Monday Musings (4/22/19)

Maximizing Serendipity

Hey everybody, 

Welcome back to Monday Musings. I have many ideas to share with you this week:

First and most importantly, sales for my online course Write of Passage close on Wednesday (April 24) at 11PM EST. 

The goal of the course is simple: I’ll give you the tools to accelerate your career by writing online. 

Write of Passage is divided into seven modules:

  1. The Age of Leverage

  2. Make Your Serendipity Vehicle

  3. Create Your Online Home

  4. Set up Your Distribution System

  5. Learn to Write Clearly and Persuasively

  6. Connect with Anyone

  7. Build Your Personal Monopoly

These are the seven essential elements of success for publishing written content online.

By the end of the course, you’ll have (1) a repeatable system for writing consistently, (2) a collection of published articles, (3) a professional website, and (4) a method to distribute your ideas directly to friends and colleagues. 

If you’re curious about Write of Passage, I have three links for you to explore: 

  1. The Write of Passage Website

  2. Write of Passage Email Overview

  3. The Ultimate Guide to Writing Online

— — 

The Other Ideas

  1. On Friendship and Conversation: Like music, the rhythm of conversation is built on both sound and silence. When you first listen to a song, you listen to what’s loudest: the words and the beat. But after repeated listens, your attention shifts towards the pitch, the pacing, and the intermittent, pin-drop silences. Likewise, when you first meet somebody, you listen to what they say. But over time, as the friendship grows stronger and stronger, you listen to what they don’t say. Words become silent. You listen not just with your ears, but with your eyes; you listen for the subtle movements that reveal the essence of emotion: the taps of the feet, the twitch of the fingers, and the flicker of the eyes. Ultimately, the more communication happens in silence, the deeper the relationship.

  2. Questioning Christianity: I just finished a 7-week live Questioning Christianity lecture series with Tim Keller at Redeemer Church in New York City. We discussed meaning, satisfaction, identity, morality, justice, hope, faith, and proof of God — all from a Christian perspective. The lectures were so good that I’ve joined a Christianity-focused discussion group, which meets every Friday night. If you want to follow along, I recommend Keller’s books and his YouTube videos on Making Sense of God and The Reason for God. Whether you’re religious, atheist, or agnostic, I think you’ll enjoy them. I will try to interview Keller on the podcast. And if you have comments, I’d love to hear them. You can reach me directly by responding to this email. 

  3. Read Books with Friends: For the most part, I’ve stopped reading books alone. If I’m going to invest 10-20 hours in a book, I might as well spend an extra 2-3 hours recruiting a friend to read the same book so that we can discuss it at the end. Book clubs and 1-on-1 conversations both work and so far, it’s been a success: my reading retention has skyrocketed. 

  4. How Ideas Become Wealth: This quote is from a book about the future called The Sovereign Individual.

Love that: “The greatest source of wealth will be the ideas you have in your head.”

The takeaway: In the Information Age, if you can communicate and share your ideas, you’ll be unstoppable. That’s why I created Write of Passage.


Fresh Ideas

Article [Flashback]: How to Maximize Serendipity

This was one of my most popular articles of 2018. 

I spend tons of time trying to engineer serendipity — that’s a paradox, I know. But I believe that serendipity is a skill, which means it can be learned. Maximizing your surface area of serendipity will increase your chance of success in any domain, and in this article, I share my favorite strategies for maximizing serendipity. 

Fun fact: This article was the original seed for Write of Passage.


New Podcast: Jason Fried

Jason Fried is the founder of Basecamp, a Chicago-based software startup.

We spoke about:

  • The history of Jason’s company

  • How to structure a software startup

  • How designers should think about the tradeoff between elegance and utility

  • How Jason thinks about content marketing

You can listen here: iTunes | Website | Spotify


Coolest Things I Learned This Week

The Decline of Driver’s Licenses

About a quarter of 16-year-olds had a driver’s license in 2017, down from nearly half in 1983.


Drowsy Driving vs. Drunk Driving

From an excellent 3-part podcast with sleep expert Matthew Walker: 

"Drowsy driving accounts for more accidents on our roads than either drugs or alcohol combined. It’s a huge part of the problem on our roads. 

Drowsy driving is usually much more deathly. When you’re drunk, you typically react but you react too late. So you do something but it’s not enough and you crash. When you have a microsleep, you do nothing. That’s why drowsy driving is typically more fatal than drunk driving: there’s no reaction, application of the brake, or course correction of the steering wheel angle. 

There is nothing. 

There is simply a car with nobody in control and it’s a two-ton missile on the freeway at 65 mph with nobody in charge.”


How the Sun Moves


The End of Autographs

Here’s Taylor Swift: 


Facts are Facts


The Problem with Too Much Evidence

This article is excellent:

"Under ancient Jewish law, if a suspect on trial was unanimously found guilty by all judges, then the suspect was acquitted. This reasoning sounds counterintuitive, but the legislators of the time had noticed that unanimous agreement often indicates the presence of systemic error in the judicial process, even if the exact nature of the error is yet to be discovered. They intuitively reasoned that when something seems too good to be true, most likely a mistake was made.”


What Video Game Graffiti Misses


Photo of the Week

I snapped this photo with Jason Fried at Basecamp’s offices in Chicago in February. Jason and I exchanged emails for almost two years before recording this podcast. We waited until I visited Chicago because I insist on recording all podcasts in person. They’re much better that way.

Jason is a wonderful counterweight to the rest of the software industry. Where others focus on hustling, Jason focuses on deliberate work; where others focus on hyper-growth, Jason keeps things slow and steady; and where others focus on big-time fundraising, Jason focuses on profit and cash flow.

Our conversation went beyond business and into design, nature, and Chicago architecture. And since Jason has an excellent blog called Signal vs. Noise, we discussed his strategies for organizing and sharing his ideas, many of which are relevant to Write of Passage.

I hope you enjoy our conversation.

Until next week,

David Perell