Hey all. Welcome to the first Hey Penguin. This is a behind-the-scenes look at what I’ve been learning and applying to the content that I make. These are the tools and ideas that I’ve been using to feed the blog, podcast, and the way that I live.
Consider this newsletter as evidence that there’s no such thing as good ideas pulled out of thin air. There’s no lottery ticket. Only process.
I hope you’ll find these resources helpful to you as well.
[note: I’d like to make this an email newsletter. See the note at the bottom for more.]
What I’ve been thinking about: Reiteration. Alleviating dissatisfaction by treating everyday (and every project) like Groundhog day. Quit doing what isn’t helping you get to where you want to go. This newsletter, like everything else, is going to go through reiterations. You can reiterate your narrative. You can adjust your story as you see fit.
You can’t become who you want to be unless you start from who you are now. You need to go through steps 1 through 9 before you get to step 10. You need shoulders to stand on. Even if they’re weak shoulders. Even if they’re step 1 shoulders.
For more on this, here’s You can walk on water – a popular blog post from last week.
Podcast that’s blowing my mind: Naval on wealth and happiness.
Every ambitious creative person needs to listen to this podcast from start to finish.
Naval Ravikant is Marcus Aurelius plus Warren Buffet. I haven’t heard one thing from this guy that I disagree with. He’s a rare prophet who knows exactly what the future of work will look like. Lean into what he says about using software to leverage creativity to build assets while you sleep.
What I’m reading and applying to my work: This Is Marketing by Seth Godin. I wouldn’t be writing this newsletter if it weren’t for this book. This Is Marketing is helping me solve several tiny questions with major implications about my work:
Who is this for? (The biggest one.)
What is this for?
What promises am I making to the people who engage with my work?
Why should my content exist?
(I also see overlap with Carl Jung’s psychology of ideas. But that’s a different post for a different time.)
Which brings me to…
The book that I’m revisiting (sort of): Essentialism by Greg McKeown. I’m not reading it now, but I’m keeping the principles in the back of my mind. The 80-20 rule. Not multitasking. Taking breaks. Sleeping. Removing clutter. Seth Godin’s book is unlocking all the ways in which I can make great content for people who care. But it’s coming at a price. I often think of dozens of ideas for content at the same time. On the outside I look calm. But on the inside it’s like I’m going to explode. So I need the 80-20 rule. I need to take breaks. I need to remove clutter. I need to create space and time to focus on “what’s meaningful, not what’s expedient.”
Also, Captain Sinbad has a great video on the feeling of creative overload.
Community I wish I had joined earlier: Indiehackers.com. This is a community for people who buy mushroom coffee because they heard about it on Tim Ferriss. It’s a community of entrepreneurs, content creators, developers and builders. There’s no hustle. It’s full of smart, conscientious people working to make things better.
The great thing about this website is that you can see what other people are working on. There’s little survivorship bias because you can see peoples pivots and mistakes, too. I hope this community is around forever.
App that I’m obsessed with: Hemingway. Writing is now solved. For the last week, I’ve been putting every blog post through this app. It’s shown me errors that I’ve never considered before. It feels like cheating. (Put other people’s writing through this app. You’ll see things you’ve never seen before.)
Strange coffee that I’m addicted to: Foursigmatic’s Lion’s Mane dark roast. This is a coffee that’s made with mushrooms, and it’s fantastic. It doesn’t taste like mushrooms. It tastes like an excellent dark roast. I don’t know if it’s placebo, but this coffee makes me smarter. At least to the extent that I don’t check Twitter while I’m writing a sentence. And no, they don’t sponsor me.
Chrome extension that’ll lower the price of the strange coffee that I’m addicted to: Honey. This extension browses a database of coupons at checkout when you shop online. I used it to get a discount on the mushroom coffee. It’s amazing. Don’t buy another product online before installing this app. And if you use Firefox, sorry. There’s no hope for you.
A note about the future of this newsletter.
I’d like to make this an email newsletter. Starting an email newsletter isn’t free. It’s a major goal of mine to make content like this for a living. So I’ll need your help. Consider supporting me on Ko-fi. It’s a small, one time donation of $3. Every bit helps me to keep showing up to serve you.
I’m also thinking of starting one on one services that I can provide to creatives who feel stuck. I’d make it personal, focusing on what’s blocking this specific person. Kind of like unlicensed therapy for stuck creatives.