Monthly Archives: December 2016

Getting better at my craft

I like reading stuff like this since it often pokes me to try something new or just re-think how I get better at work. I enjoy working but I always feel like I can get better at it. Everything from time management, to improving my focus, cutting out the cruft and just working smarter.

This Jason Fried interview on lifehacker has a few nuggets :: http://lifehacker.com/im-jason-fried-ceo-of-basecamp-and-this-is-how-i-work-1790556608

I dig some of this:

What’s your favorite to-do list manager?

I don’t track to-dos. I have a small handful of things I know I need to do every day. If I can’t keep them in my head, I have too many things to do. Every day is a blank slate for what I need to do. If something I was supposed to get done yesterday didn’t get done yesterday, it’s not automatically on my mind for today. Today’s mind is a clear mind, not yesterday’s remnants.

And:

I’m a one-computer guy—a 12″ MacBook, so I can work from anywhere. Years ago I used multiple monitors and had multiple computers. Then I jettisoned multiple computers but kept the multiple monitor setup. And a few years ago I tossed out the second monitor and have been a single computer, single screen person since then. I go full screen on nearly every app. I also hide my dock. I don’t want anything pulling my attention away. When I’m curious I’ll look. Otherwise, I’m looking at what I want, not what someone else might want me to see.

I can’t stress this enough—protect your attention like you protect your friends, family, money, etc. It’s among the most valuable things you have.

I like the attention to focus – I need to improve on this a ton.

Have a few things I am going to try this year to shift my work modes and health.

  • more yoga and gym
  • eat less meals
  • use a paper notebook more for meetings
  • use a paper calendar for journaling time
  • use one computer (will write more about why the iPad is sub optimal for work)
  • gonna block more time for focus work
  • gonna read and write more

Much to do. 2016 in some global sense may have been shitty. Lots of cool, dead people. Trump and some sense of global chaos.

Personally – 2016 was pretty amazing for me.

New gig. Fucking love it.

New pad. It just feels better for me and my family to be out of the condo pressure cooker. I know it works for some but I like the space of a house.

Got married – yes. That was fun and excited about the future.

2017 is coming and there is much to do with family, work and life aspirations.

Be safe out there.

Thinking about AI

Back at work and loving it. When I am off work and usually hanging at my wife’s parents house, I am constantly reminded how untechy the emerging markets are. Not talking like Bangkok which I am guessing some folks think is an emerging market – but it’s not. It is super hip and techy in a typical SEA way. You have to get further off the beaten path where life is still basic and tech is not infiltrated the world yet.

This is an area where getting a DSL line is possible but not worth it. Fiber is not possible so the best option was to pick up a wifi router that works with a SIM card. I used TRUE when I am in the sticks since it reliabily has 4G and pretty good packages. I loaded up the SIM with 16GB and it got me through a few weeks with everyone in the house using it.

But apart from basic connectivity and folks making calls, using facebook and whatsapp/line – tech is barely used. Twitter is nowhere to be seen and many of the power toys or apps are not even touched in this part of the world. I tend to think what everyone thinks is simple is actually still too hard for rural folk to wrap their head around.

Making things simple is super hard.

Brings me back to this post :: https://seedvc.blog/2016/12/25/magic/ – people sometimes forget how to make something super simple but incredibly useful. Like the AirPods. I know the haters will hate but you have to try them out to see how simple they are to connect, use and charge to get a sense for how amazing they are. Even my wife figured them out fast and wants a pair where normally she gets so frustrated by bluetooth stuff she stops even trying. Now she is trying to take my AirPods from me. 😉

This brings me back to thinking about AI and the beginner’s mind. Lately been using Google Photos after giving up on Flickr – why? Super simple to use, I know my stuff is backed up and it uses AI to do nice tricks like fixing photos, albums and keeping all my stuff in sync. It is making life easy for me when it comes to photos. Flickr used to but we all know what happened there.

There is some amazing stuff happening with AI and I can only imagine more to come. It will be interesting to see where it all goes but I am wondering who will tackle the killer stuff what will make life easier but is not the sexy stuff to work on? For example. My daughter needs to start a new school and the school sent me a 6 page PDF that needs filling out. Most of the form is mundane stuff – ID’s, phone numbers, addresses and so on. Lets say 50% or more is all boiler plate stuff. Wouldn’t it be cool if the email client or the OS or a cool app picked up the PDF, magically filled most of it out and then pinged me to print it and fill the rest up on my own? I would pay for that. Most of the info needed is on my phone anyway.

I know lots of folks are afraid of AI. I get why. I can see it in the rice fields of Thailand where now a machine takes over the work of harvesting that used to be done by people. Sure you can say these people have time for other things now but what? They worked for money and they don’t have skills to offer for that same amount of time that will pay. They are just sidelined and time saving tools won’t help them. I know the world has always gone through this but AI makes me think it might happen at a much bigger scale than we can imagine.

For sure I want code to help me and same me some time. I can think of many ways that will happen and wonder who will build these things but I also worry about the greater impact on humanity.

Magic

Writing this on my new MacBook Pro. So far so good. Nothing earth shattering but a solid upgrade to the line and I think I will be pretty happy with it. Time will tell. My new work habit may be to use a proper notebook in meetings and do my work on the laptop – save the iPad Pro for video and leisure stuff or travel.

What did I also get that are amazing? The AirPods. Wow. Like magic. Easy pairing – great sound. The bass is pretty damn good. Love all the simple stuff like auto pause, one ear listening and just the overall easy use of them is really amazing.

I have a feeling I won’t ever leave home without them. I wonder what phone calls will be like with them but I think the one ear usage will be common which means it would last all day given the amount you get per ear.

Killer. Back to my Hibiki.

Merry Christmas!

Finished Habits…

Finished up this book over the holidays :: https://seedvc.blog/2016/11/26/next-book-up/

Worth a read. Definitely gave me ideas for other ways to deal with children. Going to try and put those ideas into action for the new year for my 9 year old.

Fascinating insights on how memory is something separate from habits and how the brain deal with them both. I think it reaffirmed for me that habits are good and I need to try and create some better ones for life and work.

Been listening to a few podcasts lately and realizing more and more how much I love stoicism – haven’t found a great book on it yet. Started reading this but not loving the style of it :: Letters from a Stoic (Penguin Classics)

Starting Jan 1 going to give this one a whirl :: The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living

I’ll let you know how things go.

Observations…

The year is coming to an end and again it all feels like it has moved so fast. I think the more I age the faster time flies. Obviously having children accelerates the pace even more since so many milestones appear and disappear before my eyes with each passing day. Regardless, I am thankful for everything. 

Some of you may or may not know that on Dec 5, I married my wife. Although we have been legally married for some time – we have never had a proper ceremony. The week previous we transformed her parent’s backyard, invited lots of people and had two ceremonies plus a kickass party. Was a great time and I appreciate all the support from those who made it possible. 

And to my wife, thanks and this is just the beginning.

Currently on a plane headed to Jeju. Planning to enjoy driving around the island and even catching some snow.

The last few days we have been in Seoul. Eating, shopping, eating and touring. I had not been to Seoul in many years and as always going for a holiday means I enjoyed the place a lot more than when going for work. That is typical of most places but was fun to hang out and watch the place in action. 

Stuff I noticed:

– Every car is either a Kia, Hyundai or Chevy. Saw lots of Chevy’s but no Fords for the most part. Quite opposite from say Thailand where you see lots of Fords but not so many Chevy’s.

– Everyone carries a Samsung or LG phone and if not carrying a phone from the home country they are using an iPhone most of the time.

– Everywhere you go people are on their phones. Lots of folks walk around from train to street watching videos.

– Korean culture is consumed more than anything else it seems. Most people watching Korean stuff and even the movie theatres were only showing Korean stuff. It’s clear that Korean music and movies is more popular and also also become a clear export.

– Kakao Talk reigns supreme for chat and voice and I guess even the basics for social. The rest of the usage is games, Instagram and I guess some facebook but I saw more Instagram usage over Facebook. Was hard to tell but looks like Talk wins for Whatsapp. But gaming is huge – all sorts of genders from young to old constantly playing games.

– Coffee shops and cafes everywhere and lots of chains. Stoked to see Taco Bell but haven’t had any yet. The Food courts at famous malls are quit international – surprising amount of Mexican places as well. Haven’t had pizza yet but Italian food everywhere too. Food is everywhere which is great and I love that there is still some street food. We ate quite a few meals by grazing on the streets. Great seagfood as well. We have been eating a lot. 😉

– Like Japan English is not well spoken but feels slightly better than Japan for being able to ask people stuff. Fortunately the subway is easy to deal with and such a large system than one can pretty much get everywhere with the subway. Tack on the existence of easy airport buses and actual check in at the city center to make it super simple to get around and catch domestic flights. I find getting around super easy and we have hardly used a cab.

– Wifi is all over the place malls, cafes, some buses and generally great speeds with no connectivity issues. Could pretty much easily work remote here with little hassle. Guessing there is some amount of active co-work scene. There is even a spot in Jeju I will check out if I have the time.

All in all. Good times. Been unplugged quite a bit. I don’t miss social media much at all. I am sure America continues to drop into the Trump pit of hell but what can I do about it – so no point in trying to stay up on the news anyway. Ignorance is bliss.

Might have time to bang out a few more posts before the year end. At this point in time the blog, even with the new domain, has had a record year. I plant to try and keep writing more and explore my VC journey in blog form as much a possible.

Will Professor Galloway be right about Snap?

Check out this week’s Winners and Losers video :: https://www.l2inc.com/winners-losers-facebooks-roadkill/2016/blog

I myself I am not addicted to Snap but have played with it enough to see the potential. However I find it is not huge in Asia as compared to its dominance in America – which is why I think FB has a chance to keep chipping away at it given how huge FB is globally. I think the Spectacles are pretty cool and actually want a pair.

Mostly though I am writing this article to remind myself to check on on Prof to see if he is right. He is predicting that Snap will collapse in value in 2017. With Snap heading to an IPO – this is gonna be fun to watch.

However read this to see how people are trying to buy up Snap shares ahead of the IPO and you wonder if this is a frenzy or people lining up for the next FB stock story? :: https://www.theinformation.com/snapping-up-snap-ahead-of-ipo-proves-tough

Then there is this article :: http://fortune.com/2016/12/02/tech-snapchat-spectacles-ipo/ :

Snap’s second feat is its forthcoming IPO. In November the five-year-old company confidentially filed to go public, according to reports, defying conventional wisdom among highly valued startups. The latest generation of startup CEOs disdain the short-termism of quarterly earnings reports; they see going public as a necessary evil to be avoided as long as possible. But not Snap CEO Evan Spiegel. This year has seen the slowest IPO market since the 2008 financial crisis. Snap’s IPO will be the most talked-about debut since Alibaba went public in 2014.

I honestly don’t know how to predict what will happen. My guess is a massive IPO pop and they will use the stock to go on an acquisition spree to shore up all angles of their vision but I wonder if they can build the profits like FB can over time. I am doubtful.

Will be great to see the outcome and watch the Prof either celebrate or eat crow.