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Jari Roomer

Jari Roomer

1 month ago

5 ways to never run out of article ideas

More on Productivity

Jumanne Rajabu Mtambalike

Jumanne Rajabu Mtambalike

2 months ago

10 Years of Trying to Manage Time and Improve My Productivity.

I've spent the last 10 years of my career mastering time management. I've tried different approaches and followed multiple people and sources. My knowledge is summarized.

Great people, including entrepreneurs, master time management. I learned time management in college. I was studying Computer Science and Finance and leading Tanzanian students in Bangalore, India. I had 24 hours per day to do this and enjoy campus. I graduated and received several awards. I've learned to maximize my time. These tips and tools help me finish quickly.

Eisenhower-Box

I don't remember when I read the article. James Clear, one of my favorite bloggers, introduced me to the Eisenhower Box, which I've used for years. Eliminate waste to master time management. By grouping your activities by importance and urgency, the tool helps you prioritize what matters and drop what doesn't. If it's urgent, do it. Delegate if it's urgent but not necessary. If it's important but not urgent, reschedule it; otherwise, drop it. I integrated the tool with Trello to manage my daily tasks. Since 2007, I've done this.

James Clear's article mentions Eisenhower Box.

Essentialism rules

Greg McKeown's book Essentialism introduced me to disciplined pursuit of less. I once wrote about this. I wasn't sure what my career's real opportunities and distractions were. A non-essentialist thinks everything is essential; you want to be everything to everyone, and your life lacks satisfaction. Poor time management starts it all. Reading and applying this book will change your life.

Essential vs non-essential

Life Calendar

Most of us make corporate calendars. Peter Njonjo, founder of Twiga Foods, said he manages time by putting life activities in his core calendars. It includes family retreats, weddings, and other events. He joked that his wife always complained to him to avoid becoming a calendar item. It's key. "Time Masters" manages life's four burners, not just work and corporate life. There's no "work-life balance"; it's life.

Health, Family, Work, and Friends.

The Brutal No

In a culture where people want to look good, saying "NO" to a favor request seems rude. In reality, the crime is breaking a promise. "Time Masters" have mastered "NO".  More "YES" means less time, and more "NO" means more time for tasks and priorities. Brutal No doesn't mean being mean to your coworkers; it means explaining kindly and professionally that you have other priorities.

To-Do vs. MITs

Most people are productive with a routine to-do list. You can't be effective by just checking boxes on a To-do list. When was the last time you completed all of your daily tasks? Never. You must replace the to-do list with Most Important Tasks (MITs). MITs allow you to focus on the most important tasks on your list. You feel progress and accomplishment when you finish these tasks. MITs don't include ad-hoc emails, meetings, etc.

Journal Mapped

Most people don't journal or plan their day in the developing South. I've learned to plan my day in my journal over time. I have multiple sections on one page: MITs (things I want to accomplish that day), Other Activities (stuff I can postpone), Life (health, faith, and family issues), and Pop-Ups (things that just pop up). I leave the next page blank for notes. I reflected on the blocks to identify areas to improve the next day. You will have bad days, but at least you'll realize it was due to poor time management.

Buy time/delegate

Time or money? When you make enough money, you lose time to make more. The smart buy "Time." I resisted buying other people's time for years. I regret not hiring an assistant sooner. Learn to buy time from others and pay for time-consuming tasks. Sometimes you think you're saving money by doing things yourself, but you're actually losing money.


This post is a summary. See the full post here.

Taher Batterywala

Taher Batterywala

13 days ago

Do You Have Focus Issues? Use These 5 Simple Habits

Many can't concentrate. The first 20% of the day isn't optimized.

Elon Musk, Tony Robbins, and Bill Gates share something:

Morning Routines.

A repeatable morning ritual saves time.

The result?

Time for hobbies.

I'll discuss 5 easy morning routines you can use.

1. Stop pressing snooze

Waking up starts the day. You disrupt your routine by hitting snooze.

One sleep becomes three. Your morning routine gets derailed.

Fix it:

Hide your phone. This disables snooze and wakes you up.

Once awake, staying awake is 10x easier. Simple trick, big results.

2. Drink water

Chronic dehydration is common. Mostly urban, air-conditioned workers/residents.

2% cerebral dehydration causes short-term memory loss.

Dehydration shrinks brain cells.

Drink 3-4 liters of water daily to avoid this.

3. Improve your focus

How to focus better?

Meditation.

  • Improve your mood

  • Enhance your memory

  • increase mental clarity

  • Reduce blood pressure and stress

Headspace helps with the habit.

Here's a meditation guide.

  1. Sit comfortably

  2. Shut your eyes.

  3. Concentrate on your breathing

  4. Breathe in through your nose

  5. Breathe out your mouth.

5 in, 5 out.

Repeat for 1 to 20 minutes.

Here's a beginner's video:

4. Workout

Exercise raises:

  • Mental Health

  • Effort levels

  • focus and memory

15-60 minutes of fun:

  • Exercise Lifting

  • Running

  • Walking

  • Stretching and yoga

This helps you now and later.

5. Keep a journal

You have countless thoughts daily. Many quietly steal your focus.

Here’s how to clear these:

Write for 5-10 minutes.

You'll gain 2x more mental clarity.

Recap

5 morning practices for 5x more productivity:

  1. Say no to snoozing

  2. Hydrate

  3. Improve your focus

  4. Exercise

  5. Journaling

Conclusion

One step starts a thousand-mile journey. Try these easy yet effective behaviors if you have trouble concentrating or have too many thoughts.

Start with one of these behaviors, then add the others. Its astonishing results are instant.

Darshak Rana

Darshak Rana

5 months ago

17 Google Secrets 99 Percent of People Don't Know 

What can't Google do?
Seriously, nothing! Google rocks.
Google is a major player in online tools and services. We use it for everything, from research to entertainment.
Did I say entertain yourself?
Yes, with so many features and options, it can be difficult to fully utilize Google.

#1. Drive Google Mad

You can make Google's homepage dance if you want to be silly.
Just type “Google Gravity” into Google.com. Then select I'm lucky.
See the page unstick before your eyes!

#2 Play With Google Image

Google isn't just for work.
Then have fun with it!
You can play games right in your search results. When you need a break, google “Solitaire” or “Tic Tac Toe”. 

#3. Do a Barrel Roll

Need a little more excitement in your life? Want to see Google dance?
Type “Do a barrel roll” into the Google search bar.
Then relax and watch your screen do a 360. 

#4  No Internet?  No issue!

This is a fun trick to use when you have no internet.
If your browser shows a “No Internet” page, simply press Space.
Boom!
We have dinosaurs! Now use arrow keys to save your pixelated T-Rex from extinction.

#5 Google Can Help

Play this Google coin flip game to see if you're lucky.
Enter “Flip a coin” into the search engine.
You'll see a coin flipping animation. If you get heads or tails, click it. 

#6. Think with Google

My favorite Google find so far is the “Think with Google” website.
Think with Google is a website that offers marketing insights, research, and case studies.
I highly recommend it to entrepreneurs, small business owners, and anyone interested in online marketing. 

#7. Google Can Read Images!

This is a cool Google trick that few know about.
You can search for images by keyword or upload your own by clicking the camera icon on Google Images.
Google will then show you all of its similar images.

Caution: You should be fine with your uploaded images being public. 

#8. Modify the Google Logo!

Clicking on the “I'm Feeling Lucky” button on Google.com takes you to a random Google Doodle.
Each year, Google creates a Doodle to commemorate holidays, anniversaries, and other occasions.

#9. What is my IP?

Simply type “What is my IP” into Google to find out.
Your IP address will appear on the results page.

#10. Send a Self-Destructing Email With Gmail, 

Create a new message in Gmail. Find an icon that resembles a lock and a clock near the SEND button. That's where the Confidential Mode is.
By clicking it, you can set an expiration date for your email. Expiring emails are automatically deleted from both your and the recipient's inbox.

#11. Blink, Google Blink!

This is a unique Google trick.
Type “blink HTML” into Google. The words “blink HTML” will appear and then disappear.
The text is displayed for a split second before being deleted.
To make this work, Google reads the HTML code and executes the “blink” command. 

#12. The Answer To Everything

This is for all Douglas Adams fans.
The answer to life, the universe, and everything is 42, according to Google.
An allusion to Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, in which Ford Prefect seeks to understand life, the universe, and everything.

#13. Google in 1998

It's a blast!
Type “Google in 1998” into Google. "I'm feeling lucky"
You'll be taken to an old-school Google homepage.
It's a nostalgic trip for long-time Google users. 

#14. Scholarships and Internships

Google can help you find college funding!
Type “scholarships” or “internships” into Google.
The number of results will surprise you. 

#15. OK, Google. Dice!

To roll a die, simply type “Roll a die” into Google.
On the results page is a virtual dice that you can click to roll. 

#16. Google has secret codes!

Hit the nine squares on the right side of your Google homepage to go to My Account. Then Personal Info.
You can add your favorite language to the “General preferences for the web” tab. 

#17. Google Terminal 

You can feel like a true hacker.
Just type “Google Terminal” into Google.com. "I'm feeling lucky"
Voila~!
You'll be taken to an old-school computer terminal-style page.
You can then type commands to see what happens.

Have you tried any of these activities? Tell me in the comments.

Read full article here

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Jonathan Vanian

Jonathan Vanian

8 months ago

What is Terra? Your guide to the hot cryptocurrency

With cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ether, and Dogecoin gyrating in value over the past few months, many people are looking at so-called stablecoins like Terra to invest in because of their more predictable prices.

Terraform Labs, which oversees the Terra cryptocurrency project, has benefited from its rising popularity. The company said recently that investors like Arrington Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Pantera Capital have pledged $150 million to help it incubate various crypto projects that are connected to Terra.

Terraform Labs and its partners have built apps that operate on the company’s blockchain technology that helps keep a permanent and shared record of the firm’s crypto-related financial transactions.

Here’s what you need to know about Terra and the company behind it.

What is Terra?

Terra is a blockchain project developed by Terraform Labs that powers the startup’s cryptocurrencies and financial apps. These cryptocurrencies include the Terra U.S. Dollar, or UST, that is pegged to the U.S. dollar through an algorithm.

Terra is a stablecoin that is intended to reduce the volatility endemic to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Some stablecoins, like Tether, are pegged to more conventional currencies, like the U.S. dollar, through cash and cash equivalents as opposed to an algorithm and associated reserve token.

To mint new UST tokens, a percentage of another digital token and reserve asset, Luna, is “burned.” If the demand for UST rises with more people using the currency, more Luna will be automatically burned and diverted to a community pool. That balancing act is supposed to help stabilize the price, to a degree.

“Luna directly benefits from the economic growth of the Terra economy, and it suffers from contractions of the Terra coin,” Terraform Labs CEO Do Kwon said.

Each time someone buys something—like an ice cream—using UST, that transaction generates a fee, similar to a credit card transaction. That fee is then distributed to people who own Luna tokens, similar to a stock dividend.

Who leads Terra?

The South Korean firm Terraform Labs was founded in 2018 by Daniel Shin and Kwon, who is now the company’s CEO. Kwon is a 29-year-old former Microsoft employee; Shin now heads the Chai online payment service, a Terra partner. Kwon said many Koreans have used the Chai service to buy goods like movie tickets using Terra cryptocurrency.

Terraform Labs does not make money from transactions using its crypto and instead relies on outside funding to operate, Kwon said. It has raised $57 million in funding from investors like HashKey Digital Asset Group, Divergence Digital Currency Fund, and Huobi Capital, according to deal-tracking service PitchBook. The amount raised is in addition to the latest $150 million funding commitment announced on July 16.

What are Terra’s plans?

Terraform Labs plans to use Terra’s blockchain and its associated cryptocurrencies—including one pegged to the Korean won—to create a digital financial system independent of major banks and fintech-app makers. So far, its main source of growth has been in Korea, where people have bought goods at stores, like coffee, using the Chai payment app that’s built on Terra’s blockchain. Kwon said the company’s associated Mirror trading app is experiencing growth in China and Thailand.

Meanwhile, Kwon said Terraform Labs would use its latest $150 million in funding to invest in groups that build financial apps on Terra’s blockchain. He likened the scouting and investing in other groups as akin to a “Y Combinator demo day type of situation,” a reference to the popular startup pitch event organized by early-stage investor Y Combinator.

The combination of all these Terra-specific financial apps shows that Terraform Labs is “almost creating a kind of bank,” said Ryan Watkins, a senior research analyst at cryptocurrency consultancy Messari.

In addition to cryptocurrencies, Terraform Labs has a number of other projects including the Anchor app, a high-yield savings account for holders of the group’s digital coins. Meanwhile, people can use the firm’s associated Mirror app to create synthetic financial assets that mimic more conventional ones, like “tokenized” representations of corporate stocks. These synthetic assets are supposed to be helpful to people like “a small retail trader in Thailand” who can more easily buy shares and “get some exposure to the upside” of stocks that they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to obtain, Kwon said. But some critics have said the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission may eventually crack down on synthetic stocks, which are currently unregulated.

What do critics say?

Terra still has a long way to go to catch up to bigger cryptocurrency projects like Ethereum.

Most financial transactions involving Terra-related cryptocurrencies have originated in Korea, where its founders are based. Although Terra is becoming more popular in Korea thanks to rising interest in its partner Chai, it’s too early to say whether Terra-related currencies will gain traction in other countries.

Terra’s blockchain runs on a “limited number of nodes,” said Messari’s Watkins, referring to the computers that help keep the system running. That helps reduce latency that may otherwise slow processing of financial transactions, he said.

But the tradeoff is that Terra is less “decentralized” than other blockchain platforms like Ethereum, which is powered by thousands of interconnected computing nodes worldwide. That could make Terra less appealing to some blockchain purists.

Enrique Dans

Enrique Dans

1 month ago

You may not know about The Merge, yet it could change society

IMAGE: Ethereum.org

Ethereum is the second-largest cryptocurrency. The Merge, a mid-September event that will convert Ethereum's consensus process from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake if all goes according to plan, will be a game changer.

Why is Ethereum ditching proof-of-work? Because it can. We're talking about a fully functioning, open-source ecosystem with a capacity for evolution that other cryptocurrencies lack, a change that would allow it to scale up its performance from 15 transactions per second to 100,000 as its blockchain is used for more and more things. It would reduce its energy consumption by 99.95%. Vitalik Buterin, the system's founder, would play a less active role due to decentralization, and miners, who validated transactions through proof of work, would be far less important.

Why has this conversion taken so long and been so cautious? Because it involves modifying a core process while it's running to boost its performance. It requires running the new mechanism in test chains on an ever-increasing scale, assessing participant reactions, and checking for issues or restrictions. The last big test was in early June and was successful. All that's left is to converge the mechanism with the Ethereum blockchain to conclude the switch.

What's stopping Bitcoin, the leader in market capitalization and the cryptocurrency that began blockchain's appeal, from doing the same? Satoshi Nakamoto, whoever he or she is, departed from public life long ago, therefore there's no community leadership. Changing it takes a level of consensus that is impossible to achieve without strong leadership, which is why Bitcoin's evolution has been sluggish and conservative, with few modifications.

Secondly, The Merge will balance the consensus mechanism (proof-of-work or proof-of-stake) and the system decentralization or centralization. Proof-of-work prevents double-spending, thus validators must buy hardware. The system works, but it requires a lot of electricity and, as it scales up, tends to re-centralize as validators acquire more hardware and the entire network activity gets focused in a few nodes. Larger operations save more money, which increases profitability and market share. This evolution runs opposed to the concept of decentralization, and some anticipate that any system that uses proof of work as a consensus mechanism will evolve towards centralization, with fewer large firms able to invest in efficient network nodes.

Yet radical bitcoin enthusiasts share an opposite argument. In proof-of-stake, transaction validators put their funds at stake to attest that transactions are valid. The algorithm chooses who validates each transaction, giving more possibilities to nodes that put more coins at stake, which could open the door to centralization and government control.

In both cases, we're talking about long-term changes, but Bitcoin's proof-of-work has been evolving longer and seems to confirm those fears, while proof-of-stake is only employed in coins with a minuscule volume compared to Ethereum and has no predictive value.

As of mid-September, we will have two significant cryptocurrencies, each with a different consensus mechanisms and equally different characteristics: one is intrinsically conservative and used only for economic transactions, while the other has been evolving in open source mode, and can be used for other types of assets, smart contracts, or decentralized finance systems. Some even see it as the foundation of Web3.

Many things could change before September 15, but The Merge is likely to be a turning point. We'll have to follow this closely.

Nik Nicholas

Nik Nicholas

2 months ago

A simple go-to-market formula

Poor distribution, not poor goods, is the main reason for failure” — Peter Thiel.

Here's an easy way to conceptualize "go-to-market" for your distribution plan.

One equation captures the concept:

Distribution = Ecosystem Participants + Incentives

Draw your customers' ecosystem. Set aside your goods and consider your consumer's environment. Who do they deal with daily? 

  1. First, list each participant. You want an exhaustive list, but here are some broad categories.

  • In-person media services

  • Websites

  • Events\Networks

  • Financial education and banking

  • Shops

  • Staff

  • Advertisers

  • Twitter influencers

  1. Draw influence arrows. Who's affected? I'm not just talking about Instagram selfie-posters. Who has access to your consumer and could promote your product if motivated?

The thicker the arrow, the stronger the relationship. Include more "influencers" if needed. Customer ecosystems are complex.

3. Incentivize ecosystem players. “Show me the incentive and I will show you the result.“, says Warren Buffet's business partner Charlie Munger.

Strong distribution strategies encourage others to promote your product to your target market by incentivizing the most prominent players. Incentives can be financial or non-financial.

Financial rewards

Usually, there's money. If you pay Facebook, they'll run your ad. Salespeople close deals for commission. Giving customers bonus credits will encourage referrals.

Most businesses underuse non-financial incentives.

Non-cash incentives

Motivate key influencers without spending money to expand quickly and cheaply. What can you give a client-connector for free?

Here are some ideas:

Are there any other features or services available?

Titles or status? Tinder paid college "ambassadors" for parties to promote its dating service.

Can I get early/free access? Facebook gave a select group of developers "exclusive" early access to their AR platform.

Are you a good host? Pharell performed at YPlan's New York launch party.

Distribution? Apple's iPod earphones are white so others can see them.

Have an interesting story? PR rewards journalists by giving them a compelling story to boost page views.

Prioritize distribution.

More time spent on distribution means more room in your product design and business plan. Once you've identified the key players in your customer's ecosystem, talk to them.

Money isn't your only resource. Creative non-monetary incentives may be more effective and scalable. Give people something useful and easy to deliver.