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Alex Mathers

Alex Mathers

4 months ago

8 guidelines to help you achieve your objectives 5x fast

More on Productivity

Maria Stepanova

Maria Stepanova

4 months ago

How Elon Musk Picks Things Up Quicker Than Anyone Else

Adopt Elon Musk's learning strategy to succeed.

Photo by Cody Board on Unsplash

Medium writers rank first and second when you Google “Elon Musk's learning approach”.

My article idea seems unoriginal. Lol

Musk is brilliant.

No doubt here.

His name connotes success and intelligence.

He knows rocket science, engineering, AI, and solar power.

Musk is a Unicorn, but his skills aren't special.

How does he manage it?

Elon Musk has two learning rules that anyone may use.

You can apply these rules and become anyone you want.

You can become a rocket scientist or a surgeon. If you want, of course.

The learning process is key.

Make sure you are creating a Tree of Knowledge according to Rule #1.

Musk told Reddit how he learns:

“It is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree — make sure you understand the fundamental principles, i.e. the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang onto.”

Musk understands the essential ideas and mental models of each of his business sectors.

He starts with the tree's trunk, making sure he learns the basics before going on to branches and leaves.

We often act otherwise. We memorize small details without understanding how they relate to the whole. Our minds are stuffed with useless data.

Cramming isn't learning.

Start with the basics to learn faster. Before diving into minutiae, grasp the big picture.

Photo by niko photos on Unsplash

Rule #2: You can't connect what you can't remember.

Elon Musk transformed industries this way. As his expertise grew, he connected branches and leaves from different trees.

Musk read two books a day as a child. He didn't specialize like most people. He gained from his multidisciplinary education. It helped him stand out and develop billion-dollar firms.

He gained skills in several domains and began connecting them. World-class performances resulted.

Most of us never learn the basics and only collect knowledge. We never really comprehend information, thus it's hard to apply it.

Learn the basics initially to maximize your chances of success. Then start learning.

Learn across fields and connect them.

This method enabled Elon Musk to enter and revolutionize a century-old industry.

Ellane W

Ellane W

2 months ago

The Last To-Do List Template I'll Ever Need, Years in the Making

The holy grail of plain text task management is finally within reach

Walking away from productivity civilization to my house in the plain text jungle. Image used under licence from jumpstory.

Plain text task management? Are you serious?? Dedicated task managers exist for a reason, you know. Sheesh.

—Oh, I know. Believe me, I know! But hear me out.

I've managed projects and tasks in plain text for more than four years. Since reorganizing my to-do list, plain text task management is within reach.

Data completely yours? One billion percent. Beef it up with coding? Be my guest.

Enter: The List

The answer? A list. That’s it!

Write down tasks. Obsidian, Notenik, Drafts, or iA Writer are good plain text note-taking apps.

List too long? Of course, it is! A large list tells you what to do. Feel the itch and friction. Then fix it.

  • But I want to be able to distinguish between work and personal life! List two things.

  • However, I need to know what should be completed first. Put those items at the top.

  • However, some things keep coming up, and I need to be reminded of them! Put those in your calendar and make an alarm for them.

  • But since individual X hasn't completed task Y, I can't proceed with this. Create a Waiting section on your list by dividing it.

  • But I must know what I'm supposed to be doing right now! Read your list(s). Check your calendar. Think critically.

Before I begin a new one, I remind myself that "Listory Never Repeats."

There’s no such thing as too many lists if all are needed. There is such a thing as too many lists if you make them before they’re needed. Before they complain that their previous room was small or too crowded or needed a new light.

A list that feels too long has a voice; it’s telling you what to do next.

I use one Master List. It's a control panel that tells me what to focus on short-term. If something doesn't need semi-immediate attention, it goes on my Backlog list.

Todd Lewandowski's DWTS (Done, Waiting, Top 3, Soon) performance deserves praise. His DWTS to-do list structure has transformed my plain-text task management. I didn't realize it was upside down.

This is my take on it:

D = Done

Move finished items here. If they pile up, clear them out every week or month. I have a Done Archive folder.

W = Waiting

Things seething in the background, awaiting action. Stir them occasionally so they don't burn.

T = Top 3

Three priorities. Personal comes first, then work. There will always be a top 3 (no more than 5) in every category. Projects, not chores, usually.

S = Soon

This part is action-oriented. It's for anything you can accomplish to finish one of the Top 3. This collection includes thoughts and project lists. The sole requirement is that they should be short-term goals.

Some of you have probably concluded this isn't for you. Please read Todd's piece before throwing out the baby. Often. You shouldn't miss a newborn.

As much as Dancing With The Stars helps me recall this method, I may try switching their order. TSWD; Drilling Tunnel Seismic? Serenity After Task?

Master List Showcase

To Do list screenshot by Author

My Master List lives alone in its own file, but sometimes appears in other places.  It's included in my Weekly List template. Here's a (soon-to-be-updated) demo vault of my Obsidian planning setup to download for free.

Here's the code behind my weekly screenshot:

## [[Master List - 2022|✓]]  TO DO

![[Master List - 2022]]

FYI, I use the Minimal Theme in Obsidian, with a few tweaks.

You may note I'm utilizing a checkmark as a link. For me, that's easier than locating the proper spot to click on the embed.

Blue headings for Done and Waiting are links. Done links to the Done Archive page and Waiting to a general waiting page.

Read my full article here.

Jano le Roux

Jano le Roux

2 months ago

Never Heard Of: The Apple Of Email Marketing Tools

Unlimited everything for $19 monthly!?

Flodesk

Even with pretty words, no one wants to read an ugly email.

  • Not Gen Z

  • Not Millennials

  • Not Gen X

  • Not Boomers

I am a minimalist.

I like Mozart. I like avos. I love Apple.

When I hear seamlessly, effortlessly, or Apple's new adverb fluidly, my toes curl.

No email marketing tool gave me that feeling.

As a marketing consultant helping high-growth brands create marketing that doesn't feel like marketing, I've worked with every email marketing platform imaginable, including that naughty monkey and the expensive platform whose sales teams don't stop calling.

Most email marketing platforms are flawed.

  1. They are overpriced.

  2. They use dreadful templates.

  3. They employ a poor visual designer.

  4. The user experience there is awful.

  5. Too many useless buttons are present. (Similar to the TV remote!)

I may have finally found the perfect email marketing tool. It creates strong flows. It helps me focus on storytelling.

It’s called Flodesk.

It’s effortless. It’s seamless. It’s fluid.

Here’s why it excites me.

Unlimited everything for $19 per month

Sends unlimited. Emails unlimited. Signups unlimited.

Most email platforms penalize success.

Pay for performance?

  • $87 for 10k contacts

  • $605 for 100K contacts

  • $1,300+ for 200K contacts

In the 1990s, this made sense, but not now. It reminds me of when ISPs capped internet usage at 5 GB per month.

Flodesk made unlimited email for a low price a reality. Affordable, attractive email marketing isn't just for big companies.

Flodesk doesn't penalize you for growing your list. Price stays the same as lists grow.

Flodesk plans cost $38 per month, but I'll give you a 30-day trial for $19.

Amazingly strong flows

Foster different people's flows.

Email marketing isn't one-size-fits-all.

Different times require different emails.

People don't open emails because they're irrelevant, in my experience. A colder audience needs a nurturing sequence.

Flodesk automates your email funnels so top-funnel prospects fall in love with your brand and values before mid- and bottom-funnel email flows nudge them to take action.

I wish I could save more custom audience fields to further customize the experience.

Dynamic editor

Easy. Effortless.

Flodesk's editor is Apple-like.

You understand how it works almost instantly.

Like many Apple products, it's intentionally limited. No distractions. You can focus on emotional email writing.

Flodesk

Flodesk's inability to add inline HTML to emails is my biggest issue with larger projects. I wish I could upload HTML emails.

Simple sign-up procedures

Dream up joining.

I like how easy it is to create conversion-focused landing pages. Linkly lets you easily create 5 landing pages and A/B test messaging.

Flodesk

I like that you can use signup forms to ask people what they're interested in so they get relevant emails instead of mindless mass emails nobody opens.

Flodesk

I love how easy it is to embed in-line on a website.

Wonderful designer templates

Beautiful, connecting emails.

Flodesk has calm email templates. My designer's eye felt at rest when I received plain text emails with big impacts.

Flodesk

As a typography nerd, I love Flodesk's handpicked designer fonts. It gives emails a designer feel that is hard to replicate on other platforms without coding and custom font licenses.

Small adjustments can have a big impact

Details matter.

Flodesk remembers your brand colors. Flodesk automatically adds your logo and social handles to emails after signup.

Flodesk uses Zapier. This lets you send emails based on a user's action.

A bad live chat can trigger a series of emails to win back a customer.

Flodesk isn't for everyone.

Flodesk is great for Apple users like me.

You might also like

Tim Denning

Tim Denning

1 month ago

Read These Books on Personal Finance to Boost Your Net Worth

And retire sooner.

Photo by Karlie Mitchell on Unsplash

Books can make you filthy rich.

If you apply what you learn. In 2011, I was broke and had broken dreams.

Someone suggested I read finance books. One Up On Wall Street was his first recommendation.

Finance books were my crack.

I've read every money book since then. Some are good, but most stink.

These books will make you rich.

The Almanack of Naval Ravikant by Eric Jorgenson

This isn't a cliche book.

This book was inspired by a How to Get Rich tweet thread.

It’s one of the best tweets I’ve ever read.

Naval thinks differently. He nukes ordinary ideas. I've never heard better money advice.

Eric Jorgenson wrote a book about this tweet thread with Navals permission. A must-read, easy-to-digest book.

Best quote

Seek wealth, not money or status. Wealth is having assets that earn while you sleep. Money is how we transfer time and wealth. Status is your place in the social hierarchy — Naval

Morgan Housel's The Psychology of Money

Many finance books advise investing like a dunce.

They almost all peddle the buy an index fund BS. Different book.

It's about money-making psychology. Because any fool can get rich and drunk on their ego. Few can consistently make money.

Each chapter is short. A single-page chapter breaks all book publishing rules.

Best quote

Spending money to show people how much money you have is the fastest way to have less money — Morgan Housel

J.L. Collins' The Simple Path to Wealth

Most of the best money books were written by bloggers.

JL Collins blogs. This easy-to-read book was written for his daughter.

This book popularized the phrase F You Money. With enough money in your bank account and investment portfolio, you can say F You more.

A bad boss is an example. You can leave instead of enduring his wrath.

You can then sit at home and look for another job while financially secure. JL says its mind-freedom is powerful.

Best phrasing

You own the things you own and they in turn own you — J.L. Collins

Tony Robbins' Unshakeable

I like Tony. This book makes me sweaty.

Tony interviews the world's top financiers. He interviews people who rarely do so.

This book taught me all-weather portfolio. It's a way to invest in different asset classes in good, bad, recession, or depression times.

Look at it:

Image Credit-RayDalio/OptimizedPortfolio

Investing isn’t about buying one big winner — that’s gambling. It’s about investing in a diversified portfolio of assets.

Best phrasing

The best opportunities come in times of maximum pessimism — Tony Robbins

Ben Graham's The Intelligent Investor

This book helped me distinguish between a spectator and an investor.

Spectators are those who shout that crypto, NFTs, or XYZ platform will die.

Tourists. They want attention and to say "I told you so." They make short-term and long-term predictions like fortunetellers. LOL. Idiots.

Benjamin Graham teaches smart investing. You'll buy a long-term asset. To be confident in recessions, use dollar-cost averaging.

Best phrasing

Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it. — Benjamin Graham

The Napoleon Hill book Think and Grow Rich

This classic book introduced positive thinking to modern self-help.

Lazy pessimists can't become rich. No way.

Napoleon said, "Thoughts create reality."

No surprise that he discusses obsession and focus in this book. They are the fastest ways to make more money to invest in time and wealth-protecting assets.

Best phrasing

The starting point of all achievement is DESIRE. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desire brings weak results, just as a small fire makes a small amount of heat — Napoleon Hill

Ramit Sethi's book I Will Teach You To Be Rich

This book is mostly good.  The part about credit cards is trash.

Avoid credit card temptations. I don't care about their airline points.

This book teaches you to master money basics (that many people mess up) then automate it so your monkey brain doesn't ruin your financial future.

The book includes great negotiation tactics to help you make more money in less time.

Best quote

The 85 Percent Solution: Getting started is more important than becoming an expert — Ramit Sethi

David Bach's The Automatic Millionaire

You've probably met a six- or seven-figure earner who's broke. All their money goes to useless things like cars.

Money isn't as essential as what you do with it. David teaches how to automate your earnings for more money.

Compounding works once investing is automated. So you get rich.

His strategy eliminates luck and (almost) guarantees millionaire status.

Best phrasing

Every time you earn one dollar, make sure to pay yourself first — David Bach

Thomas J. Stanley's The Millionaire Next Door

Thomas defies the definition of rich.

He spends much of the book highlighting millionaire traits he's studied.

Rich people are quiet, so you wouldn't know they're wealthy. They don't earn much money or drive a BMW.

Thomas will give you the math to get started.

Best phrasing

I am not impressed with what people own. But I’m impressed with what they achieve. I’m proud to be a physician. Always strive to be the best in your field…. Don’t chase money. If you are the best in your field, money will find you. — Thomas J. Stanley

by Bill Perkins "Die With Zero"

Let’s end with one last book.

Bill's book angered many people. He says we spend too much time saving for retirement and die rich. That bank money is lost time.

Your grandkids could use the money. When children inherit money, they become lazy, entitled a-holes.

Bill wants us to spend our money on life-enhancing experiences. Stop saving money like monopoly monkeys.

Best phrasing

You should be focusing on maximizing your life enjoyment rather than on maximizing your wealth. Those are two very different goals. Money is just a means to an end: Having money helps you to achieve the more important goal of enjoying your life. But trying to maximize money actually gets in the way of achieving the more important goal — Bill Perkins

Sammy Abdullah

Sammy Abdullah

4 months ago

R&D, S&M, and G&A expense ratios for SaaS

SaaS spending is 40/40/20. 40% of operating expenses should be R&D, 40% sales and marketing, and 20% G&A. We wanted to see the statistics behind the rules of thumb. Since October 2017, 73 SaaS startups have gone public. Perhaps the rule of thumb should be 30/50/20. The data is below.

30/50/20. R&D accounts for 26% of opex, sales and marketing 48%, and G&A 22%. We think R&D/S&M/G&A should be 30/50/20.

There are outliers. There are exceptions to rules of thumb. Dropbox spent 45% on R&D whereas Zoom spent 13%. Zoom spent 73% on S&M, Dropbox 37%, and Bill.com 28%. Snowflake spent 130% of revenue on S&M, while their EBITDA margin is -192%.

G&A shouldn't stand out. Minimize G&A spending. Priorities should be product development and sales. Cloudflare, Sendgrid, Snowflake, and Palantir spend 36%, 34%, 37%, and 43% on G&A.

Another myth is that COGS is 20% of revenue. Median and averages are 29%.

Where is the profitability? Data-driven operating income calculations were simplified (Revenue COGS R&D S&M G&A). 20 of 73 IPO businesses reported operational income. Median and average operating income margins are -21% and -27%.

As long as you're growing fast, have outstanding retention, and marquee clients, you can burn cash since recurring income that doesn't churn is a valuable annuity.

The data was compelling overall. 30/50/20 is the new 40/40/20 for more established SaaS enterprises, unprofitability is alright as long as your business is expanding, and COGS can be somewhat more than 20% of revenue.

Isaiah McCall

Isaiah McCall

1 month ago

There is a new global currency emerging, but it is not bitcoin.

America should avoid BRICS

Photo by Artyom Kim on Unsplash

Vladimir Putin has watched videos of Muammar Gaddafi's CIA-backed demise.

Gaddafi...

Thief.

Did you know Gaddafi wanted a gold-backed dinar for Africa? Because he considered our global financial system was a Ponzi scheme, he wanted to discontinue trading oil in US dollars.

Or, Gaddafi's Libya enjoyed Africa's highest quality of living before becoming freed. Pictured:

Twitter

Vladimir Putin is a nasty guy, but he had his reasons for not mentioning NATO assisting Ukraine in resisting US imperialism. Nobody tells you. Sure.

The US dollar's corruption post-2008, debasement by quantitative easing, and lack of value are key factors. BRICS will replace the dollar.

BRICS aren't bricks.

Economy-related.

Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa have cooperated for 14 years to fight U.S. hegemony with a new international currency: BRICS.

BRICS is mostly comical. Now. Saudi Arabia, the second-largest oil hegemon, wants to join.

So what?

The New World Currency is BRICS

Russia was kicked out of G8 for its aggressiveness in Crimea in 2014.

It's now G7.

No biggie, said Putin, he said, and I quote, “Bon appetite.”

He was prepared. China, India, and Brazil lead the New World Order.

Together, they constitute 40% of the world's population and, according to the IMF, 50% of the world's GDP by 2030.

Here’s what the BRICS president Marcos Prado Troyjo had to say earlier this year about no longer needing the US dollar: “We have implemented the mechanism of mutual settlements in rubles and rupees, and there is no need for our countries to use the dollar in mutual settlements. And today a similar mechanism of mutual settlements in rubles and yuan is being developed by China.”

Ick. That's D.C. and NYC warmongers licking their chops for WW3 nasty.

Here's a lovely picture of BRICS to relax you:

BRICS

If Saudi Arabia joins BRICS, as President Mohammed Bin Salman has expressed interest, a majority of the Middle East will have joined forces to construct a new world order not based on the US currency.

I'm not sure of the new acronym.

SBRICSS? CIRBSS? CRIBSS?

The Reason America Is Harvesting What It Sowed

BRICS began 14 years ago.

14 years ago, what occurred? Concentrate. It involved CDOs, bad subprime mortgages, and Wall Street quants crunching numbers.

2008 recession

When two nations trade, they do so in US dollars, not Euros or gold.

What happened when 2008, an avoidable crisis caused by US banks' cupidity and ignorance, what happened?

Everyone WORLDWIDE felt the pain.

Mostly due to corporate America's avarice.

This should have been a warning that China and Russia had enough of our bs. Like when France sent a battleship to America after Nixon scrapped the gold standard. The US was warned to shape up or be dethroned (or at least try).

We need to go after the banks and the representatives who bailed them out, again. (Source)

Nixon improved in 1971. Kinda. Invented PetroDollar.

Another BS system that unfairly favors America and possibly pushed Russia, China, and Saudi Arabia into BRICS.

The PetroDollar forces oil-exporting nations to trade in US dollars and invest in US Treasury bonds. Brilliant. Genius evil.

Our misdeeds are:

  • In conflicts that are not its concern, the USA uses the global reserve currency as a weapon.

  • Targeted nations abandon the dollar, and rightfully so, as do nations that depend on them for trade in vital resources.

  • The dollar's position as the world's reserve currency is in jeopardy, which could have disastrous economic effects.

  • Although we have actually sown our own doom, we appear astonished. According to the Bible, whomever sows to appease his sinful nature will reap destruction from that nature whereas whoever sows to appease the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit.

Americans, even our leaders, lack caution and delayed pleasure. When our unsustainable systems fail, we double down. Bailouts of the banks in 2008 were myopic, puerile, and another nail in America's hegemony.

America has screwed everyone.

We're unpopular.

The BRICS's future

It's happened before.

Saddam Hussein sold oil in Euros in 2000, and the US invaded Iraq a month later. The media has devalued the word conspiracy. The Iraq conspiracy.

There were no WMDs, but NYT journalists like Judy Miller drove Americans into a warmongering frenzy because Saddam would ruin the PetroDollar. Does anyone recall that this war spawned ISIS?

I think America has done good for the world. You can make a convincing case that we're many people's villain.

Learn more in Confessions of an Economic Hitman, The Devil's Chessboard, or Tyranny of the Federal Reserve. Or ignore it. That's easier.

We, America, should extend an olive branch, ask for forgiveness, and learn from our faults, as the Tao Te Ching advises. Unlikely. Our population is apathetic and stupid, and our government is corrupt.

Argentina, Iran, Egypt, and Turkey have also indicated interest in joining BRICS. They're also considering making it gold-backed, making it a new world reserve currency.

You should pay attention.

Thanks for reading!