS vaults. This allows users to stake GNS without permanent loss and obtain 90% DAI trading fees by staking. This starts in August.
Their upcoming improvements can be found here.
Gains constantly add new features and change pairs. It's an interesting protocol.
Next bull run, watch decentralized perpetual protocols. Effective tokenomics and non-inflationary yields may attract traders and liquidity providers. But still, there is a long way for them to develop, and I don't see them tackling the centralized exchanges any time soon until they fix their inherent problems and improve fast enough.
Read the full post here.