More on Personal Growth
24 days ago
8 Communication Hacks I Use as a Young Employee
Learn these subtle cues to gain influence.
Hate being ignored?
As a 24-year-old, I struggled at work. Attention-getting tips How to avoid being judged by my size, gender, and lack of wrinkles or gray hair?
I've learned seniority hacks. Influence. Within two years as a product manager, I led a team. I'm a Stanford MBA student.
These communication hacks can make you look senior and influential.
1. Slowly speak
We speak quickly because we're afraid of being interrupted.
When I doubt my ideas, I speak quickly. How can we slow down? Jamie Chapman says speaking slowly saps our energy.
Chapman suggests emphasizing certain words and pausing.
2. Interrupted? Stop the stopper
Someone interrupt your speech?
Don't wait. "May I finish?" No pause needed. Stop interrupting. I first tried this in Leadership Laboratory at Stanford. How quickly I gained influence amazed me.
Next time, try “May I finish?” If that’s not enough, try these other tips from Wendy R.S. O’Connor.
Others don't always see what's obvious to you.
Through explanation, you help others see the big picture. If a senior knows it, you help them see where your work fits.
4. Don't ask questions in statements
“Your statement lost its effect when you ended it on a high pitch,” a group member told me. Upspeak, it’s called. I do it when I feel uncertain.
Upspeak loses influence and credibility. Unneeded. When unsure, we can say "I think." We can even ask a proper question.
Someone else's boasting is no reason to be dismissive. As leaders and colleagues, we should listen to our colleagues even if they use this speech pattern.
Give your words impact.
5. Signpost structure
Signposts improve clarity by providing structure and transitions.
Communication coach Alexander Lyon explains how to use "first," "second," and "third" He explains classic and summary transitions to help the listener switch topics.
Signs clarify. Clarity matters.
6. Eliminate email fluff
“Fine. When will the report be ready? — Jeff.”
Notice how senior leaders write short, direct emails? I often use formalities like "dear," "hope you're well," and "kind regards"
Formality is (usually) unnecessary.
7. Replace exclamation marks with periods
See how junior an exclamation-filled email looks:
Hope you’re as excited as I am for tomorrow! We’re celebrating our accomplishments with cake! Join us tomorrow at 2 pm!
See you soon!
Why the exclamation points? Why not just one?
Hope you’re as excited as I am for tomorrow. We’re celebrating our accomplishments with cake. Join us tomorrow at 2 pm!
See you soon.
8. Take space
"Playing high" means having an open, relaxed body, says Stanford professor and author Deborah Gruenfield.
Crossed legs or looking small? Relax. Get bigger.
5 months ago
Ten words and phrases to avoid in presentations
Don't say this in public!
Want to wow your audience? Want to deliver a successful presentation? Do you want practical takeaways from your presentation?
Then avoid these phrases.
Public speaking is difficult. People fear public speaking, according to research.
"Public speaking is people's biggest fear, according to studies. Number two is death. "Sounds right?" — Comedian Jerry Seinfeld
Yes, public speaking is scary. These words and phrases will make your presentation harder.
Using unnecessary words can weaken your message.
You may have prepared well for your presentation and feel confident. During your presentation, you may freeze up. You may blank or forget.
Effective delivery is even more important than skillful public speaking.
Here are 10 presentation pitfalls.
1. I or Me
Presentations are about the audience, not you. Replace "I or me" with "you, we, or us." Focus on your audience. Reward them with expertise and intriguing views about your issue.
Serve your audience actionable items during your presentation, and you'll do well. Your audience will have a harder time listening and engaging if you're self-centered.
2. Sorry if/for
Your presentation is fine. These phrases make you sound insecure and unprepared. Don't pressure the audience to tell you not to apologize. Your audience should focus on your presentation and essential messages.
3. Excuse the Eye Chart, or This slide's busy
Why add this slide if you're utilizing these phrases? If you don't like this slide, change it before presenting. After the presentation, extra data can be provided.
Don't apologize for unclear slides. Hide or delete a broken PowerPoint slide. If so, divide your message into multiple slides or remove the "business" slide.
4. Sorry I'm Nervous
Some think expressing yourself will win over the audience. Nerves are horrible. Even public speakers are nervous.
Nerves aren't noticeable. What's the point? Let the audience judge your nervousness. Please don't make this obvious.
5. I'm not a speaker or I've never done this before.
These phrases destroy credibility. People won't listen and will check their phones or computers.
Why present if you use these phrases?
Good speakers aren't necessarily public speakers. Be confident in what you say. When you're confident, many people will like your presentation.
6. Our Key Differentiators Are
Overused term. It's widely utilized. This seems "salesy," and your "important differentiators" are probably like a competitor's.
This statement has been diluted; say, "what makes us different is..."
7. Next Slide
Many slides or stories? Your presentation needs transitions. They help your viewers understand your argument.
You didn't transition well when you said "next slide." Think about organic transitions.
8. I Didn’t Have Enough Time, or I’m Running Out of Time
The phrase "I didn't have enough time" implies that you didn't care about your presentation. This shows the viewers you rushed and didn't care.
Saying "I'm out of time" shows poor time management. It means you didn't rehearse enough and plan your time well.
9. I've been asked to speak on
This phrase is used to emphasize your importance. This phrase conveys conceit.
When you say this sentence, you tell others you're intelligent, skilled, and appealing. Don't utilize this term; focus on your topic.
10. Moving On, or All I Have
These phrases don't consider your transitions or presentation's end. People recall a presentation's beginning and end.
How you end your discussion affects how people remember it. You must end your presentation strongly and use natural transitions.
10 phrases to avoid in a presentation. I or me, sorry if or sorry for, pardon the Eye Chart or this busy slide, forgive me if I appear worried, or I'm really nervous, and I'm not good at public speaking, I'm not a speaker, or I've never done this before.
Please don't use these phrases: next slide, I didn't have enough time, I've been asked to speak about, or that's all I have.
We shouldn't make public speaking more difficult than it is. We shouldn't exacerbate a difficult issue. Better public speakers avoid these words and phrases.
“Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.” — Benjamin Franklin, Founding Father
This is a summary. See the original post here.
2 months ago
Start organizing your ideas by using The Second Brain.
Building A Second Brain helps us remember connections, ideas, inspirations, and insights. Using contemporary technologies and networks increases our intelligence.
This approach makes and preserves concepts. It's a straightforward, practical way to construct a second brain—a remote, centralized digital store for your knowledge and its sources.
How to build ‘The Second Brain’
Have you forgotten any brilliant ideas? What insights have you ignored?
We're pressured to read, listen, and watch informative content. Where did the data go? What happened?
Our brains can store few thoughts at once. Our brains aren't idea banks.
Building a Second Brain helps us remember thoughts, connections, and insights. Using digital technologies and networks expands our minds.
Ten Rules for Creating a Second Brain
1. Creative Stealing
Instead of starting from scratch, integrate other people's ideas with your own.
This way, you won't waste hours starting from scratch and can focus on achieving your goals.
Users of Notion can utilize and customize each other's templates.
2. The Habit of Capture
We must record every idea, concept, or piece of information that catches our attention since our minds are fragile.
When reading a book, listening to a podcast, or engaging in any other topic-related activity, save and use anything that resonates with you.
3. Recycle Your Ideas
Reusing our own ideas across projects might be advantageous since it helps us tie new information to what we already know and avoids us from starting a project with no ideas.
4. Projects Outside of Category
Instead of saving an idea in a folder, group it with documents for a project or activity.
If you want to be more productive, gather suggestions.
5. Burns Slowly
Even if you could finish a job, work, or activity if you focused on it, you shouldn't.
You'll get tired and can't advance many projects. It's easier to divide your routine into daily tasks.
Few hours of daily study is more productive and healthier than entire nights.
6. Begin with a surplus
Instead of starting with a blank sheet when tackling a new subject, utilise previous articles and research.
You may have read or saved related material.
7. Intermediate Packets
A bunch of essay facts.
You can utilize it as a document's section or paragraph for different tasks.
Memorize useful information so you can use it later.
8. You only know what you make
We can see, hear, and read about anything.
What matters is what we do with the information, whether that's summarizing it or writing about it.
9. Make it simpler for yourself in the future.
Create documents or files that your future self can easily understand. Use your own words, mind maps, or explanations.
10. Keep your thoughts flowing.
If you don't employ the knowledge in your second brain, it's useless.
Few people exercise despite knowing its benefits.
You may continually move your activities and goals closer to completion by organizing and applying your information in a way that is results-focused.
Profit from the information economy's explosive growth by turning your specialized knowledge into cash.
Make up original patterns and linkages between topics.
You may reduce stress and information overload by appropriately curating and managing your personal information stream.
Learn how to apply your significant experience and specific knowledge to a new job, business, or profession.
Without having to adhere to tight, time-consuming constraints, accumulate a body of relevant knowledge and concepts over time.
Take advantage of all the learning materials that are at your disposal, including podcasts, online courses, webinars, books, and articles.
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5 months ago
I received a $2k bribe to replace another developer in an interview
I can't believe they’d even think it works!
Developers are usually interviewed before being hired, right? Every organization wants candidates who meet their needs. But they also want to avoid fraud.
There are cheaters in every field. Only two come to mind for the hiring process:
Lying on a resume.
Cheating on an online test.
Recently, I observed another one. One of my coworkers invited me to replace another developer during an online interview! I was astonished, but it’s not new.
My ex-colleague recently texted me. No one from your former office will ever approach you after a year unless they need something.
Which was the case. My coworker said his wife needed help as a programmer. I was glad someone asked for my help, but I'm still a junior programmer.
Then he informed me his wife was selected for a fantastic job interview. He said he could help her with the online test, but he needed someone to help with the online interview.
Okay, I guess. Preparing for an online interview is beneficial. But then he said she didn't need to be ready. She needed someone to take her place.
I told him it wouldn't work. Every remote online interview I've ever seen required an open camera.
What followed surprised me. She'd ask to turn off the camera, he said.
I asked why.
He told me if an applicant is unwell, the interviewer may consider an off-camera interview. His wife will say she's sick and prefers no camera.
The plan left me speechless. I declined politely. He insisted and promised $2k if she got the job.
I felt insulted and told him if he persisted, I'd inform his office. I was furious. Later, I apologized and told him to stop.
I'm not sure what they did after that
I'm not sure if they found someone or listened to me. They probably didn't. How would she do the job if she even got it?
It's an internship, he said. With great pay, though. What should an intern do?
I suggested she do the interview alone. Even if she failed, she'd gain confidence and valuable experience.
Many interviewees cheat. My profession is vital to me, thus I'd rather improve my abilities and apply honestly. It's part of my identity.
Am I truthful? Most professionals are not. They fabricate their CVs. Often.
When you support interview cheating, you encourage more cheating! When someone cheats, another qualified candidate may not obtain the job.
One day, that could be you or me.
David Z. Morris
1 month ago
FTX's crash was no accident, it was a crime
Sam Bankman Fried (SDBF) is a legendary con man. But the NYT might not tell you that...
Since SBF's empire was revealed to be a lie, mainstream news organizations and commentators have failed to give readers a straightforward assessment. The New York Times and Wall Street Journal have uncovered many key facts about the scandal, but they have also soft-peddled Bankman-Fried's intent and culpability.
It's clear that the FTX crypto exchange and Alameda Research committed fraud to steal money from users and investors. That’s why a recent New York Times interview was widely derided for seeming to frame FTX’s collapse as the result of mismanagement rather than malfeasance. A Wall Street Journal article lamented FTX's loss of charitable donations, bolstering Bankman's philanthropic pose. Matthew Yglesias, court chronicler of the neoliberal status quo, seemed to whitewash his own entanglements by crediting SBF's money with helping Democrats in 2020 – sidestepping the likelihood that the money was embezzled.
Many outlets have called what happened to FTX a "bank run" or a "run on deposits," but Bankman-Fried insists the company was overleveraged and disorganized. Both attempts to frame the fallout obscure the core issue: customer funds misused.
Because banks lend customer funds to generate returns, they can experience "bank runs." If everyone withdraws at once, they can experience a short-term cash crunch but there won't be a long-term problem.
Crypto exchanges like FTX aren't banks. They don't do bank-style lending, so a withdrawal surge shouldn't strain liquidity. FTX promised customers it wouldn't lend or use their crypto.
Alameda's balance sheet blurs SBF's crypto empire.
The funds were sent to Alameda Research, where they were apparently gambled away. This is massive theft. According to a bankruptcy document, up to 1 million customers could be affected.
In less than a month, reporting and the bankruptcy process have uncovered a laundry list of decisions and practices that would constitute financial fraud if FTX had been a U.S.-regulated entity, even without crypto-specific rules. These ploys may be litigated in U.S. courts if they enabled the theft of American property.
The list is very, very long.
The many crimes of Sam Bankman-Fried and FTX
At the heart of SBF's fraud are the deep and (literally) intimate ties between FTX and Alameda Research, a hedge fund he co-founded. An exchange makes money from transaction fees on user assets, but Alameda trades and invests its own funds.
Bankman-Fried called FTX and Alameda "wholly separate" and resigned as Alameda's CEO in 2019. The two operations were closely linked. Bankman-Fried and Alameda CEO Caroline Ellison were romantically linked.
These circumstances enabled SBF's sin. Within days of FTX's first signs of weakness, it was clear the exchange was funneling customer assets to Alameda for trading, lending, and investing. Reuters reported on Nov. 12 that FTX sent $10 billion to Alameda. As much as $2 billion was believed to have disappeared after being sent to Alameda. Now the losses look worse.
It's unclear why those funds were sent to Alameda or when Bankman-Fried betrayed his depositors. On-chain analysis shows most FTX to Alameda transfers occurred in late 2021, and bankruptcy filings show both lost $3.7 billion in 2021.
SBF's companies lost millions before the 2022 crypto bear market. They may have stolen funds before Terra and Three Arrows Capital, which killed many leveraged crypto players.
FTT loans and prints
CoinDesk's report on Alameda's FTT holdings ignited FTX and Alameda Research. FTX created this instrument, but only a small portion was traded publicly; FTX and Alameda held the rest. These holdings were illiquid, meaning they couldn't be sold at market price. Bankman-Fried valued its stock at the fictitious price.
FTT tokens were reportedly used as collateral for loans, including FTX loans to Alameda. Close ties between FTX and Alameda made the FTT token harder or more expensive to use as collateral, reducing the risk to customer funds.
This use of an internal asset as collateral for loans between clandestinely related entities is similar to Enron's 1990s accounting fraud. These executives served 12 years in prison.
Alameda's margin liquidation exemption
Alameda Research had a "secret exemption" from FTX's liquidation and margin trading rules, according to legal filings by FTX's new CEO.
FTX, like other crypto platforms and some equity or commodity services, offered "margin" or loans for trades. These loans are usually collateralized, meaning borrowers put up other funds or assets. If a margin trade loses enough money, the exchange will sell the user's collateral to pay off the initial loan.
Keeping asset markets solvent requires liquidating bad margin positions. Exempting Alameda would give it huge advantages while exposing other FTX users to hidden risks. Alameda could have kept losing positions open while closing out competitors. Alameda could lose more on FTX than it could pay back, leaving a hole in customer funds.
The exemption is criminal in multiple ways. FTX was fraudulently marketed overall. Instead of a level playing field, there were many customers.
Above them all, with shotgun poised, was Alameda Research.
Alameda front-running FTX listings
Argus says there's circumstantial evidence that Alameda Research had insider knowledge of FTX's token listing plans. Alameda was able to buy large amounts of tokens before the listing and sell them after the price bump.
If true, these claims would be the most brazenly illegal of Alameda and FTX's alleged shenanigans. Even if the tokens aren't formally classified as securities, insider trading laws may apply.
In a similar case this year, an OpenSea employee was charged with wire fraud for allegedly insider trading. This employee faces 20 years in prison for front-running monkey JPEGs.
Huge loans to executives
Alameda Research reportedly lent FTX executives $4.1 billion, including massive personal loans. Bankman-Fried received $1 billion in personal loans and $2.3 billion for an entity he controlled, Paper Bird. Nishad Singh, director of engineering, was given $543 million, and FTX Digital Markets co-CEO Ryan Salame received $55 million.
FTX has more smoking guns than a Texas shooting range, but this one is the smoking bazooka – a sign of criminal intent. It's unclear how most of the personal loans were used, but liquidators will have to recoup the money.
The loans to Paper Bird were even more worrisome because they created another related third party to shuffle assets. Forbes speculates that some Paper Bird funds went to buy Binance's FTX stake, and Paper Bird committed hundreds of millions to outside investments.
FTX Inner Circle: Who's Who
That included many FTX-backed VC funds. Time will tell if this financial incest was criminal fraud. It fits Bankman-pattern Fried's of using secret flows, leverage, and funny money to inflate asset prices.
FTT or loan 'bailouts'
Also. As the crypto bear market continued in 2022, Bankman-Fried proposed bailouts for bankrupt crypto lenders BlockFi and Voyager Digital. CoinDesk was among those deceived, welcoming SBF as a J.P. Morgan-style sector backstop.
In a now-infamous interview with CNBC's "Squawk Box," Bankman-Fried referred to these decisions as bets that may or may not pay off.
But maybe not. Bloomberg's Matt Levine speculated that FTX backed BlockFi with FTT money. This Monopoly bailout may have been intended to hide FTX and Alameda liabilities that would have been exposed if BlockFi went bankrupt sooner. This ploy has no name, but it echoes other corporate frauds.
Secret bank purchase
Alameda Research invested $11.5 million in the tiny Farmington State Bank, doubling its net worth. As a non-U.S. entity and an investment firm, Alameda should have cleared regulatory hurdles before acquiring a U.S. bank.
In the context of FTX, the bank's stake becomes "ominous." Alameda and FTX could have done more shenanigans with bank control. Compare this to the Bank for Credit and Commerce International's failed attempts to buy U.S. banks. BCCI was even nefarious than FTX and wanted to buy U.S. banks to expand its money-laundering empire.
The mainstream's mistakes
These are complex and nuanced forms of fraud that echo traditional finance models. This obscurity helped Bankman-Fried masquerade as an honest player and likely kept coverage soft after the collapse.
Bankman-Fried had a scruffy, nerdy image, like Mark Zuckerberg and Adam Neumann. In interviews, he spoke nonsense about an industry full of jargon and complicated tech. Strategic donations and insincere ideological statements helped him gain political and social influence.
SBF' s'Effective' Altruism Blew Up FTX
Bankman-Fried has continued to muddy the waters with disingenuous letters, statements, interviews, and tweets since his con collapsed. He's tried to portray himself as a well-intentioned but naive kid who made some mistakes. This is a softer, more pernicious version of what Trump learned from mob lawyer Roy Cohn. Bankman-Fried doesn't "deny, deny, deny" but "confuse, evade, distort."
It's mostly worked. Kevin O'Leary, who plays an investor on "Shark Tank," repeats Bankman-SBF's counterfactuals. O'Leary called Bankman-Fried a "savant" and "probably one of the most accomplished crypto traders in the world" in a Nov. 27 interview with Business Insider, despite recent data indicating immense trading losses even when times were good.
O'Leary's status as an FTX investor and former paid spokesperson explains his continued affection for Bankman-Fried despite contradictory evidence. He's not the only one promoting Bankman-Fried. The disgraced son of two Stanford law professors will defend himself at Wednesday's DealBook Summit.
SBF's fraud and theft rival those of Bernie Madoff and Jho Low. Whether intentionally or through malign ineptitude, the fraud echoes Worldcom and Enron.
The Perverse Impacts of Anti-Money-Laundering
The principals in all of those scandals wound up either sentenced to prison or on the run from the law. Sam Bankman-Fried clearly deserves to share their fate.
Read the full article here.
3 months ago
Here's How I Built A Business Offering Unlimited Design Services in Just One Weekend.
Weekend project: limitless design service. It was fun to see whether I could start a business quickly.
I use no-code apps to save time and resources.
TL;DR I started a business utilizing EditorX for my website, Notion for client project management, and a few favors to finish my portfolio.
First step: research (Day 1)
I got this concept from a Kimp Instagram ad. The Minimalist Hustler Daily newsletter mentioned a similar and cheaper service (Graphically).
I Googled other unlimited design companies. Many provide different costs and services. Some supplied solely graphic design, web development, or copywriting.
Step 2: Brainstorming (Day 1)
I did something simple.
What benefits and services to provide
Price to charge
Since it's a one-person performance (for now), I'm focusing on graphic design. I can charge less.
So I don't overwhelm myself and can accommodate budget-conscious clientele.
Step 3: Construction (Day 1 & 2)
This project includes a management tool, a website, and a team procedure.
I built a project management tool and flow first. Once I had the flow and a Notion board, I tested it with design volunteers. They fake-designed while I built the website.
Tool for Project Management
I modified a Notion template. My goal is to keep clients and designers happy.
My sister, my partner, and I kept this business lean. I tweaked the Notion board to make the process smooth. By the end of Sunday, I’d say it’s perfect!
I created the website after they finished the fake design demands. EditorX's drag-and-drop builder attracted me. I didn't need to learn code, and there are templates.
I used a template wireframe.
This project's hardest aspect is developing the site. It's my first time using EditorX and I'm no developer.
People answer all your inquiries in a large community forum.
As a first-time user developing a site in two days, I think I performed OK. Here's the site for feedback.
4th step: testing (Day 2)
Testing is frustrating because it works or doesn't. My testing day was split in two.
testing the workflow from payment to onboarding to the website
the demand being tested
It's working so far. If someone gets the trial, they can request design work.
I've gotten a couple of inquiries about demand. I’ll be working with them as a start.
Finally! I built my side project in one weekend. It's too early to tell if this is successful. I liked that I didn't squander months of resources testing out an idea.