How Much Time Should You Allocate To Wild Bets?

I was listening to Eric Schmidt interview with Tim Ferris when Tim asked him on how Google manages its resources:

 

Tim Ferriss: Could you describe or explain what the 70-20-10 model is? If that’s the right term to use.

Eric Schmidt: That’s correct. So this was Sergey’s idea. And the question was: how do we organize our resources in terms of core things, new things, and experimental things? So Sergey — and we had an offsite with the whole management team, I still remember. And Sergey got up on the board and he did some math. He’s a brilliant mathematician, and at the end of the math he said, “The right answer is 70-20-10. 70% on your core business, 20% on adjacent or nearby things, and 10% on wild bets.” And he said that, “All of these numbers are right, you need the 70% because you need the revenue, the revenue growth. You need the 20% because you need to extend your franchise, and you need the 10%, which is crucially important for the things that you will want to do five or 10 years from now.”

 

And then a question popped in my head. Can we apply this concept to personal resources (i.e., time)? For example, we spend 70% on the stuff we know that makes us an income, 20% on nearby things and 10% on the field you like to get into or stuff you are doing for the future? (Getting a master/Nanodegree/side hustle)

 

Not sure if this can be applied on a personal level. One of the challenges would be how to focus. Also, I think on a personal level the percentage would be 70 – 80% on core business (typically your day job) and 10-20%  on side projects (wild bets).

Polymath vs Jack of All Trades

Failed attempt to show the difference between polymath and jack of all trades (inspired by this sketch)

Disclaimer: I am trying to wrap my unfocused self in some cool terms like “polymath” – also when someone asks you in a job interview how you know such and such, don’t mention the word polymath.

I had breakfast today with my friend Ahmed, and the question around Polymath vs. jack of all trades came up. After googling for 2 minutes, it looks like:

 

Jack of all trades: Understand the basics in a lot of stuff ( > 5 stuff ) no source of this number, I making this up.

 

Polymath: Knows 2-4 stuff very well and he/she expert in those fields.

 

My question: is polymath a jack of all trades + mental models?

 

The value of multidisciplinary is tremendous if it was dedicated to the right efforts. I believe a person with such capabilities and horizon will find a hard time finding the right opportunity and perhaps need to create it themselves.

When You Don’t Get Better with Repetition

Remember how they always say that you get better with reputation? Do you think this is true all the time? What about if you keep repeating something wrong over and over and you get 10% improvement instead of 30%?

This how all started. I was reading Great at Work the other day, and the following paragraph caught my attention:

Top performers did less and more: less volume of activities, more concentrated effort. This insight overturns much conventional thinking about focusing that urges you to choose a few tasks to prioritize. Choice is only half of the equation—you also need to obsess. This finding led us to reformulate the “work scope” practice and call it “do less, then obsess.”

Hansen, Morten T. Great at Work: How Top Performers Do Less, Work Better, and Achieve More (pp. 5-6). Simon & Schuster. Kindle Edition

And then this …

 

Power of One: Pick one and only one skill at a time to develop. It’s hard to master a skill if you’re also working on ten others.

Hansen, Morten T. Great at Work: How Top Performers Do Less, Work Better, and Achieve More (p. 75). Simon & Schuster. Kindle Edition.

Let me try to digest that with something I am trying to excel at which is writing and drawing (you would figure this out by reading this blog 😅)

If I want to be a better writer, should I read more books or take two paragraphs that I like and study them word by word? (Got this tip from Safi Bahcall)

If I want to better at drawing, do I entirely focus on how small details make a difference or should I keep copying tons of illustrations without being fully in the moment?

What’s this process even called? Exploration? Awareness? Attention? Focus? And when this process should be applied? In the beginning or half-way through the learning process?

 

I don’t know the answer to that, but it’s something I am trying to figure out.

Acronyms And Safi Bahcall

Acronym to remember stuff. Who does that? Well, looks like Safi Bahcall does it. He uses this method mainly to remember stuff as per his interview with Tim Ferris . Let’s look to the following  examples:

 

  • FBR: This refers to a writing process. You write fast, bad and wrong. The process helps you to get in the flow. Do not stop to fact check an information , lookup the right name or correct a misspelled word .
  • BLC: bankers, lawyers, or consultants. He used this acronym in an invite to gatherings he used to set up in NYC where he explicitly wrote no BLC 😂

 

I like the approach. I am going to to do that with new concepts that I want to remember and practice.

 

What an acronym you like to use or recently invented?

Good Things Happens When You Not Concerned About Sounding Smart

Image Source

One day I was listening to an interview on Indie Hackers podcast where Courtland Allen hosts Josh Kaufman of The Personal MBA book. Josh said the following phrase and it stuck with me:

“Not being too concerned about sounding smart”

he said it while telling his story while writing The Personal MBA book. What he just did in the book is simplifying a lot of business jargons in layman terms that can be understood by anybody.

 

I thought about the following questions when I thought about the phrase:

 

  • What would I do differently If not being too concerned about sounding smart?
  • Will that allows me to ask better questions?

 

There were multiple times where I didn’t ask a  question because I was afraid of how I am going to be perceived.

So tell me, what are you going to do differently if you not being too concerned about sounding smart?

 

 

Should I Get a Coach or a Mentor?

Should you get a coach or a mentor?

Today I had the opportunity to listen to Tim Ferris interview with Eric Schmidt (@ericschmidt) Technical Advisor and Board Member to Alphabet Inc. The discussion was a bit on Eric experience before joining Google on Eric and more about the legendary coach and business executive Bill Campbell.

Eric spoke highly of Bill Campbell and how he helped him in his personal and professional life. Recently Eric and a few others wrote about Bill Campbell that called Trillion Dollar Coach
the book should be available in the market on April 16th.

 

I didn’t think much of coaching in my life until recently when I joined AltMBA. One of the standard practices in AltMBA that you get coached by colleagues through questions were all of us had to read a beautiful book called the Coaching Habit. Then I realized that  I am being coached at Udacity by my manager without me being aware of it. Coaching for me helped to understand my strength and identify areas of improvements.

Also, there’s been situations where I was coaching someone, and I enjoy it. But one of the challenges that I am facing is switching to advise mode half-way through the coaching.

Should you get a coach? I don’t know – can coaches help you in business or personal life?

What’s the difference between a coach and a mentor? This what Forbes says:

Mentors are successful people who share their hard-won wisdom to provide insight and guidance as an entrepreneur encounters challenges along her journey. They typically function in a reactive capacity, responding to issues as they arise. Mentors may not have expertise in the mentee’s field, but they understand how to navigate business in general.
Coaches, on the other hand, often have expertise in the same field as the people they’re helping. They’re usually trained and certified as coaches, possessing strong process management skills

Finally, I thought about searching the word coaching in the famous comics Dilbert, and the results were just funny! Here’s one that I liked:

Coaching as per Dilbert. Source

Noticing the details

A pattern that I noticed yesterday on the Mosque prayer mat

I was at communication using drawing workshop with Von Glitschka end of January 2019. He was talking about texture exploring trip that he did that day. At that time, I was amazed by how he gets to notice such details.

However, over time and after spending several hours practicing drawing, I started to notice patterns. I don’t know what happen, was it a switch that got turned on? That led me to question; How our minds get to notice the details? How suddenly I started to see? Is creating stuff from scratch help us notice things?

The healthy and unhealthy side projects

It all started when my friend Tonya Mork posted the following tweet about focus on twitter the other day.

The tweet triggered something I’ve been battling with for a long time which is applying focus on side projects. I have a hard time choosing which side project to do. Tonya replied with an interesting take:

So according to Tonya, there are two types of side projects. One of them is healthy, and the other is not so healthy (why just cannot I say bad? ). Let’s try to visualize to digest it a bit.

Side projects as per Tonya Mork. Illustrated by the author.

What about an example?

This is how I internalized and digested what Tonya just said . Let’s assume this how the human brains looks ( I have a feeling that I will be murdered by neurologist)

How the human brains look as per the author

If I understood Tonya correctly, then the healthy mode for side projects would be something like this.

Healthy side projects

As you can see above, we are hitting different neurons. Therefore there could be a possible stimulation that get generated by these kind of activities which Toney mentioned like drawing, writing etc.

Where an unhealthy mode of side projects could look like this

Bad side projects

What’s happening here that we are diverting the energy from the vital work and hitting the same neuron. An excellent example of that if you are a coder by day and your side project at night is coding as well.

However, I still have a couple of questions:

  • What if I am not utilizing my creatives neuron or creatives cells 100%, can I still use them again?
  • What if over time and by building experience, I am outsourcing my creative work to be autopilot neuron, where I don’t need that much energy? Is that possible?

Finally, This is one take on side projects. I hope that I cover different aspect of side projects in the future.