Writing every day

Some mornings, I’m not sure what to write about. So I start typing. And then an idea pops in my head.

Today’s topic: how to get to a shitty first draft. It’s an idea that comes from Anne Lamont from Bird by Bird, a book I highly recommend.

Read this

If you ever hit a writers block, or you are stuck, just open up a blank page and start typing. Literally start typing anything, whatever pops in your head.

Eventually you will get to an interesting idea.

That’s it.

Shitty first draft when you are stuck.

Smart contracts and lego blocks

You had me at lego blocks.

I’ve often made fun of Bitcoin and blockchain. I won’t be doing that anymore. It started with this podcast. In it, the founder of Ethereum explained how the blockchain can attack complex contracts through lego block style building.

We used this same analogy at RiskGenius.

It will take longer for smart contracts to take hold than it will new financial instruments, like Bitcoin. Why? Because it’s easy for many people in finance to see how they can make money in Bitcoin (although a lot of wealthy financiers will be removed from financial transactions in the future).

Lawyers will not benefit from smart contracts. At least most of them (like 99.9%) will not. Smart contracts will be self executing. And for the first time, in listening to that podcast, I understood how smart contracts could take on Compex transaction.

Think of each clause as a lego block.

I’m paying attention.

Go big with your podcast

Well, I’m starting out with what I’ve listened to. Tim Ferris interviewed Steven Pressfield and I like both of those gents. I liked the interview.

Pressfield’s advice on how to write fiction struck me. He said to write the crazy thing, the thing that scares you.

I’m getting ready to start a podcast about insurance agent founders. The project has scared me for some time. How do I make it big?

I think the answer is that I need to dig. Before the interview, uncover the right information before the interview, take time to structure the questions and the flow. During the interview, don’t let up. Ask the hard questions. If you notice something weird, prod right there. And after the interview, dig into post production and reaching out and generating support. All of those things.

There isn’t some magical formula for a good podcast or book. Just do the scary work, know that you may fail and hope for the best.

I have a few dream interviewees. Tom Clancy is at the top of the list. He ran an agency while he wrote his first book.

So I went away

And I stopped writing.

But I started riding my bike. Consistently. And it feels good. I rode 50 miles yesterday.

I want to blog more consistently. Seth Godin’s The Practice gor me moving again:

Blog every day. It’s easy, it’s free and it establishes your identity long before the market cares about who you are are and what you do.

Seth Godin, The Practice

So I will write something every day. Let’s see where this goes. Currently I’m thinking about fishing at Table Rock lake and having to do an FTP test on Tuesday. And launching a podcast for work. Let’s see how those things go this week.

Something new

I went to bed last night, Election Night, wanting to do something more productive with my brain. It was 1:30 am and I was endlessly scrolling between Twitter, 538, and the New York Times.

Biking. I’m going to figure out biking.

So this is where I will track those efforts.

What I know so far or what I am doing:

I’ll write about the goal tomorrow as I am mulling it over. Kind of tricky since there no races.

So much time

I had fun in college and I did well, at least if you go by grades. But I’m not sure what I really did.

I’ve been thinking about this as colleges try to go back to school. It seems college students will have A LOT more time on their hands. From Politico:

A friend of mine who is set to graduate from UNC next May lives in an off-campus house with a group of other students (they signed their lease last fall, long before anyone had any inkling of Covid-19). Just last week, she was quarantined in her room waiting for one of her housemates to receive Covid test results. “It’ll be a…fun birthday,” she texted me.

If you are in college — if you are alive — your life has probably changed due to COVID-19. For many, this means more free time.

This free time is an opportunity. And it reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from business magnate Lee Iacocca:

Apply yourself. Get all the education you can, but then, by God, do something. Don’t just stand there, make it happen.

You get the point, right? With the internet at your fingertips, you can learn and do just about anything. I’ve been taking this course on data science. I started this blog so I can get used to providing daily content. I learned to podcast. And I took a Seth Godin marketing class (I highly recommend it!).

What can you do?

Hint: start with what is important to you and go from there. What else can you learn or do to support your passion?

Thinking about lead gen

I am working on a project and I am trying to get smart for that project.

I need to get smart about lead gen in insurance.

I noticed an email from Kansas City ad agency, Native Digital. Unfortunately, the email wasn’t linkable, but I am giving them full credit for these graphs.

First, they pointed out that on the internet people search for “best” not “cheap.”

Then Native Digital highlighted an experiment where fictional brands were pitched and purchased (or not purchased) by industry. Consumers are most likely to go for a fictional car insurance brand.

The Native Digital conclusion seems dead on:

Turns out we’re pretty loyal to our cereal and whisky of choice (potential breakfast combo?!), but not so much to financial products like mortgages, credit cards and car insurance that don’t yet hold a warm place in our hearts.

Hmm. What does this mean specifically for commercial insurance? You can see why insurance companies want to take back the customer relationship and add high-touch services that might gain loyalty. But is this a losing battle? If customers fall for a fake brand, doesn’t this imply the switching costs to change insurance are low? Presumably, the consumer is rationale and ways how easy or hard it is to switch brands in each industry.

It’s easy to get a new credit card (you don’t even have to switch or shutdown).

It’s easy to switch insurance (agents take care of the process).

Mortgages seem to be harder to switch — but maybe not with the prevalence of re-financing.

And, by the way, I think this survey relied on some amateur bikers. No one is touching my Trek XO or Giant Defy bikes.

Revisiting Meditation

From the Daily Stoic:

This is why we cannot be content to simply pick up a book once and judge it by that experience. It’s why we have to read and re-read. It’s why we must linger on a number of master thinkers, as Seneca said. Because the world is constantly changing, we are changing, and therefore what we get out of those books can change. It’s not enough to read the Stoics once, you have to read them at every age, every era of your life. So too for Shakespeare and other great pieces of literature.

I have been reading and re-reading during the Pandemic.

One book that stood up upon re-read was Meditation in Plain English. It was richer, more thoughtful than I remembered. I first read this book in 2011 as I was moving from the world of BigLaw to Entrepreneurship (although I didn’t know it was called this). The fear of failure was intense. As I was walking through the streets of Washington, D.C. listening to a Merlin Mann podcast, I listened to him riff on meditation and recommend MiPE. And so I gave it a try.

Now I am back, doing my daily insight meditation.

It’s lovely.