Way of the Duck

by Buster Benson

Product manager on analytics.twitter.com. Amateur behavior change fanatic/skeptic. I tweet 10.4 times/day, retweet 1.4 times/day, and get 2.1 faves/tweet.

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Is this your best possible work?

When it comes to your meaningful productivity and creativity, this is the only question that really matters.

If you’re not doing your best possible work, ask yourself why. What’s holding you back? Is it A) you, or B) something else?

A) If it’s you, think about your own best interest, and why it’s in your best interest to not do your best work. Most likely, it’s not in your best interest to not do your best possible work. Then, it’s a matter of shifting focus to overcoming your own resistance to your own best interest. This class of problem is about not being our own worst enemy, fighting Resistance.

B) If it’s something else that’s holding you back, think about why you’re letting something else hold you back. Your best possible work has to take into consideration your environment, your constraints, and what’s possible. Get to the limit of what’s possible for you, right now. This...

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$1 for you (conclusion)

Last September I asked people to call me out whenever I complained. The first person to call me out would get $1. I probably got called out at least 100 times, and appreciate all of the help from everyone who did so.

It was pretty great as a way of crowdsourcing my own mindfulness around how much I complain (which wasn’t much, but definitely more than I had originally thought).

Another interesting side effect of the experience was that I had several good conversations about where the line is between complaining and speaking up about something that was undesirable.

I definitely came away with the conviction that not all complaining is undesirable. Maybe 90% of complaining was the kind I should be doing less of, and then about 10% of the complaining felt “good”, especially after I became better at catching myself in the process of wanting to vocalize a complaint.

Finally, I found that...

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Response to Anil’s “All Dashboards Should Be Feeds”

I like Anil’s general line of thinking, especially for “what’s happening right now” kind of analysis. A couple thoughts though about why feeds are good for some things but not necessarily all things:

1) I’m not entirely sure that the feed actually does help you “make decisions” any more than the dashboards. The advantage of the feed is that it makes you have a reason to come back, because it pulls out interesting nuggets of signal out of the noise. It’s more addictive, and in the context of ThinkUp, it will probably keep people coming back more frequently.

2) For example, what analytics would you want in order to measure the success of ThinkUp as an analytics dashboard? Number of installs, monthly active users, daily active users, number of people on site right now, etc. Keeping people coming back frequently is a pretty common desire of apps these days, and I am not sure a feed is...

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Starter kit for a solar-powered self-replicating 3D printer that can make enough money to buy its own materials, pick them up, and print children when it feels ready.

1 3D printer.

1 self-driving mini-car to pick up parts at the store.

1 iPhone with the default Maps app (download Google Maps if you have spare money).

Access to the Internet over free wifi networks.

1 Bitcoin mining account (aka job).

Some solar panels.

1 TaskRabbit to be your assembler (not needed after the first time).

These instructions.

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My 2013 resolution: memento morning

My resolution for 2013:

“At least 5 days a week, start my day proactively by doing at least one of these 6 things before looking at my phone: drink a glass of water, stretch, do pushups, do lunges, do plank, review my Look, Look, Look haiku deck (background on the fish thing).”

It’s so easy for me to fall into a mindset of reactive responses… I want to make a habit of being proactive every day. Action that starts from my own intentions rather than simply reactions to things that bounce my way.

To play along in my 2013 ONE resolution public accountability experiment, read about it here and sign up to join us here.

Feedback is welcome!

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Rabbit Rabbit Resolution Accountability Squad

Want to try something fun and different for new year’s resolutions this year?

1. Make only ONE resolution.

You’ll forget the rest anyway. Better to do one right than to do a whole bunch wrong.

2. Phrase your resolution in such a way that it is either TRUE or FALSE for a 1 month period.

For example, these are all properly worded:

  1. Go to the gym at least 10 times a month
  2. Lose at least 2 lbs a month if I weigh over 175lbs
  3. Complete 10 pages of my book a month
  4. Meditate every week day

And these are not properly worded:

  1. Smile more
  2. Stop procrastinating
  3. Be a better father

it’s really easy to create a resolution that is vague because vague is SAFE. Better than safe is clear. Step out on a ledge a little by being specific and you’ll know for certain when you’re actually on track, and it will feel good.

3. Get some accountability

You can do this on your own if you want. Find a group of...

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“Anything is possible”

Great straight forward explanation about how habits work from the appendix of Charles Duhigg’s book, The Power of Habit.

It’s simple:

Cue, Routine, Reward

THE FRAMEWORK:

Identify the routine

Experiment with rewards

Isolate the cue

Have a plan

Of course, building a house is also simple, if you have the time and energy and materials.

In my search for the holy grail answer of the question “HOW DO WE CHANGE OURSELVES”, I realize that I’ve been looking in the wrong place.

I was looking for an answer that was about the size of a menu.

But the answer may actually be of the size of a 2-year college education.

I was looking for an answer that was about as difficult as learning how to build a lego house.

But the answer may actually be about as difficult as building a real house.

I was looking for an answer that cost about $100.

But the answer may cost about $10,000.

I was looking for an answer that anyone could...

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Codex Vitae

Just finished Robin Sloan’s very fun book, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore: A Novel. Here are my Kindle highlights on it.

One of my favorite parts of the book was the idea of a Codex Vitae:

“And this is the other treasure. Following in the Founder’s footsteps, every member of this fellowship produces his or her own codex vitae, or book of life. It is the task of the unbound. Fedorov, for example, who you know”—he nods to me—“is one of these. When he is finished, he will have poured everything he has learned, all his knowledge, into a book like these.”

The Codex Vitae is something that special members of this fellowship “earn” the right to create, after rising up in the ranks. When written, it’s submitted to the fellowship, approved, and encrypted. 3 copies are made of the book, 1 goes to the central library, and 2 others go to branch libraries in other parts of the world. The key...

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A/B Fit

Solution/problem fit: A solution is a strategy that fits the needs of a specific problem. If a strategy technically works, but is too expensive, or too slow, for the specific problem, it still won’t fit and the problem will not be “solved”.

Product/market fit: a product must fit a specific market before it will take off and grow.

Idea/person fit: Ideas must fit the people who are working on them. Tell 10 people an idea, and each person will know rather quickly if it fits their values, beliefs, needs, aesthetic, self-identity.

Idea/company fit: A product idea also needs to fit its company culture. I spent a couple months this year trying to help a team spread the idea of social at one company I contracted at, and it just didn’t fit. The same idea is grafted into the DNA of other companies. The quality of the idea is unimportant… what matters is that it fits.

People/company fit: And...

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Disconnect Saturdays

The challenge.

  1. Turn off your phone when you go to bed on Friday night.
  2. Don’t turn it back on until you wake up on Sunday morning.
  3. During that time, also don’t use your computers to do anything that requires the Internet (I made an exception for playing Rdio).

Kellianne and I tried it yesterday and we ended up having more interesting conversations and more peaceful relaxation times than we’ve had in a while. Will definitely be trying it again next week.

Wanna give it a try? Join this branch to talk about it and experiment with it next Saturday.

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