LB58 Reading is important

Reading is important we all know that, however many of us failed to read at least a book in a year.

Why is this so?

Simply because the Internet has taken over most of our times. Remember the times when Internet wasn’t so prominent, the leisure activities involves much more engagement and interactions. Playing over at the playground, just plain running around with friends, watching some TV and also visiting the library.

Furthermore, we are chasing after time now. We like to see results in the shortest possible time. We enjoy online articles because they are shorter and easier to consume. Article like “14 Things Every Successful Person Has In Common” in list form is better than reading any successful person’s biography that is 2000 pages long.

I’m not sharing that online articles are not good. I’m writing one now myself and hopefully you find it meaningful too.  However reading a book is different, it connects your brain. When you are reading, you are in full silence, giving the book your full attention rather than clicking articles. This silence makes your brain want more, it is clear and focus. You start to see the point of view from the author.

Sometimes, reading gives you new found creativity. When reading, you are exploring a different angle to see aching you known. For example, I’m reading Zero to One by Peter Thiel, who would have expected that monopoly should be something a startup aim for. I personally also thought that the bigger the market, the better is it.

I like to end this with a quote.

Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light. —Vera Nazarian

And we would love to hear what books that you might be reading now and suggests to us what books should we be reading next.

 

 

Here are 3 books that Chris and I are reading right now.

Zero to One – Peter Thiel (Founder of Paypal)

Traction: A Startup Guide to Getting Customers – Gabriel Weinberg (Founder of DuckDuckGo)

Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship – Robert C. Martin

 

Resources:

Image Credit

Quote in podcast was taken in the youtube video above

 

LB57 What Is Keeping You Awake At Night?

There are a thousand and one things for us to worry about but when you are an entrepreneur, you have to double that list because the business is you and you are the business.

In “How to startup a startup” Lecture 3, Paul Graham shared the following:

startups are all-consuming. If you start a startup, it will take over your life to a degree you cannot imagine. And if your startup succeeds, it will take over your life for a long time: for several years at the very least, maybe for a decade, maybe for the rest of your working life. So there is a real opportunity cost here. via Link

I can testified on it. Starting a company, be it a venture funded startup or a bootstrapped business. I believe that it would consume your life. The reason is simple, its like having a kid, you see the business grow and you are attached to it.

Ever work started a project that you put so much effort in it that when the project end, you feel sad about it?, that’s the kind of feeling when startup, however it is a much longer journey

Entrepreneurs are always under stress!

Before you launch a startup, you are thinking of ideas? Will this idea work or that idea work? If this idea solves a problem, does it a decent market to start a business in? If you are planning to go for VC money, how can I make it attractive for VCs?

“It never gets any easier.” The nature of the problems change, so you’re maybe worrying about more glamorous problems like construction delays in your new London offices rather than the broken air conditioner in your studio apartment, but the total volume of worry never decreases. If anything, it increases. via PG also shared in the lecture

You have an idea, you have a team and you start your company. The problems pile up even more. What is our cash-flow like? Will I be able to meet the payroll? etc etc.. Like PG mentioned there can only be more problems.

So if you are thinking of starting up, be ready for some stressful years of your life but I can assure you that it would be a wholesome one

Ask Chris why he wants to start company? You will be in a surprise with his answers.

How to cope with stress or sleepless nights?

This is how I do it.

  1. Exercise: Research shows that exercise reduces stress hormones and stimulates production of endorphins. These endorphins what runners often call the “runner’s high”, you feel extreme good and happy while cruising down the tar path.
  2. Do not read emails in the morning and before sleep: Reading emails right after you are awake is bad. Give your brain sometime to “wake up”, try this 10 minute yoga workout routine 🙂 . Reading emails just before you sleep is bad too, if you happen to receive a “bad news” email (maybe about certainly partnership not doing well) you mind gets active again and you disrupt your resting cycle.
  3. Read more books and not online articles: Maybe it is just me but I’m feeling that online articles, especially those with “click-bait” headlines does not have much substance in the writing. Good books on the other hand still gives more substance, they tackle into the specific topics in a deeper manner and they make you think.

As for Chris: he just stop working 3 hours before his sleeping time and watch youtube. (Find out what he watches, before he sleeps in the podcast)

Sleep is important, if your sleep is affected, you will mood and decision will be affected and in turn it will affect your business decisions.

Lastly, it is hard to start a startup. There are many things to an entrepreneur to worry about and it will not end. However, as entrepreneur we have to manage it.

We each shared a very personal problem in the podcast and we love to hear yours. Do not take on the problems on your own, there is always your team and you

Show links

  1. A group of youth making a difference in Singapore’s Tech Scene: If you are looking to learn coding, this event is open to everyone and it is free.

  2. How to start a startup

Resources

  1. Image credit

  2. Quote credit

Obsessed with work-life balance

What it takes to truly bring harmony between personal and professional lives.

There’s a lot of talk about the notion of work-life balance in the news recently. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s so elusive, or perhaps that it’s actually a misplace notion of wanting to “have it all”.

For us here at LaunchByte who talk about startups and startup life, it’s a conversation that we have and never really come to a straight answer.

Let’s get one thing clear: you won’t get “work-life balance” copying someone else’s formula. Our lives are unique, intertwined with the equally unique lives of the people around us; together we bring an emotional and practical complexity that defies any notion of a standard equation for work-life balance. (Remember: Darth Vader’s version of “balance” was a mass slaughter of light-side Jedis.)

So yes, general principles, top-ten tips, best practices are probably nice suggestions, at best.

See, when it comes to harmonising your career aspirations with a deeper sense of purpose/fulfilment, you’re better off figuring it out on your own through trial and error. There are lessons – often painful – that you’ll have to experience and pay for in sweat and tears until you find the answer. This doesn’t preclude you sitting a friend down or reading a good book on the matter. It just means you shouldn’t be looking to apply a template.

So instead of advice, Here are three things I have personally learnt to do, that I think might help you make that process of finding your way through work and life more sweet than sour:

(1) Figure out who the most important people are in your life and make sure you’re building relationships with them. These are the keepers and stayers who won’t quit on you just because you decide to crank up the time on your career. Which means it’s even more vital that you know what they think and feel about you new venture/adventure.

(2) Think about your values. Or at least, think about what you are unwilling to compromise. When you’re out there making a difference, or saving the world, you’ll be faced with stuff that will compete for your time, your attention, and most of all, your integrity. Don’t knowingly do something that you’ll hate yourself for. Trust me on this: it isn’t worth it.

(3) Over time, consider if you’re actually getting happier. I’ll be first to say that happiness isn’t the most important thing all the time, but it’s a good indicator to whether you’re getting #1 and #2 right. If you find yourself feeling unsatisfied and unhappy overall, it’s time to go back to the first two things.

All said and done, I’d like to say that work-life harmony is definitely within reach; you’ll just need to be willing to experiment and trudge on.

Happy trailblazing!

Image Credit

LB56 Be Original, Find Your Voice In Blogging

In this show we continue talking about originality and some tips to differentiate yourself. If you have any feedback or questions leave us a note at launchbyte.com/ask. If you want to find today’s show notes, go to launchbyte.com/56

We start this show with a quote from Dr. Maya Angelou. She is hailed as one of the great voices of contemporary literature and as a remarkable Renaissance woman.1 In the video, she shares on finding her voice.

Why having your own voice?

I have been writing for 8 years now. From writing about my daily life to sharing my thoughts starting up a business. There are many articles out on the web that highlights the importance of content. I’m sure having great content helps. But many times, it is the personality that draws in the audience.

You have to know that your site/content/podcast/blog is an online version of you. It is a unique way of communicating your message, so that people knows it is from you. For example, my writing tends to have some typo and grammar mistakes. That’s my “style” and my readers are alright with it because they are able to understand the main message I’m sending in that very article.

So how do you find your voice?

  • Try and list out 3 of content creators or writers that you take inspiration from.
  • Ask yourselves these three questions
    • Does it sounds like you?
    • Would you read such article?
    • Do you enjoy creating such article?

Many writers start off  by referencing other writers as long as you maintain your own style.

Here are my three role models:

  1. Daring Fireball: The link writing kinda of style and main talks about tech. He does have very opinionated pieces at time. I like it because it message that is sending is short and sweet.

  2. Marco Arment: Kinda of like Daring Fireball, with many linked posts and occasional long pieces. He is the creator of instapaper and now runs a successful podcast. (You can see who I’m mimicking the most)

  3. Matt Gemmell: Beautiful clean writing, all long form. My favourite piece is this on Small screen productivity.

At the start, when I took reference from these writer, I failed badly because I was trying too hard and I end up copying. I was not sounding like me on my blog, I was different. So I took one approach that kinda of change the “style”. I be myself. I write what I want and do what I love.

You site is the “online” you. There can only be one you and Don’t force yourself to write in a certain tone if it feels unnatural. We talk lots of these in the podcast.

Now start writing your piece of you today, share the line with us on the comments we love to read it 😛

Bryan

my startup journey

 


  1.  Dr. Maya Angelou Bio 

LB55 How Not To Copy

In this show we chat about originality, copy cats and some tips to differentiate yourself. If you have any feedback please tweet at us @launchbyte, email us at [email protected] or ask us anything here. We would love to hear your opinions about what we talk about and if you have an interesting topic you want us to discuss.

We started talking about originality because of this particular incident. Derek Low is traveler & Engineer. He was the guy who created the Ridiculously Automated Dorm during his freshman years in Berkeley.

Recently he wrote an article sharing his experience flying in the first class suite on SIA which cost him S$23000 if he had not exchanged it with his miles. There were lots of amazing photos and it was a pretty detail write up. It also makes me wonder when will I collect enough miles to make this flight.

Anyway, this article was spreading like wild fire until the redactors found out that Derek apparently plagiarised parts of his review from various sources and the original writers have sniffed him out for it.. So what do you think?

Steve Job onces quoted ‘Good artists copy; great artists steal’

Was Derek wrong? Personally, I think so. He should have credited the source of the photos. But lets think about? Is it really hard to be original now?

Filmmaker Kirby Ferguson says nothing is original and that our most celebrated creators steal ideas — and transform them into something new. via link

Kirby Ferguson even gave a TED talk on it.

Chris came up with 3 kind of situation of copying and we discuss deeply in the podcast.

  • Copying: Taking an idea and applying it as part of your solution.
  • Cloning: Taking an idea and not changing it significantly
  • Stealing: Taking an idea and claiming it as your own without crediting the source

We end this show notes with another food for thought

> “Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery – celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.” via [Link](http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/131591-nothing-is-original-steal-from-anywhere-that-resonates-with-inspiration)

Interesting Read:

Insights from a 10-Year Productivity Journey

productivity

(image credit: Sean MacEntee)

This post is a guest post from Launchbyte fan and recovering productivity geek Adrian Koh. Here, he shares what a productive life means to him like after 10 years of GTD-ing, and how he found the answer in an unexpected place.

The Productive Me Ten Years Ago
Like most people, I blame David Allen.

His book, Getting Things Done (GTD), changed my perspective to work when I first read it in 2004. The promise was — in a sense — that it was possible to install the GTD brainware directly into my mind and become this productivity superman at work.

Ten years on, this much I know. It’s not that simple.

Go ahead. Ask the best people in personal productivity circles. If they’re honest, they’ll tell you how easy it is to fall off the bandwagon. This is spite of their best efforts to get the best apps, the best devices, and their best efforts to do/delegate/defer.

On falling off the bandwagon:
Sometimes, it’s not even your fault: I have some @waitingfor tasks that feel more like @waitingforever.

Personally, there have been times that I’ve struggled with maintaining consistent peak level performance. Some days, getting into the state of flow is impossible, no matter how much you brain dump and put everything into contextual lists. Sometimes, it’s not even your fault: I have some @waitingfor tasks that feel more like @waitingforever.

I decided last year that I would change the way I approached stuff.

My Post-GTD Realizations: The Real Crisis of Work
I realised last year that the real issue to work isn’t just that there’s a lot of it. That’s not the primary source of stress. The real issue to the crisis of work is that people have an ongoing antagonistic relationship to their jobs.

Simply put, people hate their jobs. No productivity system is going to solve that.

Let me clarify. There will inevitably be things at your jobs that you’ll hate doing, that you’ll need to do anyway. I, for example, hated the long monthly excel reports that I used to have to do. Yet, I liked my work at my company and recognized reporting as an acceptable part of the largely engaging whole.

Hating your work means you detest the essence of what you’re doing at your job, and that you are dissatisfied with what your company hopes to achieve (or sometimes, doesn’t achieve). Doing work that lacks meaning puts you in a negative state of mind. So that was my realization: I’ve found in my life that I’m the least productive when I start feeling bad about work.

On finding the root cause of a lack of productivity:
So that was my realization: I’ve found in my life that I’m the least productive when I start feeling bad about work.

And I think this negative association to work starts with saying “yes” to too many things that don’t fit with your personal value system.

So that I’m clear, I want to say that I didn’t drop GTD. On the contrary, I’ve come to rely on it a lot more. What changed, though, is that I’ve overlaid it with my personal values. This means I’m thinking over the things I do a lot more before I decide to do them. This means when I’m doing stuff, it’s stuff that I know is meaningful.

Much makes now a good time to ask: what’s stopping you from doing something with meaning? (Hint: it might just be that start up idea that you’ve been keeping in the back burner all this time…)

The result? I’m doing less stuff, but doing them better. Productivity then, is almost by accident.

TL;DR
Find meaning first, and productivity will follow.