They’re Gonna Hate Me for This…. One Simple Trick to Bother Important People

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In my recent post, I talked about my advice addiction and tendency to bug people like Ryan Holiday.
In that post I make it seem shocking that Ryan would reply to me. But, I’m a fraud. It’s actually not difficult at all.
Before you read any further keep this in mind: ADVICE IS NOT THE ANSWER it won’t help you.
When you bother your idols for advice only a few things happen.
1. Once you start you can’t stop (it’s crack).
2. You’ll get information overload and decision fatigue.
3. You’ll piss off and annoy the people you admire.
In J.D. Salinger’s novel, The Catcher in the Rye. Holden Caulfield says this,
“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.”
Holden is spot on. This never happens. J.D. Salinger was a known recluse in his own right. So, seriously leave your idols alone.
But if you insist, here’s how you can get in touch with almost anyone.
Just follow these two rules before you even think about flooding the inbox of every author you know.
Rule One: You’re already wasting their time. So if you must reach out to those more important than yourself have good questions.
Don’t ask anything that you could’ve found out using google for an hour. Don’t ask questions they’re not suited to answer. And, don’t ask them more than three questions in any given exchange.
Rule Two: This trick doesn’t work for everyone. Tim Ferriss has written at length about his hatred of Email. If Salinger was still alive he wouldn’t be refreshing his inbox to answer your questions. Pick your battles.
Now that you’ve got it narrowed down to a few candidates you’d like to pester, there’s one simple trick to get a response out of them.
Are you ready?
Sign up for their email lists. It’s dead simple.
When I emailed Ryan Holiday it was right after I saw a tweet about his email list. I signed up for it, he sent out the generic welcome message, and I’ve been bugging him ever since.
He’s not the only one either, which leads me to my next suggestion.
If you’re going to ask a busy person for their advice. If you must dig at them for pearls of wisdom. Do them a favor and act on their advice.
Recently I received my income taxes and couldn’t decide what to do with the sudden extra cash. I wanted to be smart about it so I immediately tracked down an expert. I saw that they had an email list, and pinged them for advice.
I emailed Ramit Sethi, author of I Will Teach You to be Rich.
Me: “Hey, Ramit. I just got my income taxes in and I’m wondering- what’s the best thing to do with 1000 dollars?”
Ramit: “Read my book pls.”
I deserved that answer. I broke rule one. I messaged a money guru before ever reading his book.
I immediately purchased his book on iBooks for about ten bucks. After the first hundred or so pages I decided to pay off a big chunk of my student loans.
There. Now you know how to aggravate high profile celebrities in a matter of minutes. It’s more effective than twitter and as addictive as street drugs.
Sorry guys. I’m an addict.
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My name is Billy and I’m Addicted to Advice … and It Made Me Do Something Crazy.

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If AA is for anonymous alcoholics then I should start a new support group. AAA, Advice Addicts Anonymous. I’m not here to poke fun at addiction. I’m truly addicted to advice.
I subscribe to advice riddled podcasts and YouTube channels. I buy a new book that will “change my life”, every week- I’ve even been known to dish out advice from time to time.
The worst part is, I’m incapable of following any of it. Why? Because I’m an addict. I need my fix. If I listen to the sage wisdom of one person and follow through with it, where will I find the time to pester others for help?
I’ve got a handful of mentors, friends, and family that all put up with my constant, “Woe is me, I don’t know what to do” SOSs. I even bother busy people who don’t even know me for advice.
Recently I was wrestling with a personal dilemma; deciding if I should go back to college or pay off the debts of my first failed attempt. So I did something crazy.
I sent an email to Ryan Holiday.
Ryan Holiday is a best-selling author. He wrote The Obstacle is the Way, Ego is the Enemy, Trust Me I’m Lying, and a few other great books. He’s been on the Tim Ferriss Show, The School of Greatness Podcast, and London Real.
What was I thinking? Ryan Holiday wouldn’t reply to me… Except, he did.
First I asked him if I should go back to school for writing and he replied stoically, “Writing programs are generally a waste of time…” and he sent me a link to his article, So You Want to be a Writer? That’s Mistake #1. In which he outlines the idea that you should only write once you have something to say.
I didn’t even take the time to be grateful that he’d replied. Instead, I shot back (somewhat hurt) with another question.
I asked him how to live a life worth writing about.
“Go live an interesting life. Go do stuff.” That was his response, two short sentences that totally rocked my world.
“That’s not an answer!” I thought to myself. “He has to give me real advice!”
I was wrong on both counts. That was real advice, and he didn’t owe me anything. It just wasn’t the advice I wanted to hear. Living an interesting life sounds so impossible. I wanted a quick fix, some life hack, or some book to read that I could use to manipulate my way to success.
After I’d calmed down I thought about some of my own advice I’d dished out months prior on Instagram. “The best advice is never the quick fix, but instead the obvious, yet never easy dose of hard work.”

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I’m addicted to advice and I’m terrible at taking it. I couldn’t take Ryan’s advice, I couldn’t even take my own advice on the subject of advice. But I’m trying.
Since my brief conversation with Ryan, I have yet to put writing on hold. I have, however, been trying to “go do things”, by going on more adventures with friends, (we saw the world’s largest fork). I’m also trying to take advice more seriously by putting it into practice.

“If [more] information was the answer, then we’d all be billionaires with perfect abs.”
-Derek Sivers (From Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss)

It’s safe to say the same thing about advice. If advice was the answer we’d only have to ask for it once.

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Tools of Titans: A Software Update for Your Brain

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Tim Ferriss is probably the single most useful celebrity that I regularly pay attention to. However, his value has less to do with his particular knowledge (which is still incredibly useful e.g. “The 4 Hour Workweek”) but instead comes from his network.

Tim has recorded over 200 podcast episodes dissecting the tools and traits of top performers across a plethora of skill sets. After combing through all sorts of investors, writers, and athletes Tim has assembled the Avengers.

Some of the individuals profiled in this book include former California Governor and robot assassin from the future Arnold Schwarzenegger, PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, and actual fucking superhuman; The Iceman Wim Hof.

In this book, Tim includes the best advice, tools, and tactics that he has actually used from every guest on his podcast. You can think of this book as The Tim Ferriss Show’s greatest hits with loads of bonus content.

How You Should Read This Book

Tim’s books look and feel very similar to college textbooks as they go over a wealth of information. Because of their length and depth, Tim includes a how-to-use section in the beginning. You can read over that yourself when you pick up a copy. I wanted to suggest a few other ways you can go about consuming this behemoth.

Cover to Cover: Although Tim and I both encourage skipping around in this book many book lovers will see this as blasphemy. Don’t worry this book isn’t Quinton Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction” and you can read it linearly it just isn’t necessary and you might find yourself bored in some parts (I’m not particularly interested in the health section of the book, so I skimmed it my first read through).

Revisit Your Favorites: Although Tim brings a lot of content not available from his podcast to the book you can still use it as a companion to your favorite episodes. Simply go to the table of contents, pick your favorites along with maybe some that you missed in audio, and enjoy the book that way.

Page Hopping: I’ve included this option just for fun. I have yet to try it but plan to do so in my second read through. If you bought the E-book like I did you’ll see where Tim links to relevant sections of the book that are connected in content but separated by space. To play simply start the book after Arnold Schwarzenegger’s forward and read until you see a page number highlighted in blue click the page number to jump to that section and read until you reach the next link. Do this until you’re bored of it.

Why You Should Read This Book.

Tackle your new year’s resolutions: Inspired by Benjamin Franklin Tim has decided this book into three sections; Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise. All of these categories align with what the areas most of us wish to improve in our own lives. So whether you want to get healthy, pad your bank account, or make better decisions this book has a section for all your drunken new year’s declarations.

Educational Value: This book was about $15 on iBooks. Your average American college student spends way more than that to become a more well-rounded individual. Tim is definitely pro college whereas I’m a little more on the fence about the subject. However, I believe we both understand that the ROI on a book like this is very hard to argue with.

If You’re a Fan: If you’re a fan of Tim Ferriss, and have been following as long as I have (since before the podcast) you probably don’t need convincing. However, if there are a few of you diehards out there that don’t want to shell out the cash I want you to consider the value you’ve already gotten from everything Tim offers for free. If you’re a fan buy this book.

When You Should Read This Book

Right now: If you clicked on this article there is a good chance you’re already considering reading “Tools of Titans”, but you just don’t know if now is a good time. If you’ve got kids to feed and bills to pay don’t buy this book yet. Otherwise buy this book immediately whether you’re a fan of Tim Ferriss or not I can’t recommend it enough.

Over and over again: In the beginning of Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” the author includes nine suggestions on how to get the most of his book in which he suggests revisiting it frequently as you test the principles discussed within. The same should be done with this book. Read it over and over again, practice what’s inside, and apply what you learn in every possible facet of your life.

Instal The Latest Software for Your Brain

I often think of my brain as a computer and the media I consume as a software update. Sometimes we put software on our smartphones and computers that crash it or makes the experience of owning it somehow worse.

We do this in our brains by fretting over the negativity in the news, scowling at the outrageous Facebook posts of the people we went to high school with, and watching mindlessly unproductive YouTube videos.

Sometimes we put software on our smartphones and computers that make us fall in love with the product all over again. Everything runs smoother, and we use it more than we ever did before. If knowledge is software this book is one hell of an upgrade.

 

I’m a huge fan of Tim Ferriss and all of his work. If you’re a like-minded individual leave a comment bellow and feel free to follow me on Twitter.

IfTTT: How To Automate Your Life and Connect With Amazing People

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I have been blogging sense March of 2016 and easily my favorite thing about it is all of the wonderful people I have met along the way. Early on I connected with Jon Westenberg and Grainne Logue. These two people have been so helpful and encouraging that I can only hope to be half as approachable and kind when someone asks for my time, patience, and advice.

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Enter George Dreemer. George posted his first blog recently on Medium and upon reading it I felt kind of down on myself. Here this guy is one article in and it is so much more interesting than anything I’ve been able to produce. After reading and recommending his piece I start following him both on Medium and on Twitter. On twitter I find a couple of links to his personal site and his business. Inspired by his hustle and jealous of his ambition I’m about to message him when he follows me back.

Fully prepared to risk scaring him off by bombarding him with questions I come to find that he has inquiries of his own. He asks me about Medium, how to navigate it, and how to get views on his articles. The truth is I don’t really know the answers to that myself. What I do know is how to use apps and systems to work for me. I start to tell George about If This Then That or IfTTT for short, and some useful ways to make it work for you as a blogger. Rather than blowing his inbox all to Hell I figured I’d make a post about it here. So to George and anyone else making connections through trial and error: Here are some ways you can automate your blogging routines.

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For the uninitiated IfTTT is an automation app available on iOS and Android that allows you to set up recipes that take the monotony out of frivolous tasks and digital upkeep.

Before we get into what I think everyone should be doing with IfTTT let me emphasize a type of recipe I do not recommend.

Any recipe that says ’IF’ a blog is published on X site ‘THEN’ automatically share it to site Y. The reason I discourage this is that the recipe doesn’t allow you to customize the social post in any way. Doing this will make your twitter look like a spam bot for sharing your work and there you’ll be looking like you have the personality of a potato.

Recipes I recommend everyone give a shot are as follows:

1.’IF’ I add a YouTube video to my watch later queue ’THEN’ save that video to Pocket.

This type of recipe is good for gathering research. Pocket is good for gathering research materials on its own but this recipe eliminates a step by keeping your videos and your articles all in one place.

Bonus: ‘IF’ I tag something in pocket #readlatter ‘THEN’ add it to Todoist. I check this task off before bed.

2.’IF’ I tag something in pocket #<notebook> ‘THEN’ save it to a particular notebook in Evernote.

This essentially takes anything in pocket that I’ve saved for general research and graduates it to useful research and organizes it by project.

3.’IF’ I post something on a blogging platform (currently I have the recipe set to work with WordPress but I post to both sites. If you want to know my feelings on WordPress Vs. Medium you can read that here) ’THEN’ save that post in Google Drive.  Dropbox is also an option.

The purpose of this recipe is simply to save all of my posts for when I build portfolios of my work in the future. Also incase all of my writing vanishes into the void of 0’s and 1’s that is the internet.

4.’IF’ I recommend an article on Medium ‘THEN’ tweet that article.

This is my newest recipe, the one I shared with George initially , and the one I find the most valuable. By simply sharing every story I recommend on Medium this recipe does two things for me. It helps me connect with people that I think are truly great writers I believe I can learn from. It also keeps me in check and reminds me to only recommend stories that I think are worth reading instead of recommending just to recommend.

So if you like this or any other article on Medium and want to connect with the authors-download IfTTT, set up these recipes and click that little green heart. (little green heart not applicable to WordPress)

 

You can also read my blog on Medium
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Medium/ WordPress Killer?

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Literally yesterday evening I was poking around on the web trying to decide whether or not I should stop dual posting on my WordPress account, as well as my Medium account. I have only been writing publicly very recently but when I started I based my publishing schedule off this idea of dual posting.

While putting up my most recent post I ran into some issues over at WordPress that kept me from publishing on Clickable ( the name of my WordPress blog) for hours. For whatever reason WordPress was having a lot of trouble attaching my photos and wouldn’t finish saving changes and just let me publish my article. While I was slapping my keyboard and tweeting at WordPress’s Twitter account trying to resolve the issue my article was already published on Medium waiting to be shared.

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After the dust settled and I was able to have my post up on both platforms and tweet out about it I kept thinking how much nicer the experience on Medium has been for me so far. I love the little plus sign that pops up on the left when you hit the return key which makes adding attachments so smooth. I also made my first connections in the blogging community from Medium.

Then today I wake up and as per usual I’m scrolling through Medium and Twitter when I see this post in which Medium outlines there new services. I don’t know if Medium is reading my mind but they certainly picked an opportune time to rollout their Medium for Publishers and Revenue Beta services.

When I first decided to go with WordPress I did it for two reasons:

1. It seemed easy to customize my sight

2. It seemed easy to migrate from the free .com version of WordPress to the paid .org version of WordPress when I thought I was getting enough traffic to justify enabling affiliate links and other revenue generators.

Mediums announcement put both of these necessities front and center.

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With Medium for Publishers they offer tools that make it easy (hopefully easier than WordPress) to personalize your blog or publication with color schemes, layout templates, and custom navigation settings. They also promise to make it easier for existing platforms to migrate existing content to their platform all while preserving timestamps and links. Seems like a no-brainer.

However I don’t know how I feel about the other part of this “New Medium”. Mediums Revenue Beta is supposed to solve the problem of generating income for its publishers. As far as I can tell they do not offer any support for affiliate links but they do offer some interesting options.

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If Medium accepts your application to become a beta member for this service one of the things you’ll be able to do is turn on Promoted Stories. What this means is that you will be able to tack stories from brand partners to the end of posts that you write. Like a little advertisement for brands that lives at the end of your posts.

The other thing that the Revenue Beta will offer is Membership content. This will allow readers to pay a fee to subscribe to different publications on Medium. Those subscribers will then be granted access to some exclusive posts and other perks (whatever that means).

The Revenue Beta reminds me in a lot of ways of YouTube Red. You pay a fee, you get perks and exclusive content, and you have to be one of a select few creators to really benefit from it. I am mostly curious about the memberships. Will we be paying a fee for every content creator that we want exclusive content from or will there be a premium option in the future that allows access behind all of the pay walls for one price?

I don’t believe I will be shutting down my WordPress account immediately. Instead I will likely continue duel posting on both sights. For now keeping both is a happy Medium.

You can also read my blog at Medium

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Twitter I_R_Beast

Technology and The End of Starving Artists

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I am what some consider a techno-optimist. I think of technology as an ultimately good force in the universe. While others shriek in fear at the thought of drones buzzing overhead and lecture others for ignoring the world around them in favor of the computers in their laps, in their pockets, and on their faces I’m browsing online tech forums and grinning ear-to-ear every time something new gets unveiled during a developers conference. Not only can I see technologies potential to cure disease and rid us of our fossil fuel dependency I also see technology as bread for starving artists. With the help of gizmos and gadgets these cartoonists, film makers, and musicians have mastered their craft and shared it the world over.

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Scott Adams’ name has recently been popping up with some frequency lately due to his blog posts about Republican Frontrunner Donald (Don’t vote for him) Trump and the controversial candidate’s persuasive hypnotism which you can read about here. If you have zero interest in politics you are likely still aware of Adams as the man behind the popular work-place-comic-strip, Dilbert. Adams began his career as an illustrator the same way that many syndicated cartoonists do. On paper. Adams used to start his first drafts with pencil, then go over it with pen, then shade it with “a sort of decal you could buy at high end art stores.” Afterwords he would mail off his work to his syndication and wait for it to be published. Yuck! In recent years Adams has ditched that tedious and time consuming process and gone paperless with the help of some new technology. Adams now relies on his trusty Wacom Cintiq 21ux, and photoshop. Adams compares the Wacom tablet to paper in the same way one would compare a car to a horse. In this video you can see Adams dragging pre-drawn images into place, flipping them to face the other direction, and scaling them up-processes I imagine take hours. For Adams the Wacom helps the creative process by not getting in the way of it.

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Casey Neistat is one of YouTube’s most recognizable vloggers. Any time somebody mentions vlogging to me I immediately imagine Casey’s white accented sunglasses staring back at me from my computer screen. Casey makes viral videos of all shapes and sizes. From his video Bike Lanes that gained him a lot of initial attention on the internet to doing advertisements for Nike and crazily Snowboarding in New York City streets. Casey is a pro. Even though he would be the first to tell you that you do not need expensive professional gear to make great videos he has some go-to-gadgets that have helped him garner over Two-million subscribers. First and foremost is Casey’s unique DSLR setup consisting of; a Canon EOS 70D, a Canon EF-S 10-22mm lens, a Rode VideoMic Pro, and a Joby Gorilla Pod. Aside from that anti-selfiestick whatchamacallit Casey is not opposed to using simple point-and-shoots, his iPhone, or emerging 360 degree camera rigs. Finally, Casey does all of that while zooming by on his electronic skateboard, the Boosted Board.

Glitch Mob is a three piece electronic music group who’s members include; edIT, Boreta, and Ooah. These guys are my go-to any time I need some music to get me in a productive mood. With albums like Drink The Sea and Love Death Immortality (you can view their full discography here) I have plenty of music to power me through whatever is on my task list. Even though the entire electronic music genre relies on technology The Mob’s gear is something special. They call it the blade. When I reached out to Boreta and asked him to describe it on one sentence he said this-

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Even though you can get a deeper look at the blade here and here I’ll do my best to describe it. The blade is a beautiful cluster-fuck of tech, wires, and instruments who’s engine is affectionately referred to as Lil Kim. The blade’s tech consists of two Mac Pro audio computers running Ableton Live , two Mac Minis for control data onstage, a few universal audio interfaces, and several iPads running Liine Lemur. Needless to say, this thing is an absolute beast-and it helps The Mob to put on some insane shows.

So the next time the media sends you into a panic over the potential threat of rising technology consider the good that can come of it instead. Who knows, maybe technology is being developed right now that could improve your career or highlight the talent of your children. Focus less on the technology that scares you and consider how much technology has already improved the lives of millions and will continue to improve all of our lives for a long time to come.

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
-Arthure C. Clarke

You can also read my blog posts on Medium.
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A World Without an App Store

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Imagine a world without the app store. Now breath and collect yourself. You probably imagined a barren waste land-desolate and terrifying. You might think you can’t live without your favorite apps but the truth is you wouldn’t be totally in the dark. There are some great apps that come stock on every iPhone. Many of which get tucked away in a junk folder when you replace them with something third party that’s only better in some niche way.

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These apps are underrated and deserve far more credit than they get.

The calendar app that comes stock on iOS is something the ultra-productive schedule oriented businessmen and soccer moms of the late nineties would have gone bonkers over. Maybe you can’t input new events as smoothly as you can on something like Sunrise Calendar but it can keep up with everything from important events, meetings, and even manage your billing cycles. The app is fairly intuitive with various simple ways of viewing every important event at a glance.

If I didn’t have Evernote I admit I would feel pretty lost. However I know I could get by with the stock Notes App. I’ve done it before and since last I used it the folks in Cupertino added some great features to it. Not only can you take simple text notes but now you can save photos to it and even draw within the app if you are so inclined. The app even supports checklists so it can handle everything from grocery lists to writing prompts and daily journaling. Some people even prefer their stock app because its simple and not as bloated as something like Evernote.

I am a to-do list kind of guy. If it needs to be done I have to put it in some type of checklist. Reminders isn’t Todoist it has no natural language input and no you can’t create subtasks, but it does get the job done. Reminders allow you to create multiple lists. So if you want to keep up with homework, or which movies you haven’t seen yet you can do that. Reminders is simple and functional. Oh and something else noteworthy-it actually works with Siri. You can’t really say for third party apps.

Without an app store you don’t have candy crush or YouTube to pass the time but you do have Podcasts. Podcasts not only can replace mobile games on your long commute but listen to the right podcasts and you might become a more interesting intelligent and entertaining person. If you don’t already listen to podcasts I recommend the Tim Ferriss Show for those of you into life hackery and interviews of world class people. I also recommend Welcome to NightVale if you like a good horror-comedy-Scifi narrative. If you already listen to podcasts but you use a different app like PocketCasts or Overcast you will miss some basic features but nothing too damning.

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Perhaps the most underrated app on your iPhone is Safari. In an alternate reality where you are stuck with only the apps that come pre-installed Safari does a lot of the heavy lifting. Safari can replace almost all of your social media apps like Facebook and Twitter. As far as YouTube goes the mobile site and the app are pretty similar. The reason I use Safari over Google Chrome on my phone and laptop most of the time is because of its article view feature. By simply clicking the little four horizontal lines in your address bar you can declutter blog posts and news stories and read them as plain text. That feature alone gets more use day to day than some of my less important social media apps.

I recommend playing around with the stock apps before you download your go to suite of apps that you think you can’t live without. You might be surprised to find that you can do a lot with them and if you bought the sixteen-gigabyte iPhone you might not even go back just in order to free up space for more selfies.

 

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