Some Gems on Delegating

John D Cook, “Whether to Delegate”:

You shouldn’t necessarily do things that you’re good at.

(I love it when an article provokes the mind right from the start.)

Managing energy is more important than managing time. Energy is what gets things done, and time is only a crude surrogate for energy. Instead of only looking at what you could earn per hour versus what you could hire someone else for per hour, consider the energy it would take you to do something versus the energy it would free to delegate it.

If something saps your energy and puts you in a bad mood, delegate it even if you have to pay someone more to do it than it would cost you do to yourself. And if something gives you energy, maybe you should do it yourself even if someone else could do it cheaper.

Miles Richardson, “Why Coding is not the Best Use of Your Time”:

I used to code everything myself. “If you want something done right, you gotta do it yourself,” I used to say. Wrong. If you want something done right, you just need to know how to tell someone to do it.

Now, I turn projects into well-written specs with clear directives. I break them down by tasks, and then group the tasks by specialty. This way, instead of spinning my own wheels 90% researching and learning, and 10% building, I can hand the spec to a specialist who already has the requisite background knowledge.

If you are a generalist, I highly recommend this approach. It will significantly improve your efficiency.

How to Write

When writing something that matters, there are at minimum two steps involved.

The first step is the act of dumping down all thoughts and informations in one place. In this step, the brain needs to be as open as possible to better find connections between ideas. Accordingly, the analytical part of the brain that deals with the correctness of the language and the structure and overall quality of the final product needs to be turned off. The brain needs to explore as far as it can, unhindered from rules.

The second step is sculpting. This is when the analytical part of the brain is allowed to wake up and do its job: shape the language, cut the unnecessary weight, alter the flow, challenge the logic.

OK To Stay Small

Mark Suster:

I want the definition of startup back. To be used by anybody who is willing to take the risk to quit their corporate job and go out and try and build an innovative, disruptive, tech-enabled business that tries to change the way things work in the world.

It’s ok to build a company that stays small, has a few million dollars in revenue and builds careers, bank accounts and enriches client experiences.

Delegating Obsessions


A good chunk of the money I spent on Writer Pro is to pay iA to obsess for me. Go watch the videos. They’ve clearly spent hundreds (thousands?) of hours considering the many aspects of writing and attempting to make the best decisions for me: the writer.

The entire article contains good design advices, and the above excerpt is not even the main point. I just like the idea of delegating obsessions to those with the same mindset. Because while obsessing about something can yield good results and at the same time fulfills some emotional needs, it can be a major drain of time and energy.

How Writer Pro Got its Price Point

Oliver Reichenstein, on Writer Pro’s pricing strategy (emphasis mine):

We experimented with different prices for iA Writer, and we debated all scenarios for Writer Pro, from free with in-app purchases to $200 for each app (iPad, iPhone, and Mac). We thought the ‘free plus in-app purchase’ way had the weakest chance. Competing with venture capital-backed Silicon Valley machine seems suicidal for an independent company. And the free-plus-in-app-purchase sends the wrong message for a premium writing app. Writer Pro is a tool for professionals. If you write, then $20 is nothing. Hold off if you’re just interested in testing cool new apps. If you want a better tool for your work as a writer, Writer Pro is for you.

To those shouting “But Pages is free! That other app costs 1 Dollar! And what about this feature comparison chart?!” all we have to say is: There are writing apps out there from $40 to $200 that have more features. But how many feel as good to write in? How many have the simplicity in workflow, Writer Pro’s syntax tools, or typographic excellence? Writer Pro leads and will continue to lead in innovation, and through it we’ll continue to strive for the best writing experience of any app.

X for Y

Paul Graham:

I deliberately express startup ideas as x for y whenever possible because that’s the most efficient way to describe a startup in a few words. Airbnb, for example, was in its day “eBay for space.”


Here’s a few X for Y things which are likely to succeed:
X for the masses.
X for people who don’t like computeres.
X for people who don’t speak much English.
X in the cloud (way overplayed).
X for free (but good luck getting a low enough cost of customer acquisition!).
X for people who are locked into Y.
X for large businesses (requires connections).
X for businesses which aren’t great at tech (X better be something they really really want).

Don’t Start Your Own

Aaron Hillegass, “Don’t Start a Company, Kid”:

I’ve been broke, and being broke sucks balls. Having Enough is awesome. How would I define “Enough”? Enough means that you can take a friend out to a nice lunch and not have to worry about how much it costs. I have hung out with a couple of billionaires—my experiences indicate that being a billionaire is just incrementally better than Enough.

Thus, as you look at your future, the question should not be, “How can I become a billionaire?” You should ask, “Where can I get Enough?”

Very few entrepreneurs have Enough; most of them eventually go get jobs.

The final words of the article is worth an introspection:

The best part of creating a company is defining a culture. If you can find a company that has a culture you like and will pay you Enough to solve problems, go work for that company. Don’t start your own.

Several Centuries into the Future

The Dalai Lama:

“We have the capacity to think several centuries into the future. Start the task even if it will not be fulfilled within your lifetime. This generation has a responsibility to reshape the world. If we make an effort, it may be possible to achieve. Even if it seems hopeless now, never give up.

Offer a positive vision, with enthusiasm and joy, and an optimistic outlook.”

Assume That Users Are Smarter

Edward Tufte:

Several of the critiques began with a user model that described users as superficial, impatient, and inefficient managers of information. What users are impatient about is low-content throughput and space-hogging admin debris, commercials, and lousy interface design. Several critiques relied on a concealed version of the irrelevant Magical Number +/-7 notion.

Well, I don’t do Lowest Common Denominator Design.

Lowest Common Denominator Design is a sure road to dumbed-down, content-deprived, interfaces that feature themselves. LCDD is based, at its heart, on contempt for users and for content.

Instead, assume that users are smarter about the content at hand than interface designers. Such is often empirically the case; thus the best that design usually can do is to get out of the way and at least do no harm. More can be expected only at the very highest level, such as Apple.


The True Definition of Rich

Moumouren on Reddit:

As a middle class person, I used to think that I was poor and that I needed to have enough to not worry about money tomorrow to be rich. Visiting new places and meeting new people from around the world has taught me that not everyone shares this view. Every culture has its own unique view of rich; a WW2 veteran is satisfied with recycling old parts in city run by a stable government; an Asian grandmother is satisfied to live to see technology at this rate; a maid is just happy she got into the country at all; a millionaire aspires to have political and social connections.

When you expose yourself to other people’s lives, you’ll realise that not everybody shares this common goal of being a millionaire. In fact, if you drive a half hour in any direction, you’ll probably find someone who couldn’t care less about having a million dollars. In reality, middle class people only comprise a small percentage of the world population. We’ve been living in a bubble, a “middle class bubble”, so to speak, where being a millionaire is the end game. Just like how the rich live in their “rich bubble”. The moment you achieve a million dollars, or you lose all hope of being a millionaire (e.g. taking care of a sick loved one), you stop ‘feeling’ all the things associated with being a millionaire as “rich”, because you’ve stepped out of that bubble.

If different people can have different ideas about being rich, it just exposes the fact that being rich is not an absolute thing, but relative to whatever position you are presently occupying. It’s just that the world is so very vast, and few of us have actually had to make that paradigm shift to step outside of our own bubbles. The one thing which connects all the above examples in their respective definition of ‘rich’, is actually happiness. When you realize that, you’ll realize that you haven’t actually been chasing money all this time. You’ve actually been chasing what your culture considers as happiness. In reality, there’s no such thing as being ‘rich’. You don’t actually need a million dollars to feel that ‘rich’ feeling (and from what I’ve observed, millionaires rarely actually feel rich). And if you pursue happiness instead of money as a goal, you’ll find that ‘rich’ feeling to be a lot more accessible.

tl;dr: The true definition of rich is happiness. It’s all relative.