website statistics
Skip to content

Issue #1: What are we even doing here?

3 min read

Table of Contents

New Year’s Eve 2023

This title is the tagline to a Youtube channel I love called Canned Fish Files w/ Matthew Carlson.

What a great tagline. He begins every episode with it.

And it’s a perfect title for this very first issue of my little so-called newsletter, because I’ve been giving a lot of thought to what I want this to be, and how I want to use it.

Minimize friction in the name of expression

One of the main purposes I'd like it to serve is to capture thoughts and ideas from my mind with as little friction as possible.

I notice my mind is most creative in the moments when it is not being "captured".

For example, when I am driving, walking, in the shower, listening to a podcast, etc.

Usually what happens is that I'll have a thought or idea, it will seem so clear and obvious to me that I'm certain I'll remember it, but of course soon after I'm completely unable to recall whatever it was.

Sometimes when I'm sitting down to capture ideas, I'll be wishing I had access to the cascade of inspiration that had been inundating me in the previous hours.

How do we do this?

Trick the mind into forgetting it’s being watched

To some degree, it's the old cliche of the watched pot that never boils.

I wouldn't say it never boils, but it never seems as efficient as it does if you put it on the water and do something else while it comes to a boil.

In physics, they have a name for it.

It's the Observer Effect.

It is "the disturbance of an observed system by the act of observation".

There's no doubt that there is a disturbance of the observed system by the act of observation.

What we are attempting to do is to subvert that disturbance.

How are we going to do this?

There are several strategies we’ll employ towards this end.

Be ok with being a bozo

People are going to criticize.

People are going to attack.

People are going to have mean things to say.

That part is baked into the game.

So do you want to play?

Do you want to be ALIVE?

Socrates, one of the smartest men to ever live, said, “I know that I know nothing”.

I want to approach this work with a sense of wonder and inspired curiosity.

There’s a lot of people out there trying to act like they know everything.

There’s a lot of people who won’t allow themselves to be vulnerable enough to admit that they know nothing.

These people will think I’m a bozo.

And that’s just the price of admission.

Beside, in some ways we’re all bozos.

We’re just doing the best we can.

The more you know, the less you know.

I aim to approach this work with Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind.


One of the first problems I run into is I’ll have an inspired thought or idea, and I’ll think to myself that I should create a detailed piece of writing around it.

Then I’ll have another thought or idea, and then another.

Quickly, I’m overwhelmed by all the work that needs to be done, and I freeze, and then none of it gets done.

How can this be avoided?

By feeling free to post unrefined, undeveloped ideas.

Thoughts and inspirations that are still in infancy.

That’s just a decision.

I haven’t been allowing myself that freedom, but I can choose to.

I want this blog to serve this purpose.

It’s what Bram Adams refers to as micro-publishing.

They can always be fleshed out, refined and developed over time.

Arbitrage and Self-Surveillance

I don’t have a name for this one that I’m happy with yet.

But the concept is gold.

Bram Adams has referred to it as arbitrage and self-surveillance.

Basically, it’s finding new ways to create content from what you’re already doing.

For example, in Bram’s case, he’s a coder.

So he livestreams to Twitch as he’s coding.

He’ll record a video of his screen from the livestream, make it into a timelapse and then read his newsletter over the video.

Now he’s got a Youtube video to post with little to no extra work.

That’s just one example.

There are many ways I can apply this approach to what I’m doing.

Keep it fun

It's got to be fun for me.

Of course there will be boring parts.

But I've got to continue to go toward my interests.

Yes, that will be a merry-go-round.

It will be what it is.

But, as the great Rick Rubin say, "the audience comes last".

layngmicropublishingarbitrageself-surveillancebram adamszen mindbeginner's mind


Related Posts

Members Public

Models for Structuring Paid Membership Communities

A lot of people are finding creative ways to monetize their communities these days. One common method is using a membership/subscription model with various tiers. Let's take a look at a few examples and how they're doing it.

Members Public

A First Attempt at Using Bram Adams' HBOV-2023

Bram Adams has developed and generously shared an advanced system for synthesizing information with the note-taking app Obsidian. Here's my clumsy first attempt at using it.