Inbox Zero

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pages: 331 words: 96,989

Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked by Adam L. Alter

Alexey Pajitnov wrote Tetris, augmented reality, barriers to entry, Bluma Zeigarnik, call centre, Cass Sunstein, cognitive dissonance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, easy for humans, difficult for computers,, experimental subject, game design, Google Glasses, Ian Bogost, IKEA effect, Inbox Zero, Kickstarter, loss aversion, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, mental accounting, meta-analysis, Oculus Rift, Richard Thaler, Robert Durst, side project, Skype, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, telemarketer

The solution is to disable new email notifications and to check your email account infrequently, but most people don’t treat email that way. Many of us pursue the unforgiving goal of Inbox Zero, which requires you to process and file away every single unread email as soon as it arrives. And, as Chuck Klosterman wrote in the New York Times, emails are like zombies: you keep killing them and they keep coming. Inbox Zero also explains why workers spend a quarter of their days dealing with emails, and why they check their accounts, on average, thirty-six times every hour. In one study, researchers found that 45 percent of respondents associated email with “a loss of control.”

In 2012, three researchers wanted to investigate what happens when you prevent office workers from using email for a few days, but they struggled to find volunteers. They approached dozens of office workers at a U.S. Army facility on the East Coast, but only thirteen were willing to participate in the study. The vast majority explained that they couldn’t bear the pain of sorting through hundreds of unanswered emails when the study ended. Inbox Zero never dies; it just grows angrier while you try to ignore it. The researchers monitored the thirteen volunteers for eight days in total: three days as they continued using email as they usually did, and then five days while they refrained from using email altogether. At first the volunteers felt disconnected from their workmates, but quickly took to walking around the office and using their desk phones.

Most important, though, they were healthier. When checking email, they were in a constant state of high alert; without email, their heart rates tended to vary more, rising in response to brief bursts of stress, but falling again when those stressors passed. With email they were constantly on red alert. Beyond Inbox Zero, the Internet has also made it easier to stumble on new goals. Even just twenty-five years ago, goals were more remote than they are today. My family moved from Johannesburg, South Africa, to Sydney, Australia, when I was seven. Two months later my grandma visited from South Africa to help us settle in.

pages: 350 words: 90,898

A World Without Email: Reimagining Work in an Age of Communication Overload by Cal Newport

Cal Newport, call centre, Claude Shannon: information theory, cognitive dissonance, collaborative editing, computer age, Covid-19, COVID-19, creative destruction, David Heinemeier Hansson, fault tolerance, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, Garrett Hardin, hive mind, Inbox Zero, interchangeable parts, James Watt: steam engine, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, John Nash: game theory, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Marshall McLuhan, Nash equilibrium, passive income, Paul Graham, place-making, remote work: asynchronous communication, remote working, Richard Feynman, rolodex, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, social graph, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, the medium is the message, the scientific method, Tragedy of the Commons, web application, Y Combinator

He remembered when he used to embrace the idea of inbox zero: the objective of reducing your email inbox back down to empty at the end of each day. At some point, as demands on his time from partners and listeners increased, he made inbox 100 his new goal. Then one day he noticed his unread messages had ballooned to over nine thousand. He was trying to run a business but had instead become a professional email manager. His solution was to hire a full-time executive assistant. As Flynn details in a podcast episode titled “9000 Unread Emails to Inbox Zero,” it took him and his assistant several weeks to work out a system for her to successfully manage his inbox.8 They produced a rule book that allowed her to handle almost every message on her own, bringing to Flynn’s attention only what required his input.

Generally speaking, using a common screen or board to work collaboratively with a small group on a hard problem will intensify the depth of concentration you achieve compared with working alone. Cal Newport, Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World (New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2016). 7. Anne Lamott, “Time Lost and Found,” Sunset, April 5, 2010, 8. Pat Flynn, “SPI 115: 9000 Unread Emails to Inbox Zero: My Executive Assistant Shares How We Did It (and How You Can Too!),” June 28, 2014, in Smart Passive Income Podcast with Pat Flynn, 35:22, 9. Laura Vanderkam, “Can You Really Spend Just 20 Hours a Week on Core Production?,”, October 15, 2015, 10.

,” 219, 239, 241 It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work (Fried and Hansson), 195–96 IT professionals, 25–27, 130–33 Jackson, Mike, 196 Janz, Bruce, 239–40 Jersild, Arthur, 15–16 Jira, 154 Jobs, Steve, 66, 68 Johnson, Brian, 144–50, 155, 170 Journal of Applied Psychology, The, 24 Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, The, 45 Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, The, 52 journalists, 30, 58 Kanban, 157, 159–60, 163–67 Katzenberg, Jeffrey, 67 Kenya, 47–49 Kirsner, Scott, 196 Knapp, Jake, 235–37, 239 knowledge sector automatic processes for, 170–77 brains add value to, 121 current state of, xv deploying capital and, 121 Drucker’s autonomy theory and, 111 economic effectiveness of, 103 and energy-minimizing email, 190 and hyperactive hive mind, xvii–xix, 10, 115 latent productivity in, xix–xx process aversion of, 140–42 undervalues concentration, xiv–xv knowledge work coining of the term, 89–91, 259 and constant communication, 31 and deep thinking, 19–20, 24 and diminishment of specialization, 219 email’s advantages for, xiii–xiv, 9 emergence of, 109 increasing productivity of, 102–4 and innovative workflow, xxii parallel track approach to, 13–14, 18 undervalues concentration, xiv–xv knowledge workers communication habits of, 10–13 driven by email, 105, 107–8 driven by project boards, 105–8, 111 effectiveness of, 27, 37 execution of own work and, 124–27 with highly trained skills, 218 large number of, 39 others’ expectations about, 124, 127–31 process aversion of, 140–42 process needs of, 143–44 specialized efforts of, 92, 229 studies of, 36–37 vested in new workflows, 125–27, 133, 152 See also autonomy: of knowledge workers Kowitz, Braden, 236 Kruger, Justin, 52 Lakein, Alan, 56 Lamott, Anne, 227, 234 Lamport, Leslie, 81 Landmarks of Tomorrow (Drucker), 117 Langley, Virginia, 63 leadership approaches, 20–25, 117–18 Leroy, Sophie, 16–18 lesson videos, 145–47 Leviathan (Hobbes), 142 Lewis, Peter, 68 lexical decision task, 17 Lieberman, Matthew, 42–43 Like button, 74–75 linguistic channel, 49 Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count, 36 Lloyd, William Forster, 91 locus of control theory, 125–27, 133 Lukaczyk, Madison, 11–12 Lütke, Tobi, 201 Lynch, Nancy, 80 Macdonell, Robby, 10 mail carts, xiii, 64–65, 247 makers attention switching and, 19–20 Graham’s vision of, 19–20, 28 hyperactive hive mind and, 30–31 reduced productivity of, 30–31 “Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule” (Graham), 19–20 management 30x rule for, 174 founding modern era of, 88–90 industrial, 101, 117, 136–40 for knowledge work sector, xix–xx literature on, 117–18 scientific approach to, 135–37, 139–40 systems for, 6, 20–25, 248 Trello boards for, 105–8, 111 Management of Time, The (McCay), 117–18 managers, 113, 121 attention switching and, 19–20 and autonomous workers, 92, 109–11, 118 big-picture goals of, 22–24 and deep thinking/work, 24, 147–48 effectiveness of, 24, 31, 117–18 and email use, 18–19, 24, 31, 81 hyperactive hive mind and, 20–21, 23–24 and in-person problem solving, 54–55 meetings and, 19, 148 and new workflows, 117–18 responsiveness trap and, 19, 23–25 shield workers from interruptions, 223–25, 227, 241 team sizes and, 86–88 tracking time of, 8 manual labor, 101, 109, 117, 119–20, 139, 259 Mark, Gloria, 6–9, 11, 16, 36, 55–59 marketing sector, 104–8, 111–12, 120–21, 124, 141, 148, 160, 223 Markoff, John, 67–68 Marshall, George, 20–25 Martel, Charles, 71–73, 76 mass media, 73–74 “Mathematical Theory of Communication, A” (Shannon), 179–80, 183 Mbendjele BaYaka people, 39–42 McCay, James, 117–18 McKeown, Greg, 221 McLuhan, Marshall, 74 media companies, 30, 144–52 medieval feudalism, 71–73, 76–77 Medieval Technology and Social Change (Martel), 72–73 meetings, 31, 176, 187 budgeting time for, 244 constant demand for, 82, 113 on FaceTime, 148–49 highly restricted, 100 hire an assistant for, 190–93, 230 making them effective, 6–7 managers and, 19, 148 online scheduling tools for, 188, 191–93, 244 protocols for, 185, 188–93, 198–200 for reviewing task boards, 160–61, 169 scheduled, xii–xiii, 7–9, 14, 151–52, 184, 218 “status,” 60, 187, 208–13, 244 for synchronizing efforts, 148–49, 211 time-wasting, 228–29 while standing up, 210 mental health, xv, 36, 61, 177 Microsoft, 68 minders, 25–28 mindfulness exercises, 102 misery (of knowledge workers) email leads to, xv, 35–39, 43–46, 54, 69 hyperactive hive mind and, 33, 43, 88 mechanisms of, 61 MIT, 49–51, 54, 179, 202 MIT Sloan Management Review, 61 Model Ts, 97–101 Modern Times (film), 120–21 “Modest Proposal: Eliminate Email, A,” 194–95 Modus Cooperandi, 163 Morris, Noel, 203 Mortensen, Dennis, 188 motivation, 125–26, 133, 140, 165, 212–13 Mpala Research Center (Kenya), 47–49 multitasking, 6–10, 15 Nash, John, 91 National Productivity Review, 217–18 Nature Scientific Reports, 40 Neolithic Revolution, 40 neuroscience, xviii, 14 New York Times, The, xv, 66, 68, 100–101 New York University, 52 New Yorker, The, xv newsletters, 251 Newton, Elizabeth, 51–53 Nikias, C. L., 205–8 “9000 Unread Emails to Inbox Zero” (Flynn), 230 non-specialized work, 217–20, 226. See also administrative work Obama, Barack, xi obligations, 143 budgeting time for, 239–46 overwhelmed by, 57, 164, 249, 256 reducing number of, 123, 220–21, 227–28, 238 task boards and, 164–70, 220 office automation of, 6, 218 constant interruptions in, 113 coordination of, 180, 183–87, 194–97 haphazardly run, 245 office hours, protocols for, 187, 194–97 office culture, xvii, xxi, 75 of chronic overload, 231–34, 245 and human collaboration, 81–82 of intense focus, 225–26 specialized vs. administrative, 247 and “the calm company,” 195–96 transformed by email, 76–88 and working in sprints, 235, 238 online tools for collaboration, 105–8, 147–48 for scheduling meetings, 191–93, 244 Optimize Enterprises, 144–52, 155, 160, 170, 172–73 Organization Studies, 9 organizational behavior, 16–18 overhead, reduction in, 152, 167, 175 overload chronic, 221, 228, 238–46, 248 of communication, 112–14 due to email, xv, 56–58, 206, 258 escaping it, 233–34 hyperactive hive mind and, 61, 220 of knowledge workers’ workloads, 56–61, 219–22, 228 minimizing it, 112–14, 254 office culture of, 231–34, 245 of support staff, 253 technology and, 256 Overwhelmed (Schulte), 58–59 Paleolithic era, xviii–xix, 46–47, 84–88 paperwork, 6, 22 Paterson, Michael, 80 Pentland, Alex, 49–51, 54 Perlow, Leslie, 37, 39, 82–84 Personal Kanban, 163–67 Personal Kanban (Benson), 164–65 Pivotal Labs, 223 Postman, Neil, 73–74, 257–58, 260–61 PowerPoint, 218 pre-industrial past, 85–86 predictable time off (PTO), 37 Princeton University, 47 Princeton Web Solutions, 197–200 printing press, 74, 258 process principle, 254 automatic production processes for, 170–77 best practices for, 152–53, 158–63, 167–70 effective examples of, 150–53 explanation of, 139–44 optimizing of, 140, 145–50 and power of process, 135–44 project-focused, 150–53, 162 and task boards for individuals, 163–70 and task boards for organizations, 153–63, 244 productivity attention switching and, 16–20 and the autonomous knowledge worker, 90, 109–10 as central challenge, 109 and computer usage, 215–22 and email usage, 70–71, 258 hacks for, 235 hyperactive hive mind impact on, 39 increase in, 6, 10, 30, 102–4, 111, 140–41, 151, 190, 212–13, 220–21, 233, 259, 261 innovative systems for, 98–102, 116–19 latent potential for, xix–xx and miserable employees, 38–39 pair programming and, 224–26 personal, 163–67 protocol principle and, 187, 211–12 quantity/quality and, 114, 138 reduction in, xiv–xv, xviii, 4–6, 18, 20, 24, 30–31, 33, 69 short-term, 24 software tools for, 10–12 of specialized professionals, 218, 220, 226, 245–47 task boards and, 155 and working in sprints, 238 See also assembly lines profit, 14, 98, 101, 117, 123, 138, 141, 144, 229, 247 project-board workflow, 105–8, 111, 114–15, 120–21, 124, 132–33, 148.

pages: 323 words: 95,939

Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now by Douglas Rushkoff

algorithmic trading, Andrew Keen, bank run, Benoit Mandelbrot, big-box store, Black Swan, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, business cycle, cashless society, citizen journalism, clockwork universe, cognitive dissonance, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, disintermediation, Donald Trump, double helix, East Village, Elliott wave, European colonialism, Extropian, facts on the ground, Flash crash, game design, global pandemic, global supply chain, global village, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, Inbox Zero, invention of agriculture, invention of hypertext, invisible hand, iterative process, John Nash: game theory, Kevin Kelly, laissez-faire capitalism, lateral thinking, Law of Accelerating Returns, loss aversion, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, Merlin Mann, Milgram experiment, mutually assured destruction, negative equity, Network effects, New Urbanism, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, passive investing, pattern recognition, peak oil, price mechanism, prisoner's dilemma, Ralph Nelson Elliott, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), Silicon Valley, Skype, social graph, South Sea Bubble, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, the medium is the message, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Tragedy of the Commons, Turing test, upwardly mobile, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, Y2K, zero-sum game

But we will at least scan the headers, deal with whatever is urgent, and make mental notes of the rest. It’s easy to reverse email’s biases, however, and to treat the list of messages like stored data and the messages themselves like flow. Some workflow efficiency experts have suggested that people strive for something called “inbox zero”6—the state of having answered all of one’s emails. Their argument, based on both office productivity and cognitive science, is that merely checking one’s email is inefficient. If the email is not processed—meaning answered, deleted, filed, or acted upon in some way—then it remains part of a growing to-do list.

You make sure you have enough money, you remind yourself that the store will still be open at that hour, and you consider what route will take you the least out of your way. Once you know how you’re going to accomplish the task, the loop is closed—even though the task has not yet been accomplished. There’s no more that can or need be done in the present, so the active part of the brain is freed up. This is a proved method of reducing stress. The inbox zero people see each message as a running loop. So they recommend we do something to create closure for each email—answer it, put a date on our calendar, add something to our to-do list, or even just delete it—rather than just leaving it sit there. According to Bit Literacy author Mark Hurst, if we don’t get our inbox empty, we won’t get that “clean feeling.”7 Given that the email inbox will nearly always refill faster than we can empty it, and that the messages arrive on everyone else’s schedule rather than our own, this clean feeling may be short-lived or even unattainable.

Imminent or not, it shares more characteristics with religion than its advocates like to admit, complete with an Omega point, a second life, an act of creation, a new calendar, and the dogged determination to represent itself as a total departure from all that came before. This response is a bit more like that of the impatient, reactive Tea Partier than that of the consensus-building Occupier. More like the “inbox zero” compulsive than the person who answers email if and when he feels like it. More the hedge fund trader looking to see how many algorithms can dance on the head of a temporal pin than the investor looking for a business to capitalize over time. More the fractalnoid conspiracy theorist than the pattern recognizer.

pages: 271 words: 62,538

The Best Interface Is No Interface: The Simple Path to Brilliant Technology (Voices That Matter) by Golden Krishna

Airbnb, Bear Stearns, computer vision, crossover SUV,, fear of failure, impulse control, Inbox Zero, Internet Archive, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, Jony Ive, Kickstarter, Mark Zuckerberg, new economy, Oculus Rift, pattern recognition, QR code, RFID, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, Tim Cook: Apple, Y Combinator, Y2K

You forget to change your password, your account can get hacked, and you lose your private pictures, or maybe even your friends all get porn in their inboxes attributed to you. No, I swear, that’s not my dick pic! Rarely do these digital chores involve creating or contributing to the world. Rather, they’re mostly made up of us serving the computer. We seek alluring, aspirational moments like Inbox Zero—a state of having an empty inbox because you’ve deleted, moved, or archived them all—which many desire and few attain. But for what? For happiness? The improvement of society? Nope, for the computer. For the interface. So that a count in a numerical badge floating above your application icon can diminish and eventually disappear.

In this digital errand world of operating system settings, folders, badges, and notification centers, one of the absurdities of the job is that the more digital chores you do, the more new digital chores may arise. Reply to an inbox full of messages? You’ll probably get a lot of replies back, and your temporary state of Inbox Zero will quickly become aspirational all over again. In other words, the better you are at email, the more emails you get. Back up your photos? Now it’s time to rethink that cloud storage. Saving and preserving your memories can mean massive file management. Update your mobile operating system?

., 165–166 design, best results for, 80 devices, preventing failure of, 204 Dewey Decimal system, 165 digital chores eliminating, 156 performing, 155 dishwashers, washing cycles of, 153 distraction, consequences of, 61–62 Dorsey, Jack, 106 downloading songs, speed of, 30 dropdowns, disregarding, 137, 142 DSP (digital signal processing), 139–140 E EarlySense EverOn sensor, 179–180, 205 educational mindshare, capturing, 127 efficiency, increasing, 148 Elektro robot, 173–175 emergency room, sounds heard in, 178 energy, saving, 148 error message, example of, 131 EULA (end user license agreement), 192 F Facebook, privacy policy of, 190–191 failure examining fear of, 203–204 preventing, 204 solving, 204 talk of, 205 fields, requiring, 132 food, data related to, 136 G Gamestation, 193 Gates, Bill, 59 Gerhardt, Paul, 102 Gilmurray, Damian, 139 Glympse mobile app, 196 Goldman, Jonathan, 169 Goodyear app, 149–150 Google Wallet, 107 GPS (global positioning system), 142 GUIs (graphical user interfaces), 163, 168–170, 176–177, 197 H Hammerbacher, Jeff, 47, 169 hard drive movie storage in 2006, 26 movie storage in 2013, 27 Harter, Andy, 139 head trauma consequences of, 143 detecting, 144 reducing, 144 headlamp, use by doctors, 141–142 health care settings, improving, 178–179 Heron of Alexandria, 200 Hetrick, John W., 200 Hewitt, Lee, 200 history, learning from, 165 Hoffman, Reid, 169 Hopper, Andy, 139 Horton, Dee, 200 hours per day, working, 147 Humphrey, Jason, 62 I IBM’s Deep Blue, contest with Kasparov, 120–130 ideas, filtering, 208 IFTTT service, 157 Inbox Zero, 155–156 individuals, adapting to, 179 information, gathering, 136–137 innovation, 163–164 “innovation” centers, map of, 32–33 interaction, best results for, 80 interactivity, 196 interface examples cars, 35–36 refrigerators, 37–38 restaurant, 41–42 trash can, 39–40 vending machine, 43–44 interfaces best results for, 80 redesigning, 165 using sparingly, 114 Internet speeds in 2000, 28 in 2010, 29 iPhones, sizes from 2007-2014, 99 Israeli research on cancer, 65 iTunes terms and conditions, 189 J Jay-Z, 195 job listings, 45–46 JPMorgan Chase’s Blink system, 107 K Kasparov, Garry, 129–130 Kawasaki, Guy, 34 Kowalczyk, Liz, 178 KPCB (Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers), 92 L laundry loads done weekly, 151 washing cycles, 152, 154 lazy rectangles avoiding, 120 drawing, 113 Leaf app for Nissan car, 117–120 learning from history, value of, 165 legal agreements, 187 light 6500k, 69 brightness of, 69 temperatures, 69, 71 light color, measuring, 71 LinkedIn, 170 Locket, research done by, 89 Lockitron deadbolt, 102–104, 205 lung cancer, incidence of, 65 M machine input embracing, 156 vs. user input, 139–140 using in health settings, 179 Manjoo, Farhad, 105–106 manual transmissions, decline in number of, 201 MasterCard’s Paypass, 107 Matyszczyk, Chris, 105 Mazda 929, 120–121 MC10 sensors, 144 McAfee computer security, 191 McCain, John, 148 McDonald, Aleecia, 189–190 McDonald’s, use of touchscreens by, 106 McKechnie, Alex, 181 McKinsey statistic, 111 media multitasking, effects of, 59–61 melatonin adjustment to pre-light exposure, 70 impact on sleep, 71–72 Metz, Rachel, 102 microphones, use of, 176 Microsoft Office, usage statistic, 189 mobile apps.

pages: 267 words: 78,857

Discardia: More Life, Less Stuff by Dinah Sanders

A. Roger Ekirch, Atul Gawande, big-box store, Boris Johnson, carbon footprint, clean water, clockwatching, cognitive bias, collaborative consumption, credit crunch, endowment effect, Firefox, game design, Inbox Zero, income per capita, index card, indoor plumbing, Internet Archive, Kevin Kelly, late fees, Marshall McLuhan, McMansion, Merlin Mann, post-work, side project, Silicon Valley, Stewart Brand

Acknowledge the allure of completion and resist doing so much quick busywork that you fail to move your most important projects forward. The hope for an easy win can keep us coming back to our email inboxes to see what has arrived in the past few minutes. Before we spend any chunk of time questing for inbox zero, we need to look for and do the next actions from our goals. Picking three “Most Important Things” Discardia is a framework. One of the things I've frequently bolted onto mine is blogger and author Leo Babauta's idea of picking three “Most Important Things” for each day. Ideally, these should be derived from the top goals for your top priorities.

., “@waiting for” or “_waiting for”) to insure that they are always sorted to the top of the list for quick access. Why label instead of moving to folders? It avoids the risk of “out of sight, out of mind” while allowing you to tell at a glance that you've already handled everything that currently needs handling. You get the benefit of inbox zero without wasting a lot of time or having to establish new rituals to check special folders. For categories of which you don't want to be reminded until you're performing a round of that activity (for example, something like “to read: professional development”), folders or their equivalent are helpful.

Downsize Challenge. LeechBlock. Leonard, Annie. The Story of Stuff. Lesser, Marc. Less: Accomplishing More by Doing Less. Novato, CA: New World Library, 2009 Lewis, C.S. The Screwtape Letters. New York: Macmillan, 1943 Mann, Merlin. 43 Folders: Time, Attention and Creative Work. ____. Inbox Zero. Marino, Gordon. “Kierkegaard on the Couch.” Opinionator, The New York Times. 28 October 2009. Marsh, Nigel. “How to Make Work-life Balance Work.” TED: Ideas worth spreading. May 2010. Mason, Maggie.

pages: 32 words: 10,468

Getting Things Done for Hackers by Lars Wirzenius

anti-pattern, Debian, Firefox, full text search, Inbox Zero, Kickstarter, Merlin Mann, security theater

Something about GTD spoke to geeks, and they blogged about it, and dived into endless discussions about which color pen to use to write things down, or which software to use to keep an outline on what color computer. By 2007 the buzz had mostly died, and those who liked GTD kept using it. An influential blogger during that era was Merlin Mann, and his most important creation was “Inbox Zero”. It’s an elegant condensation of the GTD system for dealing with e-mail, and that may be all you need. Many of us hackers pretty much do everything via e-mail, so if you get that under control, you’ll be fine. Go read. Technicalities This book is written using an Ikiwiki instance at, hosted on the Branchable service.

pages: 206 words: 68,757

Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman

"side hustle", airport security, Albert Einstein, Cal Newport, coronavirus, COVID-19, Douglas Hofstadter, Frederick Winslow Taylor, gig economy, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Inbox Zero, income inequality, invention of the steam engine, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, New Journalism, Parkinson's law, profit motive, side project, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs

It’s somehow vastly more aggravating to wait two minutes for the microwave than two hours for the oven—or ten seconds for a slow-loading web page versus three days to receive the same information by mail. The same self-defeating pattern applies to many of our attempts to become more productive at work. A few years ago, drowning in email, I successfully implemented the system known as Inbox Zero, but I soon discovered that when you get tremendously efficient at answering email, all that happens is that you get much more email. Feeling busier—thanks to all that email—I bought Getting Things Done, by the time management guru David Allen, lured by his promise that it is “possible for a person to have an overwhelming number of things to do and still function productively with a clear head” and “what the martial artists call a ‘mind like water.’ ” But I failed to appreciate Allen’s deeper implication—that there’ll always be too much to do—and instead set about attempting to get an impossible amount done.

In fact, the symptoms were especially glaring in the subspecies to which I belonged. I was a “productivity geek.” You know how some people are passionate about bodybuilding, or fashion, or rock climbing, or poetry? Productivity geeks are passionate about crossing items off their to-do lists. So it’s sort of the same, except infinitely sadder. My adventures with Inbox Zero were only the tip of the iceberg. I’ve squandered countless hours—and a fair amount of money, spent mainly on fancy notebooks and felt-tip pens—in service to the belief that if I could only find the right time management system, build the right habits, and apply sufficient self-discipline, I might actually be able to win the struggle with time, once and for all.

pages: 326 words: 74,433

Do More Faster: TechStars Lessons to Accelerate Your Startup by Brad Feld, David Cohen

augmented reality, computer vision, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, disintermediation, hiring and firing, hockey-stick growth, Inbox Zero, independent contractor, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Lean Startup, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, risk tolerance, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, social web, software as a service, Steve Jobs

In fact, entrepreneurs should want even more e-mail, especially from your customers. If you accept the notion that “you can't get too much e-mail,” you'll then need a system for dealing with it. We recommend something similar to the Getting Things Done (GTD) system by David Allen, which includes tactics such as “inbox zero.” Your goal should be to touch every e-mail only once and either respond to it immediately or put it on a to-do list with a due date to be dealt with later. Then, delete the item from your inbox. Do not use your inbox as your to-do list—this is a guaranteed path to e-mail misery. This simple solution will keep most people from sucking at e-mail.

The last bit of advice I can give on this point is to remember that we all live in the real world. E-mail is fast and easy, but the reality is that not everyone uses it, and not everyone cares about it. I know it's scary, but if you're dealing with someone who sucks at e-mail, sometimes you just have to pick up the phone and call. David Cohen aiming for “inbox zero” on a summer Saturday at The Bunker. Use What's Free Ben Huh Ben is the CEO of The Cheezburger Network, owner of popular sites such as Lolcats, Loldogs, and FAIL Blog, and has made more people laugh than anyone we know. He's been a TechStars mentor since 2009. One way to get leverage over all of the big players out there that you're competing with is to build your business to be more efficient than theirs.

Alpha Trader by Brent Donnelly

algorithmic trading, Asian financial crisis, Atul Gawande, autonomous vehicles, backtesting, barriers to entry, beat the dealer, bitcoin, buy low sell high, Checklist Manifesto, commodity trading advisor, coronavirus, correlation does not imply causation, Covid-19, COVID-19, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, currency manipulation / currency intervention, diversification, Edward Thorp, Elliott wave, Elon Musk, endowment effect, eurozone crisis, fixed income, Flash crash, full employment, global pandemic, Gordon Gekko, hedonic treadmill, helicopter parent, high net worth, hindsight bias, implied volatility, impulse control, Inbox Zero, index fund, inflation targeting, information asymmetry, invisible hand, iterative process, law of one price, loss aversion, margin call, market bubble, market microstructure, McMansion, Monty Hall problem, Network effects, paper trading, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, prediction markets, price anchoring, price discovery process, price stability, quantitative easing, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, reserve currency, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, secular stagnation, Sharpe ratio, short selling, side project, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Stanford prison experiment, survivorship bias, tail risk, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, too big to fail, transaction costs, value at risk, very high income, yield curve, you are the product, zero-sum game

I try to do this with my daily newsletter, AM/FX. I will look at my charts and see if there is a way to display them a bit more clearly. I will think of new features that might appeal to different readers. I will ask my readers what they like and don’t like and try to keep evolving the product through subtle improvements. 9. Learn about inbox zero. It sounds impossible at first, but it’s not. Don’t be one of those people with 1,431 unread messages who I have to contact three times before I get a reply. That is not good! 10. Turn off notifications for desktop e-mail and turn off nearly all notifications on your phone. You should check your e-mail once per hour or less.

If your main trading time is the equity open, close your email from 9 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Answering emails one at a time as they come in distracts you. Over and over and over. And 99% of them are completely useless. Open emails and deal with them in batches every few hours. Your efficiency and focus will improve. Also: you should learn about Inbox Zero. Exercise. In some years I have exercised like an athlete and stayed in outstanding shape. On the other hand, I have had a few multi-year periods where I could not fit proper exercise into my schedule for whatever reason. The difference is glaring. After a year or so of no exercise, my brain gets dull and hazy.

Huff), 44, 251, 259, 492 HSBC Positioning Indicators, 345 Huff, Darrell, 44, 251, 259, 492 Hunt, Ben, 300, 492 ideas, filtering trade, 392, 407—411 confirmation bias and, 410 considering alternative hypotheses and, 411 correlated markets and, 409 narrative cycle and, 407—408 positioning and sentiment and, 408 technical analysis and, 409—411 upcoming events and potential catalysts and, 408-409 ideas, generating trade, 392, 393—407 analogs, 402—405 bankrupt stock rallies, 406 bubble deflation before rebounding, 405—406 deviation from fair value, 392, 398—400, 407 economic event/news, 392, 395—398, 407 indicator scanning, 406—407 month-end dollar effect, 405 narrative understanding, 392, 393—395, 407 pattern recognition, 392, 400—406, 407 round number bias, 406 run-up trade, 396—397 trader bearishness and not short, 397—398 impulse control, 56 in the zone moments, 189 Inbox Zero, 58, 137 income, 44—45, 49—52 agreeableness and, 49, 50 conscientiousness and, 50, 51, 52 extraversion and, 50 good person—job fit and, 49 IQ and, 44, 45, 45 neuroticism and, 49, 50 personality and IQ on male, 49, 50 independent thinking, trader attribute of, 75, 82—83, 234 indicator scanning, idea generation and, 406—407 industriousness, 56 informational edge, 230 institutional traders, junior daily stop losses and, 368 intelligent/knowledgeable/informed, trader attributes of, 75, 77—78 interest rates Federal Reserve cuts, 78, 79, 399—400, 471 gold and, 319 stocks and, 260, 261 intraday activity patterns, market, 283—288 gold futures volume by time of day, 285, 286 S&P futures volume by time of day, 284 10-year bond futures volume by time of day, 284, 285, 285 volume by time of day, 283—288 introverts, 36, 84 intuition, 32—33, 69, 71, 481 See also gut feeling IQ, 62, 72, 77 academic success and, 45—46, 46, 51 effect of personality and on male earnings, 49, 50 income and, 44, 45, 45 RQ and, 62, 63 success and, 44—46, 49—50, 51, 52, 58, 71 trading success and, 71 versus RQ, 66, 68 Irrational Exuberance (R.

pages: 128 words: 28,129

Exercise Every Day: 32 Tactics for Building the Exercise Habit (Even If You Hate Working Out) by S.J. Scott

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, fear of failure, Inbox Zero, Kickstarter, obamacare, Skype

Scott Level Up Your Day: How to Maximize the 6 Essential Areas of Your Daily Routine The Daily Entrepreneur: 33 Success Habits for Small Business Owners, Freelancers and Aspiring 9-to-5 Escape Artists Master Evernote: The Unofficial Guide to Organizing Your Life with Evernote (Plus 75 Ideas for Getting Started) Bad Habits No More: 25 Steps to Break ANY Bad Habit Habit Stacking: 97 Small Life Changes That Take Five Minutes or Less To-Do List Makeover: A Simple Guide to Getting the Important Things Done 23 Anti-Procrastination Habits: How to Stop Being Lazy and Get Results in Your Life S.M.A.R.T. Goals Made Simple: 10 Steps to Master Your Personal and Career Goals 115 Productivity Apps to Maximize Your Time: Apps for iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire and PC/iOS Desktop Computers Writing Habit Mastery: How to Write 2,000 Words a Day and Forever Cure Writer’s Block Daily Inbox Zero: 9 Proven Steps to Eliminate Email Overload Wake Up Successful: How to Increase Your Energy and Achieve Any Goal with a Morning Routine 10,000 Steps Blueprint: The Daily Walking Habit for Healthy Weight Loss and Lifelong Fitness Resolutions That Stick! How 12 Habits Can Transform Your New Year

pages: 131 words: 37,660

The Minimalist Way by Erica Layne

"side hustle", Inbox Zero, late fees, Mason jar, Silicon Valley, Snapchat

BECOME THE BOSS OF YOUR EMAIL (INSTEAD OF LETTING IT BE THE BOSS OF YOU) •Unsubscribe from any newsletters and promotional emails you don’t regularly read. (All promotional emails should have fine print at the bottom saying, “unsubscribe” or “update your email preferences.” Click through and follow the prompts to unsubscribe.) Get in the habit of hitting “unsubscribe” the instant you open an unwanted message. •Work toward Inbox Zero (an inbox without any new mail) by reading, deleting, and archiving emails. Labeling your emails or filing them into folders can be helpful for very specific projects or topics, but just make sure you’re not labeling superfluously, as our goal is to be as efficient with email as possible. Many emails can easily be referenced later by using your email provider’s search feature.

pages: 199 words: 43,653

Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal

Airbnb, AltaVista, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance,, framing effect, game design, Google Glasses, Ian Bogost, IKEA effect, Inbox Zero, invention of the telephone, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, Lean Startup, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, meta-analysis, Oculus Rift, Paul Buchheit, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, QWERTY keyboard, Richard Thaler, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Snapchat, TaskRabbit, telemarketer, the new new thing, Toyota Production System, Y Combinator

Yet to feel rewarded, the user must have a sense of accomplishment. Mailbox, an e-mail application acquired by Dropbox in 2013 for a rumored $100 million, aims to solve the frustration of fighting what feels like a losing in-box battle.20 Mailbox cleverly segments e-mails into sorted folders to increase the frequency of users achieving “inbox zero”—a near-mystical state of having no unread e-mails (figure 26). Of course, some of the folder sorting is done through digital sleight-of-hand by pushing some low priority e-mails out of sight, then having them reappear at a later date. However, by giving users the sense that they are processing their in-box more efficiently, Mailbox delivers something other e-mail clients do not—a feeling of completion and mastery.

pages: 222 words: 53,317

Overcomplicated: Technology at the Limits of Comprehension by Samuel Arbesman

algorithmic trading, Anton Chekhov, Apple II, Benoit Mandelbrot, Chekhov's gun, citation needed, combinatorial explosion, Danny Hillis, David Brooks, digital map, discovery of the americas,, Erik Brynjolfsson, Flash crash, friendly AI, game design, Google X / Alphabet X, Googley, HyperCard, Ian Bogost, Inbox Zero, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Kevin Kelly, Machine translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." to Russian and back, mandelbrot fractal, Minecraft, Netflix Prize, Nicholas Carr, Parkinson's law, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, software studies, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, superintelligent machines, Therac-25, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, urban planning, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog, Y2K

the source HTML of Google’s homepage: See Randall Munrose, “DNA,” xkcd, November 18, 2015, Slate interactives editor Chris Kirk: Chris Kirk, “Battling My Daemons: My Email Made Me Miserable. So I Decided to Build My Own Email App from Scratch,” Slate, February 25, 2015, laws and regulations are technologies: The analogy between computer code and other kinds of codes—legal, moral—can be pushed quite far, but treating these as distinct types of systems is probably best. to establish the postal service: Constitution of the United States of America, Article I, Section 8: “To Establish Post Offices and Post Roads”; “Title 39—Postal Service,” Code of Federal Regulations (annual edition), revised July 1, 2003, available online:

pages: 183 words: 60,223

Soulful Simplicity: How Living With Less Can Lead to So Much More by Courtney Carver

Airbnb, buy and hold, Inbox Zero, Ralph Waldo Emerson, stem cell

“How was your day?” he’d ask. And I’d say something like, “Busy day, I did a, b, c, d,” listing my many accomplishments. If his list was longer, I’d remember I had forgotten to mention a few things on my list and add more. There was always more. If our to-do lists don’t have enough check marks and inbox zero is still miles away, we feel like we didn’t contribute enough and therefore we aren’t good enough. I have to remind myself that no one cares about what’s on my to-do list or how busy I am, or even how much I got done yesterday. What I do is not who I am. When Your Plate Is Full, You Have Three Choices 1.

pages: 288 words: 66,996

Travel While You Work: The Ultimate Guide to Running a Business From Anywhere by Mish Slade

Airbnb, Atul Gawande, business process, Checklist Manifesto, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, Firefox, Google Chrome, Google Hangouts, Inbox Zero, independent contractor, job automation, Kickstarter, low cost airline, Lyft, remote work: asynchronous communication, remote working, side project, Skype, speech recognition, turn-by-turn navigation, uber lyft, WeWork

Zoom ( for video calls with screen sharing. Slack ( for great team chat and file sharing. Omnifocus ( for personal task management. Asana ( for team task management. Trello ( for project status monitoring. Inbox Zero (an approach to email management aimed at keeping the inbox empty – see for email management. Lewis Smith: Freelance developer and app creator Tell us a bit about you and what you do – both in terms of your work and travel habits. My name is Lewis (aka the Itinerant Dev: and I've been travelling with my wife Jenny ( since September 2012.

pages: 258 words: 74,942

Company of One: Why Staying Small Is the Next Big Thing for Business by Paul Jarvis

Airbnb, big-box store, Cal Newport, call centre, corporate social responsibility, David Heinemeier Hansson, effective altruism, Elon Musk,, endowment effect, follow your passion, gender pay gap, glass ceiling, Inbox Zero, independent contractor, index fund, job automation, Kickstarter, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Naomi Klein, passive investing, Paul Graham,, remote work: asynchronous communication, remote working, Results Only Work Environment, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ruby on Rails, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, software as a service, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, uber lyft, web application, Y Combinator, Y2K

But scaling down wasn’t just a plan for getting rid of our physical belongings; it was also a plan for achieving mental clarity. In creating a personal life that was bare of all but the essentials, parallels to my work started to become evident—what was truly necessary and what wasn’t. By decluttering my thoughts (creating an “inbox zero” for my brain, if you will), I was able to look at my day-to-day business much more clearly because the distractions were now gone. I hadn’t been able to clearly express my reasons for the way I had been working until that moment. This clarity highlighted something I had unconsciously been doing for nearly twenty years, even before going out on my own, and that was building a business full of resilience, driven by a desire for autonomy and, on most days, enjoyment.

pages: 297 words: 88,890

Can't Even: How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation by Anne Helen Petersen

"side hustle", Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, American ideology, big-box store, Cal Newport, call centre, collective bargaining, Covid-19, COVID-19, David Brooks, delayed gratification, Donald Trump, financial independence, future of work, gig economy, Gordon Gekko, helicopter parent, Inbox Zero, independent contractor, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, late capitalism, longitudinal study, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, McMansion, Minecraft, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, precariat, remote working, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, school choice, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Skype, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, uber lyft, unpaid internship, upwardly mobile, urban planning, Vanguard fund, working poor

Gregg connects each wave of productivity management guides, self-help books, and, today, apps to periods of anxiety over downsizing and the perceived need to prove oneself as more productive—and, as such, more theoretically valuable—than one’s peers. Amidst our current climate of economic precarity, the only way to create and maintain a semblance of order is to adhere to the gospel of productivity, whether blasting through your email to get to Inbox Zero or ignoring it altogether. A variety of lucrative businesses have emerged to facilitate peak productivity, catering to a mix of those desperate to pack even more work into their day, and others whose workload makes them feel if they’re drowning in the most basic of adult responsibilities. As Anna Wiener makes clear in Uncanny Valley, so many of the innovations of Silicon Valley of the last decade were designed to speak to the “affluent and the overextended,” selling everything from toothbrushes to vitamins directly through our Instagram accounts.

pages: 340 words: 97,723

The Big Nine: How the Tech Titans and Their Thinking Machines Could Warp Humanity by Amy Webb

Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Airbnb, airport security, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, algorithmic bias, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, autonomous vehicles, backpropagation, Bayesian statistics, Bernie Sanders, bioinformatics, blockchain, Bretton Woods, business intelligence, Cass Sunstein, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, cognitive bias, complexity theory, computer vision, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Deng Xiaoping, disinformation, distributed ledger, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Filter Bubble, Flynn Effect, gig economy, Google Glasses, Grace Hopper, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Inbox Zero, Internet of things, Jacques de Vaucanson, Jeff Bezos, Joan Didion, job automation, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, natural language processing, New Urbanism, one-China policy, optical character recognition, packet switching, pattern recognition, personalized medicine, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rodney Brooks, Rubik’s Cube, Sand Hill Road, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, SETI@home, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, smart cities, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, strong AI, superintelligent machines, surveillance capitalism, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, theory of mind, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, Turing machine, Turing test, uber lyft, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, zero day

We can thank the G-MAFIA for how much the quality of life has improved. What used to be time-consuming, difficult challenges—like trying to schedule a time that works for everyone, sorting out an after-school activity calendar, or managing our personal finances—is now fully automated and overseen by AGI. We no longer fritter away hours attempting to hit “inbox zero”—AGIs work collaboratively to facilitate most our low-level thinking tasks. We finally have simple household robotics that make good on their promises to keep our rugs and floors clean, our laundry put away, and our shelves dusted. (We think of 2019 as a much simpler time, one full of tedious and monotonous manual tasks.)

pages: 349 words: 95,972

Messy: The Power of Disorder to Transform Our Lives by Tim Harford

affirmative action, Air France Flight 447, Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, assortative mating, Atul Gawande, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, Barry Marshall: ulcers, Basel III, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Broken windows theory, call centre, Cass Sunstein, Chris Urmson, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, crowdsourcing, deindustrialization, Donald Trump, Erdős number, experimental subject, Ferguson, Missouri, Filter Bubble, Frank Gehry, game design, global supply chain, Googley, Guggenheim Bilbao, high net worth, Inbox Zero, income inequality, industrial cluster, Internet of things, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Loebner Prize, Louis Pasteur, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Merlin Mann, microbiome, out of africa, Paul Erdős, Richard Thaler, Rosa Parks, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, telemarketer, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the strength of weak ties, Turing test, urban decay, William Langewiesche

Franklin’s discussion of his virtue journal is in Part Two of his autobiography (New York: Henry Holt, 1916 ed.), available online at 2. John Bach McMaster, as quoted ibid., n. 70. 3. Daniel Levitin, The Organized Mind (London: Penguin, 2015). 4. Merlin Mann, “Inbox Zero,” talk delivered at Google Tech Talks, July 23, 2007, 5. Jorge Luis Borges, “John Wilkins’ Analytical Language” (1942), Selected Non-Fictions, ed. and trans. Eliot Weinberger (New York: Viking, 1999), p. 231. 6. Eric Abrahamson and David Freedman, A Perfect Mess (London: Orion, 2007), pp. 156–157. 7.

pages: 425 words: 112,220

The Messy Middle: Finding Your Way Through the Hardest and Most Crucial Part of Any Bold Venture by Scott Belsky

23andMe, 3D printing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Anne Wojcicki, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Ben Horowitz, bitcoin, blockchain, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, commoditize, correlation does not imply causation, cryptocurrency, delayed gratification, DevOps, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, endowment effect, hiring and firing, Inbox Zero, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, knowledge worker, Lean Startup, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, minimum viable product, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, NetJets, Network effects, new economy, old-boy network, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, ride hailing / ride sharing, Silicon Valley, slashdot, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, subscription business, TaskRabbit, the medium is the message, Travis Kalanick, Uber for X, uber lyft, WeWork, Y Combinator, young professional

(This urge is also how technologists keep us engaged in applications like LinkedIn, using progress bars that track our percentage toward a “successful” profile.) “Chipping away at our inbox gives us a sense of satisfaction precisely because the act includes such clear progress indicators. You started out with 232 email messages and now you have 50—progress! You’re advancing toward that holy grail of email productivity, inbox zero, and your brain is compelling you to see the job through,” Glei writes. “The problem is that while winnowing down your inbox gives you a strong feeling of progress, it’s just that—a feeling. Because unread message counts do not obey the golden rule of progress bars: Thou shalt not move backward.

pages: 561 words: 114,843

Startup CEO: A Field Guide to Scaling Up Your Business, + Website by Matt Blumberg

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, airport security, Albert Einstein, bank run, Ben Horowitz, Broken windows theory, crowdsourcing, deskilling, fear of failure, high batting average, high net worth, hiring and firing, Inbox Zero, James Hargreaves, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Lean Startup, Mark Zuckerberg, minimum viable product, pattern recognition, performance metric,, rolodex, Rubik’s Cube, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype

The kinds of shifts you can make are to be proactive instead of so reactive; to cut meetings, shrink them or group them when appropriate internally; to use videoconferencing instead of travel where possible—and to be just a little more selfish and guarded with your time. Management Moment Don’t Be a Bottleneck You don’t have to be an Inbox-Zero nut (though feel free if you’d like!) but you do need to make sure you don’t have people in the company chronically waiting on you before they can take their next actions. Otherwise, you lose all the leverage you have in hiring a team. Don’t let approvals or requests pile up. I worked for a guy once who constantly had a line of people at his door waiting for his comments or approvals on things.

pages: 389 words: 112,319

Think Like a Rocket Scientist: Simple Strategies You Can Use to Make Giant Leaps in Work and Life by Ozan Varol

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, Amazon Web Services, Andrew Wiles, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Arthur Eddington, autonomous vehicles, Ben Horowitz, Cal Newport, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, Colonization of Mars, dark matter, delayed gratification, different worldview, discovery of DNA, double helix, Elon Musk, fear of failure, functional fixedness, Gary Taubes, George Santayana, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Inbox Zero, index fund, Isaac Newton, James Dyson, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, Johannes Kepler, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, late fees, lateral thinking, lone genius, longitudinal study, Louis Pasteur, low earth orbit, Marc Andreessen, Mars Rover, meta-analysis, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, multiplanetary species, obamacare, Occam's razor, out of africa, Peter Thiel, Pluto: dwarf planet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Ronald Reagan, salary depends on his not understanding it, Sam Altman, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, sunk-cost fallacy, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, Upton Sinclair, Vilfredo Pareto, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, Whole Earth Catalog, women in the workforce, Yogi Berra

Asking a question or posing a thought experiment means that we don’t know the answer, and that’s an admission that few of us are willing to make. For fear of sounding stupid, we assume most questions are too basic to ask, so we don’t ask them. What’s more, in this era of “move fast and break things,” curiosity can seem like an unnecessary luxury. With an inbox-zero ethos and an unyielding focus on hustle and execution, answers appear efficient. They illuminate the path forward and give us that life hack so we can move on to the next thing on our to-do list. Questions, on the other hand, are exceedingly inefficient. If they don’t yield immediate answers, they’re unlikely to get a slot on our overloaded calendars.