Archive: February 2017

Random Recordings #1

In August 2016, I got a small voice recorder to help collect my thoughts.  I’ve realized I hear or read so many things.  Sometimes I have random realizations too.  I think I would remember things, but reality is, I don’t.

Since August, I’ve recorded a lot of random thoughts.  My plan has always been to transcribe those thoughts.  These thoughts are raw and unfiltered.  Outside of context, they may seem random, but this is step one.  I may elaborate on a particular thought in the future. I do not claim that all these thoughts are original, just a dump of what I’ve either consumed or thought.

Updated on 2-20-2017
Here’s the plan: Every Sunday On the first of every month I will transcribe my thoughts from the previous week month.  That’s it.  I do not plan to elaborate or comment further about each thought.  Just a transcription.

This first entry will be special and super long, because it’ll include all of my recordings since I started.

So, here they are:

August 2016

  1. There are cigarette butts everywhere, what makes cigarette butts not littering?
  2. Speed is only useful if you’re running in the right direction.
  3. Similar to yoga, use an intention to start a talk.

September 2016

  1. Idea is root in the Greek word idien, which means “to see”.
  2. The riches are in the niches.
  3. Meditation method: 100 second cold shower, amazing.
  4. Market research: People, Product, and Places
  5. Use Amazon for market research.
  6. For Market Research: Use advanced search with Facebook, Google Amazon, Twitter and more.
  7. When asking questions: Tell me a story when _____
  8. Google awesome stories about your niche.
  9. After an hour and ten minutes on the road, for what should be a 20 minute drive, I can see why people get upset with traffic.  This is ridiculous.  This is definitely how people have bad days, I’m so glad I don’t do these every day. Not a good way to start the morning at all.
  10. If you want to achieve your dreams, wake up.
  11. Explain your idea in: One page, one paragraph, one sentence.
  12. Use to host podcast episodes.
  13. Only go deep as you can.  The feeling that you get is the same that someone else gets.  Just because they go farther, doesn’t mean it’s easier.
  14. Hitting a plateau is not necessarily a bad thing. It could mean that you’ve achieved the successes you’re looking for and you don’t know what’s next.
  16. You can get what you want, as long as the other person gets what they want.
  17. The most valuable resources is not money, it’s time.  Everybody has the same 24 hours everyday, no matter who you are.
  18. For a good Kickstarter you want to be number one in your category. Everyday they don’t look how much money you make, but number of transactions.  So the goal is to figure out how to get small transactions and get popular everyday.  It really helps out.
  19. Talk to your customers, not at them.
  20. The years say, what the days can’t tell.
  21. As an entrepreneur you need to learn to generate your own momentum, even when you have nothing.
  22. Follow through with drone stuff.

October 2016

  1. Score your responses to a survey “high or low”.  Focus on the top 20% as the market you want to focus on and the bottom 20% as areas to improve.  Those are the two best places to look.
  2. Leonardo DiCaprio is working on a documentary about global warming.  Need to check it out.
  3. The spiral model for iterative design is super important.  You “assess”, “design”, “build” and continuously do this in a spiral like motion until you get to a very focused pinpoint of what you want to achieve.
  4. Check out “mentions” for competitive tracking on the internet.
  5. The most dangerous negotiation is the one you don’t know you’re in.
  6. When asking questions, interrupting is ok when asking for clarity. So when I think of something, just interrupt and ask for clarity, never assume.
  7. In every two hour conversation, there’s at least 90 seconds of solid gold.
  8. Comfort with silence is a technique that many people don’t have.
  9. Embrace the coefficient of friction when trying to sell something. If someone’s willing to put forth the effort to make the purchase, they’re more than likely to spend more money right then and there.
  10. Sometimes it’s better to model the outliers as that can help fix the middle itself.
  11. Learn to delegate the tasks you like to do most.
  12. If you think you’re capable of X, you’re at least capable of X+20%.
  13. Your success in life is measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations you’re willing to take.
  14. Every day do one thing that scares you.
  15. When interviewing someone for the first time, don’t ask them something they’ve been asked 10 or more times, as your first question.
  16. We learn most from those we have the least in common with.
  17. Technique over form
  18. WP All Import Pro
  19. Reviews+ for WordPress puts stars in Google for different products.

November 2016

  1. Passion and progress are two different things.
  2. Passion is about, purpose is to and for.

December 2016

  1. To be really good at something you need a plus, equal and minus. Somebody is better than what you are, so they can teach you, somebody who is equal, so that you can work with them on your craft and somebody who is a minus so you can teach them.
  2. We cannot be humble, accept by enduring humiliations.
  3. When you complain, nobody wants to help you.
  4. To deal with writer’s block, write about what makes you angry.
  5. Those who are offended easily, should be offended more often.

January 2017

  1. Blubrry for Podcasts, look it up.
  2. Your inbox is a todo list that anyone can add an action to.
  3. Losers react, leaders anticipate.
  4. You know when you have A-players on your team, when they don’t just accept the strategy you hand them.
  5. Losers have goals, winners have systems.
  6. Read “1000 true fans” by Kevin Kelly.
  7. Add a plus to the end of a Bitly link so you can see stats, such as referrals, giving insights to other markets.
  8. Don’t try and find time, schedule time.
  9. Edit for yourself, second edit for your fans, third edit for your haters.
  10. “We end up spending the best part of one’s life earning money in order to enjoy a questionable liberty during the least valuable part of it” – Thoreau
  11. Read “Stone Soup”

Week of February 5th, 2017

  1. Ours, is a culture where our ability to get by on very little sleep, which is kind of a badge of honor that symbolizes work ethic.
  2. Read Plato’s “The Republic”.
  3. The future is here, it’s just unevenly distributed.
  4. Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.
  5. Most people choose unhappiness over uncertainty.
  6. Find my VO2 Max.
  7. Robustness is when you care more about the few who like your work then the multitude that hate it.  Fragility is when you care more about the few who hate your work then the multitude that love it.  Choose to be robust.
  8. Be yourself, everyone else is taken.
  9. Roughly 90% of thoughts are fear-based, the other 10% is desire-based.
  10. Desire is suffering.
  11. Earn with your mind, not your time.
  12. Passion comes from a combination of being open and curious. And of all, really going all in when you find  something that you’re interested in.
  13. Break sales records following a really simple formula: Just be honest and transparent, in a broken industry.
  14. The “I don’t have list” is a popular write-off for inaction.
  15. As the access of information goes up, so does accountability.
  16. Watch Steve Job’s Stanford commencement speech again.

Books I read in 2016

I’ve been meaning to write this post since the beginning of the year. My laziness to write this sucks. So as I run on this bike, I started this post. There’s no need to wait anymore.  I need to write more.

I’ve grown accustomed to reading books on a treadmill on my Kindle. With some music, a 6.0mph pace, I consume greatness.  Nearly every book I read is non-fiction. I’ve tried a few fiction but can never get through them.

Here’s look back at the books I read.  There is so much I’ve learned.  Alas, I wanted to share the books I read in 2016 with short take-a-ways.

Here’s my 2016 reading list:

The Art of Explanation – Being able to communicate your ideas is so important.  The biggest takeaway from this book is understanding how to break your ideas down and “connect the dots” for your audience.   I read this book because Lee is one of the creators of those awesome Common Craft video explainers.  His ability to break down some complex stuff for a wide audience is a real skill.  I enjoyed learning about his processes.

Will It Fly – First, Pat Flynn is awesome. I’ve been a long time listener of his podcast, The Smart Passive Income, and I thought I’d check this book out.  I’m glad I did.  There are so many actionable nuggets in this book.  It really does a great job walking you through how to research your idea and put yourself in a great position to make it happen. The insights of recording your “Google” research in a spreadsheet is an amazing way to organize your research and thoughts. Highly recommended.

Ask – Ryan walks through the Ask Method.  I found this book really empowering.  The idea of just asking direct questions to your audience is such a necessity.  You should really ask so much more.  He walks through setting up marketing funnels, intro surveys, follow up surveys, and targeted email autoresponders.  I love the directness of this book.  I have a feeling I’ll be referencing back to this book in the future.

Ego Is The Enemy – Learning to reflect on oneself can be a difficult thing to do.  I loved this book because it really helps you think about humility and how to make better decisions on your actions.  Sometimes just taking a deep breath before acting can help change how you react.  When you learn to put your ego aside, I think we can all accomplish more.


Sapiens – This book was beautifully written.  This is one of those rare books that really can create a paradigm shift in your head.  It makes you approach or think about who we are as a species on this planet.  The understanding of domestication and how wheat domesticated us was a soft positive nod as you’re reading it.  This book really challenged me to think about my own premonitions.  As he progresses from the far past, the present and a forward prediction of the end of our species, it’s fascinating and somewhat disheartening; understanding who we are.  You need to read this book a little bit slower than your normal reading pace.  There’s just so much to take in.

Endzone – I’ve been a Michigan football fan as early as I can remember and reading this book just made me an even bigger fan.  I truly enjoyed learning about the early athletics at UofM and the contributions to modern football (such as different players for offense and defense).  This book taught me so much of the origins of the program, the traditions and the culture.  The last decade of Michigan football was, albeit, different.  Reading this book made me feel like I had a first row look into so much that happened, leading up to the the hiring of Coach Harbaugh.  If you love Michigan football, read this. Go Blue.


Hooked – Nir’s understanding on how to create habit forming products is beautiful.  It just felt so clear and very implementable.  In short, there’s four stages to the hook model, trigger, action, variable reward, and investment.  Using these stages and implementing them in your product development is a actionable take away on thinking about the psychology of habit forming products.

101 Crucial Lessons They Don’t Teach You in Business School – Here’s a book that you can read in one sitting.  I loved the short, simple lessons in this book.  Many I’ve seen before (helping strengthen the ideas) and just as many that really made me think twice about how I could make changes in how I run a business.  At the very least, keep this book nearby, flip to a random lesson and enjoy digestible insights on becoming a better business leader.

Lying – Sam Harris lays it all out.  Things you’ll read may make you upset or feel guilty.  That’s ok.  Lying is one of those things you don’t realize how often you may be doing it.  Little lies, like saying you’re 20 minutes away, when you know you’re 30.  While it may not seem like a big deal, these little white lies are bad habits that too many of us have.  I’m as guilty as any of us,  Since reading this book it’s subconsciously stuck with me.  I’ve become more self-aware on my stupid little white lies and I’m trying to be not just more honest with others, but with myself.

Bossypants – I didn’t technically “read” this book.  This was the first book I consumed in audio format.  Given that it was read by Tina Fey herself, it was a very enjoy book to listen too.  There’s a lot of stories, some felt to drag on, but her insights on her career (professional and personally) really gave me some new perspectives of the differences women faces vs men in a business world. I really appreciate the new perspectives and thinking about things I normally don’t think about or maybe take for granted. Thank you Tina. I think there’s some really great advices in this book, along side hilarious, sometimes quirky stories.

Tools of the Titans – I’ve been a huge fan of Tim Ferriss for years.  I’ve read all of his books, listened to many of his podcasts and watch videos on Youtube.  He’s been a huge influence on me and making positive changes in my life.  This book is a culmination of over 200 interviews by some of the worlds’ leading achievers.  I started reading this book at the end of 2016, but carried over into early 2017.  Don’t expect to take every story and piece of advice from the people showcased in this book, but I guarantee you’ll find a dozen or more things that will truly help you.  At the very least, learning what new questions to ask yourself and your peers is super valuable. This is his best book to date, hands down.


So there you have it.  This is the first time I’ve written reviews for books I’ve read.  I read books every year and starting this year, I wanted to reflect back on the year of reading.  I hope to continue to write mini-reviews each year on the books I’ve read.  I have a great bunch of books lined up for 2017!

Have you read any of the books above? Love them? Hate them? Got any book recommendations for me?