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6 posts from January 2023

'Streamline that Newsletter' from Josh Spector

This clipping is to remind me to write a newsletter for my readers and not for my business. It was written by Josh Spector. 10 Ways To Trim The Fat In Your Newsletter, 23-Jan-9

Here’s how to trim the fat in your newsletter:

1. Lose the parts of your intro no one cares about — like how many new subscribers you got this week. Get to the valuable stuff.

2. Ease up on the emojis. It’s a newsletter, not a MySpace page.

3. When you’re done writing your newsletter, do a word count and then force yourself to delete 20% of the words.

4. Not every sentence needs to have an accompanying image with it — it’s a newsletter, not a scrapbook.

5. That paragraph you have at the top saying who you are and what the newsletter is? The one that’s the same every week? No one’s reading that.

6. I’d rather get a weekly short story from you than a monthly novel. (This isn’t about books.)

7. Do sponsors really need a giant image of their logo that looks like an ad and therefore is ignored by your readers? There are better ways to deliver attention to sponsors.

8. You found 20 links worth sharing? Good for you. Now cut 10 of them and save them for the next issue.

9. People are more likely to read (and share) your article if your newsletter contains a short summary and link to it on your site than the full text in the email.

10. The more actions you ask readers to take, the less likely they are to take one.


Writers can benefit from using ChatGPT to refine their drafts

Although I have not found the time to use ChatGPT myself, I have no doubt I will use it (or one of its sisters) in the future. Christopher S. Penn explains how writers can maintain their originality. I expect AI can give you (and me) insights about our writing which will help us improve.

Almost Timely News: What ChatGPT is Really Good At [...Refinement, NOT creation], 23-Jan-21 by Christopher S. Penn

This is what these tools excel at – taking data and transforming it, rearranging it, making it more useful. This preserves our originality, our ideas, our language, while improving the quality – and that’s what they’re best at. Because they’re not relying on a gigantic average of all the content they’ve ingested, because they’re using our own words and just cleaning up or rephrasing, they perform great AND keep the spirit of what we’re trying to say....

This is the power of transformer-based large language models. You can have them create something average from scratch, or provide them with the raw materials and they’ll create refined products – but keep your originality and spark in the final product.

Now you know the secret!


Learn about yourself and your 4000 Weeks

Leader, software engineer, and designer Lee Byron has created an interactive tribute to Oliver Burkeman's book, Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals.

Lee's creation is lovely and thought-provoking. If you visit, you are asked to share your age so the number of days you've been alive can be counted. However, you don't have to put your real birthday into the form to enjoy the story.

Lee Byron:

A tribute to the book by Oliver Burkeman, an exploration of time management in the face of human finitude, and addressing the anxiety of “getting everything done.”


See it here.

Why innovation is a journey, not a process or a practice

The best innovators are explorers, always looking for new insights and tools. You can become very accomplished at innovation, but you can't nail it down.

Medium: Why Unlearning Is At Least As Important As Learning, 23-Jan-21 by Greg Satell

What I found most interesting was that most people defined innovation in terms of how they’d been successful in the past, or in the case of self-described gurus, what they’d seen and heard to be successful. By pointing to case studies, they could “prove” that their way was indeed the “right” way. In effect, they believed that what they experienced was all there is.

Yet as I’ve explained in Harvard Business Review, innovation is really about finding novel solutions to important problems and there are as many ways to innovate as there are different types of problems to solve. Many organizations expect the next problem they need to solve to be like the last one. Inevitably, they end up spinning their wheels.


What Will Humans Do In An Artificially Intelligent World? | Digital Tonto

Once a task becomes automated, it also becomes largely commoditized and value is then created in an area that wasn’t quite obvious when people were busy doing more basic things. Go to an Apple store and you’ll notice two things: lots of automation and a sea of employees in blue shirts there to help, troubleshoot and explain things to you. Value doesn’t disappear, it just shifts to a different place.