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.