“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”
As the year is coming to a close, it’s the perfect opportunity to ask some big questions. I recommend to do it in writing:
Which people in my life are toxic? How can I reduce contact with them?
Which relationships do I want to nourish?
Am I investing my time & energy into the things that are important to me?
How can I be useful to as many people as possible?
What areas in my life am I neglecting?
How happy am I with my career?
In fact, I answer similar questions every day as part of my journaling.
Questions I answer daily:
How do you feel?
If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I’m about to do today?
What is important to me?
What duty’s left undone?
Today was a good day because…
Doing this every day has unlocked many things for me. I now have a much clearer understanding of what is truly important to me. How I want to live my life. Also, it’s giving me a sense of contentment and peace of mind.
I hope you will try it, and wish the same benefits to you.
I read or work, until my 13-hour fast is completed (I use Zero to track my daily fasting)
I start a podcast episode or audiobook, and do the following sequence: eating breakfast, cleaning the kitchen, brushing teeth, shaving. All very slowly and deliberately, as I usually love the audio I am listening to.
Now it’s between 09:00–11:00 and I feel quite nourished on many levels
I gave up my office, so unfortunately I’m not walking to work anymore. I used to love it. Instead, I sold my gasoline scooter, and am now doing it the Mr. Money Mustache way, using a bicycle.
I have also been thinking about incorporating a more formal writing practice as proposed by Seth Godin, but have not been ready to make this commitment yet.
What are your best morning habits? Let me know on Twitter.
As 2018 is coming to a close, I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you the most important books I have read this year. Enjoy!
My favorite books of 2018
1. The Art of the Good Life by Rolf Dobelli (audio version): This was the most important book I read in 2018 (I’ve read the original German version). The book was so good that I have read it twice and have scheduled to re-read it at least once a year. It gives very practical recommendations of how to live a better life, and I’ve been able to implement multiple things.
2. A Guide to the Good Life by William B. Irvine (audio version): It’s a great companion to Rolf Dobelli’s book (see above), and it’s a wonderful introduction to the stoic way of life. I’ve decided to not only read it, but to study it, and to integrate these practices into my life. This little iPhone app is helping me to practice it every day.
3. Sleep Smarter by Shawn Stevenson (audio version): This book helped me fix my bad sleeping habits. I’m now sleeping more and better! A great companion book is Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker (audio version). A great tool that I use to track my sleep is the Oura Ring. According to Why We Sleep it’s the most accurate sleep tracker available.
Twitter was born because Odeo — a podcasting company — has failed and needed a new product. One reason why Odeo failed was because none of the founders and employees really used it. They weren’t really passionate about podcasting. Once they started with Twitter, everybody in the team immediately became a power user. This is an important principle: Build something for yourself. Eat your own dogfood. Watch out for the warning sign: If not even you are using your own product, this is not good.
The first version of Twitter was built in two weeks.
Odeo and Twitter were a pretty large mess internally. Lots of anarchy, no structure, weak leadership, lots of conflict, LOTS of outages (remember the Fail Whale?). I am a believer that companies die because of internal problems, not because of competition or external things. So I’m glad that Twitter managed to survive somehow, as it’s a very important service.
Some stories — especially descriptions of the behaviour of some involved people — were pretty irritating and scary. The author claims to have done a thorough research. As I don’t know the people personally and haven’t been there myself, I will not comment on those stories. The bottom line is: we are all human beings, and we all have our flaws. Startups are no different. You find ugly stuff there, as everywhere else. Be prepared for conflict, fights, broken friendships, struggle for power, and other ugly stuff.
For me the key success factor of Twitter was simplicity, usability, convenience and access. From the beginning I have used it as a microblog, and very soon it was my favourite way of blogging. The SMS part was key in the beginning. It was realtime, mobile communication in the pre-smartphone era. One time I tweeted that I was on my way to Munich, and suddenly a friend who lived near Berlin contacted me that he was in Munich as well. So we are able to meet up. Such experiences showed me the power and value of Twitter.
Twitter had no business model for the first 3 years. Zero revenues. At the same time they had to pay tens and later hundreds of thousands of dollars per month for SMSes alone. Not very cool. I wonder whether it is possible to build a service like Twitter or Facebook and from the beginning be cashflow positive with a sustainable business model. I believe that some sort of Freemium or Subscription business model should be possible. When WordPress.com started, people were selling subdomain names (e.g. cars.wordpress.com) on eBay for $100. WordPress.com could have sold those premium names. The same with Twitter. They could have sold 1/2/3/4/5-character user names. Or offer 10/20/30 SMS’s for free per month and if you wanted more you would have to pay. I easily would have paid $5 or $10 per month like I do for other services. I wonder whether this is possible. (My gut feelings say: Hell yes!!!). This lack of revenue generated huge pressure later on, which probably could have been avoided.
The goal of the current management team is to make Twitter a $100b company. Currently Twitter has a market cap of $31b.
The turning point for Twitter was the SXSW conference in 2007. They decided to take advantage of the conference by installing plasma screens with Twitter feeds and instructions of how to sign up. With that the critical mass was reached, press started to get obsessed by this new phenomenon and Twitter started to grow like crazy. In the first 6 months or so they only attracted a couple thousand users. So it didn’t take off immediately. However, the founders and team were already addicted and were using the service daily. This probably kept them going through the relative slow start. Again, it comes down to: Build something users want. Build something for yourself.
Unfortunately the book focused very strongly on the fights and personal conflicts. I would have wished to learn more about the product and the company itself, what the milestones were etc. Nevertheless a very interesting book about a product that I use and love.
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