Monthly update: Revealing secret projects and splashing the cash

Jan 30, 2021 11:56 am

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Here's what had my attention in January...

What I've been up to

Last month I alluded to two super-secret projects that I was working on.

🎧 Secret project #1 turns out to be Any Other Business, the new podcast I've launched with my Property Podcast co-host Rob Bence.

It's an attempt to replicate my favourite genre of podcast: two (hopefully) interesting people having an honest conversation, which you can eavesdrop on and take what you want from. We talk about what it's like behind the scenes of running a small-but-growing business, and share all the ups and downs. Mainly the downs, because they're far more entertaining.

It's been eight years since we last launched a podcast, and a lot has changed. I'll be writing up what we got right and wrong as a blog article soon.

🀫 Secret project #2 isn't ready for its big reveal yet, although some people will start finding out about it next month. I can tell you this though: after working on it intensely last year and every day over Christmas too, I'm very ready for a break.

The mistake I made last year – as I'm sure many others did too – was not taking any time off because there were no actual "holidays" to go on and nothing much to do at home. But having time off to recharge and recover is ridiculously important, even if that just means taking days to nap and go for walks rather than jetting off somewhere exciting.

πŸ’° I've been doing my bit for the economy (mainly of China, admittedly) by splashing the cash this month.

Life-changing purchase #1: a new mattress. Not even that expensive, and now I don't have to roll around on a lacrosse ball every morning to stop my back aching.

Life-changing purchase #2: a big wide-screen monitor, so I can have multiple windows side-by-side and not get stuck in Command-Tab hell. Why have I spent the last 10+ years hunched over a laptop screen?

The public service announcement here is to spend money (if you can) on items that you use for large chunks of your day. Sleep + work makes up well over two-thirds of my life, so it makes no sense to scrimp – and now I feel daft for putting it off for so long.

What I've published

– The art of taking on "just enough". How to avoid taking on too much, and why you’re (paradoxically) more likely to miss a loose deadline than a tight one.

– How I hire quality freelancers on Upwork, every time. Niche topic, but hiring freelancers is something many entrepreneurs seem to struggle with. This process has served me well.

– What really happens if you miss the best days in the market? You've probably heard the investing maxim that if you miss just a few of the best days in the stock market over a decade or more, your returns will be drastically affected. This turns out not to be the whole story...

What I've enjoyed

🏒 My wife, who's to thank for basically all my book and podcast recommendations, put me onto Alchemy: The Surprising Power Of Ideas That Don't Make Sense by Rory Sutherland. The general thesis is that we're too obsessed with rational solutions (like spending billions to increase train capacity) when we could far more cheaply exploit human psychology to make people feel better about not getting a seat.

I strongly recommend the audiobook, and in an ideal world I'd have Rory narrate every book I ever listen to again.

😈 It gets a bit technical, but if you're interested in crypto this is an incredible story about a potentially massive fraud waiting to be uncovered.

πŸ“Ή There are few better uses of three minutes than watching a hamster work out how to get through a ludicrously elaborate obstacle course. It's the sound effects that really make it.

πŸ‘‹That’s it for January! It'd be great to hear from you if you've got news or recommendations to share.



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