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Alex Mathers

Alex Mathers

1 year ago

8 guidelines to help you achieve your objectives 5x fast

More on Productivity

wordsmithwriter

wordsmithwriter

1 year ago

2023 Will Be the Year of Evernote and Craft Notetaking Apps.

Note-taking is a vital skill. But it's mostly learned.

Photo by PNW Production: https://www.pexels.com/photo/a-wooden-pencil-beside-a-mechanical-pencil-8250935/

Recently, innovative note-taking apps have flooded the market.

In the next few years, Evernote and Craft will be important digital note-taking companies.

Evernote is a 2008 note-taking program. It can capture ideas, track tasks, and organize information on numerous platforms.

It's one of the only note-taking app that lets users input text, audio, photos, and videos. It's great for collecting research notes, brainstorming, and remaining organized.

Craft is a popular note-taking app.

Craft is a more concentrated note-taking application than Evernote. It organizes notes into subjects, tags, and relationships, making it ideal for technical or research notes.

Craft's search engine makes it easy to find what you need.

Both Evernote and Craft are likely to be the major players in digital note-taking in the years to come.

Their concentration on gathering and organizing information lets users generate notes quickly and simply. Multimedia elements and a strong search engine make them the note-taking apps of the future.

Evernote and Craft are great note-taking tools for staying organized and tracking ideas and projects.

With their focus on acquiring and organizing information, they'll dominate digital note-taking in 2023.

Pros

  • Concentrate on gathering and compiling information

  • special features including a strong search engine and multimedia components

  • Possibility of subject, tag, and relationship structuring

  • enables users to incorporate multimedia elements

  • Excellent tool for maintaining organization, arranging research notes, and brainstorming

Cons

  • Software may be difficult for folks who are not tech-savvy to utilize.

  • Limited assistance for hardware running an outdated operating system

  • Subscriptions could be pricey.

  • Data loss risk because of security issues

Evernote and Craft both have downsides.

  1. The risk of data loss as a result of security flaws and software defects comes first.

  2. Additionally, their subscription fees could be high, and they might restrict support for hardware that isn't running the newest operating systems.

  3. Finally, folks who need to be tech-savvy may find the software difficult.

Evernote versus. Productivity Titans Evernote will make Notion more useful. medium.com

Niharikaa Kaur Sodhi

Niharikaa Kaur Sodhi

1 year ago

The Only Paid Resources I Turn to as a Solopreneur

Image by the author

4 Pricey Tools That Are Valuable

I pay based on ROI (return on investment).

If a $20/month tool or $500 online course doubles my return, I'm in.

Investing helps me build wealth.

Canva Pro

I initially refused to pay.

My course content needed updating a few months ago. My Google Docs text looked cleaner and more professional in Canva.

I've used it to:

  • product cover pages

  • eBook covers

  • Product page infographics

See my Google Sheets vs. Canva product page graph.

Google Sheets vs Canva

Yesterday, I used it to make a LinkedIn video thumbnail. It took less than 5 minutes and improved my video.

Image by the author via canva

In 30 hours, the video had 39,000 views.

Here's more.

HypeFury

Hypefury rocks!

It builds my brand as I sleep. What else?

Because I'm traveling this weekend, I planned tweets for 10 days. It took me 80 minutes.

So while I travel or am absent, my content mill keeps producing.

Also I like:

  • I can reach hundreds of people thanks to auto-DMs. I utilize it to advertise freebies; for instance, leave an emoji remark to receive my checklist. And they automatically receive a message in their DM.

  • Scheduled Retweets: By appearing in a different time zone, they give my tweet a second chance.

It helps me save time and expand my following, so that's my favorite part.

It’s also super neat:

Image by the author

Zoom Pro

My course involves weekly and monthly calls for alumni.

Google Meet isn't great for group calls. The interface isn't great.

Zoom Pro is expensive, and the monthly payments suck, but it's necessary.

It gives my students a smooth experience.

Previously, we'd do 40-minute meetings and then reconvene.

Zoom's free edition limits group calls to 40 minutes.

This wouldn't be a good online course if I paid hundreds of dollars.

So I felt obligated to help.

YouTube Premium

My laptop has an ad blocker.

I bought an iPad recently.

When you're self-employed and work from home, the line between the two blurs. My bed is only 5 steps away!

When I read or watched videos on my laptop, I'd slide into work mode. Only option was to view on phone, which is awkward.

YouTube premium handles it. No more advertisements and I can listen on the move.

3 Expensive Tools That Aren't Valuable

Marketing strategies are sometimes aimed to make you feel you need 38474 cool features when you don’t.

Certain tools are useless.

I found it useless.

Depending on your needs. As a writer and creator, I get no return.

They could for other jobs.

Shield Analytics

It tracks LinkedIn stats, like:

  • follower growth

  • trend chart for impressions

  • Engagement, views, and comment stats for posts

  • and much more.

Middle-tier creator costs $12/month.

I got a 25% off coupon but canceled my free trial before writing this. It's not worth the discount.

Why?

LinkedIn provides free analytics. See:

Screenshot by the author

Not thorough and won't show top posts.

I don't need to see my top posts because I love experimenting with writing.

Slack Premium

Slack was my classroom. Slack provided me a premium trial during the prior cohort.

I skipped it.

Sure, voice notes are better than a big paragraph. I didn't require pro features.

Marketing methods sometimes make you think you need 38474 amazing features. Don’t fall for it.

Calendly Pro

This may be worth it if you get many calls.

I avoid calls. During my 9-5, I had too many pointless calls.

I don't need:

  • ability to schedule calls for 15, 30, or 60 minutes: I just distribute each link separately.

  • I have a Gumroad consultation page with a payment option.

  • follow-up emails: I hardly ever make calls, so

  • I just use one calendar, therefore I link to various calendars.

I'll admit, the integrations are cool. Not for me.

If you're a coach or consultant, the features may be helpful. Or book meetings.

Conclusion

Investing is spending to make money.

Use my technique — put money in tools that help you make money. This separates it from being an investment instead of an expense.

Try free versions of these tools before buying them since everyone else is.

Todd Lewandowski

Todd Lewandowski

1 year ago

DWTS: How to Organize Your To-Do List Quickly

Don't overcomplicate to-do lists. DWTS (Done, Waiting, Top 3, Soon) organizes your to-dos.

Everyone’s got a system.

How Are You Going to Manage Everything?

Modern America is busy. Work involves meetings. Anytime, Slack communications arrive. Many software solutions offer a @-mention notification capability. Emails.

Work obligations continue. At home, there are friends, family, bills, chores, and fun things.

How are you going to keep track of it all? Enter the todo list. It’s been around forever. It’s likely to stay forever in some way, shape, or form.

Everybody has their own system. You probably modified something from middle school. Post-its? Maybe it’s an app? Maybe both, another system, or none.

I suggest a format that has worked for me in 15 years of professional and personal life.

Try it out and see if it works for you. If not, no worries. You do you! Hopefully though you can learn a thing or two, and I from you too.

It is merely a Google Doc, yes.

As an example, here’s my personal todo list. Don’t worry, there’s nothing here I don’t mind sharing.

It's a giant list. One task per line. Indent subtasks on a new line. Add or move new tasks as needed.

I recommend using Google Docs. It's easy to use and flexible for structuring.

Prioritizing these tasks is key. I organize them using DWTS (Done, Waiting, Top 3, Soon). Chronologically is good because it implicitly provides both a priority (high, medium, low) and an ETA (now, soon, later).

Yes, I recognize the similarities to DWTS (Dancing With The Stars) TV Show. Although I'm not a fan, it's entertaining. The acronym is easy to remember and adds fun to something dull.

That feeling when you complete everything on your todo list.

What each section contains

Done

All tasks' endpoint. Finish here. Don't worry about it again.

Waiting

You're blocked and can't continue. Blocked tasks usually need someone. Write Person Task so you know who's waiting.

Blocking tasks shouldn't last long. After a while, remind them kindly. If people don't help you out of kindness, they will if you're persistent.

Top 3

Mental focus areas. These can be short- to mid-term goals or recent accomplishments. 2 to 5 is a good number to stay focused.

Top 3 reminds us to prioritize. If they don't fit your Top 3 goals, delay them.

Every 1:1 at work is a project update. Another chance to list your top 3. You should know your Top 3 well and be able to discuss them confidently.

Soon

Here's your short-term to-do list. Rank them from highest to lowest.

I usually subdivide it with empty lines. First is what I have to do today, then week, then month. Subsections can be arranged however you like.

Inventories by Concept

Tasks that aren’t in your short or medium future go into the backlog. 
Eventually you’ll complete these tasks, assign them to someone else, or mark them as “wont’ do” (like done but in another sense).

Backlog tasks don't need to be organized chronologically because their timing and priority may change. Theme-organize them. When planning/strategic, you can choose themes to focus on, so future top 3 topics.

More Tips on Todos

Decide Upon a Morning Goal

Morning routines are universal. Coffee and Wordle. My to-do list is next. Two things:

  • As needed, update the to-do list: based on the events of yesterday and any fresh priorities.

  • Pick a few jobs to complete today: Pick a few goals that you know you can complete today. Push the remainder below and move them to the top of the Soon section. I typically select a few tasks I am confident I can complete along with one stretch task that might extend into tomorrow.

Finally. By setting and achieving small goals every day, you feel accomplished and make steady progress on medium and long-term goals.

Tech companies call this a daily standup. Everyone shares what they did yesterday, what they're doing today, and any blockers. The name comes from a tradition of holding meetings while standing up to keep them short. Even though it's virtual, everyone still wants a quick meeting.

Your team may or may not need daily standups. Make a daily review a habit with your coffee.

Review Backwards & Forwards on a regular basis

While you're updating your to-do list daily, take time to review it.

Review your Done list. Remember things you're proud of and things that could have gone better. Your Done list can be long. Archive it so your main to-do list isn't overwhelming.

Future-gaze. What you considered important may no longer be. Reorder tasks. Backlog grooming is a workplace term.

Backwards-and-forwards reviews aren't required often. Every 3-6 months is fine. They help you see the forest as often as the trees.

Final Remarks

Keep your list simple. Done, Waiting, Top 3, Soon. These are the necessary sections. If you like, add more subsections; otherwise, keep it simple.

I recommend a morning review. By having clear goals and an action-oriented attitude, you'll be successful.

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CyberPunkMetalHead

CyberPunkMetalHead

1 year ago

Why Bitcoin NFTs Are Incomprehensible yet Likely Here to Stay

I'm trying to understand why Bitcoin NFTs aren't ready.

Ordinals, a new Bitcoin protocol, has been controversial. NFTs can be added to Bitcoin transactions using the protocol. They are not tokens or fungible. Bitcoin NFTs are transaction metadata. Yes. They're not owned.

In January, the Ordinals protocol allowed data like photos to be directly encoded onto sats, the smallest units of Bitcoin worth 0.00000001 BTC, on the Bitcoin blockchain. Ordinals does not need a sidechain or token like other techniques. The Ordinals protocol has encoded JPEG photos, digital art, new profile picture (PFP) projects, and even 1993 DOOM onto the Bitcoin network.

Ordinals inscriptions are permanent digital artifacts preserved on the Bitcoin blockchain. It differs from Ethereum, Solana, and Stacks NFT technologies that allow smart contract creators to change information. Ordinals store the whole image or content on the blockchain, not just a link to an external server, unlike centralized databases, which can change the linked image, description, category, or contract identifier.

So far, more than 50,000 ordinals have been produced on the Bitcoin blockchain, and some of them have already been sold for astronomical amounts. The Ethereum-based CryptoPunks NFT collection spawned Ordinal Punk. Inscription 620 sold for 9.5 BTC, or $218,000, the most.

Segwit and Taproot, two important Bitcoin blockchain updates, enabled this. These protocols store transaction metadata, unlike Ethereum, where the NFT is the token. Bitcoin's NFT is a sat's transaction details.

What effects do ordinary values and NFTs have on the Bitcoin blockchain?

Ordinals will likely have long-term effects on the Bitcoin Ecosystem since they store, transact, and compute more data.

Charges Ordinals introduce scalability challenges. The Bitcoin network has limited transaction throughput and increased fees during peak demand. NFTs could make network transactions harder and more expensive. Ordinals currently occupy over 50% of block space, according to Glassnode.

One of the protocols that supported Ordinals Taproot has also seen a huge uptick:

Taproot use increases block size and transaction costs.

This could cause network congestion but also support more L2s with Ordinals-specific use cases. Dune info here.

Storage Needs The Bitcoin blockchain would need to store more data to store NFT data directly. Since ordinals were introduced, blocksize has tripled from 0.7mb to over 2.2mb, which could increase storage costs and make it harder for nodes to join the network.

Use Case Diversity On the other hand, NFTs on the Bitcoin blockchain could broaden Bitcoin's use cases beyond storage and payment. This could expand Bitcoin's user base. This is two-sided. Bitcoin was designed to be trustless, decentralized, peer-to-peer money.

Chain to permanently store NFTs as ordinals will change everything.

Popularity rise This new use case will boost Bitcoin appeal, according to some. This argument fails since Bitcoin is the most popular cryptocurrency. Popularity doesn't require a new use case. Cryptocurrency adoption boosts Bitcoin. It need not compete with Ethereum or provide extra benefits to crypto investors. If there was a need for another chain that supports NFTs (there isn't), why would anyone choose the slowest and most expensive network? It appears contradictory and unproductive.

Nonetheless, holding an NFT on the Bitcoin blockchain is more secure than any other blockchain, but this has little utility.

Bitcoin NFTs are undoubtedly controversial. NFTs are strange and perhaps harmful to Bitcoin's mission. If Bitcoin NFTs are here to stay, I hope a sidechain or rollup solution will take over and leave the base chain alone.

Scott Galloway

Scott Galloway

1 year ago

Text-ure

While we played checkers, we thought billionaires played 3D chess. They're playing the same game on a fancier board.

Every medium has nuances and norms. Texting is authentic and casual. A smaller circle has access, creating intimacy and immediacy. Most people read all their texts, but not all their email and mail. Many of us no longer listen to our voicemails, and calling your kids ages you.

Live interviews and testimony under oath inspire real moments, rare in a world where communications departments sanitize everything powerful people say. When (some of) Elon's text messages became public in Twitter v. Musk, we got a glimpse into tech power. It's bowels.

These texts illuminate the tech community's upper caste.

Checkers, Not Chess

Elon texts with Larry Ellison, Joe Rogan, Sam Bankman-Fried, Satya Nadella, and Jack Dorsey. They reveal astounding logic, prose, and discourse. The world's richest man and his followers are unsophisticated, obtuse, and petty. Possibly. While we played checkers, we thought billionaires played 3D chess. They're playing the same game on a fancier board.

They fumble with their computers.

They lean on others to get jobs for their kids (no surprise).

No matter how rich, they always could use more (money).

Differences A social hierarchy exists. Among this circle, the currency of deference is... currency. Money increases sycophantry. Oculus and Elon's "friends'" texts induce nausea.

Autocorrect frustrates everyone.

Elon doesn't stand out to me in these texts; he comes off mostly OK in my view. It’s the people around him. It seems our idolatry of innovators has infected the uber-wealthy, giving them an uncontrollable urge to kill the cool kid for a seat at his cafeteria table. "I'd grenade for you." If someone says this and they're not fighting you, they're a fan, not a friend.

Many powerful people are undone by their fake friends. Facilitators, not well-wishers. When Elon-Twitter started, I wrote about power. Unchecked power is intoxicating. This is a scientific fact, not a thesis. Power causes us to downplay risk, magnify rewards, and act on instincts more quickly. You lose self-control and must rely on others.

You'd hope the world's richest person has advisers who push back when necessary (i.e., not yes men). Elon's reckless, childish behavior and these texts show there is no truth-teller. I found just one pushback in the 151-page document. It came from Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal, who, in response to Elon’s unhelpful “Is Twitter dying?” tweet, let Elon know what he thought: It was unhelpful. Elon’s response? A childish, terse insult.

Scale

The texts are mostly unremarkable. There are some, however, that do remind us the (super-)rich are different. Specifically, the discussions of possible equity investments from crypto-billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried (“Does he have huge amounts of money?”) and this exchange with Larry Ellison:

Ellison, who co-founded $175 billion Oracle, is wealthy. Less clear is whether he can text a billion dollars. Who hasn't been texted $1 billion? Ellison offered 8,000 times the median American's net worth, enough to buy 3,000 Ferraris or the Chicago Blackhawks. It's a bedrock principle of capitalism to have incredibly successful people who are exponentially wealthier than the rest of us. It creates an incentive structure that inspires productivity and prosperity. When people offer billions over text to help a billionaire's vanity project in a country where 1 in 5 children are food insecure, isn't America messed up?

Elon's Morgan Stanley banker, Michael Grimes, tells him that Web3 ventures investor Bankman-Fried can invest $5 billion in the deal: “could do $5bn if everything vision lock... Believes in your mission." The message bothers Elon. In Elon's world, $5 billion doesn't warrant a worded response. $5 billion is more than many small nations' GDP, twice the SEC budget, and five times the NRC budget.

If income inequality worries you after reading this, trust your gut.

Billionaires aren't like the rich.

As an entrepreneur, academic, and investor, I've met modest-income people, rich people, and billionaires. Rich people seem different to me. They're smarter and harder working than most Americans. Monty Burns from The Simpsons is a cartoon about rich people. Rich people have character and know how to make friends. Success requires supporters.

I've never noticed a talent or intelligence gap between wealthy and ultra-wealthy people. Conflating talent and luck infects the tech elite. Timing is more important than incremental intelligence when going from millions to hundreds of millions or billions. Proof? Elon's texting. Any man who electrifies the auto industry and lands two rockets on barges is a genius. His mega-billions come from a well-regulated capital market, enforceable contracts, thousands of workers, and billions of dollars in government subsidies, including a $465 million DOE loan that allowed Tesla to produce the Model S. So, is Mr. Musk a genius or an impressive man in a unique time and place?

The Point

Elon's texts taught us more? He can't "fix" Twitter. For two weeks in April, he was all in on blockchain Twitter, brainstorming Dogecoin payments for tweets with his brother — i.e., paid speech — while telling Twitter's board he was going to make a hostile tender offer. Kimbal approved. By May, he was over crypto and "laborious blockchain debates." (Mood.)

Elon asked the Twitter CEO for "an update from the Twitter engineering team" No record shows if he got the meeting. It doesn't "fix" Twitter either. And this is Elon's problem. He's a grown-up child with all the toys and no boundaries. His yes-men encourage his most facile thoughts, and shitposts and errant behavior diminish his genius and ours.

Post-Apocalyptic

The universe's titans have a sense of humor.

Every day, we must ask: Who keeps me real? Who will disagree with me? Who will save me from my psychosis, which has brought down so many successful people? Elon Musk doesn't need anyone to jump on a grenade for him; he needs to stop throwing them because one will explode in his hand.

Simone Basso

Simone Basso

1 year ago

How I set up my teams to be successful

After 10 years of working in scale-ups, I've embraced a few concepts for scaling Tech and Product teams.

First, cross-functionalize teams. Product Managers represent the business, Product Designers the consumer, and Engineers build.

I organize teams of 5-10 individuals, following AWS's two pizza teams guidelines, with a Product Trio guiding each.

If more individuals are needed to reach a goal, I group teams under a Product Trio.

With Engineering being the biggest group, Staff/Principal Engineers often support the Trio on cross-team technical decisions.

Product Managers, Engineering Managers, or Engineers in the team may manage projects (depending on the project or aim), but the trio is collectively responsible for the team's output and outcome.

Once the Product Trio model is created, roles, duties, team ceremonies, and cooperation models must be clarified.

Keep reporting lines by discipline. Line managers are accountable for each individual's advancement, thus it's crucial that they know the work in detail.

Cross-team collaboration becomes more important after 3 teams (15-30 people). Teams can easily diverge in how they write code, run ceremonies, and build products.

Establishing groups of people that are cross-team, but grouped by discipline and skills, sharing and agreeing on working practices becomes critical.

The “Spotify Guild” model has been where I’ve taken a lot of my inspiration from.

Last, establish a taxonomy for communication channels.

In Slack, I create one channel per team and one per guild (and one for me to have discussions with the team leads).

These are just some of the basic principles I follow to organize teams.

A book I particularly like about team types and how they interact with each other is https://teamtopologies.com/.