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2020-05-03: Weekly Review

Weekly Review

Preamble

Currently taking Building a Second Brain by Tiago Forte. It’s a one month course on digital organization to help people “save their best ideas, organize their learning, and dramatically expand their creative output”.

Organizing learnings is something of a obsession passion of mine and I’m currently building a startup around it. I’ve been following Tiago’s work for a while and figured with containment going on that this was the perfect time to try out his course.

At the time of this writing, I’m one month in with one more week to go. The course has been stellar and I would highly recommend it to anyone that cares about scaling up their learning process.

One of my takeaways is the notion of producing intermediary packets of work. This means releasing bits and pieces of intermediary work during the process of working on a larger task.

One perpetual task I have is working through my information backlog stored across various news feeds (eg. Feedly, mailing lists, etc) and read-it-later apps (eg. Instapaper, Pocket, etc). That backlog is now +1000 articles. Usually, I collect these articles and have them collect digital dust until the links expire.

In the spirit of producing intermediary packets, I’m going through my backlog now and will be producing weekly digests based on the non-expired links.

This digest will consist of articles I’ve been reading and topics I find interesting. It will also include systems I’m experimenting with to more effectively learn and do things. And because all good things come in threes, I’ll round it off with a list of things I’ve been working on over the week.

The plan is to make this a recurring weekly thing. And with that preamble out of the way, welcome to the first-ever edition of The Weekly Review.

Structure

  • Thoughts: What I’m thinking about based on articles I’m reading and things I’m working on
  • Systems: Tools and workflows I’m experimenting with to more effectively learn and get things done
  • Outputs: Things I’m working on in various stages of completion

Thoughts

  • Start where you are

    • Articles
    • Quotes

      Start where you are. Do what you can with what you have. Don’t concern yourself with “right” or “best” options. Choose a good option and get going.

    • Notes
      • Doing more (public) writing has been something I’ve thought about endlessly but never started. I think everything I publish needs to be a 2000 word treatise of some sort. To keep things simple, I’m doing The Weekly Review as bullet points instead of paragraphs.
  • Emotional Maturity
    • Articles
    • Quotes

      When someone unknowingly lacks an understanding of the cause of an emotion they’re expressing, we can say they’re being emotionally immature.

    • Notes
      • Our society puts a lot of emphasis on intellectual maturity. Our whole education system and much of our hiring process is evaluated around it. But emotions drive everything we do. But emotional maturity is hard to measure - you won’t find it in a GMAT score. And thus, like climate change, we put off dealing with it.
  • Power of Constraints
    • Articles
    • Quotes

      Gardening Notion boards becomes an activity in itself … Notion doesn’t get out of the way, it’s malleability always invites you to tweak your boards further, to add another property, to connect another relation, to add another view, to go through your board and complete data on all cards. It has become a perpetual joke within our team to “create a Notion board” for any problem we encounter.

    • Notes
      • In college, there was nothing worse than a takehome exam that had no time limit. The lack of constraints meant that you were never done. There’s a reason why goto and eval are no longer used. The more I create things, the more I appreciate constraints.

Systems

  • Putting a Calendly link in your twitter profile
    • Notes
      • Calendly is a tool that lets users book time on your calendar. It shows them your free slots and is the easiest way to schedule meetings. I saw someone on Twitter do this and thought it was a great way to lower the friction for people to reach out. That being said, I’m not brave enough to do that on twitter just yet 😅
  • Alternative Social Media Handles
    • eg: NotionHQ, tryNotion, getNotion
    • Notes
      • Naming is hard, especially because everything you think of is already taken. But the above examples are better than appending 1234 at the end of the name.
  • Start using alfred-firefox to navigate firefox tabs
    • Notes
      • Normally have a hundred tabs going on at firefox at any given time. This makes navigating between them much more manageable.

Output

  • Dendron
    • 3 customer interviews
    • Evaluating various react-based editor frameworks
      • 90% certain of going with 0.47 version of Slate.js
    • Evaluate GraphQL and various solutions
      • Verdict: Stick with Redux & REST
  • Thence Consulting
    • AWS Getting Started Post
      • Been working with AWS for the past month to create a comprehensive Getting Started experience that focuses on fundamental concepts of the cloud. Took a week hiatus from writing afterwards but quite happy with how it turned out.
    • Client A
      • Work with an American University on a COVID vaccine effort. Helping them scale up their backend to handle 100x more load. Besides scaling, also working on some automation and standing up a few self-hosted services (eg. mailcow and discourse)
    • Client B

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