What are you betting on? 💎 Issue #11

Plus: Blogs that change lives, teachers giving A's to everyone and Tom Cruise does its own stunts.

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What’s up? 📈

I like to think I’ve been crafting a ‘portfolio of small bets’.

Daniel Vassallo is the person that has brought this concept forward. At least for me. In short, it represents a collection of things you try (build, write, record, publish, teach, etc) with two fundamental characteristics:

  • you start without knowing if you will succeed

  • the effort/cost to accomplish is small while the potential results are great

These are bets that are safe to fail, that you will be OK if they don’t come to fruition. Or better yet, these are bets that no matter what happens you come out winning:

  • you learn about topic X in the process

  • you discover that doing Y is not for you

  • you meet people that will set you up for something better, and so on.

Starting this newsletter, a blog on my personal website about software, and another one about football coaching are some of my most visible small bets. They all involve writing about things I enjoy doing and want to know more about. I don’t feel like I should put out something every day, but when I do I have at least three places where it could fit.

Would I produce a better output if I only focused on one instead of three? Maybe. I’m not aiming for the quality of the product as much as I’m aiming for the quality of the opportunities, though. I have to create those opportunities first. I have to place those small bets.

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New to me 💡

Don't End The Week With Nothing | 18 min read

This is a very inspirational and thought-provoking article by Patrick McKenzie. Maybe it had its quota of influence in my ramble above since it ties so nicely with ‘small bets’ strategy. If we can spend 40 hours a week making things appear for a salary, aren’t we cheating a little bit on ourselves by not spending something out of the remaining 128 making things appear for ourselves? “Prefer to work on things you can show. Prefer to work where people can see you. Prefer to work on things you can own." is the message and if we just try, by the end of the week, it’s almost impossible not ending up with the opposite of nothing.

How to Start a Blog that Changes Your Life | 30 min read

I’m sensing a pattern here. Nat Eliason has a blog that is probably the biggest influence on how I set up mine and here he shares the main principles and strategies that one should use when creating a personal blog. See how easy it is to end the week with a blog that previously didn’t exist. That’s the opposite of nothing. If you go through the several examples Nat gives that contribute to the success of the blog you’ll see more of those ‘small bets’: courses, articles, apps, podcasts, book reviews. And you’ll notice another thing: the results were not there the following day, only he was.

Benjamin Zander - Work (How to give an A) | 14 min watch

If you never heard of Benjamin Zander, try to picture the result of a very successful lab experiment that merges your grandpa with a viral TED speaker. You can confirm that image in your head with the video. If that’s not enough to convince you, try to imagine why a teacher would give an A to every student on the first day of class. Benjamin Zander does it and what’s most impressive is how you can see how the strategy he uses totally works. Coaches, teachers, coworkers, and parents, this one is for you.

From the archive 🗂️

How to Create a Great Team Culture (and Why It Matters) | 9 min read

We hear this concept ‘team culture’ thrown around, but what I’m not sure we all have the same idea of it. Even what makes a great team could mean different things for different people. I’m sure it’s more about the way a group of people sets themselves up for success than if they achieve it or not. Starting from what makes a great team, Kate Matsudaira explores the role of team culture in it, and the responsibility of leaders in fostering that culture, while illustrating concrete steps and examples of how to do it. Even if you are not on a position of leadership you can gain insights from this one. If you play on a team you make its culture every day. "Every day, people are looking for signals in their environment about what is the norm.". What’s the norm going to be?

A most microscopic tweet 🔬

This week in a gif 👽

Here’s Tom Cruise breaking an ankle while shooting Mission: Impossible – Fallout and carrying on like some kind of alien.

High note ⚡

Last week’s most clicked link was 13 YouTube Channels We Geek Out Over in Quarantine.

I hope you enjoyed these last minutes as much as me putting this together. If so, I’d love if you shared it with some friends.

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Until next week,