If you're more of a watcher than a reader, here's my video update instead:
Ali Abdaal's Part-Time YouTuber Academy #
Ali Abdaal's Part-Time YouTuber Academy is the best course I've ever taken.
It was logically structured to break a series of complicated interconnected processes into simple actionable steps, it was designed for its medium and wasn't merely retrofitted to be recorded after the fact, it had fantastic support structures of peer advisers and extra-cirricular workshops, and it set meaningful and achievable homework assignments.
Personally, I got a ton out of this course. I feel like I had all the pieces of what it would take to make a successful YouTube channel lying around but I didn't have a structure of how they fit together.
Here's the intro video I made at the start of the course chatting about what I wanted to get out of it and where I was starting from:
Ali did something in this course blindingly obvious to track improvement that I've never seen before: self assessments of your progress on the dimensions this course is working to improve. I plan to blatantly steal it for my coding and entrepreneurship courses at Genco.school.
I'm really proud of my first homework assignment. There's a ton to improve, but I'm optimizing for the 100th video, not the 1st:
It's been fascinating connecting with the YouTuber community and seeing how one of the best YouTubers that's ever existed has honed his process. The YouTube game seems to be all about getting attention first and figuring out what products to build afterwards, which is in stark contrast with the Microconf community that tends to build first and try to find an audience later. It was surprising to me to see how many parallels there were of similar advice in business success coming from two totally different sides.
Stay tuned for a full course recap of my consolidated notes.
The Makers.dev I started with Chris Achard is going so well. We've been consistently recording an episode per week:
I've found it super useful to have these check-ins in the back of my mind as I go through my week deciding how to allocate my time.
The Genco Show #
I've had so many fantastic conversations with interesting people that have just been lost to the aether. In an effort to fight entropy, I'm starting to record and publish some of them. Here are a few great ones I had last month with Shai Schecter on life, philosophy, and morality:
I don't expect any reasonable person to watch these videos as they are presented here, which is why it's becoming increasingly important for me to put together a workflow for syndicating long for media into smaller clips across social media. It would be truly easy for you, while scrolling on your newsfeed of choice, to pause for a second and watch a few seconds of a captioned clip of one of these talks.
Speaking of which…
Dreams of the perfect content workflow #
Between Makers.dev, The Genco Show, PSLove, and the videos that accompany these monthly updates, I'm producing a lot of long form content.
This content needs to be edited and uploaded, and it would be great if they could also be clipped and syndicated across different social media platforms.
I want to be making more of this content and making it more accessible. Any process improvements are magnified in their impact across all the projects they enable.
To that end, I invested about six hours this last month making an automated video editor for videos that come from Riverside.fm. The guys making riverside reached out to me and they'll be rolling my code into their product!
I'd like to be investing more to make the process of going from an idea to a published blog post and video to syndicated content on social media as frictionless as possible.
New Website #
I rewrote my website this month. I realized the easiest way to do that would be to write my own blog engine. I'm immensely proud of it: this blog feels like a much closer reflection of myself than the old one did from the design to the content to the layout. Check out the gory code details if you're into that kinda thing.
Cat Puzzle #
I put together the first jigsaw puzzle that I've worked on in several years this last month. It had been sitting on the coffee table in my Airbnb exactly 1/4 completed since I've been here. One day walking past it, I decided to put it away, but I got sucked into putting a few pieces together. Eight hours later over the next few days it was finished. In the process I found myself drawing a lot of analogies to putting a puzzle together and living a successful life. It's difficult to know what to work on next, the next best place to push forward your energy, the adjacent possible, and keeping track of high-level patterns while being able to focus down on very small but important details.
Wisdom teeth removal surgery #
I went to the dentist for the first time in over a decade two years ago after I noticed black spots on my teeth. I had two cavities, but more seriously had developed a moderate case of periodontitis (plaque build up growing below the gum line). After going through a very uncomfortable procedure getting this fixed, I decided to take my dental health much more seriously. I went from having never flossed in my entire life to flossing consistently once a day.
The next several times I went in to see my dentist they recommended I get my wisdom teeth taken out. This is a procedure that most of my friends in high school had done when they were sixteen and I assumed that if I had made it this far they might as well stay in if I wasn't actively feeling pain.
One day while doing my daily journaling exercise of writing down the work that at least want to do, the task "research western teeth removal" popped up. I decided to do the very anxious work of figuring out if it actually made sense to go through a two thousand dollar elective surgery of getting four of my teeth ripped out of my mouth. I did a bunch of goggling, scheduled several appointments, and asked two of my dentist uncles for advice.
I believe I could have perfectly justified either getting them out or not. Ultimately I decided to do it because experts who seemed to know what they were talking about and had not yet led me astray unanimously agreed that this was the correct course of action.
Facing risks of bleeding to death, dry socket, nerve damage, and drug complications, I bravely and calmly prepared for the surgery and willingly confronted the danger. The trade off here was an immediate risk and inconvenience in return for long term convenience and lower risk of dental complication. This is a category of decision I would like to continue prioritizing the long term game.
The surgery and recovery went incredibly smoothly with a very gross exception on day 7 when I started irrigating my new dirty mouth holes. at times I felt ejecting being thrown down mass loss higher gave needs and be thinking very consciously about such basic requirements as food, water, and sleep. I got a one week taste of what people suffering from chronic illnesses go through. It sucks and I'm feeling very grateful to have a functioning body again.
Strategies to recover from bad days vs. "today will be shitty" #
one of the recent breakers I've had in therapy is shifting my focus from pessimism to optimism: instead of lamenting the inadequacies of people and situations in my life, it's much more useful and enjoyable to be focussing on the positives.
along these lines, on days were something goes wrong—my sleep was disrupted, I left the stove on, or I carelessly cut my finger on a door—instead of writing the entire day of I've been focusing on strategies that can effectively make the day better.
So far this includes taking a nap, meditating, doing a creative project, going for a walk, or going climbing. I feel a heightened sense of agency when I'm in a bad mood now knowing that there are things I can do to change my conscious experience.
Agony waiting for my MacBook #
I ordered one of Apple's new M1 MacBook Pros this month. I haven't been the excited about a new apple product in a long time. Apple silicon is outrageously fast and makes everything I do on a computer happen faster.
I tried to get clever with where I had it delivered so I wouldn't have to wait until after I got back from thanksgiving to play with it. It ended up shipping early, which is objectively good news, but had me in a state of agony trying to figure out how it could get to it earlier.
I was struck by the irony of the situation: I had a brand new laptop waiting for me earlier than I had expected and yet I was miserable. This has solidified for me the idea that happiness is an internal state. When I think I need something to be happy, I'd like to remember that happiness is a choice.
Thanksgiving and communal living #
I think humans are the happiest and healthiest when living in close proximity to people they love. I was reminded over thanksgiving how much I enjoy spending time with family. Before having kids, I would like to set up a communal living situation where the burden of parenting wouldn't rest entirely on any individual or pair of people and socialization happened by default.
My favorite living situation I've ever been in it was in a college dorm: being able to just walk down the hall and find six people that would join you in any endeavour was amazing. I want that again.
Long-term thinking #
Between my wisdom to surgery, dating coach advice to focus on deep internal work over superficial polishing, and strategies I learned from Ali's course, I'm thinking a lot more about the importance of prioritizing long term decisions of a short term.
The proper balance of long term vs. short term work seems to be choosing the long term as much and as often as you can.
In comedy, the longer you can build up pressure the funnier the joke is. In business, the longer you can provide free value the more money you make when you finally ask for a sale. In dating, the longer you can go without needing to be with a partner the higher quality partner you'll end up with.