Missive Q1-2021: Strategic Life Planning

January 2021 · 4 minute read

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Hey there,

This is Gian. It’s been a while since the last time I wrote this missive — I hope this 2021 started with a bang for you!

I have a couple of blog posts I want to show you, and a few ideas I’ve been playing with that I’d like to share. Also, always feel free to answer this email with feedback & ideas: I read and reply to everybody!

Last year I got acquainted with the concept of lag vs lead metrics and why focusing on goals can produce a negative impact on our ambitions. I spent some time writing on the topic here → TAHs: OKRs for Life Planning.

It’s an essay that goes through why ORKs — a goal-setting business tool — create productivity anxiety, and how to adapt them to your personal life for more strategic planning. Plus, bonus point: my own commitments for 2021! Feel free to send over your own New Year TAHs: I’ll be more than glad to read and comment on them. So my question for you is: what’s your strategic plan for 2021?

On my side, as I wrote in my last email, I’ve grown increasingly interested in the topic of meta-learning. In particular, I had the feeling that the vast trove of content we consume online — from newsletters to videos, from blog posts to podcasts — is a powerful tool for discovering new ideas, and yet completely useless when it comes to actually learn them.

I wrote an essay on the topic, that you can find here → Edutainment Is Not Learning. It covers why learning must be effortful, how the neurology of learning works, and what role creativity plays in the assimilation of new knowledge. If you’re into growth & performance you’ll find it interesting, and if you’ll do, don’t hesitate to share it.

Lately, and following this lead, I’m getting deeper and deeper into the area where learning and performance overlap. I’ll keep investigating and writing about it in the future, and some of my upcoming pieces will definitely be on that. That’s, for instance, one of the central reasons why I started my strong commitment to writing and publishing online (this newsletter included!).

But, more importantly, and more interestingly, my team and I are working on a new product precisely in this space. It’s still too early to disclose the details and specifics, but the moment I can go public you’ll know about it — actually, I’m counting on your feedback, so stay put!

Some final interesting things to share:

  1. After spending an unreasonably long amount of time on Roam (considering how terrible their product is), I finally mustered the courage and switched to Obsidian as my primary knowledge system. I’ll never go back. Here I have full control and portability of my notes, a flexible and customizable change tracker system with git, and finally hotkeys, community plugins, and vim mode that makes me work at least 2x faster and more efficiently. Truly impressive product.

  2. I’ve always been passionate about American Politics and History, but these last weeks have truly been something else. To my US friends reading: if you haven’t done it already, now is the perfect time to get involved in activism. The day will come when I’ll figure out how to get into Politics — but it’s still far ahead, don’t worry.

  3. In the last few months, I also spent part of my spare time on some small-scale projects; in particular: I’m helping my alma mater kick off its alumni organization, I did a geospatial analysis of Berlin rents, and I got into GPU-trained genetic algorithms. Among the things I learned: AWS is still the easiest way to rent a powerful machine to train models, there’s an open standard called geoJSON to store geospatial data in a dictionary format, and renting a place in Berlin during a pandemic is the worst possible thing you could endeavor doing.

Feel free to answer this email: I’ll read & reply to all your follow-ups ✌️

I truly wish you’ll have an amazing 2021

keep in touch g


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