Thoughts on Parenthood 1: “I understand every adult in my life better now”. - said on FaceTime to my Uncle.

“What you need to do, Peter, is stop believing all those sick people on the television and news and stop listening to those crazy people making that stuff they call music…If all you collage kids want to leave this country or burn it down, you better be mighty sure you know what you’re doing”

I started A Walk Across America (I heard about it via the Sketchnote Army Podcast with Patrick Rhone) and this line from the second chapter really struck me. I was reading the second before and had this gnawing feeling in my chest “Was the post-Vietnam US similar to today?” I can’t answer this for certain, but lines like this make me wonder if there are some echoes in our world today.

Turns out two of my big complaints about DayOne V3 turn out not to be true. I have been grandfathered into my plus scheme and you can now print books internationally. There are still aspects I miss about the original and I can see someone making a better rival, still I think I’ll stick with it for now.

Built to Last

When I was fifteen, my dad bough me my first guitar, a Tanglewood dreadnought style acoustic. Last year I brought it over to Poland so I could play it again. I’ve had it over half my life now, and it’s still going strong. It’s showing signs of age and breakdown but it will keep going and may well outlive me (even though it’s not really alive).

I think about my guitar and other long-lasting tech when I consider most modern technology. With my recent reading of Perennial Seller and the upcoming Apple event, there is a lot of buzz over upgrades and the debates over what device to get. I’m looking at upgrading my phone from an iPhone SE to probably the iPhone X(s?). I want a smaller phone but one that has the best internals so it will keep going for a while.

I don’t really need this upgrade, my iPhone SE still works really well, the iOS 12 beta has made it much faster and more responsive and is like a processor upgrade, and the battery still lasts a good amount of time (and could be upgraded). Despite these factors, a new iPhone is still probably the best idea.

My wife has my old iPhone 5s and its battery is not doing so well, in addition we have just become parents and I’d love her to be able to take live photos as well. I’m also worried that the security updates will eventual stop coming for the 5s.

To be far to Apple, their software updates do help their devices last much longer than the average phone company, and the proliferation of battery replacement recently has helped devices last longer, still I know for sure that even the latest iPhone won’t outlast me.

Last year I bought an old hassleblad 500cm, a medium format film camera. It’s from the year I was born and it’s going strong. I can bet it will still be going strong in 30 years time.

Does Patreon’s Value Increase the More Things You Back?

Patreon has always seemed like an interesting idea to me and I’ve backed a few groups for a couple of months at a time. For some reason I always stop. At the same time I back other site memberships. I imagine that I’d love to keep all the sites I’m a member of in one easier to manage location (patreon) and so I suspect the value of patreon for the backer increases the more things you back at the same time. Still, it’s not been enough to get me to back…yet.

Affinity Publisher Beta demo out

Pretty exciting to see the Affinity Publisher beta out. It’s Mac only for now but if anyone is going to create an iPad version, it’s affinity (and they’ve mentioned they will.)

A dumb nonsensical behaviour from myself. I’ve wanted to sign up as a @relayfm member for a couple of years but everytime I’m about to I hit a “paradox of choice” situation. I think I want to give to every show, but there are some shows I don’t listen to so I think about choosing one show…but which one! If I could tick the shows I listen to I would (but that would be much harder to impliment). So I get caught in a mental loop and delay signing up. So today I (finally) signed up for “all the great shows”.

Ideas are Cheap

Another idea from perennial seller by Ryan Holiday, ideas are cheap, executing really matters. So many people have a “great idea for a book” but a tiny fraction of those people actually even start writing (and then an even smaller fraction finish. It’s completely true and one of the key changes I made in my early twenties was moving from having ideas to trying out ideas. Later in my twenties I started getting better at finishing those same ideas and not just starting a whole host of new ones. However, that is still a skill I need to develop.

I did think of James Altchure’s idea factory habit (habit two). He seeks to be a constantly thinking of ideas AND reviewing them to only take action on the best ones. While ideas are cheap, we also need ideas.

Finally I remembered Dan Aierly who described how people want to be given credit for their ideas more than the actions they take. I can certainly relate and I believe that’s related to why the statement that “ideas are cheap” is so tough to stomach. We want recognition for our ideas, we believe they are valuable, but in reality no one rewards you just for ideas, they reward people for carrying out their ideas.

One of the greatest little features Evernote made was the “clearly web clipper”. It was so great for saving web article, but also for general web browsing. (I still have it on my mac)

No, you shouldn't spend 4/5th of your time marketing and 1/5th creating

I’m listening to ”perennial seller” by Ryan Holiday and early on he takes aim at this truism that’s been going around. spend 1/5th of your time creating and 4/5ths promoting. He said it sounds good but really if your products not up to snuff then you’re trying to generate interest in something which doesn’t matter. (Being cynical it could well be that the type of business advisor who passes on this advice knows that their audiences products aren’t that good).

Anyway I was curious what the biggest companies ad spend to research budget was and if this might inform a better principle/ demonstrate that the 4/5th marketing idea was wrong. So what better place to start than Apple.

Apple ad Spend to RnD

Apple’s ad spend is now not widely revealed and bundled in with its administrative costs. That’s because it’s under 10% of its expenses and so it isn’t necessary to disclose. The last available figure is from 2015 when it was $1.8 billion. Pretty high, but how did RnD compare in 2015? In fact, in 2015 RnD budget rose by $1.5 billion to aproximaately $5.9 billion. And in 2017 there was a $10 billion RnD spend target. So it’s possible that Apple spends closer to ten times as much on developing products than marketing them. Even a conservative estimate would argue they spend a reverse 4/5ths on creating and 1/5th on marketing,

General Motors

How about General Motors? Not a one of these modern tech companies but still a form of technology. Well the statistics for 2017 show they spend $3.24 billion on advertising but $7.3 billion on Research and development. That’s just over twice as much on research than marketing. Again not the four fifths dynamic that was advised.


Amazon spent $16 billion on research and development last year and $7 Billion on advertising in 2016. Seeing as amazon also sells products and has a movie streaming service, we could also include the $4.5 billion it spent on acquiring film rights as part of the cost of product vs marketing but regardless, Amazon also spends more on “creating” than marketing.

Conclusion, spend more time creating than marketing

The conclusion from these companies is clear, you should spend more time creating than marketing. It’s much easier to market good products than bad ones.

For some strange reason ulysses keeps crashing on my iPad Pro. Anyone got this issue or just me?

Good link posts vs bad link post

Every now and again I come across someone who is critical of this form of micro blogging. They usually argue that all link posts are bad, but personally I’ve found it to be a mixed bag with higher and lower quality. This means there must be some factors which separate good link posts and bad link posts.

In truth, I think that a good link post is similar to a good blog post, it provides the reader with some for of value. Be that - entertainment - education or whatever, in every case you feel that you got value from that blog post/link post. In terms of link posts, I can identify three forms of value I get from good link posts.

1. Discovery via one link post

This is where a link is shared and it leads me to an article I wouldn’t have read before. In a situation like this, simply sharing the link on social media might have the same effect but the link post usually makes it stand out more in my RSS feed.

2. Discovery via the hive mind

This is where a link is shared once and it passes me by, perhaps the topic sounds boring or the title isn’t very descriptive/interesting. However, soon it seems that everyone is sharing the same links and I finally give into the pressure and try it out. In this case, it might be quote that the final person shares that makes me crack, but again it is usually the fact that something is being linked everywhere rather than how the link post actually is formatted.

3. Commentary

The third category is where someone takes a link but goes further, they add their unique take or insight on the story. Perhaps it is their own story or whatever, regardless, the value in this case is both the original article and the additional commentary. The previous two cases have value in the curation, this last one has value in the link post. That’s why I usually try and write a link post like this, one which has some additional value or insight. That because I think there is a common trait in bad link posts.

The same old, same old

The common trait in bad posts is that this link post has no value. Either the link doesn’t pass on value or the commentary doesn’t. Perhaps it’s because I’ve come across the article already, the article isn’t that interesting to me, or the commentary doesn’t really add anything. In this case the more the article gets linked, the worse quality usually comes with it. It’s usually the same old talking points and I’m more likely to have read it or just not be interested in it.

Steal don’t copy

Another way to put it would be that you should steal (like an artist) and take some else’s link but not just copy it. Add - your own insight, - your favourite quote (and why) - an experience that was similar (or completely the opposite) - what questions you have - some related links - something else

So basically, make sure you give value with your linking and everyone wins. Or don’t and just write for you and you’ll be happy anyway.

WWU Lecture on Tolkein’s Language and Writing

WWU lecture on Tolkein’s language and writing

This is a pretty fascinating 50 mins talk by Edward Vajda on how Tolkien’s love of languages impacted his writing. One of my favourite points he makes is that the names of places and their languages get more exotic the further you go from The Shire. Bree was influence by Welsh, Gondor and Rohan by Scotland and Ireland, Dwarvish has gramatically characteristics similar to Arabic and Hebrew, The East by Turkish and Hungarian languages which were associated with invaders. So basically the languages inform how you perceive those places.

After an incident yesterday I drew up a basic door protocol, I might need to add some more conditions.

Turlaj Klopsa

I needed a snack between visits to my daughter in hospital and may have found the best food truck in krakow. Veggie/vegan dumplings/meatballs with an African sauce and black rice. Adds more weight to my theory (which I probably stole) that Vegans have the tastiest food cause they have to care about flavour and can’t just dump some meat in.

Welcome to the World

I collapsed on my bed at 2:30 on Wedneday morning after driving home from the hospital. I had been concerned that I wouldn’t be able to fall a sleep but soon my heavy eyes shut for four hours or so till my morning alarm reopened them.

Four hours earlier my baby girl left her hiding place and entered the world. It’s an experience which was truly mind blowing and left me speechless and frozen. I’m not sure anything could have made me properly prepared though.

My daughter has entered a completely different world to the one I did just over thirty years ago. My wife and I were discussing it just the night before that she’ll see incredible things and grow up in a world so removed from our own. She’ll face new challenges (as well as some of the same old ones) and be blessed with new advantages.

For the last few months I’ve known roughly when my daughter would arrive – though she did decide to arrive early – and with several commitments and invitations I’ve replied that I’d have to see how things are once she is here. This is continuing as she remains in Hospital.

I’m fully prepared for all my once existent free time to disappear in a puff of smoke. It’s certainly made me reevaluate many of the things I’ve been doing. Many of them just don’t see important in the grand scheme of things now, others seem more fun. It’s a big part of my change in writing and embracing further as well as enjoying drawing and analogue tools more.

Regardless, my plans don’t focus that much on me anymore. I’ll be adapting to her needs and wants.

I can’t wait to learn more about her and what she’s interested in.

Inside J.R.R. Tolkien’s Notebooks, a Glimpse of the Master Philologist at Work

Inside J.R.R. Tolkien’s Notebooks, a Glimpse of the Master Philologist at Work > Tolkien was the first philologist to establish such a network of evolving dialects that derive from one another “by slowly accumulating changes and divergences in form across time from a common ancestor species.”

I can’t lie that this hits me in three directions. 1. Tolkien 2. Languages 3. notebooks I found it fascinating his work to include changes between dialects overtime. I’ve read a bit on the languages in Tolkein’s world and the influences of real world languages on Elvish (particularly Welsh on Sindarin) but I hadn’t paid attention to the evolution of these languages.

via the cramped

New Craft beer (well new to me) in local shop with a local connect. Let’s give this a try.

As I thought, the latest DayOne update removes my precious, precious plus account so I now have to pay for a subscription or use the basic plan ☹️ I kind of miss DayOne classic. Audio recording could be nice though.