Anyoung haseyo! Welcome to this week's digest.  This week is a very special "Revenge of the Blogs" edition, as we share a few exciting blog posts that apply across eclectic areas of our lives.

This week's topics include principles for healthy digital technology, principles for effective management, and principles for living a beautiful life. Enjoy!

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"Anything less than a conscious commitment to the important is an unconscious commitment to the unimportant." ~ Stephen Covey
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BLOG POST - UX Essays: The world needs a tech diet; here is how designers can help by Fabricio Teixeira & Caio Braga - A beautiful visual essay delineating specific opportunities for designers to build a healthier digital technology ecosystem. While aimed primarily at designers, many of the takeaways and principles can be leveraged by all of us. In particular, we all have the opportunity to simply lead by example, e.g., keeping our phones away with friends and family; staying off work e-mail outside of formal business hours; using precious moments of silence while waiting in lines to appreciate the physical world around us.

One-Sentence Takeaway: "Designing your life begins with designing the environment around you."

Answering The Drucker Question: Audit your digital footprint, and identify two behaviors that you want to modify / add / remove. What are you doing today? How is that serving or not serving you? What would you like to do instead? What will that look like in the moment of action?

Complement with Google's HEART Metrics Framework.

My highlights:
  • Eager for clicks and views, tech platforms are always looking for new ways to use basic human instincts like shame, laziness and fear to their advantage. Digital junk foods, from social networking apps to video streaming platforms, promise users short-term highs but leave depressive existential lulls in their wake.  The result? Our relationship with technology is becoming increasingly characterized by dependency, regret, and loss of control.
  • We assume that the higher the metrics, the more successful the business and, thus, the smarter the product designer... We have deified products like Instagram or Tinder for their shamelessly addictive qualities. We have learned and taught each other how to design for addiction, always devising new ways to keep people coming back for more.  But in some cases, we are simply defining metrics out of apathy. We forget to question the real business value behind each of those KPIs.
  • Designers need to be part of the metric discussion not only to bring in the user's perspective but to keep in check how a particular metric can influence or be influenced by the whole product ecosystem. For each business metric, the product can have a user-centered metric as well as a counter-metric to keep the bigger picture in play.
  • Designing your life begins with designing the environment around you. Most importantly: share these new behaviors with your family, friends, and people who do not work in tech. As early adopters of technology, we are responsible for influencing the less nerdy folks around us.
  • The world needs a tech diet; here's how designers can help: 01 Set solid design principles; 02 Choose respectful design patterns; 03 Run better user research; 04 Challenge default metrics; 05 Anticipate unhealthy behaviors; 06 Convince your C-levels; 07 Spread healthier habits at work; 08 Engage beyond panels; 09 Design your own tech diet; 10 Hold other companies accountable

BLOG POST - Lessons from Keith Rabois Essay 3: How to be an Effective Executive by Delian Asparouhov - Crib notes on the practice of management from a venture capitalist, via the legendary Andy Grove. Intriguing principles for time management, communication, monitoring, et cetera.

One-Sentence Takeaway: Your efficacy as a manager (in all realms of life) is largely dictated by your management operating system, which can be engineered and improved in myriad ways.

Answering The Drucker Question: What is your singular goal right now? Write it down so it is clear to you. Then identify opportunities, for you and your stakeholders, to create more leverage and efficacy in the service of that goal. Have you communicated that goal clearly to others? Are you spending sufficient time and energy working on it?

Complement with High Output Management and The Principles of Product Development Flow (TD Digest summary).

My highlights:
  • You need to think of yourself as a producer and a leader driving value, not as a manager. Calling yourself a manager implies some level of reactivity. You manage unexpected situations. You lead to ideal outcomes. You want to be active versus reactive.
  • As a leader you do not want to focus on just your outputs, rather you want to see yourself as a function of your inputs to achieve the optimal output... If you managed people according to their outputs, then your best people will tackle the short-term conservative projects they know will drive outputs to at least some degree. Instead if you manage to their inputs and clarity of thinking, your best people will focus on projects that have the highest potential upside that is explainable, even if they are risky and totally flop. 
  • In order to make sure you are doing high leverage activities, you need to literally review exactly how you are spending your time. Even Ben Franklin, before the days of widespread usage of professional calendars, knew that his most precious resource was his time and needed to allocate it proactively... The calendar interfaces we use today actually exacerbate the problem of not optimizing your time. Most executives are entirely reactive to requests for their time and typically let anyone in the organization put meetings wherever they want on the calendar. You should instead view your calendar as something you proactively manage and design. Each Sunday afternoon, write down your top 3 priorities for the week and design your calendar to spend 80%+ of your time on those priorities.
  • In order to improve the throughput of the entire line, you have to focus all your efforts on improving your limited step. Any effort dedicated to other steps on the line might help you down the line, but aren’t at all important to work on. Identify the limiting step in your top priority and make sure that 20-80% of your time is dedicated to working on it.
  • A critical part of being an effective executive is making the right decision at tough times. Peter Thiel has said that a CEO is largely judged by making the right call about 4 times a year. Doing so without having all the information you need is intellectually bankrupt. Most of your time should be spent gathering information.
  • By writing long-form, you are forced to clarify your exact thinking, and it always exposes any logical fallacies you have. Most of the benefit actually accrues to the writer who is forced to clarify their thoughts, as opposed to the reader.
  • Your goal is to simplify the information you gathered down to only a few key important indicators. These indicators should act as early predictors to your team’s eventual output. Ideally early enough that you have time to adjust course when they start to veer off, and fix the problem before it affects your output. You almost always want a pairing indicator to prevent your team from overly optimizing to a single goal.
  • [Y]ou also need to simplify your team’s objective down to a singular goal. If your team tries to focus on everything, they will by default focus on nothing. You also need to have as simple of a logical explanation about why accomplishing this goal will make the biggest difference to the business.

BLOG POST - 52 key learnings in 52 weeks of 2016 by Tre Wee - A lovely listicle with favorite learnings and reflections from Tre's 2016. I reflect on this post monthly, and every month it resonates throughout my life in different ways.

One-Sentence Takeaway: Regularly reflecting on our life creates opportunities to synthesize timeless principles for living.

Answering The Drucker Question: Reflect on your last week. Are there any meaningful principles or learnings that you would want to share with your loved ones?

My top learnings:
  • 1. “Desire is a contract you make with yourself to be unhappy until you get what you want.” — Naval Ravikant, Entrepreneur and angel investor.
  • 3. We are all investors; the currency at our disposal is time and energy.
  • 5. You’re here to cross the swamp, not fight all the alligators.
  • 16. Every moment spent defending our opinion is a moment lost where you can learn something new from the other person’s perspective.
  • 23. “To attain knowledge, add things everyday. To attain wisdom, remove things everyday.” — Laozi, Philosopher.
  • 26. “Anything less than a conscious commitment to the important is an unconscious commitment to the unimportant.” — Stephen Covey, Author / Educator.
  • 38. “Choose not to be harmed and you won’t feel harmed. Don’t feel harmed and you haven’t been.” — Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor / Philosopher King.
  • 48. “You can’t know if a person is successful until you know his aims.” — Derek Sivers, Entrepreneur / Writer.
  • 49. You can learn a lot from your mistakes when you aren’t busy denying them.
  • 53. “External things can’t fix internal issues.” — James Altucher, Entrepreneur, bestselling author.
  • 59. “Some people when they hear your story, contract. Others upon hearing your story, expand. And this is how you know.” — Nayyirah Waheed, Poet.
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