67: David and Goliath

We're continuing last week's discussion, and sharing ideas about how to thrive when your competition is bigger and stronger. As a small company, a tiny team, or an indie, you're a David, and to win with your Goliath, you ought to do things they don't, won't, or can't do. Instead of emulating a giant, play the game by your own rules.

This, and a 86-second review of iPhone 7.

66: Guerrilla Development

One does not win a war against a vastly stronger enemy by going head to head against it. No, to have a chance of winning, you need to play a different game altogether, and turn your opponent's strengths into weaknesses.

Warfare metaphors aside, it's also true for any company or project. To thrive in spite of strong competition, you need to play asymmetrically and instead of emulating them, do things they cannot do.

This week, we share some thoughts and examples of how we try to do this at Nozbe.

65: Request for comments

At every company, communication overhead becomes a real sink for time and energy. And the larger you get, the greater the overhead. It's prudent to optimize how you communicate and collaborate, so you can get the biggest bang for your buck. Communicate only as much as you need to, not more, and get back to doing the work.

That takes nuance, different tools for different jobs, and an appreciation of asynchronous work.

64: Garbage collection

There's no speed limit to how fast you can learn. But you can't just upload information into your brain either. To learn faster, it's important to understand the nature of how we remember things.

This week we discuss the spaced repetition learning technique, how to take good book notes, and a vision for a book of the future.

63: Show me

Discussing insights from How to Fly a Horse. Everybody can be creative, but creative thinking doesn't exist. Creation is not inspiration, but iteration. It takes time, and lots of work. And you have to become comfortable with this. Brainstorming doesn't work, but feedback loops do. Confidence gives you power, but certainty makes you stuck. Question everything, but not too early. Instead, "Show me". Ahh, all the nuances!

Lots of good stuff in this one, so please forgive us for Michael's poor audio quality.

60: TGIF

Michael wants his employees to work less and still pay them the same. He might be crazy.

We're implementing a new, experimental policy at Nozbe, where everyone works at full thrust from Monday through Thursday, and then on Friday, after a few meetings, and a mandatory Weekly Review, you can do whatever you want.

We discuss the motivation and implications of this.

59: Abolishing hierarchies

Thoughts on software design. What we do with user feedback, how we prioritize new features, teach users good habits through interface design, and try to strike a balance between "simple" and "powerful".

Also a brief discussion about iOS 10.

"Father, can I write another function, please?"

Radek's Workflows:

57: Discomfort routine

Radek started waking up so early, no one can believe this is even possible.

(Isn't this weird that when we hit the snooze button, procrastination is literally the first thing we do in a day? How could that be a good thing?)

Also a discussion about discomfort, stretching your limits, and sharing some brain hacks.

55: Ten years from now

Answering common questions and criticisms about high book consumption. Why it doesn't matter how many books you read will you remember 10 years from now. Why having a lot of (often contradictory) mental models is crucial. Why it's important to have time to process and some tips on achieving it.

Also a discussion about privacy and security, including the math behind differential privacy.

54: Forget the fireplace

There is no such thing as reading too many books. (Or if there is, it's certainly way above the 30 books per year rate both Michael and Radek find easy to achieve.) Each new book compliments the previous one, adding to your trove of knowledge, ideas, and insights. Each adds nuance, or shows contradictions, or a different point of view.

And so we must reject this romantic but ultimately destructive notion that reading a book is a sacred ritual, that it must be done with a physical book, and studied thoroughly by the fireplace. If we want to grow wiser and learn, we must read a lot. It's a practical concern. And so we listen to audiobooks. A lot.

Also: where to find new books, how to pick the right ones, and a mid-year update.

Where to find books:

Relevant past episodes:

Books mentioned:

53: Originals

What does it take for individuals and organizations to be original and creative? Michael and Radek share their favorite bits from Originals — Adam Grant's newest book that tries to answer these very questions.

We talk about why quantity vs quality is a false dichotomy, why procrastination is sometimes good, why we should share our ideas more often than we think is appropriate, how to avoid groupthink, and why being a defensive pessimist helps avoid mistakes.