The Focus Course Launch Week Case Study

Shawn Blanc on The Focus Course Launch Week Case Study:

But, to say it was an accident would discount all the work I put into marketing and list building, the years I’ve spent writing for my websites and building an audience, and the hours and hours I put into researching and crafting the contents of the course.

Just because it was a new experience doesn’t mean it was an accident. And neither does it mean it’s not repeatable.

I read Shawn’s detailed part one description of the launch of The Focus Course this past week. I’ve been wanting to create a business like this for quite some time. Learning about some of the details of he did was very interesting. He was so thoughtful and methodical. All of the things that I’ve learned from Tim Ferriss and others regarding educational courses was played out here in an amazing way. As I’m sure Shawn and Tim will agree, the money is not the point. It’s never the point. It’s about the freedom of lifestyle that is afforded.


Janki Method

Jack Kinsella on learning a programming language with a spaced repetition system:

Knowing thousands of commands saves time otherwise spent looking up reference materials. You instantly recall previous solutions when faced with a problem, and dozen of possibilities spring to mind when architecting a system. You will read other people’s code rapidly, confident in your understanding. The closest analogy is fluency in a natural language. You will speak code.

I’ve started applying this with all of my current work. Some of those finicky GIT commands and SQL syntax have already been committed to long term memory. I’ve used Anki before with language learning, but sort of fell of the band wagon. This is by far the best method for learning anything for the long haul. The commitment to daily review is the tricky part, though.


Let’s Encrypt!

If you haven’t see this already and you own a domain, then it’s time. Encryption is important and it needs to be everywhere. This only took me a mere thirty minutes to setup on two domains.


On Deep Work, Focus, and Margin

Shawn Blanc on focus:

I totally know how it goes. You’re sitting down to work on a project, but after 10 or 20 minutes you hit a roadblock. What then? Do you instinctively reach for your phone to check Facebook? Do you switch over to the Twitter app or check your email inbox real quick? Or do you stay focused?


When you are trying to focus on deep work, don’t give up after 15 minutes. Stick with it for an hour.

I’m a new evangelist for long periods of times for focus, but making time to fiddle around with stuff that doesn’t require a serious amount of focus has been essential to my work. More on this later…


Netflix to revamp video streaming tech

Jeff Morganteen on Netflix:

Netflix uses about a third of all internet data in North America at certain times, according to the trade publication.

This is pretty insane. At certain times 1/3 of all internet traffic is hitting a Netflix server. Evidently, if you want to influence North America just have a bunch of stuff on Netflix…


Drowning in Information Overload

Bradley Chambers on dialing back our connectedness:

I’ve not completely disconnected, but I’m reducing the amount of time I am connected.

Oddly enough, I read this after my own decision to dial down the amount of input that I have. I’m not on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram much, but just gazing into the iPhone screen for hours each day was enough to make me dial back to a Blackberry for a week. I’ll be curious to hear his thoughts on how it turns out.


iOS 9 Review

Federico Viticci on the evolution of the iPad as a primary computing device:

The problem that Apple needs to solve with iOS 9 for iPad is complex. How can Apple make good of the post-PC promise with features that are drastically different from what came before – without the overhead and inherent complexity of forty years of desktop computers – but also capable of addressing modern user needs and workflows?

I have a Windows 8.1 PC that I use for work. As a software engineer on the Microsoft platform, I don’t have any other choice, but it does the job. When I get done with my work day, it’s refreshing to go to “work” on my iPad with a platform that doesn’t require registry manipulation in order to make some aspect of the application work the way it should be design.


iOS Only

One of my favorite charts is the Pareto. It’s incredibly useful for triaging your life. That’s not an exaggeration. I use it all the time. For example, let’s solve late arrivals to work. Solve the issues with the most occurrences for the most ROI. If one solves the first three issues of traffic, child care, and public transportation, she can reduce the number of late arrivals to work by 78%. As an employer there’s not much she can do to solve the traffic issues apart from making large contributions to the new roads budget and hope that someday the roads will be wide enough to account for all of the traffic that is headed to her office. Childcare could be helped by offering employees a discount at a facility close to her office. Public transportation could be helped by larger budgets as well. This would allow for more frequent cycles for buses, trains, and light rails. The point is that if she solve these three issues, you can reduce late arrivals to work by a very large margin.

I’m sure Apple went through a similar process when evaluating the target audience for iOS1. As an ecosystem, I’d say it covers 68%-80% of the computing tasks in the world. This covers the first standard deviation all the way to the third Pareto point. What do most people in most cases do on their devices whether they be desktop/laptop or mobile?

  • Messaging (email, Facebook, text, WhatsApp, etc.)
  • Photos
  • General Internet browsing

If you think about your daily usage with any sort of device (laptops and desktops included), these are 68%-80% of your activities. The most common computer users are not developers. They are not tech-y. They want their devices to work. They want them automatically backed up. They don’t want to fiddle with them. For most people in most cases iOS should be your go to when selecting an operating system for your devices. I’m not talking about just your mobile devices. I’m talking about all devices. As I get older, the more I fit into this category. At one point it was fun to experiment with all of the options. At times it still is, but for most people in most cases, iOS fits this description very well.

As an operating system, iOS is behind every other operating system in the world. It’s clearly not as capable, but is that hindrance to using it for your primary devices? You can’t drag and drop. You can just now multi-task on an iPad. Heck, you couldn’t even copy and paste until two years into the iOS product life cycle. Now that it’s growing up and is soon to be in its ninth iteration, we’re getting a more mature operating system. Is that what we want, though? Do we really want a full-blown Mac OS X or Windows 10 on our handheld and ultra-portable devices? If you’re on vacation, do you want to be fiddling with the registry and pLists because your photos application crashed after visiting the Great Wall of China? Nope. It should just work. It should just work all the time. In all of its simplicity and “lack”, I want iOS. It’s what most people want.

From a hardware standpoint, peripherals just get in the way. There are edge cases for all of these, but most people don’t need Das Keyboard. Most people don’t print photos of their daily activities anymore. Most people would throw their mouse in the trash for a chance to touch the screen instead. You can type a bit slower on an iOS device than you can on a traditional keyboard, but no matter. You don’t have to lug around all of the technical baggage that comes with a complicated operating system like OS X or Windows 10. Let’s face it. No one really wants to use either of these. Definitely not Windows 10.

One of Apple’s original marketing slogans was “it just works”. I’d argue that other companies can and should have this mentality when it comes to their devices, but for now iOS is the best competitor in the market. I no longer have a computer for personal use. I have a work issued computer, but I very rarely use that for personal tasks. I use it create Pareto’s and standard deviations. I’m on my iPad Air 2 with ClamCase or my iPhone. Between those two, I can do just about everything. Anything else that I think need to do is not nearly as important as I make it out to be in my mind. There’s no need for an additional device floating around in my backpack that takes up unnecessary weight. There’s no reason to cart around another device that is going to cause undue troubleshooting while what I really want to do is spend time with my family or enjoy a sunset.


If you or someone you know is old enough to know that lighting explosives off the top of your head could kill you, you don’t need a law to restrict your purchase of said explosives…