Threaded Thoughts

Let’s talk tactics. Here is a simple technique to absorb, translate, and share the (audio)books you read.

Start with one tweet, then reply to that same tweet over and over again. The result is a thread (sometimes called a tweetstorm) that combines your key takeaways and gives you a single link to share your collective thoughts.

Here are a few examples…
Tribes – Seth Godin
We Are All Weird – Seth Godin
This Is Marketing – Seth Godin
Free Prize Inside – Seth Godin (ideal for intrapreneurs)
The Icarus Deception – Seth Godin (great for students)
Startup Community Way – Brad Feld & Ian Hathaway
Think Like A Freak – Steven Levitt & Stephen Dubner
The Hard Things About Hard Things – Ben Horowitz
Angel – Jason Calacanis
The Almanack of Naval Revikant
BONUS THREAD – Big Thoughts in Little Tweets

Why is this helpful? If you’re thirsty to learn from (audio)books, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed as authors bombard you with knowledge. Passively enjoying (audio)books is fine, but this organizational exercise forces you to slow down, which reduces the numbing effect. In short, crafting concise tweets that are all connected forces you to feel the experience.

Another benefit to sharing threaded thoughts, is that each public post draws out more focused contemplation. I’ve found this technique makes me think deeper, use words carefully, and has actually made me a better writer. Such value is compounded when the entire thread can be retrieved with one link.

Lastly, this exercise generates accountability. When this exercise becomes a habit, you spend extra time with that first tweet, knowing it may become be the foundation for a neat collection of thoughts. As the thread expands, you’ll feel momentum that keeps you listening/reading. If progress stalls, the lingering sense of an incomplete project may bring you back to finish the literary journey. If you must get through something quickly, just craft a smaller thread, but include one post that lists the page numbers for areas that caught your attention. Such a hack is still better than nothing.

To be clear, this exercise is not about pirating content or echoing knowledge like a parrot that sounds smart. It’s about sharing a meaning narrative while leaning into what resonates for you, knowing you’re creating a relic for others (including your future self) to enjoy as well.

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Tag me on Twitter if you try this! I’d love to follow along and will definitely chime in if you experiment using You Don’t Need This Book.

Jargon vs. Understanding

Seth Godin is my favorite thinker, but I’ve been pondering the words of Naval Ravikant a lot lately. In this interview, Tim Ferriss and Naval riff on how Richard Feynman differentiated jargon versus true understanding.

This has me reflecting on how humans seek the ability to effectively explain our thoughts, but too often a lack of understanding leads to fancy words and long-winded rhetoric. Sounding smart may protect our perceived knowledge, but as Albert Einstein said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”

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This tweetstorm first introduced me to @Naval. I’ve since listened to his podcast, read the Almanack of Naval Ravikant and enjoyed this Joe Rogan interview where Naval says, “We have two lives, and the second begins when you realize we only have one.”

As I translate this collective wisdom, I’ve organized a few simple constructs to practice this mental mindset.

  • Be more succinct with my words.
  • Ask an increased amount of concise questions.
  • Get comfortable with uncomfortable silence.
  • Inspiration is perishable. Act on it immediately.

    When trying to balance this cerebral equation, here’s are two questions to ask: Can we deconstruct, expand, or compress what was just said? Can we then describe the exact same idea five different ways? If not, seek further insight to go beyond memorized jargon for true understanding leads to more confident, diverse, and transformative conversations.

    Social Audio

    Video may have killed the radio star, but our voices were never silenced and social audio is now connecting them.

    What does the term “social audio” mean? Social audio is an emerging subset of social media. Think talk radio with your entire social graph. Instead of a broadcast studio, everyone is able to speak their mind directly from a smartphone. The result is unscripted conversations that feel like a live podcast, with an endless amount of hosts, speakers and listeners tuning in from anywhere.

    These audible discussions strip away the text, photos, and video. Your spoken thoughts are everything in this realm, but sharing your voice is nothing new. Talk radio, music, conference calls, voice messaging and podcasts have been around forever. What’s interesting is how social audio companies are transforming one-to-many productions into synchronized, many-to-many experiences. The timing of this growing market also makes sense, as the global pandemic has created an isolated world craving new ways to stay connected.

    As Jeremiah Owyang shared in his comprehensive market forecast, a lot of attention has been given to Clubhouse, but there are signals of a market that’s getting much louder. Twitter Spaces, Locker Room, Sonar, Roadtrip, Yoni Circle, Quilt, and Cappuccino are a few more pioneering platforms that have each caught my attention for different reasons. Apple, Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Spotfiy are surely working on clones to catch up as well.

    After scanning the open airwaves, I’m betting people with large followings will be drawn back to social audio features that allow them to interact with their existing audience on established social media platforms. For talkative people looking to expand their influence, choosing to be an early adopter on a new platform could be a waste of time if the app flops, but with less noise, the reward could be the audience they seek.

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    It’s hard to tell if the race to win in social audio is causing this, but more social media companies are experimenting with different ways to compensate content creators. Twitch and YouTube have this somewhat figured out, but imagine spending the day talking on Twitter Spaces. Listeners could show their support with quick tips, while sponsored conversations and other shared revenue attracts more creative talent.

    If you decide to share your voice by exploring social audio, remember the words we use matter. These are live, decentralized discussions, but what you share with the world may be hard to take back as many of these conversations are being recorded in one way or another. While this data collection feels like Ursula stealing Ariel’s voice in the The Little Mermaid, we all know the social media landscape is not a private place.

    Privacy concerns aside, social audio provides an innovative way for humans to communication. Unlike edited writing, filtered photos, and polished video, our voices in real-time provide raw access to what people think. How might you use social audio to engage in more connected conversations? <End of Transmission>

    2 Hours

    Greg Horowitt is a social architect and pracademic. He is an accomplished entrepreneur, investor and global advisor. I always knew of Greg because he co-authored The Rainforest with Victor Hwang. After years of learning from Victor, I decided it was time to connect with the other half of this intellectual equation. I reached out to Greg and he was generous enough to setup a time to chat. We had no agenda, but ended up talking together for two hours!

    This extended discussion allowed me to enjoy fun anecdotes about a bestseller so many entrepreneurial ecosystem builders have on their bookshelf. I learned about Greg’s innovation design role at UC San Diego and his upcoming book about the religion of innovation too. We riffed on entrepreneurship, venture capital, innovation ecosystems, complex adaptive systems, how humans think, economic development, the speed of trust and how storytelling brings everything together. Here is a Twitter thread with our photo and a few more memorable moments, but having Greg Horowitt lob knowledge grenades my way was such a treat.

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    Meaningful discussions can form faster without an agenda.

    This enlightening interaction has me reflecting on how a hint of initiative unlocked another cool connection. Also, how that extra hour gave Greg and I time to discuss a variety of topics with space for this thoughtful exploration to go deeper. Look at your bookshelf or social media feed. All of us have giants we’d love to meet. Do you seek out learning sessions with people you admire? How might a significant conversation evolve if you give it an extra hour to develop?

    We’re all busy, sure, but a peculiar conversation is rarely a waste of time. Perhaps it’s only done occasionally, but more cerebral conversations allow us to go beyond protecting our knowledge with fancy jargon. Perpetual learning with a coexisting effort to accelerate others will release innovative energy that sparks creativity and reveals a path to deconstructed understanding.

    Love Triangles

    As we celebrate our love for one another, Valentine’s Day felt like a heartfelt time to reflect on building a business with and around members of your family.

    The permanence of family leads to many business partnerships. Some operations pass from one generation to the next. Others spawn when family members decide to start something new. Still more businesses come together as people create new family bonds and merge their work into love triangles.

    It seems obvious to start something with those you love. In some cases, the convenience makes it easy. In other cases, it can become a necessity to turn the family into a team. No matter the why, transparency and trust within a family is hard to beat. This allows family members to wholeheartedly lean on one another. Such an unwavering ability to count on each other is why family businesses always have a chance.

    While family businesses can thrive for generations, there are dangerous downsides as well. Not everyone who loves each other should work together. Home and work are often like night and day. The difference between the two makes each one better. Living and working with family makes it hard to separate the two. This can lead to arguments that extend far beyond the office. These inescapable emotions can damage relationships and bleed into the broader team. While you’ll spend the most time with your family, building a life together doesn’t mean you have to work on the same thing. A healthy amount of individuality allows each person to do more and space makes coming back home even sweeter.

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    Do you work with family? If so, share your best tips in the comments! Also, did you know Brad Feld and Amy Batchelor wrote an entire book on this, called Startup Life?

    Whether you build a business together or not, family dynamics affect all entrepreneurs. The most direct impact comes from your significant other. Your co-founder in life has a huge influence on your ability to thrive as an entrepreneur. Almost like separations of power, each person can provide contrasting perspectives, honest feedback and valuable support to balance the time, financial and emotional responsibilities of life.

    Co-founders in life who share authentic trust give each other stability, fewer restrictions and more opportunities. If you find the love of your life, help them be their best. Admit they are the better half and be humble enough to let them return the favor. Such motivation from inside the home fuels a deep sense of abundance. The result is a more determined mind, body and soul eager to learn from the person who knows you best. This constant support brews loving vibes that spill into your work. Two people who push each other to be better than they would have been alone is the ultimate gift.

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    To love is to share life together,
    to build special plans just for two,
    to work side by side,
    and then smile with pride,
    as one by one, dreams all come true.
    The Meaning of Love – Krina Shah