Week 37, 2019 Start Creating

Stop reading and start creating

Most knowledge worth having comes from practice. But the real tragedy of modern technology is that it’s turned us into consumers. We equate reading with self improvement, even though we forget most of what we’ve read, and what we remember isn’t useful. 1


BLUF is a military communications acronym—it stands for “bottom line up front”—that’s designed to enforce speed and clarity in reports and emails.

The basic idea is simple: put the most important details first.

Surprisingly, using “I have a question” as an opening phrase is a negative example.

Don’t do this:


i have a question

Or this

hey, question: do you know of any good examples of thought leadership articles we’ve done?

Do this instead:

hey, question: do you know of any good examples of thought leadership article we’ve done? i’m putting together a proposal for ACME, Inc and the CEO wants to see some examples before singing on.

It gives a clear what and a clear why, that, together, let the recipient infer more or less the asker’s exact need.

I’ve decided to use BLUF in my Slack chats. Let’s see what happens.

Week 36, 2019 Mental Models

Mental models

The problem is that we’re model hungry and we’ll rapidly use and abuse any reasonable model that presents itself. Ultimately, we want good models because we want a robust toolbox. But, not everything is a job for a hammer and we don’t need fourteen circular saws. 1

I’m going to create a list of mindset.

Week 35, 2019 Broken Chain

The Broken Chain Problem

When you want to gather information, make sure that the thing you want to know about is causally connected to the thing you’re looking at directly. When you want to influence the world around you, make sure that your action is causally connected to whatever you want to influence. If the causal chain is broken, don’t pull it.1

Again, ask “why?” five times to the problem before finding a solution.

Goodhart’s Law

When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.

Writing tests because of lazy

Writing tests is not a matter of self-discipline or anything like that. To the contrary, the driving force is something more like laziness. I’m taking the easier, faster, more enjoyable path instead of the harder, slower, more miserable one.2

So true.

Week 34, 2019 Structured Procrastination

Structured Procrastination

Procrastinators often follow exactly the wrong tack. They try to minimize their commitments, assuming that if they have only a few things to do, they will quit procrastinating and get them done. But this goes contrary to the basic nature of the procrastinator and destroys his most important source of motivation. The few tasks on his list will be by definition the most important, and the only way to avoid doing them will be to do nothing. This is a way to become a couch potato, not an effective human being. 1

This is very interesting. I like the “Today” filter in Things because it provides a way to list “a few” things I need to do today. But the most productive time is when I using the massive inboxes.

Why complexity sells

The sore truth is that complexity sells better, because

  1. Simplicity feels like an easy walk. Complexity feels like mental CrossFit.
  2. Length is often the only thing that can signal effort and thoughtfulness.
  3. Things you don’t understand create a mystique around people who do.
  4. Complexity gives a comforting impression of control, while simplicity is hard to distinguish from cluelessness.

So sad.

Week 33, 2019 Write it down

Write it down

Everyone gets struck by inspiration at various times during the day. Get in the habit of writing down every random potential idea (sometimes not even a full idea, but an exploration: write down a sentence that’ll inspire you to think of the full idea). Make sure the path from thinking of the idea to memorializing it in an easily accessible way is as frictionless as possible. 1

I have adopted this method for about half year, and it really helps.

Make complicated things simple

Simplification is the most underrated trait in business. It draws your attention to basic questions like “Do people need this product?” in a way complex thinking can overlook. No matter how complex your product is, a few simple business models tend to move the needle most.

  1. Make intimidating things painless.
  2. Make boring things exciting.
  3. Make complicated things simple.
  4. Make obfuscation transparent.
  5. Make middlemen irrelevant.
  6. Make things disappear.

Detailed explanation, read here.