82: Planning 2017

A year of your life is precious. Instead of just going with the flow (and often, ending up nowhere), it's worth taking a deliberate approach to planning your year. Every year.

Not "New Year's Resolutions", no. Those never work. An actual plan, with goals you can hold yourself accountable to. A plan you review every week.

 

80: Peak

We're back from our winter break, and this week we're discussing the book Peak.

We want to understand, on a deeper level, how people become good at what they do, and what's the best approach to learning. Peak offers important clues towards the answer. In fact, this book inspired both of us enough that we're incorporating its ideas into our plans for 2017.

Takeaways:

  • Forget about talent. Skills develop through practice.
  • … a lot of practice (thousands of hours for expertise in most fields)
  • Focus on one small sub-skill at a time, not all of it
  • Create a tight feedback loop and iterate on those sub-skills
  • Stay just beyond your current limit of ability
  • Build mental models!

Links:

77: Ego is the enemy

At every stage of our lives, when we aspire, succeed, or fail, our ego is the enemy. It's too easy to fall into the trap of ego and start believing your own delusions and hubris, that you're smarter and better than you really are, that it's others that are at fault, that you've already learned all you have to learn. "Sure, other people do that, but not me", you might think to yourself — and yet that's exactly the thinking that leads towards this fate.

We discuss how we felt reading Ryan Holiday's Ego is the Enemy, and some thoughts on avoiding the trap of ego.

76: Management by walking around

Discussing more unorthodox ideas about running a business from Under New ManagementTrying to figure out why so many companies believe that open-space offices are a good thing. Discussing salary transparency — we're not doing it, but maybe we should?

75: Under New Management

The way today's companies are ran closely mimics the management methods of the industrial revolution era firms. But the realities of a modern organization — that relies mostly on knowledge and creative work — is very different. Just like the world has moved on from the industrial era, so should our management practices.

This week, we discuss Under New Management by David Burkus.

73: Quarterly Offsite

Personal Quarterly Offsite (or just "quarterly review") is your feedback loop for life. Every three months, you give a day to yourself to review your whole life, reflect deeply, learn from your mistakes, and make plans and decisions for the next quarter.

Michael and Radek share why and how they do it, and some concrete conclusions from their Q3 reviews.

71: Friction Management

Radek shares some pro-tips and brain hacks he used to regain control over his morning routine.

The first step is to wake up early and consistently, and that's hard. The second step is to get rid of the compulsive Twitter reading habit in the morning. And the third part is to actually remember to go to sleep early enough. All require the right system, not motivation or discipline.

70: People want to work

Live from this week's Nozbe Reunion, we review how the TGIF policy has been working for us in the past 10 weeks. Turns out, it's not so easy to make people work less. But we've learned a lot, we'll be tweaking the process a bit, and we'll keep doing it!

Also, a teaser for the new Nozbe.HOW project we've been working on.

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.