The computing industry progresses in two mostly independent cycles: financial and product cycles. There has been a lot of handwringing lately about where we are in the financial cycle. Financial markets get a lot of attention. They tend to fluctuate unpredictably and sometimes wildly.
Estimated reading time: 12 minutes. I’m an expert on how technology hijacks our psychological vulnerabilities. That’s why I spent the last three years as a Design Ethicist at Google caring about how to design things in a way that defends a billion people’s minds from getting hijacked.
Socrates, considered as one of the founders of Western philosophy, was once named the wisest man on earth by the Oracle of Delphi. When Socrates heard that the oracle had made such a comment, he believed that the statement was wrong.
A few months ago, my friend Tim took a new sales job at a Series C tech company that had raised over $60 million from A-list investors. He’s one of the best salespeople I know, but soon after starting, he emailed me to say he was struggling.
My framework for getting places, accomplishing things and living in a way that makes me happy. This isn’t a bullshit, head in the clouds, you can do it if you just *believe* post. There’s plenty of those out there. I’m not going to write another one.
What you eat makes a huge difference in how optimally your body operates. And what you spend time reading and learning equally affects how effectively your mind operates. Increasingly, we’re filling our heads with soundbites, the mental equivalent of junk.
There’s only one thing, one constant thing that I believe keeps me moving closer to my goals, and keeps me fixed on what I want to do. It’s got nothing to do with being close to the universe or attracting things to me with positive energy. My secret weapon is that I read.
Ever wondered why history’s great minds including Isaac Newton, Abraham Lincoln, Andy Warhol, Leonardo Da Vinci, Marcus Aurelius, Charles Darwin, Winston Churchill, Benjamin Franklin, Ernest Hemingway, George Bernard Shaw and Maya Angelou would spend so much of their precious time writing things t
Sometimes, to become successful and get closer to the person we can become, we don’t need to add more things — we need to give up on some of them.
If you had asked 22-year-old me what my “career aspirations” were, I would have looked at you blankly and then casually changed the subject to what programs you’d recommend to model cute 3D bunnies for a video game, or whether the writers of Alias would be so devious as to ship Sydney Bristow
If there’s one word to describe Isaac Asimov, it’s “prolific”. To match the number of novels, letters, essays and other scribblings Asimov produced in his lifetime, you would have to write a full-length novel every two weeks for 25 years.
How I learned to think like the world's best and brightest.
The “conspiracies” were true, and the mainstream media lied to you to about everything. Wikileaks has a 10-year record of never releasing a single falsified document, and is not connected to Russia. Everything they released were the actual e-mails of Hillary Clinton and her campaign staff.
A certain farmer had become old and ready to pass his farm down to one of his two sons. When he brought his sons together to speak about it, he told them: The farm will go to the younger son. The older son was furious! “What are you talking about?!” he fumed.
Learning should not end after formal education. Lifelong learning, the ongoing, voluntary, and self-motivated pursuit of knowledge can enrich your understanding of different topics and make you a better person every day.
Little things become big things. When you justify and allow even little things into your life which your intuition warns you against, you permit a virus to enter your life. It spreads to other areas.
To become more more successful at everything you do in life, you need to do three things: reduce the amount of time you waste, be more organized, and get rid of the “mental clutter” that distracts you, preoccupies you, and stresses you out.
Everything has to be a billion dollar idea that changes the world or it isn’t worth doing. Reality is, that for every thoughtfully articulated and executed world domination master plan, most of the biggest and impactful companies started out with much more humble ambitions.
Although people think they perform better on caffeine, the truth is, they really don’t. Actually, we’ve become so dependent on caffeine that we use it to simply get back to our status-quo. When we’re off it, we under perform and become incapable. Isn’t this absurd?
The best advice I’ve ever got about reading came from a secretive movie producer and talent manager who’d sold more than 100 million albums and done more than $1B in box office returns. He said to me one day, “Ryan, it’s not enough that you read a lot.
Since my tips to improve your writing in two minutes were so popular, I thought I’d share some similar tips to improve your next conversation.
Despite turbulence and other conditions keeping airplanes off-course 90 percent of flight time, most flights arrive in the correct destination at the intended time.
According to psychological research, the anticipation of an event is almost always more emotionally powerful than the event itself. The dread of asking your boss for a raise is paralyzing and can last months. Yet, once you get yourself to finally do it, it’s over before you know it.
In 1978, Ellen Langer, a Harvard psychologist performed an important study. She gave houseplants to two groups of nursing-home residents. One group was told they were responsible for keeping the plant alive and that they had autonomy in their daily schedule.
We tend to think of learning a new skill or “going back to school” as something you’d do when looking to change careers, or to upgrade within your current one. But lifelong learning has incredible benefits, both personal and professional,say researchers.
A lot of people are good at what they do. Some are even elite. A select few are completely unstoppable. Those who are unstoppable are in their own world. They don’t compete with anyone but themselves. You never know what they will do — only that you will be forced to respond.
Many people, myself included, have multiple areas of life they would like to improve. For example, I would like to reach more people with my writing, to lift heavier weights at the gym, and to start practicing mindfulness more consistently.
OK, first things first. This guide is not for everyone. Who is this guide for? If you went to art school or consider yourself a UI designer already, you will likely find this guide some combination of a.) boring, b.) wrong, and c.) irritating. That’s fine. All your criticisms are right.
I read technology articles quite often and see plenty of authors attempt to dissect or describe the teenage audience, especially in regards to social media. However, I have yet to see a teenager contribute their voice to this discussion. This is where I would like to provide my own humble opinion.
I’ve been inspired to learn about Stoicism for a while. The problem I’ve had is that it’s one of those topics that people love to complicate. The reason for the complication is that many of the teachings that come from Stoicism are spoken in English from a long time ago.
Can you imagine how awesome it would have been to be an entrepreneur in 1985 when almost any dot com name you wanted was available? All words; short ones, cool ones. All you had to do was ask. It didn’t even cost anything to claim. This grand opportunity was true for years.
Time is the raw material of getting anything worthwhile done. Time is precious and valuable. More valuable than money. Time is the only element in the world that is irretrievable when it’s lost. Lose money and you can make more. Lose a job and you can find another.
Peter Drucker once said “People often overestimate what they can accomplish in one year. But they greatly underestimate what they could accomplish in five years.”
These two words serve as my daily mission statement. Every time I feel a little lost or don't remember what I wanted to do, I go back to the basics. I just try to be useful. Being useful is so simple. It not only helps other people but also yourself.
The traditional 9–5 workday is poorly structured for high productivity. Perhaps when most work was physical labor, but not in the knowledge working world we now live in.
Reading isn’t just for writers. Reading helps us learn more about our craft — whether it’s marketing, management, engineering or teaching. It sparks new ideas and pushes us forward when we’re in a slump.
Steve Jobs is explaining why, as a young man, he spent so much time with the Silicon Valley entrepreneurs a generation older, men like Robert Noyce, Andy Grove, and Regis McKenna.
“Success” isn’t just having lots of money. Many people with lots of money have horribly unhappy and radically imbalanced lives. Success is continuously improving who you are, how you live, how you serve, and how you relate.
Every year, I find myself in awe at how much I have changed, how much I have learned, and how little I know. It’s humbling in the best of ways. It’s a reminder that many of my day to day certainties are far less concrete than I think, and it’s an excuse to reflect on why and how I have grown.
We know that we have built something which is genuinely useful: almost any team which adopts Slack as their central application for communication would be significantly better off than they were before. That means we have something people want.
Trump’s younger supporters know he’s an incompetent joke; in fact, that’s why they support him. Around 2005 or so a strange link started showing up in my old webcomic’s referral logs. This new site I didn’t understand. It was a bulletin board, but its system of navigation was opaque.
The most comprehensive case that has ever been made for why nearly everyone should become a polymath in a modern knowledge economy. The warning against being a generalist has persisted for hundreds of years in dozens of languages.
Sound familiar? Looking back, I realize I used my work to try and fill a void in myself. The problem was that this void was like a black hole. No matter how many hours I worked, it never seemed to fill it up. If anything, it made me feel worse.
I highly recommend you read these books and form your own takes. But if you only have 45–90 seconds time blocks, here is a list of times to go through the actionable ideas from each book. · Strive to have a growth mindset. It will allow you to develop and improve your abilities.
In their many (justified) laments about the trajectory of their profession in the digital age, songwriters and musicians regularly assert that music has been “devalued.” Over the years they’ve pointed at two outstanding culprits.
I’m a fisherman who dropped out of high school in 1986 at the age of 14. Over my lifetime, I’ve spent many nights in jail. I’m an epileptic. I’m asthmatic. I don’t even know how to swim. This is my story. It’s a story of ecological redemption.
Less than 1% of people are living according to the principles/science described herein. However, I’m confident that if you apply these recovery principles to your life, you’ll live a more engaged, meaningful, and productive life. Being busy and being productive are far from the same thing.
On Monday, October 21, 2013, I sent this letter to our entire team at Airbnb. I have decided to publish this in the event it is helpful to entrepreneurs building their cultures. Our next team meeting is dedicated to Core Values, which are essential to building our culture.
In the year 1820, a person could expect to live less than 35 years, 94% of the global population lived in extreme poverty, and less that 20% of the population was literate.
As you may already know I am very curious about habits, behaviour psychology and how it all affects success. For over two years I have been experimenting with my routines, work and lifestyle to find that perfect fit for happy and productive, purpose and passion driven routine.
I’ve been programming in Object Oriented languages for decades. The first OO language I used was C++ and then Smalltalk and finally .NET and Java. I was gung-ho to leverage the benefits of Inheritance, Encapsulation, and Polymorphism. The Three Pillars of the Paradigm.
On December 2nd, 1942, a team of scientists led by Enrico Fermi came back from lunch and watched as humanity created the first self-sustaining nuclear reaction inside a pile of bricks and wood underneath a football field at the University of Chicago.
Gandhi was completely right. When you don’t act in accordance with your values and goals, you’re internally-conflicted.
Your subconscious never rests and is always on duty because it controls your heartbeat, blood circulation, and digestion. It controls all the vital processes and functions of your body and knows the answers to all your problems.
I’ve said before the first 3 hours of your day can dictate how your life turns out. And this often begins with the very first thing that you decide to put in your brain.
On June 26, 2008, our friend Michael Seibel introduced us to 7 prominent investors in Silicon Valley. We were attempting to raise $150,000 at a $1.5M valuation. That means for $150,000 you could have bought 10% of Airbnb. Below you will see 5 rejections. The other 2 did not reply.
In the very early hours of May 18, 2015, Alexander Mordvintsev was wrenched from sleep. A nightmare, he later described it to me, in the first interview he has granted on the experience.
Over 90% of tech startups fail, but I never thought my baby, 99dresses, would be one of them. If there is one thing that doing a startup has taught me, it’s that I am much more resilient than I could have ever imagined.
Why did the busiest person in the world, former president Barack Obama, read an hour a day while in office? Why has the best investor in history, Warren Buffett, invested 80% of his time in reading and thinking throughout his career?
Whew. That’s a lot to accomplish before 8 am. I’m not sure when the dogma of morning routines began to spread, but suddenly, these mile-long checklists are everywhere — especially in the startup world.
Kindness: If you are giving back you’ve already taken too much. Evolve and grow: Life’s about progress, we can either move forward and relentlessly improve or be consumed and surpassed by the horde which stands in wait behind us. Standing still is proportionate to regression.
There are two paths in life: Should and Must. We arrive at this crossroads over and over again. And each time, we get to choose. Over the past year I’ve chosen Must again and again. And it was petrifying. And at times it was dark. But I would never, ever, trade this past year for anything.
Books are a powerful technology. We only live one life, but through reading books, we can gain the wisdom from thousands. When an author writes, re-writes, and edits, they are turning their words into a more perfect version of themselves.
Over the last few days, dozens of people have sent me a link to Andrew Watts’ “A Teenager’s View on Social Media written by an actual teen.” Increasingly, I’m getting uncomfortable and angry by the folks who are pointing me to this.
This is what I wish: that my daughters don’t go to school. I offered my oldest the very prestigious “Altucher Fellowship”. Never awarded before. Only awarded to her.
Manners Matter. OK. Versailles Etiquette seems pretty awful. “Those wanting to speak to the King were not to knock on his door. Instead, using the left little finger, they had to gently scratch on the door until they were granted the permission to enter the room.
I am by no means the unicorn prophet, but here’s how I think about which companies have earned their unicorn status vs. which ones are playing a dangerous game of massive capital needs, sky high valuations, impossible expectations, and deferred judgement days.
We have been living in a world of ‘clean and minimal’ for quite some time, so what’s next? Over the last several months, some of the leaders of innovative design have taken ‘minimal design’ to the next level.
The time before you go to bed is golden, as it exists every single day, and it’s usually completely yours to schedule. What do you want to do with this time? Read? Spend time with your kids? Work on a hobby you’re passionate about? Take advantage of this time.
This is the second part in a two-part series. You should read the first part first. We’re talking about rules for designing clean and simple UI without needing to attend art school in order to do so.
How is it even possible that Elon Musk could build four multibillion companies by his mid-40s — in four separate fields (software, energy, transportation, and aerospace)?
For the longest time, I believed that there’s only purpose of life: And that is to be happy. Right? Why else go through all the pain and hardship? It’s to achieve happiness in some way.